Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Hidden Cash coming to Fresno

So you know Hidden Cash, the mysterious Twitter account user who has been hiding cash in cities around the world and inspiring frenzied displays of greed fun? Well, Hidden Cash is coming to Fresno. The millionaire real estate investor who is apparently behind Hidden Cash said this on Twitter this morning:

So far, he has left stacks of bills — often $50 and $100  – hidden inside plastic Angry Birds and other creative holders, while giving out clues to the location via the Hidden Cash Twitter and Facebook account. He also hinted at a big holiday weekend surprise this morning, but didn’t say where.

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Photo a day: The Big Fresno Fair (Day 1, rides)

The Big Fresno Fair opened this morning, and as of this afternoon the rides started to whirl. So if you’re heading out to the fair after work, have some fun with our photo a day challenge. Just snap a photo of today’s “rides” theme and share the photo with the #beebigfairfresno hashtag. Here’s one shot by Bee photographer Craig Kohlrus shared today:


Find daily themes and instructions on the jump:

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Fresno libraries + Facebook = a good thing

The Fresno County Public Library has this Facebook thing down. In addition to its informative posts, the page is gold mine of funny, snarky posts, along with the ones that make the avid reader in me nod and say, “Yep, so true.” I don’t know who is behind the page, but keep the goodness coming. Here’s a sampling of recent posts.


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Disturbing Facebook post of the day

I have lots of Facebook friends I don’t know. My philosophy is add everyone who wants to be added.  This means my news feed has a wide variety of posts, particularly when it comes to politics. But I have to admit this one floored me this morning:


The story is one of those awful ones about a disturbed individual defacing a great work of art — in this case  Eugene Delacroix’s painting “Liberty Leading the People,” a symbol of the French Republic. It was vandalized in a branch of the Louvre museum by a woman wielding a black marker who scrawled “AE911Truth” across its bottom, Reuters reports:

The phrase is the name of a website called “Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth” whose backers say they are seeking to establish the truth of the September 11, 2001 suicide airliner attacks on New York’s Twin Towers.

Thankfully, the Louvre confirmed on Friday it had managed to save the painting as the black marker had not penetrated the upper layer of varnish and has been successfully removed, according to the Reuters story.

I’m still a little wigged out, however, that there’s a person in my community who thinks like this.

The Beehive Asks: Are you fighting hunger with Walmart again?


Let’s go back to December 2010: Walmart and its “Fighting Hunger Together” contest had taken over the local Internets. Throngs of us were obsessed with winning one million of Walmart’s dollars to feed our hungry through a confusing Facebook contest that counted our “likes.” We tried and tried, but came in second to Salt Lake City and got not a million, but $100,000.

This week, “Fighting Hunger Together” returned for year two. Fresno, once again, is in the running for a million dollars from Walmart and its crazy-clicking contest. Voting runs until April 30 and Fresno is sitting at No. 2 on the leaderboard, but rapidly moving up. It was much further back just a few days ago.

It seems like Walmart tried to clarify some of those confusing rules this time around — you can vote once a day, for instance.

The question here: Are you playing another round of Walmart’s game? I know a few folks whose reaction was “oh no, not again.” Buuuuuut, it is a worthwhile cause in a city where one in four people might go hungry on any given day.

So what do you think? In? Out? Hungry for Walmart’s dough? Had enough?

Facebook has lost its mind

Dear Facebook,

I was warned last night by my husband that Facebook would look different today when I signed on. I even saw several news stories about the latest changes while working out at they gym this morning, so I thought I was prepared when I signed on today. I was wrong. These changes are just irritating.

Why do the clever minds at Facebook think I want to know every action of every person on my friends list in a constant stream? I was perfectly content with receiving notifications about my own posts and messages. I didn’t want or need a change. Why you think I care that Joey commented on Jenny’s post is beyond me. One would think that you would realize that one of the draws to Facebook is for people to DISCOVER conversations and interesting links and posts ON THEIR OWN. Facebook isn’t a Borg collective — users have minds of our own. I was happy finding the gems among my friends each day. Now Facebook’s a jumbled mess.

