April 22, 2015

Big Bear High's Addams Family Spooky, Fun

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky. They’re also a lot of fun live on stage when Big Bear High’s Performing Arts Department presents "The Addams Family—A New Musical Comedy" five shows only at the Performing Arts Center.

During 7:30 p.m. performances on April 24-25 and May 1-2 along with 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee April 26, America’s year-round macabre favorites come to life accompanied by live music. The family’s spooky mansion in New York City’s Central Park is the setting for the show directed by Diane Thompson.

Elizabeth Johnson stars as the elegant and seemingly undead Morticia. married to ever-devoted husband Gomez played by Jacob Walker. Their happy if hokey existence is in turmoil as daughter Wednesday (Dalaney Doyle), ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with sweet young man Lucas, played by Talon Stradley, who comes from a respectable family whom the Addams’ have never met. When Wednesday begs her father not to tell her mother, Gomez is forced to do something he had never done before—keep a secret from his wife.

Hysterics unfold when the Addams host a dinner for Wednesday’s boyfriend and his parents Mal and Alice Beineke (Jonathan Toner and Tori Budd/Kyrah Werner. Naturally Uncle Fester played by Spencer Cassling is around along with butler Lurch (Garrett Werner), Grandma (Jacquire Cummings and Miranda Wonacott), Wednesday’s brother Pugsley (Syndi Rose) plus a whole host of ancestors.

BBHS is about the only group to take advantage of the PAC’s band pit so the music is live directed by Karl Thompson, featuring songs like The Addams Family Theme and “When You’re an Addams.” The band members are local musicians including Kathy Aughenbaugh and Dennis Pond on winds and reeds, Tom Augehbaugh and Steve Mangels on trumpet, George Mazzacane and Rito Carroll on trombone, David Castagner on bass, Steve Boggio on drums and Ingrid Olsen and Steve Schour on keyboards. All have serious credits in their backgrounds and the music alone is reason enough to see this show.

Tickets are $16, $11 seniors and students. Call (909) 866-4970 or visit www.citybigbearlake.com.

April 8, 2015

Beatles, Stones Bands Duke it Out at Cave

Who’s best, the Beatles or Rolling Stones? Fans decide when what the Los Angeles Times called “The Most Unique Tribute Show in Decades” returns to The Cave Big Bear Saturday, April 11.

Jumping Jack Flash Plays at The Cave Big BearIt’s an on-stage musical shootout a courtesy of internationally renowned tribute bands Abbey Road and Jumping Jack Flash that also drew rave reviews from Orange County Register for recent shows at the House of Blues. Both bands go to great lengths to make the competition as real as possible; Abbey Road members play modern reissues of the exact same instruments and amps the Beatles used, while Jumping Jack Flash’s “Keith Richards” (Young Hutchison) duplicates the disjointed walk, blacked-out tooth and electrical tape around snakeskin boots made famous by the guitarist.

The bands alternate mini sets and trade improvised barbs and banter between songs to act out the famous “rivalry.” From costume changes that take the Beatles from their black suits for “A Hard Day’s Night” and mustaches and wigs a la the Sgt. Pepper era to the wild gyrations of the Stones’ Mick Jagger (courtesy Sir Joseph Infante), both bands present accurate sound and look too.

Since 2011 the shootout has played to sold out audiences across the west, from the Coach House and Canyon Club to Harrah’s Tahoe, Harrah’s Rincon and Pala Casino. The bands recently concluded a three-month run at Harrah’s Reno showroom and another long run at Harrah’s Laughlin.

Show producers Tom Maher and Andy Nagle auditioned over 200 Beatles performers at a casting call in 2008, many of whom already played in tribute bands. In this competition concert, the bands strive to be so accurate, even the mistakes are duplicated. “In `All My Lovin’ Ringo forgets the form of the song and goes into the chorus beat by mistake,” said Axel Clarke, who fills the drummer’s shoes for Abbey Road. “He plays that beat for one bar, realizes his error, and switches back to the verse beat. Most people might not notice things like that, but it adds a level of authenticity.”

The bands play five alternating power sets then come together for an amazing encore. So who wins this competition? The audience naturally, enjoying top shelf tributes to two legendary bands in the same evening. Like Orange County Register said: “If you see only one tribute show, see this one...smart and loads of fun.” Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show start at just $16.

The Cave Big Bear is at 40789 Village Dr.  (877) 825-4388 or www.thecavebigbear.com.

April 8, 2015

Wine Dinner Features Cakebread Cellars

The Wine Room at Wolf Creek Resort in Big Bear hosts an intimate evening pairing fine wines from Cakebread Cellars and an elegant five course dining experience at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 10.

