Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

An interesting read: football and ‘gladiatorism’

It takes some guts to write (and, for The Bee’s editorial page, to publish) a piece critical of football while the community is in the midst of Bulldog-slash-Derek-Carr fever. But that’s what retired Fresno lawyer Phil Fullerton did in Monday’s paper. His intriguing piece tackles the issue of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), brain damage that often results in dementia-like symptoms of reduced mental activity and slurred speech. The issue is currently getting a lot of media oxygen.

Even if it’s definitively proven that football causes longterm brain injuries, there’s no way the sport would be abolished, Fullerton writes. It makes too much money. But there will be an effect, he writes:

So what will happen if it is not outlawed? I think the answer is clear. Most parents like myself will no longer allow their children to play. I have surveyed my family and all my children and grandchildren concur. We are a typical middle-class family, and all our friends report the same powerful refusal to allow their young men to play this sport.

So what will happen? The sport will be “Romanized.” In the Roman Empire there were huge coliseums not only in Rome but in places like Arles, Trier and Tunisia. The public was constantly entertained by games, often fatal, staged by the least powerful of society: the slaves, prisoners and minorities. While crowds screamed, emperors would signal a thumbs up or down telling of life or death.

There will be a similar result in the United States. The most needful will play the game: those who have the bleakest outlook in life, need scholarships, are poor and are the least educated.

The issue isn’t settled. One Facebook commenter on Fullerton’s piece says there has been very little peer-reviewed scientific data that establishes a risk between football and brain injuries. But Fullerton’s point that parents are already forbidding their boys to play football suggests that there already is an impact.

Something tells me Mr. Fullerton isn’t getting invited to any Red Wave tailgates.

Fres-Know: In your face, Fresno

OH SNAP: “Dunk of the year” last night at Save Mart Center. Against the ‘Dogs. [CBS Sports]

HOWEVER: Fresno State football an “early” top 20 for 2013. [USA Today]

GRRRRRR: Fresno fourth unhappiest city for workers. We’re pissed. [Career Bliss]

BALLIN’: Warren Buffet affiliate buys local real estate company. [The Bee]

NEWS: Man jumps to his death from California Hotel. [The Bee]

HEAD’S UP: Gonna be a cold weekend. Bundle up. [The Bee]

RYAN BEATTY FAME WATCH: Here he is performing for Billboard. [Billboard]

SPORTS: Tyler Bray — Kingsburgian and Tennessee QB —  declares for NFL draft. [The Bee]

WATNEY WATCH: Ex-KMPHer Heidi Watney debuted Wednesday on MLB Network. [MLB]

RADIO SCENE: New programming at Soft Rock 98.9 and KMJ. [The Bee]

GOOD READ: “The Grizzlies are ready for their close-up.” [MiLB]

FROM THE BLOGROLL: The Cured Ham on Iron Bird Cafe’s closure. [The Cured Ham]

12 tweets about Fresno from the BCS title game

OK, we all know Katherine Webb captured the attention of the Internet during Monday night’s BCS beatdown title game between Alabama and Notre Dame. But I was surprised by how many Fresnocentric tweets I scoped during the game.

Things that had people dropping our favorite F-word: That Fresno State would have played as good as Notre Dame. Or Fresno City. That Fresno State, thankfully, wasn’t the only team getting mollywhopped in a bowl game. The Alabama-Fresno State connection. See ‘em all below.

Read more

Fres-Know: The ‘Scoopy for President’ edition

WATCH THIS: Latest episode of  “Nothing to Do.” [GottaLoveFresno]

NEWS: City Council votes down Mayor’s requested dough for downtown. [The Bee]

ENDORSED: Obama’s second term by The Bee’s editorial board. [The Bee]

CHECK THIS: Parker’s trip to the San Francisco Giants victory parade. [Storify]

THIS WEEKEND: Two Cities Marathon. Plan your church routes carefully, Northsiders. [The Bee]

VINTAGE: A look back at the 1939 Fresno State football jerseys. [Uni Watch]

WATCH THIS: New promo for next weekend’s Swede Fest. [YouTube]

PWNED: Fresno Teachers Association, by Bill McEwen [The Bee]

ANNOUNCED: Fresno’s Leading Young Professionals’ annual honorees, banquet. [FLYP]

FROM THE BLOGROLL: Livening up your Day of the Dead. [Fashionably Bombed]

Whisky Row gives tribute to Bulldog football

This video tribute to Fresno State Football from local country duo Whisky Row — made up of Mike Pereira and Jason Ruffoni, both of Kerman — is making the rounds on social media today.

