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SMITH: Annie got her gun, and so did Claire Buchignani

Guns? Claire Buchignani couldn't have cared less about them as she grew up in Sebastopol — a rare Palm Drive Hospital baby — and entered Analy High with the Class of 2006.

What Clair loved was theater. She absorbed everything drama teacher Starr Hergenrather taught and she won roles in productions on campus and off.

Claire continued her education and training at the University of Arizona, and of late she scored two professional milestones: She received her Actors Equity card and she landed the lead role in the revered Woodminster Summer Musicals of Oakland production of "Annie Get Your Gun."

Though she was thrilled to be picked to portray sharpshooter Annie Oakley in the musical that concludes its run in the great amphitheater this week, the thought did occur to Claire, "I had never touched a gun before in my life."

So, for sake of greater authenticity, she asked an uncle in Chico to teach her to handle and shoot firearms. Before they were done, she'd become familiar with firing seven different guns.

And the first time she aimed a rifle at a target — bull's-eye!

"I felt," she said, "like I was channeling Annie just a little bit."

THIS IS YEAR 102 that the Bohemian Grove encampment will load talent into open-air buses for a benefit music-comedy-drama show in Monte Rio — a genuine Sonoma County entertainment phenomenon.

It happens July 25 in the town amphitheater next to the defunct but perhaps soon to be reborn Pink Elephant bar.

"The Bohemian Club has promised us a great show with true variety," said organizer Michele McDonell. Headliners have included Art Linkletter, Merv Griffin, Bing Crosby, Clint Black, Zac Brown and Steve Miller.


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