Cakebread Cellars is from Rutherford in the Napa Valley area. Founded by Jack and Dolores Cakebread in 1973, the company’s belief is that “life’s occasions are elevated by good people, good food and good wine.” A Cakebread representative will be on hand to discuss the history of each wine and why it pairs so well with each course.

The amazing wine dinner begins with appetizer featuring Manila clams and andouille sausage in a tomato broth, paired with 2013 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. The first course is halibut ceviche with avocado, partnered with 2010 Carneros chardonnay, a select variety from one of California’s oldest and most celebrated areas and one of the world’s top regions for pinot noir and charndonnay.

After a palette-cleansing lemon sorbet it’s on to the second course of grapewood smoked venison tenderloin with fresh berry sauce, accompanied by 2013 Anderson Valley Two Creeks Pinot Noir. The third course of prime bison filet mignon topped with carmelized onions, sauteed hen of the woods mushrooms and asparagus served with 2011 Napa Valley Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.

Chocolate flourless cake with chocolate ganache concludes the menu, served with Aged Port, Wine Room owner David Stone’s personal choice. Along the culinary journey there will be some wine trivia with  winners take home bottles of wine.

Complimentary take home shuttle service is from 9-10:30 p.m. or just stay overnight in one of Wolf Creek Resort’s beautiful rooms with 10% discount under the code “Wine Dinner.” Tickets are $125.

The Wine Room at Wolf Creek Resort is at 41421 Big Bear Blvd. in Big Bear Lake. Call (909) 549-9578

April 3, 2015

Weekly Pebble Plain Wildflower Walks Start April 4

Baldwin Lake Ecological Reserve opens for the season on April 4 and there’s a guided wildflower hike organized by Southern California botanists at 11:30 a.m.

Join San Bernardino National Forest botanists as they lead guided Wildflower Walks through unique Pebble Plain terrain. Volunteers identify some of the unique species that grow here and nowhere else in the world. The walk is a loop and is free; bring your own lunch and water and wear hiking boots. Parking and restrooms are available.

“During the season there should be loads of wildflowers on the Pebble Plain,” botanist Tommy Stoughton said. “It may not be as showy as this time last year, depending on weather, but we’ll try to identify two different blooms. Parish’s rock crest are blooming already. `Shooting Stars’ should be in peak bloom at the time of this walk.”

Each subsequent Saturday at 11:30 a.m. additional guided wildflower walks will be led by SOCAL Botanists in the reserve through June 27. Best viewing is in April and May as colors are in full bloom and temperatures are still relatively cool.

At Big Bear Discovery Center, free Nature Walks continue Saturdays at 1 and 2 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. and noon. Each 30-minute, non-strenuous adventure explores Discovery Center’s forest grounds as naturalists point out local flora and fauna plus local history.

Call Big Bear Discovery Center at (909) 866-3437.

April 3, 2015

Time to Buy the Cali4nia Season Pass is Now!

Season pass deals keep getting better and better and for Southern California skiers and snowboarders, the Cali4nia Pass is best of them all.

Now’s the time to buy the pass that offers unlimited access to the four most popular resorts—Snow Summit, Bear Mountain, Mammoth and June Mountain. Purchase your pass before April 30 and pay just $689. Buy it before April 6 and receive $100 in resort credit as an added bonus, good for purchases around the resorts on things like lessons, rentals, dining, shopping and much more.

For an extra hundred bucks at $789 there’s the Cali4nia Premium Pass, which adds 50% off lift tickets at Mountain Collective Resorts like Whistler Blackcomb, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Lake Louise/Sunshine Village, Jackson Hole and more plus Pass Cash bonus is upped to 25% and there’s huge lodging savings.

Snow Summit and Bear Mountain have offered “Screamin’ Deal” passes for years and the Cali4nia Pass takes the bargain to another level. In addition to unlimited skiing and riding at the four resorts that typically have the longest seasons in their respective regions, Cali4nia Pass comes with a slew of extra benefits like early up events with complimentary breakfast, discounts on lodging, shopping 50% lift tickets for friends and family, and more.

One of the better perks is Pass Cash. Purchase spending money around the resorts before April 30 and get an extra 20% loaded onto your pass—yes that’s free money to spend as you enjoy 61 lifts, 240 named trails and nearly 6,000 acres of terrain between the four resorts. Buy Cali4nia Pass now and it’s good for the rest of this season at Mammoth too, expected to run through April and maybe longer.

