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Gazette Ticket Giveaway!

| Entertainment | January 30, 2020

Win 4 Tickets to See the Renowned Tommy C and the Black Widow Grease Band

Special Guest: The School of Rock All Stars

The seminal rock ‘n’ roll sax player Tommy C has been rocking crowds around the country and globe since 1979. He and his new outfit, The Black Widow Grease Band, perform high octane rock n’ roll. Tommy C has performed with Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Conway Twitty, Smokey Robinson, Four Tops, Temptations, Freddy Cannon and Charlie Pride. He was musical director for Chubby Checker for 10 years.

February 21st, 7pm
Newhall Family Theatre, 24607 Walnut Street, Newhall

Email: [email protected] or send your entry to:

Giveaway
Tommy C and the Black Widow Grease Band
26330 Diamond Place #100, Santa Clarita, CA 91350

Live Music

| Entertainment | January 30, 2020

Jan 31, Fri
7–9pm Alchemy Valencia Monaco’s happy hour Piano
7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt/Greater Pacific Lance Allyn Acoustic CR
7:30–10 Vincenzo’s Newhall Open Mic night Varied
8–10pm Double Trouble Wine Mike Fitzgerald Trio Rk, pop, R&B
8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
8–11pm The Local Pub & Grill Nick Horn Folk, alt, pop
8–11:30 Vincent Hill Station Fulcos Exp on the patio Classic rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Sean Wiggins & Colin CR, ctry, bl

Feb 1, Sat
6–10pm Vincent Hill Station Dan Parra Folk rock
6:30-9p Pocock Brewing Steve Jones Acoustic bl

7–10pm Hyatt/Greater Pacific Various artists Live music

7:30–10p Vincenzo’s Newhall The Grateful Dudes Bluegrass
8–10pm Double Trouble Wines Todd Stanford band Country
8–11pm Wine 661 Lance Allyn Acoustic CR
8–12m VFW 6885 Big Coyote Country
9–12m Rock Inn South 40 w Jimmy Olesh Ctry, blues
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Dole – Humphries duo Folk rk, indie

Feb 2, Sun
10a–2p Saugus Swap meet The Reign Live music
3–7pm Vincent Hill Moldy Marvin’s open mic Various

5–9pm VFW 6885 Emerald City Rock classics

Feb 4, Tues
6–8pm Alchemy Valencia Monaco’s happy hour Piano
7–9pm Rock Inn (Lake Hughes) Just One Guy Acoustic
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Eliot Witherspoon guest CR, blues
Feb 5, Wed
6–9pm Tomato Joes in CC Guitar Jack Classic rock
7–9pm VFW 6885 Magnolia Drawl duo Country

Feb 6, Thur
6–9pm Tomato Joes in CC Daphne Winters Live music
6:30–9p Brewery Draconum Shay Moulder Ukulele CR+
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Ricky Z Upbeat rk

Feb 7, Fri
7–9pm Alchemy Valencia Monaco’s happy hour Piano
7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Fulco Experience Classic rock
8–11pm The Local Pub & Grill Nick Horn Folk, alt, pop

8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
8–11:30p Vincent Hill Station Benny Thomas on the patioCountry
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Jay Bolan Acoustic CR

Wine of the Week

| Entertainment | January 30, 2020

This coming Saturday is our annual vertical tasting that features our award-winning Syrah wines. It’s also Super Bowl weekend!

We will be featuring our 2009 which will be available only on Saturday. We have two cases put aside and it is the last two cases available. This was truly one of my favorites. This wine inspired me to work for Reyes Winery. I’ve enjoyed through the last nine years sharing my love for this special wine. I love pairing this wine with lamb and bison. Two of my favorites are lamb with blackberries in a Syrah wine reduction sauce, and bison ribs that are baked in my barbecue sauce.

Our 2010 Syrah has won many awards and was also featured on opening day at Del Mar racetrack in 2013. I have paired this wine was so many wonderful treats, including popcorn dusted with raspberry powder, Thanksgiving turkey dinner, marbled cheesecake with raspberry sauce and even raspberry yogurt coated pretzels.

Other Syrah wines to be featured that day will be 2011, 2012 and 2013 which have all won double gold medals in the San Francisco international wine competition. These three wines have received a rating of 94 points or higher and all judges must agree that it was a gold winning line to become a double gold. Our 2011 won numerous goals from other competitions in addition the San Francisco international wine competition awarded it 97 points. The 2012 and 13 both received 94 points each.

Finally, you’ll get to try our 2015 Syrah for the second time. It was previewed last February but not officially released at this time. This wine has also won several awards including in May 2018, receive 90 points from wine enthusiasts.

Each wine gets a petite bite that pairs perfectly. It will either be sweet or savory. As I’m deciding what to choose for everybody to enjoy, I go over each wine and, of course, enjoy that wine and think about what appetizers and desserts will go best. I will also share a story about each wine and why it is so meaningful to me. Come join us this Saturday and enjoy these special award winning wines!

For more information visit www.reyeswinery.com

Sierra Pelona Wine Festival VIP Tickets

| Canyon Country Magazine, Entertainment | January 28, 2020

If you haven’t attended the Sierra Pelona Wine Festival in the last seven years, you wouldn’t know about the engaging crowds and enterprising vendors who participate. This year the 8th annual festival will celebrate local vintners at Reyes Winery in Agua Dulce on Saturday, April 4, 2020 from 1-6 p.m.

There are various tickets available and prices go up when purchased after March 31, 2020. You can gain entrance at 12 noon if you purchase a VIP Pre-Pay ticket. These ticketholders also have access to an exclusive area with artisanal food and wines. The VIP tickets cost $90 per person ($100 if purchased between March 1-March 31 and $110 if purchased between April 1-4). Because there are only 100 available, they typically sell out in advance.

A pre-paid general admission ticket to the Sierra Pelona Festival costs $55 per person ($65 from March 1-March 31 and $75 thereafter) or you can buy a group ticket package for $500.

There are nearly 1,000 attendees at the festival each year and event proceeds benefit Zonta Club of Santa Clarita. The festival is held both to raise money for charity and to bring national and regional attention to the wine and culinary offerings of Santa Clarita, adjacent communities and the Sierra Pelona Valley.

The wine festival features local wine makers from the Santa Clarita Valley to the Antelope Valley offering tastings of their best wines, plus cider, craft breweries and spirits.  There will also be gourmet food and specialty items sampling, handmade crafts from local artisans, live music, a live auction and more.

Attendees will receive:
Specialty event glass
Event plate
Specialty gift bag
Wine and beverage sampling
Free parking

The Sierra Pelona Valley Vintners Association is an organization that brings together the talents and resources of its members, partners and community to promote the production and appreciation of fine food and wines grown or produced within the Sierra Pelona Valley AVA and surrounding areas. Nestled in the Sierra Pelona Mountains of Southern California, just 30 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, the Sierra Pelona Valley’s untouched natural beauty provides the perfect environment for burgeoning vineyards, boutique wineries and outdoor enthusiasts.

