Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Where to eat out on Easter Sunday

Food Deadline Maple HamEaster is Sunday and if you just said “eek!” I’m here to help. Several restaurants are open serving special meals on Easter and others are selling take-home meals. Here’s what you need to know.

The Elbow Room is doing an Easter brunch from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. I’m told Chef Roy Harland has “gone all out” and is serving a huge buffet, including eggs, biscuits and gravy, omelets, prime rib, ham, oysters on the half shell, salmon, turkey pot pies, salads and pastries. Adults cost $25.99. Kids 10 and under cost $14.99.

The regular dinner menu is offered from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Reservations aren’t required for either, but are a good idea. Call (559) 227-1234.

The Daily Grill at 7855 N. Palm Ave. will serve an Easter brunch. The full menu is here, but highlights include eggs Benedict or crab cakes Benedict, Texas French toast with berry compote and blacked sea scallop salad. Cocktails and monkey bread are involved too.

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Win tickets to Fresno Grizzlies

grizzThe Fresno Grizzlies kicked off the season with a home opener last weekend that included fireworks, a culinary creation called Grizzly Eggs and a win over Las Vegas. The team is back home Saturday for a four-day stint against Reno.

We’ve got ticket vouchers we’ll hand off to a lucky Beehiver. The vouchers can be redeemed at the box office for actual tickets (based on availability). Of course, you don’t have to use them this weekend. The tickets are good for any home game, excluding July 4. We’ll have more to give out as the season progresses.

To enter to win, leave a message in the comments section. Tell us what is your favorite part about going to the Chuck to watch the Grizzlies. The deadline for entry is noon Thursday. The winner will be chosen at random Thursday night and notified via email (so check your if you enter). These are physical vouchers, so the winner will need to come to The Fresno Bee office to claim them.

Full contest rules on the jump.

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D.I.Y.: Peep Wreath

Photo: Eric Paul Zamora

Photo: Eric Paul Zamora

We are well in the midst of Peep season. The brightly colored chick-or-bunny shaped, sugar-covered marshmallow confections have arrived en masse at virtually any store that has a sign. Which means that a Peep appearance in just about every Easter basket is assured.

As common as the Easter treat is, common also is the knowledge that one is either a Peep lover, or Peep hater — and never the twain shall meet.

Peep lovers have it easy; they can simply gobble up the iridescent marshmallows and be done with it. But those who dislike Peeps? Those who find them, perhaps, grainy and cloying, what is a non-Peep eater to do with the things?

To Peep haters I say: Consider your decor. A quick Pinterest search reveals that there are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of Easter D.I.Y.’s involving Peeps. Here is one such simple craft to spring-ify your humble abode.

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Valley view of the lunar eclipse

Anyone else tired from staying up late to see the “blood moon” last night? I may be a bit light on sleep today, but I’m glad I stayed up to see the lunar eclipse. As an amateur photographer, I had fun trying to capture the stunning view. Here’s my favorite shot, taken just after midnight with my Cannon T3i.



The Bee is collecting photos from readers. Share them at the addresses below, or send them my way and I’ll pass them along:

• Tweet to @FresnoBee

• email attachments to

Tweet of the day: A waste of beer

I’m sure I’m not the only who snickered this morning upon seeing the picture accompanying the overturned beer truck on Highway 41. Thankfully, no one was injured.

Our former colleague Mike Oz and Zara Arboleda of CBS 47 had this entertaining tweet:

Audra update: Stellar reviews for ‘Lady Day’


Another Audra McDonald opening on Broadway, another round of stellar reviews. McDonald’s “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” opened Sunday at the Circle in the Square theater for a limited run, and critics showered Fresno’s favorite Broadway star with raves. I liked this one from the Los Angeles Times:

When one recalls Holiday’s sublimely ruined sound at the end of her career, the period in which Lanie Robertson’s concert drama is set, one doesn’t think of McDonald’s soaring, Juilliard-burnished soprano, a gold medal voice still in its athletic prime.

But from the moment McDonald takes the microphone, a metamorphosis more striking than any in Ovid occurs. Gone is the shimmering operatic prowess that powered through “Summertime” in “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” the last of McDonald’s Tony-winning performances. In its place are Holiday’s distinctive jazz timing and idiosyncratic phrasing, qualities as singular as fingerprints.

I’ve always thought that McDonald had such a distinctive voice that I could recognize her signature style in a nano-second, but, once again, she rises to the occasion.

Here’s what the New York Times has to say. has a roundup of major reviews. And has a great photo gallery from opening night, including McDonald accepting flowers, above.

