Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

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.

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

My ArtHop picks


Prepare for a big, boisterous ArtHop tonight. Though temperatures are still high, September marks the start of the “fall season” — see Beehiver Traci’s seasonal pumpkin latte explanation (she’s already had 22 of them at Starbucks this week) — and lots of big art shows are planned.

Some picks:

Dixie Salazar, pictured above, gets the big-story treatment in today’s Life section. Bee writer Angel Moreno takes a look at Salazar’s “Interconnections” exhibition, which continues through Sunday at Arte Americas. (Bee photo by Craig Kohlruss.)


– A show by local powerhouse artist Barbara Van Arnam is always a big deal. Her solo Gallery 25 exhibition “Yggdrasil: The Norse Tree of Life” uses Old Norse mythology as an inspiration. Earthen materials transform strange and legendary characters into new forms that embody all cultures’ essence and spirit. These figures speak to the essential power of Nature, the common thread that weaves our story through time. Hours update: The gallery is usually open noon-4 p.m. Fridays-Sundays. Van Arnam is adding Thursday hours, same times, during the show’s run through Sept. 29.

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Donald’s weekend picks


My favorite of the three new shows at Arte Americas — all under the umbrella theme of environmental sustainability — is the wonderful “Nothing Wasted,” a group show from local artists who recycled used materials into artistic gems. Francisco Vargas’ “Red Baby Grand,” which he repurposed from a piano burned in a house fire, is worth the trip alone. A statewide touring show titled “Ignite” offers a serious look at the environmental problems facing California. Read my cover story in Friday’s 7 about the Arte exhibitions. Plus: Here’s a video I made featuring artist Ann Savageau, a UC Davis professor who made a piece for “Ignite” about the Central Valley. A reception for “Nothing Wasted” will be held Sunday.  [Details]

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Donald’s weekend picks

On Thursday on the Beehive I told you about opening night of “Spamalot.” Well, I attended the show last night — and while my review will come early next week, let’s just say I laughed so hard during the French Taunter scene that I almost choked on my Good Company water. (And there was even a gag directed at me, which I’m not going to share so as to ruin the moment, but let’s just say I’ve never been quite so personally surprised during a performance.) Check out my cover story in Friday’s 7. Also, Bee photographer Gary Kazanjian took a bunch of great photos, which he posted in an online gallery. “Spamalot” continues at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater through March 17. [Details]

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Donald’s weekend picks

Tonight’s opening night performance is a big deal. It marks the first time Fresno Grand Opera will attempt a fully staged performance (with lights, set and costumes) at the Shaghoian Hall. With only about 750 seats, this venue is about a third smaller than the Saroyan Theatre, where the company has staged operas for more than a decade. Fresno Grand Opera picked an intimate opera for this more intimate venue, and I’m curious to see the results. I wrote about the venue change — and checked in with lead singers Rebecca Davis and Chad A. Johnson — in my Sunday Spotlight column. And I focus on the Italian conductor Valerio Galli, pictured below, who is making his American debut, in Friday’s 7 section. [Details]

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

While pondering a downtown public market.

NYC hip-hop duo Camp Lo — famous for their stellar 1997 album, “Uptown Saturday Night” — are at Fulton 55 on Saturday as part of the anniversary tour for the album. It’s a cool gig, particularly if you’ve never seen “Luchini” pour from the sky. [More]

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Donald’s weekend picks

You might have to dig a little harder for cultural events this pre-Christmas weekend — but you can still find some great possibilities.

The Good Company Players production of “Dad’s Christmas Miracle” at the 2nd Space Theatre has just four performances left: 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. This nostalgic comedy is about a boy who has to convince his family and teacher he’s worthy of a visit from Santa. Another theater option for the weekend is the first-rate “Beehive,” which continues at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater. [Details]

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Don’t miss ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ at Arte

I’ve been to a lot of “Dia de Los Muertos” exhibitions over the years at Arte Américas, but the current one feels especially vibrant. It’s a mix of work from accomplished veteran artists and several terrific new artists, with some of the bunch producing traditional “Day of the Dead” altars and installations and others going in broader directions with the theme.

I highlight one of my favorite pieces in the exhibition — Diana Rodriquez and Madlyn Esquer’s installation “In Tribute to Roy Reuben Balli Gonzalez” — in Sunday’s Spotlight section. It’s a thrilling and moving piece. And I love the effect of mixing the flatness of vintage photography with the carefully staged three-dimensional forms. (The Bee photo, above, is by Craig Kohlruss.)