Reyes Winery is located at 10262 Sierra Highway in Agua Dulce.
For tickets, visit SierraPelonaVintners.com. For information on how to make the most of your time in Sierra Pelona Valley Wine Country, join the Sierra Pelona Valley Vintners on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ReyesWinery.

Universal Studios Hollywood’s All-New Ride, “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!” Opening in Spring 2020

| Entertainment | January 23, 2020

The voice talent behind the lovable furry stars of Illumination’s global blockbuster hits “The Secret Life of Pets” and “The Secret Life of Pets 2” unleash their animal instincts to reprise their roles in Universal Studios Hollywood’s lively new ride, “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!,” opening in Spring 2020, which answer the question, “What are your pets really doing when you’re not at home?”

This marks the first time the ensemble cast perform the voices of their iconic characters for a theme park attraction. The film’s talent and their alter egos include Patton Oswalt as Max, Kevin Hart as Snowball, Eric Stonestreet as Duke, Jenny Slate as Gidget, Tiffany Haddish as Daisy, Lake Bell as Chloe, Dana Carvey as Pops, Steve Coogan as Ozone, Chris Renaud as Norman, Hannibal Buress as Buddy, Bobby Moynihan as Mel, Jessica DiCicco as Princess and Tara Strong as Pickles.

Adoption day is the ultimate rite of passage for every domesticated animal and the inspiration for this all-new immersive experience as guests assume the roles of stray puppies on the ultimate quest to find their forever homes.

The innovative ride will blend live, dimensional and animated characters with hyper-realistic media and projection mapping to fully immerse guests in a bustling New York City landscape. Seated within ride vehicles that resemble cardboard boxes—reminiscent of where Katie first finds her beloved Max as a puppy—guests will travel along a track towards the Pet Adoption event and the ultimate happy ending: forever homes.

The state-of-the-art ride will employ a series of technological firsts that combine sophisticated facial recognition with enhanced gesture tracking, which helps to identify each guest as a unique stray puppy for the duration of the ride. Every time guests experience “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!” they will likely see themselves characterized as a different stray puppy, creating a uniquely new experience with each ride.

“The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!” will be located on Pets Place, previously referred to as Baker Street, and adjacent to the popular “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” and “Super Silly Fun Land” attractions. With the installation of all-new store front facades, Pets Place will capture the charm of a busy NY street, including an iconic NYC subway station.

With so much to see and do at Universal Studios Hollywood, an Annual Pass invites guests to experience the theme park’s thrill and adventure over and over again. Visitwww.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com for more details and to save up to $60 on an Annual Pass when purchased online. Offer valid through March 2, 2020. Restrictions apply.

More information is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com.
In preparation for the ride’s opening, Universal Studios Hollywood is seeking energetic actors and puppeteers to impersonate the voice of Snowball. To learn more and book an audition by appointment only, please visit www.USHAuditions.com.

Enjoy a Saturday Morning Hike and Brunch at Reyes Winery

| Entertainment | January 23, 2020

This coming Saturday, Reyes Winery is hosting our monthly hike and brunch at the Vineyard. Robert Reyes will personally take you out on a two-hour hike excursion to the Sierra Pelona Mountains. The mountains are southeast of the Vineyard, so when you reach the top, you have beautiful views of Agua Dulce. This weekend the weather should be an absolutely perfect 68 degrees – great for hiking.

After your two-hour hike, Robert will guide you back to the vineyard for a light and healthy brunch. This meal always features seasonal fruits and vegetables that are hand-picked at the farmers market, and sometimes I even go to one of the local farms. Yesterday, for example, I visited one of these farms at the farmers market and bought gorgeous oranges and grapefruits for marmalade. I also purchased watermelon radishes that I pickled, and some fabulous persimmons to make persimmon bread. I will be serving these along with a salad made of grapefruit and fennel.

Winter fruits and vegetables are always fabulous. I will say in this time and age, even though we are able to get produce that is normally from summer and winter year round, they are not always the best tasting. For instance, I was at the market the other day and I saw cherries. I can’t imagine they were going to taste like they do in the summer. Not to mention how expensive they were per pound. That’s why I always prefer getting everything fresh and local because the flavor and freshness will be the best when you get to pick and choose like I do.

Sometimes when I go to a local farm the produce is so fresh it was literally just picked moments before I got there. I remember once I wanted green beans and they did not have enough, I had to wait an hour plus for them to finish packing so I would have enough for my event.
Tickets for the hike are $45 per person; this includes brunch, wine, wine tasting, a tour of the Vineyard and, of course, a guided tour of the Sierra Pelona mountains with Robert. I hope to see you this Saturday at the winery!

Purchase your tickets at https://reyes-winery.square.site

Experience the Magic of Roald Dahl’s Matilda at the CTG

| Entertainment | January 23, 2020

Start the New Year off right by joining us at the Canyon Theatre Guild for the amazing story of Roald Dahl’s Matilda: The Musical. Co-Directors John Lucewich and Jennifer Teague are thrilled to be a part of this remarkable story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

“Ever since I first saw the musical in 2015, it instantly became one of my all-time favorites” said Lucewich upon learning he would be co-directing the production. “I am excited to share the magic and wonderment that I felt when I first discovered this amazing show!”

With music and lyrics by the brilliant comedy musician, Tim Minchin, the score is refreshing, fun and deeply touching. “I am obsessed! Tim Minchin is so innovative, creative, and flat out genius. Simply beautiful!” commented Teague who also vocal directs the production. “I am so proud of the entire cast and our creative team. We love the show so much and know you will, too!”

Met with awards and rave reviews, Matilda: The Musical still holds the record for most Olivier awards won by a musical, tying with Hamilton in 2018. At the 2013 Tony Awards, the show won five awards, including the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. “Once in a blue moon, a show comes out blazing and restores your faith in Broadway. ‘Matilda The Musical’ is that show.” – New York Post.

So come see what the Chicago Tribune calls “the best family musical in years!” With singing, dancing and a stellar cast, this family friendly show is one not to be missed.

Matilda: The Musical has performances from January 25th – February 29th. Adult tickets are $22, juniors and seniors are $19.

For tickets or more info call www.canyontheatre.org.

