The 9th Annual Fresno Film Festival kicks off tomorrow night at the Tower Theatre. The festival, presented by Fresno Filmworks, runs the full weekend, with five feature-film presentations, more than a dozen short-film screenings and a number of post-screening discussions and other fun stuff for all you cinephiles.
Our movie critic Rick Bentley screened two of the features (“Paris-Manhattan” and “Blancanieves”) and word around the office is they were stellar. You can read his reviews in tomorrow’s 7 Section.
In the mean time, we have tickets to festival to give out to couple Beehivers (that’s you). Because the festival starts tomorrow, this is a quickie. Leave a comment on this post. Tell us why your love Fresno Filmworks (or haven’t yet been introduced). We’ll pick two winners at random. Contest will close at 4 p.m. today and winners will be notified by email. NOTE: These are actual physical tickets, so winners will need to come down to The Bee’s front lobby by 5 p.m. tomorrow to pick them up.
No repeat entries, please. Check your email tonight to see if you’re the winner. Complete rules are on the jump.
If you love the music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Harry James and the Andrews Sisters, then the touring musical production of “In the Mood” is for you. It plays 3 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Tower Theatre and features the 13-piece String of Pearls Big Band Orchestra and six singers and dancers. Songs performed include “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B),” “In The Mood,” “Tuxedo Junction” and “Sing, Sing, Sing.”
I have six tickets to give away to the 3 p.m. show. (Weekday matinees are uncommon in Fresno, so note the time.) I’ll give two tickets each to the first three Beehive readers who comment on this post. (If you’d like, tell us your favorite Big Band song.) No repeat entries, please. These are paper tickets, so you’ll need to come down to The Bee’s front lobby by 2:30 p.m. Thursday to pick them up. If you’re one of the winners, I’ll contact you via email, so be sure to check yours. You can watch a promotional video for the show and read the complete rules are after the jump.
1. FIND YOUR LATIN R & B GROOVE AT FULTON 55
Latin R & B group Tierra, 40-year vets of the music biz, are a perfect fit for this oldies-leaning town. Fresno music lovers should gobble up their Saturday night show at Fulton 55. Also: My favorite show poster of the week. [More]
So there I was, with probably 20 other men and 680 women at the Tower Theatre, in the audience for the first performance Saturday of “Menopause the Musical.” Outnumbered? Yes. Loving every minute of the show? You bet.
I’m certainly not in the target audience for a musical that turns the song “Night Fever” into “Night Sweatin.” (One of my Facebook friends commented that I should make my attendance into a drinking game by taking a swig every time a woman on stage complained about it being too hot. Sorry, I wrote back after the show: I wouldn’t have been able to drive home.) I can’t empathize when one of the cast members sings, “My personal summer is really a bummer.” I don’t exactly connect with the song “My Thighs” (sung to the tune of “My Guy”).
But comedy is comedy. And terrific actors are terrific actors, whatever the material. I didn’t want to miss the national tour of this popular Off-Broadway show, complete with a quartet of Equity performers. I’m glad I didn’t. In terms of staging, acting, singing and design, this extremely funny production is as smooth as the satin sheets the four women complain about when experiencing night sweats. (Satin gets so cold so fast. Ugh.)
There are two shows remaining: 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
ORIGINAL POST: There’s only one real way to experience the musical “RENT,” and that’s live. (The movie had its own charms, but it couldn’t capture the raucous energy of this much-beloved show.)
Here’s your chance with California Public Theater’s new local production, which has a short two-performance run. It opens Friday at the Tower Theatre and continues Saturday. As a Beehive reader, you can win two tickets to opening night. These are premium tickets (prices range from $23.50-$38.50), so you’ll get a great seat.
To enter, leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite song from “RENT.” (If you don’t know any, that’s OK — just tell us why you’d like to see this show.)
Deadline to enter is noon Thursday. The winner will be chosen at random and notified via e-mail, so please leave a valid address. I’ll be picking the winner at 12:15, so be sure to check your e-mail around that time. If you can’t do that and would rather be contacted by phone, send me an e-mail (separate from your comment) at email@example.com with your number, and I’ll contact you that way.
Rules are on the jump.
Pictured: Brian Pucheu as Roger. Photo by Jared Jurcak.
1. GET YOUR HANDS ON SOME LOCAL GOODS
Since the Fresno Handmade Bazaar was such a success earlier this year, organizers The Soulflower Group have crafted a seasonal sequel — Saturday’s Fresno Handmade Holiday Bazaar. You can buy gifts — for you or your fam — handmade by Fresno’s indie artisans. This ain’t your grandma’s craft fair, though. It’s in a club with a DJ and drinks. Keep in mind that it’s only open to the 21+. [More]
On a Swede Fest note: Organizers Bryan Harley and Roque Rodriguez say Sunday’s event, its first at Tower Theatre, drew 500 people, which is a good crowd for the Tower, which seats about 761. Other swedes from the festival should be up today. Check swedefest.com.
