Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Where are the Hidden Cash paying-it-forward stories?

HIDDEN CASHPeople are still talking about the Hidden Cash frenzy from earlier this week when Fresnans came out en masse to scour two parks for hidden envelopes containing nearly $1,900. The money hidden by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur ranged from silver dollars to $175 inside Pez dispensers. Each cache carried a message asking the finders to tweet their photos and encouraged them to “pay it forward.”

Now that it’s been a few days, where are the pay-it-forward stories? My colleague Tim Sheehan, who covered the event, said he’s seen tweets from other cities of people at Starbucks buying coffee for the people in line behind them. Have you heard of any Fresno paying-it-forward stories stemming from Hidden Cash? Of course, the amounts in some of these finds were a tad small — there’s not a lot you can do with a silver dollar (not criticizing the founder’s choice, just pointing out reality). If you’ve seen any tweets or other tales, send ‘em my way. Make a comment below or email me at

Of course, this brings up the whole topic of Fresno and its poverty. With 10.5% unemployment and a median household income of $42,276, perhaps some of those folks searching Woodward Park needed the money. (And can you blame those folks for not paying it forward?) The man behind Hidden Cash tweeted today about how “enthusiastic” Central Valley folks are and I hope it was a sense of fun — and not desperation — that caused such a big turnout.

10 years of Woodward Shakespeare Festival


10 years ago, a group of Shakespeare enthusiasts banded together to form an organization that enhanced the cultural life of this city. The Woodward Shakespeare Festival has had three different homes at Woodward Park, given 276 performances and played to more than 70,000 audience members.

In my story in today’s 7 section, I write about some of the significant milestones of the festival — and give a rundown on “Macbeth,” the opening production in the 10th season. Here’s a video I made about “Macbeth”:

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Concert announcement: Merle Haggard and Frankie Ballard (update)


UPDATE: A few readers have been wondering about the Merle Haggard/Frankie Ballard show scheduled for this weekend at the Rotary Amphitheater. According to the promoter is has been cancelled due to low ticket sales. From the sound of it, ticket prices have been (or will be refunded).

Original post: For those following the progress of Bob Wills Triple B Ranch and western swing museum, there’s this news: Merle Haggard and Frankie Ballard have signed on to play Raise the Roof 2014, a fundraiser for the project (and the Bob Wills Heritage Foundation in Oklahoma).

The concert is 6 p.m. May 31 at the Rotary Amphitheater at Woodward Park. Tickets are $25-$125 (front row, VIP) and on sale now.

The show crosses generations. Haggard needs little introduction. The guy is a country legend. He was actually one of the last musicians to record with Wills. To point: He’ll be honored with the Crystal Milestone Award at the Academy of Country Music Awards April 6.

Ballard is the young blood. His first single “Heluva Life” just hit No. 1 on Billboard’s country airplay chart, and was 50 on the US Hot 100. He will be performing on NBC’s “Today,” April 2.

Joining the pair will be The Stardust Cowboys, a Wills tribute from Sacramento, and locals Mehrten Drive.

Check out videos from all the bands on the jump.

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Don’t miss out again: Color Me Rad coming back to Fresno

The most colorful 5K out there, Color Me Rad, has announced its return to Fresno — with registration starting today.

At Color Me Rad racers get hit with “color bombs” throughout the course and end up looking like a package of Skittles by the end. It’s a vibrant twist on 5Ks, a twist that’s made Color Me Rad quite popular. Spots for its Fresno debut, in September at Woodward Park, sold out largely in advance and were hard to come by on race day — with some people re-selling them like they were Justin Bieber concert tickets.

The 2013 Fresno installment is just around the corner, April 7. Registration (currently as low as $35) is open now.

To really get a sense for what Color Me Rad is about — and how much fun people seemed to have last time — check out this photo gallery from The Bee.

Our five favorite people who were pissed off about Sunday’s marathon

Sunday’s Two Cities Marathon & Half, by most accounts, is a great event for our city. But each year, there’s always a group of people who complain about how much of a pain it is for the people who live near Woodward Park because of the road closures and detours. You’ll probably see an angry letter to the editor on the Bee’s opinion pages soon. People, of course, turn to Twitter and Facebook to voice their frustrations too. One person even made it sound like they were braving Hurricane Sandy. Totally legit, right?

Here are five of our favorites — and one tweet at the end that made us chuckle.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than the Fresno Philharmonic’s season debut.

The event dominating chatter this week is the Color Me Rad 5K, happening Saturday at Woodward Park. This ain’t any ol’ 5K. Runners get splattered with “color bombs” of paint as they run and end up looking like a life-size bag of Skittles. Color Me Rad is so popular that advanced registration sold out (and people have actually been re-selling their entries — is it a Justin Bieber concert?). But what you can do, is go watch. It’ll be colorful show, no doubt. [More]


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Mark your calendar: Springtini and Spring Fling

Yep, it’s that time of the year again, when the big “Spring” parties creep onto our calendar. Springtini is a long-time favorite and each year people always ask me when it is. This year has been no exception. Guess that’s a good sign for Springtini.

This year’s Springtini is April 28 — aka next weekend, but the date was just announced last week. So head’s up, Springtini lovers. For a rundown of what’s planned, head to Facebook.