Live Music this Week

| Entertainment | January 23, 2020

Jan 24, Fri
6:30-9p Wolf Creek Brewery Some Other Loco Folk, cty, bl
7–9pm Pocock Brewing White Limozeen Ctry classics

7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt/Greater Pacific Sean Wiggins & Colin CR, ctry, bl
7–11pm Amer Legion Newhall Gustin, Marsh & more Blues fundraiser
8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
8–11pm The Local Pub & Grill Nick Horn Folk, alt, pop
8–11:30 Vincent Hill Station Mudfish on the patio Classic rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Lance Allyn Acoustic CR

Jan 25, Sat
6–10pm Vincent Hill Station Miles 2 Go CR w violin
6:30-9p Pocock Brewing The Couriers Live music

7–10pm Hyatt/Greater Pacific Tewks & JP duo Classic covers

7:30–10p Vincenzo’s Newhall Scambooty Swing
8–10pm Double Trouble Wines Gary Coppola & Time Mach Classic rock
8–11pm Wine 661 Tommy Peacock Upbeat Rock
8–12m VFW 6885 Pam Loe & Chad WatsonCountry
9–12m Alchemy Valencia Saloonatics Classic rock
9–12m Rock Inn Joe Ferraro band Blues rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Galo Pacheco Acoustic CR
9–12m Eighth and Rail Snareheads band Rock covers

Jan 26, Sun
10a–2p Saugus Swap meet Brothers & Others Live music
3–5pm Double Trouble Wines Harry Orlove Jazz
3–7pm Vincent Hill Moldy Marvin’s open micVarious

5–9pm VFW 6885 Robert Heft band Blues mix
5–9pm Amer Legion Newhall Steve Britain’s CR Jam Classic rock
5:30–8p Vincenzo’s Newhall Sophie Mekelburg Live music

Jan 28, Tues
6–8pm Alchemy Valencia Monaco Piano
7–9pm Rock Inn (Lake Hughes) Roby Duron Acoustic
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Alan Wright guest Blues mix

Jan 29, Wed
6–9pm Tomato Joes in CC Various artists Classic rock
Jan 30, Thur
6–9pm Tomato Joes in CC Various artists Classic rock
6:30–9p Brewery Draconum Del Fuego Brothers Classic rock
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Peacock & the Feathers Upbeat rk

Jan 31, Fri
7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Various artists Live music
8–11pm The Local Pub & Grill Nick Horn Folk, alt, pop

8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
8–11:30p Vincent Hill Station Fulcos Exp on the patioClassic rock

9–12m Salt Creek Grille Sean Wiggins duo CR, ctry, bl
9–1am Doc’s Inn Frankly Speaking Rock covers

Wine of the Week: Valentine’s Day

| Entertainment | January 17, 2020

By Beth Heiserman, Reyes Winery 

What could be a dreamier way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by bringing your loved one to Reyes Winery for a specially prepared wine-pairing dinner?

Every year, we have had a pink, purple and red themed meal inside the barrel room. This year’s menu is no different. I source all my fruit and vegetables from a local farm. I go and pick out the produce that will pair the best with each wine for the different courses. I have focused on the award-winning Syrah to be a part of this very special meal.

For the month of February, Reyes Winery’s Tasting Room focuses on Syrah and the Syrah blends. We will feature our 2015 Syrah, one of Robert’s favorite wines. It won a Bronze medal in the 2018 San Francisco Wine Competition and Wine Enthusiast Magazine (05/2018 Edition) gave it 90 points. Our estate Syrah has delightful aromas of coffee, smoke and blackberries. It’s been aged in French oak for 18 months, which gives this wine a light, toasty note. It is well balanced with notes of black apricots for a velvety finish. It pairs well with short ribs braised in Coffee Ancho Chile sauce, aged gouda or tiramisu.

This week, I am planning the menu, so stay tuned on our website to see this year’s special menu.

Social media has a hashtag for it, #SyrahDay. Join the movement and drink lots of Reyes Winery Syrah. Take a photo of you, your wine and your wine glass; #SyrahDay, #Shiraz, #InternationalSyrahDay, #RedBlends, #DoubleGold, #ValentinesDay, #ValentinesDayDinner and #ReyesWinery.

SCAA Presents Its First Reception of the Year

| Entertainment | January 10, 2020

The Santa Clarita Artists Association (SCAA) is inviting the public to view its latest exhibition, “A Time to Reflect,” and its first reception of the year. The event will be centered on their latest show “representing inner and outer resolutions, physical reflections, self-discovery and looking back on the past.”

The reception for this art installation will be taking place Jan. 10 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be snacks, drinks, and music for attendees to enjoy.

If you cannot make it to the reception, don’t worry, the show will be available from January 10 to February 16 at the SCAA. Gallery hours are Fridays from 5 – 8 p.m., Saturdays from 2 – 8 p.m., and Sundays from 2 – 5 p.m.

For more information about the SCAA, visit www.SantaClaritaArtists.org. The SCAA is located at 22508 6th Street in Newhall, Calif., 91321.

Live Music

| Entertainment | January 9, 2020

Jan 10, Fri
7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Alchemy Valencia Dennis Atlas Piano rock
8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
8–11:30 Vincent Hill Station Benny Thomas band Country
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Galo Pacheco Acoustic CR
9–1am Doc’s Inn Frankly Speaking Rock covers

Jan 11, Sat
6–10pm Vincent Hill Station Herbie Kae trio Jazz
6:30-9p Wolf Creek Brewery Josie & the Pussycats Cover band

7:30–10p Vincenzo’s Newhall Right Side Up Classic rock
8–11pm Wine 661 Ron Suffredini Classic rock
8–12m VFW 6885 Servants of Soul Classic rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Galo Pacheco Acoustic CR

9–12m Rock Inn (Lake Hughes) Milo Sledge & Co Country blues
9–12m Eighth & Rail PULP band Rock covers

Jan 12, Sun
10a–2p Saugus Swap meet Emerald City Live music
3–7pm Vincent Hill Moldy Marvin’s open mic Various

5–9pm VFW 6885 Benny Thomas band Country
5–9pm Amer Legion Newhall Jim Gustin & Truth Jones Blues Jam
5:30–9p Vincenzo’s Newhall Jet Jurgensmeyer & Nikki Hahn live music

Jan 14, Tues
7–9pm Rock Inn (Lake Hughes) Just One Guy Acoustic
7-10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Tommy & Paddy Marsh Blues mix

Jan 16, Thur
6:30–9p Brewery Draconum Sean Wiggins duo CR, bl, ctry
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Crew 52 band Bl, jz, pop

Jan 17, Fri
6:30-9p Wolf Creek Brewery Steve Jones Acoustic

7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Various artists Live music
7–10pm Alchemy Valencia Dennis Atlas Piano rock

8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
8–11:30p Vincent Hill Station Wildside on the patio Cover rock
8–12m Amer Legion Newhall 5 bands – heavy metal nite Hard rock

9–12m Salt Creek Grille Dole – Humphries duo CR, indie, bl

Wine of the Week – and Fried Green Tomatoes

| Entertainment | January 9, 2020

Originally, I planned on writing about a Syrah. But, once I got to the farmers market and saw what beautiful tomatoes they had, I decided to make fried green tomatoes for dinner and write about that instead. Plus, it was 78° that day, so having a dinner that was a little bit lighter was definitely the way to go.

Since I was cooking fried green tomatoes, I was so excited to bring out my cast-iron skillet. Heirloom tomatoes can be bright and acidic with sweet notes depending upon the varietal. I used beef steak tomatoes, when they’re green they are a little bit more firmer and don’t have as much acidity. Like any food that is fried, they need a touch of acidity so as soon as they’re done cooking I always sprinkle a little bit of salt and a squeeze of lemon.

