Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

QnA with Cristobal Carrillo, organizer of Orosi’s Spanspek Festival


The Spanspek Music and Arts Festival is a teach-by-doing kind of endeavor.

Founded in 2006, the annual event brings locally created visual and performing arts to the community of Cutler-Orosi with the hope that it will inspire the youth in the area on their own artistic paths.

Dozens of local visual and performing artist will put their work on display 6 p.m. tomorrow at the Orosi Memorial Hall. All festival proceeds go toward funding Orosi High School scholarships, commissioning new works from local artists and ensuring the continuation of the event in the future.

Over the years, organizers Cristobal Carrillo and Israel Flores have developed a knack for spotting new local talent — such as Visalia psyche blues band Slow Season and the Dinuba hip hop collective, Roach Collection. Both play this year, along with local heavy hitters Patrick Contreras and the rock duo Strange Vine.

I emailed with Carrillo to find out more about growing up as an artist in a small, rural town and why this year’s lineup of musicians seems so great.

Read more

Spanspek Music and Arts Festival announces 2014 lineup


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.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

3-28-14-3Between figuring out your taxes and health insurance

1. Antiques and Collectibles Fair
Because you’ve seen every episode of “Antiques Roadshow.” Or, more likely “American Pickers,” I guess.

2. Patrick Contreras w/Merlinda Espinosa
Patrick’s catch phrase is “violin on fire.” Here, he will literally set his violin on fire while playing. Wait. I made that up. I’m pretty sure he’s being figurative.

3. Tulare Sci-Fi Con.
A local science fiction fan festival? Yes, please. This is the event’s inaugural year.
4. Dirty Limbs demo release
Lo-fi garage rock with hints of proto- punk. Dirty in all the best ways.

5. “Cesar Chavez
It’s like, our history.

Tonight: Patrick Contreras’ DVD release

Patrick Contreras has been absent from the scene for awhile. He’s been busy travelling, playing and expanding his musical horizons (he’s gotten into hip-hop and electronic dance music). He’s played huge EDM festivals, been featured on World Star Hip-Hop and took a trip to Guinea Bissau, West Africa, where he shot this video of “Hallelujah.” The video will be included on a new DVD that he’s releasing tonight with a show at Frank’s Place.

If you’re interested in Contreras’ new direction, he assures me it will be mind blowing and on full display tonight (I may have added the mind blowing part, but still…)

The Kai hoopla: the plot thickens


So after “Kai as Hero” went viral, it turns out there’s another side to the story: Kai’s hatchet didn’t stop the attacker in the case.  The Bee’s Marc Benjamin reports:

The driver struck down by Caleb “Kai” McGillivary’s hatchet was able to stand up and move toward the utility worker he had hit with his car, another Pacific Gas & Electric employee testified Friday … Worker Kenneth Simon testified Friday that he and his fellow workers did not know what Kai, the hatchet-wielding attacker of Jett McBride, was doing so they ordered him to leave. Simon said Kai took off running.

No wonder Rayshawn Neely, the injured PG&E worker, hasn’t been so impressed with the media circus surrounding Kai.

It will be interesting to see how KMPH handles this latest development. Sure, it’s still nice that Kai tried to stop the attacker. But Jessob Reisbeck, the KMPH reporter who so breathlessly introduced Kai to the world as a hero, is no longer sitting on such a tidy “laidback surfer dude saves the day” franchise. Drat, that added nuance doesn’t lend itself quite so nicely to over-the-top TV correspondent swagger.

And let’s at least acknowledge that the reason this story went viral is the few precious seconds of Kai miming his hatchet blow while saying “suh-mash, suh-mash, suh-mash.” That’s what gets hits on YouTube and bookings on national late-night talk shows. Kai, you’re a born performer. (But just imagine what a headache for a director.)

Read more

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than taking the new downtown ice rink for a spin or watching the Veterans Day parade.

Swede Fest is bigger and better, back for its 10th installment Sunday. It’s happening at Tower Theatre, a dream realized for organizers of this quirky film festival.  It showcases low-budget parodies made by everyone from average joes to seasoned pros. Creativity, ingenuity and a sense of humor are king at Swede Fest, so you never know what you’re going to see. It’s free and open to movie lovers of all ages. For more on Swede Fest’s growth and rise to popularity, read this Q & A with the organizers. [More]

Read more

Win tickets to see Patrick Contreras and Lance Canales & The Flood

WAVS concert poster 2012.jpg

What can Fresno do to help drug trafficking in West Africa? Go see some great music.

Saturday night, Fulton 55 hosts the Concert for a Drug Cartel Free Africa, a second annual benefit for West African Vocational Schools, a Fresno non-profit that runs a job-training center in Guinea-Bissau (see video below).

