Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Aside from morning the loss of “Downton Abbey” …

1. “Dos Mundos
Omare Nare, bringing Mariachi back from the dead.

2. “Varekai
What the heck are the Russian Swings?

3. “Allegorical Portraiture
New work from Ronald Dzerigian and his first Fresno show since 2010.

4. Christopher Titus
Some of you no doubt watched his sitcom on FOX.

5. Old Town Clovis Antiques & Collectibles Fair
Hipsters love antiquing, I guess.

And a bonus five concerts.

1. Yonatan Gat
2. Pete Rock
3. La Barranca
4. Night School
5. Planet Booty

For all of the music-related event this weekend, check out the weekley BANDGEEEK! post.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Aside from keeping up-to-date on a couple of runaway llamas

1. Rogue Festival
Fresno’s very own fringe festival. The weirdest two weeks of the year.

2. Mike Epps
That’s racist.

3. Fresno Tattoo Convention
There are several tattoos I would get if I weren’t afraid of needles/pain/commitment.

4. Fly Fishing on The Fulton Mall
One day, ex-mayor Alan Autry will have his river downtown.

5. San Joaquin Valley Jazz Festival
Featuring flutist/MC Katise. He did the jazz-flute music in “Anchorman.”

And a bonus five weekend concerts picks:

1. Ledisi
2. Big Harp
3. Dale Stewart Group
4. Mali Music
5. The Bronx

For more music-specific events, check out my weekly BANDGEEEK update.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

* Bad-ass drawing by David Witt.

1. Tim Burton Tribute Art Show
“I’ve come for your daughter Chuck.” — Beetlejuice

2. Disoriented Comedy
There’s a pun in the name.

3. Kuppajoe’s final show
Finally, a real reason for emo kids to cry. Just kidding, this place is an institution and its loss will be felt.

4. La Dee Da
A band at least as newsworthy as the rapper-plastic surgeon who is the Michelangelo of buttocks.

5. Fauxgazi
While the idea of a Fugazi tribute band seems so wrong, hearing “Waiting Room” would be so right.

For the concert-specific events check out my weekly BANDGEEEEEK post.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than mulling over what the closing of Wet Seal will mean for you …

1. Queen Nation
They will, they will rock you.

2. Cristela Alonzo
Cristela Alonzo is funny. Or so says Variety, L.A. Weekly, Cosmo and

3. Fresno Monsters “Star Wars” Night
Darth Vader on ice.

4. Chick Fest!
Your introduction to the women in Fresno’s indie-music scene.

5. “‘night Mother”
Theatre Ventoux returns from a seven-year hiatus to stage Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer-price winning play.

For music specific items, be sure to check out our weekly BANDGEEEEK! roundup.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend


Fresno State football is in Vegas this weekend. Catch the rundown on Twitter while you’re doing any of these …

1. The Big Fresno Fair
It’s your last chance. Until next year.

2. “The Judge”
Robert Downey Jr. proves he can do more than the eccentric billionaire bit.

3. Vintage pop-up shop
And book swap. You know how I feel about books.

4. Blimprov LIVE!
Zen and the art of funny.

5. “Avenue Q”
Did someone say “puppet sex?”

For a music specific list, check out this week’s BANDGEEK!

Sadie Calvano very happy with ‘Mom’

Sadie Calvano has the fortune — or misfortune — of starring in the CBS comedy “Mom” with two of the best comic actors working today in Emmy-winner Allison Janney and Anna Faris. It’s a chance for the young Southern California native to be on the biggest hit comedy from last year. But, her work often got overshadowed by her co-stars.

Calvano only looks at the positive saying being on a series with two such powerful comic co-stars is a blessing.

“We got really lucky with ‘Mom’ having such an amazing group of people who are so grounded and so smart,” Calvano tells me during a CBS party. “The chemistry on our stage is indescribable.”

Calvano went into the show such a fan of Faris and Janney, it took all of her will power not to become a fanboy the first time she read with them. After the initial shock, “Mom” became a learning experience for the young actress. Before signing on to “Mom,” Calvano had only made guest appearances on TV shows like “Melissa & Joey” and the film “J. Edgar.”

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Comedian Bill Engvall on being a touring comic and dancing with the stars


Growing up Bill Engvall wanted to be John Wayne.

That is, he wanted to be an actor. Only he grew up in Texas, in the type of towns where you didn’t tell your dad you wanted to be an actor and if you were not a jock, you made friends by being funniest guy in the room.

Which is still pretty much his his schtick.

“It’s like I’m in your living room and I’m the funny guy doing all the talking,” says Engvall, the 57-year-old comic, best known for his role in the popular Blue Collar Comedy Tour. He’s the least red-neck of the bunch, he says.

