Today is FRIDAY, June 17, 2011. This is the first Friday in many weeks that our family hasn't started the morning with Rebecca Black's horrid "Friday" video. It had become a kind of perverse tradition — very difficult to explain, except to say that part of the reason was the way it kind of tortured our 13-year-old, who really, really hates the song. Black has had it removed from YouTube, since the producers have decided to charge $2.99 to view it, which is one of the best jokes of the week. Most of the 160 million views it has received is due to just how bad it is, and it's doubtful that most people will pay to see it. Anyway, it's made a momentary star of Black, who is still young enough to recover from the inevitable fall from stardom she is bound to suffer very soon, as this whole episode — like a musical version of Rep. Weiner, without the perversity — evaporates from the public stage.
One more thing, before the list: Today is the day to get on the bus to Redwood City as the city sponsors the Downtown Matters series. Downtown Matters is a group of field trips and workshops designed to educate people about the latest challenges facing downtowns, and to solicit ideas as to what the downtown should look like. Great stuff, overall, in my view — though there are voices (some of them on the comment stream) who continue to say that Martinez is fine just the way it is, and we don't need consultants to explain how to enhance what we already have, it is never a bad thing to get other points of view. My concern is this — the woman in charge of these workshops, Susan Moeller, is very bright, capable and knows her stuff. She is a great choice, with one glaring exception: She was the redevelopment director for Redwood and Cathedral cities. Part of Downtown Matters is to bring on board those folks who have, for years, fought tooth and nail against redevelopment. It has left a large and bitter scar across the community that we need to heal if we're going to move ahead and all start pulling in the same direction. It seems a little tone deaf to me to hire a former redevelopment director to lead this discussion, and these trips to cities where redevelopment has been employed. Moeller says, rightfully, that in Martinez, redevelopment is off the table. And it is. But it's a fresh enough wound, and perhaps a person without a redevelopment background might have been a more politic choice.
- The amazing takes over the Armando's Happy Hour and a Half today from 4:30 to 6 p.m. If you haven't seen her yet and it is at all possible for you to get to Armando's, by all means, make every effort. She is Ireland's most precious import. Her piano skills are exquisite and her voice is ethereal. She sings great songs by other composers but her own material is the reason to come down tonight. And there is no cover.
- Afterward, it's , featuring vintage cars and live music. The Voltones and their surf vibe are featured tonight. The event starts at 6 and goes to 9 p.m.
- Tonight at The Station, local rock band starts a three-day stand; tonight and Saturday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
- This weekend is the , where you can enjoy food booths, entertainment and outdoor fun Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a barbecue contest, but only the judges can sample the entries. The general public is invited to try the fare from Kinder's, Back 40 and Bulldog, all of whom will be selling their specialties.
- Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the mighty Annie Sampson will be bringing her amazing mojo to Armando's on Saturday. Annie used to be in the Bay Area band Stoneground, and she has never ceased to amaze audiences with a powerful mix of R&B, gospel, soul and funk. Do not miss this show. And have a fantastic weekend. Oh, and dads — happy Father's Day.