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” plays through June 1, so plan those New York trips soon.

A successful Mini Maker Faire

I enjoyed Fresno’s second Mini Maker Faire on Saturday at the Fresno Art Museum: great weather, interesting people, good entertainment, thoughtful exhibits. One nice thing about the event is that unlike most festivals, this one had more to it than just food booths and crafts booths. You could actually learn something. I made sure to engage with some of the Makers — who represent “innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft” — and chatted with them about their work.

Highlights for me:

  • First time I got to see a 3-D printer in person and actually watch it print.
  • Meeting Kiel Schmidt’s baby goat, Abacus, and seeing the fresh produce grown at Tower Urban Family Farm.
  • Learning about FresnYoga, invented by Teresa Flores and Rebecca Plevin, and watching a group of yoga enthusiasts do their “High Speed Rail” pose. (Which kept getting delayed.)
  • Listening to Fresno’s poet laureate, James Tyner, recite his beautiful poem “Going North to Down.”
  • Checking out the bees on display thanks to the Busy Bee Honey Farm. (I’m always a bee fan. Obviously.)

Bee photographer Craig Kohlruss put together a nifty video, above, about the event, along with a photo gallery. I took a few photos on my own, too, which I’ve included after the jump.

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Win tickets to Krush Groove

krushgrooveThe Krush Groove hi-hip showcase rolls into town Friday. The fifth annual event, started by Los Angeles radio station 93.5 KDAY, is heaven for fans of the old-school, with some of heaviest hitters of the ’90s, including Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Redman AND Method Man, DJ Quik and Too $hort, plus Daz and WC, Tha Eastsidaz, Jayo Felony and 2 II None.

Bone Thugs in particular, are no strangers to Fresno. The group was part of the similarly themed West Coast Fest last summer and lobbied to have that tour kick-off in Fresno. So, fans should be out in force.

We have tickets for a lucky Beehiver.
Enter to win by leaving a comment on this post. Tell us which Krush Groove artist ranks best, or tell us who should have been on the bill. Deadline to enter is 8 p.m. Thursday. Please enter only once. Winners will be chosen at random and notified via email (so check yours Friday morning if you entered).

Full contest rules on the jump.

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New restaurant coming to North India space

image(1)After closing last summer, the former North India Bar & Grill building will soon be home to a new restaurant. A chef and restauranteur from the Bay Area bought the building and will open the Elephant Lounge in the space, likely in early June.

Ranjit Dosanjh says he knows the previous owner of the restaurant was a Bay Area restauranteur who couldn’t make a restaurant work there, but says his will be a different concept. Elephant Lounge will serve modern, Indian fusion food with French and Thai influences — but also American and Italian food. They’ll be meat and vegetable dishes with a basil cream sauce, for example, but also steak and pasta. He says he often hears of families where the wife loves Indian food, but the husband and the kids not so much, so he wanted a menu that would appeal to the entire family.

“There are very faithful fans of North India and I can promise them that they’ll be pleased with my food,” he says.

Tired of running four businesses in the East Bay (restaurants Xenia Bistro, India 4 U, Rising Loafer and Spice Global Catering) he is moving to Fresno, where his daughter attends Fresno State. (He’ll still own the other restaurants, but someone else is taking over the day-to-day management.)

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Nickfest 2014 announces full lineup, adds Owen, Tera Melos

nickfestLast week, we announced the date for Nickfest 2014, the annual Tower District concert held in memory of local music enthusiast Nick Henebury. Now we have confirmation of the full line-up, which includes Owen (the solo-project from Chicago indie-rocker Mike Kinsella) and the pedal-core band Tera Melos.

Pedal-core is the term I coined for specifically for the band, which incorporates “experimental rock, ambient electronics and unconventional song structure” to create music that is “characterized by their quickly alternating time signatures, start-stop dynamics, two-handed tapping, extended open-ended bridges and the use of effect pedals and samplers.”

Lots of pedals and samplers.

Check out the festival’s full lineup, plus a video from Tera Melos, on the jump.

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Slow down for art


Some people race through museums so quickly there should be posted speed limits. Which is fine if that’s the way they want to do it. Experiencing art should be a matter of personal preference. But there’s also something to be said for slowing down and really lingering with a piece. For those who want that encouragement, the Slow Art Day movement was born.

Arte Americas and the Fresno Art Museum are participating Saturday in the national volunteer event, which this year includes more than 220 participating institutions. Organizers explain:

People all over the world visit local museums and galleries to look at art slowly. Participants look at five works of art for 10 minutes each and then meet together over lunch to talk about their experience. That’s it. Simple by design, the goal is to focus on the art and the art of seeing.

