A Long Heritage of Creativity in Sierra Arts and Entertainment

Since it was founded, Nevada City has attracted and inspired risk-takers, offbeat thinkers and non-conformists. From the rowdy and inventive miners of the 1860s to the off-grid hippies of the 1960s, this has been a place for the unconventional – and remains so to this day. Artists sense the freedom of thought here, and the intimate connections that creativity fosters in such a delightfully removed environment as the Sierra foothills.

The Miners Foundry Cultural Center

Osborn/Woods designed the poster for the first Father’s Day Bike Race, now known as the Nevada City Classic.

Built in 1859 as a foundry and machine shop, the Miners Foundry became a performing arts venue after its sale in 1974 to San Francisco artists Charles Woods and David Osborn, who came to Nevada City when it was a burgeoning art scene. The Foundry has hosted Nevada City’s Roger Hodgson of Supertramp, Sacramento’s Cake, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, playing secretly for Nevada City friends, associates, and their guests. Check here for coming events.

The Nevada City Literary Community

Nevada City has been a home to many generations of writers. Perhaps the most renowned and enduring is Gary Snyder, who came here from the Bay Area after distinguishing himself, in Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s words, as “the Thoreau of the Beat Generation”.


Having lived in a Mill Valley cabin with Jack Kerouac, Synder was the inspiration for the main character in The Dharma Bums. In the 1970s, he was active in the Sierra foothills back-to-the-land movement, and in 1974 published Turtle Island, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. Harmony Books, at 231 Broad Street, carries Snyder’s work in a section for local poets (and a collection of works by other local writers in other genres).

Another author influenced by the Sierra foothills is Jordan Fisher Smith, whose Nature Noir was an Audubon Editor’s Choice selection. Hailed by the New York Times as “eloquently meditative”, Nature Noir describes the author’s 14 years as a park ranger patrolling remote American River canyons east of Nevada City.

“Growgirl: How My Life After The Blair Witch Project Went to Pot,” by Heather Donahue
“Growgirl: How My Life After The Blair Witch Project Went to Pot,” by Heather Donahue

A new author with roots, of sorts, in the Nevada City area is writer and actress Heather Donahue, author of Growgirl. The book chronicles Heather’s year living in “Nuggettown”, on a marijuana farm post in the Sierra foothills – and starting a new life after a flash of fame as the girl in The Blair Witch Project. Donahue has written for Los Angeles Magazine, The Huffington Post, Bust and as a columnist for Yahoo! Shine. She teaches personal writing in Nevada City, and has been a speaker at the local discussion and workshop series offered by Sierra Writers.

A fictional look into the eccentricity of California’s hippie era is provided by Nevada City writer, Louis B. Jones, whose third novel, California’s Over, was named the LA Times’ 1997 Best Book of the Year. Each of Jones’s first three novels was named New York Times Notable Books. Described by novelist Amy Tan as “one of the best minds of our generation”, Jones co-directs the Fiction Program for the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. (The Executive Director of the Squaw Valley Writers is Louis’s wife, Brett Hall Jones, daughter of famed novelist and Community co-founder Oakley Hall).

A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel – steeped in local controversy

The most controversial book tied to the Sierra foothills literary community is Wallace Stegner’s 1971 Pulitzer-winning novel, Angle of Repose. The story is based upon the personal correspondence of author and illustrator Mary Hallock Foote (1847-1938), who lived near Nevada City for over 30 years and gained a national reputation as a skilled observer of life in early mining towns. Stegner used the outline of Foote’s life with conditional permission from her family, but objections later emerged over passages taken directly from her letters without providing specific credit. This controversy still haunts Stegner’s reputation, and is explored by author and director Sands Hall, a part-time Nevada City resident, in her comic/drama, Fair Use.

Sierra theater since 1865 – and better with age

Opening night at the Nevada Theatre dates back to the fall of 1865, and after thousands of performances with such headliners as Mark Twain, Emma Nevada, Jack London, Motley Crue and The Second City comedy troupe gracing its stage over hundreds of years, it has earned the distinction as California’s oldest original-use theater – and California Historic Landmark No. 863.


