Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Couple hopes to bring ice cream shop to Tower

Update No. 2: The Ampersand Kickstarter campaign has met its $20,000 goal. Earlier this week, the couple behind the effort said that if the campaign reached the $10,000 mark, “the remainder will be taken care of.” It did and it was. The ice cream shop will open in May. The couple is already installing equipment and working on the space. You can track their progress on the Ampersand Facebook page.

Update: The folks behind Amerpsand have signed a lease to take over the P*DE*Q space across from Fresno High and next to Dusty Buns restaurant. Click here for a pic. The Bennetts plan to open in May. And they say they have the money to open whether or not the Kickstarter succeeds.

The Tower District needs an ice cream shop. At least that’s what Jeff and Amelia Bennett say and they’ve embarked on a campaign to make it happen. The Tower residents make their own ice cream and have started a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to get the money to open an ice cream shop. Regardless of whether they meet their goal or not, they say they plan to open a shop in or near Tower. Here’s their video about it:

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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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Support the “We All Follow the Arsenal” book project

arsenalJordan Wiebe and his wife Channelle follow the Arsenal.

Like, religiously.

Like, to the point of organizing an Arsenal fan club so every Gooner (that’s the official term) has a a proper pub to go to for those 4 a.m. matches. There’s no better way to watch a match than with a beer in one hand and a coffee in the other.

They’re also packing up the car for a 6,000-mile road trip to New York City to watch the club take on the New York Red Bulls this summer. Arsenal fans being what they are, the Wiebes will make a point to stop in at pubs along the way and meet (and stay) with as many Gooners as possible. They’re documenting the whole ordeal for a 30-page Arsenal-inspired design, photography and printmaking book.

If any of this seems cool to you, the book (along with other Arsenal-inspired art) will be available through Kickstarter. The proceeds will fund the trip (and the project).

The campaign has actually been fully funded already, but there are still some backer spots available (and 14-days left to pledge). Get Jordon Wiebe’s pitch for the project on the jump:

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Peeve’s local market meets fundraising goal

peeveskickstarterI bet there’s some celebrating going on at Peeve’s Public House & Local Market right now. The business met its Kickstarter goal around lunchtime Friday, meaning it will move forward with opening Fresno’s first market carrying only local foods. The market is designed to be a showcase for Fresno foods and give a boost to its fledgling food businesses. You can read more about the plans here. Construction is scheduled to start Monday and the peeps at Peeve’s hope to have the market open by Nov. 24, just in time for Thanksgiving.

If Peeve’s didn’t reach its goal of raising $18,500 in pledges by Saturday, Kickstarter wouldn’t give them any of the money. As of Friday morning, it was still about $2,000 short. Fundraising on the page continues until Saturday afternoon (they’re at $19,106 as I write this). Any extra money raised will go toward paint and decor.

It’s been pretty cool to watch people proactively take on this cause without the folks at Peeve’s even asking. One customer pledged to get 10 people to donate $100 each. A taco night fundraiser by James Collier brought in lots of money and awareness. Raizana Teas held a fundraiser too. The sense of community and loyalty that surrounds Peeve’s is pretty impressive and it paid off today.

Peeve’s launches public market fundraiser

peeveskickstarterPeeve’s Public House & Local Market has the pub part of its business up and running. Now it’s gearing up to open the local market. The business, which you can read more about here, is launching a campaign to open a market in the former jewelry store connected to the business.

Peeve’s staff and supporters have a vision: A downtown market where they can sell local eggs, honey, kimchi, ice cream and other products. It will double as a “hey, look what we have in Fresno” showcase and a way to help local foodie businesses grow. Peeve’s needs to raise $18,500 by Nov. 2 that will pay for renovations and coolers. People can make pledges as small as $1 online via Kickstarter. If Peeve’s doesn’t reach its Kickstarter goal, nobody pays a dime. Lots of people start Kickstarter campaigns (and lots of them fail). But it looks like Peeve’s stands a good chance of making it. They’ve already raised more than $10,000. And if you know fans of Peeve’s, you know they’re a loyal, downtown-loving, forward-thinking group of people who are mobilizing.

You can see the video that details the campaign at the bottom of this post (check out Peeve the dog stealing the spotlight during the credits). And if you’re not on board with Kickstarter, there’s two other ways you can help Peeve’s reach its goal.

The first is with tacos. Local foodie James Collier is hosting a taco night fundraiser at Peeve’s Tuesday. In addition to the tacos, if you donate $10 or more, he’ll buy you a beer (possibly Tioga Sequoia’s limited release, Bangarang Red IPA). And Raizana Teas is hosting a fundraiser Wednesday. More on that here.

