That juggernaut called the holidays has arrived and so, whether we like it or not, most of the bounty of our evening's public pleasures have been displaced in its rampaging wake. Many of you are out of town and/or neck-deep in some family indulgence, which might seem somewhere between a chore and a court order. Some of you are blissed out; some of you are not. Many of you are consuming prescription levels of sweets and even heavier bounties. Good for you all, no judgement here.
Some of you might be struggling, too, though. If that is the case, please allow me to make my yearly case: You are not alone, even if you feel that way. This time of year can be a complicated one, a blessing and a curse, but it's one you don't have to bear without help. Here are two numbers you might find useful: The Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services 24-hour mental health crisis line (707) 445-7715 and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255. There is never any shame in asking for help.
And if you ever feel like chatting about music or share an upcoming show you are excited about, please feel free to drop a line at email@example.com. I always like to hear what all of you out there are thinking about.
Have a fine week, secular, holy or none of the above.
The Jam has a nice line-up of fun and original old-timey bands tonight at 9 p.m. ($5). Belles of the Levee play a mix of pre-World War II jazz tunes written for low-lit parlors, celestial dance halls and granges alike, while Dead Bird Son is a bluegrass hybrid band that walks on gilded splinters down the floorboards of every barn in twilit bat-hour heaven. In short, you can take a trip to the gut-string era while enjoying modern amenities on this inexpensive rainy evening cruise.
Friday (Winter Solstice)
Ledward "Led" Kaapana is a black sands, big island, Native Hawaiian player of the kika ki ho 'alu, the majestic Hawaiian slack key guitar. Along with his frequent California collaborator Fran Guidry, he will be appearing tonight at The Old Steeple at 7:30 p.m. I consider this type of Hawaiian music to be one of the purer kinds of human expression and Mr. Kaapana is an absolute master. I might even be found tapping my feet in the pews, cemetery-adjacent, on this the longest night of the year ($25).
Huckleberry Flint, a longtime local Bluegrass and Americana act, will play wherever the occasion demands, whether it be a wedding, dive bar, barbecue or, in this case, the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts. Catch the band in all its multi-stringed winter glory at a relatively early 7 p.m. show. Word has it the $25 loge seats are sold out already so $20 general is likely your name and number tonight.
It's a pre-holiday Sunday so we are on the edge of a wasteland where there will be bright lights but not a lot of action. From here on out — for a couple of days at least — you are on your own for nightlife. I could suggest some ideas, anything from books to movies to which cemeteries are the most fun to discreetly drink beer in and where the best headlamp-assisted wet hiking trails are located, but let's keep some things coy. After all, a new year is coming and there are many calendar days to explore our secret haunts and joys. In that spirit, here are a few free and easy events for the dedicated and casual alike.
Savage Henry hosts a its Sunday Two Mics event. Two venues, two places where you can wear out the crowd with your Twitter-esque observations on politics and pleasure. At 5 p.m. you can catch the electric bullhorn at Northtown Coffee and at 9 p.m. you can find the same amplified outlet at Eureka's Savage Henry Comedy Club.
Meanwhile over at the venerable watering hole the Clam Beach Inn, adjacent to my childhood waterhole of Strawberry Creek, you will find the funny and perfect sounds of guitar playin' chanteuse Anna Hamilton starting at 6 p.m. Let the rain, ocean and creek all compete for your aural attention between sets.
Monday (Christmas Eve)
Let's not kid ourselves. Between today and tomorrow we are very unlikely to find professional live entertainment in a county that is at any moment two or three minor landslides away from being completely cut off from the rest of the world, disregarding whatever entertainment we could receive by boat, drone or meteor shower. With that in mind, let me suggest this: Unless you are tormented by three spirits tonight with diverse approaches and levels of intensity, I am certain that you are a thoughtful and kind creature who has earned — through a year's worth of thoughtful and kind gestures to your fellow creatures — a couple evenings of peace and quiet for you and yours. Enjoy them.
(Christmastime is here)
Singer, arranger, trumpeter, pianist and local treasure Bill Allison continues his jazz night — with friends and cohorts sitting in, of course — at Phatsy Kline's tonight at 6 p.m. Come enjoy the secular sweetness of Boxing Day with a little course in America's greatest musical artform (free).
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collin Yeo has been enjoying the rain and he begs your forgiveness for wanting it to turn into snow. He lives in Arcata, where the odds of that event occurring seem rather long.