The concert features two local faves: Violinist Patrick Contreras and roots rock/Americana group Lance Canales & The Flood. Tickets cost $7 in advance or $12 at the door. Orrrrrrrrr, if you’re lucky enough, you can walk away with a pair of tickets just by commenting on this post.

We’re giving away two pair of tickets. All you have to do to get entered is leave a comment below. Deadline is 5 p.m. Thursday. We’ll notify the winners by e-mail, so please leave a real e-mail address and please check it. Complete rules below.

Read more

Fres-Know: Was Conan already here and we missed him?

STILL CAMPAINGING: Bring CoCo to Fresno: The video. [Gotta Love Fresno]

WATCH THIS: Patrick Contreras = Talent of the Week. [World Star Hip-Hop]

NEWS: Loren LeBeau pleads not guilty in vehicular manslaughter case. [The Bee]

R.I.P.: Derrel Ridenour, founder of Derrel’s Mini Storage. [The Bee]

WELCOME TO THE INTERNET: A Fresnocentric .gif blog. [Fresno Livin’]

GOOD READ: Profile of local web entrepreneur Rob Walling. [Frebbys]

WATCH THIS: Campaigning for a local b-boy’s legacy. [YouTube]

GO TO THIS: The Soulflower Group’s tribute to Def Jam Records. [Facebook]

LOOKIN’ GOOD: A website revitalized. [Downtown Fresno Partnership]

IT COULD BE YOURS: Lifted McDonald’s Cutlass with Gucci interior. [Craigslist]

CASTING CALL: Locals wanted for MTV’s “It Gets Better.” [Gay Central Valley]

LISTEN TO THIS: Fresno-based, streaming-everywhere shoegaze radio. [DKFM]

THIS WEEKEND: Fresno Covers Fresno. Read about it. [The Fresnan]

KICKSTART: New music from local band Achievement House. [Fresno Famous]

Mark your calendar: Fuse Fest 2012


Fresno’s biggest music festival is back for its fifth year next month. That’s the Fresno Urban Sound Experience, or simply Fuse Fest, happening Sept. 6-8.

The lineup was announced this morning and true to form, it’s packed with local music of all genres — from Achievement House to Your Hero is a Villain, with Before Perils, Light Thieves, Patrick Contreras, Collecto, Niilo Smeds all in the middle. There’s Kat Jones and Blake Jones (no relation), plus the return of Sparklejet. There’s a grand total of 37 acts.

You can get the full band list at, Fresno Famous or The Fresnan.

This year’s festival is stretched out through three days — starting off with an ArtHop event at The Hashtag on Sept. 6, followed by the festival’s first night on Sept. 7 which has a cluster of venues that includes Fulton 55 (two stages), The Lamp Post and Iron Bird Lofts. On Sept. 8, the festival moves to Arte Americas, CMAC, Frank’s Place, ‘Fishbowl’ Stage at Warnors Theatre, Fresno Brewing Company and Tokyo Garden.

Fres-Know: Dude, where’s our car? Oh, right, it’s stolen.


NEWS: Fresno still No. 1 city for car thefts. [The Bee]

LOOK: Chris Colfer on cover of Entertainment Weekly. [EW]

WTF MADERA: 154 cats discovered at dead man’s home. [The Bee]

YAY FRESNO: Fresno-born comic has Showtime special this weekend. [The Bee]

COOL: Hate FX + Patrick Contreras collabo makes new. [Blabbermouth]

WATCH THIS: Looking for late-night eats. [TasteFresno]

REVIEWED: Getting Irish at O’Sullivans. [Dead in 60 Years]

NICE: Oregon brewing company taps Fierce Creatures. [The Fresnan]

GOOD READ: Storyland celebrates 50 years. [Fresno Famous]

NEWS: Wesson home to become an AutoZone. [The Bee]

WELCOME TO THE INTERNET: “Critic’s voice” for Fresno. [Good, Bad, Fresno]

… AND: One critic reviews a sandwich he hasn’t eaten. Fail. [Good, Bad, Fresno]

Tonight: The live music tour de Fresno … and a stop in Visalia too

image001.gif 546258_10150703528819364_1922204016_n.jpg

Tonight’s not ArtHop or Jazz Hop, but it is a chance to hop around Fresno and hear live music — some of it for F-R-E-E.

Patrick Contreras … going viral?

Fresno music lovers don’t need any introduction to adventurous violinist Patrick Contreras, who has made a career out of doing the out-of-the-ordinary. But the rest of the country is getting to know his work thanks to the Internet.

In early April, Contreras put a cover of “Wicked Games” by on-fire-right-now R&B act The Weeknd. The video — from Akira Productions — got featured last week on World Star Hip Hop, one of the most popular hip-hop sites on the ‘net and has racked up more than 50,000 views there. It’s also been featured on a number of blogs, including NME and Power 98.3.

