Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

‘Tis the season for a Fresno Christmas Light tour


There is an understanding around the Guerriero household that, come Christmas time, the hair dyer and microwave, pretty much all appliances, really, are off limits after 5:30 p.m. There’s been one too many blown fuses.

Yes, the Guerriero’s home (on Tenaya Avenue, near Van Ness and Sierra) taxes the grid, what with its massive display of holiday lights and decorations.

“Every year we buy more and more,” says Mary Guerriero, who, along with her husband Joe Guerriero, spends a month (or more) each year setting up the display, which is lit from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. through Christmas.

Even once all the decor is up, there are still small tweaks to be made, Mary says.

“I’m still doing it every day.”

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Where do you shop local?

My buy local gift guide was on the cover of Sunday’s Spotlight section with lots of gift suggestions. These are not just local, but super local: locally grown and locally made. We’re talking purses made in a downtown art gallery, “Fresbro” T-shirts printed in a Tower shop and chocolate-dipped apples rolled in M&Ms at the California Gourmet Co. 

But this is by no means a comprehensive list. Lots of places are selling locally made goods and lots of stores are locally owned. Where do you go to buy local and what do you like to buy there? Tell us in the comments.

Concert Announcement: Iggy Azalea’s ‘The Great Escape’ tour comes to Save Mart Center


And, just like that, the Save Mart Center lands what may arguably be one of the most-anticipated tours of 2015.

Female rap/pop star Iggy Azalea will stop at the arena April 14 to kick off “The Great Escape” tour, a 24-date North American trek with recording artist/actor Nick Jonas and R&B/hip-hop favorites Tinashe and DJ Wizz Kidd.

Tickets for the Fresno date are $39.50-$69.50 and on sale 9 a.m. Dec. 19 at the arena box office and select Save Mart Supermarkets, online at or or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Platinum and VIP packages, which include premium tickets plus exclusive autographed items, will also be available.

Presale tickets are available for American Express card members 9 a.m. Dec. 15 (through 9 p.m. Dec. 18).

Azalea was easily one of the biggest pop stars of 2014. Her single “Fancy” broke all sorts of airplay records and was the longest-leading No. 1 by a female rapper. It was Billboard’s 2014 Song of the Summer, iTunes Best Song of 2014, the year’s most-streamed song on Spotify and the most-watched video on VEVO (and also a parody hit for Weird Al). Azalea was nominated for four Grammy Awards this year, including best new artist, best rap album, record of the year and best pop duo/group performance. Her latest, “Black Widow,” featuring Rita Ora, also reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 40 chart.

You can watch the Tarantino-inspired video for “Black Widow” on the jump (it’s slightly NSFW).

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend


Forget playing/singing/jumping in the rain

1. Downtown Christmas Parade
The is the parade’s 85th year. The theme is Candy Canes and Christmas Carols. I’m hoping it’s a sing along.

2. Uppitees’ Holiday Handcraft Boutique
There are only 12 shopping days until Christmas.

3. “A Shot in the Dark
A performance piece from Fresno poet Stephen Mayu Jr.

4. Fresno Holiday Jam
For hip-hop fans young, old and other.

5. Christmas Tree Lane Ride
I’ll always mention a good group bicycle ride.

Here’s a bonus five live-music, concert-type events:

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BANDGEEK: Tribal Seeds, Riders in the Sky and the Fresno Holiday Jam

Lest you think a little storm should keep you trapped indoors, we have once again collection a week’s worth of musical happenings and present it here as your BANDGEEEEK round up.


  • Shannon Ashley.
    W/Lou Umbra and The Tough Love. At Fulton 55. 8:30 p.m. $6-$8. (Flier link)

  • Tribal Seeds.
    W/Hirie and Wheeland Brothers. At Strummer’s. 7 p.m. Online tickets SOLD OUT.

  • Ultrasonic: A Book Launch.
    W/music from Iwanaga and Fatty Cakes & the Puff Pastries. At Peeve’s Public House. 7 p.m. Free. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Paradox.
    W/Mutant Itch, Choas Tribe, Fiend, Inhuman and Battleshok. At CYC. 6 p.m. $5 donation. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Chris Play Guitar.
    Reunion show. W/Constellation Prize. At Audie’s Olympic. 9 p.m. $5. (Flier link)

  • Lee Greenwood.
    W/Crystal Gayle. At Tachi Palace. 6 p.m. Tickets off sale. (Flier link)

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    BANDGEEK: Fab Four, Molotov and Dance Gavin Dance


    We’ve hit the holiday season full on. Time management becomes critical, especially if you want to fit in a couple of live music events.