On stage, Engvall is pretty much the same guy you’d see on a Saturday afternoon out at the mall.

“I don’t want them to feel like they’re going to a comedy show,” says Engvall, who was in town Tuesday night at Table Mountain Casino.

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TONIGHT: Knuckleheads of Comedy w/Sebastian Cetina

comedy bannerRumor has it, comedian Sebastian Cetina never does the same show twice. His style is described (on his website anyway) as a mix of Eddie Murphy’s character work, Don Rickles’ insult comedy, Robin William’s improv and Andrew Dice Clay’s audience interaction. The Los Angeles-based comic has played the Improv and Laugh Factory, has been featured on Comedy Central and is the host of his own comedy series, the “XXXtreame Comedy Tour.”

Centina headlines the weekly Knuckleheads of Comedy showcase 9 p.m. tonight at Bottoms Up Nightclub. Raymond Navarro, Anthony Stone and Abraham Boche will also perform. Steve “Smokey” Olmos and Noe Castillo host. Tickets are $10.

Watch a video of Centina on the jump.

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Tonight: Comedian Jasper Redd

reddFresno has seen a good run of comedians coming through lately, though the shows don’t always get the press they should (I’m working on it, people). For instance, Knoxville, Tenn. comic Jasper Redd, who plays 8 p.m. tonight at Henry’s Cantina in Clovis. Redd is a touring comic who’s been all over TV (“Last Call” with Carson Daly, “Lopez Tonight,” Def Comedy Jam, Tosh.0). His comedy special “Jazz Talk” will be released on Netflix March 15. So see him now! Tickets for the show are $10, or $20 at the door.

The is the first official show from Fresno Comedy Scene.

What a video of Redd on the jump.

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Tonight: The Knuckleheads of Comedy featuring Zhivago Blea

bleaZhivago Blea doesn’t have hobbies. He has obsessions. He went pier fishing once and bought a book on tying knots just to be prepared. He’s been a working DJ and a clown (he taught himself to juggle and make balloon animals).

His career in comedy started the same way.

“I just get into stuff. And when I get into stuff I really get into it,” says Blea, a Los Angeles based comedian, who’s been featured on Gabriel Iglesias‘ “Stand-Up Revolution.” Blea headlines a comedy show 9 p.m. tonight at Bottoms Up Nightclub, 4113 W. Swift Ave.

He didn’t jump into the business without doing his homework — quite literally. He started by working bits into casual conversations. When those got laughs, he tracked down and took a class in stand-up comedy. After graduation, he started looking for stage time, making connections with other performers — but he only performed once a month of so.

“And then people want to start paying you,” Blea says. He always told them to watch his set before they made that kind of commitment. He has to remind himself that this is sort of his job now. “I just keep doing it and doing it and realize I’ve been at it for awhile.”

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Win tickets to Dis/Orient/Ed Comedy

1296323Dis/Orient/Ed Comedy is the first-ever (mostly) all-female, all Asian-American comedy tour. The brainchild of Los Angeles comics Jenny Yang and Atsuko Okatsuka, the tour has played to sell-out crowds up and down the West Coast. It comes to Fresno, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tower Theatre. Featured comics include Yang, Okatsuka and Helen Hong.

Tickets for the show are available at the Tower Theatre box office or online at ($5 off if you use the coupon code “fresnobee”).

Of course, we have a pair of tickets for one lucky Beehiver. To enter to win, leave a comment on this post. Tell us who is your favorite comedienne. This is a quick one: Deadline is 5 p.m. tonight. Winners will be informed by email and will need to come down to The Bee’s front counter by 5 p.m. Friday to claim the tickets. Full rules plus videos of Yang and Hong on the jump.

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Win ticket to: Adam Carolla live podcast

Adam_Carolla_podcastAdam Carolla is in the Guiness Book of World Records.

For podcasting. No joke.

Carolla hosts the most downloaded podcast of all time, which, technically, means since the early 2000s or so. Still, Carolla, best known for his TV (“The Man Show,” Crank Yankers”) and radio (“Loveline”) work, is podcast royalty. His show was downloaded 60 million times between ’09 and ’11.

Carolla will be taping an episode of his podcast live at the Tower Theatre, Dec. 8 and we have tickets to put a few lucky Beehivers in the audience. Enter to win by leaving a comment on this post. Tell us what is your favorite podcast and why. The contest ends 5 p.m. Friday. Winners will be chosen by random and notified via email. So check your email if you enter. One comment per person, please. Rules on the jump.

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Tonight: Say goodbye to Anthony Taylor with Blimprov improv

GOODBYEANTHONYAnthony Taylor is one of those wears-a-lot-of-hats guys. He’s known in the cultural/theater arts creative community for his work with the Organic Theater Company, as a member of the Blimprov comedy team, for his video work at Windsong Productions, as the host of Creative Fresno’s Pechkucha Night and/or his keen fashion sense (see: Warby Parker).

