The annual event — put together by the Soulflower Group– is a spot check of the Fresno craft- and hand-made scene, with 28 crafters and artist selling everything from steampunk jewelry to handmade candles and designer nail polish. So, it’s the perfect spot to pick up some last-minute gifts.
I emailed Ms. Soulflower herself, Devoya Mayo, to find out more.
Explain the event in three lines or less.
The Soulflower Group curates a D.I.Y extravaganza by hosting 28 local crafty folks at Fulton 55 for an afternoon of crafts, music, food, prizes and cocktails.
During my early days on the job, I did a trend story on blogs. This was back in the early 2000s, when you still had to explain such things (blog = web-log). Shortly thereafter podcasts came along and really blew people’s minds. It was sort of like radio, but you could put the shows in your iPod and listen to at your convenience. Finally, there was no excuse for not knowing about “This American Life.” Fast forward to 2013, and podcasting in not just a thing (with millions of listeners), it’s a career field. At least for guys like Chris Hardwick, Marc Maron and Adam Carolla, who is live taping an episode his his podcast Sunday night at the Tower Theatre.
I busted my butt trying to work an interview with Carolla in advance of the show. Sadly, we couldn’t get our schedules synced, so, I threw some questions out to my buddy (and local podcast guru) Mike Seay. Disclosure: Seay is my co-host on Flowing with Famous.
How have podcasts changed since 2004 or whenever people started paying attention to such things?
It’s become much more niche. In the beginning there was a lot of regular people doing their version of a radio morning show. Not many celebrities, mostly average people that would never try getting a job in radio but still thought they could do that brand of entertaining.
The latest in the Hunger Games saga opens tonight. At midnight or something. There are people who are excited. Others will be more taken by one of the bands playing through next weekend. For those I present another installment of the weekly (in this case it spans closer to two weeks) music roundup known as BANDEGEEEEK!!
I first wrote about Anti Laboratoriesin 2009, and even then it was clear that the marketing company was on to good things (its headquarters was downtown for one). Their works was (and is) fresh and bold and contained a completely unique perspective.
Along with its design work, the team has stepped up its video production work this year, as evident in its 2013 production real (which you can see above). It’s is impressively done and chalk full of Fresno-centric music (F.U.S.E., 40 Watt, Fashawn), food (Carthop) and culture (the Atomic Assault roller derby team). See if you can’t catch it all.
Wedding bells? For Travis Bartlett and Lanae Forrest it’s more like wedding riffs. As in the heavy-metal guitar shredding of Skeletonwitch. Barlett and Forrest will be wed on stage before that band’s set tonight at Strummer’s. The Ohio metal band is in town playing with the Black Dahlia Murder, Fallujah and Noisem.
This is a dream wedding for the Bakersfield couple. Both huge fans of metal and met while Bartlett was playing in a death metal band. Forrest was always at the shows. When it came time to plan the wedding, they knew they wanted to have bands involved — maybe a show in Bakersfield with a bunch of locals. The couple kept throwing around ideas, but where at a bit of a standstill when they heard Skeletonwitch would be playing Fresno.
It was a lightbulb!
Or, just another crazy scheme that would never come to fruition. That was Forrest’s take, anyway. But Bartlett knew a friend who knew a friend who knew the band, so he made a call.
Word came back that the band was enthused, he says.
“We’re huge fans of skeletonwitch. It’s unbelievable they would want to be part of the wedding,” Bartlett says. “It’s kind of like a dream come true for me.”
“If I’m in Lithuania, I’ve probably got a Fresno jersey on,” says Fashawn, who was featured on the cover of XXL Magazine as one of it’s Freshman class back in 2010. “I’ve got one foot in the music industry and one foot on Shield’s Avenue.”
Tonight, he’ll have both feet in Visalia. He plays the Cellar Door for a birthday bash (he just turned 25) that includes some friends — Los Angeles rapper Evidence, Fresno’a Omar Aura and others.
Following Ryan Beatty‘s pop-music career path is a hobby of sorts for us at the Beehive.
Last month, the Clovis native released a video for the first single off his self-titled E.P. It was surprisingly non-poppy (in a good way) and soulful and played against the idea of Beatty as Fresno’s Justin Bieber. Well, the full E.P. was released on iTtunes on Tuesday and got a seemingly good response.
#7 on the pop charts already? thank you guys so much. I can’t explain how grateful I am for each and every one of you.
This is the first batch of songs he’s released since his “Because of You” EP in 2012. That album broke the Billboard 200 (peaking at 94) and was 17 on the Independent Albums charts. Beatty’s full-length album is scheduled for release in 2014.
When we last checked in with pop wunderkind (and Clovis native) Ryan Betty, he was heading out on a national tour with Australian pop singer (and friend) Cody Simpson. At the end of the tour, he said he would be back in Los Angeles in the studio working in his album.
From my story in The Bee:
He knows fans are waiting, and he is eager to release new music. But he also wants to make sure it’s done right.