So please, Facebook people, STOP! Stop pretending that you know what I like. Stop tinkering for the sake of tinkering. And stop thinking you know what’s best for me.

An irritated user

It came from Fresno: Fakebook


Fakebook is an iPhone app released this week that allows users to create fake Facebook status updates and photos uploads to prank their friends and loved ones — you know, sort of a new-age, techy whooping cushion.

And its creator, 28-year-old Branden Hampton, lives right here in Fresno.

Hampton isn’t some social media newbie, though. He’s already a titan of Twitter, and is easily Fresno’s most followed person. You just might not recognize his real name.

He runs two massively popular Twitter accounts — the NSFW, crude and comedic @YourFavWhiteGuy (222K+ followers) and the lovey-dovey @TheNoteboook (1.2 million+ followers).

Using Fakebook, users could choose to create either a not-welcome status update or share a unflattering picture of a friend. The app then generates what is essentially a screenshot of the fake update that can be shown to someone or sent via MMS.

The inspiration behind the app? Hampton says:

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Osama Bin Laden’s death: most stupid Facebook reaction

Say what you want about Facebook and its big, messy, instantaneous, unedited plunge into what a nation is saying and thinking — but you certainly get a whole bunch of opinions. That some of those opinions are odd, eccentric, scary or downright nauseating is a great reminder that it takes all kinds to make up a country.


Here’s a compilation of more “incredibly stupid” Facebook reactions from

Beyond the downright weird stuff, it’s interesting to read the range of opinions — most celebratory, some (but a distinct minority) tiresomely political, a few provocative. Consider this reminder by a Facebook commenter who plays the Bible card:


Gives one pause for thought, eh?

For me, I’m glad they got Osama Bin Laden, but I’m not going to join a jubilant street demonstration to celebrate the death of a human being, not even him. (But I’m also not going to criticize those who do.)

Our friend Fox finds Fresno — for real!


Duuuuuuuude. Whatever you’re doing the evening of Feb. 12, cancel it. We’ve all got plans now. Our friend Fox Elipsus (aka Fox Sanger, Fox Reedy, Fox Roeding, etc) is coming to Fresno. For real, guys.

He’s playing a free 7 p.m. show at Borders at River Park. I have to be there, because I really want to see the part where he says, “Hi. I’m Fox Elipsus, but you know me on Facebook as …” and then lists 647 different names. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Yes, yes, I jest about all this. I’m no fan of the Fraudulent Mr. Fox and his spammy Facebook ways, which I documented on The Beehive back in December. Since then, I haven’t gotten any new friend requests from his army of aliases, but my wife has. Judging from the comments on our original post, it’s pretty apparent that Fox is bugging people around the country too.

But that doesn’t stop him from playing the sympathy card to get people out to his show. From his Facebook invite:

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Fighting Hunger campaign is getting intense

UPDATE 2: Fresnans are “liking” crazed. So much so, Fresno is back in the lead with more than 180,000 votes. Wow! You can read more about the campaign is today’s Bee story.

UPDATE, 5 p.m. Dec. 27: Mike Oz passes along that there are two community events Wednesday to help get more votes: Iron Bird Café on Fulton St. from 6am to 1pm and The Laundry Room on Palm and Nees from 1pm to 6pm. Computers and Internet devices will be available to sign people up on Facebook and help share the campaign.

ORIGINAL POST, Dec. 27: WMT_fight_hunger_c.jpgMike’s been keeping everyone up on the Walmart Fighting Hunger Together contest. Since he’s on vacation, I thought I’d give a quick update: Fresno was in the lead but lost ground to Salt Lake City.

Today, the local community is rallying like crazy to rack up votes on Facebook. Check this page out. And this one.

Dozens and dozens of posts are showing up to rally folks. Even if you’ve voted there are other ways for you to vote, such as liking other people’s “Fighting Hunger – Fresno” posts and posting comments on those posts. It’s been wild watching Facebook today and seeing the Fresno community work together to get more votes.