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It’s an iPhone case. No, it’s a beer bottle opener.

mainpic_final_smallIt’s a hard-partying college student’s dream: An iPhone case that is also a bottle opener.

A Fresno State grad and three current engineering students are hoping to launch just that with the unveiling of CarbonForce and the Kickstarter campaign raising money to pay for manufacturing it. The phone case is made from carbon fiber — used in airplanes and high-end bicycles — which is stronger than steel. They have the prototype, they just need the money to start making it.

You can watch their video from Kickstarter below. (The entertaining part is at the end, where they pop open not beers, but Cokes.) If they get the $12,000 they’re looking for, college students everywhere will be able to pop open a brewski without even leaving their desks.

OK, I’m exaggerating a bit with the drinking emphasis. The inventors tell me they aren’t even big drinkers. But what do you think, blogland? Greatest invention since sliced bread? Appalling instrument of out-of-control drinking? But most importantly, would you buy it?

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Fres-Know: Did they just say Siabu?

CHECK THIS OUT: Chaffee Zoo Orangutan predicts Super Bowl champs. [ABC 30]

WOAH: Siabu is viralling, getting love all over the Internet, including … [Time]

AND THEN: This Bay Area blogger uses it as a chance to talk smack about us. [SF Weekly]

CONTEST: The Bee wants to see your best photos, Niner fans. [The Bee]

SURVEY SAYS: Fresno is the No. 2 energy-drink chugging city. [Marketing Daily]

LOSER OF THE WEEK: Fresno dude who gets 7 years in jail after 8th DUI. [The Bee]

WE’RE MOURNING: “No Suits, No Ties, No Lies” Guy’s car dealership. [The Bee]

WELCOME TO THE ‘NET: Downtown Fresno Partnership’s blog. [Downtown Fresno Blog]

KICKSTART: Two local mobile food operations. [TasteFresno]

YOU SHOULD BE READING: George Hostetter’s stories about walking the the city. [City Beat]

LISTEN TO THIS: Latest Flowing with Famous podcast. [Fresno Famous]

(DON’T) WATCH THIS: Happy Birthday video to some dude named Fresno. [YouTube]

VINTAGE: “Bobby Salazar” by Brian Kenney Fresno. [YouTube]

SPORTS: Fresno State’s Philip Thomas gets WashPost feature. [Washington Post]

Fres-Know: Our turkey is stuffed with hyperlinks

WATCH THIS: Season 2 premiere of foodie web show “What’s Good Fresno?” [YouTube]

THIS AGAIN: Mayor fighting to outsource trash disposal. [The Bee]

FROM THE BLOGROLL: Making your store-bought turkey feel inadequate. [TasteFresno]

GOOD READ: Find handmade local gifts this holiday season. [The Bee]

WELCOME TO THE INTERNET: A new Fresno podcast about craft beer. [Perfect Pour]

LISTEN TO THIS: New “Flowing with Famous” podcast. [Fresno Famous]

UPCOMING: Zoo Lights begins this weekend at Chaffee Zoo. [The Bee]

YELP REVIEW OF THE WEEK: “It’s great, but … ” [Yelp]

SPORTS: Fresno State’s Phillip Thomas finalist for national award. [The Bee]

WATCH THIS: Must-watch high-school football video. [Sports Buzz]

TWEET OF THE WEEK: Well played, Visalia Fox Theatre. [Twitter]

KICKSTART: Organic Fresno Market. [Kickstarter]

Fres-Know: Sorry, it’s one of our pre-existing conditions


LOCAL REACTION: To today’s Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. [The Bee]

CHIME IN: What’s your take on today’s ruling? [Opinion Talk]

BLOGGINGS: Decision is business as usual. [Business Journal]

EEK: Fresno 99th out of 100 in economic recovery. [The Bee]

NEWS: Pro soccer match sets attendance record at The Chuk. [The Bee]

SPORTS: Fresno Grizzlies players make Triple A all-star team. [The Bee]

CROWDSOURCING: A list of Fresno fireworks stands. [Nerd Family Things]

KICKSTART: A local guy’s Burning Man project. [Kickstarter]

HELP: Local businesses like get $250K. [Mission Small Business]

GET FAMILIAR: With Joe Taylor, playing Fresno this weekend. [Fresno Famous]

REVIEWED: Doughnuts2Go in the Tower District. [Good Bad Fresno]

SAVE THE DATE: For Visalia’s first craft beer fest. [Visalia Beer Fest]

[photo: Associated Press, totally ‘shopped — poorly too]

F.U.S.E. Fest 2011: It’s coming


It’s about time we start talking about this year’s Fresno Urban Sound Experience — or simply, F.U.S.E. Fest, which is, believe it or not, right around the corner.

