Gold Country Denizens

Books, rap, performing, volunteering, brevity, music

By: Susan Rushton
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I’m writing this in the Auburn Library. Coming in, I bumped into Donna Ruth, who says she’s had houseguests for two and a half weeks and they JUST left. Instantly she scooted over to the library and glommed onto every book that leaped into her hands. She can do anything she wants now, and so she’s going to READ.

… I mentioned former Auburn artist Libby Nickel a while ago — she illustrates a series of children’s books focusing on dog pals Travis and Mollie. According to local denizen Barbara Kitz, Libby will sign her newest book, “Visiting Military Families with Travis and Mollie,” at Winston Smith Books, 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4. She’ll also sign any earlier books you might want her to autograph.

… I confess, I haven’t paid attention to rap. I figure a rapper isn’t all that interested in attracting me as a fan. But I’ve changed my attitude about it. At the Earth Day festival last weekend in and near the Armed Forces Pavilion and Community Garden I saw two rappers on the outdoor stage, expert with the mics, their moves, their working together. Creating their act took time. Best of all, they’d memorized their lines. Memorization takes time and work and dedication, and they had all three. 

I couldn’t leave my booth where I was promoting Silver Screen (, but for a second I sidled toward the stage and watched them cavort. I was impressed.

And it’s good that Hip Hop Congress is so involved with the Forgotten Soldier Program. As I unloaded my stuff, volunteer Michael Steel, 14, instantly offered his help. Yes, please, thank you, I said, to this Hip Hop Congress member. His assistance made my work easy and fast.

“This is part of my community service,” Michael said. “It’s a really good way to help, belonging to Hip Hop Congress. And it’s not boring.”

I wouldn’t think that an organization with Hip Hop in its name could be remotely boring.

… Linda Robinson, owner of Sun River Clothing in Old Town, approached with some news. For the past several months she’s made noises about retiring. But she’s changed her mind. She’s keeping the shop.
And she’s leaping back into the Old Town Business Association as its secretary, joining president Jordan Minyard, 1st Vice President Kelly Cunningham, 2nd VP Robyn Beer and At Large members Lisa Ford and James Vermes.

“My heart and my energy are invested in Old Town,” Linda said.

I know.

… A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to a group of residents at Woodside Village Mobile Home Park off Luther Road. For 20 or so minutes, I talked about Silver Screen and my Journal column. I left them wanting more — I could go on and on (and on) about both topics, but less is more.
We had a good time, and I learned that the public is invited to the neighborhood’s annual Flea Market and Bazaar, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on Friday, May 4 and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, May 5. Sounds like food is going to be part of what’s for sale.

What makes this bunch so special that I spoke to them? Here’s their secret: they asked. Woodside Village resident Diana Boatwright invited me. Your group can do the same!

… Lots of us attended the final Auburn One Book One Community last Wednesday night at Placer High Auditorium. The buzz was terrific, which is always fun. I saw (among others): Mike Holmes, Bob and Stephanie Snyder, artist Paula Amerine (whose work I recognize faster than I recognize her face), Jim Bennett, Margot Fulmer, Alan and Dale Shuttleworth, Michael Kirby … on and on.
Former Auburn Arts Commissioner Kaz Huett, in a stunning patchwork artsy skirt, sat with Nevada County denizen Michelle Kalina and me.

And I sat next to Mary and Earl Walker, and they sat next to Debra Sabo and Karen Tajbl. Karen reminded me that I had urged her and her singing group to approach the Senior Center and offer to sing — and now the group sings monthly. Great!

I heard a lot of great stuff that night, but the best thing I heard from the stage came from Mary George, director of library services for Placer County. In her opening remarks, she told us that “A community that opens a book together closes it with greater harmony.” That’s just gorgeous.

Keep your eye on as next year approaches. If you’d like to recommend a book that has a connection with this area, this community, let the board know through the website.

… If you’re a writer, join Gold Country Writers and test your brevity and clarity chops with their 100 Word Contest. The deadline for entering is 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 2. More later about the luncheon announcing the winner (everyone’s welcome on May 30 at Sizzler). For information, call Chery Anderson, 530-613-1153.

… I think it’s impossible to mention the Auburn Symphony too often. The next Denizens comes out on Mother’s Day, the date of the final concert of the Symphony’s 30th season. So I’m just in time to bring it up. In addition to Peter Jaffe’s “Symphonic Birthday” and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 4, pianist Konstantin Soukhovetski returns to perform “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” with this wonderful organization. Come on Saturday night, May 12, and take bets on when I’ll start to weep with admiration and gratitude. For tickets, please investigate:, or call 530-823-6683.

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