At Arte Americas, participants will examine five works by San Francisco artist Viviana Paredes selected by Arte Américas Director Frank Delgado. The installation pieces are part of the exhibition “Navigating The Sacred.” Viewing will be 11 a.m.-noon. An optional lunch discussion is 12:15-1:15 p.m. and will take place in the shade of the outdoor plaza.

Admission to Arte Américas is free, and participants can either bring their own lunch, or order Mexican take-out from a nearby restaurant.  “We’ll even put people’s sack lunches in the fridge during the event,” Delgado says.

At the Fresno Art Museum, a ticket is required to the all-day Mini Maker Faire to participate in Slow Art Day. The art viewing is 11 a.m.-noon, and lunch discussion (lots of Mini Maker options) hosted by the museum’s Christina Rea will be noon-12:30 p.m.

Fresno’s Mini Maker Faire


I got the chance this week to learn more about the phenomenon of Maker Faires, which have become popular since the first one popped up in the Bay Area in 2006.

Fresno’s second Mini Maker Faire is 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at a new venue, the Fresno Art Museum, and it sounds fascinating. More than 100 “Makers” will be on hand. Organizers describe the original Maker concept as featuring “innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft.” In my roundup for Friday’s 7 section I preview the event and offer entertainment highlights. Here’s the full entertainment lineup for the event’s three stages:


Here’s your chance to flee from Godzilla


Come on, admit it. You have always had, tucked deep down in that place we keep our most primal movie desires, the wish to be in a crowd scene screaming your head off as you run away from Godzilla.

You’ll get that chance Sunday on the Fulton Mall. Roque Rodriguez of Fresno’s famed Dumb Drum writes:

We were contacted by Legendary Pictures (the studio behind the new “Godzilla” film opening in May) to help create a promotional video for an upcoming fan contest. We need as many people as we can get to pretend like they’re running from Godzilla on the Fulton Mall outside the Pacific Southwest Building this Sunday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m. There’s no pay, but this is chance to be in a fun video that will be promoted online by Legendary Pictures.  Come prepared to run!

I wonder how Godzilla feels about opening the mall to traffic? Perhaps that’s his acting motivation for a rampage.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

5things4-12-14For those not at Coachella

1. Grizzlies home opener
For the Grizzly Eggs alone.

2. FresYes Fest
Tioga Sequoia’s annual bash. Five special releases, plus live music from Strange Vine. Also: It’s free.

3. House of Pendragon grand opening
Another craft-brew celebration. This one is across town. No word on whether there will be a shuttle running between the two. NOTE: That would be awesome.

5things-4-12-144. Philm
Slayer drummers Dave Lombardo in an alt-rock power trio with the bass player from War.

5. Mini Maker Faire
It’s maker’s month, people So, get to it.

Fresno State theater announces 2014-15 season


A rousing new season for Fresno State theater:

By David Mamet
Directed by Thomas-Whit Ellis
October 3-11, 2014

By Jean Genet
Directed by Ruth Griffin
October 31, November 1-8, 2014

Book by Joe Masteroff
Based on the play by John Van Druten and
Stories by Christopher Isherwood
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed by J. Daniel Herring
December 5-13, 2014

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Throwback Thursday: Fresno Post Office

Misc. Fresno History
This is a photo from The Bee archives of the old Fresno Post Office building on Van Ness and Tulare Avenues dated as April of 1951. The caption states that work was to begin on razing the building and that the land would be used for a parking lot “for the time being.” Not sure if this is the corner that is currently occupied by Club One or the other one across the street, which is a vacant lot.

The greening of Elphaba


In the annals of Broadway greendom, I can now say I’ve hit a double jackpot.

Last year I got to sneak into a private dressing room backstage at the Saroyan Theatre to watch the actor playing Shrek in the national tour of “Shrek the Musical” go through the process of turning green.

I experienced the same kind of opportunity Tuesday when Bee photographer Mark Crosse and I watched perhaps the most famed green transformation on Broadway: that of Laurel Harris, who plays Elphaba, as she transitioned from normal pigmented human into the Wicked Witch of the West.