I planned to pair this meal with Renaissance by Reyes 2016 Rose. It’s a blend of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Symphony and Tempranillo for color. We originally made this wine for a private label that was sold at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, but once I had my tasting panel sample this wine we decided to make sure we had enough to sell in the tasting room. It was such a hit with everybody! It might not be a traditional Rose, but the taste reminds me of a provincial style Rose. On the nose, you get grapefruit and strawberries; it’s fruity with medium acidity. On the palate are notes of light orange blossom, honey, grapefruit and mixed berries. This wine should be enjoyed chilled and pairs well with Brie topped with a drizzle of honey, pasta carbonara, pink velvet cake or strawberry stuffed cannolis.

This wine is not available for tasting in the tasting room this month, but if you come in and tell me you want to taste it I will open up a bottle.

I am going to mention that I am making pink grapefruit marmalade this week that is infused with the same Rose wine. This is such a great brunch wine and I will be serving it this month at our hike. See you soon.

On the Town with Jason Downs

| Entertainment | January 9, 2020

Greetings fellow Santa Claritans, and welcome to the roaring 20s! Hopefully you and yours had a joyous and restful holiday. Here’s to the very best in 2020 for all of us!

Join me as we take a look at what the Downs family got up to for the holidays: A step back in time in Colonial Williamsburg, a return to the dawn of America along the James River and Grandma’s homemade doughnuts. (Oh, yes.)

Our main gift this season was a trip to Virginia to be with my parents at their new home in Williamsburg. My mother›s promise to break out her famous recipe for homemade doughnuts only sealed the deal. It had been years since the last time she made them (close to a decade) and this holiday was going to be the perfect occasion. My kids are old enough to know their way around the kitchen and were eager to learn the sacred recipe passed down from one Southern grandmother to the next.

We spent the morning mixing the dough, letting it rise and waiting with great anticipation for just the right moment to slip them in the boiling oil. After a moment, they›d get flipped until brown on both sides, then out and into the icing. I›m not sure how many I ate, friends, but it was enough to last me another decade just in case it takes that long to whip up another batch. But now that my kids have had a taste of a piping hot homemade doughnut I doubt I›ll have to wait that long.


You know I’m a sucker for history and nostalgia, folks, well there’s no better place to get lost in it than the birthplace of America. Jamestown and Williamsburg is where this country began and they’ve done an amazing job preserving these settlements exactly as they were four hundred years ago. What is referred to as “Colonial Williamsburg” is just that — a living, breathing historical town right out of the 17th century; essentially a living history museum. Re-enactors, some of whom live on site full time, operate the shops and taverns just as they have since the English arrived and established Jamestown in 1607. Only a few miles away from Jamestown, Williamsburg was soon settled as it was the highest ground between the James and York Rivers.

The idea to restore the town and turn it into a living museum came from Reverend Goodwin of the Bruton Parish Church in the heart of Williamsburg. He eventually got the support of Standard Oil and John D. Rockefeller to restore and/or maintain all the structures within a 300-acre plot, thus creating the living museum we know today. And this is one of the amazing things about the area, how active it still remains.

Williamsburg contains the oldest commercial building in the United States, still operating as a general store; the oldest university, William and Mary; the oldest operational church and courthouse and the first English theater. My wife and I dined at one of the oldest restaurants, Josiah Chowning’s, and had some chowder, stew and something called “pasty” which was basically a colonial type of vegetable. All were delicious and enjoyed by candlelight and a strolling minstrel who serenaded the room with drinking songs like, A Rovin.’


At night, the Fife and Drum brigade played in immaculate precision as the torches lining the streets were lit. At one point I skipped off into the woods to relieve myself (shhh, probably frowned upon in a museum, outdoors or otherwise) and as I walked back toward the main street I passed an old house with the basement illuminated by lanterns. As I got closer, a man looking every bit like Benjamin Franklin walked past the window. Unable to help myself, I peered in and saw a fire ablaze in the hearth, a table full of rudimentary tools and dinner fixings while the man bustled about preparing his meal. I was transported. And that is the magic of Colonial Williamsburg…you can really imagine what it was like for brief moments here and there. What a gift.

My kids had to spend some time in the stockade outside the old courthouse…disturbing the peace.

Our tour guide inside the Governor’s Palace where Thomas Jefferson lived for three years

A horse-drawn carriage strolling past with colonial driver was a common occurrence.

A hop and a skip away will bring you to Jamestown which is entirely a museum, as far as I could tell. It consisted of the island where the original settlement and fort reside as a national park (and ongoing archeological dig), a replica of the original fort and its structures and the three ships containing the first 104 men who settled Jamestown. All are presented as living museums with re-enactors carrying on the business of daily life. A blacksmith and carpenter clanging away in their shops will greet you and answer any questions you might have, in character, while continuing their work.

A nearby replica of a Powhatan Village featured men making bows and arrows. You could walk through their huts and see how they lived. Likewise, you could walk through the cottages of Jamestown fort and see the living quarters and sample the food a maid is cooking in her smoky kitchen. You could stand in the church where Pocahontas was married to John Rolfe. Amazing.

The three ships that brought the original settlers were equally fascinating. They had been rebuilt to precise specification and were fully operational vessels. Aboard were shipmates willing to answer any questions and tell the story of their voyage. Four months they spent at sea before choosing that very spot on the James River. Other explorers and traders had been up the coast ever since Columbus had landed in the Caribbean further south; some had even attempted to settle nearby (like the infamous Roanoke experiment a few years earlier in which the entire camp disappeared). But in 1607 with Jamestown, despite heavy casualties due to disease, starvation and warring with the Powhatan, some of those 104 men on the original voyage were able to start something that would eventually become The United States of America.

As we are facing extraordinary and uncertain times as Americans, my friends, it felt good to go back to the beginning and remember what it took to get here. I believe it can inform us where to go from here. Let us band together with hope as our forefathers did to make their way here; let us band together and strive, always strive for a more perfect union. It›s not easy, it takes work, sacrifice and compromise…but in the end, there’s always enough good to go around in this beautiful land of bounty. Especially when you’ve got an age-old recipe for homemade doughnuts.

Celebrate the New Year with a Sip of Syrah

| Entertainment | January 3, 2020

By Beth Heiserman 

Syrah is one of the most popular varietals around the world and is one of our best as well. Coming soon, is our annual Syrah Vertical Tasting event on February 1, 2020. You will get to experience seven of our award-winning Syrahs! This will be the last time this 2009 will be available as we only have three cases left and I am saving them for that day.

Combined our 2009-2015 have won over 30 medals and awards, including three double gold from the San Francisco International Wine Competition with scores of 97 for our 2011. Our 2012 and 2013 both won 94. To encounter these award-winning wines in a tasting event together is very special!

The Reyes 2009 Syrah is smoky with blackberry flavors. This wine holds its own with robust flavors and spices. It has won Silver Medals at the 2011 LA International Wine Spirits Competition and 2011Orange County Fair. In March of 2014, wine enthusiasts rated this wine at 85 points.