    Lucky for you, we’ve once again done the heavy lifting and collected them for you in our handy-dandy BANDGEEK roundup.


  • The Jacktones.
    W/Jimmie O. At Fulton 55. 8:30 p.m. $6-$8. (Flier link)

  • Denitia and Sene.
    W/Gentle Jaime and Naelma. At Peeve’s Public House. 8:30 p.m. Free. All ages.

  • Arthop at Studio Itz.
    W/Fatty Cakes & the Puff Pastries, Werebear, Santa Mira and Satellite Era. At Studio Itz. 7 p.m. Free. All ages. (Flier link)

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    Save the date: Catacomb Party 2015


    The organizers of Fresno’s Catacomb Party staged two wildly successful downtown events; If you mark success by the mass of people who showed up on the Fulton Mall for a day’s worth of free music and festivities (and I do). Thousands showed up for last year’s party (despite the July heat) to watch 40 bands play over six stages.

    After taking a year off to regroup and reorganize, Catacomb Party returns in spring of 2015.

    While there’s been no official save-the-date announcement, and lineup decisions are still being made (band submissions ended yesterday), we now have a look at the festival’s new branding.

    Notice the date up top, put in the calendar and circle it in red: April 4. You can still volunteer to help with the festival (through Jan. 1) or just keep up-to-date by signing up for the Catahomies Newsletter.

    On the jump: Watch Gentle Jamie killing it (or himself) at last year’s party.

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    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend


    Gas is cheap again. So you could always skip town. Or …

    1. Downtown Fresno Ice Rink
    You’re skating on thin ice mister.

    2. Central California Auto Show
    Auto nerds need conventions too.

    3. “Levitated Mass
    This film ask the question, “Can a giant boulder be art?”

    4. “Birdman
    Restore your faith in American film making.

    5. Fundraiser Benefit Concert for Perry Hodge
    Perry Hodge has been a vital part of Fresno’s music scene since the 1980s. Here’s a small chance to repay the man.

    And a bonus five for music fans.

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    BANDGEEK!: Like a Villain, Light Thieves and Mariachi El Bronx


    Take a couple minutes to vote in The Fresno Bee’s People’s Choice Awards. Then. Check out one of these live music shows happening through next week. They are compiled again in The Beehive’s BANDGEEEK! roundup.


  • The Oh Hellos.
    W/The Collection and The Gospel Whiskey Runners. At Radiant Church Visalia. 5 p.m. $12.50.

  • The Fast Money Tour 3.
    W/Turf Talk. At Fulton 55. 9 p.m. $10-$15. (Flier link)

  • Like A Villain.
    W/Dovves. At Peeve’s Public House. 9:30 p.m. Free. All ages.

  • Goodtime Boys.
    W/Lost Tribe, Vain and Valor, One Last Caress and Dependence. At CYC. 7 p.m. $6. All ages. (Flier link)

  • EZ Mark’s Honky Tonk.
    At Full Circle Brewing Co. 5:30 p.m. Free.

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    Led Zeppelin won’t be reuniting for $800 million


    At this point, who knows if the news of Robert Plant turning down $800 million for a 35-date Led Zeppelin reunion is true.

    The story is a few hours old and already it’s being updated to quote Plant’s publicist. He says it’s “rubbish.”

    That’s the (sad) state of current news media for you.

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    BANDGEEK!: Winter Jam, The Kin and “Kittysiclosis”

    The election is over (sort of). Feel free to go back to not caring about politics for another two years. That’ll leave you plenty of time to enjoy any of the live music happenings this week.

    Here they are, compiled in our weekly BANDGEEEK roundup. Enjoy!


  • Sahab.
    “Kittysiclosis,” release show. W/Zee Will. At Peeve’s Public House. 9 p.m. Free. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Soft-Spoken.
    W/WaterBox Inc. and The Morning Drive. At Fulton 55. 9 p.m. $6-$8. (Flier link)

  • Fortunate Youth.
    W/The Expanders, Thrive and One Oz. At Strummer’s. 8 p.m. $10. All ages.

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    Concert fundraiser for local guitarist Perry Hodge


    Sad news for the local music scene.

