A Greek who declared himself black, Johnny Otis was a world-class musician who spent 12 fulfilling years in Sebastopol and just died in Los Angeles at the age of 90. Ironically, he is credited with discovering Etta James, who also just died. In our area he was known for his Johnny Otis market and deli, where he packed the place for music during the evenings, and sold organic food during the day. He was close friends with Charlie Musselwhite, the famed harmonica player, who lives in Geyserville.
Johnny had a great band, produced some great music in his recording studio on his ranch, and was a mentor to many other musicians. He will always be fondly remembered in western Sonoma County. Rest in Peace, Johnny! Say hello to Mustang Sally.
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Less than 2 weeks until Kendall-Jackson® President Rick Tigner is highlighted on CBS's Emmy-nominated Undercover Boss airing Sunday, January 29, at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific. He’s on a mission to preserve the family legacy and discover the wisdom behind every bottle of Kendall-Jackson.
Bet there will be some great Russian River scenery featured as well.
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We don't get very many celebrities here and in general that's fine with us. But we are pleased that Phil Donahue is here campaigning for progressive North Coast congressional candidate Norman Solomon. The photo, by Christopher Chung, shows Phil at a fundraiser for Norm held in Sebastopol.
After he was pushed out of his talk show for anti-Iraq war views, Donahue said he spent five years as co-director of an award-winning 2007 documentary, "Body of War,” about a disabled Iraq war veteran named Tomas Young, who was paralyzed by a bullet to the spine. Norman Solomon is a Marin County author and activist, who wrote a book critical of U.S. engagement in Iraq. He's one of eleven running to replace Lynn Woolsey, our long-term representative who is retiring.
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This coming weekend is Winter Wineland, one of the premier wine events in the Russian River Valley. This is the 20th anniversary of Winter Wineland and a great opportunity to meet winemakers, taste limited production wines, new releases or library wines. Some wineries will offer food pairings and others will have tours. Each participating winery will either host an artist for the weekend, so you will enjoy their fine-art, or the winery will have an educational display to help you learn about vineyard management or wine making....thus,
Wine ~ Art ~ Education. The events run 11 - 4 on Saturday and Sunday. All of our houses are three nights for the price of two. See www.wineroad.com for details about the wineries and events. Advance ticket sales end tonight!
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I wasn't living at the river then, but I suspect we fared better here, with enough coastal mist to keep most of the plants alive. But I'm sure the rationing occurred here too. It's too early to get alarmed--the winter rains could start anytime and pour down steadily for several months--but I can't help but think it's not too early to be a little more careful about water use. Some memories stick around forever.
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