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  • Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine

E & M Presents Two April Arts Events these will be sure to Please

Uncle Bully’s Surf Skool

Uncle Bully’s Surf Skool

When a global pandemic decimates the tourism industry across the Hawaiian Islands, it means no travel, no tourists and no surf lessons for the kids.

Maui surf instructor and life coach Bull Kotter (affectionately known as “Uncle Bully”), suddenly found his small business pushed to the brink. He turns to his community, not for help or a handout, but to give back.

A new documentary short about the life of Bull Kotter is holding its theatrical premier, April 12-14, at the Cameo Cinema in St. Helena. Each of the three screenings will be followed by talk-backs featuring the director/producers (Inflatable Film) and Kotter in attendance. The film is 40-minutes in length and rated PG-13. For tickets, 

Kotter had been mentoring underserved and homeless youth with free surf lessons in the Lahaina encampments while the pandemic was forcing schools, kids and daily life to dramatically adjust. “Homelessness is very rampant in our area,” said Kotter on a recent ‘Good Morning America’ interview.  

“I saw this as an opportunity to build something community strong.”

When the fires hit Maui on August 8, Kotter’s Lahaina home and business were destroyed leaving him and wife Ashley homeless among the thousands who continue to experience the tragedy.

“Life is the most precious gift we have,” shared Kotter. “We lost everything but all of that can be replaced.”  

“Being in the water with the kids is my ‘happy place,’” Kotter said. “It’s about giving in to the sense of love and acceptance and using the ocean as a way of venting and finding joy again. I don’t feel homeless if I have the ocean that takes care of me. As long as I have this, I’m feeling like a king!”

Mayhem Poets

Mayhem Poets

In celebration of National Poetry Month, E & M Presents welcomes the Mayhem Poets, Sunday, April 28, at the Yountville Community Center, with performances at 1pm and 3pm. Shows are appropriate for ages 8 and up. For tickets, visit:

During a recent interview, Mason Granger, a 20-year veteran of the troupe (along with Scott Raven and Mikumari Caiyhe), shared some tips for enjoying this new-to-Napa Valley, interactive experience.

“One great thing about a Mayhem Poets show is the ‘sneak attack’ effect, where the kids either don’t know what they’re about to see or they think it’s going to be three guys standing on stage reading poetry for an hour.” 

“Then, when the show starts, and they see this poetry/comedy/hip hop hybrid thing happening, that’s when they light up like, ‘Oh, this is FOR ME!” And then to the parents who are the ones paying for the tickets, I promise it’s for YOU too.  Like a Pixar movie except it’s three guys from New Jersey.”

“The most fun parts for me are when the tiny moments land with an audience. Our show is full of winks and nods in addition to the traditional poetry snaps and claps. The show is mostly scripted with moments of improvisation built in. Also, when you’ve been performing for young audiences for as long as we have, you learn that punchlines are forever evolving.  We always keep it fresh and keep it fun, for both the audience and ourselves.”

“Our shows are comprised of spoken word, stand-up comedy, and hip hop, then … the rest. Some poems are funny, some are serious, some are silly and some are inspiring, just like life. We all contain multitudes, and by the end of the show, we want people to feel like they got what they came for and got to reconnect with a side of themselves they never would’ve guessed.”



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