Film and Fun Collide in Northern Humboldt
High and low art alike pair perfectly with cinematic lore in Northern Humboldt, where one can follow in the footsteps of A to Z list actors while enjoying local culture.
Matthew Perry and the late Chris Farley, for example, might not have won Oscars for Almost Heroes (1998), which scored an 8 out of 100 on Rotten Tomatoes, while filming on location in Northern Humboldt. Still, the scenery shines in the goofball period comedy in which the pair race Lewis and Clarke through the American frontier, especially when they reach their goal, the Pacific, at Trinidad State Beach.
Other scenes might better have found the cutting room floor, like the face slapping contest with Native Americans. Nevertheless, the fishing village of Trinidad showcases real Indian culture, whether in its museum, a nearby recreated Yurok village in Patrick’s Point State Park, or its souvenir shops, which display and sell jewelry made in traditional style from dentalium, small delicate tusk shells, once common in the region and used as a kind of de facto currency.
Humboldt County (2008), a dramedy in which a Los Angeles med student accidentally disappears into the Emerald Triangle, features in its finale stunning Luffenholtz County Beach south of Trinidad off of U. S. Highway 101, a favorite spot for plein air artists. Jutting sea stacks, ocean cliffs, secluded coves and sea caves, sea lions and star fish all find their way on canvases and photographs hanging in local storefronts, including the Trinidad Art Gallery, a co-op featuring original creations of some of Humboldt’s finest artists. For more artistic revelry, carouse through town during Trinidad Arts Night, the first Friday every month from May through October.
Finally, what’s not to love about a bro-mance in which one of the leads just happens to be dead? It’s only a minor detail for Swiss Army Man (2016), which transforms the beaches and forests around Trinidad into a deserted tropical island. Paul Dano impresses alongside Daniel Radcliffe, sans Hogwarts wizard wand. Despite the strange premise, the film delivers a creative tour de force, in large part because the corpse, improbably, serves as a platform for musical and artistic expression for Dano’s character, whether as muse, de facto woodwind instrument or flaming canvas.
Find yourself more traditionally inspired when Trinidad hosts the Trinidad Bay Art & Music Festival each August, featuring acclaimed classical musicians and visual artists.