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A Fall Fray: Falltini vs. Fall Fling

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It’s a battle of the “Fall” parties on Saturday, as Falltini and Fall Fling — two annual staples of the see-and-be-seen social event scene — collide on the calendar.

Each uses the same formula: booze, food, music and fashion to (they hope) attract a few thousand people. Word is organizers realized a few weeks ago they had similar events planned on the same day not too far away from each other. Oops. But neither wanted to budge.

We pretty much have to compare the two, don’t we?

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To-Do Tonight: Crazy Thursday edition


There’s a whole lot to do on this Thursday night, whether you’re a country music lover, you’re looking to celebration Mexico’s independence right here in Fresno … or you’re just somewhere in between.

Have a look:

  • Kiss Country has its last $5 Concert of the summer at Woodward Park. [info]
  • Twilight Park in Woodlake hosts a big ho-down with Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson. [tix]
  • Bassnectar with have Rainbow Ballroom rattling with bass for the EDM crowd. [info]
  • Bluegrass star Larry Stephenson brings his band to Unitarian Universalist Church. [info]
  • Local band Clouded Vision has its CD release party at Yosemite Ranch. It’s free and oughta be packed. [info]
  • Fresno’s El Grito celebration is tonight on the Fulton Mall. We hear the party’s already started. [info]
  • Mezcal hosts what looks to be a big Mexican Independence Day party. [info]
  • For its popular weekly music series, Eureka! Burger hosts blues guitar titan Rudy Parris Band. [info]
  • Reedley hosts its Taste of the Town tonight. [info]

To-Do Tonight: Mucho Music


Lots and lots of live music waiting for your eyes this evening. Let’s have a look:

DIEGO’S UMBRELLA: This SF-based band is at Audie’s Olympic. Should be a wild one, considering Diego’s Umbrella calls its style “gypsy pirate polka.” You had us at pirate … but polka is fun too.

HE’S MY BROTHER, SHE’S MY SISTER: Told you all about these L.A. funky folksters yesterday. Totally worth a reminder today. They’re at Fulton 55 with Fierce Creatures — which is doubly fun and funky. Read this amusing Q & A with HMBSMS from today’s Bee. [Tickets]

SOME FIVE-BUCK YEE-HAW: Totally not as dirty as I made it sound — but it is a bargain. It’s the next in Kiss Country’s $5 Summer Concert series at Woodward Park starring Steve Holy, Due West and LoCash Cowboys. (Watch for that Shakespeare/country traffic)

ANGEL LEBRON: Live salsa at Starline, from the Starline Salsa Club and New York-bred Angel Lebron. Beehive High-Five to whoever asks Lebron to see his rings.

ROCK THE MALL: It’s another installment of Sierra Vista Mall’s free Rock the Mall concert series. It oughta be a big one, too, with popular local Journey tribute band Midnight Run playing. Did we mention free? Cuz, yeah, free.

Fliers and a few more options below:

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The etiquette of getting peed on

Here’s one sorta exciting moment from my weekend

THE SCENE: Saturday afternoon at Woodward Park’s dog park, about a dozen people and their dogs are there.

WHEN THINGS GOT ICKY: A youngish bulldog stops to relieve himself, lifting his leg on a green plastic chair. Problem is: A woman was sitting in that chair. In marking his territory, he also marked a nice portion of her sweats.

THE REACTION: “Oh, sorry,” the dog’s owner muttered, earbuds in ears, before turning and walking away to follow his dog. The woman, for what it’s worth, left. I’m assuming to go home and get cleaned up.

THE QUESTION: Is it just me, or does your dog full-on peeing on someone (not just a tinkle) warrant more than an sheepish “Oh, sorry?” But then I wondered: How exactly are you supposed to react in that situation? To some degree, since you’re at the dog park, owners have to be OK with getting a little dirty. But getting peed on? Umm. Luckily, my dog has never put me in a such a situation. But I hope I’d be able to muster up something better than “oh, sorry.” Suggestions? What would you do to apologize?

Your guide to a Frestastic week ahead

TECH N9NE + WOODWARD PARK? Rapper Tech N9ne is at playing at the Woodward Park Amphitheatre tomorrow night. So far we haven’t heard any upright North Fresnans complaining about a kinda-juggalo rapper playing the park, so that’s good. E-40, Krizz Kaliko and others are there too. More info here.

THE FAIR BEGINS; QUESTIONS ABOUND: The Big Fresno Fair starts on Wednesday. Sammy Hagar kicks off the concert series, making his first appearance in Fresno since the demise of Fresno Wabo. What will he say? Anything? Will he make fun of Milt Barbis again? Will Fresno still love him? Also, comic Carlos Mencia performs Thursday. Doesn’t the fair have a rule against act swearing? How is that going to work?

THE TREASURY DEBUTS: A cool-sounding spot opening for Thursday’s ArtHop is The Treasury, a downtown art gallery, office space, by-appointment fashion boutique. It’s on Van Ness, near Divisadero, not far from Iron Bird Cafe.

THE MASQUERADE OF THE RED DEATH: Woodward Park Regional Library is hosting a Edgar Allen Poe-themed masquerade party on Friday night, tied into Fresno Big Read, which is all about Poe this year. Get fancy!

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