January 30, 2015

2015 PB&RJ Returns to Bear with Free Rail Jam

Volcom Stone’s long-running—15 years now—Peanut Butter and Rail Jam returns to  Bear Mountain on January 31.

Four divisions—ages 15 and under, 16 and over, Girls and Open (Pro-Am)—are open to entrants on a first come, first serve basis, as riders take on three side-by-side rails and box features in The Scene, Bear’s collection of hike-to hits right above The Deck. Don’t worry about falling during your 20-minute heat; the judges only consider the tricks you pull.

Top five competitors in each division qualify to compete in the $15,000 PBRJ Global Chamipionships at Mammoth on April 18, 2015. The tour visits top resorts around the country and Canada including Boreal and Blue Mountain.

There’s tons of equipment prizes, cash and giveaways plus food and drink. Every participant goes home with a Volcom T-shirt and sticker too.
Preregister online at volcom.com/pbrj or starting at 8 a.m. day of the event in the Boardroom. Call (909) 866-5766.

January 29, 2015

Gin Blossoms, Foghat, Kershaw at Cave

Rock and roll legends Foghat, Grammy winner BJ Thomas, and The Drifters are just part of ambitious lineup this month at The Cave Big Bear.

There’s also country favorites James Otto and Sammy Kershaw, the popular Gin Blossoms, even a terrific string performance that has to be seen to be believed (story this page) and Grateful Dead tribute. There’s something for everyone at the recently remodeled entertainment venue with tiered seating, state-of-the-art sound system, laser lights and fog machines will be hopping. Plus there’s gourmet concessions including full cocktail service and beers from Big Bear Lake Brewing Co. and local Stone Summit wines. Think "House of Blues in the mountains" with 7:30 p.m. shows each weekend.

American icon BJ THOMAS is at The Cave on Jan. 30. The five time Grammy winner has sold over 70 million records and is ranked in Billboard’s Top 50 most played artists over the past half-century. His pop, country and gospel hits have defined generations.

His cover of the Hank Williams song "I’m So Lonely I Could Cry" sold over a million copies in 1966, a feat matched shortly thereafter by the classic "Hooked on a Feeling." His version of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" featured in the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" earned Thomas a Grammy and reached the top spot on the Billboard 100.

The next night the sound takes a 180-degree turn with "CUBENSIS Recreates the Grateful Dead Experience" on Jan. 31. The show pays homage to one of the great touring bands of all time, not by matching the Grateful Dead note for note but instead improvising and interpreting each tune just like the original band did.

Cubensis has been playing Dead music since 1987, performing its 3,000th show during a 2013 summer tour. Each show features a completely spontaneous set list faithfully recreating each song, an approach that has drawn acclaim from Orange County Register and LA Weekly among others. Get your Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia Band fix with tickets discounted to $12!

GIN BLOSSOMS takes the Cave stage Feb. 6. "Hey Jealousy" catapulted the band to fame, reaching #25 on the Billboard Top 100. Subsequent songs like "Till I Hear it From You," "Follow You Down," "As Long As it Matters" and "Until I Fall Away" took the airwaves by siege.

After disbanding in 1997, Gin Blossoms reformed four years later and since has been performing some 120 shows each year. The band has been a staple of late night television, appearing on the Letterman, Leno and Arsenio Halls shows along with Saturday Night Live and at The Grammys. The 2010 release of the "No Chocolate Cake" album shows Gin Blossoms still have it, with the single "Miss Disarray" reaching the top spot on Amazon. Tickets are $35.

One night later on Feb. 7 it’s country star JAMES OTTO. His single "Just Got Started Lovin’ You" was the number one country single in 2008 according to the Billboard charts. Other hit tunes include "For You" and "These are the Good Ole Days" and his latest album "Shake What God Gave Ya" is powerful with songs like "Groovy Little Summer Song" and "Soldiers & Jesus."

Otto also performed the new theme song for the Atlanta Braves baseball team and co-wrote Jamey Johnson’s hit "In Color" which was nominated for a 2008 Grammy. Tickets are just $20.