Lewis Black plays Saroyan Theatre on Feb. 7 as part of his “The Rant is Due” tour. Black is a Grammy winner, who used to be a regular on “The Daily Show” and now performs more than 200 dates a year, selling-out shows in places such as Las Vegas, Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center and Broadway. Tickets are on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, costing $39.50 and $49.50. Get ‘em at the Fresno Convention Center box office or through Ticketmaster. If you’re wondering: Black last appeared in the area in 2009, for a Table Mountain Casino show.
Jeff Dunham, a popular ventriloquist and stand-up comedian, is back at Save Mart Center, which is a regular stop for him. He’s starting his new “Disorderly Conduct” tour this month and it stops in Fresno on March 24. Tickets cost $46.50. They go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. They’ll be available at the Save Mart Center box office or through Ticketmaster. Dunham played Table Mountain in May and was at Save Mart Center last in January of 2011.
1. SWEDE IT UP 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]
- Upcoming at Fulton 55: The Original Wailers, the reggae band that can be traced back to Bob Marley. This incarnation of the band is led by Marley guitarist Al Anderson. It plays Nov. 16. Tickets: $12-$15.
- Fresno-bred guitar star Bruce Conte, best known for his work with Tower of Power, was recently diagnosed with leukemia. To help with his mounting medical bills, friends organized a benefit concert in Conte’s honor Nov. 24 at Tower Theatre. Conte will play, as will his friends. More details here. Tickets: $29 and $39.
Swede Fest is back on Nov. 11 for its tenth installment — yes, tenth. How cool is that this funky little event has stuck around as long as it has and continued to grow? Signs of that growth are definitely evident this time.
This newest Swede Fest has two cool new things going for it: It’s moving to the Tower Theatre this time (the most fitting home, methinks) and Fresno Arts Council is on board now to award $50 “micro” swede grants. Deadline to apply for the grants is Tuesday, Oct. 23. More info on the Swede Fest site.
If you’re unfamiliar with Swede Fest, it’s a homegrown film festival started by Roque and Bryan from Dumb Drum. Inspired by the film “Be Kind Rewind,” Swede Fest invites people to remake a movie as a “swede” — a low-budget parody, where humor and creative use of props often trumps film-making acumen. The point, simply, is to get people interested in making movies, while having some fun in the process.
Since Swede Fest’s humble beginnings (in a small downtown art gallery), it’s grown to the point where it draws standing-room-only crowds and gets national press exposure (NPR, yo!) Even with that, the point is still the same: Anybody is welcome to create a swede of their favorite film. Deadline to submit one is Nov. 5, so you better get working.
For no reason other than it amuses me, I’m going to take a look back at what was going on on the Beehive September 4th, four years ago today. Not a nostalgia fan? No problem. Feel free, as ever, to GTFO.
Things the Beehive was obsessed with September 4, 2008: Robert Downey Jr.’s facial hair, football, Peanuts, Twilight, Sarah Palin and the Tower Theatre. As ever, the more things change, the more they stay the same (except for our interest in Sarah Palin. No one on earth gives two sh*ts about her anymore).
1. RE-LIVE THE KRZR DAYS Hard rockin’ Fresno radio station KRZR — which broke the hearts of local headbangers when it flipped formats a couple years ago — is the subject of a documentary that’s premiering Saturday night at Tower Theatre. It’s called “Long Live the Wild Hare,” and it looks at all the hijinks of the era plus puts the station’s legacy in context. Many of the old KRZR jocks will be at the premiere and afterparty. You can read more about the movie here. [Tickets]
I honestly didn’t expect to be writing this post today. By now, I figured tickets to see Lindsey Buckingham — the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer/guitarist from Fleetwood Mac — perform tonight at Tower Theatre would be sold out. That’s a big legacy for a theater concert.
Yet, here we are, a few hours until showtime (8 p.m., btw) and tickets are still available. You can get them online for $51.50 and $61.50. They’re also available at the Tower, of course. Call (559) 485-9050 if you’d rather go that route.
You can expect Buckingham and only Buckingham on stage tonight. It’s a one-man show with songs that stretch from his Fleetwood Mac days to his own solo catalog.
1. PARTY WITH OZOMATLI Ozomatli is at Tower Theatre tonight, leading the a long list of top notch concerts in Fresno tonight. (More on that below). The boys from Ozo play funky Latin music with hip-hop undertones. They’re joined by local faves 40 Watt Hype. The combination should yield a great night of party music. [Tickets]
Mark your calendar for these newly announced shows.
