Lynn Bonfield – Ventresco/Axelrod/Eggers – Tom Church/Dan Brady

Sunday, May 20 – 2:00 pm

The Rix Journal:
Small-Town Vermont to
Gold Rush era San Francisco

Historian Lynn Bonfield discusses the document and her work

Lynn BonfieldLynn Bonield, former director of the San Francisco Labor Archives, now divides her time between Glen Park and Peachham, Vermont, where she was first drawn by the story of the Rix family — having chanced in 1972 upon the unique Gold Rush era journal of husband and wife Alfred and Chastina Rix among uncatalogued materials in the stacks at the San Francisco Historical Society.  The journal has just recently been beautifully published as New England to Gold Rush California: The Journal of Alfred and Chastina W. Rix, 1849-1854, edited with commentary by Lynn, from the Arthur W. Clark Co. imprint of the Unversity of Oklahoma Press.

Beginning on their wedding day in Peacham on July 29, 1849, Alfred and Chastina kept a dual journal, alternating the task of bringing it up to date each day with revealingly intimate reflections as well as a simple record of their daily life together.  Like many Eastern men of the time, Alfred soon got the gold bug and came west in late 1851 to seek fortune; Chastina stayed behind for a year with their newborn, then followed with the child in the spring of 1853.  The journal first stayed with her in Peacham, giving us a vital picture of the life of a woman with child left behind by an adventurer drawn to the promised land of California.  When she travels to California, the journal travels seperately with a shipment of household effects; and in her final Peacham entry she notes that if that shipment never arrives in San Francisco, this record  too would be lost.  But indeed, she and their son reach San Francisco in February 1953 after 34 days of travel, and the household effects and journal arrive several months later, in May, so that the couple is able to continue their habit of dual, alternating daily entries in San Francisco — at least until first Alfred and then Chastina lose interest in continuing it about a year later.  Within another three years, Chastina is suddenly dead, just ten months after their second son’s birth.  A single concluding entry is made by Alfred several months after her death before he moves on with his life.

Lynn has done a masterful job of editing this beautiful book, which presents the entire journal with clarifying footnotes and insightful accompanying commentary.  An exciting journal and a prodigious accomplishment of scholarship.  Please join us!

Read more on Lynn’s blog at:  http://bonfield-lynn.blogspot.com/

  Sunday, May 20 – 4:30-6:30 pm

Craig Ventresco
Meredith Axelrod
Marty Eggers

popular music of the jazz age

which way west? Sunday concert series
all ages welcome.
your donations help us pay the band!

Craig Ventresco and Meredith Axelrod appear with bassist Marty Eggers at Bird & Beckett Books, San FranciscoTunes of the ragtime & vaudeville era played by three string players soaked in the atmosphere of the time — each an expert practitioner of this turn-of-the-century American music. 

Craig is a uniquely talented guitarist — known by fellow guitar and old-time music practitioners internationally for his ear for the intricacies of the music of that bygone era, for his melodic skill, and for his intense rhythmic drive.  His duo with Meredith is heard regularly at Cafe Divine in San Francisco’s North Beach, and with uncanny ease she thoroughly inhabits the music with her vocals and guitar work. 

As for Marty, he’s a stalwart bassist in traditional music circles on the west coast and further afield, and dates his association with Craig back to the trio called Bo Grumpus, which they formed  in 1988 when Craig first moved out to San Francisco from Maine.

Monday, May 21 – 7:00 pm

Tom Church & Dan Brady

POETS!

PLUS AN OPEN MIC
1st & 3rd Monday of each month, Hosted by Jerry Ferraz/

Tom is an underground filmmaker and a writer who transgresses the boundaries of “good taste” as a matter of course.  Dan is a slightly sardonic commentator on the less reasonable temdencies of the society that inhabits us.  You? you’re the poet in the open mic, free to do what you want — within our somewhat proscribed time limits.  As for Jerry Ferraz, the long-time host and organizer of our twice monthly series, he’s one of a kind — a San Francisco native with a very old, and very well traveled soul.