Sailor Jerry tattoo art

A Sailor Jerry Salute

Norman Collins made his own very particular contribution to military history, lore and culture. Namely tattooing mainly scantily clad ladies on the biceps, forearms, backs and chests of countless navy servicemen. Collins, who became better known as “Sailor Jerry,” as the blinking, neon-lit sign above his tattoo parlor proclaimed, inked drunken sailors on shore leave [...]

Perry Farrell

The Good, The Bad Religion and the BottleRock

This weekend — and this may be difficult for the Napa Vintners to reconcile — more people descended on Napa Valley than ever before. And — this may be harder still for the Auction’s organizers to reconcile — they likely spent more than any other group that ever came before them. And they spent it [...]

BottleRock Napa billboard

Is this BottleRock Napa billboard pointing the wrong way?

Driving on Highway 12 southeast toward Napa from Sonoma we happened to pass a crew pasting up this sign. By all outward appearances another of the billboards directing people toward the big BottleRock Napa music, food and wine festival scheduled for May 9 to 12 in Napa. We asked BottleRock if this was theirs and [...]

Tour Bus Hits Gun Bun, Dinosaur Jr. Get Out

The 2013 concert series at Gundlach Bundschu got off to a fuzzy feedback-filled start Friday night when ’90s rock royalty Dinosaur Jr. played the intimate Old Redwood Barn in Sonoma. DJ stopped in Sonoma on their way out the music-festival-cum-desert bikini beach party that is Coachella. This show was a warm-up for the big fourth [...]

Eating Pop Rocks with S.F. Mayor Ed Lee

When the Bay Bridge went ablaze with 25,000 LED lights On March 5, San Francisco’s other bridge became, at 1.8 miles wide and 500 feet high, the world’s largest LED light sculpture. For whatever that’s worth. What really matters is what the mayor was drinking when the switch went on. And we happened to find out. [...]

#lookdown #365underfoot

Looking Up is Overrated: the #365underfoot project

When our dear friend and official pizza correspondent moved from NYC to Miami, we were devastated. (There is no pizza worth speaking of in Florida.) But Ms. Kelly Samardak, like many other displaced New Yorkers, discovered that sometimes you must leave The Greatest City in the World to realize your own dreams. Swamp monsters and [...]

What Does ‘Keeping St. Helena St. Helena’ Mean?

There is an unfortunate tone to Mayor Del Britton’s campaign which makes it seem that keeping St. Helena St. Helena, means keeping some people “IN” and a lot of people “OUT” and that change is a bad thing. The picture of Mr. Galbraith that the Britton ads paint would be funny if it were not [...]

This Is Why People Hate Napa Valley

The Napa Valley Wine Wave has been months in the making. And each month that has gone into the planning of this pointless exercise in hollow vanity is that much more infuriating to those of us left utterly confused by the entire endeavor. Not much is clear except what will happen at Krug Winery on [...]

The view from Mt. St. Helena

What We Talk About When We Talk About Napa

Napa Valley is a place. A stretch of land. Napa is a city. Napa is a state of mind. It’s a state of wine. What’s the first thing you think of when you think of “Napa?” The answer probably has more to do with you than it does with the place, the people who live [...]

Baccarat provides the light

The Secrets of the Red Room

When one of Burgundy’s most flamboyant, charismatic and charming vintners, Jean-Charles Boisset, purchased Raymond Vineyards, a storied Napa Valley estate, in 2009, there were bound to be changes. First, the most sustainably-minded playboy on the planet initiated a strict biodynamic farming regimen, starting the long, arduous process of restoring soil health and biodiversity to the [...]

Guide to the Bathrooms of Yountville

If there is one thing that Yountville has more of than Michelin stars, Thomas Keller restaurants, and faux-Tuscan architecture — it is public restrooms. In fact, Yountville leads the world in public restrooms per capita. Once safely ensconced in downtown Yountville, the town’s target demo may throw their Depends undergarments to the wind and meander [...]

The BMX ariel show at Napa Bike Fest

Napa Bike Fest’s High Wire Act

The organizers of the first Napa Bike Fest, held this past Saturday, had a difficult balancing act to pull off (as does the Napa Bike Coalition): Advocate for the needs and safety of cyclists without alienating automobile drivers. Northern California is a community of drivers. Speeding, swerving, steering-with-their-knees-while-texting drivers. We live in our cars. We [...]

