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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

  Ninth Annual
Whale & Jazz Festival

Poetry & Jazz

Northern California Voices

215 Main, Point Arena
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Jazz 7:00 p.m.
Poetry & Jazz 7:30 p.m.

Whale and Jazz Festival logo

215 Main "Northern California Voices" ... Poets: Janet DeBar, Blake More, Fred Adler, Cheri Ause, Richard Di Grazia and Steven "Kush" Kushner accompanied by improvisational jazz by Harrison Goldberg, multi-reeds; Chris Doering, guitar; Keith Abrams, bass guitar; Chris Campbell, drums.

Poetry & Jazz poster by Blake More
by Blake More
The event will begin with some improvisational jazz music, followed by the featured poets accompanied by jazz, and then by an Open Mic session, limited to one poem per person.

Previous Poetry & Jazz events have been held at Point Arena's Historic OddfFellows Lodge, (2010), Gualala Arts Center (2008 - 2009), and CityArt Gallery (2006- 2007).

Featured guest poets have included Michael Warr, ruth weiss, QR Hand, Jr., California Poet Laureate Al Young, Point Arena Poet Laureate Fionna Perkins, and in 2009 at Gualala Arts Center, forms of Japanese poetry accompanied by traditional Japanese instruments and Butoh theater with Don McLeod.

215 Main is a new wine and beer bar with cabaret ambiance, located in the heart of downtown Point Arena on Main Street / Highway 1.

$5 donation (or more) is requested at the door with a one-drink minimum.


Janet DeBar, Blake More, Fred Adler, Cheri Ause,
Richard Di Grazia, Steven "Kush" Kushner
Janet DeBar

Janet DeBar, poet

Janet DeBar has been reading and writing poetry since her childhood in Beech Bottom, West Virginia. She studied English Lit at the college of Wooster in Ohio and at Stanford University but hopes that these experiences have not made a lasting impact on her poetry. She began reading her poems to audiences when she moved to the North Coast about seventeen years ago. Her work appears in Wood, Water, Air and Fire, the Anthology of Mendocino Women Poets. She is delighted to have been included with ruth weiss and the Checkered Demon in the Café Review. Janet will also be heard in this years' Festival playing the didjeridu with Cloudfire for Arena Monday & Jazz.

Blake More, poet, Poetry & Jazz event coordinator

Blake More Blake is a poet, writer, teacher, visual artist, performance artist, local art entrepreneur and self-proclaimed dork. A visit to her website, be more creations, will illuminate many facets of this extraordinary, multi-faceted and talented woman. Blake wowed the crowd at the 2005 Whale & Jazz Festival Main Event with her poetic tribute to John Coltrane accompanied by Steve Heckman on tenor sax. That performance led to the Festival Committee's wanting to include a poetry and jazz event in its lineup, and Blake stepped up to become the event coordinator and a featured poet for the opening of the 2006 Whale & Jazz Festival with "Poetry & Jazz" at CityArt.

Later that year, Blake received the Arts Council of Mendocino County 4th Annual Art Champion Award in the category of Artist. Blake was honored for her demonstrated excellence in the fields of literary, visual, and theater arts, while integrating art into the daily life of her community and for supporting and inspiring youth participation in the arts. Blake works extensively in the South Coast Area as a California Poet in the Schools (CPITS), Poet Teacher at Point Arena Elementary and High School, Pacific Charter and Horicon School. She also coaches the Point Arena High School Poetry Slam team.

She is again designing costumes for the SF Mime Troupe's 12th Annual Youth Theater Festival opening in early April. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Arena Theater and is the driving force behind the Third Thursday Poetry Reading Nights.

Fred Adler, poet, Whale & Jazz Festival Music Coordinator

Fred Adler During the seminal jazz period of the '50s and '60s, Fred Adler frequented U.S. and European clubs and festivals, and was witness to multiple live performances of such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and others. By special invitation, he presented a three-hour live special on Pacifica Radio (KPFA FM, Berkeley, CA) on the day of John Coltrane's death, July 17, 1967. During the '70s, Adler taught jazz history and appreciation seminars in Berkeley and Marin County. He currently DJ's several radio shows on KTDE 100.5 FM and also Sunday Evening Jazz - KZYX/Z FM Public Radio in Philo, CA.

Adler has conducted interviews with many jazz greats including Dave Brubeck, Marian McPartland, Tierney Sutton, Larry Vuckovich and Jackie Ryan. His audio interviews can be heard at He has been the producer and emcee of numerous Sonoma and Mendocino Coast jazz events since 1998, and has brought several musical legends to the coast to perform at both the Arena Theater and Gualala Arts Center, including Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Richie Havens, Maria Muldaur and Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth. Adler has been the Festival Music Coordinator and Emcee of the Whale & Jazz Festival since 2004.

Adler originally brought poetry and jazz together in the Festival by asking Blake More to perform her poem, A Poetry Tribute to the Legendary John Coltrane, accompanied by Heckman on tenor sax, opening Act II of the 2005 Festival Headliner Concert. Fred will be reading his "syncopated reveries;" moving vignettes that speak to his passion for jazz. They are poetic impressions and observations drawing from his pinnacle musical experiences throughout the decades.

Cheri Ause, poet

Cheri Ause Born in Steubenville, Ohio, Cheri has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. A member of the only now emerging school of Ohio Valley Poets (childhood home to Janet DeBar and Cheri Ause!), she experienced her first publishing rejection in the 2nd grade when her teacher called home to question the authenticity of a story Cheri had turned in. It turned out Cheri had "borrowed" it from a dusty, yellowed stash of her older sister's stories she'd found wedged in the far corner of the window seat. "I didn't think she'd mind if I used one," Cheri tried explaining at the time. Since that day, she has been scrupulous about matters of authorship.