Heavyweight rockers FOGHAT performs Feb. 21. Songs like "Slow Ride" guarantee a wild ride with a band that has toured and recorded for over 40 years, garnering hits like "Fool for the City," "I Just Want to Make Love to You," "Stone Blue" and so many others.

The band has always been known for its live shows 1977’s "Foghat Live" is considered a rock and roll classic—and the band released a double live CD "Foghat Live II" in 2007 to great acclaim. While lead singer Lonesome Dave Peverett passed away in 2000, vocalist Charlie Huhn has taken his place admirably and the current lineup features many longtime band members. Great seats are just $45 or there’s pit and VIP tables for $75.

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January 15, 2015

Demos, Music, Prizes at Burton Festival

A full payload of product, parties and positive vibes is on tap when Burton Mountain Festival visits Bear Mountain for three days January 17-19.

Presented by MINI, Burton Mountain Festival, in its fourth year, features the latest gear that guests with a lift ticket get to demo for free. For the smallest snowboarders there’s Test Rides in the mini Riglet Park where kids are introduced to sideways sliding. Keep an eye out for appearances by leading pros

The Burton Mountain Festival includes the 2nd Annual Party in Your Park (P.I.Y.P) snowboard contest series. Held January 17 from 11:00 a.m. to noon, snowboarders can sign up at the Burton Lounge Tent from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Registration is free and each rider will be added to one of three teams who work together during the nationwide event. Members of the winning team will be awarded a grand prize and the best riders of the contest will be invited to compete in the west and east coast finals.

New to this year’s festival is the Burton Girls Ride Day Series, which will be held January 17. The day series event includes a complimentary breakfast and the opportunity for riders to take laps with Finnish freestyler Enni Rukajärvi during the Burton Girls pro ride. Dedicated to creating an inviting environment, especially for women, the Burton Girls tent will have staff in hand to assist female riders in choosing the latest gear.

The tour visits mountain resorts across the country including Mammoth the week before on Jan. 9-11, along with Mt. Hood, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Stratton, Mountain Creek, Boyne Highlands and Keystone. Call (909) 866-5766 or visit www.bearmountain.com..

January 9, 2014

Snowshoe, Film Fest at Winter Trails Day

Discover the beauty of the outdoors for free when National Forest Association and REI Rancho Cucamonga co-host National Winter Trails Day on Saturday, January 10 at Big Bear Discovery Center.

Burn holiday calories and explore beautiful Big Bear backcountry on snowshoes during the national event, held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Equipment and instruction is included followed by 45 minute tours take beginners into the woods to discover aerobic exercise amidst snowy solitude.

Guides from Bear Valley Trails Association and Sierra Club lead longer hikes for experienced snowshoers who have their own gear. Discovery Center youth volunteers will host a snowman building contest with prizes and there’s opporunity drawings, hot cocoa and snacks. It’s all free so sign up for an outing every half hour from 10 a.m. till 1:30 p.m.

"Strap on a pair of lightweight aluminum snowshoes and you’ll quickly see why snowshoeing has become one of the fastest-growing winter sports," said Stacy Gorin, NFA director of operations. "If you can walk, you can snowshoe. People are using snowshoes for a variety of activities — everything from hiking into pristine wilderness and aerobic conditioning to pure recreation with family and friends. We’re using snowshoes for discovery and adventure."

That evening in conjunction with Winter Trails Day there’s the Backcountry Film Festival Screening at 7 p.m. Catch a showing from the Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival, now in its 10th year of celebrating human powered winter fun. Proceeds go towards introducing youth to snowshoeing through the Pathways to Stewardship school program. Tickets online are $10 or $15 at the door. Call (909) 382-2790.

January 7, 2014

Grammy Winners Marc Cohn, BJ Thomas at Cave

Headliners like Grammy winner Marc Cohn and American icon BJ Thomas, island reggae and even comedy make for a full month of entertainment in January at The Cave Big Bear.