The show continues through Nov. 4. I’ll be letting you know more about Nov.2′s big annual procession and celebration.

On the jump, check out a few of the works by up-and-coming artists in exhibition.

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Donald’s weekend picks

I can’t push this dance concert enough: It’s an incredibly big deal to line up eight dancers from the world-renowned San Francisco Ballet to perform. I write about “Ballet Stars of San Francisco,” which will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Saroyan Theatre, in the cover story in Friday’s 7 section. [Details]


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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than sitting directly in front of your fan.

Fresno’s Leading Young Professionals — or FLYP — has an interesting fund-raiser Saturday night at Frank’s Place (next to Warnors Theatre). It’s a ‘20s-era prohibition party, with drinks and “gambling.” Think “Boardwalk Empire.” There’s a narrative too. Watch the promo video we posted yesterday and don’t be surprised if “the law” gets winds of the party. [More]


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Donald’s weekend picks

Besides splitting identities at “Jekyll & Hyde,” of course … And don’t forget the vacationing Mike Oz’s options that he so thoughtfully left for us in his Monday post.

The major weekend event of California Opera’s festival is a fully staged production of “La Sonnambula,” with orchestra, about a heroine who sleepwalks. The role of Amina, to be sung in this production by San Francisco soprano Jamie Bonetto, is renowned for its difficulty. Other cast members include Matthew Acuff as Count Rodolfo, Donald Squillace as Elvino, Merina Amos as Lisa and Alexandra Jerinic as Teresa. Leanna Sterios-Primiani conducts. It will be performed 2 p.m. Sunday at the Mercedes Edwards Theatre in Clovis. Here’s a rundown on all three weekend events from Friday’s 7 section. Pictured below: Matthew Acuff, Jamie Bonetto and Donald Squillace. (Bee photo by Craig Kohlruss) [Details]


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One more special ArtHop pick

Mexican Gothic.jpg

The Central California Museum of Art, a regional collaborative institution focusing on a 13-county region, has teamed up with Arte Americas to present Linda Vallejo’s “Make ‘Em All Mexican.” From the museum:

Amidst the current roiling national debate about American identity, veteran California Latina artist Linda Vallejo creates a realm in which US popular culture is overlain with a Mexican-American sensibility. Gleefully raiding the world of classic commercial images of middle class WASP life, Vallejo gives common American icons a new sabor, or flavor. The result is the satirical series Make ‘Em All Mexican (or MEAM) featuring 30 mixed media works, including re-purposed/altered commercial figurines, and 2-dimensional mixed media pieces.

Curator Gordon Fuglie says that in addition to being thought provoking, the exhibition is also very funny, “perhaps the art world’s equivalent of the routines of stand-up comedian George Lopez.”

Vallejo will be at Arte tonight for an ArtHop artist reception. The show continues through Aug. 19.

Pictured: Vallejo’s “Mexican Gothic.”

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

In addition to checking out the Simonian Farms old town and the Baeza concert.

Let’s all give a round of applause for local band Old Tire Swingers, who recently completed a five-month tour that circled the country and put 15,000 miles on its tour van. Now, the group plays its homecoming show at Audie’s Olympic on Saturday with equally-cool local band Poor Man’s Poison, plus Copper & Glass and direct-from-North Carolina, Deep Chatham. Old Tire Swingers play old-time string music and bluegrass, but its members have a history in rock bands, so they’re trying to get people to recognize it’s not just overall and straw hat music. Read my interview with Old Tire Swingers for more. [Tickets]


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Podcast: Ozmosis #20

This week’s Ozmosis podcast features a handful of bands you’ll see playing in Fresno and the Valley in the next 10 days, including The Violet Lights (Friday night at Audie’s Olympic), The Yawpers (Friday night at Full Circle Brewing Co.), Via Coma (Friday night at Kuppajoe), Sister Crayon (Saturday at The Cellar Door) and Audiafauna, who Twitter loved during the show Sunday night and is playing June 22 at Arte Americas. There’s also new music from Grizzly Bear, Black Box Revelation and others.

Enjoy the podcast below and tune in at 9 p.m. Sunday for a new episode of Ozmosis on New Rock 104.1.

If the above player gives you any grief, you can listen directly on Mixcloud.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

In addition to watching the daredevil dude jump all those semi-trucks at the Spokes ‘N’ Rods festival, seeing the new offering from Woodward Shakespearse Festival or getting risque with Fresno Filmworks .

