Local Events
Carmel International Film Festival

October 13th, 2014
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Nothing says Monterey Peninsula like a festival. Whether it be a music, art or wine event, Monterey County is home to some of the most famous and eclectic gatherings the world over. While the Monterey Jazz and the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festivals garner much of the attention, some of area’s more intimate offerings can turn out to be quite a treat!

Carmel has a long and storied history as an artist’s enclave. While much of the art is of the traditional kind, in recent years there has been a greater focus on film. Clint Eastwood’s “Play Misty For Me” may have been the genesis but it was his stint as mayor that truly brought the focus to the sleepy city by the sea. The sixth annual Carmel International Film Festival rolls out the red carpet October 15 – 18, 2014. With independent and contemporary offerings, movie buffs of all generes will be satisfied as over 100 films will be screened over the five day event. Categories include student, animation, feature, documentary and narrative and will be shown at the Sunset Center, Carmel High School Performing Arts Center, Adobe Theatre and Cherry Center for the Arts.

The festival offers more than the celluloid form as traditional art and photography as well as music which is also an important part of the event. The festival offers yearly scholarships to worthy students pursuing an education in film, drama, fine art and photography. The films range to the truly independent to ones with Hollywood A-listers. Stars like Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Miles Teller, Tommy Lee Jones, Hillary Swank, Josh Duhamel and many others will be gracing the silver screen at this year’s festival along with Q&A sessions with some of the film’s directors and producers. Special to the festival this year is a screening of Merry Friggin’ Christmas, one of Robin William’s last films.

For a more detailed lineup and to buy tickets, visit www.carmelfilmfest.com

So if you are looking for something a little different, join the food and film festivals of fun in Monterey County!

Action & Adventure
SCCA National Championships

October 6th, 2014
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Photo Courtesy of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

While much of the nation’s automotive focus is pointed to the Monterey Peninsula during Car week in August, in recent years the hardcore racing fan’s appetite has been satisfied with a bevy of races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The world famous track has played host to the internationally renowned Red Bull Grand Prix, the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix and from October 10-12, 2014 the raceway will host the Sports Car Club of America’s National Championships.

Although billed as an amateur event, these competitors are far from Sunday drivers. The top drivers from each of the SCCA’s 115 national regions are invited with drivers slotted in 27 different car classes. Throughout the week, drivers will get plenty of practice time on Mazda Raceway’s famous twists and turns before qualifying begins. Friday through Sunday the drivers and their teams rev up the fun with three days of competition.

Some of the more popular classes include Production, which allows for performance modifications to an existing design, Formula which are single seat, open-wheel race cars and Sedan which include American muscle cars like the Camaro, Mustang or GTO. Unique to this type of competition is the vast number of different cars all racing against comparable models. Universal, however, is the skill and passion that every driver shows and the dedication to the performance of their cars.

The races will be broadcast live and on demand at www.speedcasttv.com, but if you’d rather get up close and personal to the action, Advanced General Admission tickets are available for $25 per day or $60 for a three day pass. Children under 12 are free with a paying adult and parking is also free with preferred parking only $25.

So if you’re in the mood for some high performance speed from a driver that might just live around the corner, check out the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Drivers, start your engines!

Craft Beer
The Fourth Annual Monterey Beer Garden – Brews, Views & More!

September 26th, 2014
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It’s beer at its crafty, sudsy and tasty best; outdoors and all over! The Monterey Beer Garden is back for its fourth annual installment and this year is shaping up to be best yet. The hop-based festivities start at high noon and run until 4pm this Saturday, September 27, 2014. The event features 15 of California’s best craft breweries including:  event host Peter B’s Brewpub, Alvarado Street Brewery Co., Boulder Creek Brewery, Discretion Brewing, Drakes Brewing, English Ales Brewery, Firestone Brewing Co., Hermitage Brewing Co., Highway 1 Brewing Co., Santa Clara Brewing, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Seabright Brewery, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Stone Brewing Co., Tied House Microbrewery, Triple Rock Brewing Co. and Uncommon Brewers.

Located at the historic Custom House Plaza by the bay in downtown Monterey, the Monterey Beer Garden has grown in popularity each year and with this amazing line-up of breweries, it will be sure to be a hit. AND this year make sure to stop by the Schoch Family Farmstead Cheese booth to sample their local cheese aged in Peter B’s very own stout!

102.1 KRML we will be broadcasting live bringing the sounds and fun to all their listeners and rock n’ roll cover band, Velvet Plum will entertain attendees throughout the afternoon. New to the Monterey Beer Garden this year is the photo fun of the Popshots photo booth from Pocketful of Plans and media partner 831 Magazine.

