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Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Tonight: Poppy, punk rock with Flashlights

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Melissa Hopkins lets me in on the truth about touring with her band the Flashlights: Eventually, the tour ends and the four members of the Florida indie-punk band have to go back home.

“We kind of put our lives on hold for this,” says Hopkins, who plays drums for the band, which is currently in the middle of a two-month cross country tour playing the opening slot for Paws and Total Slacker. The tour stops tonight at Strummer’s.

The days leading up to the tour were spent either practicing, or working to save up money so they could keep their apartments. The rent still needs to get paid. Hopkins has an employer that understands and appreciates her dedication to the band, though every time she goes out on the road she’s ready to put in her two-weeks notice.

“We’re pretty lucky,” she says.

Flashlights began in 2007 as the solo project of its leader Terry Caudill, who pulled in members of from the Brevard County punk scene. They have release two full-length albums, including its latest “Bummer Summer, out now on Hard Rock Records.

The album is full of bright, peppy (and poppy) rock songs.

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BANDGEEK: Sea Knight, Sleepover Disaster and A Day to Remember

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Resist the urge to rewatch “Braveheart.” Instead, check out one of the dozens of live music performances happening over the next week. We’ve collected them for you in this weeks’ BANDGEEEEK!

FRIDAY:

  • Incoming Rush.
    W/Outside the Wire. At Fulton 55. 8 p.m. $6-$8.

  • The Real McKenzies.
    W/A. Tom Collins. At Strummer’s. 8 p.m. $12-$13. (Flier link)

  • Saint Motel.
    W/The River Wilde. At Peeve’s Public House. 8 p.m. Free. All ages.

  • Los Hooligans.
    At ApCal. 7 p.m. Free.

  • Endings.
    W/Blackwell, Messenger of the Covenant, Know Your Enemy and Once Emperor. At CYC. 6:30 p.m. $5 donation. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Mercy Fist.
    W/Valkyrie Missile, Clockwork Hero and Light of Mine. At Kuppajoe. 7:30 p.m. $6-$8. All ages. (Flier link)

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    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

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    Now that we have all that MLB drama behind us, we can go out and enjoy the weekend, right?

    1. Love a Local
    Peeve’s Public House celebrates its first year in business. So should you.

    2. ClovisFest
    Get up extra early to see the hot air balloons inflate and take off from the Rodeo Grounds.

    3. Highland Gathering and Games
    “I am Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. I was born in 1518, in the village of Glen Finnen on the shores of Loch Shiel. And I am immortal.”

    4. Reel Pride
    For those who think that Fresno is a backwards town that won’t ever be truly progressive, Reel Pride celebrates 25 years and is the sixth oldest gay and lesbian film festival in the US.

    5. Hanford Blues and Roots Festival
    A bay Area blues revue + the CVBS Allstars.

    For music specific ideas, check out BANDGEEK!

    Concert announcement: Celtic Woman 10th Anniversary

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    Celtic Woman — the international vocal sensation and PBS standout — celebrates its 10th anniversary with an 80-city tour that includes a May 22 date at Fresno’s Saroyan Theatre.

    The group last played in Fresno (at the same venue) in 2009 on it “Isle of Hope” tour. This time around, the women (who make up Celtic Woman) will be joined by a 15 member ensemble includes a full band, bagpipers, Irish dancers and the Aontas Choir. The show is directed by music producer David Downes.

    Tickets for the tour are $42, $62 and $102 and on sale now via Ticketmaster and the Fresno Convention Center Box Office.

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    Warnors Theatre Complex gets new management

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    The Warnors Center for the Performing Arts — which includes the historic Warnors Theatre and the accompanying venues and commercial spaces on Fulton street — is a beacon for a revitalized Cultural Arts District in downtown.

    The nonprofit foundation that oversees the complex wants to keep it that way.

    “Improvements to, and restoration of, the venues are desperately needed to keep up with increased growth and development downtown,” says Sally Caglia, who sits on the board of directors for the nonprofit.

    Her family once owned the theater.

    “It is imperative the Warnors Board does its due diligence to make that happen, and for Warnors to remain an active historic centerpiece for downtown,” she says.

    Earlier this month, the board brought in a new manager for the complex to help create strategic, fiscal scrutiny of its operations, Caglia says.

    The casual observer probably hasn’t noticed. Any changes so far seem to be behind-the-scenes.