For the unfamiliar: the festival is a celebration of Fresno’s local music scene, with dozens of bands playing at a various downtown venues for one all-you-can-listen-to ticket price.

A few more bits of info to get you salivating:

DATES: Yes, that’s dates, as in plural. This year, the festival expands to two days — Sept. 30 (a Friday) and Oct. 1 (a Saturday). This is year No. 4 for the festival, so it’s nice to see it growing at a steady pace.

VENUES: On Friday, the festival announced its venues, and it’s more obvious why they’re splitting into two nights. There are two clusters of venues separated by a big chunk of downtown. Organizers figured it’s best to have one day with Chukchansi Park-vicinity venues and another with the Mural District venues. That schedules out to Club One Casino, Karma, Joe’s Steakhouse and Heroes on Sept. 30 and Fulton 55, Tokyo Garden, the African-American Museum’s outdoor stage on Oct. 1. Iron Bird Cafe was supposed to be a venue –we’ll have to see what happens with that.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Once again this year, the F.U.S.E. folks have set up a Kickstarter campaign to support the festival. Like last year, there are a number of rewards for people who donate — from exclusive festival swag to big corporate sponsorships. They have a goal of $4,444 (it being the fourth year and all) to be reached in 44 days. More in the video below.

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Help Kickstart Fresno’s food truck scene

Judging from previous Beehive posts, many people around here are proponents of Fresno developing a more dynamic mobile cuisine scene. Now, chef Martin Franco (formerly of Pangea, among other local restaurants) is hoping Fresnans will put their money where their appetites are. Specifically, he’s looking to locals for help Kickstarting his new culinary endeavor — a food cart he’s calling Taste Kitchen.

Using Kickstarter (as Creative Fresno and Blake Jones did), Franco is hoping to raise $4,000 in the next month. Donors receive incentives ranging from a hearty thanks ($1) to a free salad or side ($10) all the way to a private meal for four and your own sandwich ($1,000). Here’s Franco explaining more with the help of the some mouth-watering visuals:

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Fres-Know: We’ll race you to Chris Meat Market

WATCH THIS: Relay race + Robertito’s = RoboRun [Dead in 60 Years]

BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE: Glee/Clovis kid Chris Colfer turns 21 on Friday [YouTube]

YAY FRESNO: Fresno rapper Fashawn on hip-hop megafest Rock the Bells [RTB]

READ THIS: Guide to budget and family friendly summer fun [The Thinking Blonde]

LOOK AT THIS: Local radio station picks “Hottest Baby’s Mommas” in town [The Beat]

GOOD QUESTION: Can Fresno/Madera be the next booming wine area? [CBS 47]

REVIEW: Fresno Bites takes a bite out of Regina’s Native Cafe [Fresno Bites]

BLOGGINGS: Are the times changin’ in Fresno? [What Fresno Wants]

LISTEN: To free music from local indie supergroup Grand Canopy [The Fresnan]

BLOGGINGS: KickStarter can make your dreams come true. Sorta [Fresno Famous]

DRINK THIS: Unveiling the Strawberry Pie Daiquiri [Fashionably Bombed]

BLOGGINGS A critical look at service in Fresno restaurants [TasteFresno]

Help Kickstart a Fresno music festival and I’ll embarass myself in your honor


Obviously, I’m a big supporter of Fresno’s local music scene. So one of the things that makes me most optimistic about the scene here in the Fresno Urban Sound Experience festival. It showcases local musicians of all genres, seeks to unify our local scene — and brings people downtown to do.

On this very blog three years ago, I complained that Fresno didn’t have its own big downtown music festival like Modesto and Visalia. So since a group of local people went out and made one for us, I feel a certain obligation to support it.

This year, as the Fresno Urban Sound Experience enters its third year (save the date for Oct. 23), the festival organizers have put together a campaign on Kickstarter to raise $2,500 for the festival in a month. I wrote in my column this week that we should try to help them meet their goal. But I’m willing to take it one step further.

I’m starting my own incentive program here on The Beehive. If you contribute money to the festival, you’ll get something from me in return. It’s a bit silly — but fun at the same time.

Here’s how it will work:

  • If you contribute $10, I’ll write a haiku in your honor.
  • If you contribute $15, I’ll draw a picture in MS Paint for you. (I got a D in art, btw)
  • If you contribute $20, I’ll record a video shout-out to you.
  • If you contribute $50+, I’ll do all three.
  • If someone wants to pony up, $100 I’ll think of something else fun. (A Fresno taco tour, perhaps?)

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