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Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Win tickets to Trios Los Romance at Arte Americas Nights in the Plaza

nightsFresno’s summer days can be brutal. But our nights … our nights are so very lovely.

Which is why Arte Americas hosts a series of Friday-night concerts in it outdoor pavilion each summer. The Nights in the Plaza series features local and regional bands playing Latin lazz and mariachi, Brazilian, Son Jarocho and rockabilly.

We’ll be giving away passes each week (except Sept. 26) for the rest of the series’ run. This week’s concert features local trio (and longtime Nights in the Plaza performers) Trio Los Romance. To enter to win, leave a comment in this post. Tell us your favorite way to spend a warm summer’s night in the Valley. The contest runs through noon Thursday. Winners will be chosen at random, notified by email and be able to pick up the passes at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. Street) during normal business hours. Passes are good for any concert night, but do not guarantee entry, so early arrival is suggested.

We’ll have a new contest up every Monday so keep checking back. Complete performer schedule and contest rules on the jump.

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

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Peel yourself away from the news for an hour or so …

1. Jose Canseco Home Run Challenge tryouts
I know next to nothing about baseball. What I do know is this: Jose Canseco swung HARD! Like, breaking-bat hard.

2. Opera Ambulante
Spanish Opera at River Park. The juxtaposition of cultures is just too much!
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3. The theater
Take your pick..

4. Rock & Roll: Behind the Scenes
A panel discussion on the nuts and bolts of rock and roll. Hint: It’s not as glamorous as you might think.

5. Meatball Magic
My favorite DJs return to my favorite bar. It’s been awhile.

And five for the music fans …

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BANDGEEK: Shwaye, Sweat and the Summerland tour

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Planes are being shot out of the sky! We won’t fault you for not thinking about getting out to see some live music this weekend. Still, it’s my job to keep you informed. So here it is, your weekly music roundup (back from a short hiatus) … BANDGEEEEK!

TONIGHT:

  • Ghost Key.
    W/Castaway, Outlier, Rampage and Chip Spacey. At CYC. 6:30 p.m. $4. ALl ages. (Flier link)

  • Electronic Ladyland Tour.
    W/Je4sika Von Rabbit, Maria Del Pilar and Okapi Sun. At Audie’s Olympic. 9 p.m. No ticket price listed. (Flier link)

  • A beach party and potluck.
    W/Math, Suzy’s Dead, The P.I.T.S., Egg Slut and Sci-Fi Caper. At C.A.F.E. Infoshop. 6 p.m. $3-5. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Pinche Culture Night.
    5th Anniversary. W/Marcus Hernandez, Pa’Chango, Resident Alien and Conjunto Califas. At Cellar Door, Visalia. 7 p.m. Free. (Flier link)

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    Win tickets to Queen, It’s a Kinda Magic

    Queen has written more classic rock anthems than you’d even realize. Like, they have so many hits there are some you just forget about, unless you’re looking at the band’s greatest hits album, which there are two volumes of.

    That’s how many anthems the band has.

    That’s the wheelhouse for “Queen, It’s a Kinda Magic,” the touring Queen tribute that plays the Saroyan Theatre on Saturday. The show recreates the band at its iconic best — live and on stage.

    We have tickets to Saturday night’s performance that we will give away to a few lucky readers. To enter to win, just leave a comment on this post. We want to know your favorite Queen songs (and why). Winners will be chosen at random and notified via email (so check your if you enter). These are physical tickets and must be picked up at the Fresno Bee office (1626 E St.) during business hours. The contest deadline is NOON, THURSDAY July 17.

    Full contest rules on the jump.

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    Win tickets to The Experience at Arte Americas Nights in The Plaza

    nightsFresno’s summer days can be brutal. But our nights … our nights are so very lovely.

    Which is why Arte Americas hosts a series of Friday-night concerts in it outdoor pavilion each summer. The Nights in the Plaza series features local and regional bands playing Latin lazz and mariachi, Brazilian, Son Jarocho and rockabilly.

    We’ll be giving away passes each week (except July 25 and Sept. 26) for the rest of the series’ run. This week’s concert features Fresno all-star jazz group The Experience. To enter to win, leave a comment in this post. Tell us your favorite way to spend a warm summer’s night in the Valley. The contest runs through noon Thursday. Winners will be chosen at random, notified by email and be able to pick up the passes at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. Street) during normal business hours. Passes are good for any concert night, but do not guarantee entry, so early arrival is suggested.