    “At the moment nothing has really changed, ” says Gene Day, who now serves as the Warnors Complex Manager. “We have all the same kinds of events that have been there for the last couple of years,” he says.

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    Noelle Bean is in Fresno on the High School nation tour

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    Noelle Bean attended a private Christian High School. She was one of eight in her graduating class, and that was a jump from the typical four students in any of the other grades.

    It’s a contrast to the schools the Los Angeles pop singer will visit as part of the High School Nation tour, which is in Fresno today.

    For 10 years the tour has visited thousands of public high schools and middle schools, facilitating performing-, digital- and fine-arts opportunities for students and giving them free lunchtime concerts with some choice artists. Past performers have included Cody Simpson, Wale and Jason Castro.

    This year’s fall tour features Dakota Bradley, Drake Bell and … Bean, who’s debut EP “Rollercoaster” was released on STRZ The Label in June.

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    Spanspek Music and Arts Festival announces 2014 lineup

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    Orosi’s Spanspek Music and Arts Festival is closing in on a decade of showcasing some of the hippest local bands and artists.

    It seems to be just hitting its stride.

    The lineup for this year’s festival (which was announced this morning) features eight local heavy hitters, including two of, arguably, the best known acts in town — the rock duo Strange Vine and violin master Patrick Contreras.

    But the don’t miss band on this year’s bill may be Visalia fuzz-rockers Slow Season. The group had serious buzz at last year’s festival and has put in big work on the road (and in the studio) this year.

    On the arts side of things, the festival will include more than a dozen artists/and/or art collectives, including Carlos Cisneros, the Orosi High School Art Department and Fresno Underground Art.

    The event happens 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Orosi Memorial Hall in Orosi (follow the 99 south, just past Kingsburg, then head East). If you haven’t been, it’s completely worth the drive (especially with this year’s lineup). A full list of bands and artists can be seen at the Spanspek website.

    On another festival note: Keep in mind Fresno’s own locals-only music fest, F.U.S.E. is happening Sept. 26-27.

    Win tickets to Heavy Weather 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 are giving away passes to this, the final week of the series’ run, which features the Central Valley Santana tribute Heavy Weather.

    To enter to win passes to see the band, 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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    Review: Blake Shelton at the Save Mart Center

    Blake SheltonI’m a rock girl, but I have to say there’s something about country music. Maybe it’s the story. Or the twang. Or even the good time sentiment found in many songs. In the case of Blake Shelton — arguably the hottest singer in country music right now with hit after hit (and a new album on the way) — it’s all three. And each was on full display Thursday night at the Save Mart Center where he headlined the Ten Times Crazier Tour.

    For one hour fifty minutes, Blake Shelton wove his way through his extensive song list that included new single “Neon Lights” and favorites like “Kiss My Country Ass,” “Honey Bee” and “Boys Round Here.” And the fans — who filled nearly every seat all the way to the last row on the upper level — toe-tapped and sang along until the very last note.

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    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

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    UPDATE: This story has been updated to remove the Mike Tyson show, which is not this weekend at all. Calendars are confusing.

    Slather on some DEET and …

    1. Metalachi at Arte Americas Nights in the Plaza
    Who doesn’t want to hear a mariachi version of “Run to the Hills?

    2. “Preacherman at Burning Man
    Fresno is the Detroit of California, might explain this show’s inclusion as the best of West Coast fringe.

    3. Taste of River Park
    Remember when River Park put a curfew on kids? This is like that, but with Let’s Go Bowling.

    4. Keyboard Concert Series
    Garrick Ohlsson opens the 43rd season of the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series. This should be on your list of “Things every Fresnan should do once.”

    5. Madera Fair
    It is officially fair season in the Valley. Enjoy!

    For music-specific events, check out this week’s BANDGEEK roundup.

    Bandgeek: Humperdinck, Daniels and Doyle

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    Aside from not eating at Burger King (the tax thing may be the least of its offences), your schedule for the next seven days looks full up, especially if you are into any sort of live music. The choices are presented here in our weekly roundup known as BANDGEEEEK!

    TONIGHT:

  • EZ Mark’s Honky Tonk.
    A Sit-around jam. At Full Circle Brewing. 5:30 p.m. Free.

  • Engelbert Humperdinck.
    At Tachi Palace. 7:30 p.m. $35-$70.

