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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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Arts & Entertainment

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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Arts & Entertainment

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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Arts & Entertainment

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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Arts & Entertainment

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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