Hopefully everyone can keep it up and make a final surge for the $1 million this week!

About that Fox guy who wants to be your Facebook friend …


Have you noticed the same annoyingly familiar face popping up in your Facebook friend requests lately? A guy with the first name Fox, and a different last name each time that’s often a city — like Sanger or Selma? Sound familiar?

For the past few months, he has been friend requesting me like crazy. I’ve seen other people in town complaining about him too.

In real life, he’s Fox Elipsus, a musician from England. And though, he lists his “current city” as Fresno on many Facebook profiles, he’s actually just some guy trying to build fan bases in different cities. As the mutual friend counter has shown me, he’s duped many local folks.

Once I figured out what he was trying to do, I collected his various friend requests for two weeks. I currently have nine variations of this Fox guy requesting to be my friend. That’s in addition to another 10 or so I’d previously ignored. Sorry, Fox Firebaugh and Fox Roeding. Denied!

I was curious whether he was actually fixated on the Fresno area. Were we the key to his plan for music biz domination? Or was he doing this sort of thing all over the state? The country? The world?

So I sent him an e-mail:

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Request a song from a local theater star


Something tells me that Peter Allwine’s Voice is not very happy with Peter Allwine this afternoon. Not only does the star of “Bye Bye Birdie” belt it out six times a week at Good Company Players — requiring vocal cords strong enough to hold up a suspension bridge — but today on Facebook, Allwine made a rather startling announcement:

This past Saturday – I got an idea… I see people post videos all the time and got to thinking – what if – for fun – people requested songs and I sing them via video? Any song – male, female, from a musical – ANYTHING – I’ll give it the ol’ college try… So – for a week – I will take requests and do my best to accommodate them… Let the fun begin!!

I, of course, immediately jumped on and asked Allwine if he’d extend his offer to the Beehive as well, and he gamely agreed. Just think: You can ask a genuine local theatrical star to sing anything you want (note the capital letters in the preceding paragraph), although I suspect you might run into trouble if you request, say, evening prayers in Sanskrit or, heaven forbid, “Put On a Happy Face.” I’m not sure of the logistics of all this, but I’m guessing it’ll have something to do with a YouTube page. My request, by the way, is “Bring Him Home” from “Les Miz,” because I’m in the mood to hear some Allwine falsetto.

Let Allwine know what you want him to sing in a comment on this post, and I’ll make sure that Beehive readers see the results. Now please join me in a moment of silence for his Voice.

Win tickets to see ‘The Social Network’ – update

UPDATE: The winners are: erica, Garrett Bettis, Rosio, Nicholas De La Torre, Noe Rodriguez, 559rell, Amanda Allison, Jennifer, Michael Medrano and Michael. Winners were sent an e-mail. Congratulations!


We love the Internet. You love the Internet. None of us would be here if we didn’t. So when we heard about “The Social Network, the movie about the beginnings of Facebook, we thought, “Yeah, we gotta giveaway tickets to this.”

So we’re giving away 10 pairs of tickets to the preview screening at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Manchester Stadium, a few days before it opens to the public on Oct. 1. These are reserved seats, so while everybody else is standing in line, you can sit inside and update your status. You’re welcome.

To enter, leave a comment below and tell us — Facebook: Awesome? Annoying? Why? Deadline to enter is noon Monday. We’ll pick winners at random notified them by e-mail, so leave use a real one and check it. Official rules on the jump.

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Yet another Facebook page


It’s mine. As in all the minutiae of life as an arts writer/blogger you can lap up. Here’s my pitch from the tail end of my Sunday Spotlight column:

I’ll include my reviewing schedule, favorite links, entertainment picks and other musings on the local and national scene. Maybe I’ll even share what Broadway cast album I’m listening to at the moment on my iPod. But I’ll promise one thing: I’m not going to write about what I had for breakfast.

You can “friend” me — the verb purists shudder — at

That pic is me with Beethoven at Legoland, by the way.