Tell Your Boss: I’m Not ‘Drunk,’ I’m ‘Productive’

It’s come to our attention that there are still people in the world who have not heard about Jonah Lehrer’s great new book on the origins of creativity, Imagine (and in true genius steals mode, he, of course, stole that title from John Lennon). Lehrer has been all over NPR and TV talk shows like [...]

Nick’s Cove Featured in Ad for Strange Little Motorcylcle

A new commercial for a the Can-Am Spyder Roadster, an odd little three-wheel motorcycle (perfect for the balance impaired), caught our attention. We were laughing so hard at the motor scooter (a dead ringer for a souped-up Little Rascal) and the riders in matching outfits zooming down Highway 1 along the California coast, that we [...]

Solage Paves The Way For Bike Trail

Any cyclist who’s ever been buzzed by a truck while riding in the “bike lane” on Route 29 can appreciate Solage Calistoga’s $16,000 donation to the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition. But the donation should also pay off for the tourists who visit the valley and rent bikes from one of the local shops or [...]

‘This Filthy World’ Hits Sonoma

As a part of the Sonoma International Film Festival director and provoca-auteur John Waters, a part-time San Franciscan (he’d never desert Baltimore completely), brings his one-man “Vaudeville” act “This Filthy World” to the stage of the Sonoma Veteran’s Memorial Building on Saturday night. And he couldn’t have found a more congenial place for it. For [...]

Jerry Brown über alles

California Über Alles Redux

When the Dead Kennedys wrote, recorded and released the single “California Über Alles,” a nasty litte ditty about hippies’ more fascist  tendencies (and the irrational fear of the same), Jerry Brown was governor. And when singer-songwriter Richard McGraw released his cover version (a B-side from his excellent album Popular Music) earlier this month Jerry Brown, of course, sat once [...]

Alexandra and Truett

Sharp Shooter: Girls, Guns and the Semiotics of Gender

When I reached photographer Lindsay MCrum on the phone at her hotel room so we could have a conversation about her book Chicks With Guns she quipped, “I’m what you’d call a moving target these days.” Now, I don’t think she meant this as a specific self-referential gun metaphor necessarily, but it does speak to [...]

Artist Jeremy Mann

Through A City Darkly

Artist Jeremy Mann’s Urban Realism at The Christopher Hill Gallery Perched above St. Helena’s quaint Main Street, The Christopher Hill Gallery has, for ten years, served as an oasis. For urban expats craving contemporary, international art and intelligent conversation, Hill’s gallery on the second floor (above a shop that somewhat inexplicably sells exclusively Kokopelli jewelry) [...]

Playlist: Bud Breaking Beats

The buds are breaking throughout the region and we hope to encourage them a stomping, charging, barrage of drums, breakbeats and rhythms — from quiet tapping to all out cacophony. We start out with what, in our minds at least, is one of the great drum intros of all time. The wild thumping of Van [...]


Shedding New Light: Chandelier Paintings Brighten Mondavi

Nancy Willis has spent a lot of time in the last few years looking up. As an artist who also works as a chef and teaches at The Culinary Institute of America, the dinner table has always played an important role in her work (she once had a video installation of a post-dinner-party-table — candles [...]


Viewfinder: Super Tuesday Edition

Californians may not vote in the GOP primaries until June (and by then Mitt Romney might have things locked up), but it looks like Ron Paul has got the vinelandia vote locked up. At least on this stretch in Oak Knoll where appropriately handmade “Ron Paul 2012″ signs were hung from a series of telephone [...]


A Spice Rack Made From a Barrel Stave

The “shelf” is an old barrel stave (actually half of an old barrel stave that was bound for our smoker) and it’s affixed to the wall with small brass hinges (to account for the slant of the barrel stave). The hinges are attached to the wall with 3/4″ brass-plated escutcheon pins. It hasn’t fallen down [...]


Playlist: Hazy Shade of Winter

Perhaps no song better sums up the long cold and rainy season in vinlandia than “Hazy Shade of Winter.” We’ve been lucky (or unlucky, depending on whether or not you are a vineyard manager) to have a surprisingly mild winter this year. But this week warm and sunny days gave way to our more typical [...]

The Loneliness of the Occupy Napa Protester

There are no drum cir­cles at Occupy Napa. No skir­mishes with police (at least not yet). No dis­sen­sion among the ranks, which speak clearly and with a sin­gle voice. That the ranks total one exceed­ingly rea­son­able and polit­i­cally mod­er­ate 62-year-old man wear­ing jeans, a polo shirt, wire frame glasses and a gar­den­ing hat to shield his pale face from the sun prob­a­bly explains all of the above.