with Joel Brungardt
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KVMR's Next Music Concert: Live From Alaska?

KVMR 89.5 FM is heading north to Alaska for its next live remote music broadcast this Saturday night at 11 p.m. 

Excuse us...Live from Alaska?

But that's nuts...it's more than 2000 miles from the radio station's Nevada City home. 

Well, leave it to KVMR volunteer broadcasters Paul Barbieri and Cheri Snook, both red hot fans of the emerging Alaskan music scene, to pull off something that sounds pretty kooky.   

The occasion is the 20th anniversary performance of Alaska's top jam band, The Photonz, at the Sitzmark in the resort town of Girdwood, where music artists like Bob Weir and Leftover Salmon have recently visited and played.

While 11 p.m. sounds pretty late,  the party  -- about an hour outside Anchorage -- will just be getting into swing because of the two-hour time difference, as Snook says, "in the Land of the Midnight Sun and will go to the crack of dawn" or approximately 3 a.m. with KVMR Red Eye Radio regular, volunteer Russ Roy, in studio.



"I figure if we can do it (a broadcast) from the Bay Area,  we can surely do it from Alaska," says a grinning Barbieri, sounding sort of logical. 

Last December, he and KVMR Chief Engineer Dave "Buzz" Barnett had put together a live station remote broadcast from Mill Valley's fabled Sweetwater Music Hall featuring a reunion of the band Zero. 

This time, Barbieri and Snook -- who alternate as hosts of the Thursday Morning Show (7 a.m. to 10 a.m.) -- made arrangements with Anchorage area music archivist and sound designer Paul McLendon to make the broadcast happen. 

"Alaska actually has the technology we need," notes Snook, who calls The Photonz "my favorite jam band since the first time I heard them."

"They're unique, with a core sense of a cosmic funk experience your body and mind can feed from."

Snook recalls going to one of their concerts in Crested Butte, Colorado, where temperatures were 20 below zero.  

"It was so cold you couldn't even smoke pot," laughs Cheri. 



And the Photonz did play once locally at the Miner's Foundry back in 2001.

"They're a mixture of newgrass, funk, folk and improvisational psychedelic rock," according to Barbieri. 

No station funds are being used in the broadcast, although Barbieri will be bringing some KVMR remote gear they'll need for the broadcast. Meanwhile, engineer Barnett will be at the other end of the late night remote  -- in KVMR's studio -- just to make sure the broadcast starts without a hitch.

"You could say we're bringing 'The Last Frontier' live to Nevada City," quips Barbieri, with Snook saying the Photonz "are worth a trip in the Winter of Alaska."

Only you can save that 2000 miles of travel and hear the concert live because, as Cheri and KVMR like to say, "You don't have to be there to be there."



A pair of Town Hall Meetings will be broadcast live from the Nevada Theatre, downtown Nevada City and just one elevator stop from KVMR,  Monday and Tuesday (April 17-18) 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming).

Monday features the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance welcoming Amber Morris, state branch chief of the Cal Cannabis Licensing Branch and a key state official in the aftermath of California's vote to legalize recreational marijuana. 

For the first time in history, the state of California is partnering with cultivators statewide to roll lout a set of monumental changes to regulations that will turn cannabis growers into legitimate business owners. The new regulations will also address patients rights to cultivate and personal use. 

Joining the discussion are Hezekiah Allen, California Growers Association executive director, with cultivation policy updates, as well as Tawnie Logan, Sonoma County  Growers Alliance executive director, discussing how Sonoma growers organized to pass a robust cultivation ordinance. 



The impact of children's dependency on cellphones, tablets and computers will bring together both national experts and concerned locals in a Town Hall being presented  and broadcast live by KVMR 89.5 FM. 

It'll take place Tuesday at 6 p.m., also at the Nevada Theatre, and is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Nevada City with assistance from Yuba River Charter School. 

Special guest is mental health counselor George T. Lynn, co-author of the book "Breaking The Trance," regarding the use and abuse of media and screens in American  culture. 

Because of the two Town Halls, the news show Democracy Now! will air earlier each day -- 9 a.m. Monday, Noon Tuesday -- and will be available to stream online at kvmr.org