Every wine also has a cheese, savory and sweet dish with which to pair. A drunken goat cheese or a chevre coated with rosemary and garlic would make a delightful cheese course. Menu items to pair for a main course include lamb chops or barbecue tri-tip. For dessert, try a bread pudding with a Syrah blackberry sauce.

This wine has been my favorite since I started working at Reyes Winery. I have paired it with lamb, bison and so many other fabulous dishes in the last eight years. For the tasting event, I paired each wine with a petite bite of food. I the next 30 days, I will be enjoying these wines for the menu that day.

A few weeks ago, I made a cranberry BBQ sauce. I have made many times a blackberry BBQ sauce with the 2009 Syrah and paired it with bison ribs. Back in July of 2017, I shared this recipe. Today is the farmers market and since 2009 is on my menu tonight, I will be searching for my dinner. I would love to make lamb hamburgers with tzatziki sauce, Greek salad and Mosaiko. It is a Greek chocolate and biscuits dessert. Imagine a chocolate cake with crushed cookies on it. Of course, it has some wine in it for that extra level of complexity that I love.

Please join me in February at one of our Syrah events like the vertical, Valentine’s Dinner or our monthly hike and brunch.

Social media has a hashtag for it, #SyrahDay. Join the movement and drink lots of Reyes Winery Syrah. Take a photo of you, your wine and your wine glass; #SyrahDay, #Shiraz, #InternationalSyrahDay, #DoubleGold, #ValentinesDay, #ValentinesDayDinner and #ReyesWinery, #Reyes_Winery

Wine of the Week – New Year’s

| Entertainment | December 27, 2019

by Beth Heiserman, Reyes Winery

Every year so many of us wonder what to cook for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. I’m not one that goes out often, but I do enjoy having comfort food on this special occasion. This year hasn’t been especially good for me, but I love enjoying something that makes me remember the good times when I’m moving forward for the next year, hoping it will bring health and happiness.

Two years ago I remember enjoying a shrimp cocktail; when I went to the doctor shortly after for a cholesterol test the results were not very good. Even though I enjoy certain things I’m always very hesitant because I want to make sure my cholesterol is at a good level. This year I’m thinking I want to have a really good hamburger. I went to the farmer’s market this past week and purchased pickled green tomatoes and sliced pickles from the Pickle Guy. I must say they are absolutely fabulous. Hopefully he will join us this year at the food and wine festival April 4th. This way we can all enjoy his yummy pickles. Alongside this I will make a carrot salad, four bean salad and potato salad. Next Tuesday they’re having special hours for the farmer’s market so I will pick up fresh carrots and all the other ingredients for dinner.

As I’m thinking about wine to enjoy on this special occasion, 2015 Amber is my choice. This past weekend I did our holiday tasting and one of the wines was Amber. This wine is fabulous to go with things that are pickled. I always remember in 2013 when we read this article that fascinated me with the process of making an orange wine. It’s not made from oranges. The color that is created comes from the skin of the grape. In this instance it’s from the Chardonnay.

The 2015 state Chardonnay, which we made into Amber, is processed like a red wine. We harvest the grapes and then we ferment them in the skin just like a red wine. I always say this is a white wine for red wine drinkers.

This particular year, we aged the Chardonnay that was previously aged with red wine. In 2016, we aged the Amber that had seen only white wine in the barrel which created a lighter flavor and aroma. I prefer the boldness of the 2015. Next month we will be bottling our 2017 Chardonnay which I must share is absolutely fabulous.

Stay tuned for more details about our bottling event. Until then hope to see you in the tasting room. Cheers!

Watercolor Demo at Barnes and Noble

| Entertainment | December 26, 2019

Fatemeh Kian will demonstrate watercolor at the Monday, February 17, 2020 meeting of the Santa Clarita Artists Association (SCAA). This event is free, open to the public and will meet at 6:30 pm at Barnes & Noble, located at 23630 Valencia Blvd.

“I love all sorts of art, from calligraphy to acrylic, but my true passion is watercolor. When I mix color with water and put my brush on the paper, I find ultimate peace and comfort,” said Kian. When she realized her passion, Kian started learning from the best Iranian watercolor painters at the time, such as Naser Nourmohammad Zadeh, Mohammad Ali Yazdchi, and Homa Ghaffar Zadeh. At 30, she started teaching her own students and since then has taught hundreds of students in all ranges, from 3-years old to 85-years young. See: http://fatemehyaskian.com/

She moved to Oklahoma in 2015 where she taught watercolor at the only art center. Soon she was invited to teach watercolor at the Family Resource Center of the Oklahoma State University, Oshe Lifelong Learning Institute, and the city’s only mosque. After moving to Los Angeles in 2017, she became an active member of Valley Watercolor Society; and has had a number of exhibitions and live teaching demonstrations.

Come early, standing room only by 6:30 pm.

For more information, visit www.SantaClaritaArtists.org.

Live Music

| Entertainment | December 26, 2019

Dec 27, Fri
7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Tewks & Beans Classic covers
8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
9–12m Rock Inn (Lake Hughes) The Fulcos band Classic rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Galo Pacheco Acoustic CR

Dec 28, Sat
6–10pm Vincent Hill Station Sweetwater Gentlemen Bluegrass
6:30-9:30 Pocock Brewing Some Other Loco Blue, folk, ctry
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Tewks & Beans Classic covers
7–10pm Alchemy Valencia Denis Atlas Piano – rock
8–10pm Double Trouble Wines Mike Fitzgerald trio Pop, R&B, rk
8–11pm Wine 661 Sean Wiggins duo Rk, ctry, blues
8–12m VFW 6885 Debra Ortega Country
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Lance Allyn Acoustic CR 9–12m Rock Inn Saloonatics CR, pop, rock

Dec 29, Sun
10a–2p Saugus Swap meet The Fulcos Live music
1–5pm Rock Inn (Lake Hughes) Jim Olesh’s South 40 band Ctry & blues
3–7pm Vincent Hill Moldy Marvin’s open mic Various 5–9pm VFW 6885 Benny Thomas band Country

Dec 31, Tues New Year’s Eve – Note: some of these below require reservations or tickets in advance
6:30–10p Vincenzo’s Newhall Right Side Up Classic rock
7–12m VFW 6885 No Chasers band Classic rock
8–11:30 Vincent Hill Station Overdrive Classic rock
8–12m Old Town Junction Peacock & the Feathers Funk rock
8:30-12m Bergie’s steakhouse SRBQ band Blues mix
9–12m Salt Creek Grille G – 3 band Classic rock
9–1am Rock Inn (Lake Hughes) Country Roads Country
9:30-12m Wine 661 All Access band Rock covers
10:30–1a Alchemy Valencia Live music Live music

Jan 1, Wed
6–8pm Alchemy Valencia Various Piano

Jan 2, Thur
6:30–9p Brewery Draconum Blue Motel Room Classic rock
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Mod-U-Lates Classic rock

Jan 3, Fri
7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Dole – Humphries CR, folk
8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
8–11:30p Vincent Hill Station Right Side Up on the patio Classic rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Various artists Live music

Six Flags Shines in Seasonal Spirit

| Community, Entertainment | December 24, 2019

The holiday season will be over before we all know it. With the hustle and bustle of Christmas behind us, why not treat the family to one last seasonal surprise with a trip to Santa Clarita’s very own six Flags Magic Mountain. Now through January 5, the popular theme park has transformed itself into a glittering wonderland of lights and holiday decor. It’s a great way to round out the holiday season and welcome in the New Year.

