The prodigal beatboxer returns: Casa Grande grad Paul Donnelly studied percussion in high school, playing drums in the marching band, gradually shifting to the Celtic bodhran as a member of Elizabethan ensembles at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire. Eventually, Donnelly discovered that most of the sounds he could make using drums, sticks and hands, he could do using only his voice. Thus began his career as an a capella “beatboxer,” aka “a vocal percussionist.” After moving to Chicago to join the group Blind Man’s Bluff, Donnelly began touring nationally, quickly building a stellar reputation for his auditory creativity and mind-boggling beatbox skills. His current group, the Minnesota-based Sound Exchange, will be back in the North Bay this weekend, competing in the annual Harmony Sweepstakes A Capella Festival National Finals, Saturday, May 20, at Marin Civic Center in San Rafael ( Donnelly hopes to hear the cheers of many of his old Petaluma friends, who should be warned: cheer as loud as you like, but don’t be surprised if Donnelly is still even louder.

Ugly Dog Contest sign-ups now open: On to a very different kind of contest. The Sonoma-Marin Fair’s annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest is gearing up again, and looking for unbecoming canine applicants. Every year, dozens of perfectly imperfect pooches go head-to-head to prove which is the most adorably ugly canine. Entries must be received in the Sonoma-Marin Fair office no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21. The Fair runs June 21-25. Entries are $10. Applications available online at

Not-so-ugly dogs get their exercise pool: After months of fund-raising, Lily’s Legacy Dog Sanctuary has just exceeded the $10,000 needed to fund a canine hydrotherapy pool, a state-of-the-doggy-art exercise tool that will help slow-moving doggies stay fit with minimal damage to their aging joints.

Lonely Dogs have their day: Petaluma’s Dogma Animal Rescue non-profit will host a fundraiser and dog-adoption event on Saturday, May 20, 1-4 p.m. at Beyond the Glory, where adoptable dogs will be waiting to meet prospective “adopters.” A percentage of every meal will be donated to Dogma. Petaluma poet out-writes the competition in London – Last month, at the Royal Society of Antiquaries in London, England Petaluma’s own Tallulah Lefkowitz was awarded the Keats-Shelley Young Romantics Poetry Prize – and a check for 1000 pounds. Lefkowitz, a sophomore at Petaluma High School, was one of eight teenage authors short-listed for the honor. First place ultimately went to her poem “The Step of Two.”

Congratulations Tallulah!