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Season’s ‘Nutcracker’ delights

The sets were beautifully painted and classic. The costumes were brilliant and the cast was delightful: young ballerinas smiling and nailing their parts and lead dancers putting on a first-class performance, fit for any big-city stage.

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T’was time for the Nutcracker

“It’s always been my dream to be Clara,” said Emaly Bousman, 13, of Trinity Lutheran School, who sees her dream come true as she stars as Clara in this year’s performance.

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Chef Antonio Varia talks porcini, Piemonte and coming to America

“He come by with a big chef hat, ‘You call that Minestrone?’” Varia growled, mimicking his father, “‘Throw it away! Do it again!’ — crazy.” So Varia said he learned to cut with precision. “I throw them away. Next time we make it better. I learn how to do it with love.” – Chef Antonio Varia

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Harvest Wine Weekend: Vino crew hits the road in search of crush festivities

“Well, that’s that,” I said to myself just as my husband’s voice broke through my apparent mild case of catatonia saying, “Stomp on them! You’ll never make any juice just standing there, the whole point is to squish them.” – Madeline Vail

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Glorious Volumes

“Well, I’ve been a drawer and a painter all my life,” said Asdel, “but this poetry thing is new. Well, 12 years. Is that new?” he laughs. “It’s new for me!”

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Discovering Haste

“It’s fun to continually stretch… I love what I do and I just feel fortunate to do it. That sums it up for most artists, I think.” – Pam Haste

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Pure Silver

“I was just checking the place out because I was so enthralled. He had all these old tools, and he goes, ‘Hey – you wanna try that?’ and I had already picked up some metal in our class before and tried it earlier, and so I had some idea what to do, so he got excited and hired me… I just fell into something that most people wouldn’t have the chance to fall into.” – Randy Stromsoe

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Love’s longevity performed

Jenny Shaheen said the first time she read Sharr White’s script she was blown away. “He just has the ability to write from a very real and honest place,” she said.

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Earth Wind & Fire: Funk legends bring message of peace and love to Vina Robles

Earth, Wind & Fire played at Vina Robles on the Tuesday, on the nineteenth of September. It was surreal, to me, since arguably their most popular song is titled “September” and begins with the lyrics “Do you remember, the 21st night of September?” They may have missed the marquee night by two, but it was still incredible that they chose the small city of Paso Robles to play so close to the famous night, even if it is 46 years after the debut of the hit song.

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TOPGUN instructor and Navy Pilot Hal “Bull” Schmitt

“Yes, it’s a business, but it should be fun,” he said. “I really believe more than anything that wine is made for drinking, and it should be a social experience. Yes, you can drink on your own, but it’s better when you have family and friends around. That’s how we approach everything.” – Hal Schmitt

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Whale Rock: Castoro's gift to local students

“There’s a lot of music – all kind of genres from all over the country,” said Udsen, who’s most excited about hearing the Suffers and Motet play, but he wants people to trust that he’s chosen the lineup carefully, and all the music is going to be sweet.

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Max Randolph's classic trade in a magical art

Walking into Max Randolph’s Paso Robles hillside studio, one might see the fifth generation blacksmith turning and forming a massive steel pipe over his great, hand-refurbished forging oven, sparks flying, steel morphing from red to yellow, sweat dripping off his forehead onto his beard, and think, bewildered – what year is this? Where am I? The Industrial Revolution of America? The Art Nouveau movement in France? A sword and weaponry mercantile down thither the stone steps of Casterly Rock? “I really took to steel because I loved the permanence of it,” Randolph said, describing the entry into the blacksmith profession as coming “from a lifetime of being misunderstood to all of a sudden finding a means to express yourself.”

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A little piece of Broadway: Idina Menzel brings soulful singing, a personal touch to Vina Robles

On Sunday night at Vina Robles, Broadway star and vocal powerhouse Idina Menzel delighted the audience not only with her soulful singing, but also with intimate glimpses into her life. During the 90-minute concert she bared her soul on romantic relationships, motherhood, and life as a performer. Menzel’s new album, “Idina,” provided the foundation of the experience. Starting with the energetic “Queen of Swords,” Menzel set the vocal expectations high, both literally and figuratively. The song featured a strong African-inspired drumbeat and a pre-chorus that ascended into the vocal stratosphere, prompting delighted cheers from the audience.

