Aunt Helena
Aunt Helena

Aunt Helena

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Farewell to the Dr. Seuss-heavy Dennis Rae Fine Art, which seems to have closed for good in late January. The outlook is brighter for another closed storefront at the St. Helena Wine Center, where a sign says, “Closed for Painting – Stay Tuned.” A lot of storefronts that were empty at this time last year are occupied today – let’s hope they stay that way.

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I have the worst luck at games, bingo included. However, I won’t let that keep me away from Soroptimist St. Helena Sunrise’s Bingo event on Friday, Feb. 28 at the Native Sons Hall. You get nine games (and hopefully good luck) for just $25. There will be hot dogs, chili and beverages available for purchase. Proceeds will benefit the UpValley Family Centers and Soroptimist awards. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the games begin at 7.

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UpStage Napa Valley is following up on last October’s “The Happy Ones” with a production of Donald Margulies’ “Time Stands Still.” The play is about the relationship between a photojournalist (Rhona Bowen) who was badly injured in Iraq and her partner, a freelance journalist (Brendan Lesti) overwhelmed with guilt. Fred Ireland and Danielle Devitt co-star as a May-December couple who come to visit. Director Sharie Renault is never one to shy away from difficult subject matter, but there’s always enough humor and wit on hand to balance out the sadness. “Time Stands Still” opens Feb. 21 and runs through March 8 at Grace Episcopal Church’s Newton Hall. Tickets at UpStageNapaValley.org.

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St. Helena City Hall and the St. Helena Public Library will be closed Monday in honor of Presidents’ Day, but expect lots of fun the following Thursday, Feb. 20. Monica da Silva and Chad Alger, a Brazilian-American duo, will perform a Bossa Nova-inflected set at 6:30 p.m. at the library. Alger plays guitar while da Silva sings in English, Portuguese, Spanish and French and plays some flute and melodica. World music fans should love it.

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Christopher Kinney of Yountville is a fixture on the honor roll at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and the fall 2019 semester was no exception. Christopher made the grade with a GPA of 3.2 or better. He’s a senior majoring in computer science. I’ve never met him, but something tells me he’s a smart young man with a promising future. Here’s to you, Christopher.

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Speaking of bright young (in this case, very young) scholars, Maureen Kelly sends word that the St. Helena Cooperative Nursery School is hosting its annual Ol’ School Dance Party, featuring the Monophonics, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at the Native Sons Hall. Tickets are $65 in advance at sthelenacoop.org. The music starts at 8 p.m.

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If you’ve been to the Cameo Cinema lately, chances are you’ve seen Cathy Buck singing the praises of “Come As You Are,” a comedy about three young men with physical disabilities who take a road trip to a house of ill repute that caters to clients with special needs. Winner of the Audience Award at the Napa Valley Film Festival, the movie will play twice: 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, and 7:45 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17. Director Richard Wong of San Francisco will attend the Sunday screening, and Cathy hopes to give him a hearty welcome. Tickets at CameoCinema.com.

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My knees aren’t up to it anymore, but I invite my Dear Readers to perform their most powerful rain dances. We’ve had nary a drop of rain this month, and the disturbingly dry long-term forecast suggests St. Helena could be in for a February of zero rainfall. According to the Star’s weather page, the previous record low was 0.07” in February 1953. That’s one record I’d hate to see broken ... it’s a far cry from February 1986, when, if you’ll recall, it rained cats and dogs ... well, not literally, but it rained hard (25.60”) that month and flooded many areas of Northern California, including the Napa Valley.

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