My family and I visited a number of theme parks for the holidays, and Magic Mountain was easily on the top list of our favorites. Living in Santa Clarita we find it easier than most to visit the park throughout the year, but if you’ve never experienced it during the holidays it really does undergo a transformation that is nothing short of magical.

During the day the park is adorned with holiday trees, wreaths, ornaments and other holiday decorations, but it isn’t until the sun goes down that the park really comes to life. Various areas have been adorned with thousands and thousands of holiday lights that brighten the night sky with whimsical Christmas spirit. You will be left in awe as you walk through this shimmering land of lights reminiscent of everybody’s glimmering trees or lighting menorahs.

Our beloved characters are there, helping to spread the cheer, and there are plenty of new seasonal eats and snacks available for tasting. Why not enjoy a churro, tamale, festive soup and a number of other holiday treats while covered in a canopy of Christmas lights?

All of the rides are open during this magical time, so when your 8-year-old nephews let you take a breath, make sure you give yourself a moment to take in all the beauty.

“Six Flags: Holiday in the Park” runs through January 5th. For more information, please visit www.sixflags.com.

Donut Holes, Pomegranates and Cabernet Sauvignon

| Entertainment | December 19, 2019

by Beth Heiserman

Every year for Hanukkah I make sufganiyot, which are fried jelly donut holes that are traditionally eaten around the holidays. The oil used to fry them is reminiscent of the oil miraculously burned in the ancient temple in Jerusalem. I prefer baking instead of frying, so this is a baked low-fat alternative.

I used to make regular jelly donuts, but the last two years I have made donut holes and served them with a raspberry sauce. This year, my sauce is a pomegranate-orange Cabernet Sauvignon sauce. From fall to winter, I am able to get freshly squeezed pomegranate and orange juice at the farmer’s market and this week was no different. It is so delicious. When I smell and taste Reyes 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, I get pomegranate.

Our estate 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon has won a Gold medal & 95 points & Best in Class in the 2011 Los Angeles International Wine Competition. Plus, 86 points in the Wine Enthusiast Magazine (06/2018 Edition). This robust and well balanced “member only” wine has matured gracefully and transformed its tannins to deliver a soft, velvety delightful experience. This Cab has improved with age and has further enhanced its aromas of cherry and cocoa, you can also taste peppercorn, pomegranate and a hint of mandarin. It also pairs with a buffalo Steak au Poivre with herbed fingerling potatoes, sharp white cheddar or with triple dark chocolate cake.

I love pairing this wine with pomegranate dishes like a pomegranate cheese ball or pomegranate molasses on top of Halloumi cheese for an appetizer. Since we

get invited to so many socials every winter, these are perfect. Even bringing these donut holes!

Ingredients
1 cup Brown Knows Cider (I used Hop on This Honey) that has been reduced (½ cup)
½ cup buttermilk
1 egg or 2 egg whites
2 tbsp butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar, light
½ cup sugar (I used organic non-bleached)
2 cups flour
2 tsp salt, kosher
2 tsp cardamom
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Ingredients for cinnamon sugar mix
2 tsp cardamom
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup sugar

Directions
1. In medium saucepan, over medium heat, reduce Brown Knows Cider for about 15 minutes. You will need ½ cup for recipe. Chill before using
2. In mixing bowl, combine buttermilk, Brown Knows Cider that has been reduced and chilled, egg, melted butter, vanilla bean paste, brown sugar and sugar
3. When combined, add remaining dry ingredients
4. In preheated 350-degree oven, spoon batter into greased mini muffin pans or donut hole pan.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes
6. Dip into cinnamon sugar mix
7. Serve

Ingredients for Reyes 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Pomegranate Orange Sauce
¼ cup pomegranate juice
¾ cup orange juice
½ cup sugar
1 tsp cardamom
Zest of 1 lemon and juice
¼ cup of Reyes 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

Directions
1. In medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine juice, sugar, cardamom, and lemon juice
2. Cook until bubbly after 10-15 minutes
3. Turn off heat and add Reyes 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
4. Press through colander or sieve to remove any pulp or seeds
5. Add lemon zest
6. Chill and serve

The Merry Magic of “Holidays at Universal Studios”

| Entertainment | December 19, 2019

The magic of the movies is spreading festive flair at Universal Studios this season with a holiday celebration for people (and wizards and Ginches) of all ages. Running now through December 29th, the popular theme park is home to the Who’s of Dr. Seuss’ Who-Ville, and the whimsical characters of the Harry Potter world. Bursting with holiday cheer, and with a double dose of magic, a visit to the park offers the perfect sprinkle of spirit to light up any tree or menorah.

Before entering “Holidays at Universal Studios” guest can revel along Universal City Walk, with plenty of festive decorations and attractions to see. Once again, they will have their spectacular 40-foot tall Christmas tree on display donning over 200,000 LED icicles choreographed to the sounds of the season. There will also be free concerts and performances by talented street performers throughout the month. Also, take a moment to watch the dancing water fountain with its numerous streams of choreography complemented by red and green lights and holiday-themed music.

Once inside the park guests will be transported to Who-Ville, with a breathtaking “Grinchmas” tree twisting and curving 55 feet up in the air at the center of it all. Nightly you can partake in the Who-lebration with tree lighting ceremonies and snowball flurries. In this spirited village you can also take a photo with the Grinch himself, and his dog Max, as well as a number of Who-Ville residents who are all eager to meet you. Once you walk into this enchanted world created by Dr. Seuss, much like the Grinch, your heart will most likely “grow three inches that day.”

For a change of scenery, but brimming with just as much cheer, is “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.”  Here you can celebrate the season in the village of Hogsmeade, which has been blanketed in holiday decor and brimming with seasonal themed food and entertainment. All the magic still very much fills the air; it’s just dusted with extra spellbinding spirit. Make sure you enjoy a deliciously warm Butterbeer as you walk along the cobbled streets, and keep your eyes open for the witches and wizards of Hogwarts singing carols with the a-cappella Frog Choir. The shops in this magical village are full of Christmas items — hand-crafted ornaments, snow globes, tree toppers and much more — that are perfect for any special last minute gifts to add to Santa’s bag.

My favorite part of “Holidays at Universal Studios” is the bewitching light show of “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle.” Once the sun goes down, the castle is draped with a dazzling light projection show allowing everyone to experience Christmas within the pages of the Rowling classic novels. The animated light show, along with musical scores from the films, will transport everyone to the enchanted world of these fantastical characters.