You can catch Whisky Row in concert tomorrow night (Thursday, Sept. 6) at the Craft Beer & Wine Music Festival near Eureka! Burger in northwest Fresno. The festival runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Park Place shopping center at Palm and Nees avenues. Admission is $15. craftbeer.jpg

As part of the festival you can pick up the band’s wine, Westside Ride Red. The wine is a blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah. This is what Ruffoni said about the wine in a recent Bee column from Bethany Clough:

“It would have been predictable for us to go, ‘Oh, here’s some whiskey, ” he says. “We should have our own wine. Other acts back east have a whiskey or a moonshine.”

What do you think of the video?

Fres-Know: Stiffer than your grandpa’s moonshine

WATCH: Promo video for FLYP’s Prohibition Party this Saturday. [YouTube]

NEWS: B-ball coach LeBeau has first court appearance. [The Bee]

KNOW THIS: Where the cooling centers are in the Fresno area. [The Bee]

VOTE: Fresno, Sanger or Los Banos for baseball field makeover. [Toyota]

WTF FRESNO NEWS OF THE WEEK: Meth is a helluva drug. [The Bee]

BLOGGINGS: Huge casino on the Fulton Mall? Jim Boren ponders. [Opinion Talk]

SPORTS: It’s almost football season, so the ‘Dogs blog is busy. [‘Dogs Blitz]

EVENT: Can the Valley become a top cultural tourism capital? [Eventbrite]

WIN: Tickets to Dino Nite at Chaffee Zoo on Sept. 8. [Lennar]

NEW EATS: Grillmasters BBQ in Clovis is open. [The Bee]

ANGRY YELPER OF THE WEEK: “Good luck if he washed his hands.” [Yelp]

FRESNO MEME OF THE WEEK: Our own ecard. [Facebook]

FRESNO MEME OF THE WEEK 2: On Fresno haters — NSFW. [@brodiemash]

2011 Rewind: Favorite controversy?

What got you all worked up in 2011?

We’re ending our 2011 Rewind on a note that Beehive readers love. Controversy, we live for it. So which was your favorite of 2011? It could be something that caused a fuss locally or it could be Kardashian related on the national scale. Either way, go for it. Check out our picks and leave your own in the comments.

While you’re mining your mind, feel free to look back at our preview 2011 Rewind posts: favorite local event, favorite release and favorite local discovery.

Read more

Five things we’re likely to see happen in the post-Pat Hill era


Well, Fresno State shaved its famous fu manchu. Pat Hill — in a move that was only surprisingly in how quickly it happened after season’s end — was fired as Bulldog football coach on Sunday, ending a sometimes tumultuous relationship with the program and its fans that lasted 15 years.

On Sunday, athletic director Thomas Boeh said: “We’ve been evaluating data after each season for the last several years, and we saw a trend that was not reflective of us being able to pursue the goal of a conference championship, and our community was not responding any longer to the record that we had.”

In a press conference this morning, Hill said, among other things: “I feel that I gave it my best shot for 15 years, it wasn’t good enough. I hope the next man can come in and take you all where you want to go … So as I say goodbye, I thank you for everything. I think the Fresno State football program is in a great position to make a run. … Thank you for everything you gave me. Goodbye, Fresno.”

As the Pat Hill era comes to a close, we at The Beehive have identified five very important things that are likely to see happen in the post-Pat Hill era at Fresno State.

Read more

Fuse Fest ’11: Five things to watch for


As seen in the top spot of this weekend’s “Five Things” list, this weekend’s Fresno Urban Sound Experience, or FUSE Fest, is a treat for music lovers. Since the festival is so big — close to 50 acts on 10 stages — I thought it deserved just one more post before the first band gets underway.

As you look at the schedule and plot out your course, here are five more things to consider. (More info, like ticket details and hashtaggery, over at The Fresnan).

VENUE CLUSTERS: It’s seems like this year, more than any before it, the festival organizers have done a good job of getting all the venues really close to each other — perfecting the venue-hopping idea that gives a festival like FUSE so much appeal. Tonight’s cluster of venues is near Chukchansi Park while Saturday’s is in the Mural District. Here’s hoping this gives the festival an even cooler vibe.

Here’s a venue map The Bee made. Remember the change announced Thursday about Karma laming out to host this instead — Downtown Club has stepped up as a new venue tonight.

Read more

It’s a festive/full weekend

Festive/full — I think I just made that up.

Basically: We’ve got a big weekend ahead of festivals, gatherings and funky community happenings. There’s no way I could fit all this into my weekly “Five Things” post. I’m putting it here instead.

Hit the links for more info on each:

More weekend stuff shortly.