    Perry Hodge, a guy who has been a vital part of scene since the 1980s, is in the hospital. And it looks to be bad. Currently, he’s too ill to perform, which is devastating (financially at the very least) for someone who makes their living as a musician.

    To help defray medical bills and costs of living (and other costs that are sure to arise) Fulton 55 will be hosting a benefit concert 4:30 p.m. Nov. 7.

    Details on the show are still being worked out, but expect performances from Hodge’s friends and band mates and others in the scene. Tickets will be on sale soon via Fulton 55 (online and at door). If you cannot attend but want to contribute or you wish to donate a significant amount, you will be able to do so via Fulton 55′s website.

    I’d met Perry a couple of times, but was able to perform with him earlier this year when he stepped in to play the role of Malcolm Young (or was it Angus) in my AC/DC tribute band. The guy is a pro in a way that I can only aspire to be. His presence from the scene will no doubt be heavily felt.

    From the Facebook event page:

    From his fresh lyrics in The Lone Wolf Gang with Joe Rosato; to thrilling harmonies and mean guitar in Roger Perry’s various bands; to all encompassing variety in Vince Warner’s Rockville and Beatleville, Perry Hodge is a Fresno Music Scene staple … Please come out to celebrate his life, his love of music, and his gift of sharing it all with us. We are indeed forever changed and grateful for the time we have with Mr. Perry Lee Hodge.

    Watch Hodge on stage with Beatleville on the jump.

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    The spiciest restaurant food in Fresno

    Occasionally I get questions from readers that are fun to find answers to. A few days ago reader Sundeep Dhillon wanted to know which restaurants had the spiciest dishes — Indian, Asian, whatever, the ethnicity didn’t matter as long as it got your taste buds burning. Being a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy foods myself, I threw the request out to the eating masses on Twitter and Facebook and they came back with lots of answers. Below is what they said. Feel free to add more suggestions in the comments. And if you’ve tasted the dishes people suggested, what did you think? Hard core hot and spicy? Or could you handle hotter?

    Umi Sushi‘s jalapeno bomb.

    Thai Basil restaurant’s spicy beef salad, papaya salad, the Tom Kha Kai. (This one is in Visalia.)

    Buffalo Ranch‘s atomic chicken wings.

    B&K Asian Kitchen came up repeatedly as being able to make anything spicy.

    Club One‘s spicy pad thai.

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    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend


    1. CalaGala
    The reason for the season.

    2. “Phantom of the Opera”
    Silent horror film + pipe organ + Warnors Theatre = a step into the past. Seriously. When the theater screen this last year, 1,000 people showed.

    3. Movember kick-off shave party
    It’s not just for hipsters.

    4. Offal Dinner
    Can’t decide between the cow’s feet and the pickled tongue? Splurge and have both. It’s Halloween.

    5. Arrogant Bastard Day
    Drink up me hearties, yo ho.

    Here’s bonus five for fans of live music.

    1. The Purple Ones
    2. Ape Machine
    3. Flyleaf
    4. Sleepover Disaster
    5. The Cured

    For a full list of music-specific choices see this week’s Bandgeek post.
    And this is relevant for a few more hours at least.

    Just in time for Halloween; a creepy books list

    Because no holiday (or whatever is its we’re calling Halloween these days) is complete without a listicle, here are five creepy books. As chosen by me and in no particular order.

    1.Frankenstein,” Mary Shelley
    As the story goes, Shelley wrote this book at 19 years old, as part of a horror-story competition with a bunch of other 19th century authors. Looks like she was the big winner because, close to 200 years later the story — or some form of it — continues to be enjoyed. If you think you know Frankenstein and haven’t read Shelley’s version, make it a priority.
    2.Bedbugs,” Ben H. Winters
    As introduction, Winters may be best known as the guy behind “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters,” and “Android Karenina.” Don’t let that trick you. Here, he created a story of New York paranoia that rivals “Rosemary’s Baby.”

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    Celebrate 17 years of arrogance at BC’s Pizza and Beer


    OKAY. This is the best named-event of the week: Arrogant Bastard Day.

    The event, in honor of Stone Brewing Company’s Arrogant Bastard Ale, is being celebrated this Saturday at BC’s Pizza and Beer in Clovis with tap-takeover.

    Arrogant Bastard was first released by the San Diego brewing company Nov. 1, 1997, and according to lore its introduction was “a shot across the bow of fizzy yellow beer, fortelling the craft revolution ahead.” If you’ve ever tasted the (capital B) Bastard (or any of Stone’s brews for that matter), you understand.

