Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Just 3 weeks to ‘Deathly Hallows 2′

I think I’ve watched every trailer that’s come out for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.” But I still can’t get enough. With just 3 weeks to go until the July 15 opening, I’m amped for the final battle. So I thought I would share this latest featurette. Enjoy!

[Look for another HP post next week – hint, hint.]

Michael Caine reveals ‘Dark Knight’ secret

The Dark Knight.JPG A huge challenge for directors these days is trying to protect the secrets of their latest project. You can’t blame them. It would have killed “Super 8″ if the film’s secret had gotten out before the movie was released.

Director Christopher Nolan may be taking the secrecy thing a little too far. He’s always been protective with projects from “Batman Begins” to “Inception.” But, Nolan’s really clamped down on any info regarding “The Dark Knight Rises.” And, I mean ANY.

All of the actors have signed contracts that say they won’t talk about the next Batman movie. That doesn’t stop journalists from asking.

“I was asked what my next project was going to be,” says Michael Caine during an interview for his voice work in the new animated movie “Cars 2.” “I said ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.”

Caine has played Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s butler, in Nolan’s other Batman movies.

Nolan actually told Caine that he should never have revealed he was going to be in the movie. And, Nolan wasn’t kidding.

That’s tight security.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Ya know, in addition to that roller derby bout we’ve mentioned 46 times this week …

1. DON’T BE USELESS: We owe a top-of-the-post shout-out to this Sunday night show at Fulton 55 with Useless Keys, Quiet Americans and The Mallard. L.A.-based headliner Useless Keys and its “heavy space rock” is cool, but the main reason a lot of people will care about this is the return of Greer McGrettrick, a former Fresnan who used to play in Rademacher and is now behind SF’s The Mallard. Fresno Famous has more with McGrettrick. [Tickets]


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Entertainment this weekend

CARS 2.JPG Here are a few entertaining tips for the weekend.

“True Blood,” 9 p.m. HBO”: The fourth season opens with Sookie (Anna Paquin) returning to Bon Temps, La., only to find things are different. What remains the same is the raw sexuality and hot action of the cable series.

“Cars 2″: This is a high-octane version of the original film. When Lightning McQueen gets invited to be part of an international race, his best buddy, Mater, gets pulled into working with British spies. It’s fun for kids and adults.

“Unknown”: A man (Liam Neeson) wakes from a coma to discover someone has taken over his life. Director Jaume Collet-Serra has created a tantalizing cinematic puzzle based on the smart script by Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell. January Jones is the biggest flaw. The nature of her role requires aloofness, which comes off more as bland. Even when she shows a different side, she’s lifeless next to Neeson, Frank Langella, Bruno Ganz and Diane Kruger.

Win tickets to see Salt ‘N’ Pepa

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UPDATE: Congrats to our winners — Larry, Christy and Lisa Ovalle. Enjoy the show!

ORIGINAL POST: Iconic hip-hop group Salt ‘N’ Pepa is ’bout to “push it” at the Kings Fair in Hanford on July 8. In addition to that signature song of theirs, the ladies are also known for “Shoop,” “Let’s Talk About Sex” and “Whatta Man.”

You can buy tickets for $25 — or you can enter here and hope you’re one of the three lucky Beehive readers to score a pair of tickets, courtesy of J-Live Entertainment.

To enter, just leave a comment below and telling us whether you prefer salt or pepper (or Salt or Pepa — your choice, have fun with it) and why. We’ll pick three winners at random and give them a pair of tickets. Winners will be notified by e-mail, so please leave a real one, and please check it. Deadline to enter is 2 p.m. Monday.

Official rules below.

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Meet Fashawn, get a Nickel Nickel Nine tee


In the past couple weeks, I’ve had half a dozen people ask me where they could find Nickel Nickel Nine T-shirts now that FTK closed its Fresno shop. I didn’t know if they could.

Right on cue, I got a call yesterday saying that FTK and Basta (a new downtown gallery/boutique at Broadway Lofts) were releasing a batch of limited-edition Nickel Nickel Nine collabo tees.

They’ll be available Saturday at the Basta space in an event that triples as the last chance to see Basta’s inaugural, graffiti-inspired art show, “Enough” — details here — and a meet-and-greet with famed Fresno rapper Fashawn from 11 a.m. to noon.

It’s happening in advance of Fashawn’s headlining show at the Tower Theatre on Saturday night, his first local show in a while.

Here’s a look at the new tees, more details on Fash’s show and his new video, just released today, for “Big Dreams.” It filmed while he was on tour in Barcelona with longtime video collaborator Punit Dhesi.

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Deep-fried Kool-Aid at the Big Fresno Fair?