He could write a song for the radio, get it done and out quick, he says.
“That’s not what I’m about.”
He thinks about longevity.
He wants to create something authentic and true to himself and his inspirations — guys like Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel, and bands such as Electric Light Orchestra.
“Once I release it, it’s going to be out there forever, ” he says. “It’s not like I can be like, ‘Hey, just kidding.’ “
And now we get our first taste of what he might have meant by that. Beatty just released a lyric video for “Chameleon.” This is the first release from his a self-titled EP that will be released Oct. 8 Watch the video on the jump and let us know what you think?
Alien Ant Farm (who had a hit with its funked-up metal version of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”) has postponed its scheduled show tonight at Fulton 55. According to a note on the Fulton 55 site, one of the band members had a sudden illness.
Those who already purchased tickets can hold on to them. A new date will be announced in a few weeks. Or, you can get a refund at point of purchase.
Tonight’s show will continue with locals Session and Mid October (from Atwater). Tickets have been reduced to $5.
San Jose alternative-indie band Picture Atlantic was scheduled to play Fresno back in August. I had a nice email interview with the band’s singer/guitarist Nikolaus Bartunek all set to go in advance of the show … Then the show fell through and we all did a big “Womp, womp.”
I can finally run that interview. Note: Some parts have been edited for timeliness.
Tell us a little about what the band has going on now.
Right now the band is pretty busy with shows. We’re at the point again where we are traveling out of town and trying to play out of state as much as possible. But we’re also working on new music, which we’ve had the chance to share with our fans on a couple occasions. Pretty soon though, we’ll be dropping a brand new music video. [The video for "Edgewood Road" was released Aug. 20]. I’m curious to see how that will go.
It’s every musician’s nightmare. You come home from a gig. It’s late and you are exhausted and (against all better judgement) you leave your gear in the car.
And then it gets stolen, because, that’s how things happens.
And it can ruin a career. So, when blues musician Ron Thompson had his car stolen from outside his Hayward apartment last week, fans and fellow musician quickly stepped in to help, offering the musician rides and lending equipment, because the show must go on. Thompson will play his weekly gig at the Babylon tonight.
Unlike downtown grocery stores, when it comes to live music this weekend, I’ve got choices. Possibly too many. If you don’t believe me, look at this: It’s another installment of your weekend music roundup. It’s another BANDGEEEEK!
CMAC (aka the Community Media Access Collaborative) has partnered with this year’s Fresno Urban Sound Experience (aka F.U.S.E. Fest) to produce a pre-festival showcase, 8 p.m. tonight at Fulton 55. The event is open to the public for a $2 donation (money that will help pay the bands), but because it’s being created for air (it will broadcast live on Comcast 93 and AT&T 99), it won’t be the typical concert experience. The bands (Werebear, Actress, Cockamamie Jamie and Blake Jones + Friends) will play truncated sets, interspersed with interviews from yours truly. If you’re a local music fan-boy (or girl), you should to show up (or tune in).
The festival runs Sept. 20-21 in downtown Fresno. This year’s lineup and more can be seen at FUSEFest.com.
Stop daydreaming about what $16 million could do for the Fulton Mall.
Go out and enjoy some live music. Here’s a couple of suggestions that I’ve formatted for easy consumption. Here’s your weekly music roundup. Here is an all-new BANDGEEEEK! You are welcome.
Gayle Skidmore is one of those out-of-town acts that might seem like a local to the casual follower of the scene. The San Diego singer/songwriter has been playing Fresno on a fairly regular basis for five or so years — you might have seen her at this year’s Catacomb Party. Skidmore is back in town tonight to kick off a series of house shows put on by Love The Captive. I emailed the singer a couple of quick questions in advance of the show. Here’s what I got back.
You started writing songs at 8. Was music something you were always drawn to? Were you even listening to music at that point? What is your very first musical memory?
Music has always been a big part of my life. I started writing my own little songs on the piano at age 4, and my parents promptly started me in piano lessons. I listened to a lot of oldies and classical music, and I loved the Everly Brothers. I later discovered a great affinity for Led Zeppelin. One of my first memories of playing the piano was coming up with fifty different variations of “Greensleeves” at age 6 or 7. I am sure that was pretty irritating to my family.
The Big Book Sale kicked off today. A good portion of my weekend will be spent trying to find a Vladimir Nabokov book that’s not “Mary.” Other than that, there are a a couple of music-related events I’ll be at.
Then, I’m on vacation.
Rather than leave you in the lurch, I planned ahead and give you an expended roundup of what’s happening at the bars, clubs and theaters (and casinos) through the next week (plus). So, here it is, the weekly music roundup we call BANDGEEEK!!
Kelley, who now resides in New Zealand, will release his band’s latest “Working To Divide,” on Sept. 24. Sadly, the band won’t be making it to Fresno for support shows, but for fans of moody melodic rock, the album will be available online for free (the band will accept whatever you’d like to pay).