Reverend Horton Heat + Supersuckers Reverend Horton Heat comes revving back to Fresno on July 19, headlining Fulton 55. The rockabilly/alt-country veteran has been to Fresno numerous times, but this is his first concert here since 2009, when he played Tower Theatre.
Rock band Supersuckers is also on the bill, a coup since many would consider them headliner-worthy on their own. Tickets cost $21 and are available now at fulton55.com, tgptix.com, Valentino’s and SBI.
Also at Fulton 55: Murs, Rachel Platten and Middle Class Rut A few other noteworthy shows added to the Fulton 55 show include rapper Murs (May 7, $15), singer Rachel Platten (May 16, $10-$12) and rock band Middle Class Rut (May 2, $12-$14).
[Rarebell's] Thursday night show at Tower Theatre comes with quite the interesting back story, a rich Fresno angle and a reality TV camera crew.
Let’s start at the beginning. Last year, Rarebell came to California State University, Fresno, to sign copies of his book, “And Speaking of Scorpions,” which he wrote with Fresno State alumnus Michael Krikorian.
Rarebell was originally supposed to speak to the jazz/rock history class taught by Brad Hufft, but instead that part turned into a drum clinic with the university’s assistant professor of music, guitarist Corey Whitehead.
Eclectic Latin/hip-hop band Ozomatli returns to Fresno to headline Tower Theatre on April 20. Last time it was in Fresno, Ozomatli packed Starline. It’s also played at Rainbow Ballroom in the past.
Tickets for this show go on sale at 10 a.m. March 9. They cost $20, $25 and $30 in advance, and $3 more the day of the show. Details: (559) 485-9050.
General tickets aren’t on sale yet, but the rapper is selling VIP ticket packages on his website for $125 that include a one-hour meet-and-greet, a T-shirt and all sorts of knick-knacks like playing cards and sticky notes. Details: strangevip.com.
JazzHop keeps going, flowing live music into the mix. There’s a full schedule below, but a couple things to note: The CMAC studios (for the former Fresno Met) is now on the JazzHop agenda. Also: There’s a JazzHop/Rogue collaboration at Tower Theatre, where you can see a local music showcase for $5.
Rogue Hop is the first-night-of-the-festival party where you can get a sample of what this year’s Rogue Festival has to offer. It’s held tonight at Tower Lounge, the former Daily Planet, starting at 5 p.m. It’s free to attend and easy to hop over to all the other stuff outlined above. Also it’s a good chance to stock up on Rogue Bucks.
For this year’s installment of “The Pink Show,” her annual quest to raise cancer awareness, Cynthia Chapman Manuszak decided to think big. She approached Yoko Ono for permission to create Ono’s famous performance-art piece “Cut Piece,” first performed in 1964. To Manuszak’s shock, she got permission, and she decided to craft a show around the piece. She enlisted Amber Frey, best known for the Scott Peterson murder case, to play the Yoko role. The show is 7 p.m. Saturday at the Tower Theatre.
I have a condensed interview with Manuszak in Friday’s issue of 7 about the show. Here’s the extended version.
Question: Putting together has been quite a journey for you. Walk us through the timeline.
Answer: In late Feburary, I was told about the live art act by my graduate art instructor, Chris Janzen, he suggested I look up Yoko Ono the artist and particularly her act, Cut Piece. He told me I would not regret taking this time and that he felt Yoko was someone I needed to learn about. I had not heard of Cut Piece before and was very curious. I headed straight for the library on campus to look her up. I was blown away by the impact she had on me and immediately knew why Janzen wanted me to check out Yoko as an artist. I knew I had to have Cut Piece in one of my shows, someday, somehow, someway.
If you want to wade through a whole lot of ugly, check out the reader comments on the Bee story, many of which seem to come from folks who 1) are fierce law-and-order types except when 2) they don’t like the law in question.
Questions remain about this latest Tower mural controversy. Will another mural go up on the blank Tower Theatre wall, and will artist Josh Wigger be involved? Or will he pursue his rights under the Visual Artists Rights Act?
I have some general questions as well, especially considering the recent activity in what some are calling the “Mural District” in the north part of downtown. Are property owners who contract with mural artists aware of the potential copyright issues involved? Are commissions that are being signed today including specific terms about how long a mural is guaranteed to stay intact? What about issues of preservation, including the use of removable panels?
I’m also intrigued by the obvious artistic divide in the community about how murals are regarded in terms of longevity. Some people feel they should be considered temporary and have a short shelf-life. Others feel they should be preserved just like any other painting or sculpture.