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June 13-19, 2007

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Letters to the Editor

Explaining the museum

Thank you, Gretchen Giles, for pointing out the surprising lack of financial support for the visual arts in Sonoma County (Critic's Choice, "Making Sense of the Place," May 23 print edition). However, I don't think George Rose deserves the lashing he received, and Kendall-Jackson did not completely underwrite the "Art of Terroir" show.

Landscape photography is a popular genre that is appreciated, admired and practiced by many. In keeping with the mission of the museum, this is just one in over 25 shows from the past five years where the museum has striven to provide the county with a range of exhibitions, mostly ambitious and challenging, and succeeding exceptionally well with nominal and fractured support from the community at large.

A large-scale exhibition on the level of James Turrell, Hassel Smith, Pond Farm, "Botany 12," "Mapping the Pacific Coast" or Robert Hudson--to name several--as well as any history exhibition, costs the museum well over $30,000 and serves every school kid and teacher with free school bussing, free guided tours and free education materials that meet California State Content Standards for grade levels K–12, plus monthly free family days, and bimonthly education programs, not to mention great parties, openings and outings.

Additionally, the museum expends considerable resources in the stewardship of its permanent collection of art and material culture. Unlike any other regional collection, the museum's is incredibly diverse, from fine art to historical artifact. The museum's programming is guided by the mission of capturing Sonoma County's many cultural facets and its sense of place, serving a broad audience.

Local residents have had the unique privilege of claiming nationally recognized exhibitions in their charming beaux-arts former post office in downtown Santa Rosa, a treasure known to many throughout the art world and praised in prestigious publications of all ilk--art, craft, history and culture.

So how has the museum managed to perform at such professional standards? In thanks to the stalwart support of a small group of longtime and founding members, loyal patrons and major gifts that have kept the doors of the museum open for over 22 years regardless of politics, programming or personal preferences. These individuals have been the backbone of the institution and deserve radical praise! When will the other funding entities and capable patrons of our fair county join in supporting their outstanding museum, so that it may continue to grow to engage, educate and enlighten every level of interest and every local resident?

Ariege Arseguel, Executive Director, Sonoma County Museum

Construction queries

The Green Music Center is a joke ("Concrete Concerns," June 6)! The project has been a nightmare ever since it was first conceived, and it should be stopped, even though it is now under construction. Why? Among other things, it is interfering with the aquifer that flows through the area underground. In the early days of the construction of the building pad, there was so much water flowing out of the ground that several shallow wells were installed to suck the water away. No permits were issued--they just did it. Unfortunately, this un-permitted move caused the casing of a 500-foot-deep well to collapse. This interfered with the water system of the organic farm across Petaluma Hill Road and caused the owner all kinds of grief when her certified organic crops were in dire need of adequate water. A complaint was filed with the North County Water Quality Control Board, but they simply issued a permit with little regard to the damages done.

Somebody from the Bohemian should look into the history of the whole sordid scheme.

Paul Stutrud, Rohnert Park

The List

I really enjoyed Gabe Meline's article about Sonoma County bands of the '70 s and '80s ("What Happened to Those Guys?" June 6). A few other "classic" Sonoma County bands of that era should be mentioned. This list is by no means comprehensive, and I am sure that I have left off a few also: the Impostors, Bristlecone, Feather, Jetstream, Skids, Pacific Coast Highway, Fargo, Spy-Dels, Rogers and Buergin, Collins and Levine, the Props, the Citizens, Mad Hatter, Starfire Express, Stark Raving Mad, Boys Nite Out, Elvis Duck, Osage, Kate Wolf, Don Coffin, the Timebenders, Bolt, Pulse, the Cunning Stunts (I kid you not) and Crossfire.

A few defunct music venues of that era: the Refectory, Valley of the Moon Saloon, Bali Station, Highland Dell, Garbo's, Joe Frogger's, Magnolia's, Sundance Saloon, Studio KAFE, Frasier's, Pasta Rock Cafe, 39 North, Steamers, the Grist Mill, Inn of the Beginning, Cotati Cabaret, Sebastiani Theater, the Keg (Asti), Marty's Top of the Hill and Sebastian's of Hacienda.

Sonoma County has always had, and continues to have, excellent local musicians. Please support them, and the health of the local music scene in general, by showing up at the venues that still feature live music.

Dale Beltz, Santa Rosa

Dept. of Corrections

Who, what, where and when are laughingly thought to be the stock of the journalist's trade. Whatever. When it comes to Mezzo Mezzo, the restaurant we love so much (First Bite, May 30), said affection didn't quite stretch to all da faktz. To wit: Mezzo Mezzo is proud to operate Tuesday–Sunday, fortunately does not tuck asparagus into its cannelloni dessert and can be found via Alexander Graham Bell's finest at 415.459.0330. We apologize for the errors yet find ourselves strangely drawn to an asparagus dessert. With a lemon cream?

The Ed., Avec Bib

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