    This is your chance to get some Stone swag (more than 20 specialty men and women Stone Brewing t-shirts will be available, along with Stone pint glasses). More importantly, this is your chance to taste 15 different Stone brews. And on tap to boot.

    Be warned, this ain’t your papa’s session ale.

    The list includes: 2012 “Vintage” Double Bastard Ale; 2014 Double Bastard Ale; Bang Bang – Bourbon Barrel Aged Amber Ale; Lukcy Basartd Ale; Old Guardian Oak-Smoked – Barleywine; Arbalest – Belgian Pale Ale; Arrogant Bastard Ale; Bourbon Barrel Aged Arrogant Bastard; Imperial Russian Stout; Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers; Stochasticity Project: Hibiscusicity; Stochasticity Project: Quadotriticale; Stone 18th Anniversary IPAl; Stone Passion Project and Xocoveza Mocha Stout Collaboration w/Chris Banker and Insurgente.

    If the list needs some explanation, you should probably just go and ask.

    BANDGEEK: Ape Machine, the Purple Ones and Pierce The Veil


    Well, the series is done. So, that leaves Halloween.

    If you are not in for all costume-party bobbing-for-apples stuff, there are plenty of live music options to get you through the weekend (and into November).

    We present them to you here (in list form) in another installment of our BANDGEEEK roundup.


  • HR7.
    W/Iwanaga. At Fulton 55. 8:30 p.m. $6-$8. (Flier link)

  • The Adicts.
    Dantes Boneyard. At Strummer’s. 8 p.m. $22. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Immigrant Union.
    W/Dirty Limbs and Ted the Block. At Audie’s Olympic. 9 p.m. $5. (Flier link)

  • Ron Thompson.
    The Central Valley Blues Society’s weekly dance party. At Pino Wine Bar. 6 p.m. Free.

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    TONIGHT: Theremin virtuoso Vincenzo Vasi + Valeria Sturba


    For fans of avant garde music (I’m not talking about whatever people are calling “experimental” these days): Audie’s Olympic Tavern is hosting Italian theremin vurtuosos Vincenzo Vasi and Valeria Sturba, 9 p.m. tonight.

    Vasi is a composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist who collaborated with Mike Patton on his “Mondo Cane” project. Sturba is a musician and composer, who attended the Theremin Academy in Colmar (who knew such a thing existed) and plays the theremin, violin, voice, electronics, looper, effects and toys.

    The duo, performing as Ooopopoiooo, create a mix of electronic, ambient noise and minimalism, with a strong focus on improvisation.

    I haven’t seen much information on this show, other than a couple random posts on Audie’s Olympic’s Facebook page with links to this video (watch it on the jump), but this won’t be your typical rock show (and I mean that in the best possible way).

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    SUPPORT THIS: Supreme vinyl from Fresno-born musician MERCH


    You should know by now, that I’m a sucker for a good crowd-funding campaign.

    For instance, this one, from Fresno-born (now San Francisco-based) musician Joe Medina (or MERCH).

    Medina, a self-described awkward kid who discovered music (records, actually) while shopping yard sales as a kid (Medina was born at Saint Agnes, went to Eaton until third grade, then Manchester GATE, Computech, Ahwahnee, Hoover and Enterprise before moving to the Bay in his early 20s), will travel to Europe to record his second album.

    He’s enlisting the help of the Prague FILMharmonic Orchestra. The group specializes in film soundtracks (hence the name) and has recorded scores for the likes of Werner Herzog and Quentin Tarantino and worked with bands like Arcade Fire and Septic Flesh.

    Obviously, the whole thing is an expensive endeavor, which is where the campaign comes in. Medina is looking for $6,000, which he says will pay the performance and recording costs of the band. Backers can get a digital download or vinyl copy of the final release (for $15 and $35 respectively) a dance lesson from Medina (he was an instructor once upon a time) or (this is the cool one) a an Audio Technica turntable (on which to play the album no doubt). That reward will cost you $1,000.

    With four days left in the campaign, he’s half-way to his goal.

    Listen to MERCH’s first album,”This Betrayal Will Be Our End.” It’s a cool blast of retro-fuzz pop.

