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Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Do this! A Fresno Christmas Light Tour (2013 edition)

I0DFT.AuSt.8 With all the houses and neighborhoods listed in our holiday-light roundup, it was guaranteed we’d miss a few. For instance, the area bordered by Fruit and West and Sierra and Bullard avenues in central Fresno.

The holiday lights here are quaint when compared to the twinkling-wonderland that is Christmas Tree Lane or the massive light-explosion of Clovis’ Cindy Lane. But for more than 30 years, the homes, sidewalks and medians of the neighborhood have been softly lit with luminarias on Christmas eve.

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Where are Fresno’s best Christmas light displays?

GMK FXMASLIGHTS10(2)‘Tis the season. To go out in the freezing cold and see a city’s worth of Christmas light displays (OK, you can probably stay in your heated car for most of it). In past year’s, The Beehive has put together some handy-dandy lists so you can easily find the best spots in town. When Mike Oz left, he took some of that with him as institutional knowledge (although we still have his posts). But you Beehivers must have your own thoughts about which are the best? So, let’s hear it. We know the old standbys. Do they continue to shine (pun intended). Have you seen anyplace new this year? What’s the trend this season? Anything noticeable?

Do This! The 2012 Fresno Synced Christmas Light Tour

All right, Christmas-light chasers, we’ve reached the time of the year where you’re hunting for colorful displays. Like in years past, we’ve put together a guide to houses that do something a little different — they create dancing lights shows set to music.

Inspired by that viral video turned Miller Lite, these tech-savvy homeowners add a different element to light-looking. Something beyond Christmas Tree Lane and Cindy Lane. This is more like a choose-your-own-adventure outing, where the family piles into the car and criss-crosses the city to watch these shows one at a time. There’s no official map or organization behind the displays. We’ve tracked the houses the past few years. But the light shows come and go, depending on the year. So feel free to send us updates! Look below for a Google Map.

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11 more reasons Fresno is the dirtiest city in America

By now, you’ve heard that Forbes ranked Fresno as the dirtiest city in the country, a designation based on air quality and water cleanliness. Ya know, science and stuff. Most Fresnans reacting to this news, however, have been using the ranking as a reason to spout off about how dirty the city is in more visible ways, like litter on the freeway. (And they’ve proven they didn’t actually read the story, way to go, guys!)

Since you Fresnans want the other kinda dirty, and Forbes ain’t measuring that, we at The Beehive have culled together 11 other things that make Fresno dirty. Fair warning: Some of what you’ll find below is a tad NSFW and thus, not fit for clean minds. Oh, the filth. Let’s roll around in it.

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Tonight: A ‘Voice,’ King Tuff, yummy grub and Christmas Tree Lane

On this foggy Tuesday here are a few ways to wind down tonight:

  • Vicci Martinez of “The Voice” plays a free concert at The Standard as part of Y101′s Unplugged concert series. Local singer (and loyal Beehive commenter) Danielle Rondero opens. It’s free, 21-and-up only. Doors open at 4 p.m. Music starts at 7 p.m. You might wanna get there early to grab a spot. It’s first-come, first-serve.

Mark your calendar: Holiday hijinks

Christmas event season is here. This weekend gives us a good start, with a few annual traditions: Christmas Tree Lane’s opening night and first walk night, the Clovis Christmas parade and Tubachristmas. Coming up, though, we’ve got a few holiday events that veer more toward the non-traditional crowd. If you you like Christmas bar hopping, made up “Seinfeld” holidays or ugly sweaters, then check out these three:

Watch Friday’s edition of The Bee for a full guide to Christmas events.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than buying me a Lexus

1. GO SEE SOME CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
OK, so maybe some thugs ruined Christmas Tree Lane for ya this year, but there’s still the great display at Cindy Lane (below, my personal fave), the synced light displays (I’m mapping it out for you later today), Zoo Lights, Holiday Fun in the Tower or just whatever’s in your neighborhood.

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This is why we can’t have nice things

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Ya know, Fresno, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear news about someone getting stabbed at the mall or the fair or outside of the Walmart. But Christmas Tree Lane?!? Is nothing sacred to the hooligans in this town?

In case you missed the news:

One person was stabbed at Christmas Tree Lane on Tuesday night after a fight escalated, Fresno County sheriff’s deputies said.

One person was in custody in connection with the stabbing, a sheriff’s spokesman said Wednesday morning. There was no immediate information about the suspect’s age or identity.

Around 8 p.m., deputies were dispatched to Griffith Way and Van Ness Boulevard for a call about a stabbing. The victim was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, officials said. The condition of the victim is unknown.

Perhaps you should count this as another reason — aside from it being just a better light display — to visit Cindy Lane in Clovis.

PREVIOUSLY: Hey, Christmas Tree Lane, is that what we think it is?

To-Do Tonight: Get in the Christmas spirit

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Christmas explodes all over your to-do list tonight, with happenings both of the music and non-music variety:

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than waiting for a table at Yard House.

