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List-en Up!

John Benus

Photo by Tim Porter

Ubiquitous, ubiquitous, what does it mean? Here’s a two-word definition: John Benus. The guy is seemingly everywhere. On Thursday nights he’s barbecuing oysters for the crowd at Sausalito’s Northpoint Coffee Company. When the moon is full, Benus is leading the Marin Moonshiners on one of their three-mile moonlit hikes that includes dinner on the trail and concludes with a bonfire at Muir Beach, then socializing at the Pelican Inn. And when Saturday morning rolls around, the smiling optimist is often supervising an Adopt-A-Highway crew along Highway 1 near Olema, picking up litter and, in his words, “making the world a little bit better place—and having fun in the process.”

“I like cleaning up things,” Benus is quick to admit. The longtime Fairfax resident also has a proclivity for planning ahead: “There is so much going on in the Bay Area,” he says, “[that] I thought a viable business could be found in publishing a well-organized, user-friendly calendar of events, enabling people living here to share [info about] fun events with neighbors as well as out-of-town guests.” Enter Benus’s “What’s Happening Calendar 2008,” an easy-to-read listing of more than 500 festivals and events (over 200 of them free-admission) and 70 farmers’ markets that’s now in its third year of publication.

Did you know the Marin Symphony has Civic Center performances on January 20 and 22 with tickets available by phone at 415.499.6800? Or that on the afternoon of January 20, there’s an all-you-can-eat crab and cioppino feed at the Grange Hall in Bodega Bay? And that the Cable Car Barn and Museum is open daily at the corner of Washington and Mason in San Francisco—with no admission charge? That and much more for all 12 months of 2008, including locations, websites and phone numbers, can be found in Benus’s guide.

Compiling the calendar involved three months of intense reviewing of regional magazines, local newspapers, civic announcements, tourist guides and the web. “This year, I know I made over 2,000 phone calls,” Benus says. “Every event that’s interesting and enjoyable had to be included—and included accurately.” The informative “What’s Happening Calendar 2008” costs $20 and is available at most local bookstores including Book Passage, Book Depot, Barnes & Noble and Borders and at whatshappeningcalendars.com.

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