The recently remodeled entertainment venue offers tiered seating, state-of-the-art sound system, laser lights, fog machines, room to dance and gourmet concessions including beers from Big Bear Lake Brewing Co. and local Stone Summit wines. Think "House of Blues in the mountains" with every seat front and center and top shelf shows every weekend at 7:30 p.m. Missing Persons rocked out 2014 during a New Year’s Eve "Totally 1980’s" bash.

Reggae is on tap when KATCHAFIRE takes the Cave stage Jan. 10. The New Zealand-based group’s 2011 album "On the Road Again" reached #3 on Billboard’s Reggae Charts and the fifth spot on iTunes Reggae. Three of its songs landed in the Mediaguide Reggae Singles Top 10 and from the South Pacific to North America and Europe, Katchafire’s roots reggae continues to catch fire.

The band is known for trading instruments during live shows including stops at SXSW, Reggae on the River, House of Blues and more. Katchafire has headlined the 10,000 seat Waikiki Shell in Hawaii and toured Australia and Fiji. Iba Mahr opens the show with tickets priced at $25.

Grammy winner Marc Cohn is at The Cave Big Bear January 11, 2015Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter MARC COHN headlines Jan. 11. His hit song "Walking in Memphis" from his self-titled debut album catapulted him to fame and was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Pop Vocal at the 34th Grammy Awards; he ended up winning Best New Artist, edging out Boyz II Men and Seal among others.

"True Companion," a love song, was another hit from the album and he’s since topped the charts with other tunes including "My Great Escape." His music ranges from rock and soul to folk and pop, all of which were featured in a 2010 release of cover songs that reached #28 on The billboard Top 200. Tickets are $38 or VIP $70.

On Jan. 16 the Cave host’s UNWRITTEN LAW with nearly two million albums sold and half-a-dozen radio hits to its credit. Live shows are a band staple, demonstrated by the fiery release Live & Lawless recorded at the Key Club on Sunset Strip last March. Power packed hits include "Up All Night," "Save Me (Wake Up Call)" and the modern rock top hit "Seein’ Red."

Other hits include the Top 20 favorite "Rest of My Life," "Mean Girl," "Babylon" and early radio hit "Caitlin." "Unwritten Law is really a live band, and this is a great chance to see how we interact live on stage," said singer Scott Russo. Tickets for the show are a steal at just $15. The following evening on Jan. 17 is comedy night featuring Chris Reid, Kevin Farley and Robert Zapata Jr. with seats $23.

Guitar gurus Eric Johnson and Mike Stern are "Eclectic" together as they exchange six string licks on Jan. 23. The former comes from the rock realm and the latter from the jazz world and together their sound is unreal. Stern’s funky "Roll With It" and Johnson’s cruising pop anthem "Hullabaloo," reminiscent of his catchy Grammy winning rock instrumental "Cliffs of Dover," are highlights.

Both pay homage to guitar greats during the show, like Jimi Hendriz, Benny Goodman and Wes Montgromery, Johnson’s personal hero. Tickets are $30.

Hawaii’s most popular band from the windward side of Oahu NATURAL VIBRATIONS with Junior Reid and Karlos Paez of Bside Players is on Jan. 24. Their unique mix of reggae, rock and pop has allowed them to share the stage with artists ranging from Prince, Jimmy Cliff and Ziggy Marley to UB40, Jack Johnson, Pepper and SOJA to name a few.

The band’s six releases have earned multiple Rest Reggae Album and People’s Choice honors at the Hawaii Music Awards as well as the island’s prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. Tickets are $15.

A week later American icon BJ THOMAS is at The Cave on Jan. 30. The five time Grammy winner has sold over 70 million records and is ranked in Billboard’s Top 50 most played artists over the past half-century. His pop, country and gospel hits have defined generations.

His cover of the Hank Williams song "I’m So Lonely I Could Cry" sold over a million copies in 1966, a feat matched shortly thereafter by the classic "Hooked on a Feeling." His version of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" featured in the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" earned Thomas a Grammy and reached the top spot on the Billboard 100.