Aesop will release his “Black Aesop Project” EP Oct. 1, which also happens to be his birthday. As a gift, you get a free download.
And because my band mates will yell at me if I don’t, this is happening too.
The Foundation also has its annual Festival of Hope coming up Sept. 28-29. The festival always has a musical lineup. This year it includes Big Black Delta, Caught a Ghost and Song Preservation Society, plus locals Poor Mans Poison, Gospel Whiskey Runners and Mezcal.
With all this great music coming through (then adding in the local stuff), the question becomes whether the fans come out to support. Videos of Vile, Mobb Deep, Pure Bathing Culture, Meat Puppets, Gass and Fuel on the jump.
At 9:30 a.m. tomorrow (Sunday), a supremely civilized hour, I’ll be featured in a half-hour interview with KFSR radio host Kate McKnight on her program “The Art of ‘No” (90.7FM and online at kfsr.org).
I prerecorded the show a couple of weeks ago, so don’t be listening for me to have a breakdown on live radio or suddenly blurt out offensive/profane declarations to disturb the peace of your Sunday morning. (At least I don’t recall any faux pas.) Instead, I’ll be discussing my new e-book, “The Company We Keep,” about Fresno’s beloved Good Company Players. I also talk with McKnight about the Fresno arts scene in general. It’s a pleasant, collegial conversation — and I have to say I think McKnight has a great radio voice, just like those soothing NPR anchors.
In a bit of synergy, or perhaps you’d call it shameless cross-promotion, I decided to use the occasion of my own interview on “The Art of ‘No” to interview McKnight about the program for my Sunday Spotlight column.
A friendly reminder: If you’re looking for the easiest way to download “The Company We Keep,” you can buy it for $2.99 on Kindle, Apple’s iBookstore, and at Vook.com. (Vook offers a desktop version if you don’t have a mobile reading device, along with ePub versions that can be transferred to devices.) And don’t forget the Fresno Bee videos and photo galleries (including shots from all 436 Good Company productions) online.
1. The lines. Just to pick up my tickets for Taco Truck Throwdown III required a wait in an interminable line that snaked across Broadway in front of the stadium in a diffuse, infuriating tendril, intersecting with clumps of smokers and gabbing friends gathered together in those awkward are-you-in-line-or-just-hanging-out configurations. A Grizzlies employee stood idly by looking as if efficient crowd control was No. 36 on his list of priorities. Finally — up to the ticket window. First line overcome.
2. The lines. Once inside the concourse, to reach the taco action, we had to cross a thick line for $2 beer. I felt like a salmon trying to get over Friant Dam. With each beer dispensed, the three-abreast line I was trying to cross would surge forward as the crowd expectantly moved forward to quench its thirst. “Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me,” I said, not knowing at times if I was moving through the throng or dancing with them.
The tour has already proved wildly popular. He played to 66,000 fans at the University of Georgia’s Sanford Stadium and sold out two nights at Boston’s Fenway Park, breaking the venues single- and two-night attendance records.
Check out the official video for Aldean’s single “Take a Little Ride,” on the jump.
For those who don’t following along, Flowing with Famous, is a long-running Fresno-centric podcast, where I sit down with podcast guru Mike Seay to talk about the city’s culture, media, music and politics.
There are close to 40 bands playing this weekend’s Catacomb Party — No way you can see them all. No doubt people are already started to pick and choose.
First, go check out the schedule. Now, tell us which bands are must see (it would be nice if you told us why, but we won’t be picky.
Here is my top five (for what they’re worth):
1.)Tony Allen: The Nigerian drummer is the event’s headliner. He’s also kind of legendary for creating (along with Fela Kuti) Afro-beat. So if you like Vampire Weekend and the like … We don’t get acts like this coming through town often, and they do not normally play free shows. Tony Allen (and his 13-piece band) headline the Tioga-Sequoia stage at 9:30 p.m.
2.) Dim Peaks: This is the new project from songwriter Niilo Smeds. There will be an album out this fall on Gold Robot Records and the sample I heard was great. In my mind, Smeds is one of (if not the) best songwriters in town right now. For fans of Leonard Cohen style folk jams. Dim Peaks plays 9 p.m. at the Fresno Brewing Company Stage.
3.)Sleepover Disaster: During the late 90s and early 2000s, Sleepover Disaster was a pillar in the scene and hugely influential. It’s odd to think there is a generation of fans that never got to see them play. For fans of LOUD shoegazey indie-rock. The band plays 6:20 p.m. at the Tioga-Sequoia stage.
4.)Cockamamie Jamie: One-half of the comedy rap duo Argyle Pimps, Cockamamie is known for peeing his pants during a rap battle. He won. So when he say’s he’s got something up his sleeve for his set at the Catacomb Party, you want to take that seriously. “This one’s the big one,” he says. “It might be piss battle part two.” Cockamamie Jamie plays 4:10 p.m. on the Urban Militia stage.