Archive for the ‘Arts & Entertainment’ Category

Independence Day Music Fest at The Red Caboose Sunday, July 4th

Saturday, July 3rd, 2021

What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than with a concert and BBQ!?! The Red Caboose is gonna do just that. We are bringing FOUR awesome tribute bands to the Red Caboose stage and an amazing DJ between sets! Starting at 2:00 pm!

2:00-3:00 Electric Land: Tribute to Bad Company

3:30-4:30 Scar Tissue: Tribute to Red Hot Chili Peppers

5:00-6:00 Steel Horse Band: Tribute to Bon Jovi

6:30-8:00 HAROLD DAY AND THE EXPERIENCE: Tribute to Jimi Hendrix

THIS is a day you won’t want to miss!!

$20 cover charge for the entire six  hours of entertainment.

Over at 8:30 just in time to go see the fireworks!


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Writer complains privatization of Antioch’s Lynn House Gallery is death of the “Soul of the City”

Monday, June 28th, 2021

People attend an event at the Lynn House on August 17, 2016. Photo by Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch.

By Fred Hoskins, Antioch artist

I need to give the readers of this document a short history about art in Antioch. The “Soul of our City”.

Perhaps you’ve seen a couple of sculptures along Hillcrest Avenue. Years ago an ambitious group of citizens collected money to spark the imagination of the public and create interest in art. It was quite an effort obtaining business financial contributions.

Out of this effort a non-profit group was formed. The organization was known as the Delta Art Association (DAA). This group grew to about 350 members (half artists and half patrons of the arts). A dentist was our president and an art teacher from our high was V.P. (Mr. Booth, as I recall). I was a founding member and very involved in the 50’s. I had my first “One-Man Show” in the Bank of America on 18th Street in 1967.

The DAA had a huge art show every year in the Horticulture Building at the Fairgrounds each year. All contributing business representatives were invited to a special preview night. We had wine tasting from Sebastiani of Sonoma, cheese sampling from a Petaluma factory and chamber music by four during the award presentations. Attendance was outstanding!

DAA set-up a gallery on 3rd Street where artworks could be rented or sold by the members. The gallery was moved four times in the downtown area. DAA finally gave up – it seems every time we moved the owners of the space wanted to rent to a paying business. I remember after our first move to 2nd and G Streets a travel agency moved into the site. The agency offered free space, but members objected resulting in a third move across the street. DAA finally gave up. With dwindling membership down to less than 30, it disbanded.

The City, seeing a need for a place for artists to show and sell their works, designated the Lynn House on First Street as our Arts and Cultural Center. Dianne Gibson-Gray was appointed the director and her agency was designated as non-profit. Over time, our city council kept reducing funds for the Lynn House agency and along with poor health, our director resigned.

One of our short-termed council members, Joy Motts suggested turning over the house to a single artist and without forethought all of the other four members voted for the move!

We now have a for-profit business paying $417.00 a month for use of ex-center, at their discretion offering art shows to the public, claiming that the trademark of “The Lynn House Gallery” name came with the rent!

I wish luck to all of the artists in that show. I know most of them. But beware! Someone is trying to buy the Soul of our City. It is also good-bye to the non-profit use of the Antioch Historical Museum for the “Celebraton of Art”. Rent there for profit making companies is $135.00 a day.

I will be showing my second (last was in 1967) One-Man Art Show on the fence of the Hard House on July 3-5. Drop by for a peek and chat. I will be there, full time.

We need to revitalize a city-backed arts commission! The Soul is suffering for now.


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Video by Joey Travolta and crew promoting Stand Down on the Delta in September released

Monday, June 21st, 2021

Veterans Tony Archimedes and Joe Martinez perform in the Music Heals video as part of The Illusions Band. Screenshot.

