Cat Taylor's Mewsings

Balancing left and right brain madness…

GiveForward Site for Don Kelly’s Chosen Family

The Renaissance Faire, Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Northern California Pirate Festival lost a very dear friend this  week, Don Kelly. I did too.  The GiveForward site for Don’s chosen family is up and available at

 Please give what you can (even a little bit adds up) and share around.

Don Kelly at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair.

Don Kelly at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair.


Did you miss the beginning of the new Cosmos series with Neil deGrasse Tyson?

Did you miss the beginning of the new Cosmos series with Neil deGrasse Tyson? We did too, but you can catch it on Hulu Plus for $7.99 a month. We just watched the first episode and it’s well worth it.

Watch Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Online


Believe it or not, it’s already time to “spring forward”!


Daylight Savings Time starts on Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 2:00 AM local standard time.
Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 2:00 AM local daylight time.

Phoenyx’s Keepers of the Flame” – Now Legendary?

phoenyxOnce upon a time there was a Celtic Fusion band called Phoenyx,
I guess we’ve now reached legendary status… Keepers Of The Flame: Music.

Considering FreshBooks but don’t want to give up QuickBooks?

Check out this post from Charlie Russell on “QuickBooks and Beyond”

Integrating FreshBooks with QuickBooks
March 3, 2014 | By 

FreshBooks is a very popular online program for small business billing, and the company recently announced a feature that will post information from FreshBooks into QuickBooks Desktop. Let’s take a look at how this new feature works and mention some alternatives you might want to consider.

Dickens Fair: Innkeeper, Another Round of Auditions for Dickens Characters! 10/22

Great Dickens Christmas Fair

The next round of Dickens Character auditions will take place at pre-arranged times at Mission Alchemy Event Space on the evening of Tuesday, October 22nd.

Although we are not limiting our search to these roles, these are the characters we are specifically interested in casting:

The Book that started all, “A Christmas Carol,” is looking for several crucial cast members:

  • Bob Cratchit (hard to place the age) – Scrooge’s gentle, much put-upon clerk. A devoted family man and ardent Christmas enthusiast
  • Ghost of Christmas Present (no specific age) – Larger than life, irrepressibly jolly and loud. The condensed essence of Christmas celebrations
  • Nephew Fred – (youngish man) Scrooge’s dashing, lively and ebullient nephew, a one man PR campaign for hospitality and Christmas cheer
Additionally Other Books is specifically looking for

  • Nicholas Nickelby, the dashing, young, hotheaded hero of the book by the same name.
Although we are not actively casting for any other specific characters,Other Books is always looking for vivid, interesting people to liven up the streets of London and our guests’ experience of the Fair. If there is a role in a Dickens book or adaptation that you want to play (or simply find appealing) prepare a brief piece to read – and act – for the audition team.  It will give us a clearer idea of your capabilities and the type of character you want to play. Dickens wrote a lot of vivid characters – both male and female – that cover a broad range of age, class and eccentricity level. The books are a theatrical goldmine! There is an enormous amount of material available online to help make your search fun and interesting as well as easy.

The Dickens book character groups are ensemble casts that pride themselves on showcasing the vast panoply of Dickens’ brilliantly wrought characters. Dickens’ characters are big, bold and quirky with a lot of theatrical and interactive opportunities, plus tons of scenery to chew. Our lives at Fair are one big theatrical and improvisational banquet throughout the day, interacting with our guests and fellow cast members, and creating scenes from Dickens’ works.

NOTE: Auditioning for a Dickens character is like any other theatrical audition – preparation is crucial. When considering auditioning for any of these roles, please take the time to do some research on the character to determine both that it is a role that you would be able to play and something you would enjoy doing. Being prepared also makes it easier for you to show yourself at your best and will make the casting process move more smoothly for all parties.

Please note that the Christmas Carol characters must be able to memorize lines and follow the script exactly.
If you would like to audition for one of these roles, please email Entertainment Department Assistant Rickie Bolin at with the following information:

1. Your full name, email address and phone number

2. The character(s) you would like to audition for. (Please prepare a bit of the dialogue for that character – see web resources below – and be prepared to improvise as that character.)

3. Your first, second and third choice of audition time on Tuesday October 22nd. The auditions will be scheduled at 15 minute intervals, please be patient as we sometimes get a bit behind when auditioning promising actors.

