Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend


Go find someone you love and hug them. It’s been a long week. Then …

1. Big Brother presents Strangelove
All I ever needed is here in my arms.

2. Logger’s Jamboree
Chopping, sawing and general wood play. You’ve got to love the smell of fresh wood chips in the morning.

3. NOCO Summer Soiree
Aerial dance + classical music inside a museum. It’s a triple shot of culture.

4. Rock N’ Shop
Music and collectibles. Special appearance by a jaw-less zombie pet (or the dude who played one on TV anyway).

5. Ani-Jam
One word: Cosplay.

Eye-catching street art in the Tower District


I swung by the Viral Boutique in the Tower District while working on my retail column this week, and couldn’t help but notice what is painted on the wall outside. This is on the building that used to be Tom’s Trains at 1476 N. Van Ness Ave. that faces a dirt lot. The mural is much bigger than what’s shown here, so keep scrolling to see more.

Shop owner Omar Yanez tells me he didn’t like the original look of the wall, which was a patchwork of paint colors due to efforts to cover up graffiti. He put out a call on Craigslist for artists to come paint it and three or four people responded. Normally, we would always give credit to artists at the Bee, but when I asked Omar for their names, he called back to say they didn’t want their names published. “They call themselves collectively the ‘Remainders,’” he says. Since I’ve been sitting here wondering what to call this art (Graffiti art? Street art? Hip hop art as Omar says?), the fact that the artists don’t want their names might be a clue. What do you think about the murals?

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Picks for tonight’s scorching ArtHop

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I’ve already told you about Marcos Dorado’s farewell exhibit at Peeve’s and editorial cartoonist SW Parra’s fun show at The Fresno Bee. Here are some more picks for ArtHop:

Los Angeles artist Oscar Magallanes will be in town for an exhibition of his work, which Arte Americas executive director Frank Delgado describes as “seriously powerful and large scale.” From Magallanes’ bio:

Magallanes was raised in the Azusa barrio. His artwork is influenced by the cultural and social elements of his upbringing. After a troubled youth at the age of fifteen, he was expelled from high school but was accepted into the Ryman Arts program which he credits with encouraging him to become a professional artist. Magallanes’ work which is primarily of wood panels is used as a vehicle to allow the viewer to gain insight of societal injustices and further understanding of diverse cultures and struggles on even the subtle level and in this way pay homage to the journey he has traveled.

Also at Arte: Jeannette Herrera, an acrylic/oil painter, has had work featured at the  San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, the New Mexico Museum of Art and Chimmaya Gallery in Los Angeles. She writes:

After an attack in 2004 I recovered from a skull fracture and sending attacker to prison for 7 years. I started to paint again and have found it to be the only therapy that works for me.

Both shows continue through Aug. 17. Pictured above: a work by Oscar Magallanes.

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Marcos Dorado: the (farewell) Beehive Interview

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Marcos Dorado, known for his classical realist drawings, has been a fixture on the Fresno-area art scene for years. It’s hard to imagine he’s leaving for good. But that’s his plan, and he’s marking his departure with an exhibition titled “Leave Art in Fresno (My Farewell Exhibit)” at Peeve’s Public House on the Fulton Mall. It opens at ArtHop and runs through July 28.

I highlight Dorado’s show in Thursday’s Life section as the anchor of this month’s ArtHop coverage. Here’s the extended version of my interview with him.

When did you first realize you could draw?

In fourth grade. A family friend (David) was visiting my parents. As they talked, out of nowhere, I had the instinct that I could draw David’s portrait. When I finished scribbling, everyone was impressed. From then on, I drew all the time until I was in high school. Then, I became interested in other subjects, such as literature and languages. As a result, I put drawing aside until 15 years later, when I was thirty. I was recently divorced then, and I was rediscovering my old self.

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Support the “We All Follow the Arsenal” book project

arsenalJordan Wiebe and his wife Channelle follow the Arsenal.

Like, religiously.

Like, to the point of organizing an Arsenal fan club so every Gooner (that’s the official term) has a a proper pub to go to for those 4 a.m. matches. There’s no better way to watch a match than with a beer in one hand and a coffee in the other.

They’re also packing up the car for a 6,000-mile road trip to New York City to watch the club take on the New York Red Bulls this summer. Arsenal fans being what they are, the Wiebes will make a point to stop in at pubs along the way and meet (and stay) with as many Gooners as possible. They’re documenting the whole ordeal for a 30-page Arsenal-inspired design, photography and printmaking book.