  • Pacific Dub.
    W/ ONEoz. At Strummer’s. 8 p.m. $12. All ages. (Flier link)

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    Tonight: Go Dwntwn

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    Jamie Leffler and Robert Cepeda are the principal musicians and songwriters for the Los Angeles indie-pop group Dwntwn (pronounced Downtown), but over the past four years they’ve worked to keep from being the typical boy-girl duo. Which probably wasn’t difficult considering Leffler had just broken up with Cepeda’s brother when the two started playing music together.

    Oddly, they say, was’t as awkward as you’d think.

    I had some email correspondence with the band in advance of tonight’s show at Peeve’s Public House.

    I always like to start with the “newsy” stuff. So, what is happening with the band right now?

    We are in the middle of a west coast run that ends on Saturday in Fresno! We’ve been rehearsing a lot getting ready for the shows and we are excited to be playing all of the new songs off of our EP that came out a couple of months ago.

    You just released a video for “Heroine.” Tell us some about the song and the process of making the video?

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    Big Fresno Fair finalizes entertainment schedule

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    The Big Fresno Fair has finalized this year’s entertainment lineup and it includes some hip-hop, classic rock, country, comedy and now … crooning.

    Tony Bennett will perform on the fair’s closing night, Oct. 13. Tickets are $45-$50 and on sale 9 a.m. Aug. 29. The 88-year old singer has been topping the charts since the ’50s with songs like “Because of You” and “Rags to Riches,” and continues to stay relevant. His duets album with Lady Gaga is set for release in September.

    The fair also announced the addition of alternative rock newcomers the Kongos (Oct. 10), comedian Jim Gaffigan (Oct. 1) and the La Buena Corrido Fest, featuring Larry Hernandez, Proyecto X and Jorge Valenzuela (Oct. 5). Tickets for Gaffigan are $30-$35 and on sale now. Tickets for Kongos are $8-$12. The La Buena Corrido Fest is $10-$30. Both will be on sale to the general public starting 9 a.m. Aug. 29.

    The additions come with a change of dates for comedian Gabriel Iglesias, who is now performing Oct. 4. You can see the full fair schedule on the jump.

    Also on the horizon is the Madera District Fair, which run Sept. 4-7 and features performances from War (Sept. 4), Dwight Yoakam (Sept. 5), Foreigner (Sept. 6) Los Tucanes (Sept. 7). Showtimes and ticket information can be found at www.maderafair.com or by calling (866) 973-9610 or (559) 674-8511.

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    Win tickets to Leftover Cuties

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    The Painted Table is best known for its catering. You’ve no doubt seen the chefs (or their cuisine) out at events, including the Fresno Food Expo. They did cooking demonstrations all day.

    The business also hosts events out of a space in the Tower Theatre complex. Those with long enough memories will remember it as the old Daily Planet space.

    While the space is mostly reserved for special private parties, The Painted Table will open it up as a live music venue for pair of performers over the next two weekend. You can get all the needed info on The Painted Table’s Facebook page.

    First up is the Los Angeles retro-jazz pop band Leftover Cuties, which plays The Painted Table on Sunday. If you are unfamiliar with Leftover Cuties by name, you may have heard its music. The band wrote and performed the theme song for the Showtime series “The Big C” and has songs featured in commercials for Hyundai and Samsung. The Samsung ad aired during the 2012 Olympics. Proceeds from the show will benefit Fresno’s NOCO dance collective.

    We have tickets to give away to a Beehive reader. To enter to win, leave a comment in this post. Tell us what is the cutest thing you have ever seen. The contest runs until noon Thursday. Winners will be chosen at random, notified by email and be able to pick up tickets at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. Street) during normal business hours.

    Check out a video of Leftover Cuties and get the complete concert rules on the jump.

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    Win tickets to Beatriz Herrera 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 singer Beatriz Herrera. 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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    Mid-week concerts to get you through to Friday

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    To anyone who thinks there is nothing to do in Fresno, I give this quick list of super-ridiculous concerts — one or more every day through Thursday (and then the weekend kicks in).

    Feel free to pass it along. You can add this message: “Quit complaining.”

