2018 Milley Award recipients include, clockwise from top left, Larry “the Hat” Lautzker, a Lifetime Achievement Award to the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival, Dr. Warren Farrell, Annie Rosenthal Parr, Marty Balin and Dart Cherk. Courtesy images.

The Milley Awards, Mill Valley’s annual celebration of the community’s vast amount of creative achievement and distinguished accomplishments in the arts, unveiled its 2018 class of winners this week.

The group ranges from one of the pioneers of the San Francisco Sound and an inimitable community force of nature to a pillar of the local dance community and one of the 94941’s landmark arts events. As usual, the honorees come from a wide array of fields, all providing yet another reminder of the vitality of the local arts and entertainment scene in the 94941.

The Milley Award recipients are selected by a panel of judges from nominations received from the community, based on one or more of three criteria: Outstanding achievement in creating, performing or teaching in the arts; Demonstration of a significant body of work; Service to the arts community. This year the judges were Paul Liberatore, longtime Marin Independent Journal columnist; musician Reed Fromer; Marin Theatre Company Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis; Craig Frazier, graphic designer-illustrator and author; and Anne Solem, former Mill Valley mayor. 

The 2018 Milleys marks the 30th anniversary of the very first Mill Valley Award for Creative Achievement, the precursor of the present Milleys, in 1988. It also marks founders Abby Wasserman’s and Trubee Schock’s final year as driving forces of the Milleys event. New members are being solicited to join the remaining Executive Committee to carry forth the event.

The Milley’s 23rd annual gala, produced by a volunteer board under the auspices of the Mill Valley Art Commission, is set for October 21 at 6pm at the Community Center. Tickets are $72 and go on sale in September. The following standouts will be honored:

Marty Balin – Musical Arts


Marty Balin was the founder and lead singer of the iconic Bay Area rock band Jefferson Airplane, which was among the pioneers of the San Francisco Sound, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and in 2016 was presented with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Balin, who began his musical career in the San Francisco folk scene in 1962 while an art student at San Francisco State, opened the Matrix nightclub with Jefferson Airplane on August 13, 1965. He later became the vocalist and songwriter for the successor band Jefferson Starship. Balin, a longtime Mill Valley resident who now lives in Tampa, Fla., continues to perform, write and produce music as well as paint. He last performed in Marin in 2015 with a show at the Throckmorton Theatre as part of Jefferson Airplane’s 50th anniversary celebration.

“Getting a Milley is cool,” Balin told the Marin Independent Journal. “I lived in Mill Valley for 30 some years and had never heard of a Milley.”

Larry “the Hat” Lautzker – Community Contributions


There’s simply no one like Larry “the Hat” Lautzker. Since his arrival in Mill Valley in 1974, Lautzer has been a force of nature in the community across a wide variety of fields. Lautzker’s Famous 4 mens and women’s clothing store has been an anchor of the downtown retail scene for years, and he has helmed both the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade and the Community Block Party for more than 15 years, as well as numerous benefits on behalf of local organizations including Kiddo!.

Lautzker also produces music and film events for the Mill Valley Film Festival and the Film Institute of Northern California, is an advisory board member of Music Heals International, which has been building music schools for the children of Haiti for over 5 years.

Annie Rosenthal Parr – Performing Arts


Mill Valley native and dancer, choreographer and teacherAnnie Rosenthal Parr founded RoCo Dance in 1993. Over those past 25 years, her “dedication, energy and vision have inspired a generation of girls, boys and adults to integrate dance into their lives for a lifetime,” the Milley jury found.

​RoCo offers more than 200 classes weekly for children and adults at its two locations in Tam Valley and Fairfax, and hosts 4-6 performances each year. Parr pursued a dance career performing with Della Davidson Dance and Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, and in 2016, she was honored with the Bay Area Dancers Choice Award. She is also an accomplished yoga instructor.

 Dr. Warren Farrell – Literary Arts


Dr. Warren Farrell, who has two daughters and lives in Mill Valley with his wife Liz Dowling, has written a host of best-selling books, including Why Men Are the Way They Are and The Myth of Male Power, both of which are published in 19 languages. His most recent tome is The Boy Crisis (2018, co-authored with John Gray).

Farrell was by the Financial Times as one of the world’s top 100 thought leaders. He has appeared on more than 1,000 TV shows and been interviewed by Oprah, Barbara Walters, Peter Jennings and Larry King. Farrell has frequently written for and been featured in The New York Times

Dart Cherk – Visual Arts & Design


Dart Cherk is an innovative architect, artist and community builder who has lived in Mill Valley since the late 1950s. He designed the colorful façade of the original Sweetwater Saloon on Throckmorton Ave. and designed and oversaw the remodeling of the Mill Valley Council Chambers into the graceful and inclusive configuration of today.

From 1970 to 1980, Cherk was a member of the Architectural Advisory Committee to the Planning Commission. During his tenure, architectural standards were developed for Downtown, Lower Miller and Alto Shopping Districts, and the designs were guided for major housing developments, public buildings and Bayfront Park. Cherk participated in the Mill Valley Library’s Oral History Project – find his contribution here. His “A Blueprint for Mill Valley,” a specific plan following the 1979-adopted General Plan and his “Sustainable Mill Valley,” can also be found at the Library.

Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival – Vera Schultz Award


One of Mill Valley’s iconic events, the Fall Arts Festival is the 2018 recipient of the Vera Schultz Award, which honors achievements of organizations that have made lasting contributions to the cultural life of Mill Valley.

MVFAF began as the Harvest Moon Festival in 1957 with a group of artists exhibiting their works in downtown store windows. In 1962, the festival was incorporated, became an independent nonprofit organization, officially changed its name to The Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival and moved to its present site at historic Old Mill Park. Today, thousands of people enjoy the juried art over a Saturday and Sunday in September – 9/15 & 16 this year – and the festival raises money for art scholarships to four Tam High School students for tuition and art supplies.

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