A trip to Universal Studios just wouldn’t be the same without a run in with the mischievous Minions. You will find these merry mischief makers at “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” and “Super Silly Fun Land” where they will be gleefully spreading Christmas chaos.

The spirit of Christmas and the Holidays are very much alive this season and Universal Studios is being sprinkled with loads of festive cheer. Plenty of fun lies around every corner, bundles with colored lights, seasonal treats, holiday adornments and our favorite Universal characters. This is one holiday party you won’t want to miss.

“Holidays at Universal Studios” runs through December 29 at Universal Studios Hollywood, located at 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City. For information or tickets, visit www.universalstudioshollywood.com.

Live Music

| Entertainment | December 19, 2019

Live Music this week in SCV!

Dec 20, Fri
7–9pm                  Rock Inn (Lake Hughes)        Nathan on piano                       Piano
7–10pm                Hyatt Valencia lounge           Lance Allyn                                  Acoustic CR
7:30–10p              Vincenzo’s Newhall               ACA Holiday show                    Holiday mix
8–11pm                Wine 661                                    Bill Cinque & friends                Classic rock
8–11pm                The Local Pub n Grill               Nick Horn                                    Pop & orig
8–11:30p              Vincent Hill Station                 Wildside on the patio              Cover rock
8–12m                  Amer. Legion Newhall          Heavy Metal night                    Hard rock
9–12m                  Salt Creek Grille                       Jay Bolan                                     Acoustic CR

Dec 21, Sat
6–10pm                Vincent Hill Station                 Dan Parra                                     Folk rock
7–9pm                  Pocock Brewing                       Three Feet Under                     B-side CR
7–10pm                Hyatt Valencia lounge           Lance Allyn                                  Acoustic CR
7:30–10p              Vincenzo’s Newhall               The Grateful Dudes                 Bluegrass
8–10pm                Double Trouble Wines          Gary Coppola & Time Mach  Classic rock
8–11pm                Wine 661                                    Sean Hughes band                   Rock & pop
8–12m                  VFW 6885                                   Big Coyote                                   Country
9–12m                  Salt Creek Grille                                      Jay Bolan                                     Acoustic CR

9–12m                  Rock Inn                                     String Theory                              Bluegrass

Dec 22, Sun
3–5:30p                Double Trouble Wines          Dave Marchant                          Acoustic mix
3–7pm                  Vincent Hill                                Moldy Marvin’s open mic      Various
5–9pm                  Amer  Legion Newhall           Steve Britain’s CR Jam             Classic rock
5–9pm                  VFW 6885                                  U.S. 99 trio                                  R+R, blues
5:30–8p                Vincenzo’s Newhall               Space Rat                                     Live music
6–9pm                  Black and Blue                          Al Pascua Project                      Jazz night

Dec 24, Tues
6–8pm                 Alchemy in Valencia               Various artists                            piano

Dec 25, Wed
6–9pm                  Tomato Joes Cyn Ctry           James Hackett                            Classic rock

Dec 26, Thur
6–8pm                  Salt Creek Grille                       Lawrence Tamez                      Sax
6–9pm                  Tomato Joes Cyn Ctry           Daphne Winters                        CR & folk rk
6:30–9p                Brewery Draconum                Drop 3                                           Jazz funk
7–9pm                  The Main in OTN                     Note by Note                            Varied
7–10pm                Bergie’s steakhouse              Celso Salim & Artur Menezes    Blues

Dec 27, Fri
7–9pm                  Rock Inn                                      Nathan on piano                       Piano
7–10pm                Hyatt Valencia lounge           Various artists                            Live music
8–11pm                Wine 661                                    Bill Cinque & friends                Classic rock
8–11:30p              Vincent Hill Station                 Various artists on patio           Live music
9–12m                  Rock Inn (Lake Hughes)        The Fulcos                                    Classic rock
9–12m                  Salt Creek Grille                       Jay Bolan                                     Classic rock

On the Town with Jason Downs

| Entertainment | December 19, 2019

Greetings fellow Santa Claritans, and welcome to a column that’s all about having fun around town! We’re fortunate enough to live in one of the great entertainment meccas of the world. Join me as we celebrate all the area has to offer!

Here’s what I got up to this week:  A big bash at BMW with The Rembrandts, a new radio show at KHTS and a Christmas story about a stolen bike.

It’s that time of year where we find ourselves at parties with old friends and concerts with a hundred smiling kids singing carols about bells. I love all that, but I also enjoy the unexpected surprises that come along with the season of magic. For instance, finding myself at an “End of the Year” celebration at the BMW dealership…and let me tell you, they know how to throw a party!

Can I just say, free valet is a beautiful thing. We felt like a million bucks before our shoes even hit the red carpet…and yes, there was a red carpet! Photo ops and all! Then, walking in to the main hall of the dealership we were not only met with tasty hors d’oeuvres and delicious single-bite entrees (the fried artichoke and seasoned parmesan meatball were fantastic) but it doesn’t hurt to have a sexy hundred and thirty thousand dollar sports car decorating your tree either. And this was all just preamble for the main event, ladies and gents.

Most of you are unaware of this but I was once a semi-successful pop star. My brief shining moment came about fifteen years ago with a string of singles on a popular label resulting in a top 20 hit overseas. I had a blast. It was a dream come true touring places like Scotland, Belgium, Germany, Italy and England with my music…tour bus and band in tow. Amazing. There are moments that not only bring those days flooding back, but make me yearn to play music in front of an audience again. One of those moments was at the BMW dealership on Thursday night when The Rembrandts took the stage. A stage the dealership had mounted in their service bay and closed off for the event…not the greatest acoustics but super cool.

To be honest, the only song I thought I knew of The Rembrandt’s was I’ll Be There For You (theme for the hit TV show Friends), but actually a few of their songs were familiar. It also didn’t matter. These guys were pure joy to behold. They loved every note they played and every word they sang. Their joy was infectious. And when I say “they” I’m talking about the duo that have comprised The Rembrandts since 1989, Danny Wilde and Phil Solem. These guys are great performers and great songwriters. In addition to the songs I knew, like That’s Just the Way It Is, Baby every single tune they played was catchy, fun, clever and well written. And Phil is a killer guitar player. I mean these guys were pros right down to their boots. I was blown away…and inspired. Time to start hitting the stage again myself!

Danny Wilde and Phil Solem of The Rembrandts rocking the house at BMW of Valencia.

This was a big week for me personally as I premiered my very first radio show on KHTS (98.1 and AM1220). I’ve always wanted to be on the radio in some form or fashion and for a while I thought it would be through my music…and it was, for a memorable moment. But for now my focus has been on developing a show called Common Ground. This show is an experiment to find out if we’re really as divided as we’re led to believe. We’re all seeing more and more “clear division” in the media, especially when it comes to politics and the sources of information we expose ourselves to, so I want to find out if it’s really true. Do we really believe in such different things at our core in this country? My hunch is we all agree on most things…especially the important stuff.