As a teenager, she moved with her mother to Salt Lake City, where she lived for much of her life, going to school, marrying, raising a family, and teaching high school English and college composition for 31 years. In May, 2010, she and her husband escaped from behind the Zion curtain and arrived on the Mendonoma Coast where Cheri now spends her time writing poetry and short fiction and exploring the various routes to Santa Rosa. The most memorable event of her life was having pastrami and eggs at Cantor's in LA at 2:00 a.m. with Frank Zappa and friends. That was 1966. It's been oatmeal ever since.

Richard Di Grazia, poet

Richard Di Grazia Di Grazia was born in 1938 in Oakland, California... specifically East Oakland. Despite fellow Oakland-born Gertrude Stein's disavowal to the effect that "in Oakland there is no there there," he felt he was born in Oakland when there was a there to be there for. Three houses down from where he lived were where the workers in the shipyards had parked their trailers. He made friends with the kids that lived there, and met their parents who'd left Oklahoma and the dust for a chance at a better life. Di Grazia grew up playing and fighting, for in this part of town "a word could be a punch in the mouth, and a challenge could be met with a knife."

Reading poetry at home with library books or in school interested him so much that he began to write it, then to study it. Once it got into his blood, he was hooked so deeply he has never stopped. After a stint in the Navy, he entered UC Berkeley and graduated with a degree in English Lit.

"I have been and am a person of the street. I've worked in canneries, been a newspaper sports writer and done social work in Oakland and New York City. I love adventure: parachuting, scuba diving, motorcycle racing, and lovely ladies, though in my seventieth year much is just fond memory. The most beautiful and strange experience of my life was the birth of my daughter when I was 45. Every time I look at her picture when I'm feeling blue, I am re-energized."

Steven "Kush" Kushner, poet

Steven 'Kush' Kushner Today, "Kush" is dedicated to "Preserving the Poetic Genome of the Bay Area." In his words, "San Francisco is home to one of the largest and most renowned poetry archives in the world. Where? Well, right now it's in some guy's apartment. It makes sense that a collection of materials related to beat generation poetry calls San Francisco its home."

The San Francisco street poet and Bay Area's unofficial poetry archivist is director of the Cloud House Poetry Archives and founder of the San Francisco POETMUSEUM. This future museum & library of the 23rd century is based on five decades of comprehensive field recording of West Coast Poets. Mentored by Carl Solomon in the '60s, Kush was a dedicatee of Ginsberg's Howl and in '69, brought Allen Ginsberg to Bard College then Princeton to hear Gary Snyder. Kush did Graduate Studies at New School for Social Research with Stanley Diamond and Jerome Rothenberg in 1970 and was befriended by William Burroughs while supporting the first NYC Cloud House.


Harrison Goldberg, saxophone
Chris Doering, guitar
Keith Abrams, acoustic bass
Chris Campbell, drums

Harrison Goldberg, saxophone

Harrison Goldberg Goldberg has performed on tenor, alto and soprano saxophone with a variety of groups, including Tabula Rasa, Legend, Neon Egypt and Cloudfire.

Harrison has literally spent a lifetime in music from East to West Coast. He has been involved in Whale & Jazz Festival since 2004 at Top of the Cliff with The Top of the Cliff Jazz Trio and for the first two Poetry & Jazz events in 2005 and 2006. For this year's Festival, he will also be playing with Cloudfire for Arena Monday & Jazz on April 18.

Chris Doering, guitar

Chris Doering A recent migrant to the Mendonoma coast, Chris Doering, dropped his piano studies and picked up the guitar soon after the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan. He has been playing and practicing ever since, moving from blues, rock and funk into jazz via lessons with Pat Martino, Dave Friesen and Warne Marsh along with academic studies in music theory. Christian's versatility as a guitarist has allowed him to play also for Romance & Jazz, Brunch & Jazz, Poetry & Jazz. This year Doering will appear at:

Keith Abrams, acoustic bass guitar

Keith Abrams An instigator since junior high school days, Abrams was told by his principal that he had much "unrealized potential." Having the music of Monk, Miles, Brubeck, Django, etc. indelibly imprinted on his young mind, he has been working to fulfill that potential ever since. Providing relentless pulse and breathing precious life and vitality into the classic musical themes of our time, Abrams lives by the premise that whatever musical phenomenon comes his way must have been sent to him by the greatest creative force for him to apply tender loving care. He gives thanks every day for Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Muddy Waters, John Coltrane, James Brown, Bob Marley and all the rest. Abrams will perform at four events in the 2011 Whale & Jazz Festival:

Chris Campbell, drums

Chris Campbell A San Franciscan who found his way to a life on the coast at the start of the millennium, Chris Campbell started playing drums as a youth and never stopped. From his early performance days in concert bands, jazz band, theatre pit orchestra, and marching bands to forming rock bands with his classmates, he has developed a varied style. He is comfortable in most musical genres and finds himself at home on stage. He prefers to keep his interests varied musically and currently plays with a handful of bands on the coast and in San Francisco.

Chris performs regularly in a variety of local venues, was the drummer for the 2006 and 2007 Poetry & Jazz events, plus was a member of the "jazzy" stage band for Gualala Arts' Ain't Misbehavin' in 2009.