Now in its third century, the Theatre thrives – having broadened into a venue for professional and amateur theatrical productions, variety shows, minstrels, musical acts, poetry readings, community events and films. The main stage is shared by:

For upcoming events, visit the Nevada Theater online calendar, or subscribe to the Theater mailing list.

The Nevada City Film Festival


A recent (2001) addition to the Sierra foothills art scene is the Nevada City Film Festival (NCFF). Held late summer when warm evenings easily become late nights, NCFF inspires weekend visitors to leave sensible routines behind. Fiercely independent, NCFF promises the best short and full-length film, audiences, scenery and nightlife outside of Sundance and Telluride. Check here for this year’s Festival info.

… And of course there’s more. Enjoy Nevada City’s tradition of environmental consciousness at The Wild & Scenic Film Festival, musical comedy at Off Broadstreet, and local musicians performing at Cooper’s, Crazy Horse Saloon, Haven Underground, and The Stonehouse.

Last Weekend to See “Forum”


Closing Weekend!

Nevada Theatre

This is closing weekend for the critically acclaimed Sierra Stages production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” playing at the historic Nevada Theatre in Nevada City. The classic Stephen Sondheim musical, with a cast of 18 and a 14-piece orchestra, will play for four more performances, this Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday matinee.

“Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight!” Broadway’s greatest farce is light, fast-paced, witty, irreverent and one of the funniest musicals ever written-the perfect escape from life’s troubles. A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum takes comedy back to its roots, combining situations from time-tested, 2000 year old comedies of Roman playwright Plautus with the infectious energy of classic vaudeville.

Robert Rossman heads the cast as the freedom-seeking Roman slave, Pseudolus, a role made famous by Zero Mostel in the original Broadway cast and in the film, and again by Nathan Lane in the recent Broadway revival of the show. Rossman is joined by a strong supporting cast including Trish Adair, Paul Micsan, Ken Miele, Jeffrey Mason, JR Lewis, Rik Augustine, Dylan Hoy-Bianchi, Ellie Wyman, Nancy Haffey, Rebekah Martino, Sunny Ostrom, Luna Wildy, Emily Rice, Rachel Wellman, John King, Toby Medlyn and Jordan Thomas-Rose.  The cast is accompanied by a 14-piece orchestra.

Sierra Stages’ production of Forum is directed by Sandra Rockman, with musical direction by Ken Getz and choreography by Dinah Smith. Set design is by Pamela Mengers Hodges, costume design is by Sharon Olson, and lighting design is by Erin Beatie.


Last Four Performances August 4, 5, 6 & 7 at the Nevada Theatre
Get your tickets now before it’s too late!

Visit www.SierraStages.org, call our Box Office at 530-346-3210 or stop by BriarPatch Co-op or The Book Seller

Ticket Prices
Thursday at 7pm: $20 adv/$25 door
Friday & Saturday at 8pm: $25 adv/$30 door
Sunday at 2pm: $25 adv/$30 door


Last Summer Nights Tonight!

Tonight is the last chance to attend the Annual Summer Nights in Nevada City celebration, an outdoor festival of art and music, in this colorful Northern Sierra foothills town.

During Summer Nights, Nevada City’s landmark historic district is closed to motorized traffic and filled with arts, crafts, classic cars, food, drink and music. Leading Sierra foothills musicians perform on outdoor stages throughout the downtown area. Hours are 6-9:30 p.m. There is no admission charge.

Entertainment Schedule for tonight:

July 27
Lorraine Gervais
CrackerJack Jazz Band
Runnin’4 Cover
George Souza
Mali Music & Dance
Troupe al Alma

Growers Market & Fine Arts on Broad Street
Classic Cars
Pony Rides

Download Summer Nights Postcard

Magic at Nevada Theatre July 20

During the July 20th Summer Nights in Nevada City, the Nevada Theatre is opening its doors for the ANNUAL family Magic Show.  All the local magicians belong to the Nevada County Magicians Guild, and this year the show will feature Nick Fedorof.