Fres-Know: Our Fuse is lit. Is yours?


GO TO THIS: Lineup announced for this year’s Fuse Fest. [The Fresnan]

LOOK: Swede Fest 8 poster is dope. Oh, start your Swedes too. [Dumb Drum]

NEWS: We finally got $100K from Walmart. [The Bee]

KNOW THIS: List of 9/11 events in the Valley. [The Bee]

BLOGGINGS: Worst Flier of the Week … politics version? [Daily Dues]

BLOGGINGS: Is Fresno ready for an adults-only movie theater? [CBS 47]

LAW & ORDER: Fistacuffs outside Fresno State-Cal game. [SF Appeal]

YUM: Start drooling over these weekend food events. [Taste Fresno]

BLOGGINGS: Fresno Burger Wars continue: Five Guys vs. In-N-Out. [Fresno Bites]

NEWS: Chaffee Zoo breaks ground on Sea Lion exhibit. [The Bee]

It’s that time of the year again: the ‘Fire Pat Hill’ carousel


When we think of Fresno’s favorite annual fall events, most people probably think of The Big Fresno Fair. But that’s No. 2 on my list.

What I look forward to most each year is when Fresnans take a dizzying ride on the “Fire Pat Hill” carousel.

I’ll be honest: I had planned to post a poll this week asking at what point in the season the Fresno State football fans would turn their pre-season excitement into mid-season Pat Hill ire. It happens at some point every year. It’s fun to try to predict when. Angry Red Wavers beat me to it, though, after what many are deeming an embarrassing loss last weekend against Cal.

The game wasn’t even over by the time the “Fire Pat Hill” tweets starting flying. The consequent debate on 1430 ESPN was about who should and shouldn’t be allowed to criticize the football program. It’s like our own little local version of the Brett Favre will-he-play, won’t-he-play saga. Just wait. It’s coming. Every year.

Read more

What did you do this weekend?

I didn’t do too awfully much this weekend. A play-by-play would be a bit tedious. So you guys are going to have to carry this one. Did you ….

  • See Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Warnors Theatre? I’ve heard it was a make-it-or-break-it show for the Fulton Street Project. We’ve already got conflicting comments about crowd size. Any first-hand accounts? Was the band good?
  • Chase cougars? The California Cougar Convention was at The Standard on Saturday night, and Miss Cougar California was chosen from the herd. Anybody go? Was it cool? Or absolutely ridiculous? Any Fresno lads have a taxidermy cougar head mounted on their wall this Monday morning (figuratively speaking)?
  • Go into hiding, Fresno State football fan? The ‘Dogs got walloped on national TV by Boise State, 51-0. We wouldn’t blame you if you drank the weekend away after that one. The Niners fans understand.

Anything else of note? Good entertainment? Yummy food? Let’s hear it!

Fres-Know: This is a declaration of war

NEWS: There’s a public ceremony for Fresno’s 125th b-day on Tuesday. [The Bee]

SPORTS: Pat Hill says he’s not panicking after ‘Dogs’ loss to Hawaii. [The Bee]

GO TO THIS: More revealed about Fresno Urban Sound Experience 2010. [The Fresnan]

FUN & GAMES: Guess how many people walk the Fulton Mall. [Downtown Association]

NEWS: What if the pot prop passes? [The Bee]

GOOD READ: 2-year-old with snapped spine is making miracle recovery. [The Bee]

BLOGGINGS: Clovis guy starts real “My Name is Earl” mission. [The Real Earl]

CONGRATS: The full Frebby winner/honorable mention list released. [Frebby Awards]

BUY LOCAL: New store, Ga Ga Chic, opens at Fig Garden Village. [Word on the Street]

UNRELATED: A Justin Bieber fan declares war on the JB haters — NSFW. [Daily What]

Fres-Know: 3-day weekend hangover edition


TWO-DAY OLD NEWS: Fresno State beat Cincinnati in football … [The Bee]

BLOGGINGS: … But its fans still suck at doing “The Wave.” [The Fresnan]

R.I.P.: After the game, marching band freshman killed in car accident. [The Bee]

NEWS: Fresno PD needs sensitivity training, says EEOC [The Bee]

WATCH THIS: Fantasy football drafts (and local bloggers) boost economy [KSEE 24]

LISTEN TO THIS: The Daily Dues debuts its new podcast [The Daily Dues]

BLOGGINGS: A first-timer raves about roller derby [The Thinking Blonde]

GO TO THIS: The annual Reel Pride Film Festival is coming up. [Queer Fresno]

GOOD READ: 10 thing to know about the fall TV season. [The Bee]

