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Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Upload: Flowing with Famous, Episode 15

Uploaded and ready to put in your iPod (or iPhone or whatever other device you use to listen to podcasts), it’s another episode of Flowing with Famous, where I sit down with Mike Seay to talk Fresno arts, entertainment, politics and more.

It might help if you picture us sitting at a dive bar somewhere.
In this episode we discuss:

As always, slightly NSFW. With audio editing by Reid May.

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Fres-Know: Our fake girlfriend is in great health, thanks for asking

WATCH THIS: New tourism ad for Fresno/Clovis Convention and Visitors Bureau. [YouTube]

TRENDING: Fresno, thanks to CBS 47, is at forefront of “Teoing.” [Huffington Post]

NEWS: Deadline looms in fight about trash outsourcing. [The Bee]

TAKE THIS: Season-end survey for Fresno’s downtown ice rink. [SurveyMonkey]

VINTAGE: Flier of first shows from Fresno’s Cadillac Club. [Facebook]

THROWBACK JAM OF THE WEEK: “Fresneck” the song. [YouTube]

WTF FRESNO: “Homeless” man tosses urine container in office building. [The Bee]

GOOD NEWS: Valley home prices up in December. [News Blog]

NEW ON THE WEB: The “I Believe in Downtown Fresno” pledge. [ibelievefresno.org]

FACEBOOK FIGHT OF THE WEEK: About this ^^^ [Facebook]

DROP THAT CLASS: Fresno State lecturer — with crazy eyes — arrested. [The Bee]

READ THIS: The teacher’s reviews from his students. [Rate My Professor]

YELP REVIEW OF THE WEEK: Vegetarian review of Doghouse Grill. [Yelp]

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]

Shooting at Rick Ross concert is a wound for the entire hip-hop community

Rick Ross performs — not in Fresno — but at the BET Awards in Los Angeles.

Rick Ross came to Fresno on Thursday night, but the concert from hip-hop’s grunting boss of braggadocio is being overshadowed this morning by what happened in the Save Mart Center parking lot after the concert: A man was shot in the leg, suffering non-fatal injuries.

What that gunshot did — besides sending one victim to the hospital and another six to Fresno PD headquarters for question– was call in to question, once again, the place of hip-hop shows in our community.

I knew the response that was coming as soon as I heard the news. You probably did too.

From The Bee’s comment section: “It’s a known fact that shootings, drugs, gangs and rap go hand in hand. This is why rap concerts must be banned.” From ABC30′s Facebook page: “Hip hop sucks. Ban it” and  “No more rap shows at smc.”

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Fres-Know: We’re the people’s champ

VOTE: In this year’s People Choice Awards, which are now open. [People's Choice 2013

YAY FRESNO: Fresno gets IBM "Smarter Cities" grant, $400,000 worth of consulting. [The Bee]

WELCOME TO THE INTERNET: A blog with a lofty goal — Million Cool Things Fresno. [MCTF]

SPEAK YOUR MIND: A call for ideas to improve Fresno. [Fresno Future]

MAKIN’ THE VALLEY PROUD: Olympian boxer Jose Ramirez turns pro. [The Bee]

COMING SOON: Season 2 of foodie web series “What’s Good, Fresno.” [YouTube]

YELP REVIEW OF THE WEEK:  Dude one-stars Piemonte’s, says it’s in decline. [Yelp]

FOLLOW UP: Fresno sweders featured on G4 TV’s “Attack of the Show.” [G4]

WATCH THIS: Fashawn’s new video, “Diamonds & Girls.” [YouTube]

CAN’T BEAT THE PRICE: This weekend’s Central California Auto Show is free. [The Bee]

YOUTUBE RANT OF THE WEEK: Six-minutes of complaining about a Fresno driver. [YouTube]

Fres-Know: All the links that are fit to click

SHAMELESS: Hey, follow us on Instagram, K? [Instagram]

THE LATEST: On the deadly workplace shooting in Fresno on Tuesday. [The Bee]

ICYMI: Chilling and heartbreaking story about Tuesday’s tragic events. [The Bee]

NEWS: Fire damages Clovis West High School. [The Bee]

DID THEY JUST SAY FRESNO? Fresno fashion blogger gets shout-out in New York Times. [NYT]

NEWS: City council OKs pieces of Mayor Swearengin’s downtown plan. [The Bee]