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Punk rock revival: Rancid , Dropkick Murphys channel the angst and fervor of yesteryears

Not all of us sported razor sharp mohawks and tattooed forearms to bear our tortured souls. Some of us who listened to Dropkick Murphys and Rancid when we were ‘nobody gets me,’ rebellious teens, showed up last Friday at the Avila Beach Golf Resort concert too. The punkers of the late eighties and nineties are now in our forties and fifties, our years of teenage angst neatly worked out through counseling and (for some, judging by the smoke in that taunted the clean ocean-side air) cigarettes.

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Thomas Hill Organics

Where did Thomas Hill Organics’ new chef come from? Kurt Metzger, who now heads both the Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo restaurants, was asking himself the same question after his red Corvette was rear ended a few years ago and a severe brain injury from a bad concussion wiped his memory clean. He was on his way home to Mission Hills from his restaurant, the wildly popular Kitchen 4140 in San Diego. The 44-year-old culinary talent who owned and operated his own restaurant on Morena Boulevard and was married to an absolutely gorgeous woman named Syrisa, had his life taken from him in that moment. Everything and everyone he knew was gone in a puff of smoke. Amnesia had erased it all: Being top of the class at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, cheffing at Roxxi’s in San Francisco and Bistro 45 in Pasadena, running Concept Catering for 15 years, working with Flavors of San Diego and dominating the annual “I Love Poke San Diego” Festival competition. Gone was his childhood, growing up as a twin near Pasadena, as the son of a Sergeant Major Ranger and loving mother who encouraged his cooking. He lost his father four years before, and when he called his mom, whose voice he didn’t recognize, she had to break the news to him again. He couldn’t remember that he’d been a foodie since he was a child, and had loved to prepare food before he had even become a teen. Friends he had, contacts he made, were taken aback and sometimes insulted when Metzger didn’t recognize them, and the menus which he had perfected were as foreign as the tastes of the ingredients that made up every dish. He and his brother had to start a friendship all over again.

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Punk rockers Rancid, Dropkick Murphys coming to Avila Beach

As part of the “From Boston to Berkeley tour,” punkers Rancid and Boston Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys will be co-headlining in Avila Beach Resort at Friday, Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. We caught up with Dropkick Murphys lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwrit

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Valli Concert honors the voice of an angel in delectable style

I have a little thing for Italians. And I have another thing for concerts where you don’t have to stand or get elbowed in the forehead, especially those with really gorgeous food and wine and darling table decorations. So when I heard the falsetto legend

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Not a concert, a party

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood sold 30,000 tickets in a minute, and probably could have sold twice that many judging by the crowds at the Mid-State Fair on Thursday. In the press conference before the concerts, Garth and Trisha’s excitement for playing

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MOVIE REVIEW: War for the Planet of the Apes

I grew up watching re-runs of the old Charlton Heston version of “Planet of the Apes,” full of rubber faced, horse riding, man-apes that held humans in bondage on a post-apocalyptic Earth. It was the pinnacle of sci-fi movie making magic in the late 60s.

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Lionel Richie: ‘Easy’ listening ‘All Night Long’

The California Mid-State Fair opened last Wednesday, which consistently has a lineup filled with many of the best country music artists in the world. However, the first concert of the busy, boot-filled, booze heavy ten days of entertainment that the fair

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Kid Rock makes hillbilly history

I’m not gonna lie. I’m “Kiddicted.” And just to give you an idea of how far I was from becoming a fan, I listen to Patty Griffin, anti-folk, and classical. I drive a mini-van. Whisky makes me faint and and cheap wine gives me a headache. The most I knew a

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John Mayer sends fans swooning

On Monday night, the California Mid-State Fair welcomed seven time Grammy Award winning recording artist John Mayer back for his third concert in recent memory. Mayer grew to stardom in the early 2000s when he was nominated for the Grammy for best new art

