With The Express shutting its doors last week, one event left homeless was the weekly Xotica Show, a popular drag show that’s been running for years. The Xotica crew wasted no time finding a new venue and isn’t even missing a week. Tonight, the show prances into Club Legends, the gay/lesbian nightclub at Shields and Maroa. It starts at 10 p.m.
They all closed for their own reasons, and you can read more about them in this weekend’s story that takes a look at the problem. The one thing they all have in common is that they’re still struggling with the lackluster economy.
1. SAY FAREWELL TO THE EXPRESS
With news earlier this week that long-time LGBT nightclub The Express is closing, you can expect big crowds for its final three days tonight, Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, the popular Xotica drag show — usually on Thursdays — will be capping the final night of the club. [More]
Ten years is longer than many Fresno nightclubs make it. That’s a mark The Express — a gay/lesbian-centered club on Blackstone Avenue under Highway 180 — recently hit. But it won’t make it 11 years. Not under its current regime anyway.
No exact closing date was given, but the club is expected to announce a few more events before week’s end. From the announcement by Lee Morris and Steve McBride:
As we complete our 10th year in business as the operators of the historic Express Nightclub, it is with great sadness that we must call it quits. Our decision is based on a combination of a bad economy and too many nightclubs catering to our targeted customer base. We have supported the club through this time with all of our personal financial resources, and there is just nothing left to give. We have resisted the temptation to broaden our customer base, instead focusing on traditional LGBT culture and activities. It unfortunately didn’t work. Although we have held many successful events since the remodeling, it just isn’t enough to allow us to continue the operation.
BLACK MILK: If you like hip-hop like I like hip-hop — which is to say, not the stuff on the radio — then see Black Milk at Fulton 55 on Wednesday night. Dude is doooooope.
XZIBIT: If you like hip-hop that I liked in 1996, then go see Xzibit at Rome Nightclub on Thursday night. I honestly can’t tell ya what Xzibit has done in the last five years, but his first two albums were also doooooope.
WILD BLUE: Iconic Fresno band The Wild Blue gets together again for a reunion show on Saturday night at Fulton 55. Last time it did one of these, the show was paaaaaaacked.
CELEBRATE THE EXPRESS + XOTICA: It’s anniversary time at The Express, Fresno’s popular gay nightclub. On Thursday night, the Xotica drag show celebrates its eight-year anniversary then The Express itself celebrates nine years on Saturday night.
It’s a busy Thursday night, so hold on tight while we whip around town and explore some places you could go:
THE BIG FRESNO FAIR: It’s the biggest night of live music at the fair — according to me at least. Billy Idol is the main attraction, playing the Paul Paul Theatre at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $40 and $45 and are available here.
On the local side of things: Tonight is also the fair’s Local Performer Showcase, which is basically a local music festival. Six acts won spots to play on the Pavilion Stage through online voting. They are: JayTee, Johnny and Vinnie (5 p.m.), Travis Miller (6 p.m.), Nowhere Near (7 p.m.), HR7 (8 p.m.), Motel Drive (9 p.m.) and Say Swear (10 p.m.)
Lots happening around Fresno on Thursday night. So I won’t waste any time, and just got right to it. Here are six things you could do tonight:
XOTICA ANNIVERSARY:Xotica — the weekly Thursday night drag show at The Express — is celebrating its seventh anniversary tonight. It’s been billed as the “drag event of the year” with seven performers and a red carpet opening at 10 p.m. Get more info at xotica.net.
CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL: Another annual celebration tonight is Fresno City College’s City Jazz Festival, which is in its 21st year. During the day — probably right this second — there are student band performances at Fresno City. But tonight’s there’s a headlining performance from saxophonist legend Bob Sheppard. More info on the flier below.
The most eye-catching event on the Thursday night agenda is a Nicki Minaj-themed version of the “Xotica” drag show at The Express. I don’t much care for Ms. Minaj’s music, but I imagine she’d be great fodder for a drag show, since she’s the hip-hop Lady Gaga and all.
QUIET! It’s not ArtHop night, but Tokyo Garden has a nice collection of local tunes for your Thursday night. It’s part of an occasional series called “Quiet!” where local musicians go unplugged for the evening. Tonight’s show features Malcolm Sosa from Rademacher, Niilo Smeds from High Winds, Luke Giffen from Quiet Americans and RC Essig from El Olio Wolof (R.I.P.) 9:30 p.m. $3.
While I start my vacation … see y’all on June 7! Have fun until then, Fresno!
1. SOAK IN THE SUDZ Sudz in the City is Saturday. That means lots and lots and lots and lots of beer. This year, they’ve done away with the whole “you get x number of tickets” deal, and instead you just get as much beer as you can wait in line for — though the lines will be long. There’s also food, music and all that kinda stuff. But beer is the main attraction, and there are 48 different types this year. More details here. And check out our Sudz in the City vs. Sex in the City comparison should you find yourself in such a predicament.
Wait? Are you sure it’s not Thursday? It sure feels like a Thursday, with all the stuff happening around tonight, especially at Tokyo Garden.
Tonight, Berkeley folk duo Odawas makes a tour stop, joining up with local faves Wheels of Fortune and a solo jaunt from Malcolm Sosa of Rademacher. No, there’s no ArtHop to go to before this. You could hit up Pub Quiz beforehand though.