WTF HANFORD: Dude goes on rampage, smashing car windows, assaulting cops. [The Bee]

WTF VISALIA: Visalia HS student makes a ‘Racists reactions to Obama victory’ list. [Jezebel]

COOL: Fresno Grizzlies and downtown charter school partner for community garden. [Grizzlies]

LISTEN TO THIS: New single from Fresno rapper Fashawn. [Soundcloud]

PEACE OUT: Two Fresno TV personalities jetting for new jobs. [The Bee]

WELCOME: New local publication, Fresno Life Magazine. [The Business Journal]

YELPER OF THE WEEK: Stave S., whose thoughtful and thorough reviews are a joy. [Yelp]

ALREADY: Bee letter writer starts campaigning for Bush/Rice 2016. [The Bee]

WATCH THIS: “The Drop” video series features Halo the Human. [AlwaysMusicTV]

Hurricane Sandy: the Internet is lying to you

Amid the destruction that Hurricane Sandy has unleashed on the East Coast, it’s also responsible for a lot of misinformation being passed around the Internet by people rubber-necking the storm via social media.

Here in Fresno, we go outside and see sunny skies and 80-degree temperatures. So when your mom shares something on Facebook that she got from someone she knew 20 years ago, it’s easy to believe it’s legit. We can’t just look out the window and know better. Besides, when did Mom ever lie to you?

However, many of the pictures getting passed most frequently are, at worst, totally Photoshopped or, at best, being used in the wrong context. This includes the original version of the now meme-ized pic above. The original, with a sky from Nebraska looking down ominously at Lady Liberty, is still the first thing that comes up in a Google Images search for “Hurricane Sandy.”

The pic of guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier? Also not entirely true. That photo was taken in September — but soldiers are guarding it. The Atlantic and Mashable both have good photo-fact-checking collections, if you want sort the real from the fake.

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Talking points: Clovis’ sex ed teachings subject of lawsuit

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A few years ago, I wrote a column in The Bee about what I thought was a stuck-in-the-1950s policy regarding hair length at Clovis Unified. As you might imagine, the response I got to that column wasn’t exactly positive. I have to imagine the people who are upset about that column are probably upset about the latest Clovis Unified story that’s making national news. And, no, I’m not talking about that lip dub video.

On Tuesday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Clovis Unified on behalf of two parents who think the school district’s sex ed curriculum is outdated and doesn’t meet state guidelines. As you can imagine in our ever-polarized society, this story has created a lot of conflicting opinions. The story as been picked up by The Huffington Post, Salon, Fox News, the L.A. Times, Think Progress and others.

Think Progress gave it the most provocative spin:

Students in a Fresno County, California, school district are taught that HIV can be spread through kissing, and the right way to prevent STDs is by going out in groups with friends, getting plenty of rest, and practicing abstinence. Their “Lifetime Health” textbook, which Clovis Unified School District uses for its high school sex education curriculum, makes no mention of condoms or contraception.

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Fres-Know: Because you can’t get all your Fresno news from Conan O’Brien


WATCH THIS: Local musician Bobby Joe Neely’s “Obama Song.” [YouTube]

NEWS: Central High b-ball coach faces DUI, manslaughter charges. [The Bee]

NEWS: Memphis gets schooled on fighting gangs from Fresno PD. [WREG]

HA! Conan Night at Grizzlies — Conans, O’Briens and redheads free. [Grizzlies]

IT CAME FROM FRESNO: Draft Night fantasy football app. [iTunes]

SPORTS: Derek Carr named preseason player of the year. [Sports Buzz]

SURVEY SAYS: Fresno makes Forbes list for buying vs. renting. [Forbes]

WIN: Tickets to see The Black Keys at Save Mart Center. [Fresno Famous]

GOOD READ: Story behind breakfast food truck Benaddiction. [Famous]

SHIRTLESS MISSED CONNECTION OF THE WEEK: That says it. [Craigslist]

ANGRY YELPER OF THE WEEK: Get work, Don Pepe ladies! [Yelp]

GOOD READ: Anthony Taylor on the “Inspirado” of Pecha Kucha. [Windsong]

DID THEY JUST SAY FRESNO: The literary edition. [Opinion Talk]

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Beer Olympics in Fresno on Aug. 4. [Facebook]

COOL: Local band Strange Vine gets spin from Adam Carolla. [Twitter]

Will the Colorado shooting affect your movie-going habits?

