Renee Gibbons + Craig Ventresco + + Seabop + Barbara Hunter

Sunday, July 29 – 2:30 pm

Longing for Elsewhere

Renee Gibbons reads from her memoir of a restless life

Renee Gibbons — born in a Dublin tenement in the mid-20th century and for the past three decades a well loved figure in San Francisco’s North Beach bohemia — is widely known for the long-running column she wrote for the Irish Herald called “The Rambling Road.”  And a rambling road she’s certainly traveled since escaping Dublin for Paris at age 17, with the help of a Hollywood actor and a kind stranger.

Somewhere along the way, she met and fell in love with a radical longshoreman aboard a ship traveling through the Panama bound for Egypt with her year-old daugher, Ashling. He became her husband and San Francisco became her base, but she has never stopped wandering the world, and has never lost her “longing for elsewhere.”   At the same time, she’s had a life-long commitment to peace activism and has lent her singing and acting abilities to causes too numerous to mention.

Renee’s vastly entertaining memoir, Longing for Elsewhere: My Irish Voyage through Hunger, History and High Times, explores the themes entangled in her journey:  identity, adventure, creativity, the burden of history and the passion for justice.

Sunday, July 29 – 4:30-6:30 pm

Ventresco / Axelrod / Elmore
Ragtime era jazz & blues

which way west?
Sunday concert series

With Craig Ventresco and Meredith Axelrod on guitar, mandolin, ukelele and banjo, plus Rick Elmore on trombone, this trio is uncanny in its habitation of an era that for most of us is just a rumor of history.

Start with flapper era of F. Scott Fitzgerald and then roll the clock back– to roam the musical landscape back through the Edison recording studios in West Orange, New Jersey at the start of the 20th century, as banjoist Fred Van Eps recorded dozens and dozens of marvelously evocative wax cylinders and then shellac records, copping from the work of Vess Ossman, a player who took his music to Europe and led bands throughout the midwest at the turn of the century, all of it rooted in the field blues and the parlor music of Scott Joplin’s St. Louis…  think on Bessie Smith and Lonnie Johnson…  ponder Victoria Spivey and Johnny St. Cyr…  Craig Ventresco has long been among the most renowned interpreters of this long-ago musical universe.  Meredith Axelrod plays a mean guitar and banjo as well, and most entrancingly channels the vocal styles of the day, learned in long association with Craig on the bandstand and in front of the victrola, absorbed and hopelessly surrendered to the magic of that original material.  As for Rick Elmore, he’s followed his own trajectory for decades, with a likewise keen ear and bottomless interest in the arcane depths of that cultural moment.  His work with the Cheap Suit Serenaders and numerous trad outfits has given him ample opportunity to display his talents in the music of ragtime, hokum and vaudeville… Do come!

 Next weekend…
SeaBop Ensemble on Friday – live jazz – 5:30-8:00
Barbara Hunter Quartet on Sunday – 4:30-6:30

also on Sunday: prose writers at 2 pm
Zachary Bernstein & Friends
read their work