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Goodbye, Maestro

August 10, 2012

It would be natural to think Bogidar Avramov might feel a poignant tinge of melancholy this weekend.

Not so.

The creator and artistic director of the Sierra Summer Festival Orchestra, who will leave his post this season, bounced into the Mammoth Times offices the other day with his wife, Ilka, and their little poodle, Piccolo, showing nothing less than joy.

“Mammoth has been a part of our lives for over 40 years,” he said in his charming Austrian accent.

“We have seen it in its heyday and in its economic woes, but we believe in its future and we want to participate in it.

Oolation! singers at Mammoth Basin in free vocal concert

August 3, 2012

The Oolation! singers, a group of unique and powerful young singers from across the country who live in the mountains above the Mono Basin for two intense weeks of singing, percussion, and performance, bring their show to the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center this Sunday evening (Aug. 5).

It's one of those can't-miss shows, unique to the mountains, and it's free.

The show begins at 7 p.m. on the patio, and organizers say it would be a good idea to bring a seat or arrive early to get one.

Joe Louis Walker at Bluesapalooza

August 3, 2012

This weekend’s Bluesapalooza is so full of top-drawer talent that it is hard to just pull a single thing out of the hat and call it THE highlight.

But concertgoers at Sam’s Woodsite on Sunday would not be far off if they gave the nod to Joe Louis Walker.

Walker, now 62, is a journeyman’s journeyman in the blues world, but he shows no sign of slowing down.

Touring in support of his new record, “Hellfire,” Walker brings an eclectic mix of musical influences to the stage, from Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones on the rock ‘n’ roll end of the spectrum to hard-core blues on the other.

Fido & Me — Shed up!

August 3, 2012

“I’m all itchy and scratchy,” Fido said. He sat on his haunches, bent down a bit and scratched behind his ear.

“Wow, that’s a lot of fur that just flew off your neck, Old Boy,” I said. “Lemme take a look.”

There wasn’t anything that I could spot that was out of the ordinary.

“Fido, it’s shedding season, and I can make a lot of jokes out of that.”

“Such as?”

“You’re shed out of luck, for one. “

Fido made a little noise that sounded very much like a chuckle.

“Or,” said I, “You’re up shed creek without a paddle.”

Iconic bluesman Charlie Musselwhite comes to Mammoth's Bluesapalooza

July 27, 2012

It’s not often you can walk around Mammoth and rub elbows with a legend.

At least one who’s not running, skiing, snowboarding or dirt-biking.

Yet at this year’s Mammoth Festival of Beers & Bluesaplooza (Thursday through Sunday, next week), concert goers at Sam’s Woodsite can run smack into Charlie Musselwhite, and that’s about as close to legendary as it gets in the blues world.

Musselwhite, a native Mississippian with 30 solo albums, is touring in support of his new recording, “The Well.” It is a highly autobiographical collection of songs that won a Grammy nomination this year.

Fido & Me — Dignity

July 27, 2012

“Oy vey, am I scared!”

“Fido,” I said, “what in the world is going on? You’re speaking Yiddish.”

“Oy vey, am I scared!”

“That’s what you said. What’s got your goat? What’s the matter?”

Fido inched closer to my chair, almost right on top of my feet. Then I heard it. Way off in the distance (to my ears, anyway): thunder.

“Oy vey,” Fido said. “Am I scared! And I’m speaking Doggish, not Yiddish. An offshoot.”

Music Festival nearing its 2012 summer finale

July 27, 2012

The Mammoth Lakes Music Festival enters its final week of concerts, featuring the Felici Piano Trio and distinguished guests at Cerro Coso College.

Tickets ($25 adult, $20 senior, $10 student) are available at the Booky Joint in Mammoth Lakes, at the door at 6:45 p.m. on concert nights or at www.ChamberMusicUnbound.org.

Johnny Winter finds his roots

July 20, 2012

Veteran bluesman Johnny Winter says he never wanted to be a rocker.

In spite of his 1970 best-selling rock album “Johnny Winter … And,” featuring his brother, Edgar, Winter said he always was and always will be true to his first love: the blues.

“I wasn’t really happy crossing over to rock ‘n’ roll,” he said in a telephone interview from Charlotte, N.C., where he was to perform that night.

“That was my manager’s idea. I’d rather not be doing it. At the time, the blues was kind of fading out, and he thought I should do more rock.

Fido & Me —Organic Fido

July 20, 2012

“Forgive me, Fido, but I really never thought about what you were doing back in there. I know it’s a spot you like, but I’ve never really followed you, except to holler at you for digging around in someone’s yard.”

Fido made that “pulled-a-fast-one” grin on his puss.

“Hey hey hey hey! Just look!”

Fido had dug some semi-straight furrows in the dirt. Not really dirt, actually, but Mammoth dirt. That is, some dirt, mostly pumice.

“What is this, Fido?”

“It is my ‘Field of Dreams.’”

Local photographers at Mountain Light exhibit

July 20, 2012

Sweeping panoramic vistas, evocative landscapes and cultural portraits are featured in a new guest artist exhibit at Mountain Light Gallery.

Showcasing images by Sierra photographers Vern Clevenger, Jim Stimson, Londie Padelsky, Jerry Dodrill and John Dittli, the exhibit resonates with each artist's passion for exploration and their individually distinctive dedication to living a life immersed amid natural beauty.

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