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By now, you’ve surely all heard about the sickeningly senseless shooting rampage inside an Aurora, Colo., movie theater last night at a midnight screening of the “Dark Knight Rises.” A dozen people are dead and 50 are injured thus far.

It is, at least for the moment, casting a dark shadow over what was expected to be one of the biggest films of the year. Just like in Aurora, countless fans flocked to midnight screening around the country last night (Fresno included), clocking a record-breaking $28-30 million.

But what happens now? As I drove to work this morning, I was listening to a report about the shooting on KMJ. Hosts Blake Taylor and Ray Appleton agreed the shooting would hurt ticket sales this weekend and people would probably be less likely to dress up and go to midnight premieres in the future.

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Fres-Know: No longer Fresno’s most abused post

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FACEBOOK PAGE OF THE DAY: Fresno’s Most Abused Post. [Facebook]

NEWS: Open-air homeless church cleared out. [The Bee]

HELP: With funeral costs for student who drowned at Millerton Lake. [Indiegogo]

MUGSHOT OF THE DAY: Michael Kitley, identity theft suspect. [The Bee]

APPARENTLY A REAL THING: Fresno’s “Smelly Bandit.” [The Bee]

DO THIS: Sign up to present at Pecha Kucha 16. [Pecha Kucha]

WELCOME TO THE ‘NET: Fresno-based girl-geek blog. [Geek for the Real Girl]

HADOUKEN: “Street Fighter” tournament at Cereal Trip. [Twitter]

LISTEN TO THIS: New Dead in 60 Years podcast w/ Fierce Creatures. [iTunes]

LOOK: Local teen pop singer Ryan Beatty on Good Day L.A. [MyFoxLA]

WATCH THIS: More dubstep violin from Patrick Contreras. [World Star Hip Hop]

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Biz Boot Camp on 7/24. [Downtown Partnership]

John Malos back on local TV

LIF HDO JOHN MALOS.JPG Former KMPH (Channel 26.1) anchor John Malos is returning to local TV. He will host “Connect With Me,” a new talk show on the Me-TV Network seen locally on KGMC (Channel 43.6) and Comcast Channel 187. The show will originate from a set that has been built at Ventura TV’s showroom. Ventura is the lone local sponsor on the station owned by Cocola Broadcasting.

The show debuts at 10:30 a.m. April 9.

“I am truly excited to host ‘Connect With Me’ as I feel that the show will provide a unique and interesting forum for viewers to engage me and my guests, to get the answers and stories they’re not getting anywhere else,” says Malos.

Since his departure from KMPH in 2005, Malos has made several attempts to launch a talk programing including an online version.

The new TV show will have a varied daily themes that will include business, the community, arts & culture, entertainment and sports. There also will be a segment called “On the Air… Off the Press,” that examines traditional and electronic media.

You can contact the show via phone, social media, and email.

“One of the best things about this show is that viewers will be able to call-in or use social media to connect and interact with John and his guests, which ranges from local business owners, celebrities, industry experts, community leaders, and more,” says Ara Catchatoorian, Executive Producer and one of the show’s creators.

If you miss the live morning show, it will be repeated at 7:30 p.m.

Will you vote to re-elect Mayor Ashley Swearengin?

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From the not-a-surprise-to-anybody-who-follows-local-politics department: Mayor Ashley Swearengin announced Thursday her plans to seek a second term.

In announcing her candidacy, Swearengin said: “I could not be more pleased with the progress of our city. We cannot stop now.”

From the sound of the today’s story — and other recent news coverage — most are considering Swearengin a shoo-in for a second term. The Bee’s George Hostetter writes:

Swearengin almost certainly will face competition in the June primary, and it’s looking almost equally certain that none of her opponents will have the name recognition and war chest to run anything other than a long-shot campaign …

That means the 2012 mayoral election is shaping up as a replay of the 2004 race when incumbent Alan Autry, despite his best efforts to find an acceptable candidate to take his place, ran a low-key campaign against weak competition in the primary and won in a landslide.

That, however, is countered by disgruntled Facebook commenters (what else is new?) who don’t seem to be buying it. One writes: “Who’s running against her? I’ll work for them 24/7 for FREE.” So I throw it to you, voters of Fresno, would you vote for another four years of Ashley? Why or why not?

Underground music venue The Bel-Tower fights to stay open

The fate of all-ages, underground music venue The Bel-Tower is up in the air after a weekend in which the club was shut down by local authorities and its loyal fans began a campaign to save the Belmont Avenue space.