I’ve seen a few stories this week about the latest fair food: Deep-fried Kool-Aid. It’s been getting talk with the start of the fair in San Diego and is apparently from none other than Chicken Charlies, who has fried up Klondike bars, zucchini weenies (hollowed-out zucchini stuffed with hot dogs, then battered and deep fried), White Castle cheeseburgers, Spam with sauce and Strawberry Pop Tarts at the Big Fresno Fair over the years.

Anyone hoping this is on the Fresno menu this October? Charlie plans to be in Fresno Oct. 5-16.

Is JK Rowling teasing us or what? UPDATE



JK Rowling announced
more details about Pottermore today, which combines role playing games that include more details about the world of Harry Potter, and establishes an online e-book store for the Potter books. Most of the coverage I’ve seen focuses on the e-book news. But the game part sounds cooler to me. This is from an Associated Press story out of London:

“Pottermore” had been the subject of intense speculation among fans since it appeared on the Internet with the words “coming soon.” Rowling revealed Thursday it is a website designed to immerse users in her intricately crafted world of wizards and magic.

The site lets fans delve into Harry Potter’s beloved Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They can shop for wands in Diagon Alley, travel to Hogwarts from the imaginary Platform 9 3/4 at London’s King’s Cross train station and be sorted into Hogwarts school houses by the perceptive Sorting Hat.

Along the way are wand fights, games and new information about characters beloved around the world, including Harry’s boorish relatives, the Dursleys.

The website also features 18,000 words of new Potter material from Rowling, who said it will have “information I have been hoarding for years” about the books’ characters and settings. The level of detail is sure to please fans of Potter minutiae,
who have been sharing their enthusiasm online for years.


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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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Showtime’s stars complete opposites

Thumbnail image for People Michael C_ Hall.JPG Thumbnail image for PEOPLE MACY.JPGFor those of you planning to attend this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego, the Showtime cable network will put on two panels that star exact opposites. There’s the ever moody Michael C. Hall for “Dexter” and the very outgoing William H. Macy for “Shameless.”

Hall’s a tremendous actor but talking to him is like trying to have a conversation with a neighbor who thinks you killed his cat. Take for example a question about an episode of “Dexter” where his character finally got to release his rage.

His answer was, “It was fun.”

I had to get him to slow down so I could correctly transcribe the quote.

Then’s there’s Macy. Here’s part of his response to a question about starring in “Shameless” as an alcoholic father.

“I’ve got the role of the century here. I am having so much fun. I love every part of it. I look really cool on a motorcycle with my hair like this. I’ve got the most outrageous things to do, great writing, outrageous stories. They’re true. You know what I mean? They’re all true stories to the human condition. There’s love at the bottom of every single episode. But they’re outrageous. Wait till you see some of the stuff we do. It’s amazing. I mean, it stops us on the set every once in a while. We just think, ‘That is shameless’,” Macy says.

There’s a lot more but you get the point. This was a case of being glad the interview was taped.

Should you want to see these two different actors for yourself, the Showtime panel will be at 5:30 p.m. July 21 in Ballroom 20.

Did They Just Say Fresno? The Oregon lottery vs. the 559

UPDATE: Video and link is back! Woot!

ORIGINAL POST: We’ve seen late-night comics and TV commercials take shots at Fresno. But here’s a new one: the Oregon lottery has us in its sights. It has launched a series of new scratchers that parody reality TV shows. Among them, “The Annoying Housewives of Fresno.”

KSEE 24 is on the case for this one, talking to some Fresno housewives, a kinda-apologetic Oregon lottery rep and Mayor Ashley Swearengin who called this “ignorant.”

Just another reason to hate Portland, right?

To-Do Tonight: ‘The Comedy of Errors’


Worried it will be too hot for tonight’s season-opening performance of “The Comedy of Errors” at Woodward Shakespeare Festival?

There are a couple of factors in your favor. It’s supposed to be cooler today than yesterday, for one thing. And “The Comedy of Errors” is one of Shakespeare’s shortest plays. (This production will clock in at a brisk 1 hour 20 minutes with no intermission — it’s certainly no “King Lear.”)

Most important, the festival’s new location in the park is decidedly cooler than the other two venues used by Woodward Shakespeare in the past. With a breeze off the river and lots of grass, the temperature is usually palatable by 7 p.m. or so, even on monster-hot days. (The show plays 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturdays through July 16.)

“The Comedy of Errors” is directed by Fresno State theater professor Brad Myers, who has set the play in the style of a 1950s American sitcom. Think bright colors, brisk accents, northeastern accents, mistaken identities and lots of puns.

Admission is free, but reserved seating is $10 at You can also buy season tickets for the three-show season for $20.

The Ladies of NOtown: Pookie

Pookie Face.JPG

The ladies of NOtown Roller Derby are back in action Saturday night, hosting a bruising bash at the Fresno Fairgrounds vs. the OC Roller Girls.