    We’ll have a new contest up every Monday so keep checking back. Complete performer schedule and contest rules on the jump.

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    Live Nation kicks off its Yahoo Screen concert series

    File this under: It was just a matter of time.

    Today, Live Nation kicks off a year-long concert series with live, streaming performances (one each day for the next 365 days) via Yahoo’s video service (Yahoo Screen). How much you’ll enjoy the series depends on how whether you like the types of acts that Live Nation promotes (and let’s face it you do, because Live Nation works with big-name popular bands).

    The first concert, which streams 7:20 p.m. tonight (eastern time), is Dave Matthews Band at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The group will do two sets, performing together in numerous electric and acoustic configurations in a reinvention of the band’s traditional summer concert set.

    Other confirmed artists include KISS (from their 40th Anniversary Tour); John Legend, who will perform Marvin Gaye’s classic album, “What’s Going On” in its entirety and Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids performing their first ever concert in Reykjavik, Iceland.

    The full list of acts (so far) can be seen on the jump. Of special note (to local music fans) is The Airborne Toxic Event, which features Ex-Fresnan Daren Taylor on drums.

    I like the idea of this kind of concert series, with acts doing a special one-off performance that will never be replicated (not that any live show can truly be replicated).

    I like the idea of actually being at the venue more.

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    The (un)official 4th of July playlist

    In advance of Friday’s celebrations, I’ve put together a quick list of my favorite seasonal songs (as I am wont to do. See: Halloween, Christmas). Feel free to tell me what songs I missed, or add your playlist in the comments section.

    Spirt of ’76 — The Dickie’s
    An obscure tune from the soundtrack to “Spirit of ’76,” an obscure time-travel comedy starring David Cassidy.

    America F**k Yeah — Trey Parker
    It’s a song and a meme. The song is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Still, it does captures the spirit of American exceptionalism. It’s also a great sing-along.

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    Gazebo Gardens food truck nights expands to Thursdays

    foodtruck2Got plans tomorrow night? The food truck nights at Gazebo Gardens have expanded to Thursdays. It started with Saturdays last year, expanded to Fridays and the nursery tried out its first Thursday last week. It worked, so it’s now a regular thing. If you haven’t been to a food truck night there yet, here’s what to expect: Several food trucks, a walk through some blooming roses to get to them, lots of craft beer in the beer garden (get it? beer garden, at a nursery, heh), lovely local music and a general sense of friendliness and community. (And the occasional Amtrak train speeds by, which somehow adds a bit of unique charm.)

    The event runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. all three days. The only thing different about Thursdays is that instead of a live band, it will be open mic night. (As the Gazebo Gardens Facebook page says: “So far, no Grammy contenders- just people smiling and cheering each other on.”)

    Food trucks vary each time, but it’s not unusual to see everyone from Dusty Buns to frozen yogurt truck Gorilla Gurt. Keep tabs on each truck’s Facebook or Twitter page to see if they’ll be there. Gazebo owner Scott Miller said that not only are lots of people turning out for the events, but food truck owners were asking for another night. He even hinted that Gazebo might be the site of a more permanent evolution of the food truck movement.

    TONIGHT: Jimbo Mathus

    Jimbo Mathus is an archive of southern musical styles. The Mississippi-born songwriter/guitarist was raised in a musical family and grew up playing those old folk, country and blues tunes.

    “I’ve been studying on this since I was 8 years old,” says Mathus, whose band, the Tri-State Coalition, plays tonight at Fulton 55 with Southern Culture on the Skids.

    “I’m just immersed in it.”

    Mathus’ current album, “Dark Night of the Soul,” serves as a record of both that innate knowledge and of his career in music.

    “It’s the natural progression of the stuff I’ve been doing my whole life. And I’ve been in the game for a minute,” he says.

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    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    london promo shot final cropAfter getting your morning (or afternoon, or nightly) cup of joe

    1. Music for London Library Project
    Blake Jones put together two days of music to raise money to build a library in London (California, not England).

    2. Songs of Kris Kristofferson
    Kris Kristofferson may be the coolest dude ever. This is a tribute to him (and his music).