If any of this seems cool to you, the book (along with other Arsenal-inspired art) will be available through Kickstarter. The proceeds will fund the trip (and the project).

The campaign has actually been fully funded already, but there are still some backer spots available (and 14-days left to pledge). Get Jordon Wiebe’s pitch for the project on the jump:

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Arts education in prisons is back

Two Fresno arts organizations are part of a program that will bring the arts to prisoners after a 10-year absence. The Arts-in-Corrections pilot program is in partnership with the California Arts Council. The state will spend $2.5 million over the next two years to bring the arts to 14 state prisons.

The last time the California Arts Council provided official funding for arts in prisons programs was 2003, the Orange County Register reports. The actual money is coming from the corrections department’s budget.

The Arts-in-Corrections programs will offer a variety of performing, literary and visual arts disciplines, such as theater, music, dance, creative writing, poetry, storytelling, painting, drawing, and sculpture.

In Fresno, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts will receive $90,621 to provide programs to Kern Valley State Prison and the California State Prison at Corcoran. Master artists will focus on Chicano theater and music; Mexican Jarcho music, dance, and verse; drawing; and storytelling.

The Fresno Arts Council will help provide instruction in music, visual arts, theater and storytelling as part of a 468,764 grant covering six regions of the state. Locally those prisons include Valley State Prison in Chowchilla, Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga and the California State Prison at Corcoran.

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Tonight: ArtHop

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There’s a new venue for ArtHop. And I work there.

The Fresno Bee will open its doors 5-8 p.m. tonight as a stop on the ArtHop circuit. On display will be “100 Strangers,” a photography exhibition featuring work by students in Fresno State’s mass communication and journalism department.

We’ll have food, drink, music and the chance to meet some of the artists. I plan to be there from 5-6 p.m., so drop by and say hi. The Bee is at 1626 E Street. We plan to host additional ArtHop shows on a periodic basis, so keep us in mind as a stop.

In Wednesday’s Life section I offered my ArtHop picks. They are:

Columnar Reflections, Sixty Lakes Basin, Kings Canyon NP

SPECTRUM ART GALLERY: Renowned Yosemite photographer Charles Cramer, whose work is included in the 2005 book “Landscape: The World’s Top Photographers,” is the annual guest artist at Spectrum Art Gallery and will offer an exhibition of his original photographs.

Cramer, recognized as a master printmaker in both darkroom-based dye transfer printing and now in digital processes, was selected in 1987 and 2009 to be artist-in-residence at Yosemite.

He will be honored at an artist’s reception 6-8 p.m. Saturday.

Details: Spectrum Art Gallery, 608 E. Olive Ave., (559) 266-0691.

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Read all about it: Fresno State’s ‘Between the Pages’ a strong and fun exhibition

In my Sunday column I put the spotlight on a fine new exhibition at Fresno State’s Madden Library titled “Between the Pages: Intersections of Books and Technology.” From my column:

One of the delights of this clever and good-hearted exhibition, co-presented by the library’s Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and the Special Collections Research Center, and curated by Jennifer Crow and Tammy Lau, is the way it nudges the viewer toward a greater appreciation of the staying power of books, no matter the format or technology that made them possible.

Books come in many forms: printed, audio, pop-up versions, digital. You can trace their progression in “Turning Pages” — from the hieroglyphics on a facsimile of the Rosetta Stone to an iPad version of “Horrible Hauntings,” billed as an “augmented reality collection” in which readers are able to see and interact with 3-D ghosts.

I summarize my thoughts about the exhibition in the above video review version of my column.

Light and sky at Fresno’s Spectrum Art Gallery

In Friday’s 7 section, I feature two exhibitions at Spectrum Art Gallery: Sally Stallings’ “Everyday, the Light” and Virginia Wilson’s “Against the Sky.” From my review:

Sunlight is the great equalizer. You can live in a mansion or a shack, but a shaft of sunlight streaming through a window is the same the world over: clean, bracing, bright, even hypnotic.

The exhibition runs through April 27.

Tonight: ‘Zits’ and ‘Baby Blues’ cartoonist branches out with ArtHop


You wouldn’t blame Jerry Scott — whose comics “Zits” and “Baby Blues” reach a potential 100 million readers daily — for resting on his laurels. The 58-year-old San Luis Obispo resident is at the top of his game.