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Mama Tumba to play Castoro July 16

Mama Tumba are bringing the groove to Castor Cellars Lazy Locals concert, sharing their Afro/Latin fusion at a free concert from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 16. The band will consist of regular members Tim Costa on percussion/vocals, Antiye Mensah

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"The Winemakers of Paso Robles"

In a region that has been photographed ad infinitum to capture its countless tasting rooms, seemingly endless acres of gently rolling vineyards and it’s good old fashioned “small town charm,” what could a professional travel photographer and an OC Registe

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MOVIE REVIEW: Spider-Man Homecoming

I know what you’re thinking. Another Spiderman movie? I was skeptical too, and feared that this latest film would be a disappointing experience in superhero overkill. Boy was I wrong. Director Jon Watts must have known this would be a make or break eff

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Garth Brooks concert sells out in 30 seconds

The Garth Brooks with special guest Trisha Yearwood concert on July 27 at the California Mid-State Fair has sold out. The concert sold all 14,875 tickets in less than thirty seconds, making the show the fastest 1-day sell-out of any concert in the histor

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Kitchenette: It's what's for breakfast (or lunch)

Word on the street is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. According to brothers Michael and Chris Kobayashi, co-owners and operators of Kitchenette, located at 105 South Main St. in Templeton, that rumor could not be more true. While

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Garth Brooks to play Mid-State Fair

"Garth Brooks in Concert" with special guest Trisha Yearwood is going to be at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles. This will be for one show only. The concert will be Thursday, July 27,at 7:30 p.m. at the Main Grandstand Arena. It will be the fi

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The Hatch: Not your typical neighborhood bar (or then again, maybe it is)

If the The Hatch could be summed up in a few words it would be creative cocktails and comfort food swathed in an amber glow of brick, wood and stainless steel. But there is so much more to it than that. Having opened only two years ago by local couple Mag

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Kid Rock to perform at the Mid-State Fair

The California Mid-State Fair has announced that Kid Rock will perform in concert on Sunday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m. Kid Rock’s concert is part of the annual Bud Light Concert Series and will take place in the Grandstand Arena at the Paso Robles Event Cen

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Brooke Eden to perform at Mid-State Fair

The California Mid-State Fair has announced that Brooke Eden has been confirmed to perform on Saturday, July 22, at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. on the Frontier Stage. The performances will be free with paid admission to the fair.

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Catch Seafood Bar & Grill

For a long time seafood was not my forte. I spent years perfecting how to ask waiters to substitute chicken or red meat for any fish and seafood dish and watched as jaws dropped at my requests. “But it tastes just like chicken” or “it’s an acquired tas

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Kendra McKinley coming to Sculpterra May 14

Combine a healthy dose of 1960s chamber pop with the structure and intonation of bossa nova and you will have discovered singer/songwriter Kendra McKinley. McKinley will debut songs from her new album "Treat" at Sculpterra Winery at the Songwriters at Pla

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Andrea's on Pine: Little Paso brunch spot offers big, bold flavors

Just between the Hotel Cheval and Powell’s Sweet Shoppe there lies a lovely little patio, dappled with sunlight, shaded with old oaks and connected to the tiniest kitchen on the park — Andrea’s on Pine. Tiny but mighty, the strength in its fresh ingred

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Cuban comfort food comes back home

Last weekend my eldest daughter came home for a visit from college and the only things she requested I cook for her were Cuban sandwiches and croquetas — the ultimate Cuban comfort foods. Being that I have never made either of these items myself, I realiz

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Bethel Rd. Live Sessions: Udsen brothers blend spirits and music for a unique cocktail

Bethel Rd. Distillery & Winery owners Luke and Max Udsen have come up with an innovative way to put their new distillery on the map before they even open to the public — through Bethel Rd. Live Sessions. BR Live Sessions are high-quality live video rec

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Additional Articles

  • Tacos and Trump: Trevor Noah comes to Paso

    The star of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah performed a stand up show on Saturday night from at Vina Robles Amphitheater. It was a perfect, Central Coast summer night. As Noah walked to center stage the last few minutes of daylight danced a

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