By Allen Payton

The video about the bands that perform at the biennial Stand Down on the Delta, to promote this year’s event, entitled “Music Heals” was released last week. Director and producer Joey Travolta and his Inclusion Films crew of predominately students, shot and edited the almost 8-minute video at Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill in May. (See related article)

Band leader and veteran Gig Edwards is interviewed in the video. Screenshot.

“Delta Veterans Group is proud to bring Stand Down on the Delta 2021 to Contra Costa County September 10-13, 2021,” said J.R. Wilson, the organization’s president. “This year we are starting a new program called ‘Music Heals’ conducted by our Entertainment Director Darlyn Phillips. This program will engage our veterans in music, to calm the soul.”

“Music often times breaks down barriers that might be obstacles to reintegration,” he continued. “The music brings out the inner joy in those that may have PTSD or other Health problems…. Bands from around the Bay Area will be coming to the CCC Fairgrounds to participate in this great event.”

Darlyn Phillips sings as jazz guitarist Steve Krohn performs in the Music Heals video. Screenshot.

Travolta’s film crew includes youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who are students in his program throughout the state. Five of the students helped shoot the Music Heals video.

“Darlyn enlisted the help of Joey Travolta and his crew to shoot the promo video, which we’re excited to have for this year’s event,” Wilson shared. “We very much appreciate his and the Inclusion Films team work on this project.”

The video includes interviews with the various singers and musicians from the bands that perform at each Stand Down, as well as some of the songs they will be playing, including originals.

Gig & Friends, including drummer Evan Carr and bassist Michael Fourie perform in the video. Screenshot.

For more information or to volunteer for the four-day event at the Contra Costa Event Park (fairgrounds) visit the Stand Down on the Delta Facebook page or Delta Veterans Group website.



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Contra Costa, three other county DA’s to finalize $400,000 settlement with MoviePass affiliated executives for unlawful Business Practices

Monday, June 7th, 2021

Following 2018 complaint filed by Contra Costa County resident with California Attorney General’s Office.

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County Office of the District Attorney

Martinez, Calif. – On May 20, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the District Attorneys’ Offices of Ventura, Sonoma, and San Joaquin Counties, entered into a negotiated settlement agreement with former MoviePass affiliated executives, Theodore Farnsworth and Mitchell Lowe, for engaging in numerous unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business acts and practices, while overseeing the operations of the now defunct movie theater subscription service. CCCDA MoviePass Documents

In total, Farnsworth and Lowe will have to pay $400,000 in civil penalties and cy pres restitution, as part of the signed Stipulated Judgment approved by the Honorable Nancy Davis Stark. In addition to the monetary payments, Farnsworth and Lowe are enjoined from engaging in any of the alleged unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business acts or practices committed during their tenure as MoviePass managers. The settlement gets divided by all the DA’s involved and some goes to the state. The DA’s then use the monies for consumer protection activities.

MoviePass, Inc. (MoviePass) was an American subscription-based movie ticket service headquarter in New York City. Founded in 2011, the service initially allowed subscribers to purchase up to three movie tickets per month for a discounted monthly fee. The service utilized a mobile phone app where users checked into a theater and chose a movie and showtime, which resulted in the cost of the ticket being loaded by MoviePass to a prepaid MoviePass debit card, which was then used to purchase the ticket from the movie theater.

In 2017, Helios and Matheson Analytics purchased MoviePass. Around the time of the purchase, the business model for MoviePass, shifted from a three movie per month subscription to offering, among other things, an “unlimited” subscription plan at $9.95 a month and an “unlimited” fixed rate annual subscription. However, over the course of the next two years, the business model and terms of service changed multiple times to the detriment of the consumers.
After the acquisition of MoviePass by Helios and Matheson Analytics, the Defendants engaged in numerous unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent acts and practices. These acts and practices include, but are not limited to:

• Falsely advertising that MoviePass subscriptions offer “unlimited” movie watching. Specifically, “any movie”, “any day”, at “any theater”, when in reality MoviePass continually added limitations to customers’ subscriptions.
• Unconscionably changing terms of service during a subscription period.
• Converting all prepaid “unlimited” plans to three movies per month.
• Shutting down the availability of movies when a certain dollar amount is reached. (Trip wire).
• Failing to notify autorenewal customers of material changes to their subscriptions.
• Continuously charging customers’ debit or credit cards after receiving notice of cancellation from customers.