But seven years ago, Scott decided that as a comic-strip writer he was feeling a little unfulfilled as an artist. He enthusiastically took up painting. And for his subject matter, he turned to one of his great loves: Western themes and the rodeo.


You’ll get to see the results at ArtHop tonight. Scott opens the second exhibition of his career, “Roughstock,” a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Clovis Rodeo, at 1821 Gallery & Studios. He’ll be there to greet fans. I got the chance to talk with the amiable Scott for a story in today’s Life section:

Scott’s oil paintings are filled with images of cows, bulls and rodeo riders rendered in a mostly realistic style that often veers toward the impressionistic in terms of color and form. The fine-art approach is certainly a departure from the world of comics.

“I’ve spent the last 25 years being the guy behind the scenes,” Scott muses about how his comics career evolved. “That wasn’t my first choice, because I’m a visual person. So all this was sort of in response to being the writer and not the artist on my comic strips.”

I admire Scott’s drive when it comes to branching out creatively. He loves comics and is no way apologetic about what he does for a living. If anything, he’s cheerfully willing to use his celebrity in service of fine art.

After the jump: view photos by The Bee’s Eric Paul Zamora of the exhibition.

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McLane High’s Arts Venture Academy competes for challenge grant

McLane High School’s impressive Arts Venture Academy is known for its impressive collaborative projects among student writers and artists, including a show on homelessness at the Fresno Art Museum and a show about undocumented students and their families at Arte Americas. In December, McLane debuted “Stories of Home,” based on 300 interviews with Southeast Asians about the Hmong experience, at the Hmong International New Year Festival.

Because of the exhibition, the Arts Venture Academy is up for a Follett Challenge grant with a top prize of $30,000 worth of Follett materials. The Follett Corporation, which specializes in educational materials and technology, runs the contest to highlight and reward innovative schools. More than 100 schools are competing in this year’s contest. (Computech Middle School in Fresno is also in the running.)

This is one of those competitions in which people vote online for a winner — but, thankfully, the online voting component is just one factor in determining the overall winner.

Here’s the link to vote for McLane. And here’s the link to vote for Computech Middle School. Deadline to vote is April 4.

Art exhibition: ‘Turning Pages’ opens at Fresno State


A new exhibition, “Turning Pages:  Intersections of Books & Technology,” opened today at the Henry Madden Library at Fresno State. It provides a glimpse into some of the ways in which technology has radicalized books and bookmaking:

Technologies new, old, and reinterpreted have altered the paradigm of the book since its inception. From creation and content to format itself, the collective notion of the book, a benign object, is continually changing … With examples from both special collections, as well as book art from five world-renowned artists, you are invited to explore the convergence of books and technology—from advances in printing to the digital arena to new and exciting forms of art.

Exhibition artists include Thomas Allen, Su Blackwell, Brian Dettmer, Pamela Paulsrud and Mike Stilkey. An opening reception will be held 6 p.m. Friday and transition into a 7 p.m. presentation by Stilkey, a Los Angeles-based book artist.

The exhibition, which continues through May 30 in the Leon S. Peters Ellipse Gallery, is sponsored by the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and the Special Collections Research Center in the Madden Library. The special collections division has teamed up with Fresno State’s  Center for Creativity and the Arts to collaborate on the year’s chosen theme of Data and Technology.

Brilliant Ad

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Checking through my Twitter to see the latest tweets when I came across this brilliant ad:

Then I nodded in grinning approval.  Nuance.

Cartoonists — and more specifically editorial cartoonists — strive to create a provocative nuance in their artwork to help communicate their ideas in much the same way that this ad does for the Van Gogh Museum.  It’s clever and so I thought I would share it you.

Saturday: artists reception at Arte Americas


If you attend the Saturday reception at Arte Américas for the dynamic new “Viva La Muxer!” exhibition showcasing 16 area women artists, be on the lookout for a special guest: Eloisa Figueroa. She is the mother of artist Carissa Garcia and grandmother to Carissa’s daughters, artists Felicita and Silvia Garcia.

The mother-daughter-trio’s collaboration for the show, a moving multimedia installation titled “At the Threshold,” was inspired by Figueroa, who figures prominently in a projected image that captures her intense resolve. A cane is close by, an allusion to Figueroa’s arthritis, which hangs on the wall as part of the installation.

The exhibition, which honors Women’s History Month, is one of inclusion. It features Latina and non-Latina artists, including such well-known local names as Dixie Salazar and Nanete Maki-Dearsan. It continues through Mother’s Day.

