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Sammy Hagar, Six Others Nab Milley Awards

Ceremony set for Oct. 23 to celebrate the achievements of local artists for their body of work and contributions to the community.

The Red Rocker is getting a Milley.

Sammy Hagar, the longtime Mill Valley resident whose 40-year career has spanned multiple bands and a slew of successful business ventures, is among the seven locals picked to receive 2011 Milley Awards.

The group, which also includes acclaimed landscape architect Eldon Beck, National Magazine Award finalist Katy Butler, a street painting revivalist Sue Carlomagno, father-son jazz musicians Si and Max Perkoff and music educator Larry Snyder a pillar of Bay Area musical education, is set to receive the awards at an Oct. 23 ceremony.

The seven honorees have lived in Mill Valley for 225 years combined, according to Trubee Shock, who has helped produce the Milleys under the auspices of the Mill Valley Art Commission for the past 17 years.

“This is just a fantastic experience to learn about all these amazing local people and to honor them in this way,” she said.

The Milleys were created by Abby Wasserman in 1988 to honor one local person a year for their creative achievements. By 1995, the Art Commission realized that Mill Valley suffered from an overwhelming abundance of great artists, and expanded the event to include five recipients.

What began as a paper certificate awarded during a break in City Council proceedings has evolved into a full-fledged gala with winners receiving a bronze statuette crafted by Sausalito sculptor John Libberton. Author and former San Francisco Chronicle columnist Joel Selvin will serve as the host of this year’s event.

The commission and keeps those nominations for three years. Ten new nominations were submitted this year and 28 nominees were reviewed by a panel of judges that includes Bread & Roses Executive Director Cassandra Flipper; former Tam High music teacher Bob Greenwood; graphic designer and painter Susan Landor Keegin; former Pacific Sun publisher and editor Steve McNamara; and architect and former Mill Valley Mayor Chris Raker.

This year’s recipients include:

Eldon Beck, an internationally acclaimed landscape architect whose work ranges from village designs of Whistler in British Columbia and Vail in Colorado to the initial remodel of Mill Valley’s Old Mill Park in 1965. “The judges felt his nomination was long overdue, and he has very deep roots in Mill Valley,” Shock said.

Katy Butler, a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Mother Jones, Vogue and the Buddhist Review. Butler was a finalist for the National Magazine Award.

Sue Carlomagno, the founder and former director of Youth in Arts Italian Street Painting festival, an event that launched in 1994 and became one of the premier events in the North Bay until it went on hiatus due to financial trouble this year. Carlomagno also taught art to children in Mill Valley for decades.

Si & Max Perkoff, a pair of multi-talented father and son jazz musicians, teachers and composers. Si is a pianist who has been performing all over California and beyond since the 1960s’s pianist, while Max, who plays trombone and piano, composes, conducts and teaches 3rd and 4th grade music at Neil Cummins School in Corte Madera.

“Honoring the two of them is a generational message,” Shock said. “They’re both very low key but they’re fantastic musicians.”

Sammy Hagar, the former lead singer for groups like Montrose and Van Halen as well as his latest group, Chickenfoot. Hagar has also had two lengthy solo stints, in the late 70s and early 80s after he left Montrose and in the late 90s after he left Van Halen. Hagar was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 with Van Halen. In the latter part of his musical career, Hagar has built a lucrative empire in the restaurant and tequila business.

“He’s an old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll stomper,” Shock said. “And he’s been very active in the local community for a long time.”

Larry Snyder, who has made major contributions to some of the Bay Area’s major musical institutions, is receiving the Sali Lieberman Award. The award isn’t given out every year and recognizes an individual’s lasting contributions to local arts organizations and their lifetime achievement in the arts.

Snyder garnered the honor for his impact on four Bay Area arts institutions: the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, for which he served as dean and modernized its curriculum; the College of Marin music department; Sonoma State University; and the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society, of which he is president.

Shock said she continues to be amazed by the number of Mill Valley residents who have made major, decades-long contribution to the arts and the local community.

“I honestly thought people would die before we got to everybody,” she said. “But we just keep going. We’re beginning to realize how unique we are here in Marin.”

Katy Butler August 01, 2011 at 06:01 PM
I'm honored to be awarded a Milley, and thank Mill Valley for being such an inspiring place to live and write. A word of clarification: I am not a Pulitzer "nominee," which sounds as if I was a finalist. Rather, my writing on AIDS, in collaboration with the late Randy Shilts, was submitted by the San Francisco Chronicle for the Pulitzer Prize. all my best, Katy Butler
Erma Murphy August 04, 2011 at 06:37 PM
Great to see Si and Max get this honor. Well deserved. May jazz survive and thrive!

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