As a kid in the 1970s, SJ Chiro lived at a pair of west Sonoma County communes.
When Chiro, known formerly as Sara Jennifer, speaks at Sebastopol’s Rialto Cinemas later this month, she might say the experience wasn’t at all as groovy as one might think.
Now a resident of Seattle, Chiro will be at the theater on Sept. 26 for an 8 p.m. screening of the film she wrote and directed, “Lane 1974.”
In every scene is an adolescent girl towed about by a single, hippie mom of three who, wrote critic Dennis Harvey in “Variety,” habitually “sleeps off the prior night, or finds new ways to get the family thrown out of whatever temporary safe harbor they’ve most recently found.”
The film is based on the memoir “The Hypocrisy of Disco,” whose author, Clane Hayward, sojourned for part of her nomadic childhood in a communal scene on the lower Russian River. Chiro told me that when she read the book, “I completely identified with everything she (Hayward) was saying. I was familiar even with the smells she talked about it.”
One important difference: Chiro said her mom, who lives still in west county, is not at all the tormented soul portrayed in her film.
About half of “Lane 1974” was filmed locally. “We wanted to make sure we got that Sonoma County light ... those golden hills,” says Chiro.
She adds “I think there will be a lot of people who can relate to this story.”
‘EAT LIKE WALT’ is the beautiful and purely delightful new book Marcy Carricker Smothers wrote on the “wonderful world of Disney food.”
Marcy will be at the Copperfield’s Books in Montgomery Village at 7 p.m. on Tuesday to talk about it and about Walt Disney and the culinary side of his life and of Disneyland and its sister parks.
The book talk is free, but Copperfield’s asks that you register through its website.
Marcy, a Sonoma County food and radio personality who works behind the scenes to make a great many life-enhancing things happen hereabout, says that everyone in her book knew Walt Disney.
The late Herb Ryman certainly did. One of Disney’s favorite artists, Ryman drew the concept map for Disneyland in a single weekend in 1954.
Marcy took as gospel something that Ryman said to another author decades ago:
“It is for people like yourself to have the privilege and the duty of presenting Walt as a human being and a person who can be known, a person you can be close to.”
Marcy accomplished that while looking at Disney through a unique lens, the perspective of food.
POUNDS OF DOUGH: Victims of Hurricane Harvey were digging out in Texas as John Ryan walked into the American Red Cross offices north of Santa Rosa and asked for some donation barrels.
Ryan took them to Mark West Elementary, where he teaches, and he talked up the need to be generous to people struggling to rebuild their lives after the monster storm.
The other day Ryan brought the barrels back. The Red Cross crew was astonished — the barrels weighed a total of 29 pounds.