Showtimes:  7 and 8 pm
Tickets at the door:  $3.00 per person or $10 for the Family

Call Mountain Pastimes for more information at (530) 265-6692.

Bruce Kelly Quartet plays Mostly Mercer May 7th

Mostly Mercer…The music of Johnny Mercer.  The Bruce Kelly Quartet will be performing the music of Johnny Mercer and others in the ambience of the elegant nightclubs of days gone by.  His quartet includes a trio of seasoned jazz players whose collective resumes run the gamut of jazz musicians and singers they have worked with, from Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughn, Buddy Rich and Jimmy Smith to Lou Rawls and Herbie Hancock.  The concert will be preceded by a sit down dinner prepared by Chef Austin Farrar.  There will be a full no host bar.  Bar opens at 6pm, dinner seating at 7; show starts at 8pm.

Hear such Johnny Mercer classics as Blues in the Night, Days of Wine and Roses, Moon River, Dearly Beloved, My Shining Hour and many more!

The event takes place on May 7th, Mother’s Day Eve, at The Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring Street, Nevada City.

Tickets are $25 for concert only; $55 for dinner & concert (Reservations required).  Tickets available at The Nevada City Postal Company, www.brownpapertickets.com or at the door.   Reservations deadline is May 4th.

For ticket and other information or to make reservations for dinner and show call (530) 273-0507.

Fun New Year’s Eve in Nevada City

There are a lot of fun events planned for New Year’s Eve in Nevada City:

New Year’s Eve with the Deadbeats
Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a night of acoustic and electric jam at the Miners Foundry, 325 Spring Street in Nevada City. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 8:30. Munchies, Deadbeat t-shirts and raffle tickets will be for sale too. Come and ring in the New Year while supporting Chicago Park School! Tickets are $30/advanced, $35/at the door. For more information, go to www.chicagoparkschool.org .

Nevada City Classic Café New Year’s Party
New Year’s Eve will be celebrated Friday night, December 31st, from 6-9:00 p.m. in fine European fashion at the Nevada City Classic Café.  Diners will enjoy the cafe’s regular Friday night menu, as well as delight in café owner Genevieve’s special delectable dishes. The enchanting Beaucoup Chapeaux, Nevada City’s 2010 Best Live Music recipients, will provide music.The Nevada City Classic Café is located at 216 Broad Street in Nevada City. Call 470-0544 for more information.

New Year’s Eve at Cooper’s
Cooper’s ale works, located in historic downtown Nevada City, California has been a favorite live music venue for many years. “Jade & The Decent Gentlemen” will play New Year’s Eve starting at 9:00 p.m. There is a $10 cover charge. Cooper’s is located at 235 Commercial Street, Nevada City. For more information, please call 530-265-0116.

New Year’s Eve at McGees
Located on Broad Street, in the heart of downtown Nevada City, McGees is a local favorite. Join Mello DG for complimentary champagne on New Year’s. There is an $8 cover charge. McGee’s is located at 315 Broad Street, Nevada City. For more information, call 530-265-3205.

New Year’s Eve at the National Hotel
The National Hotel, in the heart of Nevada City, is the oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Rocky Mountains. New Year’s Eve features live entertainment, and party favors at midnight with no cover charge. The dining room will be open for dinner. The National Hotel is located at 211 Broad Street, Nevada City. For more information, call 530-265-4551.

In Grass Valley, Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings will be appearing at the Veterans Memorial Hall with the Bob Woods Trio. Roy Rogers is one of the premier slide guitarists performing today. The Veterans Memorial Auditorium features the largest dance hall in the area, and is located at 255 S. Auburn Street, in Grass Valley. The show begins at 9:00 p.m., doors open at 8:00 p.m. For more information, see http://www.paulemerymusic.com/ or call 530-478-1974.

Lots of Entertainment at Victorian Christmas

VicEntertainmentJoin us for Victorian Christmas and enjoy some spectacular entertainment! Victorian Christmas 2010 is scheduled Wednesday nights, Dec. 8, and 15, from 5-9 p.m., and on two Sunday afternoons, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19, from 1:30-6 p.m. There is no admission charge.

