Napa Valley Arts in April

by Courtney Cochran

The month of April is not only a harbinger of warmer weather: it's a cue for wine country's most creative to kick off their annual arts calendars.  From photography exhibits to live theater and concerts, arts events offered this April boast plenty of variety - and some diverting new acts. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Art Film Series: Under the Tuscan Sun
Downtown St. Helena's charmingly restored Cameo Theater lights up the valley with its star wattage-fueled screenings and special film events.  April will see the theater play host to Under the Tuscan Sun author Frances Mayes.  A screening of the film will be followed by a Q&A and book signing of Mayes' latest cook book, all accompanied by Italian bites from Knickerbocker's Catering and wine from Benessere Winery. Gelato from Sogni di Dolci and homemade limoncello will top off this anticipated arts event.
4/1 12pm * 1340 Main St., St. Helena * Tickets: (707) 963-3946

VeloVino.jpgThe Art of the Cycle @ Velo Vino
Avid bicyclist-vintners Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford present this exhibition featuring the paintings of New York artist Tahiah Lempert, whose work focuses on bicycles.  Described as "energetic," Lempert's work brings a creative focus to movement and gesture derived from this classic mode of transport.  The winery notes that visitors participating in the "Arts For April" program will receive a complimentary "Peloton" tasting which includes a sampling of all of current release wines, a 10% discount on purchases and a complimentary Clif Bar.
4/9 10am-6pm * Clif Family Winery @ Velo Vino, 709 Main St., St. Helena
Uptown Theater Presents: Various Artists
What do musicians Boz Scaggs, Chicago and Band of Horses have in common?  They've all played the Uptown, downtown Napa's gem of a performing arts venue housed in a beautifully restored art deco building. April events put the spotlight on popular music acts Chris Isaak, Jackie Greene and Rusted Root, as well as a confetti of additional comedy and musical group performances.  No matter what the show, bet on big city talent in the heart of wine country at this mid-sized theater. As enthusiastic Yelper Joe K. put it, "the phrase 'not a bad seat in the house' is really true here!"
1350 Third St., Napa * Tickets: (707) 259-0123 or CLICK HERE!

Rock On: Day of Bluegrass
Northern California Buegrass Society touches down in Napa to host the first bluegrass festival in the valley in more than 15 years this April. Band The Golden State Revue is set to headline more than a half dozen performers slated to play throughout the day, with "Bluegrass Jamming" promised between shows.  At $13 and change per ticket, this event looks to be one of April's best values for arts intake over the course of a single day!
4/14 all day * St. Helena Native Sons Of The Golden West Hall, 1313 Spring St.

wineTrainSingALong.jpgWine Train Sing Along
Who can resist a good old fashioned sing along, piano bar style?  This popular monthly event is free, welcomes all ages and has no drink minimum (see? we told you you'd like it).  Buy a bottle from the on-site store or purchase beverages at this no-reservation event, which on 4/26 boasts an ironic-cool theme in Golden Oldies.  Rock out with "Piano Maestro" host Dan Daniels - who has performed with Stevie Wonder, Lou Rawls, and Earth, Wind, and Fire - alongside special guest, vocalist Nicky DePaola.  Another great Arts in April value in the valley.  
4/26 7-10pm * 1275 McKinstry St., Napa * Call: 800-427-4124

Kitchens in the Vineyards
This annual home tour of some of the valley's most spectacular culinary haunts is a must-see for any avid home cook.  Whether you just plan to attend the Preview Party (4/27) at recently remodeled Raymond Vineyards or hit all five estates the next day, your culinary imagination will be stoked by this group of stunning kitchens, dining rooms and spectacular outdoor entertaining areas.  Springtime floral arrangements, table settings and the chance to meet chefs and cookbook authors add festive seasonal patina.
4/27 4pm-10pm & 4/28 9:30am-4:30pm * Ticket information: (707) 258-5559

SILO'S Jazz Club: Ongoing Hits
Featuring a rotating selection of acts from local stars to international luminaries, this spacious music venue on Napa's revitalized waterfront matches up entertainment with wine and late-night bites. Look for shows most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with April programming offering stellar jazz, vocalists and even sing-alongs. With a tagline like "Pairing great wines with great music in Napa Valley," you know it's going to be the kind of wine country entertainment haunt that delivers great pours alongside sweet notes.
530 Main St., Napa * Ticket information: (707) 251-5833