Center for the Arts presents Pinetop Perkins, tango, poetry |

Center for the Arts presents Pinetop Perkins, tango, poetry

Fresh from having received the 2005 Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Pinetop Perkins is playing blues like you’ve never heard before tonight at 8 p.m.

Regarded as one of the best blues pianists alive, Perkins has been making a living at it since 1926 and has influenced generations of bluesmen.

Born Willie Perkins in Belzoni, Miss., in 1913, Perkins started out playing guitar at house parties and honky tonks and switched to piano after sustaining a serious injury that made picking a guitar painful. He came under the tutelage of Clarence “Pinetop” Smith, for whom he composed the song entitled “Pinetop’s Boogie.” After that became a hit, Perkins was on his way. Out of admiration for his mentor, he started using the name “Pinetop,” by which he’s known today.

Having worked with big names – B.B. King, Earl Hooker, and Muddy Waters, to name a few – Perkins is now on stage with bluesman Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, the drummer for the Muddy Waters Band for 20 years. Smith started the Legendary Blues Band in 1980. “Blues from the Heart” is his latest solo recording.

Tickets are $20.


Also tonight, at 7:30 p.m., poets Maxima Kahn, Lorenzo Baca and Sidney Stouts will read at the Center’s Off Center Stage as part of the Nevada County Poetry Series.

A multifaceted artist, who makes her living mostly as a graphic designer, Maxima Kahn says she’ll read “from eight years worth of my poems.” Kahn also teaches poetry writing workshops, the next series of which begins Monday at Wall Street Cafe in Grass Valley (call her at 273-3566). Her work has appeared in the “Nevada County Poetry Series 2003 Anthology.”

Lorenzo Baca, a widely published poet, says, “My art, along with my poetry, storytelling and singing, share the same spirit and reflect my tribal background of Isleta Pueblo and Mescalero Apache descent.”

Sydney Stouts, a sophomore at Nevada Union High School, has been writing poetry and prose since she was 8. She has become a welcome reader at open-mike venues around town and was recently published in the “Nevada County Poetry Series 2004 Anthology.” Stouts hopes one day to be a professional screen writer.

The anthologies are available, says Bill Gainer of NCPS, at Odyssey Books in Grass Valley.

Tickets at the door are $5 general, seniors and students and $1 for those under 18; refreshments and open mike are included. Call 432-8196 or 274-8384.


The Pleasant Valley Pheasant Pluckers are extending its improv comedy high jinks one more weekend because the group is having so much fun (and because of sold-out houses): March 25 and 26, 8 p.m., behind the CFA at the Off Center stage, 315 Richardson St., Grass Valley. $10 at BriarPatch, Odyssey Books and The Book Seller-all in Grass Valley – or call 470-0700.


cutline: Tango No. 9 plays at Center for the Arts

PBS recently aired “Tango: The Spirit of Argentina,” a look into this elegant, sophisticated, sensual dance that holds a special place in couples dancing.

Now the tango comes to The Center for the Arts Saturday at 8 p.m. as Tango No. 9, a quartet of piano, accordion, trombone, and violin from San Francisco, plays a lively concert.

The music is based on the Argentine maverick Astor Piazzolla, who combined traditional tango with jazz improvisation and classical composition to produce an enormous body of material that is not only danceable but a joy to play and listen to, as well.

The “Mini-Milonga” that follows the concert is a traditional social dance that will be taught by Roberto Riobo, who is a well-known tango maestro throughout Argentina and the West Coast. Dancers will not only learn the tango itself, but also its culture and history.

Tickets are $15.

For more information, check the Web at For information on tango lessons in this area, as well as practice dancing, e-mail


Unless otherwise mentioned, tickets for performances at The Center for the Arts can be purchased at Music Today – 800-594-8499; (all following in 530 area code) Yabobo, Nevada City, 478-9114; BriarPatch Community Market, Grass Valley, 272-5333; The Book Seller, Grass Valley, 272-2131; Cherry Records, Auburn, 823-2147. Tickets usually go on sale at outlets 2 weeks before the show. Call the Center at 271-7000 for ticket information in current week. Tickets are sometimes available online at

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