The Bel-Tower — which holds about 100 people for shows and is at 69 E. Belmont Ave. — had a meeting at noon today to talk to Fresno PD and local Alcoholic Beverage Control. Afterward, the club beckoned its devotees for a discussion about the venue’s future.

We’ll probably hear specifics from those meetings soon, but it’s already sounds like The Bel-Tower will need to get the proper permits to operate as a venue. Management is anticipating some repair costs to get the place up to code, as well.

There’s a “Save the Bel-Tower” petition circulating online and a fundraising campaign that so far has only yielded $30.

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Fresno: We’re overpriced, want to be healthier but we’re not very literate

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As you may know, I don’t give those rank-the-city lists that call Fresno the best this or worst that too much credence. Most of them, you have to know, are marketing ploys and attempts to get website clicks.

But I do find them entertaining. And Lord knows we Fresnans love to talk about them. So here are a few lists we’ve ended up on recently. Interpret them as you will.

Fresno makes the front page of Yahoo! … and not for a good reason

Fresno and its 15.7% unemployment ranks No. 2 on U.S.News & World Report’s “Top 10 Worst Cities to Find a Job” list — which hit the national spotlight today when it was prominently featured on Yahoo!’s. front page

Even more troubling: Six of the top seven cities are from the San Joaquin Valley with Merced at No. 1, Modesto at No. 3, Stockton at No. 4, Visalia-Porterville at No. 5 and Bakersfield-Delano at No. 7.

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There’s got to be at least a little bit of sad irony in this happening on the same day an estimated 1,500 Fresno County employees walked out of their jobs as part of a three-day strike to protest a 9% paycut.

Big news: Jerry Dyer retires as police chief

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UPDATE: News from today’s press conference is that Jerry Dyer will retire as police chief on Thursday, but stay on as “interim chief” until a replacement is found.

“I love the city of Fresno and I love the Fresno Police Department,” Dyer said. “It’s difficult for me to pull away, but I know the timing is right.”

You can read more from The Bee here.

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‘Nobody’s afraid to come downtown anymore’

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Sunday’s Bee had a good story from intern Victoria Guida about the rise of Fresno’s Mural District or Uptown or the Cultural Arts District — or whatever the cool kids are calling that section of downtown these days. As I read it, one quote jumped off the page at me:

“Nobody’s afraid to come downtown anymore.”

That was from area business owner Carla Barraza, whose point of view offers a good framework for a story about the makeover in the area. She knew it when it was dangerous place, and now she’s seeing it transform thanks to Fulton 55, Iron Bird Lofts, the numerous other housing developments and the businesses they’ve attracted.

But it was that one statement of hers — not just because of the obvious hyperbole — that I dwelled on for a while. As you’d expect, the oft-belligerent comments on fresnobee.com took exception, spouting off with statement such as:

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Fres-Know: We’re No. 1, We’re No. 1 … ohhh, wait, this isn’t a good thing

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NEWS: Lock your doors! Fresno No. 1 nationally in auto thefts. [The Bee]

NO DUH: The heat is on. It’s June and this is Fresno. You’re surprised? [The Bee]

WELL DONE: Jim Boren stands up to city’s plan to close swimming pools. [Opinion Talk]

BLOGGINGS: Councilman Blong Xiong’s got balls. [The Fresnan]

WELCOME: That Fresno Blog joins the local blogosphere. [That Fresno Blog]

EAT LOCAL: Fresno Bites reviews Big Bruh’s soul food. [Fresno Bites]

BLOGGINGS: A look at the inaugural Fresno Chile Festival. [Fresno Urban]

GO TO THIS: 59 Days of Code conference starts today and runs ’til tomorrow. [The Bee]

GOOD READ: Fresno-born clothing line getting major love in China [Fresno Famous]

FREE STUFF: Win tickets to a screening of “Larry Crowne.” [Dumb Drum]

ICYMI: A(nother) great blog read from The Bee’s George Hostetter. [City Beat]

YAY FRESNO: Buchanan HS grad finishes third at U.S. Open. [The Bee]

BLOGGINGS: Could Fresno host a huge music festival? [What Fresno Wants]

Talking points: Cops and Club Photos — offensive or good PR?