In addition to the above acts and practices, in 2019, MoviePass suffered a data breach. The data breach was the result of a MoviePass engineer creating an unsecured and unencrypted server as a debugging tool. This server had more than 161 million pieces of personal identifying information, including names, MoviePass card numbers, credit card numbers, billing information, email addresses and login information, belonging to at least 58,000 consumers. Despite being notified by private individuals, MoviePass allowed this server to operate for three months before it was taken down. MoviePass failed to advise the California Attorney General’s Office of the data breach, as required by law.

MoviePass shut down its operations in September of 2019. Both MoviePass and its parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in January of 2020.

In 2018 a local Contra Costa County resident filed a complaint against MoviePass with the California Attorney General’s Office. The complaint alleged that MoviePass was in violation of the Terms of Service as the company was not showing available tickets in the mobile app and limited the number of movies to the consumer even though they paid in advance for a year of “unlimited” service. In turn, the complaint was forwarded to our office for further investigation.

We welcome residents to file consumer complaints with our office via our website, Case information: People v. Theodore Farnsworth and Mitchell Lowe, Docket C21-01045, Contra Costa County Superior Court.

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Director, producer Joey Travolta brings unique film crew to Antioch to shoot video for biennial veterans event

Monday, May 17th, 2021

Director Joey Travolta (grey sweater) and his crew film The Illusions band on the deck at Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill in Antioch on Saturday, May 15, 2021.

“Music Heals” for Stand Down on the Delta to be held Sept. 10-13 at Contra Costa Event Park

By Allen Payton

Joey Travolta. From Inclusion Films website.

Director and producer Joey Travolta brought one of his unique film crews to Antioch on Saturday, May 15 to shoot a promotional video for this year’s Stand Down on the Delta, the biennial event for veterans. The video, entitled “Music Heals” focuses on the bands that will be playing at this year’s four-day event, Sept. 10-13 at the Contra Costa Event Park (fairgrounds) in Antioch, according to J.R. Wilson, president of both Delta Veterans Group (DVG) and Stand Down on the Delta.

The filming took place on the deck of Smith’s Landing Seafood Restaurant overlooking the Antioch Marina. Owners Randy and Lynn Tei are big supporters of the veterans, sponsoring the Veterans Day and Memorial Day events in Antioch, and the Veteran of the Year award, Wilson shared. He was joined by Pat Jeremy, V.P. of DVG and Delta Director of Stand Down, to watch the filming. (See videos here, here, and here)

The music director for the Stand Down, Darlyn Phillips, had the idea for the video and invited Travolta and his crew to shoot it. The older brother of actor John Travolta, who recently moved to San Francisco so he and his wife could be near their daughter and grandson, Jonah who will turn one, next month, agreed.

The Film Crew

The slate (clapboard) for the first scene, as Joey Travolta and students head to the location to film.

Crews from his Inclusion Films company consist mainly of youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities from his six dedicated production studios throughout California, including Livermore, Stockton and the largest one in Sacramento, as well as Bakersfield, San Bernardino and San Diego.

“He teaches them to be in the film industry and then helps get them jobs,” Phillips shared.

“We bring in a pro camera guy and sound guy in. The rest of the crew are students,” Travolta said. He serves as the director and producer.

“The workshops that we have, seven around the state, Bakersfield was the first in 2008, then Livermore in 2013. We partnered with Futures Explored and we have their students,” Travolta explained. “We also have students from Options for All. We use the pros but always have the students work to hone their craft.”

The film crew from Inclusion Films and Futures Films prepares to shoot The Illusions band performance.

