Renaming the Airport- The sorry spectacle of a town renaming its airport to attract visitors is a plot worthy of a comedy, one of those good British comedies with Peter Sellers . The good news is that it will take the proposed name change at least a couple of years to be approved so perhaps someone or thing will come along in the meantime to save us from ourselves. “California Redwood Coast – Humboldt County Airport” is too long, was obviously , like a giraffe, put together by a committee trying to please everyone, and leaves unanswered the question : what about those obnoxious folks in Mendocino who think THEY have a Redwood Coast? The Mendocino -Sonoma Chamber calls itself “The Redwood Coast Chamber”. There are so many other “Redwood Coast” businesses down there I almost decided to call my blog something else.
What if instead of perpetual confusion, the airport promoted clarity? Why not spend the money on educating folks that the Eureka-Arcata Airport is in Humboldt County, home of the Redwoods? I called the always-affable Tony Smithers of the Visitors and Convention Bureau and asked for his estimate of the number of tourists we host yearly. He guesses he number is around 1.5 million all but one or two percent of whom arrive here by means other than air travel. So if changing the airport’s name would double the traffic there (it wouldn’t- I’m just stretching for an example) the number of air-arriving visitors would go from 30,000 to 60,000. Would these folks be visitors who wouldn’t come here otherwise? That seems to be the hope. Frankly I think the drive UP here is just as much of a draw as the attractions in Humboldt area, but only time will tell.
By the way, our friends in Redding just concluded an unsuccessful campaign to attract another carrier and are heading back to the drawing board. In a climate where airlines are squeezing the passengers for every dime and shutting down as many routes as the government will let them, attracting more service to a marginal market like Redding or ACV will be quite a trick.
O Oysters, Come and Walk with Us- The Oyster Festival is making a brave and necessary change by instituting a $10 admission charge. I was a volunteer, selling drink bracelets a couple of years ago, and it was obvious something had to change. The drink bracelets didn’t stay with the purchasers for long and the frenzy for beer would cause an onlooker to think they were at a beer festival, not an oyster festival. I’m looking forward to this weekend, fence and all. Kevin Hoover’s thoughtful editorial in the Eye lays it all out .
General Patton- Mike Patton, surely the most influential musician ever to emerge from the Redwood Coast, (sorry, Sara Barielles), was featured in the Critic’s Notebook of the June 3 issue of the New Yorker, as an “indefatigable vocalist and visionary” on the occasion of the Manhattan concert introducing the fourth album by his current band, the “frenetic and experimental post-rock” Tomahawk. “General Patton” , as they dubbed him, the lead singer of Faith No More and founder of Mr. Bungle, among other bands, is a true original but I haven’t heard of him playing up here, ever. Twenty years ago, when I was getting ready to move back here, Details magazine quoted him as saying, of Eureka, “It’s a void. There’s absolutely nothing to do there. I mean nothing.” I wonder if he has been back here since? He won’t be around this summer, that’s for sure. He’s touring Europe with Tomahawk, opening for Nine Inch Nails. The Film Commission has been trying to get the attention of Jeff Bridges (whose grandparents ran the Vance Hotel) for years but hasn’t been able to lure him up here. I believe he actually grew up in Petaluma. If the Redwood Coast is to market itself as being a cradle of creativity we need these folks. Incidentally, After Earth is getting universally terrible reviews, which is a shame, but kudos to Cassandra Hessletine and crew for luring that production here.
Terror on the train- Finally, as if the problems with starting up any kind of rail service to the Redwood Coast weren’t fraught with perils enough, the current issue of the RAILPAC newsletter reports that at 11am on June 1 in West Mansfield MA, a wild turkey crashed through the window of an Amtrak train, stopping service on all tracks. “The engineer was covered with glass…and the engine compartment was full of the remains of the turkey, making it unusable”. You can’t make this stuff up. Thank God no one took pictures.
Stay hungry. Stay creative. Now, more than ever?