    3. “Jersey Boys”
    The Frank Valli story done by the guy who made “Unforgiven.”
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    4. “Macbeth”
    Yes, the play (part of the Woodward Shakespeare Festival) actually opens this week.

    5. Devin’s Guided Bike Tour Ride No. 3
    This is the last in a three-part series of bike tours around downtown. You’ll see: Chris Sorensen art studio and the Fresno Arch.

    And five for the music fans:

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    Tonight: Folk singer Joseph Eid at Full Circle Brewing Co.

    At 22 years old, Joseph Eid had a revelatory moment. He was sitting in a med-school library, readying himself for a microbiology exam and thinking more-than fondly about the night before.

    He had been sitting outside the dorms, singing with his friends.

    “We were singing old songs and it felt so freeing an amazing,” says the Liberian-born folk singer, who plays tonight at Full Circle Brewing Company.

    In that moment, Eid honestly assessed his life. Questions followed.

    “How did I end up here? Why am I really doing this?”

    And finally: “What if? What if I could do whatever I wanted to in my life?,” Eid says.

    Two days later he’d dropped out of med school to pursue a career as a musician, which he’s done with abandon. He was named one the Hottest 100 Unsigned Artists in both 2012 and 2013 by Music Connection and had a single released on a Cleopatra Records folk compilation. His latest album “Human” was released last year.

    Here, I find out more about Eid.

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    Win tickets to: Trio Ellas at the Arte Americas summer concert series

    nightsFresno’s summer days can be brutal. But our nights … our nights are so very lovely.

    Which is why Arte Americas hosts a series of Friday-night concerts in it outdoor pavilion each summer. The Nights in the Plaza series features local and regional bands playing Latin lazz and mariachi, Brazilian, Son Jarocho and rockabilly.

    We’ll be giving away passes each week (except July 4, 25 and Sept. 26) for the rest of the series’ run. This week’s concert features the Fresno return of the Latin Grammy-nominated group Trio Ellas. To enter to win, leave a comment in this post. Tell us your favorite way to spend a warm summer’s night in the Valley. The contest runs through noon Thursday. Winners will be chosen at random, notified by email and be able to pick up the passes at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. Street) during normal business hours. Passes are good for any concert night, but do not guarantee entry, so early arrival is suggested.

    We’ll have a new contest up every Monday so keep checking back. Complete performer schedule and contest rules on the jump.

    Read more

    Singer Marina V returns to Fresno tonight

    MarinaV-Erik-Fischer-Photogarphy2Marina V has built a career out of fan funding. Everything, from her albums to many of her performances, has been paid for, money up front, by her fans. Any time someone asks if she’s planning a trip to their neck of the woods, she explains, very honestly, the situation. “We need to make money to pay the bills,” says Marina, who plays tonight at Frank’s Place with singer (and good friend) Astrid Plane of the ’80s band Animotion.

    Most often things kind of work themselves out from there, she says.

    Marina has traveled to France and Portugal, even the Czech Republic for these fan-funded shows. The Russian-born singer even found a way to subsidize her current tour — it’s being sponsored by Toyota Santa Monica. She’ll be travelling with her partner/husband in their Toyota Prius (its what they’ve always done), so the sponsorship just seemed logical.

    “They sell the most Priuses in the United States,” Marina says. They pair installed a Toyota of Santa Monica license plate holder on their car, just so people know.

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    TONIGHT: Michale Graves

    michaelMichale Graves carved a place for himself in the late ’90s punk and metal scenes as the skeleton-faced singer in the second incarnation of the Misfits. He recorded two albums with the band before departing on a solo career.

    He’s since released more than a dozen albums of his own punkish, metal and acoustic rock, including the just-released “Wanderer.” Graves plays tonight at The Crossroads. We found out more from the singer.

    The new album just came out last week. Where does it fit with your previous work?

    “Wanderer” has been in my head for years. It is only now that I could create this body of work. It has taken 20 years of performing, touring and composing to build such a diverse body of work. This album is like a fine aged whiskey. It blends rock, R&B, rockabilly, folk and a dash of country to create something I have never done before. We are incredibly proud of this work.