Details: 2-4 p.m. Saturday / Arte Américas, 1630 Van Ness Ave. /, (559) 266-2623 / Free

Tonight: North Fresno ArtHop

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The newly opened Brush and Easel Gallery hosts the work of Cynthia (Scin Chapman) Manuszak. Her show “inside, outside” will be marked by an artist’s reception 5-8 p.m. tonight as part of the North Fresno ArtHop.

Gallery owner Valerie Green describes the new venue:

Fresno’s newest place to buy art.  Home to over 20 artists each with their own unique style.  Oil and acrylic paintings, wire work lamps and vases, metal / glass / fabric sculpture, natural stone and dichroic glass  jewelry, ceramics and pottery.

Go to the Fresno Arts Council’s website for exhibit updates.

Tonight: ArtHop

Lots to do at tonight’s ArtHop. I’ve already told you about Heather Anderson’s show at Fig Tree Gallery. Some more picks:

The Downtown Community Arts Collective is now known as P Street Studios. It features the renovated gallery space of artists Stephanie Pearl and Andrew Watrous, and for its first show features the mixed media art of Jason Plemons. Below: Plemons’ “Abstract Bridge.”

Abstract Bridge reduced

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The Beehive Interview: Heather Anderson


In Thursday’s Life section I feature artist Heather Anderson, who loves the Sierra Nevada with a profound intensity. In her later 80s, she’s still going strong, painting dynamic views of the wilderness that means so much to her. I offer a condensed version of my interview with her in the print edition, timed with the opening of her exhibition at Fig Tree Gallery for ArtHop. Here’s the extended version.

Question: Your show is titled “Wilderness.” How many paintings does it include, and are they all of views of the Sierra Nevada?

My largest series of works are of the Sierra Nevada, within which is much designated wilderness (except for Alaska, our largest U.Ss area of wilderness). Wilderness occurs in National Parks, National Forests, National Fish and Wildlife areas and (BLM) Bureau of Land Management areas. Yes, the work is all of the Sierra, the mountains John Muir called the Range of Light. I would like to have 36 views like Katsushika Hokusai but not sure how many will fit in the gallery.

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Notes from the visual arts beat


Out-of-town news about two talented Fresno visual artists:

San Francisco debut: Leslie Patterson Batty is excited about her San Francisco debut at the Adler & Co. Gallery’s group winter exhibition. The show opened with a reception Jan. 9, and she says there was a great turnout. Her work landed on the Facebook page of a San Francisco arts writer, DeWitt Cheng, who posted the above photo. Batty thinks this S.F. exhibition — which includes two of her heroes,  Robert Rauschenberg and Wayne Thiebaud — could open doors for her. It continues through Feb. 9.

For the love of dogs: Nancy Youdelman is part of the group exhibition “Good Dog: Art of Man’s Best Friend” at the Turtle Bay Museum in Redding. She will be showing two works from her “Dogs Are Forever” series.  The series began as an homage to her last dog, Romy (1997-2012).  “He was a very dear companion and is greatly missed,” she says. The exhibition runs Jan. 31-April 27.



Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

If you’re going to brave the bad air

EnglishBeat_credit_Bryan_Kremkau (1)1. The English Beat
Two-tone ska legends + plus Fresno ska legends.

2. Tower Beer Run
This is not a real race, although some with attack it as such no doubt. Get a $1 race bib and partake in $1 beer samples from two dozen Tower District establishments.
3. Sarah Chang
The Fresno Philharmonic turns 60. Violinist Sarah Chang help celebrate with a show that includes the Bruch Violin Concerto, which she first performed at her audition for the Juilliard School. She was five.

4. Catch up on Oscar nominees
With the Academy Awards around the corner, the local movie houses are full of Oscar-nominated films including “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.” Bet you didn’t see that coming.

5. Fresno Partnership City Council Candidate Forum
Before you roll you eyes and say “boooooring,” keep in mind that life isn’t all fun and games. This is specifically for candidates in districts 1 and 7, but it’ll be good primer for anyone interested in local politics

As a sixth (and the event I will for sure be at) there is this.