The crew in Antioch on Saturday was from both Options for All program in San Jose and Futures Explored programs in Livermore and Sacramento, under the leadership of Film & Media Director, Hester Wagner. It included two professionals from Sacramento, Austin Blank on sound and Michael Thygesen on camera. The other five crew members were students.

“They’re funded through the state of California. They’re Regional Center clients,” said Travolta. “Students can be from other places. I have students from San Diego in Bakersfield. We have campers from back east.”

His career, in which he started as a singer then actor, includes work as a movie director of 18 films. That and Travolta’s degree and experience teaching in special education brought him to this venture which he started in 2007.

“We offer a twenty-week program at a time. The students take camera, lighting, acting, writing, building sets, everything,” Travolta continued. “While they’re doing that, they develop scripts for a 25-minute film. They break it down, they schedule it and go through the post production process of editing and sound mix.”

The Inclusion Films and Futures Films crew shoots The Illusions band with the help of Hester Wagner (right).

“I liken it to the minor leagues of baseball. They cut their teeth and can make their mistakes,” he stated. “They’re getting good, final, solid product and the experience to hone their craft.”

“We’ll do five or six camps each year,” Travolta added.

“I did a film camp in the Fairfield Vacaville area for the Solano school district about a year ago. Darlyn went to the screening of it and told me about the Stand Down and wanted to do this video,” he said, explaining the connection.

Futures Explored through their Futures Films provides crews for Northern California shoots, while Options for All provides them in both Northern and Southern California.

“Most of my crew is mainly in Bakersfield,” he said. “If you want to do something in Nor Cal or the desert, we have crews.”

While Travolta’s company is for profit, he said Futures and Options are non-profits.

First Feature Film Wins Audience Choice at Festival

“Last year we did our first feature film, Carol of the Bells,” said Travolta. Some known actors are in it, including Diana Mills and Lee Purcell.

“Each of the studios sent two pros and four students who came and stayed for two weeks. We did it through SAG (Screen Actors Guild),” he stated. “I wanted to prove we could do this. 70% of the crews were students.”

That was a world-wide first.

“We won Audience Choice for feature film in San Diego” Travolta continued. (See related article) “Then in Bentonville, Arkansas, it debuted there. The film festival there was started as a women film makers event by Gina Davis. Then they added in disabilities and that’s when I came in.”

“Unfortunately, we released right at the start of COVID,” he said. “We did a documentary (about the film) that played on PBS. So, the word got out there.”

Set during Christmas time, Carol of the Bells is described on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) as “a young man with a troubled past searches for his biological mother and discovers that she is developmentally disabled.” The movie can be viewed on Amazon Prime. (This reporter watched it Saturday night and gives it a thumbs up. But be sure to have a box of tissues or a hanky handy!)

“Then also we have Inclusion Networks, a subscription-based company, with all the films we do, all the camps we do, and the funds are used to pay for jobs and development of employment,” Travolta shared. “We put new content on every few weeks.”

The one-of-a-kind channel features TV series, documentaries, short films, and special features created and produced by his film crews. According to the website, with each subscription, a majority of the proceeds go to the employment of individuals with disabilities, helping provide more jobs for them in the film industry.

Asked if his brother John has been part of his venture, Travolta responded, “he is really supportive of us. A friend was doing a film. I sent five of our folks down to Georgia and worked for a month. John ended up being the star of it. He was down there and said, ‘these guys are unbelievable.’”

The Bands

Travolta directs during filming of the band Gig & Friends.

“We’re bringing awareness about music healing,” Phillips said about the promotional video. “In this instance for the Delta Veterans Group’s Stand Down on the Delta, these are some of the bands that perform for the veterans each time.”

“The idea of it is to show how music heals,” she continued. “Many of the band members are veterans. One guy, Tony Archimedes played for 10 hours straight, playing multiple instruments when others couldn’t make it. The band members are from all over the Bay Area and Northern California.”

They say, ‘anything for the veterans,’” Phillips added.

