all around the world and here in Sonoma

I check in the morning how many people are reading my post daily…..usually very few by this time, unless it is a brand new one, and the current one has been available for 5 days.

but this blew me away:  WordPress now shows you how many countries are represented in the current readers, and this morning it is 15…..of course  all of the usual suspects (US, Canada, Australia etc) but also Russian Federation, Bulgaria, Singapore, Philippines, and India where as far as I know there are no leagues currently.

The reach of all of us on media today is amazing.  And because of the reach hundreds will come from out of town the best small film festival in America this weekend, of course the Sonoma International Film festival.  123 films from everywhere over the next 5 days (April 11 through 15) in the beauty of California’s first official town (the bear flag was hoisted just across the street from the Sebastiani theater in 1846,  where “Derby Baby” will be showing on Saturday).

And 40 of the participating 60 skaters are able to attend courtesy of Niki “Deets” Hammond (skating name:Devilina Detail) who will be on hand to promote her wonderful board game:  Jammerup…..we played it, and I had bruises afterward from the hard skating action.

I have lived here almost 20 years, and having lived in Portland, Chicago, Santa Monica, Evanston, New York, Palo Alto, Atherton, Orlando, Miami to just name a few, it is really home to me.  Pleasantly casual, unlike our more fancy neighbors in Napa County up the road;  great fresh food, wonderful friends, and so easy to get around; the 8 places showing the films (of course, the Sebastiani is our showcase), the hotels, the great restaurants are all within a short walking distance.   And don’t forget the wineries:  over 600 in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino Counties alone.

You still have time to get here and join Val Capone from Chicago, Suzy Hotrod from New York, Ophelia Ballz from Redding, Sassy longlegs from Sacramento and the other 60 who will be on hand to skate before “Derby Baby” for all of our entertainment.  And John Waters is here as well as Christopher Lloyd, Shirley Bassey (“Goldfingah”) and some surprises.

Image by eduardtrag from

Then after the film I was foolish enough to invite all the derby people and Robin and Dave and others to come to my house for an after party.  I expect about 100 people.  And this is the week Judi is away, and I have friends but now am scrambling for food and drink.  The Giustos and Coturris are providing some wine, and I hope to get more…..we are working on the food.  If you are coming here, I do not object to your bringing something…..I have the place to hang, to party and whatever.  And I hope that festival director Kevin McNeely and MC and some of the other people who make it happen will come by…..I know the beautiful publicist Brooke will be here as well as Liam Maclem from CBS-TV,  a good friend.

If you don’t have your tickets yet, contact and buy your tickets….they have a 3 for 2 special:  pay $30 for two tickets and get a third one free, so you can see Derby Baby and two other films!.

Don’t forget the Methodist rule:  never go anywhere without a covered dish!  I better see you all this weekend in Sonoma.

And oh yes, in 1997 Carolyn Stolman and I started this festival with the intent of bringing something exciting to Sonoma, and boy has Kevin and his people taken it to a new level: now considered one of the best small film festivals in the country.


I’m getting excited again

…a lot of projects at one time. is about to become a reality.  Judi Flowers and some very bright people are about to take a different fix on Roller Derby and fashion……if you know me, you know you will hear about it until it is coming out your ears.

I got my Derby fix on Saturday with the wonderful Bay Area Derby Girls.  Can you imagine 2000 people standing in the rain to get into the small building under not the best conditions to scream their heads off?April 5 was  my father’s 109th birthday……I never intended to go into his business, it just happened.

I was interviewed by the Sonoma Index Tribune and you can see it on line talking about Derby Baby and the Sonoma film fest.

And this week is Derby Babyweek in Northern California!

Photo by Berkeley from

I never thought when I co-founded the Sonoma Film festival in 1997 that there would be a Roller Derby film in it.  And this one is created with such love (and every penny they have) by Robin Bond and David Wruck…..I have seen it.  you will be up nights thinking about it and,  if you are in Derby,  you will know that somebody got it right!

So here is what is happening:  Saturday April 14th at 1 about 60 Roller Girls from Northern California plus Suzy Hotrod and Val Capone will come to my house, get into uniforms and skates, and the Sebastiani motorized San Francisco cable car will take them to the Sebastiani theater where they will meet and greet Robin and Dave and the Mayor and hopefully John Waters and Christopher Lloyd and Shirley Bassey who will be here for the festival (more on that later) and all the attendees, and god knows what a flash mob like that will  do next.  Then we will all go in the theater for the 3 PM showing of Derby Baby.

We in Sonoma are so proud of our theater, and I am proud that the funds and volunteer efforts from our first two festivals (when I was chairman) were able to help restore the theater to its original 1933 glory.  After the movie, Robin and Dave and  Suzy will answer questions about the film from the audience.

Then those who are invited will motor to the Commissioner’s house for a little repast and taste of our famous wines.  Looks like about 80 or so will be here….a couple of wineries (Highway 12 and Phil Coturri’s 16600 private label Sirah) have donated, but I could use more Sonoma and Napa wine.

I hope many of you are planning to attend, go to, see the amazing lineup of 128 films in just 5 days (guess which one is selling the most tickets!) and see what probably the best small town in America is all about.  Kevin McNeely and his staff and all the volunteers and all of Sonoma will welcome you to the Wine Country and the wonderful restaurants…..and all of this within the walking distance of all the theaters.  Order your tickets now as it will be sold out soon.

Then it is over…..damn…..I wish I had a job that paid.

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