New exhibitions at Fresno Art Museum


From a big show celebrating the Clovis Rodeo to online gaming performance as art, the Fresno Art Museum offers an eclectic slate of exhibitions opening Friday. Artist/curator conversations in the galleries will begin at 4 p.m., with an opening reception 6-8 p.m. Admission and opening receptions is free for members. General admission is $5 and the opening reception $10 for non-members. The shows:

Traditions of the West:  Honoring 100 Years of the Clovis Rodeo showcases historic and contemporary Western landscape paintings (including an Albert Bierstadt) along with Native American traditional art from local and southwestern US regions. The exhibition includes some never-before-exhibited artifacts, including Native American works from private collections and works from the Braun Research Library Collection of the Autry National Center in Los Angeles and The Huntley Western Art Collection at Cal Poly Pomona.

Art of the Word includes illustrations and text from artist books and folios that illuminate poetry, stories, and written thoughts. Works include many familiar artists and authors, including Wayne Thiebaud, Jose Posada, Joey Krebs, Eric Carle, Ynez Johnston, William Saroyan, and Roald Dahl. 

The Joseph DeLappe:  Social Tactics exhibition is a co-presentation with the Fresno State Center for Creativity and the Arts and showcases social-activist/artist DeLappe’s installations in electronic and new media, online gaming performance, sculpture, and electromechanics.

A Decade of Accessions is a selection of works on paper, paintings, and sculpture from the permanent collection by a number of artists, including Sam Tchakalian, Eva Abou-Ghorra, Michael Garcia, Alfredo Zalce, Alberto Beltran, Roger Bolomey, and Charles Arnoldi.

PICTURED: Joseph DeLappe’s “Mouse Mandala”

Opening: Fresno State 2014 Artists Invitational


Fresno State’s 2014 Artists Invitational exhibition opens today in the Phebe Conley Gallery, and it’s an intriguing sounding exhibition. Four internationally exhibited artists — Joelle Dietrick and Owen Mundy, Scott Groeniger, and Jason Salavon — offer works that address the themes of data and technology.

The exhibition runs today through Feb. 14. Opening festivities are Thursday, when artists will lecture from 3-5 p.m., followed by a reception 5-8 p.m.

The exhibition is sponsored by Fresno State’s art and design department in conjunction with the university’s Center for Creativity and the Arts.


A new art gallery for Fresno


Fresno welcomes a new art venue: the Brush and Easel Gallery, owned and operated by Valerie Green. The gallery, at 1476 W. Shaw Ave., will hold its grand opening 5-8 p.m. today in conjunction with the North Fresno ArtHop.

The gallery includes a working studio, teaching space for adult and youth art classes/workshops, and gallery space exhibiting the work of Green and more than 20 local artists.

Masterpiece Art (made easy)

I am grappling with this idea of  ‘Masterpiece Art’.  I am not questioning the skill involved by artist Glenn Brown or the inspiration (that appears quite clear) my curiosity is left dumbfounded by the price tag for work that seems (to me) less than original.  See what I mean at TheVerge.


“Ornamental Despair (Painting for Ian Curtis)” by Glenn Brown

Tonight: ArtHop


I offer some picks for ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods, in Thursday’s Life section.

Among the intriguing options: a show by Michael McKee titled “Conceptual Christmas Concept at Gallery 25. (A mild and unrelated rebuke, by the way, to the redesigned Gallery 25 website: Having an audio clip start playing when you land on the site is so 2007.) McKee’s exhibit includes paintings, sculpture, works on paper and mixed media artwork influenced by the themes of creation, purity and rebirth — with a “nod and a wink’ to the celebration of Christmas. Pictured: the artist’s “Scream Santa.”

December ArtHop is a great time to Christmas shop for stuff you can’t find at Target, of course, so that’ll be a prime opportunity tonight.

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Make plans to see Hockney exhibition


How enthusiastic am I about this show? If I could stand on my hands and do a little dance for you right now, I would — if it would get you to consider catching the exhilarating “David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition” at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. It’s big in so many ways, from the sheer size of some of the pieces (how about a 12-foot iPad painting?) to the innovative technologies used (you actually get to see in some cases the brush strokes that Hockney made in those iPad works). Then there’s just the sheer number of works: more than 300 displayed in 18,000 square feet of gallery space, making it the biggest in the history of the museum.

I get all evangelistic about the show in my most recent Spotlight column, which ran on Sunday. I don’t often urge people to drive six hours roundtrip to do anything, but in this case I really do feel it’s an art exhibition you don’t want to miss. It runs through Jan. 20. Sounds like plenty of time, yes, but you know how busy things can get in the holidays and beyond. Make your plans now.