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.
Future Islands‘ singer Samuel Herring was recently described to me in a Facebook message as “the best frontman in the biz today.” This was the opinion of a friend who was smitten by the synthpop trio after seeing their set at Coachella. The description was followed by a video link of that set and this message: “Fast forward to 21:00 and that was the point the crowd lost their s%$t on his sexual energy.”
If you want a sign that downtown revitalization can happen, there’s this: The Warnors Center for the Performing Arts, the nonprofit organization that operates the Warnors Theatre and the accompanying venues and commercial spaces, ended the fiscal year in the black.
The amount was minimal, for sure, but it’s the first time anyone can remember the nonprofit making money since it took over, says Christopher Dutrey, acting executive director and interim CEO for the complex. Dutrey took over when Dan Fitzpatrick left at the end of last year.
1. HAVE AN UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT
NYC hip-hop duo Camp Lo — famous for their stellar 1997 album, “Uptown Saturday Night” — are at Fulton 55 on Saturday as part of the anniversary tour for the album. It’s a cool gig, particularly if you’ve never seen “Luchini” pour from the sky. [More]
1. SEE SOME SWEDES
Saturday brings us the sixth installment of Fresno’s wacky, magical and homegrown Swede Fest. If you’re unfamiliar, “swedes” are short, low-budget remakes of popular movies made by anybody — from experienced filmmakers to people with Flip Cams. Two other big selling points: the event is free and it’s open to all ages. Below is a special swede that festival organizers Bryan and Roque made to promote their appearance on “Great Day” this week, and it’s a perfect example of what sweding is all about.
Then I darted over to Star Palace for Fashawn’s big show. Nearly 700 people showed up to see the young rapper’s first local show of the year, many of them crowding up close to the stage and rapping along. If there was a show where you looked at Fash and said, “This kid is a star in Fresno,” it was this show.
Here are some videos of Fashawn and co-headliner Curren$y. (NSFW language)
Many of these shouldn’t be a surprise, if you’ve been reading the site this week …
1. GET GRIZZLY WITH FASHAWN
Rapper Fashawn – the biggest national artist we Fresnans can call our own right now — is doing his first local show of the year tonight at Star Palace. He’s celebrating the release of his new mixtape, “Grizzly City 3,” (which is out via download today). He’s also got another buzzy hip-hopper coming to help out — Curren$y. Expect a big crowd.
I was very impressed a couple weeks back at the crowd Sierra Vista Mall drew for its Rock the Mall concert. That was place was PACKED — like more packed than any of the hip club shows all us bloggers tend to talk about so much.
Tonight is the start of the Central Valley Comedy Competition. By June 5, one comic will be crowned the funniest in the Valley. But before that, there are a number of preliminary sounds to sort out the finalists from the wannabes.
The prelims are running every day this week, at various locations around tonight. Tonight and Tuesday they’ll be at Crossroads. Wednesday they’re at The Press Box and Thursday they’re at Austin’s. The semi-finals are at Thai Palms on Saturday. For a full rundown of the comedy competition, read this story.
The project is trying to bring new life to each venue, including a good list of shows that have been booked between now and November. Swing big-band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and popular Christian trio Point of Grace have been booked for November dates at Warnors, while Star Palace is starting a summer concert series that will have young rock bands and singer/songwriters playing on Friday nights Artists such as Seventh Day Slumber, JJ Heller and Lybecker are due for that.
Also exciting is that dynamo local promoters Love the Captive — who have brought Little Dragon and others to town — have signed on to book shows at Frank’s Place and Star Palace. In fact, I’m told that LTC is moving its June 26 date with Head Like a Kite from Starline to Frank’s Place.