It might not be easy being Elphaba — have you ever tried belting out “Defying Gravity” in front of 2,300 people? — but thanks to veteran makeup artist Joyce McGilberry, it’s a cinch turning green. Here’s my take:

wicked 2

The first step: With Harris sitting in her chair, McGilberry — who has been with the “Wicked” tour for seven years — starts with the hands. Harris sticks hers out to be slathered with Mac makeup, the hue of which is called Landscape Green. Her neck, shoulders, face, hairline and ears follow. I retain a lingering mental image of McGilberry, who works with the brisk efficiency of a Formula One pit crew member, thoroughly swabbing Harris’ ears with enough green to cover every possible crevice. It’s like watching a toddler getting her ears washed by a stern British nanny, only in reverse.

PHOTO GALLERY‘Wicked’s’ Elphaba, Laurel Harris, gets painted green
VIDEO: Laurel Harris talks about the “greening” process
REVIEW: ‘Wicked’ remains wickedly good

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Fresno not boring, but “country”

skeletonsBecause we all love to get offended at these ridiculous ranking that insult our city, here’s two more. First, one to celebrate. Fresno is NOT on the list of the most boring places in California. Weehoo! Sorry, Clovis (which tied for No. 16 with Palmdale), Merced (No. 5) and Modesto (No. 8). The Movoto real estate blog looked at nightlife per capita, live music per capita, parks/outdoor activities per capita, along with the percentage of people ages 20 to 34 and the percentage of restaurants that are fast food (lower = better).

But according to another ranking, Fresno is the most country city in California. (And country must be said with a twangy accent with the emphasis on the “untry”).  Our city was ranked the No. 24 most country-minded city by the Estately blog. In its oh-so-scientific ranking, the blog looked at the percentage of Facebook users in the top 50 most populous cities who listed these topics as interests: “country music, fishing, hunting, NASCAR, firearms, barbecue, cowboy boots, pickup trucks, rodeos, and sweet tea.”

Church hopes Lincoln is ‘Spider-Man’ fan

Thomas Haden ChurchThere are some topics — when it comes to interviews — that are trickier than others to approach. One hot topic is anything to do with religion.

That subject gets a lot easier when the actor is involved with a faith-based project such as the new feature film “Heaven is for Real.” The movie is based on the story of the 4-year-old Nebraska boy who tells his parents that he’s been to Heaven. He provides details that the youngster should have no way of knowing. But, the book based on the youngster’s stories has many detractors who don’t believe the story.

Thomas Haden Church — best known for TV roles such as “Wings” and the films “Sideways” and “We Bought a Zoo” — plays one of the members of the church council who has to make some hard decisions after the youngster’s story is revealed. His participation in “Heaven is for Real” opens the door for some theological discussions.

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Colbert picked as Letterman’s replacement

Stephen ColbertThe CBS Television Network has just announced Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as the host of “The Late Show,” effective when Letterman retires in 2015. Colbert — writer and executive producer of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning “The Colbert Report” — has been given a five-year deal.

“Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” Les Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corporation, says in a press release to announce the hiring. “David Letterman’s legacy and accomplishments are an incredible source of pride for all of us here, and today’s announcement speaks to our commitment of upholding what he established for CBS in late night.”

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Concert announcement: Oak Ridge Boys

oakridge boysThere is no mistaking the Oak Ridge Boys. The band’s four-part harmonies create a sound that is legendary. Also; one of the most distinctive in country music. Over the band’s 40 + years, it has had 12 gold, three platinum and one double-platinum album, a double platinum single and had more than a dozen No. 1 singles and more than 30 Top 10 hits. They’ve also collaborated with everyone from Paul Simon (the band sung backup for his hit “Slip Slidin’ Away,”) George Jones, Johnny Cash, Billy Ray Cyrus and even Shooter Jennings, the son of Waylon Jennings. On Tuesday, the band releases “Boy Night Out,” a live greatest hits album.

The band comes to Visalia’s Fox Theatre, May 13. Tickets are $49-$99 and on also now at the box office (559) 625-1369 and on-line at

Watch the video for “Ain’t No Short Way Home” on the jump.

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Theresa Caputo randomly picks those to read

caputoSince the announcement Theresa Caputo, psychic medium and star of the TLC series, “Long Island Medium,” will be appearing at the Save Mart Center on June 4, many have asked how they can arrange to have Caputo do a reading.

The simple answer is you can’t.

The way Caputo operates is that during the show, she walks in and out of the aisles guided by “wherever spirit takes her” to a member of the audience. Those are the people she will read.

That means the only way to have a chance of getting a reading is to buy a ticket. But, keep in mind buying a ticket is no assurance of a reading. Caputo’s selections are random.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. April 11 at select Save Mart Supermarkets, by going to or by calling (800) 745-3000. Tickets start at $39.75.