Some of the featured entertainers are:
Wednesday, December 8th:
Izzi Tooinsky, Sierranaders, Joe Souza & Friend, Village Festival Recorders, Victorian Christmas Singers, Sometimes Singers, David Ayala, the NU Band, a walking Christmas tree, a live nativity scene, Santa Claus and more!

Sunday, December 12th:
Ludi Hinrichs, Joe Souza and Friend, Village Festival Recorders, Victorian Christmas Singers, TommyKnocker Cloggers, Jubilo Minstrels: “Gordy”, St. Ambrose Drama Group, David Ayala, Highland Dancers, Shades of Blue: chorus, the NU Chamber Choir, the NU Band, Santa Claus and more!

Wednesday, December 15th:
Izzi Tooinsky, Joe Souza & Friend, Sometimes Singers, Village Festival Recorders, Victorian Christmas Singers, David Ayala, a live nativity scene, the NU Band, a walking Christmas tree, Santa Claus and more!

Sunday, December 19th:
Ludi Hinrichs, TommyKnocker Cloggers, St. Ambrose Drama Group, Village Festival Recorders, Victorian Christmas Singers, David Ayala, a live nativity scene, Sage Po (harp), Thunderfoot Cloggers, the NU Band, Dylan Rodrique & Friend, Santa Claus and more!

See you there! More.

Local Nutcracker production this weekend

grass-valley-nutcracker-snowflakes-2010The local production of The Nutcracker is happening this weekend at the Don Baggett Theatre at Nevada Union High School. This Christmastime classic is presented by Center Stage Dance Studio. Performances are Friday, December 3rd at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, December 4th at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m., and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. General seating tickets are $17 for adults and $15 for children and seniors. Please see www.GrassValleyNutcracker.com for more information.

Upcoming Events at the Historic Nevada Theatre

Showing now: The play “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

For ticket information go to www.nevadacitycuckoo.com or call

(530) 430-SHOW

Showtimes for Cuckoo’s Nest:

September 23 8 pm, Sept. 24 8 pm

September 25, 2 pm Matinee, Sept. 25 8 pm Closing night

Upcoming: The Play “To Kill A Mockingbird”

October 7 – November 7

Directed by Tim O’Connor & produced by LeGacy Productions

For tickets and info go to LeGacyPresents.com

Special Upcoming Events

September 22—The Gods of Comedy vs The End

October 11 — Health Care for All Seminar

October 19 — Music in the Mountains presents the film “My Musical Life”

October 20 – Tahoe Comedy North presents “The Marijuana-Logues”

The Sunday Night Film Series

(All showings at 7:30 pm)

September 26 “Countdown to Zero” October 10 “ Life During Wartime”

October 17 “Farewell” October 24 “Soul Kitchen”

October 31 “Hugh Hefner”

For info on movies playing each week call (530) 274-FILM

For more information on The Nevada Theatre

Please call (530) 265-6161 or visit


Opening Night of Victorian Christmas 2009

Join us Wednesday, December 2, 2009 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. in downtown Nevada City for the opening night of Victorian Christmas.

Victorian Christmas, the old-fashioned celebration held each year in this colorful California Gold Rush town, evokes holiday memories of an earlier era.

Entertainment highlights for the evening include:

Santa Claus: all evening at the Masonic Lodge Entry
Joe Souza and Friends: 7:00 – 7:45 p.m. at 227 Broad Street
IZZI TOOINSKY juggler & raconteur: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Robinson Plaza
Lou & Salvation Army Brass: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Broad Street Bistro
  • Santa Claus: all evening at the Masonic Lodge Entry
  • Joe Souza and Friends: 7:00 – 7:45 p.m. at 227 Broad Street
  • IZZI TOOINSKY juggler & raconteur: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Robinson Plaza
  • Lou & Salvation Army Brass: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Broad Street Bistro

Victorian Christmas 2009 is featured Wednesday nights, Dec. 2, 9 and 16, from 6-9 p.m., and on two Sunday afternoons, Dec. 13 and Dec. 20, from 1:30-6 p.m. There is no admission charge.