RELATED: In other news of Fresno covering The Weeknd, check out electro-crooner Sahab’s take on “The Knowing.”

Great Fresno Tweetup: An update


We’re just a few days away from the Great Fresno Tweetup, our annual gathering of the Twittersphere with the Fresno Grizzlies. All the basic details were already announced, but here are a few cool updates:

  • On Tuesday afternoon, we’re having a downtown scavenger hunt (#DowntownScavengerHunt?) and the winner will get to throw out the first pitch at Thursday’s game. The first clue will come via Twitter, so watch @fresnobeehive and @fresnogrizzlies for that.
  • More fun: The Beehive is also hosting “Amazing Race — Tweetup Style” within the confines of Chukchansi Park. Space is limited to five teams of two. If you want to compete, let me know either by leaving a comment or tweeting me. It’ll start at 6:15 p.m.
  • Since Thursday is ArtHop and JazzHop, we’re adding a little bit of both our event. We’ll have live music from Patrick Contreras and art from Adam Valentino. Music starts at 6 p.m., when the gates open and beer sales start.
  • One thing to check out before the event is the debut of the Thursday Night Live concert series on the Fulton Mall, right outside the ballpark. MoFo Party Band is playing. It’s free and starts at 4:30 p.m.
  • Remember: To get on the list for the tweetup, RSVP to @fresnogrizzlies on Twitter.

ValleyWho: Onward to Round 2


Round 1 is done and now ValleyWho Round 2 is up to you. Voting in the round of 32 started this morning and runs until 8 p.m. Tuesday. So get those votes in.

There are some intriguing matchups — Colfer vs. Dilfer, Perry vs. Beatty, Seaver vs. Radka. This is gonna be fun to keep an eye on. But first, let’s recap some of what transpired in Round 1:

  • Teen pop singer Ryan Beatty and his rabid fanbase pulled off a wild comeback to swing a matchup that Pat Hill had been dominating throughout. Beatty lovers made up a more than 20% deficit in the final hours. Going up against Steve Perry in Round 2 is going to be a task for Team Beatty.
  • The Almond Regional was full of late surges. Patrick Contreras got close to Nick Watney, Stefani Booroojian almost topped Richard Kiel and Gnarley Charley got within yee-hawing distance of Christopher Gorham. It was the Booroojian/Kiel pairing that ended closest. Kiel won by 47 votes.

Read more

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than getting “drunk and disorderly” at Club Habanos

So I may or may not be related to the lead singer of the band headlining Starline on Saturday night. Depends on who you ask in my family. It’s Death Angel, a veteran Bay Area metal band, and Mark Osegueda is its pipes. The show also includes Warbringer and is the four-year anniversary celebration for concert promoter Diehardz Music. It’s a treat for metal heads, as Death Angel’s metal legacy dates back to the early ’80s and is quite legit. And I’m not saying that ’cause the singer might be my kin. [Tix]


Read more

Win tickets to the WAVS benefit show with Patrick Contreras and Wadaba

UPDATE: Our winner is Charmaine. Congrats!

ORIGINAL POST: Friday night Fulton 55 hosts a benefit concert for West African Vocational Schools — which is run by former Bee scribe Chris Collins. The concert stars local musicians Patrick Contreras, Wadaba (an African drummer), Kemaya and Carlos Rodriguez.

Read Collins’ compelling Bee piece about the school and check here for more info on the concert.

Tickets are on sale now for $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Or you can win a pair right here. Just leave a comment below and we’ll pick a winner at random. Deadline to enter is 9 a.m. Friday. Winner will be notified by e-mail, so please leave a read address and please check it. Official rules below.

Read more

Beehive guide to Cinco de Mayo

If you’re looking for something to do Thursday night to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, here are some of the things that have come across my desk. Feel free to add other things to do in the comments.

Rome Nightclub

Hosts a fiesta hosted by DJ Efren Ramirez, aka Pedro. Expect drink specials and a taco bar starting at 5 p.m. Event goes to 2 a.m.


Read more

Fresno musicians combine to help Japan

Once again, local musicians are quick to help after an international disaster. Longtime local musician Vince Warner has organized a benefit concert to help with earthquake/tsunami relief in Japan.

The concert is Sunday at Starline, with a long list of local musicians already confirmed — such as Journey tribute band Midnight Run, jazz vocalist Karen Marguth, Warner’s classic rock cover band Rockville, violinist Patrick Contreras. More are listed on the flier below, and acts are still being added to the lineup.


“In a disaster, so often people want to help, but they don’t know how,” Warner said. “It’s our hope that they can feel good about giving in a tangible way while enjoying some of the extraordinary musical talent we have in the Valley.”