Fres-Know: Spreading our seed everywhere

YAY FRESNO: ESPN visits our BMX park. Says it “looks sick.” [ESPN]

NEWS: It’s the first day of school! Congrats or apologies, whichever works. [The Bee]

GOOD READ: Look at the lives of three local crash victims [The Bee]

BLOGGINGS: Learn all about Seed Bombs … and start planting. [Fresno Famous]

YAY FRESNO: Director Punit Dhesi gets some love on the hip-hop blogs [HipHopDX]

AWESOME LETTER OF THE DAY: “Stop the mosque” [The Bee]

BLOGGINGS: Learn about the inaugural Frebby Awards. [Paprika Studios]

VOTE: Local dude DJ Kay Rich is vying to the “Ultimate DJ” [106 KMEL]

HAPPENING ON FACEBOOK: A campaign to make Starline all-ages again. [Facebook]

MADE IN FRESNO: Almost NSFW T-shirt from Casper Munoz [Two in the Shirt]

WTF Moment of the Day

Meet the most infectious song you’ve heard since the “Double Rainbow” autotune remix. It comes from Sudanese rapper Bangs, who simply wants to bang chicks from Facebook.

“We can make love through the Facebook and that’s hot.”

FYI: This is the follow-up to last year’s smash hit “Take U To Da Movies,” which is worth a look if you haven’t seen it. Ladies, the line starts behind me.

Good read of the day: Facebook and death

Should a person’s Facebook account be closed when he or she dies? If not, would you want to “hear” from a recently deceased user? From Sunday’s New York Times:

Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, knows a lot about its roughly 500 million members. Its software is quick to offer helpful nudges about things like imminent birthdays and friends you have not contacted in a while. But the company has had trouble automating the task of figuring out when one of its users has died.

That can lead to some disturbing or just plain weird moments for Facebook users as the site keeps on shuffling a dead friend through its social algorithms. Facebook says it has been grappling with how to handle the ghosts in its machine but acknowledges that it has not found a good solution.

As Facebook grows ever more popular, it’s interesting how the issues get more complicated. I wonder if someday soon people will begin acknowledging social media “property” in wills.

A good read: Could criticizing a local business on Facebook get you sued?


That’s what happened to a guy in Kalamazoo, Mich. The New York Times has an interesting story:

After a towing company hauled Justin Kurtz’s car from his apartment complex parking lot, despite his permit to park there, Mr. Kurtz, 21, a college student in Kalamazoo, Mich., went to the Internet for revenge. Outraged at having to pay $118 to get his car back, Mr. Kurtz created a Facebook page called “Kalamazoo Residents against T&J Towing.” Within two days, 800 people had joined the group, some posting comments about their own maddening experiences with the company. T&J filed a defamation suit against Mr. Kurtz, claiming the site was hurting business and seeking $750,000 in damages.

Web sites like Facebook, Twitter and Yelp have given individuals a global platform on which to air their grievances with companies. But legal experts say the soaring popularity of such sites has also given rise to more cases like Mr. Kurtz’s, in which a business sues an individual for posting critical comments online.

It sounds as if California has protections against what’s called a Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation, or Slapp, in which lawsuits are used as an intimidation technique to silence critics. But I’m sure as online opinion aggregators and social media sites grow ever more powerful, we’ll be seeing more push-back from businesses.

Photo/ New York Times

Jamie Oliver inspires local farm tours

Everyone who’s talked to me about Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is shocked by one sad scene: the first-grade students who couldn’t identify fruits and vegetables — including tomatoes.

You’d think the central San Joaquin Valley, with all of of its agricultural bounty, wouldn’t have such a problem. Well, one organic farm isn’t taking any chances. K.M.K. Farms in Kingsburg is hosting free farm tours 2:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday. Samples of fresh dishes such as fennel-tangerine salad will be available.

“We were sad as we watched Jamie Oliver’s new show and saw how a class of children could not identify a tomato!” K.M.K. co-owner Michele Reynolds writes in an e-mail. “So we are joining Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and opening our farm up…”

So far, more than 110 folks have signed up. Want to join them? Here’s a map. RSVP by calling (559) 897-7264, visiting K.M.K.’s stands at the Visalia farmers market and the Vineyard farmers market, sending e-mail, or dropping a line on Facebook.