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    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend


    Go follow the Queen on Twitter. Then …

    1. Sudz in the City
    Beer drinking on the Fulton Mall. Leave your Bud Light in the foam cooler.

    2. Luxury ArtHop
    For those who think automobiles are works of work.

    3. Nosferatu
    “Even after 92 years, ‘Nosferatu’ delivers chills like few other films.”

    4. Tower District Zombie Crawl
    Different from a normal night in the Tower, how?

    5. Whitie’s Pet’s Pooch Parade
    From my limited reporting on the subject, pugs love cosplay more than any other breed.

    And a bonus five for music fans.

    1. Twista
    2. Joni Morris
    3. Pre-Halloween covers show
    4. Suicide Lounge album release
    5. Feather On

    For a more complete music-only list, see our weekly BANDGEEK post.
    For Halloween specific events, click here.

    BANDGEEK!: Dustbowl Revival, Dead or Alive and Twista


    For many, the big decision this weekend will be between baseball and figuring out what’s up with Renée Zellweger’s face (hint, it’s nothing). Of course, there are dozen of musical happenings through next week, if you’d rather. I’ve collected them here in another weekly BANDEGEEEEK! roundup.


  • Dustbowl Revival.
    W/Doc’s Holiday. At Fulton 55. 9 p.m. $8-$10. (Flier link)

  • Bear Hands.
    W/Fences. At Strummer’s 7:30 p.m. $12. All ages.


  • Introvoys.
    W/Vicki HL, Tata and Paul and Butch from South Border. At Fulton 55. 9 p.m. $25-$30.

  • Twista.
    W/Gillie Da Kid and Halo the Human. At Strummer’s. 8 p.m. $22. 18 + (Flier link)

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    Win tickets to: Joni Morris’ Patsy Cline tribute


    Before she died in a plane crash (at the age of 30), Patsy Cline had cemented for herself as one of most unique and inspiring voices in country (and pop) music.

    More than fifty years later, her voice (and music) continues to inspire artists like Joni Morris, who has been doing a tribute to Cline (and Connie Francis) for more than 20 years.

    Morris brings the After Midnight Band to the Tower Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Friday. We have tickets for a few lucky Beehive readers. To enter to win, leave a comment in this post. Who is your favorite country music voice? Male or female.

    This contest is a quick one. You have until 5 p.m. tomorrow (Oct. 22). Winners will be chosen at random, notified by email and must be able to pick up tickets at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. Street) during normal business hours.

    Check out a video of Morris doing her favorite Cline songs on the jump.

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    Concert Announcement: Eric Church


    Eric Church will be the first performer to hit the Save Mart Center in 2015.

    The outlaw country rocker will play the arena Jan.22 on the second leg of his Outsiders World Tour. County icon Dwight Yoakam and rock band Halestorm open the show. Tickets are $25 to $59.50 and on sale 10 a.m. Oct. 24 at select Save Mart Supermarkets, the Save Mart Center box office, online at or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

    Fan club and VIP presales start 10 a.m. tomorrow, with radio and venue presales staring 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

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    KFSR hosts Fresno Grand Opry fundraiser


    I almost let this one slip through the cracks:

    KFSR presents another installment of the Fresno Grand Opry, its semi-regular fundraising-concert series that has local musicians and bands paying (and playing) musical tribute to traditional country music.

    The show, which coincides with the end of the station’s fall pledge drive (they will still take your money), is 7 p.m. Saturday at the Fresno Scottish Rite Center and features Brad “The Dudeboy” Rogers, The Roger Perry Band and Mofo Party Band. Tickets are just $10, and are available at

    So, slide on them boots, snap up that pearly buttoned shirt and go on, get to it.

    Be warned: You’re not gonna hear Florida Georgia Line or Rascall Flatts (or Garth Brooks or Brooks & Dunn, for that matter). This is for fans of Waylon, Willie and the boys.

    And likely George Jones, Hank Williams and Bob Wills, too.

    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    Aside from revisiting the Civil War

    1. Zappcon
    Geeks (and nerds) of the world united and take over.

    2. Zumba Under the Stars
    Everyone is getting fit without you.

    3. Breakfast Ride to Kearney Park
    Don’t worry, you’ll get to the park before the first Civil War shots are fired.

    4. Lunafest
    The documentary “Viva,” seems particularly interesting. It tells the story of 82-year-old punker Viva Hamnell.

    5. Glorious Junk Days
    One man’s trash and all that.

    An added bonus for those seeking music-oriented events:

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