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Occidental Oriented - March 2016 - MacKenzie Nekton


Occidental Oriented - March 2016 - MacKenzie Nekton

What makes babies cry? Sometimes it’s a poopy diaper, and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes its hunger or exhaustion, or sometimes is that Daddy is nowhere in sight—the instinct that tells us something is right. On a Thursday not too long ago, I was holding Laurel, a little angel with lungs that could support an hour of nonstop crying. We stood outside in the rain, under a concrete awning, bouncing and singing, waiting for her dad, Denny Rossetti, to finish speaking. We were at the Coastal Commission meeting at the Sebastopol Community Center, and Denny had asked me to babysit for him. The meeting was about the Coastal Commission’s plan to charge money for access to the majority of the coastline, well technically just for parking, but that’s pretty much the same thing. While the beginning of the meeting hinted at the unrest of the public— grown men shouting about it being Sebastopol, not Sacramento, and “we couldn’t be steamed rolled here!” While Laurel cried with me outside, the residents and “stake-holders” told the state just how they felt about being left out of the decision making process. There was a general consensus that the residents of Sonoma County want to keep our sunsets free.

News from Occidental proper includes an upcoming KOWS Benefit Concert, on March 18th at Epworthian Hall for $20. KOWS is our local radio station, and their shows are always funny and have great music, so for sure go and check out that concert. OCA Executive Director Candace Mackey retired, and Rachael McDavid has taken her place. Candace is retiring to stay home with her new baby boy. Congratulations! On April 2nd the Fool’s Parade and Celebration will take place at OCA. There will be crazy costumes, so take some time this month to make your costume as out-there as you can.

Just a few weeks ago, a Puya plant bloomed for the first time in Occidental at Western Hills Garden. Puya plants stand 18 feet tall, are originally from the Andes, and its bloom cycle is so long that it blooms only every few decades. If that weren’t cool enough, Puya plants are known as carnivores, even though they technically aren’t: they have razor-like hooks for spines, and when things get caught in them, after they decompose, the plants use their remains as fertilizers. The Western Hills garden opened on February 20th, so you can go see the dangerous and tall plant. Visit for more information.

To return to Sebastopol for the end of this article, the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival is from March 17th to March 20th. This year, films include titles such as “50 Feet from Syria”, “The Amina Profile”, “At Midnight”, “Beneath Paradise”, “Daughter of the Forest/Hijas Del Bosque”, and “Drawing the Tiger”, as well as many others. You can get an All-Access pass for $250, a Saturday-Only Pass for $50, or a Punch Card for $50. Individual tickets are only $10 online, or in person at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, or by telephone at (707)829-4797 x303. You can visit for more information and the rest of the films.