Some of you may remember back in August, Taylor announced he would be leaving for Fresno for New York City (where his wife got a new job). Well, he’ll be leaving (officially) at the end of October and his buddies in Blimprov are doing a Bon Voyage performance/party, 7 p.m. tonight at Frank’s Place. Tickets are $10.

I took my iPhone down to the Windsong offices, asked Taylor some questions about Fresno (and what it means to be leaving) and put together this video. In the final tally, Taylor understands a simple truth: We are all replaceable. That said, those who knew (or worked with) him know he will be missed. Video on the jump.

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Announced: Bon Jovi, Leno, Isaak and Thorogood

image001There’s another set of show announcements coming through this morning.

    UPDATE: And now we have confirmation from the Save Mart Center that tickets for Bon Jovi’s Oct. 8 show will go on sale at 10 a.m. next Monday (June 10). Tickets will start at $19.50 and be available at select Save Mart Supermarkets, online at, on the phone at (800) 745-3000 or at the Save Mart
    Center Box Office.

    FYI: If you are an American Express card member, you’ll have access to advanced tickets starting 10 a.m. Wednesday (June 5). The offer runs through Friday. Go to for more details.

    Original post (May 30):

  • It seems like I’ve been hearing rumor of this show for awhile, but ’80s hair-metal icon (and current mega-rock band) Bon Jovi is coming to the Save Mart Center. According to Pollstar, the band will be stopping in Fresno Oct 8. on the West Coast swing of its “Because We Can” tour. This should come as welcome news for fans. The last time Bon Jovi was in town was in 2006. The Save Mart Center has announced the show, but there’s no word on when tickets go on sale. We’ll keep you updated.
  • Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino is hosting comedian/late-show host Jay Leno June 29, which is soon. Tickets are on sale now. This is part of a really solid lineup of acts coming through this summer, including The B-52s on July 20, Fresnophile Chris Isaak on Aug. 9 and George Thorogood Aug. 24. Tickets are on sale now. These casino shows tend to be sell-outs, so you’ll want to act now if you want to catch any of these.

J.K. Simmons likes commercial success

J.K. SIMMONSABC launches “Family Tools” at 8:30 tonight (May 1) and while the comedy has all the laughs of a kitten’s funeral, it does star an actor who always makes projects better merely by being part of the cast. That would be J.K. Simmons.

Don’t be upset if the name doesn’t ring a bell. He’s played everything from a cop boss in “The Closer” to the cigar-chomping newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson in the “Spider-Man” movies. Simmons is one of those actors who has done so many different TV and film roles, you know him once you see him even if you can’t remember his name.

Simmons might have been better known if he hadn’t been so determined not to appear in a TV commercial while spending all those years as a struggling actor in New York. Theater is great but one well-placed commercial can be seen by as many people as see an entire year’s run of a play.

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Did They Just Say Fresno? Stephen Colbert, KMPH and Kai the homeless hitchhiker – updated with new Kai video

Stephen Colbert jumped into the mania around Kai the homeless hitchhiker with this hilarious take on the man with the hatchet, including a great shout out to Fresno’s KMPH (1:19 mark) for landing the now-famous interview.

For more on Kai, check out this update from KMPH. There’s also apparently a new fundraiser to get Kai a surfboard and wetsuit.

UPDATE: Not sure what the story is behind this video, which was shared in a link to a Kai Facebook page on The Beehive’s Facebook page. NSFW video after the jump:

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Tonight: Blimprov will make you laugh

If you haven’t seen Blimprov, you should. And you probably should do it tonight.

The improv comedy troupe — who you might remember from its sold-out run at this year’s Rogue Festival — is doing one of its biggest local shows to date at Fulton 55.

Why go tonight? Well, two Blimprov members are planning to move to L.A. soon, to give the fame thing a chance. So this might be their last Blimprov show. The departing Blimprovers are the ever-charming Marcos Hammer and the hilarious Magnus Chhan, who — apologies to the rest of Blimprov — has a knack for stealing the show.

If you miss this and everybody is talking tomorrow about how great it was, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Comedy news: Katt Williams schedules Save Mart Center show


Stand-up star Katt Williams is Fresno-bound, performing at Save Mart Center on Nov. 17. Williams is known for his role in “Friday After Next,” his perm and some odd arrests, but he’s also quite a hilarious comic.

Tickets are on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, costing $35, $45, $55 and $75. Get ‘em at Ticketmaster or at the Save Mart Center box office.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than hoping Fresno State football can cover the spread.