Traditional Big Bear pass offerings are also available that don’t include Mammoth or June. Dual Mountain Anytime season pass valid weekends and holidays at both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain are $499 ($429 youth age 13-22).

Dual mountain passes valid midweek only (nonholiday) are $299 ($229 youth). Anytime Bear Mountain only passes are back at last year’s price of $399 ($329 youth) and it’s the resort that has had Southern California’s longest season two years running. All passes come with discounts, buddy tickets and more including summer discounts at Mammoth and Snow Summit bike parks. But hurry—pass prices go up May 1 and they won’t be rolled back to these levels at September’s Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails.

Call (909) 866-5766 or visit www.Cali4niaPass.com.

March 31, 2015

Diamond Rio, Ultimate Doors Tribute Rock The Cave

Six-time Vocal Group of the Year Diamond Rio, smoking hot tributes and a faceoff between Beatles and Stones music have The Cave Big Bear hopping in April.

The Cave offers a one-of-a-kind concert experience with tiered seating ensuring a clear stage view from every seat and there’s a real club feel to The Cave with new bar in the back and cocktail tables along with gourmet concessions including full cocktail service and beers from Big Bear Lake Brewing Co. and local Stone Summit wines.. The state-of-the-art sound system is pure concert venue quality with laser lights and fog machines. In recent weeks guests have been treated to up close and personal concerts by Don McLean and Edgar Winter among other top artists performing just a few feet away.

Starting with a terrific tribute to NO DOUBT and RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Saturday, April 4. No Duh returns to The Cave with the music of No Doubt and Gwen Stefani, courtesy of a complete, high energy, audiovisual show, right down to the props and costume changes. The band has had numerous television credits including full length features on “Good Morning America” and CNN Headline News. Also performing are the Red NOT Chili Peppers, the nation’s #1 band paying tribute to the ultimate funk rock quartet. The band stays true to three decades of hits and hundreds of song with a high energy performance that has earned it international acclaim. Tickets for two great acts are just $16-$26.

Diamond Rio headlines The Cave Big Bear Friday, April 17, 2015April 11 sees the epic clash Beatles vs. Stones (story this page) before Grammy winning DIAMOND RIO headlines Friday, April 17. Country stars Diamond Rio has recorded seven studio albums, three of which have gone platinum.

The band’s debut single “Meet in the Middle” reached the top spot in the charts, making Diamond Rio the first country group to ever debut with a #1 song. More than 30 chart toppers have followed since,  including four more number one: ?How Your Love Makes Me Feel,” “One More Day,”  “Beautiful Mess” and “I Believe.”

Diamond Rio is also known for its Christian music and has 13 Grammy nominations. Tickets start at $39.

CRAZY TOWN plays the next night April 18. Formed in 1995 the alternative rock band is best known for the single “Butterfly” which reached #1 on the Hot 100 chart. Crazy Town released the single “Megatron” in December 2014 from the upcoming album The Brimstone Sluggers. Tickets start at $16.

Robby Krieger, John Densmore and Ray Manzarek agree: WILD CHILD with Dave Brock’s Doors Experience is the closest thing to reliving an actual Doors concert that there is. The remaining Doors members have all lavished praise on Wild Child, which for 20 years has painstakingly striven to reproduce an actual Doors concert from the late 1960’s. As has renowned radio host Jim Ladd along with major newspapers, Doors collector magazines and many more.

Lead singer Brock brings the voice, look and essence of the late Jim Morrison to life. He has been singing the late star’s music since grabbing the lead in the “Jim Morrison Rock Opera” produced by the late legend’s sister before starting Wild Child, which uses the same instruments the Doors were playing over 40 years ago.

Two years ago the band produced  a 22 song live concert double CD of songs The Doors made popular along with songs from the band’s last album that were never done live with Morrison before his untimely death. The band tours internationally playing to packed venues around the globe, but at The Cave audiences will be up close and personal for the April 25 show with tickets starting at just $21.

The Cave Big Bear; 40789 Village Dr.  (877) 825-4388 or www.thecavebigbear.com.

March 18, 2015

CATS Gals Stage `Broadway Broads of Big Bear'

For 20 years Community Arts Theater Society (CATS) has presented a variety of musicals. For its spring 2015 production the company presents a variety show with the ones it hasn’t done.

The ladies star when CATS stages Broadway Broads of Big Bear at its Warehouse TheaterThe original musical revue “Broadway Broads of Big Bear” takes a very different look at stage classics during 7:30 p.m. shows on March 20-21 and 27-28 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees on March 22 and 29 at the CATS Warehouse Theater. A talented all-female cast performs selections from  shows like Chicago, Wicked, Sunset Boulevard, Gypsy, Ragtime, Songs for a New World, Evita and others—all musicals CATS has never staged and for a variety of reasons likely never will.