Each morning I go to the gym I end up speaking with a friend of mine about current news, the state of the world, history etc. and we don’t often agree, but it’s always a stimulating conversation. Well, one day recently a gentleman overheard us and abruptly jumped in with a pretty aggressive viewpoint. We asked him how he came to his beliefs and his responses were so adamant and unwavering it prompted a fourth gentleman to suddenly enter the conversation. It startled all of us when he said, “That’s crazy nonsense.” Which prompted the adamant gentleman to fire back, “Well then you’re part of the problem!”

My friend and I were literally afraid this would come to blows right there in the middle of the gym. I’m sure you’ve experienced something similar with family or friends the past few years. But this is what struck me — even though they walked away without doing each other bodily harm, they still could not hear, or didn’t want to hear, each other’s opinion. This sort of thing has been going on since the dawn of man and at times it can be stimulating, even beneficial. At other times, currently perhaps, it can be damaging to the fabric of our union.

So it got me thinking…why not create a public space where we can talk about difficult things while focusing on what we have in common? Common Ground. A space where we are not afraid of information or opinions that differ from ours because we have a sincere desire to understand each other. A return to civil discourse. I know it’s possible because I engage in these conversations quite often. I also know that conventional wisdom and history tell us things have been much worse in this country. The Civil War, for one. I believe we can work through all the challenges that face us as friends, neighbors and Americans if we start with simply hearing each other. I don’t have a degree in civics or history or any claim to brilliance or excessive knowledge on the topics we’ll be talking about on this show but that’s part of the point. I want to continue to educate myself. I have a sincere desire to listen and learn and better myself. I hope you’ll join me!

My sponsor for the show is Louis J. Esbin, Attorney at Law, pictured in the center.

And finally, here’s a Christmas story for you about an eight-year-old boy who got his first new bike stolen. That little boy was my son. His birthday is in late October and my wife and I decided to spring for a new bike, all his own. The bikes he’d learned on had all been hand-me-downs. We went to Valley Bicycles on Railroad Ave and I picked out a beautiful new bike and laid down my money. We surprised my son on his birthday and he was delighted. You remember that feeling…the look on his face was full of pride and freedom as we rode to school each morning. Christmas began to approach and one morning my son’s bike had disappeared from the side porch…this is behind a closed gate, mind you. We never left our bikes out in the open, always around the backyard or side porch.

We were shocked, saddened, angry. I didn’t know what to tell my boy…I called the bike shop thinking the thief may have tried to sell it back. I called the police and filed a report. There wasn’t much anyone could do. But then a friend of my wife posted the story on the Santa Clarita Facebook page. And here’s where the story turns a corner…the post got many sympathetic responses but one man in particular wrote that he wanted to give my son a bike. This bike had belonged to his son but he’d long grown it. He attached a picture of this beautiful silver bike that had obviously been customized and loved by this man’s little boy. But he wanted my son to have it.


This touched our hearts in such a huge way as Christmas arrived and we drove over to the man’s house to pick up the bike. All he asked of my son was that he pay it forward to some other little boy or girl when the time came.

So that’s what we’re doing this Christmas. My son has outgrown the bike and is eager to find someone in need to pass it on to.

Send a brief story of your candidate’s circumstances to [email protected] and my son will choose the lucky boy or girl to have the bike pictured above! He’s looking to give it to child who had their bike stolen, or broken or lost…or just a kid who wouldn›t be able to get one otherwise.

Until next time, have a wonderful holiday. Here’s wishing you and yours all the best in the New Year!

Eighth Annual Sierra Pelona Wine Festival

| Entertainment | December 12, 2019

The eighth annual Sierra Pelona Valley Wine Festival will take place on April 4, 2020 at Reyes Winery, 10262 Sierra Highway, Santa Clarita. The event will showcase nearly 175 wines from over 35 local wineries, brews, cider and spirits, as well as live music and food from more than 20 fine dining restaurants, gourmet food companies and local artists from Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley. There will also be a live auction and an opportunity raffle to help raise money.

Proceeds from the festival will benefit the local chapter of Zonta International. One hundred years ago, a small group of pioneering women came together in Buffalo, New York with a vision to help all women realize greater equality while using their individual and collective expertise in service to their community. Their vision became Zonta International, an organization that has grown to more than 29,000 members in 63 countries, working together to make gender equality a reality for women and girls worldwide.

The Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley brings these elements of service, advocacy and awareness of our international mission to life in ways that directly serve the Santa Clarita community. They provide hands-on service delivery while funding the work, dreams and goals of others to improve the lives of women. SCV Zonta offers several scholarships and community grants to women and girls in the Santa Clarita Valley. They also have many service projects like girls robotics at the Boys and Girls Club and LifeForward, a monthly workshop that gives awareness and life-building skills to women.

Tickets for the Sierra Pelona Wine Festival can be purchased at www.sierrapelonavintners.com/tickets. General admission is currently $65, and VIP tickets are $90. Starting March 1, ticket prices go up to $75 for general admission and $100 for VIP. From April 1 to the start of the day of the event tickets will be $85 and $110. On the day of the festival, the VIP and press entrance will open at noon, and the general admission entrance will open at 1 p.m.

Ketchup and Cabernet Sauvignon

| Entertainment | December 12, 2019

Last weekend my dad and I were watching a program on the History Channel about the food that built America. The episode was about the history of Heinz ketchup. I was fascinated and learned so many things that I never knew about the condiment. Originally it was a sauce not made from tomatoes, but from either fish, green walnuts or mushrooms. There is a theory that the word “catchup” came from China or Indonesia. They had a word, “keh jap,” which meant tomato juice or tomato sauce.

In the early 1800s there were recipes for “catchup” that included anchovies. For many years people would eat food, including meat that had spoiled because there was no refrigeration, doused in sauce to cover the smell and the taste. The story goes: One night Henry Heinz was sitting with his brother and sister-in-law having dinner and he thought he needed to come up with another condiment that people would love. Prior to inventing tomato ketchup he had gone bankrupt on a horseradish sauce that he attempted to mass produce, but it just didn’t catch on with the American public. Eventually he, along with his two brothers, started F & J Heinz and launched their condiment in 1876.

The last two weeks I’ve been inspired to use “catchup” in my recipes. Last week I did my cranberry barbecue sauce and recently I made meatloaf with a ketchup sauce. I served this with baked new potatoes and mixed vegetables.

I ended up pairing my dinner with 2012 Reyes Cabernet Sauvignon. This delicious estate Cabernet Sauvignon has a delightful bouquet of black cherries and mace. On the pallet this wine brings forth notes of cherries, pomegranate and cocoa. It was aged in oak for 33 months which gives it a striking butterscotch and oaky finish. It won two bronze medals, one in the 2017 Los Angeles International Wine Competition and also in the 2017 San Francisco International Wine Competition. It pairs well with a steak topped with blue cheese or black forest cake.

We are featuring this wine all month long in the tasting room at Reyes Winery. I hope to see you soon!

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