Entertainment briefs -- May 1

Jaka plays two nights at River City

Jaka is a World Beat dance band based in Boulder, Colo., that is successfully blazing their own musical path. That path leads to the River City Saloon this Friday and Saturday for two shows. Both start at 9:30 p.m. and there will be a cover charge.

Challenging accepted notions of music's national boundaries, Jaka is committed to bringing the beauty, complexity and spirit of East African music to Western audiences while offering their own unique interpretation of the traditions. The group tours consistently throughout the West, where their highly original, relentlessly upbeat Afro-pop has garnered a burgeoning fanbase spanning the spectrum from the "hippie-jam" festival scene to the culturally-oriented performing arts arena to university and even elementary school students.

As the converted can attest, Jaka's live show is a joyful and energy-packed event that brings any audience to their feet. The band's polyrhythmic, tasty world beat sound is a rich brew of the ancient mbira traditions of Zimbabwe and Congolese soukous, spiced with Caribbean steel drum and Western funk and rock.

Radio play about Manser to air

Percy Manser was known as the “Apple Shed Master Painter.” The artist was born in England in 1886, but lived in the Hood River Valley from 1917 until his death in 1973. Manser enjoyed a national reputation and remains beloved throughout the Mid-Columbia for his legendary generosity, humility and talent. His most important patron was Clifford Dolph (1901-1979), Maryhill Museum’s first director.

On Saturday morning at 10:05, KIHR-AM (1340) will air “Manser and Dolph: Mid-Columbia Men of Art,” the latest work by radio playwright Jim Tindall. The two-act play is set on July 4, 1954. Act One takes place at the top of Wishram Road, overlooking Celilo Falls, and Act Two is at Stonehenge.

This production is a new path for Tindall, who has focused on the radio mystery. His previous works include “Call Me Yo” (1996), “The Adventures of Johnny Butane and the Hot Ones” (1998), and “Whistler’s Son” (2000).

“Manser and Dolph” is a dialogue on aesthetics and politics and takes place the day following a reception at Maryhill for the opening of Manser’s one-man show, attended by more than 500 fans. Starring as the artist is White Salmon’s Roger Holen. Tindall plays Dolph.

Original music for the play is performed by Patrick Morris of Trout Lake, Kerry Williams of Hood River, and Tindall.

Les Miserables coming to HRV

The musical “Les Miserables” has played stages in London, New York, Paris, Tokyo and now it is coming to Hood River Valley High School. Director Mark Steighner has announced that he will be holding auditions in May for the popular show, which will begin rehearsals in August.

Auditions are open to all area students in grades 6-12. While the majority of lead parts are for older students, there are several parts for younger students as well. Steighner said that auditions are open to home school and private school students as well as county school district students. Steighner anticipates a cast size of 75-100. “This is an epic show and requires a very large cast,” he says. Steighner added that due to licensing agreements, the cast must be 19 years of age or younger, but there might be a possibility of using adult community members in the cast if permission is granted from Music Theatre International.

Auditions will be May 14, 15 and 16 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the high school. Students unable to attend any of those times should contact Steighner for an appointment. If there is sufficient interest, an evening audition may be held.

Students should come prepared to sing a song of their choice. If a pianist is required, students must bring their own or a recording of the accompaniment. Steighner emphasized that the ability to read music is not required, but the basic ability of matching pitches is necessary.

For more information, contact Steighner at mdstg@gorge.net or visit the web site at: http://w3.gorge.net/mdstg/LesMiz.htm

Clubhouse books live music

Larkspur will be performing at the Clubhouse Restaurant this Friday and Saturday. Music starts at 7:30 p.m. with a dinner set, followed by dance music till midnight. Mark Gutzler, new owner of the Clubhouse Restaurant, is excited about having live music returning to his establishment. "We are trying a little different format with the dinner set and then dance music, come on out for great food and great music." Larkspur will be playing the first weekend of every month. There will be a cover charge.

Larkspur, a local band, has been playing around Oregon and Washington area for number of years and plays a variety of music for dancing and listening. Dana Branson, Dave Johnson, Steve Alford, and LeRoy Nickerson make up the band and are looking forward to playing at the Clubhouse.

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