It’s a unique opportunity for eight ladies, all of whom list starring roles in previous CATS productions in their credits,  to put their own stamp on material they’ll likely never touch otherwise. Plus there’s a terrific original opening song “Broads of Broadway” written for the show by longtime CATS favorite Robin Field.

“So much Broadway material features women and we have so many wonderful talented women in CATS, who rarely get a chance to really branch out and perform when we do our major productions,” said director Karen “Sarge” Rachels who also performs in the show. “There are serious songs and comedy songs about women and their goals, life changes, and about men.”

CATS already had a bevy of leading ladies to work with and added another when Carolyn Freeman Champ joined the company for its 20th anniversary show last fall. A voice over artist represented by Synergy Talent, Champ is involved with the Academy for New Musical Theatre in North Hollywood for which she has performed several original works along with a one-person cabaret in Hollywood.

Training from The Broadway Co. with one-on-one workshops from veteran Broadway performers has prepared her well for this show, along with a variety of stage credits and two national tours of the popular USO musical In the Mood. She performs two songs from Evita, “I’d be Surprisingly Good for You” and the signature song “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.”

Nancy Celeste Walker also brings her ample abilities to the show. Along with appearing in numerous CATS shows she’s performed at the White House for President Clinton and three times at the Redlands Bowl. Her “Concerts on the Green” at Inn at Fawnskin have been summer favorites and she attracted a large following as a South Bay cabaret singer.

Kim Boda and Elena Peavy also star. The pair combine with Walker to form Big Bear’s “Divas,” a talented trio that entertains at local functions and all are CATS veterans. Boda, who got her stage start with the world renowned Young Americans, has been with CATS for 20 years, starring in productions of The Sound of Music, Man of La Mancha, Oliver!, Picnic at the PAC and Bearly Broadway. Peavy’s credits meanwhile include Cinderella, The Odd Couple, Senior Class and twice as the Wicked Witch in two CATS productions of The Wizard of Oz.

Serena Saunders stars in summer’s Annie Get Your Gun and sings “Popular” from Wicked in this show. She grew up in Big Bear and charmed audiences as Ado Annie in Oklahoma! and also starred in The King and I. Likewise Amber Parle is another local girl who has spent the past few years teaching and traveling the world, but in between she has found time to appear in three CATS shows.

Rounding out the cast is the powerful voice of Diana Hintergardt, who has had leading roles in The King and I as Mrs. Anna and Oklahoma! as Laurey. Entertaining has been in her DNA since childhood, from the award winning swing choir The Emeraldaires to studying acting at Expressions Unlimited and Image Development.

Then of course there’s Rachels, whose background includes a lengthy career with Ralph Edwards Productions on shows like “Name That Tune” and “Truth or Consequences.” It was Kenny Rogers who gave her the nickname “Sarge” and her performing career includes roles on Broadway, in National Tours and Summer Stocks shows like Carousel, All American, Babes in Arms, Showboat and more.

As an added treat, accompanying is Michael Reno, no stranger to playing for Divas; during the heyday of cabaret in the 1970’s and 80’s he was one of the most sought-after accompanists on the West Coast. All tickets $20. CATS Warehouse Theater is at 1117 W. Big Bear Blvd. in Big Bear City. www.bigbeartheater.org or (909) 585-4757.

March 16, 2015

Neff Beach Bash at Bear with cash purse, prizes

A huge $3,000 cash purse—winner takes all—is on the line during the Neff Beach Bash on March 21 in The Scene at Bear Mountain.

The beach-theme rail jam also has prizes for Best Outfit plus the Grom Award for under age 16 riders is a one-year Neff sponsorship. Neff team riders will be on hand to judge the competition and the first 50 to sign up get a free Neff beanie. Or design and make your own Neff hat.

Tons of product giveaways and DJs Matty MO and Slipmatt make for a great late season party with Red Bull, Wahoo’s and Snowboarder Magazine on site. Registration at 10 a.m. is free for those with a lift ticket or season pass and the event gets underway at noon with awards party at 3.

The event is a great opportunity to score a $99 pass valid at both Bear and also Snow Summit for the rest of the season. Best part is that the $99 can also be applied to next year's season pass too including the Cali4nia Pass which provides unlimited access to both Big Bear resorts along with Mammoth Mountain and June.

Call the Big Bear resorts at (909) 866-5766.