The Buzz: ‘Pill Head’ in theaters this April; County offers grants to artists

News, notes and tidbits from in and around Petaluma|

‘Pill Head’ lands local theatrical release date: Petaluma author-filmmaker Daedalus Howell, who shot his latest movie “Pill Head” on the streets alleys, and in the hotels, bars, libraries and shops of Petaluma, tells THE BUZZ that his entertaining, black-and-white, science-fiction/comedy “artsploitation” film will get a theatrical run beginning in late April. Locals, he says, will be able to catch the movie at Boulevard Cinemas, where it will be presented for the benefit of those who’d like to catch local locations on the big screen. “Pill Head,” about a woman who undergoes experimental drug treatment and wakes up with certain “abilities” she was not counting on. In a whimsical bit of Hitchcockian on-screen self-mockery, Howell appears in the movie as a time travelling author named, of course, Daedalus Howell. The film was screened to a sold-out crowd (and a delirious standing ovation) on Feb. 20 at the Mystic Theatre, with cast and crew in attendance. After its April run in Petaluma and elsewhere, the film will become available on various streaming platforms. Information on the film can be found at

Cinnabar’s Elly Lichenstein to direct Sondheim’s ‘Passion’ at Spreckels: Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s “Passion,” a dark romance about obsession and madness, was first staged in 1994. Despite being acclaimed for the beauty of its music, it has not had nearly as many productions since then as have Sondheim’s other tragically twisted musicals (“Sweeney Todd,” “Assassins,” “Into the Woods”). Locals will finally get a chance to experience “Passion” in 2020 – directed by Elly Lichenstein, Artistic Director of Petaluma’s Cinnabar Theater - when Rohnert Park’s Spreckels Theatre Company presents the show as part of its 2019/2020 season. The season was announced Saturday night at a special musical event at Spreckels Performing Arts Center. The rest of the season, which will begin in fall of 2019, will have a number of other local premieres. Kicking it off in the fall is Jonathan Spector’s “Eureka Day,” a play about a touchy-feely cooperative preschool experiencing a major conflict over a decision regarding vaccination. The others shows, in order, are the musical “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” (by Robert L. Freedman and Stephen Lutvak), Margot Melcon and Lauren Gunderson’s “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,” “Urinetown” (the futuristic musical by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis) and “Matilda: the Musical,” by Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelley. “Passion” will be staged by Lichenstein in the intimate Condiotti experimental theater, and is scheduled to take place in the spring of 2020, between “Urinetown” and “Matilda.”

Petaluma’s Lucy London organizes youth climate strike: The North Bay Youth Climate Strike, set to take place this Friday, March 15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., is being organized by Petaluma-based actor, environmentalist and activist Lucy London. The peaceful protest in favor of the Green New Deal is timed to coincide with other school strikes taking place around the globe on Friday, inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thumberg. London hopes to see hundreds of concerned young people at the event, which will include speakers, live music, art, food, a postcard table and more. Attendees are encouraged to use the SMART train, and students who use the train will be reimbursed for 50% of their fare at the Courthouse Square event.

Creative Sonoma opens grant applications for local bands, artists and writers: An array of upcoming grants are now up for grabs, courtesy of Sonoma County’s Creative Sonoma nonprofit. Grant applications are currently being accepted under four separate programs. Discovered Grants for Emerging Artists will be awarded to five visual artists and five literary artists who are one the verge of being discovered and/or published. In addition to the cash grants (of $2,500 each), artists will be given a curated exhibit at the Museum of Sonoma County, and writers will be given a public reading of their works. Applications for Discovered Grants must be received by Friday, April 12. Next Level Grants, given to musicians and bands, will also be for $2,500, and will be paired with 10-hours of one-on-one business consulting. Applications for Next Level Grants must be received by Friday, March 29. Arts Education Innovation Grants, available to nonprofit organizations providing arts learning programs for students age 2-28, will be awarded in the amount of $7,500.The deadline for these grants is Friday, April 12. Eligibility guidelines and applications can be found at

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