Future Films crew was on site doing the filming Hester Wagner, Director of Film and Media Programs said they partner with Travolta’s company and do the same thing in the Bay Area.

“We interviewed six band members and now we will get them playing,” Travolta said before the start of filming. “This will be a seven- or eight-minute promotional video for the Stand Down and what you’re doing, here. Then hopefully, they’ll have photos from the event that we can cut in.”

Darlyn & The Groove Room perform during filming.

The first band to play and be filmed was The Illusions, led by drummer Richard Rivas and included Archimedes on saxophone. The other band members are Billy Thompson on bass, Joe Martinez on trumpet, Mitch McCarrie on the guitar and L.A. Ramirez also on guitar.

They were followed by Gig and Friends, named for Greg “Gig” Edwards, and included drummer Evan Carr (whose son, Austin, plays wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints), bassist Michael Fourie with his unique, upright electric bass, and Archimedes on the keyboard. They performed an original song written for veterans by Edwards and Phillips.

The third and final band to be filmed, Darlyn & The Groove Room, with Phillips as lead singer, performed original songs and included jazz guitarist Steve Krohn and drummer Barry Hutcherson (son of legendary jazz artist Bobby Hutcherson), plus Fourie and Archimedes repeating on bass and keyboard.

Filming during Darlyn & The Groove Room’s performance.

“The final video should be ready in a couple weeks,” sound man Blank shared.

President of both Delta Veterans Group and Stand Down on the Delta, J.R. Wilson is interviewed for the promo video.

The Event

Stand Down on the Delta is held every two years, alternating between Antioch in odd years and the East Bay Stand Down in Pleasanton in even years. This year’s event will be held the weekend of the 20th anniversary of 9-11, event organizer Wilson shared. They serve military veterans, many of whom are homeless, who come and stay, are provided free meals, free medical and dental care, clothing and enjoy the live music throughout the weekend.

“The bands will be playing from 10 am to 10 pm each day,” Phillips added.

The Contra Costa Event Park is located at 1201 W. 10th Street in Antioch.

For more information or to volunteer visit or the Stand Down on the Delta 2021 Facebook page.

That’s a wrap! The film crew, including (l-r) Austin Blank, Alex Borson, Hester Wagner, Erick Tash, Jabari Daniels, Andrew Kunzel, Joey Travolta, Brandon Dominguez and Michael Thygesen, following the shoot at Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill.

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Hear California’s First Family of Gospel Music at Golden Hills Community Church May 1st

Thursday, April 15th, 2021

 Join us for a Gospel Music Hymn Sing


Saturday, May 1st, 1:00 pm

Golden Hills Community Church in the MPR building

2401 Shady Willow Lane, Brentwood

Bring a friend! A freewill offering will be encouraged. Register online

For more information about visit The Herb Henry Family.

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Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County seeks applicants for District 5 seat

Monday, April 12th, 2021

Do you live in Contra Costa County District 5?

Hercules, Martinez, Pittsburg and portions of Pinole and Antioch as well the unincorporated communities of Alhambra Valley, Bay Point, Briones, Rodeo, Pacheco, Crockett, Tormey, Port Costa, Mt. View, Vine Hall, Reliez Valley, and Clyde.

We have a District 5 opening!


The Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County is dedicated to advancing the arts in a way that promotes communication, education, appreciation and collaboration throughout Contra Costa County so that we may grow creatively as a community that preserves and celebrates our diverse cultural expression.

The commission has 10 seats: five from each of the county’s Supervisorial Districts, four at-large and one alternate.

District Specific Seats:

Are recommended by the applicable District Supervisor and then approved by the Board of Supervisors.

What does a Commissioner do?

  • Support the functions of the Commission.
  • Give all meetings and other Commission activities a priority on their calendar.
  • Serve on and chair Commission committees and events.
  • Keep current with all facts and information upon which the Commission must base its collective opinions and decisions.
  • Participate in strategic planning and implementation of arts programming.
  • Be an ambassador and proponent of the arts and the Commission in Contra Costa County and engage people from all cultural and ethnic groups in the arts and in the work of the Commission.