It’s always fascinating to get to know the ladies off the track, so we’ve asked a few of the NOtown gals to slow their roll and answer some questions for The Beehive.

Our series started Monday with Rita Ville and continued Tuesday with Lucky Eddie. Today we get to know co-captain Pookie.

Free stuff alert: You can enter to win tickets to Saturday’s bout here.

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Get Familiar: He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister


Funky L.A. folksters He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister arrive in Fresno on Thursday to share the stage with Fierce Creatures at Fulton 55.

Of the thousands of bands who have visited Fresno while I’ve been writing about the local music scene, I don’t know that I can think of one whose cast of characters is this interesting.

Brother-sister duo Robert and Rachel Kolar lead the band and share vocals. Robert is a John Lennon Songwriting Contest winner who also plays guitar and kick-drum. Rachel plays tambourine and is also an accomplished playwright and actress on L.A.’s local theater circuit.

Bass player Oliver Newell is a music-school drop-out who has played in a symphony, hitch-hiked across America, and eventually graduated from CalArts. Guitarist Aaron Robinson is well versed in both classical and folk guitar, as well as flamenco (he lived in Spain for a while). He also tours with Sea Wolf and has played with Akron Family.

Cello player — yes they’ve got one of those too — Satya Bhabha is a Yale graduate and actor whose credits include “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” and “Fair Game” with Sean Penn. The funkiest piece yet is Lauren Brown, a tap dancer, who serves as the band’s percussionist. She also founded a theater company with Rachel Kolar.

If you’re wondering how all that comes together musically, the answer is with much eclecticism. A sound the band calls “flamboyant folk” and “psych-acoustic.”

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Meet Maureen, an overweight 30-something gal living in Queens. Her only romance these days, it seems, is with the succession of pints of ice-cream residing in her freezer. Mostly cheery about her single status, she lays out a steady stream of self-deprecating one-liners as a defense mechanism whenever the subject of her weight comes up. “It ain’t over till the full-figured lady sings,” she says with a twinkle in her eye.

In the wrong hands, Jon Lonoff’s comedy “Skin Deep” could have been a lackluster, one-dimensional, mediocre sitcom about a fat gal who gets a shot at romance. That is certainly not the case with the new Good Company Players production at the 2nd Space Theatre. (It plays through Aug. 7.) Thanks to thoroughly winning performances from a charming Kristin Crase as Maureen and a sharp Ashley Taylor as her plastic-surgery obsessed sister, along with J Daniel Herring’s sensitive direction, the script’s weaknesses are overcome in winning style.

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To-Do Tonight: All-female Americana


If you like Americana, folk and roots/rock, then head over to Fulton 55 tonight for a date with female trio Red Molly, who hail from the New York/New Jersey area.

Expect three-part harmonies, plus a little banjo and Dobro from a band whose most recent CD was named the 23rd best Americana release of 2010.

Band member Abbie Gardner sent this over:

The big news is, after six years together, one of our founding members left the band and we’re hitting the road with our newest member — Molly Venter! We’re very excited to share her with our fans!

Tickets cost $15 and are available in advance at Ticketfly. Doors open at 7 p.m., music starts at 8 p.m. Below is a sample of Red Molly’s sound:

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You could go drinking with DiSpirito

1RSTaa02.JPG The recent post I did about “Rocco’s Dinner Party” caught the attention of his publicity team. That prompted an e-mail to tell me about Rocco DiSpirito’s current promotion.

DiSpirito has launched the “Watch & Win” contest allowing fans and viewers the opportunity to win a trip for two to meet him and assist him at the October 2011 Food and Wine Festival. The prize includes round-trip airfare for two, a two-night stay at a New York hotel plus free tickets to the festival.

All you have to do is watch “Rocco’s Dinner Party” to answer three weekly questions pertaining to each week’s episode. After answering all three questions, submit your information to be entered to win. And you can enter every week.

The first “Watch & Win” is at 10 p.m. tonight on Bravo. Go to for more information.

Why you should care about 59 Days of Code


I had the opportunity last night to attend and play some music at the opening night of 59 Days of Code, the second-year local web and mobile app showcase/competition.

Last night was like the opening ceremonies but today is the main event. But just from the peek I got last night, it looks to be another impressive event formed grassroots-style.

You might be thinking that this all sounds well and good, but you’re not a tech geek, so why should you care? I get that. Heck, knowing a little bit of HTML is about as tech-y as I get. But that doesn’t mean 59 Days of Code shouldn’t matter to us non-geeks.