More than just brews, BBQ and fun, the Monterey Beer Garden benefits local nonprofit, Save Our Shores, with a portion of event proceeds going to help keep beaches throughout the Central Coast clean and garbage-free. In addition, the Monterey Beer Garden is sponsored by the Portola Hotel & Spa, Monterey County Weekly and Monterey Signs, all local businesses, dedicated to supporting their community.

For tickets and more info visit www.montereybeergarden.com  and make sure you’re on hand to experience craft beer as it was meant to be.

“Beer here” this Saturday!

Please drink responsibly. The Monterey Beer Garden has partnered with UBER, providing safe rides for all attending, to and from the event.

Explore Monterey
Downtown Monterey Shopping & Nightlife

September 19th, 2014
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Just steps outside the Portola Hotel & Spa, Downtown Monterey bustles with vibrancy and life. From the quaint shops, galleries and museums to live music venues and historic landmarks, Downtown Monterey has something for everyone.

Centered around Alvarado Street, Downtown Monterey has a long and storied history. As California’s first capital, many of the buildings hold an important historical significance.  Touted as a living museum, history buffs will get more than they bargained along Monterey’s Path of History. With a number of locations within walking distance from the Portola, you can experience Old Monterey right outside your room.

Monterey’s past evolves into Monterey’s present with wonderful shops throughout the Downtown district. Find the perfect gift for the book lover at one of the area’s four specialty book stores. Carpe Diem, Luminata Books & Gifts, Old Capitol Books and Old Monterey Book Company are sure to have something of interest.

Downtown Monterey also boasts a trio of music stores for the musician in all of us. Music Unlimited and Kurt Heisig Music offer a wide variety of instruments while the Monterey Rock & Roll Experience gives its guests a peek into Monterey’s rock n’ roll past.

Gift Shops abound as do antique and art stores as well as the Monterey Museum of Art, as well as the Museum of Monterey, but don’t be fooled by their quiet nature as the district also offers Bay Bikes for the cycling enthusiast and a well-stocked wine shop – Wine from the Heart.

Downtown Monterey also offers new and vintage fashion for men and women. There are over a dozen boutiques with everything from men’s and women’s clothing to shoes and accessories, the perfect place to pick up a new outfit before heading out for an evening on the town.

The newly remodeled Golden State Theatre is the perfect spot to catch a national headliner or film festival. Formerly a movie house, the venue offers incredible acoustics and hosts a wide variety of national touring and specialty acts. There are also 21 bars and pubs where you can wet your whistle, catch a game or simply enjoy the company of friends and family. Downtown Monterey offers everything from craft breweries and historic watering holes to upscale cocktail lounges and low-key informal bars. With so many choices and with everything within a safe walking distance to the Portola, you’re free to explore.

For more information, visit www.oldmonterey.org. The next time you visit Monterey; plan an afternoon, an evening or two to explore Downtown Monterey. You’ll be glad you did.

Local Events
57th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival

September 10th, 2014
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America is a country founded on the ideals of inclusion and acceptance. Our forefathers were immigrants and since we first formed our country in 1789, the United States has seen a steady stream of new and wonderful citizens making a home on our shores. As a nation, we have reaped the benefits of a diverse population and today enjoy the cultural offerings of a wide variety of peoples.

But, is there a cultural offering recognized the world over as truly American? You have to look no farther than the musical expressionism of Jazz to answer that question. Born in the South during the late 1800’s and evolving out of the call and response singing of African field workers, Jazz has formed the basis of modern popular music from rock and rap to R&B and Reggae.

One of the greatest things about Jazz is that it not only defines culture, but mirrors it as well. As an art form based upon improvisation, it is constantly redefining itself and nowhere is this more apparent that the 2014 edition of the Monterey Jazz Festival.

To experience the genesis of this cultural phenomenon and its offshoots, check out the festival, at September 19-21, 2014 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds & Event Center. Now in its 57th year and widely regarded as the one of the local region’s best festivals, the Monterey Jazz Festival boasts a history and lineup of artists that cannot easily be found anywhere else. Three days of music, food, education and fun are headlined by the incomparable Herbie Hancock on Friday the 19th. The Festival’s modern genesis continues with Saturday headliner, The Roots, the house band for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and one of the best bands in the land, brining a modern twist to the super-soul of Philly and traditional groups of New Orleans.

The Festival is about more than good music and a good time. Proceeds from the event benefit local music education programs and the NextGen Jazz Festival which showcases some of the best Middle School, High School and College bands, combos and choirs in the country. The winners of the Next Gen are invited back to the Festival and have the honor of playing with their heroes to a packed audience.

So don’t miss your chance to see some of the world’s best Jazz musicians celebrate this true piece of American culture at the Monterey Jazz Festival. And a One and a Two…