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Luv, Luv Me Do!: Lounge lizard Bud E. Luv plays Rancho Nicasio.

Brave New Year

Modest suggestions for extravagant celebrations

By Patrick Sullivan

You have a choice to make. First option: Fearing evils ranging from a terrorist attack to a pink slip at work, you could spend New Year's Eve huddled by the hearth, mentally mired in 2001, the year that sucked. Second option: Shaking off the grim specters of misery and uncertainty, you could grab your buddies and go have some fun. Want a peek at what's behind door number two? Thought you might. Then check out this selective guide to New Year's Eve entertainment at venues around the North Bay.

Sonoma County

First Night Santa Rosa
This alcohol-free celebration has become a family favorite in the past few years by offering everything from concerts by local punk bands to ice sculptures to dance performances. But a fundraising shortfall this year forced organizers to cut back on the range of events. Still, there's bound to be big fun on offer. Expect plenty of music, visual art, and much more, including a hands-on art project, a labyrinth, and a sing-along concert. The fun starts at 4 p.m. in downtown Santa Rosa. Special wrist bands are $7 in advance or $10 at the gate. 707.577.6448.

Tommy Castro Band
Ring in the New Year with one of the Bay Area's favorite bluesman. JoJo Diamond and Roughcut open. The show starts at 9 p.m. at the Mystic Theater, 21 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. Tickets are $50. 707.765.6665.

Club Fab
Sonoma County's premiere gay dance club welcomes the New Year in style with a drag fashion show, DJ dancing, a performance by the Whoa Nellies, desserts and champagne, and more. The show starts at 9 p.m. at 16135 Main St., Guerneville. Tickets are $20. 707.869.5708.

Flamingo Hotel
Relax at a candlelit dinner, ring in 2002 dancing in the lounge, and pull out all the stops at an elegant ballroom gala featuring dance music by Rob Watson. Dinner starts at 6 p.m., the party at 9 p.m. at 2777 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. Call for prices. 707.545.8530 or 707.523.4745

Gilbert and Sullivan à la Carte
Cinnabar Opera Theater and Lamplighters Music Theatre of San Francisco present high-energy hijinks in a cabaret performance featuring actual journal entries, letters, and newspaper clippings about the famous theater personalities, interspersed with highlights from each of their 13 operettas. This event includes dinner, dessert, party favors, and champagne at midnight. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. at the Cinnabar Theater, 3333 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. Tickets are $50 for adults and $40 for kids under 18. 707.763.8920.

Midnight Sun
Sonoma County's most active reggae band breaks out new vibes for the New Year. The music starts at 9:30 p.m. at the Bear Republic Brewing Co., 345 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. 707.433.2337.

New Year's Eve Fiesta
Dance to the Afro-Cuban sounds of Batachá and enjoy a buffet dinner and champagne toast. The party runs from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Mexico Lindo Restaurant, 9030 Graton Road, Graton. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. 707.823.4154.

New Year's Eve Gayla
The Other Side dance club hosts an event for all members of the queer community. The party runs from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, 1 Red Lion Drive, Rohnert Park. Tickets are $22 in advance or $25 at the door. 707.528.6011.

Pulsators
Rock out at a New Year's Eve party with great food, party favors, and a champagne toast. The party runs from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Healdsburg Bar & Grill, 245 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. Tickets are $45. 707.433.3333.

Vince Welnick
The keyboard player for the Tubes and the Grateful Dead joins forces with funk 'n' roll band Steel Bridge for a year-end rock party at the Forestville Club. Also on the bill: McIntosh and the Tool Shed Trio. The party runs from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the corner of Covey Road and Highway 116 in downtown Forestville. Admission is $10 (includes champagne at midnight). 707.887.2594.

Roy Rogers
Blue Mood: Guitarist Roy Rogers plays the Powerhouse.

Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings
The acclaimed North Bay blues guitarist headlines this celebration, which also features door prizes and a sparkling wine toast at midnight. Dinner seating starts at 4:30 p.m. and the music begins at 10:30 p.m. at the Powerhouse Brewing Co., 268 Petaluma Ave. (Highway 116), Sebastopol. Tickets are $25 in advance. 707.829.9171.

Solid Air
These local faves offer an evening of folk, ballads, and blues. The show starts at 9 p.m. at Murphy's Irish Pub, 64 First St. E., Sonoma. Call for prices. 707.935.0660.

Wonderbread 5
Ring in the future with a blast from the past as this Jackson 5-and-beyond retro band serves up the oldies but goodies. The party starts at 9 p.m. at the Last Day Saloon, Fifth and Davis streets, Santa Rosa. $50 (includes champagne at midnight). 707.545.2343.

Marin County

Starduster Orchestra
This traditional big band kicks off the New Year with swing and dance music from the '40s and '50s. The fun runs from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at Joe Lococo's Ristorante, 300 Drakes Landing, Greenbrae. Tickets are $35-$75 (includes dinner and champagne). 415.925.0808.

Chrome Johnson
Celebrate New Year's junkabilly style when this band takes the stage at 9:30 p.m. at 19 Broadway, 19 Broadway, Fairfax. Tickets are $15. 415.459.1091.

Bud E. Luv
Enjoy New Year's with the North Bay's favorite lounge lizard. The evening includes a five-course dinner, champagne toast, and--of course--the music. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. at Rancho Nicasio, Town Square, Nicasio. Tickets are $125. 415.662.2219.

Forever Plaid
This musical theater production features a '50s boy band reprising their greatest hits live--from the great beyond. Two shows at two prices are offered Dec. 31. The 5 p.m. show ($60) includes buffet supper, party favors, and a champagne toast. The 9 p.m. show ($75) includes hors d'oeuvres and cheese buffet, party favors, reserved tables, dessert, a champagne toast, and dancing. Larkspur Cafe Theatre, 500 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur. 415.924.6107.

Leland Cotton Brown
Humor on the Brain: Leland Cotton Brown hits the S.F. Comedy Competition.

Best of the SF Comedy Competition
Some of the biggest names in contemporary comedy got their start in the San Francisco Comedy Competition, so it's always a bit exciting when the contest organizers offer a "best of" event featuring talented alumni. This year's show does not offer Robin Williams or Dana Carvey, but it does feature some funny folks, including Dan St. Paul, Jim Connolly, and Leland Cotton Brown. The show starts at 9 p.m. at the Marin Center's Showcase Theatre, Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Tickets are $25. 415.472.3500.

Vinyl
This Marin band blends Latin funk, acid jazz, and R&B at their traditional New Year's Eve show. The music starts at 9:30 p.m. at Sweetwater, 153 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. Call for prices. 415.388.2820.

Napa County

Masquerade Ball
Costumes or masks are definitely encouraged, but they're not mandatory at this event--tux and gown are also welcome. Enjoy hors d'oeuvres, scrumptious cuisine, and dance to live music by Jelly Roll. The fun runs from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Clos Pegase Winery, 1060 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga. Tickets are $175. 707.942.4981.

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From the December 20-26, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.

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