In an effort to get people out to the Clovis Veterans Memorial building today to check this out — it starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 6:45 p.m., and is free to attend (agenda here) — here are five reasons YOU should care about 59 Days of Code:

  • Community-building. Much like local bands needs local people to come out to their shows, it’s key for developers to connect with real people who might use their products. That’s one lesson I learned from last night’s first keynote speaker, Rob Walling. So go support the Fresno tech scene, y’all.
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On TV tonight: TNT has two shows worth watching

TV-Certain Age.JPG The biggest complaint I hear is that there’s nothing good on TV to watch. It’s always nice to find something good to recommend. It’s twice as nice when there are two great shows on one cable channel. No other cable channel or network offers as many outstanding dramas as TNT.

“Franklin & Bash,” 9 p.m. TNT: This is one of the best quirky legal series to come along since “Ally McBeal.” Breckin Meyer and Mark-Paul Gosselaar play free-spirited attorneys working for a very proper law firm.

The chemistry between the lead actors combined with smart and funny scripts make this series guilty of entertainment in the first degree.

“Men of a Certain Age,” 10 p.m. TNT: Television producers have rarely cared about anyone over the age of 30 because the rule has been advertisers only want to be part of a show aimed at younger viewers.

At least someone at TNT had the great sense to see that if you put together three solid actors – Ray Romano, Andre Braugher, Scott Bakula – with smart things to say, the result is a superb program.

Win tickets to NOtown Roller Derby


UPDATE: Congrats to our winners — Leann, Chris and Mallory. Hope you all have fun.

ORIGINAL POST: While we’re happily introducing you to members of NOtown Roller Derby all week, we still think the best way to get indoctrinated into the world of Fresno roller derby is face-to-face.

That’s why we’re giving away tickets to Saturday night’s bout against the OC Roller Girls at Fresno Fairgrounds. It’s a derby doubleheader that’s headlined by a match-up with NOtown’s All-Stars and OC’s Wheel Housewives (clever, right?)

Speaking of clever: You’ll need to bring some of your own to win tickets. Just leave a comment telling us what would YOUR derby name would — for example, NOtown skaters have names such as Hari Kari, Mick Dagger and Betty Rocker. We did this last year and it was fun, so check that if you need inspiration.

Deadline to enter is 4 p.m. Thursday. We’ll pick three winners at random and give them a pair of tickets. Winners will be notified by e-mail, so include a real one and check it. You’re ineligible if you’ve won something in the past month. Full rules below.

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The Ladies of NOtown: Lucky Eddie

Lucky Smile.jpg

The ladies of NOtown Roller Derby are back in action Saturday night, hosting a bruising bash at the Fresno Fairgrounds vs. the OC Roller Girls.

It’s always fascinating to get to know the ladies off the track, so we’ve asked a few of the NOtown gals to slow their roll and answer some questions for The Beehive.

Our series started Monday with Rita Ville and today we talk to team co-captain Lucky Eddie.

Keep an eye out for more Ladies of NOtown features this week, as well as a chance to win tickets to Saturday’s bout.

Real Name: Karen Saldana
Age: 28
From: Fresno
Number: # str8edge
Position: Pivot Blocker Jammer (PBJ as we say)

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‘True Blood’ party tips offered

TV Time Shifting.JPG Some of you may be planning a party for the season four opener of HBO’s “True Blood” this weekend. The website has some suggestions for a “True Blood” party complete with menu and music picks.

You’ll need fake blood, vampire teeth, zydeco music and Goth decor. Silver and garlic should not be used.

To prepare for the event, get a full day’s rest, take a drop of V from Lafayette, and invite plenty of vampires.

Here’s the suggested menu:
Bloody Mary soup shots with shrimp and pickled vegetables.
Fruit salad with herb, citrus, mint-maple, or basic syrup.
Eggs Benedict bread pudding.
Homemade sausage patties.
Creole-style oven hash browns.
Cane Syrup pecan pie.
All of the recipes are at the

Music will be key. The website suggests Jace Everett’s “Bad Things”, Concrete Blonde’s “Bloodletting” and the Knife, a Swedish duo whose album is “Deep Cuts.” Don’t forget the zydeco music.

Top everything off with Abita beer, TruBlood and Sam’s coffee.

To-Do Tonight: Starline goes Bachata


Salsa dancing as long been a Thursday night fixture at Starline. Now, the Tower District club is doubling-down on Latin music dance nights.

Tonight is the debut of its a Bachata Tuesdays — a night revolving around the popular and sultry style of dance started in the Dominican Republic.

For the opening night, noted bachata dancer and instructor Rodney “Rodchata” Aquino comes to town for a lesson and appearance.

Bachata Tuesdays will continue on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at Starline.

New Zealand band Kora lands in Fresno for a show at Fulton 55. They’re a funk/rock/soul hybrid group that includes four members of the Kora family.

You can get a taste of their sound here.

Local group DB & The Struggle opens the show. Tickets cost $7. Doors open at 8 p.m.