1. START A NEW CHRISTMAS TRADITION
This weekend brings us a couple of new holiday-themed events that are a little different than the usual Christmas fare. It’s something I wrote about in my Bee column today. There’s the inaugural SantaCon Fresno happening Saturday with people dressed as Santas bar-hopping around the Tower District. Then there’s Fresno’s first-ever festival celebrating the “Seinfeld”-created holiday, Festivus, which is happening tonight at Fulton 55. It’s organized by the Dirty Dowdy Podcast and features local bands and comics as well as many of the Festivus traditions as outlined on “Seinfeld” — the Festivus pole, Airing of Grievances and so forth.

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Hey, Christmas Tree Lane, is that what we think it is?

Maybe we’ve just been drinking too much spiked eggnog over here at Beehive headquarters, but does this Christmas Tree Lane photo look especially … ahem … penisy to anyone else?

We should add that the elf who sent this photo was the vacationing Donald Munro, usually the moral compass around here. So if he’s seeing dirtiness at such a joyous place as Christmas Tree Lane … you know something’s not right.

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SEMI-RELATED: Be on the lookout for a Raggedy Ann that got swiped from Christmas Tree Lane. Ragged Andy, once missing too, has been found. Buncha savages in this town!

To-Do Tonight: Catch College Kids

College Kids — the new band from Malcolm Sosa of Rademacher – is playing a free gig tonight at Veni Vidi Vici. You might recall hearing College Kids and their “Big Fresno Fair” song in Sounds of the City a while back. The group is a collabo between Malcolm Sosa and Kim Haden, ex of Light FM. We hear VVV recently got a crackdown for dancing, so expect more bands and less DJs over there in the near future.

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ELSEWHERE: Remember, it’s the second (and final) walking night at Christmas Tree Lane.

The Fresno Synced Christmas Light Tour

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This weekend, I’m preparing for my annual outing to look at Christmas lights with my wife. Over the years, our tour has grown and changed — but we usually start at Christmas Tree Lane and finish in Clovis at Cindy Lane.

One recent addition to the list is the houses that synchronize their light displays to music.They use low-power FM transmitters to stream music to a radio station. Then passers-by tune in to listen to Christmas music while watching the light show.

This sorta thing grew in popularity after Miller Lite ran a commercial with a light display synced to a Trans Siberian Orchestra song. There are five houses locally doing it that I know about — including the one pictured above at 6047 N. Winchester Ave.

If you’re looking for something new to add to your light-looking journey, you could make your own tour:

Of note this weekend: The house on Citadel Avenue will be collecting money for the Marjaree Mason Center on Friday and Saturday. Volunteers will be out there serving up hot chocolate, and money raised goes to the local domestic violence shelter.

Below is a video (not shot by me) from the Sierra Avenue house.

[photo: Carrie Zulewski]

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than heading out to the final Fresno State home football game of the year or creatively blending at Eureka!Burger …

1. GET FESTIVE
All the Christmas-related stuff revs up this weekend around Fresno. That includes the opening of Christmas Tree Lane (and the first walking night tonight), the tree lighting at City Hall, Tuba Christmas and the Tower District’s Christmas festivities. Here’s a list of 12 different Christmas things to get out and do this season that includes details on all those plus more. For a deeper look behind some of your favorite Fresno light displays, check out this Bee story.

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Where do you look at Christmas lights?

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“Outside of Christmas Tree Lane, there’s nothing too Christmas-y in Fresno.” I read that on a local blog the other day and was a bit perplexed. I’ve always thought of Fresno as a city that loves to celebrate the season. Especially with Christmas light displays. Maybe we just need a good list of them.

We all know about local fixtures such as Christmas Tree Lane (the second and final walking night is tonight, FYI) and Huntington Blvd, but the last few years I’ve been out looking for other options too.

  • My favorite is the area some people call Cindy Lane (pictured above) off of Alluvial Ave., between Peach and Willow in Clovis. To me, and others will disagree, it blows Christmas Tree Lane out of the water. Here’s a blog post with pics from a past visit.
  • Last weekend, I discovered a house at 1150 E. Sierra Ave. (just east of First St.) that has an awesome synchronized light and music display. You tune your car radio to 95.1 FM and there’s a 10-minute set of music that the lights flicker along to. Here’s a video from a past year, you’ll have to disregard all the talking. I talked to the owner of the house for a column that will appear in Friday’s paper and he gave me a few other houses in town that set up similar displays:

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To-Do Tonight: Cirque de la Symphonie

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I just checked the Fresno Philharmonic’s ticket site, and there still seems to be a smattering of seats available for tonight’s big Cirque de la Symphonie show. This is the first time the orchestra has partnered with a Cirque-style acrobatic company before, and it should offer a welcome twist on the traditional holiday-concert format. I’ll be hoping that Ted Kuchar pulls some nifty Cirque moves himself — perhaps bungee-jumping from the balcony to the podium for his stage entrance?

Lots of other cultural offerings as well tonight and through the weekend, of course, including mucho theater. I’ve got a busy-busy-busy three days planned. Here’s my tentative schedule: Cirque de la Symphonie tonight, “Grasmere” at Fresno City College Saturday afternoon (and in just a few moments I’ll be posting a ticket-giveaway for that production), Christmas Tree Lane walk Saturday night, “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” at Fresno State Sunday afternoon, and the combined Fresno State Symphony/Youth Philharmonic Mahler concert Sunday evening. Then on Monday I recover from culture-overload-diabetic-shock.

Anyone else have a cultural mini-marathon planned this weekend?