The Soulflower Group hosts its popular annual Prince tribute at Audie’s Olympic on Saturday. It features a handful of DJs dipping into their stashes to play Prince gems. A movie will shown and, if I know The Soulflower Group, there’s some more cool stuff planned too. [More]


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Donald’s weekend picks

The Good Company Players happy production of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” is in its final weekend. Peter Allwine (pictured below), Gordon Moore and Danielle Jorn give high-caliber comedic performances in this adaptation of the 1988 film. [Details]


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Donald’s weekend picks

Besides attending our rescheduled Beehive Birthday Party, of course …

The artist is considered one of the founders of the social serigraphy movement in the San Francisco Bay Area in the mid-1960s. Arte Américas honors him in a new exhibition titled “Voice for the Voiceless” featuring silkscreen, charcoal and pastel works addressing the themes of injustice, empowerment and international struggle. Montaya, who grew up in the Valley, will be at Arte 2-5 p.m. Saturday for an artist’s reception and “homecoming celebration.”


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Donald’s weekend picks

Besides going to our super-fantabulous Beehive Birthday Party, of course …

From Benny Goodman’s “Bugle Call Rag” to Louis Prima’s “Sing, Sing, Sing,” this collaboration between the five-member singing group Five By Design and the Fresno Philharmonic traces the history of jazz and swing starting in the late 1930s and running up to the early 1950s. I have an interview with Five By Design member Terrence Niska in Friday’s 7 section. The show is 8 p.m. Saturday at the Saroyan Theatre. [Details]

An important reminder: The current strike against the Fresno Grand Opera doesn’t affect this performance in any way. The Fresno Philharmonic is covered by a different contract with the local professional musicians union. The Philharmonic office has been receiving calls from patrons asking to clarify this since the strike began.


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Donald’s weekend picks

Besides Jackie

The Lively Arts Foundation is bringing in Alonzo King LINES Ballet, the acclaimed San Francisco contemporary ballet company. Here’s my story from Thursday’s Life section about the company’s 7:30 p.m. Friday performance at the Saroyan Theatre, where the reimagined Arabian-Nights tale “Scheherezade” will be staged.


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Fuse Fest ’11: Five things to watch for


As seen in the top spot of this weekend’s “Five Things” list, this weekend’s Fresno Urban Sound Experience, or FUSE Fest, is a treat for music lovers. Since the festival is so big — close to 50 acts on 10 stages — I thought it deserved just one more post before the first band gets underway.

As you look at the schedule and plot out your course, here are five more things to consider. (More info, like ticket details and hashtaggery, over at The Fresnan).

VENUE CLUSTERS: It’s seems like this year, more than any before it, the festival organizers have done a good job of getting all the venues really close to each other — perfecting the venue-hopping idea that gives a festival like FUSE so much appeal. Tonight’s cluster of venues is near Chukchansi Park while Saturday’s is in the Mural District. Here’s hoping this gives the festival an even cooler vibe.

Here’s a venue map The Bee made. Remember the change announced Thursday about Karma laming out to host this instead — Downtown Club has stepped up as a new venue tonight.

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than welcoming the Ole Miss folks to Fresburg.

While that football game is the biggest event of the year for Fresno State football fans, this weekend’s Fresno Urban Sound Experience –which starts tonight — is one of the biggest events of the year for our local music community. Two days, close to 50 acts, eight venues, 10 stages, all-downtown and all-local performers. Sounds good, right? Even better: One ticket gets you into everything. It’s $15 for one day, $20 for both. More info, schedule, tickets and all that stuff over at Read my Fresno Bee preview, if you haven’t already.


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To-Do Tonight: Strange Vine and an ArtHoppin’ Thursday


The boys of Strange Vine — one of my favorite local bands, for sure — are headlining Fulton 55 tonight for some post-ArtHop tunes. Adding to the cool factor, as if Strange Vine wasn’t enough, is Long Beach band The Fling, which is another on-the-rise band that Strange Vine has buddied up with and brought to town.

Tonight is the second date of a West Coast tour that Strange Vine is pretty excited about (they played with The Fling in Santa Cruz last night as well). They’re playing this weekend at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco with Dredg, and have dates after that scheduled in Seattle, Portland, etc.

If you’re unfamiliar with Strange Vine, I’ll just boil it down to this: If you like bands such as The Black Keys, you’ll dig Strange Vine. If that’s you, go check ‘em out. They’re really good. If that’s not enough for ya, here’s a sample in video form, thanks to Dead in 60 Years.

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