Money raised will go to AmeriCares.

What did you think of Fulton 55?

It was a successful first weekend for Fulton 55 in terms of attendance. The new downtown concert venue reports almost 1,000 people were through the doors for its first two shows — Patrick Contreras on Friday and Let’s Go Bowling/King Sugar on Saturday. And that’s with the no-alcohol thing.

But was the opening successful in public opinion? I was out there on Friday night, asked some people and recorded them while they answered. Check out the video, then tell us what you thought of the new venue in the comments.

Read more

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Or should it be 55 things you should do this weekend?

Is it any surprise Fulton 55 is No. 1 on the list? The new 500-capacity downtown concert venue opens tonight with current local music scene top dog Patrick Contreras and has its second show Saturday night with local ska legends Let’s Go Bowling (with help from King Sugar). If you need to get up to speed: Take a look inside Fulton 55 and read the story behind the new venue. Remember: The shows start earlier. Doors at 6 p.m. Music at 8 p.m. You can get tix online at or in-person at Iron Bird Cafe and The Laundry Room. Online tix are sold out for tonight’s show, but there will be some available at the door. See ya there!


Read more

Win tickets to Fulton 55′s grand opening with Patrick Contreras


UPDATE: Congrats to our winner, Kathryn Stiers. Check your e-mail, Kathryn! Thanks for playing everyone. Hope you enjoy your weekend.

ORIGINAL POST: I’ve told you all about Fulton 55. I gave you a sneak peek inside Fresno’s newest concert venue. Now I’m giving you a chance to win tickets to Friday’s grand opening concert featuring popular local violinist Patrick Contreras.

Just leave a comment below telling us why you’re looking forward to either Fulton 55 or Patrick Contreras and you’re entered. Deadline to enter is 9 a.m. Friday. Our winner will be chosen at random and notified via e-mail, so leave a real address. No multiple comments. You are ineligible if you’ve won something in the past 30 days. Full rules below.

If you don’t win and want to buy tickets, you can get them at, Iron Bird Cafe, The Laundry Room or at the door … as long as it doesn’t sell out in advance. Check this new tune from Contreras too:

Read more

A sneak peek inside Fulton 55

We’re just a few days away from the grand opening of new downtown concert venue Fulton 55. It opens Friday night with Patrick Contreras (we’ll have tickets to giveaway on Thursday) and Let’s Go Bowling/King Sugar on Saturday night.

While I was working on this story about Fulton 55′s opening, Bee photog Mark Crosse snapped these photos to give you some idea of what to expect when you finally get inside.

mike 6.jpg

Read more

The Week Ahead: Fulton 55′s opening, Karen Marguth, Monte Negro and more

THE GRAND OPENING OF FULTON 55: Downtown music venue Fulton 55 opens its door this weekend, with rock violinist Patrick Contreras playing on Friday night, then a one-two punch of local ska on Saturday — Let’s Go Bowling and King Sugar. Tickets here.

ANOTHER GOOD LOCAL PICK: Jazz vocalist Karen Marguth is playing Friday night at The Brick Wall with Espacio. She’s a splendid singer who recently got some high praise from Downbeat Magazine.

LOTS OF LAUGHIN’: Jeff Dunham is at Save Mart Center on Saturday night (watch for a ticket giveaway soon), there’s another installment of the popular Madtown Comedy Jam on Friday and Saturday and Rick Roddam headlines Crossroads’ Tuesday night comedy show, which is being filmed for a live DVD titled “Stay Classy Fresno.”

Read more

Fulton 55: More shows, more info


Since we last talked about Fulton 55, the lineup of shows coming to the new downtown concert venue has grown big time.

More top-notch local bands have been added (MoFo Party Band, Six Ounce Gloves) and some touring acts are starting to show up too (Truth & Salvage Co., Jackie Greene and Cash’d Out).

Plans are still for Fulton 55 to open on Jan. 28 with Patrick Contreras. Here’s the rest of the lineup. Tickets for all the shows can be purchased at

You should also keep an eye on

To-Do Tonight: Patrick Contreras and Omar Nare’s EP release party

Patrick Contreras, the always-busy local violinist, and one of his favorite current musical cohorts, Omar Nare, are having a release party tonight for their new EP “Musique.”

The event is part live performance, part listening party. It’s starts at 7 p.m. and is free to attend. It’s at Cafe Corazon in the Tower District, so be sure to get some yummo coffee while you’re there.

Check out the first song from the EP, “First Kiss” — or just grab yourself a free MP3 download below, courtesy of Mr. Contreras.

DOWNLOAD: Patrick Contreras/Omar Nare – “First Kiss”