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Jazz fights the power and enlightens lives

Jamie Davis
Jamie Davis

Jazz features prominently in two North Bay events this fall.
November 1 bring the opening of an exhibit, “The Hole in the Head: The Battle for Bodega Bay and the Birth of the Environmental Movement,” at the Sonoma County Museum in Santa Rosa. It focuses on the battle over a nuclear power plant at Bodega Head (the initial phase of plant’s construction was nicknamed “the Hole in the Head”) and the struggle over public access to the coastline in the 1960s. The exhibit features text, photographs, artifacts and multimedia, including both new video and archival footage. As it turns out, Dixieland jazz figured prominently in the battle.

Anyone who’s been to the Sonoma Coast can hardly believe their ears when they hear that PG&E once planned a nuclear power plant right on the shores of Bodega Head. But in the late ’60s, such a project got as far as the excavation process before a steady stream of activists finally shut it down. This mammoth exhibit encompasses art, music, video and artifacts related to the protests, which often included San Francisco Dixieland revivalists Turk Murphy and Lu Watters playing anti-nuclear jazz to the PG&E crews working on the scenic coastline. The first of its kind, the exhibit explores the roots of an environmental movement that coalesced under what’s now viewed as an insane proposal.

A week later, November 8, the Westin Verasa in Napa is the site of a gal to raise funds for the Napa Valley Opera House's Community Presentations and Arts in Schools program. Headlining the evening’s entertainment is Bay Area vocalist Jamie Davis and his orchestra.

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