"(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song," the longest running #1 on the Billboard charts ever, is another megahit. "I Just Can’t Help Believing" and "Rock and Roll Lullabye" are other classics. See this legend up close and personal for just $40!

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

December 26, 2014

Ring in 2015 with Family Party, 80's Bash

Where will you be when the ball drops in Times Square to ring in 2015? Sing Auld Lang Syne during several happenings, from family-friendly to totally 1980’s bash...

First off, celebrate the New Year with Snow Summit’s traditional Torchlight Parade on December 31 at 7 p.m. Some 250 torch-(they’re actually flares but who cares) bearing skiers and snowboarders slowly descend down Log Chute in a serpentining sea of light that can best be seen from the lake’s north shore—try the East Boat Launch and Woodland Trail parking lots.

Then it’s time to party! At Bear Mountain DJ Club George returns with his insane cage and pole dancing from 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Guests enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres all night included in the $20 cover, like shrimp cocktail, baked brie, bruschetta and more. There’s also champagne toast at midnight. (909) 866-5766.

Snow Summit meanwhile parties from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. in the Bullwheel Bar with DJ Desi, who really gets `em dancing. The $20 cover includes light hors d’oeuvres and party favors; get tickets at the door or call (909) 866-5766.

Families will want to check out Wyatt’s Cafe and Saloon at the Convention Center for a New Year’s bash that welcomes kids as well as adults. Big Bear’s only family celebration features indoor bounce house, arts and crafts projects for ages 3-12, and arcade games. Wyatt’s, open Wednesdays and Fridays (except Christmas Eve) is one of Big Bear’s best dining values with hearty portions at wallet-friendly prices. Beat the holiday crowds as Wyatt’s is open with expanded schedule featuring live band on Dec. 26, DJ Joe Vonesh Dec. 27, and Silver Moon Dec. 28.

The special New Year’s menu features a variety of affordable entrees, appetizers, desserts and special children’s meals. DJ Vonesh spins a variety of country and Top 40 tunes and there’s free country dance lessons. Live entertainment features Dawson’s Gang, one of Southern California’s top country rock bands. Playing exclusively top hits the sound is southern rock-meets-modern country in a high energy show. Midnight features complimentary champagne toast and there’s plenty of party favors to ring in 2015.

Doors open at 5 p.m. with dancing at 7 and Dawson’s Gang taking the stage at 8. New this year Wyatt’s is offering complimentary door-to-door take home service beginning at 9 p.m. Cover charge is just $5 per person (6 and under free) or $10 per family (up to six members). The Convention Center is at 42900 Big Bear Blvd. at Division; call (909) 585-3000.

The Cave Big Bear, the Valley’s state-of-the-art concert venue, takes guests back to the 1980’s to rock in the New Year with its "Totally 80’s Bash." Headlining is lead vocalist Dale Bozzio and Missing Persons, bringing the band’s many hits like "Words," "Destination Unknown," "Walking in LA" and many more.

The evening also includes Bow Wow Wow ("I Want Candy"), When in Rome ("The Promise") and Gene Loves Jezebel ("Heartache," "Desire," "The Motion of Love" and "Jealous"). Doors open at 6 p.m. with first band taking the stage at 8.

Buffet, dessert, champagne toast, party favors, giveaways, photos and more are included in the $100 cover charge. There’s also an 80’s Best Dressed Costume Contest. Cave is at 40789 Village Dr.. (877) 825-4388 or www.thecavebigbear.com.

Nottingham’s features a special New Year’s dinner menu downstairs from 5-10 p.m. before the party upstairs. Live music starts at 9 p.m. with Izon Eden’s classic covers and the evening includes appetizers, desserts, champagne toast at midnight and party favors for $36. (909) 866-4644.

December 17, 2014

Something's Askew With This `Christmas Carol'

The seasonal classic A Christmas Carol gets a new look—albeit a disjointed one—when it’s staged in zany panto form for four shows at the Performing Arts Center December 18-21.