And if you’re not watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, you’re missing out on a great show. Here’s that sad scene with the first-graders:

Restaurant Battles: Independents v. Chains


Here’s a battle that will resonate with a lot of you: a Subway franchise planned for Mariposa’s historic downtown district has thrown the town into a tizzy.

In one corner: Folks who want to protect locally owned, independent restaurants from competition with chains. Check out their Facebook group “No Way! No Subway in Mariposa!” (See the group’s logo, at right.)

In the other corner: Facebook group “STFU, Subway Will Not Hurt Mariposa. Yes to Subway in ‘Posa!” Their page says: “Bring it On, They have cheap, healthy food, might actually be open regularly, creates Jobs, provides Healthey [sic] Economic Competition for the other Restaurants that make sandwiches. It’s a GOOD thing.”

The Mariposa County Board of Supervisors will hear the issue on Tuesday morning.

This is a battle that could happen just about anywhere. We saw it in 1997, when Starbucks was looking for a spot in the Tower District.

And we’ve seen it worldwide. In the 1980s, the entry of a McDonald’s in Rome sparked the Slow Food movement. (As a side note, McDonald’s recent introduction of a McItaly line of burgers has outraged Slow Foodists yet again.)

So, what do you think? Are you one of those folks who loves Cheesecake Factory/Panera Bread/P.F. Chang’s/Famous Dave’s and cares not a whit that they’re chains? Or do you always go for the locally owned, independent restaurants?

Talking points: Secret Service investigates Facebook poll – updated

UPDATE: The investigation finished, and a kid was behind the poll.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: This headline caught my attention this morning: “Secret Service probing Facebook poll on Obama.” Here’s the first paragraph:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Secret Service is investigating an online survey that asked whether people thought President Barack Obama should be assassinated, officials said Monday.

What do you think: Is this poll question OK? Offensive? Should it have been reviewed? Is it worthy of investigating as a threat?


CW Network rides wave of technology


The CW Network President of Entertainment Dawn Ostroff talked about the upcoming season for the network with the TV critics who have gathered in Pasadena. Here are some of the highlights.

Tweet this: It is obvious with shows like “Gossip Girl” and “90210″ the CW Network’s programming is aimed at young women. So, it should not be a surprise that there have been more than 200 million video streams on its web site. “Gossip Girl” has nearly one and a half million fans on Facebook. “One Tree Hill” has more than a million fans on Facebook. Ostroff says someone tweets about the CW Network once a minute.

Not so super time slot: “Smallville” moves to Fridays in the fall. That’s the night when the target audience will be on a date. Ostroff explains the reason for the move is because “we felt the best way to open up Friday night was with a big, established hit like ‘Smallville.’” Although there has been talk this will be the last season for “Smallville,” the CW boss says there is a lot of life left in the show and she would like to see it continue.

Forget Sunday: Because of the bad economy, there will be no CW Network programming on Sundays. Ostroff wants to concentrate on Monday through Friday. Also, the network will concentrate on one-hour dramas and not half-hour comedies.

A Facebook Haggadah


Anyone who has ever attended Seders, the ceremonial Passover meals, knows that an essential part is the Haggadah, the text that recounts the exodus of Jews from Egypt.

Well, this year, there’s a Facebook version of the story that’s a viral hit: “Moses is Departing Egypt: A Facebook Haggadah.”

No, you won’t find lots of references to the ritual food in it. Instead, you’ll find God’s list of “25 things you didn’t know about me,” the “Which god are you?” quiz, and “Yes We Conserve,” a Facebook application “designed to help you save money, energy, and the planet.”

I called its creator, Carl Elkin, with some burning questions: Where did you get the idea for this? Is it irreverent to write a Haggadah to promote a Facebook application? And will you use this Haggadah at your own Seders this year?

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