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    BANDGEEK: Sara Evans, Kings Buzzo and Murs

    6-13-14Between watching the World Cup and getting your head around the dude who was mistakenly released from jail (and then killed), your weekend is spent. Unless you’re up for the dozens of live music events happening around the city, which we (once again) cull together and collate in the weekly feature we call BANDGEEEEEK!

    TONIGHT:

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    CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENT: A Day To Remember

    adtrI lived next to the Rainbow Ballroom and saw first hand the massive lines of kids who came out when A Day to Remember stopped through town last year. So, yeah, the Flordia rock band is popular with the teenage Warped Tour crowd, especially in Fresno where the band has played just about everywhere, from the old Starline club, to the Crest Theatre, Selland Arena and the Woodward Park Amphitheater.

    The band will return to the amphitheater Sept. 23 with its Parks and Devastation tour. The tour features British metalcore band Bring Me The Horizon and the post-hardcore band Chiodos.

    Tickets for the show are $37.50 and on sale 10 a.m. Friday.

    Dierks Bentley, Snoop Dogg and R5 on tap for Big Fresno Fair

    Dierks Bentley_Approved Publicity Photo_FNL CroppedIt’s that time of year when The Big Fresno Fair starts announcing performers for its Table Mountain Concert Series, which kicks off Oct. 1 at the Paul Paul Theatre.

    Its latest announcement (which came this morning) is the standard mix of country, classic hip-hop and teen-age pop rock and includes Dierks Bentley, Snoop Dogg and R5.

    • Bentley is a Grand Ole Opry inductee who’s had 11 chart-topping singles and an equal number of Grammy nominations. He plays Oct. 3. Tickets are $43 to $48.
    • In a career that has spanned close to two decades, Snoop Dogg has been on the forefront of both hip-hop (his debut album “Doggystyle” was a Billboard chart-topper and sold more than 800,000 in the first week) and popular culture. Snoog Dogg plays Oct. 8. Tickets are $33-$38.
    • R5 is a family band (brothers Riker Lynch, Rocky Lynch, Ross Lynch and sister Rydel Lynch plus friend Ellington Ratliff) that signed to Hollywood Records in 2010. It’s debut album “Louder,” was released last year. The band plays the early show Oct. 11. Tickets are $18-$23.

    The three join the list of already announced acts: TobyMac (Oct. 2), Emblem3 (Oct. 4), Beach Boys (Oct. 6), Justin Moore (Oct. 9) and comedian Gabriel Iglesias (Oct. 10).

    That leaves seven nights to fill. The fair usually lands one big hard-rock or metal act (last year it was Korn), so we should have another exciting announcement in the upcoming weeks.

    On sale (and pre-sale) dates on the jump.

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    Win tickets to: Arte Americas summer concert series

    nightsFresno’s summer days can be brutal. But our nights … our nights are so very lovely.
    Which is why Arte Americas hosts a series of Friday-night concerts in it outdoor pavilion each summer. The Nights in the Plaza series features local and regional bands playing Latin lazz and mariachi, Brazilian, Son Jarocho and rockabilly.

    We’ll be giving away passes each week (except July 4, 25 and Sept. 26) for the rest of the series’ run. This week’s concert features Steve Alcala’s “little big band,” Rumba 32. To enter to win, leave a comment in this post. Tell us your favorite way to spend a warm summer’s night in the Valley. The contest runs through noon Thursday. Winners will be chosen at random, notified by email and be able to pick up the passes at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. Street) during normal business hours. Passes are good for any concert night, but do not guarantee entry, so early arrival is suggested.

    We’ll have a new contest up every Monday so keep checking back. Complete performer schedule and contest rules on the jump.

    Read more

    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    5things6614Place your bets

    1. Mud ‘n Blood Zombie Run
    Unleash your inner Daryl. On second thought, don’t. These zombies aren’t real.

    2. Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival
    Celebrate a Tower District tradition that’s almost a quarter-century old.
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    3. FranCisco Varags Fresno Mural Unveiling
    Make a drinking game out of finding the Fresno references.

    4. “An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein.”
    He’s the guy who wrote the words to Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue.”

    5. Kogetsu-DO Confectionary 100th Anniversary recognition ceremony
    Mochi! Also, we love Chinatown.

    And because the selection is so good this week, here’s a bonus five that’s music only.