Were this feature called “One Thing You Should Do This Weekend,” this would be it. Fuse Fest, or Fresno Urban Sound Experience, is our annual all-local music festival that acts as an all-you-can-eat buffet of local music of various genres. It’s tonight and Saturday, with a total of 40 acts playing on 10 stages, all in downtown Fresno. Tickets can be purchased for $15 per night or $20 for both, good for maximum stage hopping. For more about the festival, read this story from today’s Bee about its evolution, check out the band lineup/schedule, listen to my podcast, or Famous’ podcast, check out The Fresnan or hit up the Facebook page. If there were one weekend to get out and support the Fresno music scene, this is it. [More]


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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Besides taking advantage of Restaurant Week.

Saturday’s Fierce Creatures album release party on the Fulton Mall is looking to be the local music event of the summer. It’s a festival with 10 bands total — including local faves such as Strange Vine and Quiet Americans, plus quality out-of-towners like The Silent Comedy. It’s also free and all ages, with a beer garden plus food from Dusty Buns, Keith’s Box Car Cafe and others. You might want to also check out this story from today’s Fresno Bee or my podcast with Fierce Creatures. [More]


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The Week Ahead: Catacomb Party, not-quite $5 country, Rev. Horton Heat, etc.

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CATACOMB PARTY: Indie rockers Fierce Creatures have their big Catacomb Party album release concert on Saturday. It’s a free, all-ages event with nine other bands joining Fierce Creatures outdoors on the Fulton Mall. It’s the local music event of the week, for sure.

THE HOTTEST TICKET OF THE WEEK: That goes to Kiss Country’s $5 concert at Rotary Amphitheatre at Woodward Park, starring “American Idol” Scotty McCreery and Joe Nichols. The $5 thing, that’s a lie at this point. Tickets sold out in less than a day when they went on sale and now if you want them, you’re going to pay much more than that.

BACK-UP PLAN: Another quality show on Thursday night is at Fulton 55, where Rev. Horton Heat, Supersuckers and The Goddamn Gallows make a tour stop. Rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll, roots rock are too be expected. Good stuff too.

ALSO IN TOWN THIS WEEK: Bachata star Joan Soriano (Tuesday at Starline), pop/rock band The Torn ACLs (Wednesday at Tokyo Garden), dancy indie rock group Conveyor (Friday at Kuppajoe), Origami Ghosts (Friday at Cafe Infoshop) and the Hiero Imperium Tour with Souls of Mischief, Pep Love and Casual (Saturday at Fulton 55).

FOR LAUGHS: “Mad TV” alum Mo Collins — who “Parks & Rec” fans also know as Joan Callamezzo of “Pawnee Today” — performs at Club One Casino on Friday night with Rebecca Corry.

TWEETUP: We like Tweetups — obviously — so we think you should know that them lady bloggers over at The Full Moxie are having one on Friday.

CAN I GET AN ENCORE? Looks like Encore Nightclub is having a big “grand opening” weekend — it’s been open, but ya know how these things go. It’s fully operational as an 18+ place, which is worth a note. This is, if you’re wondering, the most re-named club in Fresno. It’s the former On the Rocks, Bliss, Bisla’s, XO and most recently NVS.

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Comedy news: Kevin Hart coming back


Hot-right-now comedian Kevin Hart will return to Saroyan Theatre on Aug. 17. Tickets are scheduled to go on sale June 1, costing $49.50.

Hart’s star is shining bright these days after he recently starred in the movie “Think Like a Man” and his 2011 Comedy Central special “Laugh at My Pain” was released in theaters. You also might recognize him from occasional appearances on “Modern Family.”

Comedy Watch: Jeff Dunham, Brian Regan and Shaq’s All Star Jam


A few noteworthy comedy shows now on the concert calendar:

On TV tonight: ‘Breaking In’

bi_12-christian-office_1522_LY.JPG “Breaking In,” 9:30 p.m. KMPH (Channel 26.1): If you haven’t taken a look at the comedy since it returned to the FOX lineup, consider yourself among the lucky. The addition of Megan Mullally to the cast has turned this once fun and quirky series about a security company into a miserable and bland workplace comedy. Her character was added to be the new boss for the company making it the worst hire since Bernie Madoff.

In the first season, humor came out of smart situations involving the company’s mysterious boss (Christian Slater) and his oddball group of specialists. It was fun to watch them work together. This year, Mullally’s banshee-like acting skills have landed on the show like a gift from a bird passing overhead. Smart humor has been replaced by Mullally recycling her old “Will & Grace” work.

Gone are the fun missions. Now, the group just stands around the office and waits for Mullally to say something stupid. The wait isn’t that long.

“Breaking In” started out as a very good comedy. Now, there aren’t enough jokes to justify calling it a comedy. About the only thing good that can be said about the show is that with the changes, “Parks and Recreation” is no longer the worst workplace comedy on network TV.