    TONIGHT:

  • Lynryd Skynyrd
    It’s a Saturday night special … on Monday … See what I did there.
  • Beach Day.
    Free girl-pop garage rock at Peeve’s.
  • TUESDAY:

  • Future Islands
    Best frontman in entertainment today? You be the judge.
  • Balance and Composure
    Post hard-core emo band from Pennsylvania. For fans of Sunny Day Real Estate.
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    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

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    Go find someone you love and hug them. It’s been a long week. Then …

    1. Big Brother presents Strangelove
    All I ever needed is here in my arms.

    2. Logger’s Jamboree
    Chopping, sawing and general wood play. You’ve got to love the smell of fresh wood chips in the morning.

    3. NOCO Summer Soiree
    Aerial dance + classical music inside a museum. It’s a triple shot of culture.

    4. Rock N’ Shop
    Music and collectibles. Special appearance by a jaw-less zombie pet (or the dude who played one on TV anyway).

    5. Ani-Jam
    One word: Cosplay.

    RIP jazz guitarist and instructor Andre Bush

    For those who missed my story in today’s Fresno Bee, the local music scene is mourning the death of jazz guitarist and instructor Andre Bush.

    Bush was a graduate of the Roosevelt School of the Arts and a fixture in the local jazz scene as both a player and a teacher. He was also an accomplished touring musician and session guitarist, who played several years on the Lilith Fair and was nominated for a Grammy is 2005. He had his own guitar technique book (published by Mel Bay, no less) and was named as one of the 342 most significant guitarists in jazz history by critic Scott Yanow.

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    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    nightsWhile you’re figuring out which of the neighbors to snitch on first …

    1. Zappa Plays Zappa
    For fans of off-the-wall quirky, but thoughtfully composed, rock-and-roll-as art.

    2. Wayans Brothers Live
    Put the four Wayans brothers together and you have a comedy empire. Here, they do stand-up comedy together for the first time.

    3. Audie’s Olympic Tavern
    Great rock shows scheduled for tonight AND tomorrow. Take your pick, or go to both.
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    4. “Life Itself
    Thank Fresno Filmworks for bringing this to town.

    5. Fig Fest
    Fresno owes everything to its figs, which we honor by eating.

    For a full list of weekend music options, check out this week’s BANDGEEEEEK!

    Bandgeek: Lou Shields, Les Wolves and Zappa Plays Zappa

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    Today is National IPA Day. You will want to celebrate. But not too much, because there are dozens of local music happenings you might want to make. Here they are in list form in this week’s BANDGEEEEEK!

    TONIGHT:

  • Queensryche Starring Geoff Tate.
    At Strummer’s. 7 p.m. $32.

  • Lou Shields.
    W/Jimmie O. AT Audie’s Olympic. 9 p.m. No price listed. (Flier link)

  • From The Messenger.
    W/The Rest Will Fall, Bred To Survive, City of Skies and Farooq. At CYC. 6:30 p.m. $4. All ages. (Flier link)

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    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

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    You could copycat Neel Kashkari and act homeless for the weekend. Instead, how about …

    1. Guardians of the Galaxy
    People who I trust tell me this movie lives up to the hype.

    2. TNMT night at the Grizzlies
    Nostalgia is a power thing.

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    3. Mrs. Park’s Regency Rout
    For fans of Jane Austen. Party like it’s 1799 — or 1809, or whenever the England’s Regency era was.

    4. Restaurant Week
    Buy local (food).

    5. Rudy Parris at Old Town Saloon
    Rudy Parris is one of three local artists poised to become a bonafide star. See him now, at a bar, for free. You’ll thank yourself later.

    For music-specific events, don’t forget our weekly BANDGEEK! concert roundup.

    Bandgeek: Mr. Rude, Rudy Parris and Ballyhoo!

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    As you’re out and about this weekend, seeing one of the dozens of local, live music performances (presented here in our weekly BANDGEEK post), remember Fresno cabbies want your business (for their own, it seems). It’s nice to feel wanted, right?

    TONIGHT:

  • Campfire Cassettes.
    W/Todd N Todd, Bededonia and Santa Mira. At Full Circle Brewing Co. 8 p.m. $4. (Flier link)

  • Rudy Parris.
    At Old Town Saloon. 7:30 p.m. Free. (Flier link)

  • White Glove Service.
    W/Wordsauce. At Cellar Door Visalia. 9:30 p.m. $7. (Flier link)

  • Shockwave.
    At ApCal. 7 p.m. Free.

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    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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