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    BANDGEEK: Fierce Creatures, Chapin Sisters and Paul Collins’ Beat

    6-6-14This weekend, it’s all about a horse race. Worry not, you’ll still have time to make it out to at least one of the dozens of these live music events, which we compile each week so you don’t have to. Here’s an all-new BANDGEEEK!

    TONIGHT:

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    BANDGEEK: Festivals (Rock for Autism, JugFest and Sun Kissed Summer)

    530141It’s a good weekend for free music festivals. Also: Any number of other live music performances, which we have laid out for you here in our weekly roundup. Here’s your BANDGEEEK!

    TONIGHT:

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    TONIGHT: Sweet Hayah

    sweetSweet HayaH is what happens when a ska drummer and a couple of metalheads start jamming with a soulful and bluesy singer-song writer type. It’s the kind of high energy soul-funk-rock that’s an easy fit with rockers like Roddy Raditaion, who it opens for tonight at Strummer’s.

    “We fit with ska band and reggae bands and rock and roll, metal bands,” says Nehal Abuelata, who sings for the San Jose five-peice. The band’s first gig was a 45 minutes open mic jam session. It was WAY unofficial, though no one even realized they’d been playing that long, so they knew they had something good. But it wasn’t until Abuelata needed a backing band for a solo gig and remembered that first meeting that Sweet HayaH really took shape. “We spoke different languages, music wise,” Abuelata says. “They were playing stuff I would never think of writing and I was writing things they had never considered.”

    Somehow, it clicks.

    And while the band is known for its upbeat live shows, it has a tendency to define itself by the space it’s playing. Which means there is a segment of fans who know Sweet HayaH from it quieter acoustic gigs. In fact the band is following up last year’s full length album, with an acoustic EP they just finished recording.

    The acoustic and electric versions of Sweet HayaH have the same players, but they’re almost two separate entities, Abuelata says. Each has different arrangements and cues, different sounds and textures. The bassist tends to like the electric set, if just for equipment sake, Abuelata says. The guitarist likes the acoustic stuff because he gets to highlight his classical guitar skills.

    Adbuelata, she could go either way.

    The acoustic sets offer an instant intimacy and that creates a different sort of connection with the audience. But then, she also really likes to let loose and dance.

    “I love to put my mic on the stand and get crazy with the crowd.”

    TONIGHT: Pollywog Crew

    pwc nomadThe Beastie Boys encapsulated a wide swath of pop culture in the 1990s — even though the New York band had blasted onto the scene with its brand of beer-swilling party-time hip-hop almost a decade earlier. There was the music, for sure, but the trio (Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock) were also deep into fashion, the skateboarding culture and sports.

    “They had their hands everywhere. They were the youth of America,” says Dino Carrillo, or D-Rock, as he is known in the Pollywog Crew, the Beastie Boys tribute band that formed in L.A. in 2012. They play tonight at Strummer’s.

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    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    5things5-23-14Start your own Bruno Mars countdown and then …

    1. NickFest
    Any three of the nine bands on this bill would be worth the ticket price. Heck, Tera Melos alone is probably worth the ticket price.

    2. Marjaree Mason Wish List Spin
    Ride with professional cyclist Mary Maroon. This is a friendly trip, so you won’t have to worry about keeping up. The entrance fee is an item from the Marjaree Mason Center’s wish list.
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    3. Fresno Grand Opry
    For country music purists.

    4. The Big Lebowski
    My friends (and bowling team) would slap me if I failed to mention this.

    5. Comic Crawl
    Because you need every excuse to put on a costume and drink. Seriously though, when did being geeky get cool? I missed the memo

    TONIGHT: David Dondero

    donderoDuring the late 2000s, Austin, TX, songwriter David Dondero could often be seen in Fresno’s indie-rock circles, playing support for local favorites like Niilo Smeds, Rademacher and Nik Freitas. Dondero also had a Valley tie with Future Farmer Records, where he released three albums. The label’s founders are both Valley natives.

    Point being, Dondero has stopped through Fresno so many times and for so many year, we should start claiming him as our own. Or at least supporting him that way. He plays a free, all-ages show 9 p.m. tonight at Peeve’s Public House. Local musician Swimming in Paint opens the show.

    Watch Dondero on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert on the jump. Oh, yeah, NPR loves him.

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