Of all the controversies we’ve heard related to local nightclub events, this is a new one. Some local police officers and firefighters are facing scrutiny after posing with bikini-clad models outside Aldo’s Nightclub last Wednesday during a car show.

The story broke over the weekend thanks to KSEE 24. Here’s their report:

As you would expect, every news outlet in town (including The Bee) latched onto the story, particularly after the Police Chief Jerry Dyer and City Manager Mark Scott announced the incident was being investigated. Meanwhile, the story has spread all the way to Boston TV.

The pics were the work of ClubFlys, a site that has been documenting nightlife events in town for years — and is no stranger to racy photos.

Reading The Bee’s story, one quote that struck me was from ClubFlys founder Sal Hernandez, who said:

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Granite Park’s Club Rome opening tonight, despite arson attempt

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Seems like you can’t have a Granite Park nightclub opening without a little bit of 11th hour chaos.

In the case of Club Rome — which opens tonight and takes over the old Cabo Wabo/Edge space — that came in the form an early morning arson attempt.

Here’s the news from The Bee’s Jim Guy:

A new nightclub in the troubled Granite Park development will go ahead with its debut tonight despite a bungled attempt to firebomb the building this morning.

Club Rome, which is opening at the site of the failed Cabo Wabo and The Edge nightclubs in east-central Fresno, was the target of an arson attempt about 4 a.m. this morning, according to the Fresno Fire Department. Firefighters found flames at the front of the building and heavy smoke inside.

Club Rome employees were cleaning up damage this morning and entertainment director Lewis Everk said damage was minimal.

“The fire did not stop us,” he said.

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A whole lot of talk about butts

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Two words I never thought would become a regular part of my vocabulary: butt drag.

I feel like I’m being stalked by conversations about butts and butt parts. After this week, I now know more about butt anatomy than I ever wanted to. It’s all thanks to the ongoing court drama about a wrestling move that may or may not be deemed sexual assault depending on the perspective.

I heard and read about those two little words more than dozen times yesterday between news meetings I attend at The Bee, Facebook, Twitter and conversations with friends and family. There are buttons. There are letters to the editor like this. There are dozens and dozens of jokes. There’s debate. There are thousands of links on Google.

I get it, I find the story weirdly fascinating too. But how much butt talk can one person take in a week? Make it stop!

[Button: James Collier]

PREVIOUSLY ON THE BEEHIVE: Talking Points: Wrestling can be a drag

Is Pedro Ramirez really THAT bad of a dude?

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At this point, the story of Pedro Ramirez — the student body president at Fresno State who admitted this week that he’s an undocumented immigrant– has probably been debated each which way.

Commenters, not surprisingly, have caused a ruckus on fresnobee.com. The national press has picked it up — with much chatter on MSNBC, The Huffington Post and The L.A. Times.

As you might expect, the response has been polarizing. Some think he should be allowed to be student body president. Some don’t. For one, school president John Welty commended Ramirez in a statement released Wednesday. This much is for sure: No internet troll is going to decide Ramirez’s fate as student body president.

But what people have done a good job of — from their Facebook pages all the way to the national media site — is demonizing this kid. The venom being spewed about this is almost laughable, if not for the fact that some people believe it. I’ve seen people call Ramirez disgusting, a disgrace and an embarrassment. To that, I only have to ask: REALLY?

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Shout out to a local hero

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UPDATE: Our new local hero — Victor Perez is his full name, we now know — made the top of CNN.com this evening. Here’s the story from his perspective. Perez is destined to be on “The Today Show” or “Good Morning America” soon.

ORIGINAL POST: By now, you’ve probably heard about the 8-year-old girl, who was kidnapped last night from the front of her home. Thankfully, she was found this morning, and safely returned to her mother.

The latest from The Bee is that the suspected kidnapper, a 24-year-old named Gregorio Gonzalez, has been arrested. But perhaps the most riveting part of the story is how a good Samaritan helped the little girl escape.

[the girl] bolted from the kidnapper’s pickup truck early this morning after the pickup was cut off and stopped by a driver who had recognized the truck from television reports. [Police Chief Jerry] Dyer said the “good Samaritan” had followed the pickup, then cut it off after he saw the little girl’s head pop up in a window.

We still don’t know exactly who this heroic guy is — KMJ says his name is Victor — but he deserves a virtual pat on the back from all of us.

*Note: We’ve removed the girl’s name from this post, keeping with The Bee’s policy of not naming children who are victims of crimes.