Please apply today!

For more information visit

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Deer Valley High student wins second in 2021 Contra Costa County Poetry Out Loud competition

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

Esmeralda Noyola’s performance in the 2021 Poetry Out Loud county finals. Video screenshot.

Prospects High School champion also made the finals of the competition

The Arts and Culture Commission announced the winners of the 2021 Poetry Out Loud Contra Costa County and Esmeralda Noyola, the Deer Valley High School champion, won second place in the final competition and was awarded a $150 cash prize. The Facebook Live Virtual Screening and Awards Ceremony was held on February 11th. Her performance was of the poem We Are Not Responsible by Harryette Mullen. (See her introduction and performance at the 23:50 mark of the video)

Jermaine Gitana from Pinole Valley High School was selected the champion of the county finals and awarded a $200 prize and varsity jacket.

“I am a 17-year-old senior at Pinole Valley High who is part Black and Filipino,” said Gitana. “I enjoy playing instruments, making music, swimming, singing, and most of all reciting poetry.”

His performances of the poems Written By Himself by Gregory Pardlo and Piano by D. H. Lawrence proved to be a winning combination! On March 11th, Jermaine will compete in the Poetry Out Loud State Finals where students recite 3 poems. On March 12th, the California State Winner will be announced on California Arts Council email, internet, and social media. We are very proud of Jermaine!

Tessa Brubaker from San Ramon Valley High School placed third and was awarded $100. The County Finals included impressive high school champions Patricia May Villanueva of Prospects High School (Antioch), Michael Miralles of John Henry High School (Richmond), Kyla Erika Nano of Concord High School, and Kaleigh Thurman of College Park High School (Pleasant Hill).

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud provides free curriculum materials—all available online—including a poetry anthology, a comprehensive teacher’s guide, videos of student performances, lesson plans, and promotional and media resources.

All Contra Costa County high school students, grades 9-12, are invited to enter Poetry Out Loud. School winners advance to the County competition each February, then the State competition on March 11, and ultimately to the National Finals. The 2021 POL National Semifinals will take place on Sunday, May 2nd and the 2021 POL National Finals will take place on Thursday, May 27th and will be held virtually in lieu of holding them on-site in Washington D.C. as previously planned. Both will be video submission-based competitions and will be streamed on

Every high school in the county (public, private, parochial, independent, alternative, continuation, court, charter and home schools), non-profit organizations, and libraries are encouraged to participate. Students don’t enter the POL competition directly, but through their high schools or a school POL liaison such as a teacher, librarian, school staff, or organization member.

“Last August, I became the new Managing Director and was first introduced to the amazing Poetry Out Loud program. Our incredible team of Donté Clark (Poetry Out Loud Coordinator), Brennan DeFrisco (Poetry Out Loud Student Coach and Assistant Coordinator), and Antonio Tamayo (Poetry Out Loud Digital Content and Technical Assistant) worked together to transition the program online,” said Jenny Balisle, Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County Managing Director. “The Virtual Screening and Awards Ceremony was an evening of many firsts for the Arts and Culture Commission: first Facebook Live event for a signature art program, first ASL interpreters for a live virtual event, and first Land Acknowledgement. Despite the pandemic, we were determined to uplift, support, and celebrate Contra Costa County youth! I’m proud of what we accomplished but most of all- very proud of the resilience and grace of our youth.”

To watch the Virtual Screening and Awards Ceremony please visit here.

Poetry Out Loud is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, California Arts Council, and Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County (AC5).

AC5 is dedicated to advancing the arts in a way that promotes communication, education, appreciation and collaboration throughout Contra Costa County so that we may grow creatively as a community that preserves and celebrates our diverse cultural expression.

Please visit for more information and sign up on our email list. We welcome your participation and hope to see you next year!

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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