[photo: Mark Crosse / The Bee]

Fres-Know: Full of Friday afternoon ‘Glee’


YAY CLOVIS: Chris Colfer = one of TV’s best characters/scene stealers [Rolling Stone]

BLOGGINGS: Creative cocktails and fashions to match [Fashionably Bombed]

NEWS: Valley women get $5.8 mil in harassment case. [The Bee]

GET INVOLVED: In Canstruction in Fresno. It’s for a good cause. [Canstruction]

LISTEN TO THIS: Fresno State football podcast w/ Bee sports scribes [The Bee]

HEAD’S UP: It’s almost time for Rogue Festival applications. [Rogue]

CHECK IT OUT: Storyland & Playland unveil a fancy new site. [Storyland & Playland]

VOTE: In the Big Fresno Fair’s local performer contest until midnight tonight. [BFF]

LISTEN TO THIS: Free music from new Visalia art-rock band Rapids [BandCamp]

Six Things You Should Do This Weekend

Since the weekend has an extra day, I’m giving you an extra thing to do …

If last weekend was a two-headed monster of big local music shows, this weekend it’s a two-headed monster of sports. It’s probably not news to anybody that Fresno State football kicks off its season on Saturday against visiting Cincinnati. And the Fresno Grizzlies have their final homestand of the season (through Monday), in a first-place race that’s down to the wire.


Read more

Nick Lachey well aware of Fresno State football program

People Nick Lachey.JPG I just finished an interview with Nick Lachey for his NBC series “The Sing-Off.” I’ll write more about that show that pits a cappella singers against each other when we get closer to the start of the second season.

Before we got started talking about his show, Lachey told me about how he’s bought a home in Cincinnati. He’s been a big fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Reds and Bearcats for years.

“You guys played the Bearcats last year and gave them a tough game,” Lachey says.

Fresno State played the Cincinnati school last year in Ohio and lost 28-20. The two teams get together again this year for the Fresno State season opener but this year’s showdown will be here.

Lachey would like to be at the game but he’s got a scheduling conflict. You still should keep an eye open for him when you go to the Sept. 4 game just in case the singer/actor’s plans change.

Coach Hill takes a pay cut. Good. But he doesn’t deserve a medal.


From all the fawning reader comments directed at Coach Pat Hill today over his agreement to a reduction in his $1 million annual salary — a decision detailed by Bee sports writer Daniel Lyght in today’s paper — you’d think he donated a kidney to one of his players.

Forget the generosity and altruism. Hill is taking a pay cut because he has to. The Fresno market can’t support a $1 million football coach, plain and simple.

Is my thinking colored by my annoyance with a society in which a select few athletes, investment bankers and pharmaceutical salespeople get filthy rich while teachers and nurses and other common folk (including, yes, artists) scrape by? You bet. I’ve always thought it depressing that Hill could get that much money at Fresno State while many professors scrape by paying off massive student loans. But that’s the way our supply-and-demand economic system works, and it’s what happens when we inexplicably conflate athletic entertainment with our system of higher education. Now that the market is adjusting a football coach’s salary the other direction for a change, I can’t help but be a little pleased. And forgive me if I refrain from declaring Hill a hero. He’s still making plenty of dough.

Bee photo / John Walker

Operation: Beat Boise (part 2)

Fresno State Bulldogs Vinyl Football.jpg

Somewhere along the way, the Beehive might have gained a teensy reputation for being, well, a little less than fanatical about Fresno State athletics. But that doesn’t mean we don’t care what happens in tonight’s game against Boise State. Heck, we’ve lost seven of the last eight matchups, so there’s a dim awareness even in the Beehive’s football-unimpressed ranks that there’s a sense of community pride at stake.

In Thursday’s paper, Bee sportswriter Bryant-Jon Anteola gave us a cover story filled with some very valid ways that the Bulldogs could win the battle. Now we’d like you to help us with Part II, which can be summed up in one word:


Here’s my way: Slip $35 — we can subtract it from Coach Hill’s salary, which means he’ll only make $999,965 this year — to the driver of the bus in charge of transporting the Boise State team to the stadium and ask him to drive to Yosemite instead. By the time the Broncos reach Oakhurst — and are marveling at just how scenic Fresno is despite what they’ve heard about its strip-mall topography — it will be far too late to get to the game on time. To cement the plan, we’ll arrange for a motorhome to drive 15 mph in front of the bus when it turns around on Highway 41. They won’t get back until the third quarter at least.

My prediction for the score: 436-28, Bulldogs.

Any more diabolical schemes out there for ensuring Bulldog victory?