4. Optional: A brief note of any experience you would like us to know about. We will have applications and accept resumes (not required) at the auditions.

Here’s a great page to learn more about the characters and the books:

Comic Book Art Slam on Thursday October 17th in San Jose!

cbas 10-17-13Like comic book super heroes? Like to draw?

Join us for round two of the Comic Book Art Slam, this time in San Jose at 7:30 on Thursday, October 17th at the SLG Art Boutiki.  All levels of experience are welcome! Just come and draw amazing costumed models in a fun, geeky environment! On-site art instruction will be available to help you polish up your longer poses and turn them into wild pieces of Comic Art!

Advance (discounted) tickets are available here:


Dickens Fair 35th Anniversary Tickets go on sale today – order early and save $5 per adult admission!

Great Dickens Christmas Fair

Discover a lamplit city of feasting, laughing, dancing, & shopping for treasures. Over 700 performers sweep you into the sumptuous world of Charles Dickens’ London.

JOIN US OPENING WEEKEND NOVEMBER 23rd and 24th (the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving!) for the very best selection of one-of-a-kind handcrafted gifts.

Quite possibly the most elaborate, inventive, and unique Christmas event in the world – and a beloved Bay Area tradition – the Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party showcases over three acres of exhibition halls transformed into a brilliant facsimile of Victorian London circa the 1840s-1860s. It is the peak of the British Empire, Queen Victoria reigns and Charles Dickens is dazzling the world with writing unequaled since the Bard put quill to vellum. Enter an ever-changing slice of Dickens’ incomparable London, warmly lit and lovingly decorated. Discover winding lanes, shops and pubs, tearooms, lecture halls, a grand Music Hall, and the boisterous London dockside – all brought to life by over 750 skilled and authentically costumed performers.

The Fair kicks off on November 23 and continues FIVE weekends (including the Friday after Thanksgiving!) through Sunday, December 22, 2013 at San Francisco’s historic Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave.

Enjoy traditional favorites and new shows on seven stages!

Now entering its 35th season, the Great Dickens Christmas Fair is the incomparable holiday original that generations of families have embraced as their holiday tradition.

It’s an exciting old-time world for friends and family to explore for hours on end, even over multiple days or weekends. Arrive early, stay late, or simply join us for “dinner and a show” as you would in Charles Dickens’ London!

There is something to amaze and delight your senses around every corner of our winding lamplit streets. The opportunity to applaud, marvel, carouse, dance, and mingle with old friends and new in a festive Victorian world makes the Great Dickens Christmas Fair unlike any other event in the world – while presenting an enchanting alternative to the typical commercial fare of the season.

Purchase “Print at Home” tickets now through October 15th and save $5 off the box office price of $25 Adult tickets. A $2 discount for children (ages 5-12) is also offered. It’s a deal even Scrooge would love! Don’t delay, purchase your “passports” to Dickens’ London today!

Explore our website for a wealth of information about the Fair and the exciting world of Charles Dickens’ London!

Do join us in “London in San Francisco”!

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party
Nov. 23 – Dec. 22
FIVE Weekends, beginning the weekend before Thanksgiving!

When High on the Walls You have Twined
The Green Holly,
Let Music Resound and Let All
Be Most Jolly!

Special Free Event: Affordable Care Act Informational Meeting

Special Free Event: Affordable Care Act Informational Meeting

Friday September 27th, 7:30-9:30 at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists.

Health insurance as we know it will be changing on October 1st, you need to know how this will affect you and your family so you can review your health care choices.
Find out if you qualify for a tax credit or a subsidy on the new health care exchange.
Find out what the exchange is and what type of plans it offers.

You may be able to save money on premiums; you may be able to get better coverage regardless of preexisting conditions, but you have to understand your options.
Open enrollment starts October 1st 2013 and ENDS on March 31st 2014. This is your chance to learn what you need to know and do in 2014.

Space is limited so please get your tickets soon through the Eventbrite link on my website at

Wendy McLaughlin has been an insurance agent since 1987. She has three designations from the American College, the CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter), ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant) and CASL (Chartered Advisor for Senior Living).

This event is sponsored by Cat Taylor Bookkeeping and the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists.


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