A Christmas Carol...AskewA Christmas Carol...Askew is a seasonal spoof of the familiar Dickens’ story. Presented by Steve Cassling, Brian Adams and Ty Warren, the show is part mayhem, part Monty Python as it tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Cassling, and his visit by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.

"To put it in perspective, Elvis is one of the ghosts of Christmas," Cassling said in describing the production. "The music features everything from Elvis to High School Musical." And while the storyline is familiar with traditional Dickens characters, antics change from show to show so no two productions are the same. This is the third time the trio has presented the show to great acclaim.

Big Bear Theatre Project has plenty of experience bringing panto theater, which heavily relies on audience involvement as well, to Big Bear. During summer shows at Discovery Center’s outdoor amphitheater audiences howled at crazy presentations of Robin Hood and other shows have featured takeoffs on The Wizard of Oz and Treasure Island.

Cassling is armed with panto plays from his days at the Pasadena Playhouse. The show is filled with good jokes, bad jokes, political humor, songs, guys in dresses and plenty of audience involvement. "We’re updating the script with new topical jokes and the Cratchitts have a new love song duet," Cassling said. Last year it was Miley Cyrus’ "Wrecking Ball."

While A Christmas Carol...Askew is crazy, the performers are all talented with professional credits including roles with Community Arts Theater Society (CATS) and other productions. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. with 4 p.m. Sunday matinee.

Tickets are bargain priced at $14, $6 students/seniors. For more information visit www.bigbeartheatreproject.com.

Call the PAC at (909) 866-4970.

December 16, 2014

Santa Claus, Santa Claws Visit Big Bear

Youngsters can tell Santa what they want for Christmas when jolly St. Nick makes the rounds during several appearances in Big Bear before his big night out.

Santa Claus in Big Bear VillageEvery Saturday and Sunday through December 21, Santa and Mrs. Claus are in their little house at the corner of the Village "L", complete with mood-setting fireplace, for photos and Christmas wishes from the little ones from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The bright lights of the season make for festive outings and the 60-plus unique stores in the newly-remodeled Village, decked out for the holidays with decorations and music all around, create a unique shopping experience so different from malls, outlets and the internet. Be sure to see the towering decorated tree on the corner of Pine Knot and Village Drives next to Santa’s House and don’t miss the chance to warm by gas fire pits in front of Amangela’s and Copper Q.

Old-fashioned lamp posts with snow piled against them and the sound system playing Christmas carols create a family atmosphere. The brilliant holiday lights that were so impressive last winter will be even better this year. And don’t miss seven carved bears and other woodland critters in a variety of poses scattered throughout the Village perfect for photo ops, with some large enough to sit on. Perfect for quick posts to Facebook or Instagram!

The American Legion’s annual Santa visit is on Dec. 6 at the Convention Center. Children ages 2-12 are invited for free hot dogs and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and each child goes home with a special gift. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. with Santa arriving at 11. Convention Center is on the corner of Division and Big Bear Blvd. across from Big Bear Snow Play. (909) 585-3000.

Saint Nick gets a different look at Big Bear Alpine Zoo on Saturdays Dec. 6, 13 and 20. Santa Claws comes to town from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and he’s not your run-of-the-mill holiday elf. But he is ready to meet as many kids as possible and pose for the most unique Santa photo around.

While at the zoo, don’t miss the new Himalayan snow leopards Asha and Shanti, who arrived at the facility this summer. The two cats came from Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle and have each had their right eyes removed after they were born with a relatively rare congenital eye anomaly called multiple ocular coloboma.

The zoo also sports one of the largest timber wolf populations and is one of only two facilities in the state where California’s official symbol, the grizzly bear, can be seen. Black bears, mountain lions, bald eagles and many more animals call the park home. Zoo winter hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., till 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting. Admission is $12, $9 seniors/ages 3-10, under 3 free. (909) 878-4200.