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Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

On TV tonight: ‘Mr. Sunshine’

121604_D_0056r2_ful.JPG “Mr. Sunshine” 9:30 p.m. KFSN (Channel 30.1): Matthew Perry returns to television in this new comedy about what goes on behind the scenes at the San Diego Sunshine Center.

The program has two big things going for it.

First, this is a a solid cast. Perry will get to play the snide, caustic role that he does so well. And, he’ll get support from an always entertaining Allison Janney and an under-rated Andrea Anders.
The second thing in its favor is the setting. A convention center hosts everything from big name musical acts to rodeos. This opens up a wealth of story possibilities and natural situations for guest stars.

It looks like ABC has another good comedy to add to the Wednesday night lineup.

Beehive Birthday VI: The countdown is on

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Are you as excited about Beehive Birthday VI as we are? We’re just a couple days away now, and we’re hard at work making sure Thursday night’s party is going to be a blast.

Here are some cool new developments since we last talked about the event:

It’s worth repeating: The event is FREE to attend. (Bring some money for drinks and food). It runs 6-10 p.m. 21+.

Coming soon to Fresno: Yard House

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For years now, I’ve heard people saying that Fresno needs a Yard House — the SoCal-based restaurant known for its huge beer selection. If you’re one of those people, rejoice.

Yard House is coming to Fresno by the end of the year, according to the Business Journal. From its story:

Yard House, the Southern California restaurant famous for featuring 130 brews on tap, announced it will unveil a Fresno location by the end of the year.

Yard House, based in Irvine, said in a news release it will open a restaurant in Fresno’s River Park shopping center by December, though details about where exactly it would open were not given. A call to Lance-Kashian & Co., owner of the River Park properties, was not immediately returned.

Yard House bills itself as “an award-winning casual chain of eateries known for its American fusion fare, classic-to-contemporary rock, and world’s largest selection of draft beer.” The Fresno location will be one of seven new restaurants it plans to open in the next 12 months. Other new California locations this year include San Jose, Roseville and Palmdale.

A classic rock-themed place that brags about having the “world’s largest selection of draft beer?” Sounds like it’s right up Fresno’s alley. We’re assuming it’s going to take over Claim Jumper’s location, but that’s just speculation at this point.

To-Do Tonight: KRS-One and more

Hip-hop pioneer KRS-One visits Fresno today for a lecture and performance. He’s talking to Fresno State students in just a few minutes (at 2 p.m.), then is performing tonight at the Satellite Student Union with Planet Asia. It starts at 8 p.m. and is free for students. Nonstudents may have to pay a few bucks (no more than $5, probably). But be there early, because space is limited.

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Cross Streets: Herndon & Blackstone

The Cross Streets guys are back with a new installment of their funny web series — this time exploring the ugly eyecare building, drive-thru Domino’s and hobo ninjas that you’ll find at the corner of Herndon and Blackstone. Warning: Language NSFW.

PREVIOUSLY ON CROSS STREETS:
First & Shields | Fresno & G | The Belmont Loop | Willow & Friant |
Kings Canyon & Peach | Fresno & Belmont | Divisadero & Fulton

Only a few days left for ‘Handmade Book’

Kathy Wosika of the Fresno City College art department sends along this pitch for an exhibit called “The Handmade Book,” which continues through Thursday at the college’s Art Space Gallery:

There are 14 very different and very elegant handmade books, all the work of different faculty members from the San Francisco Center for the Book. Judging from the many phone calls I received about the accompanying workshop we held last week it seems that there is real interest in learning more about this genre as well as some skills to get more involved.

Sounds like an interesting show.

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Win tickets to ‘The Jungle Book’

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The Valley Performing Arts Council is working its magic again this weekend by partnering with a professional ballet company. And the production is a family-friendly show, so it’s perfect as a way to introduce kids to ballet. Selected school audiences will get a chance on Friday to see the new original ballet “The Jungle Book” presented by the State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara. On Saturday, there’s a 2 p.m. performance open to the public. The production features 20 professional dancers from the company dancing with 40 local Fresno Dance Theater student dancers. I’ll have more on the show in Friday’s issue of 7.

Meanwhile, I have FOUR tickets each to the Saturday matinee to give away to two separate Beehive readers. To enter, just leave a comment below telling us your favorite jungle animal. Deadline to enter is 2 p.m. Wednesday. Our winners will be chosen at random and notified via e-mail, so leave a real address. No multiple comments. You’ll be able to pick up your four tickets at the Saroyan Theatre. You are ineligible if you’ve won something in the past 30 days. Full rules on the jump.

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On TV tonight: ‘Glee’

203GLEE_Ep203-Sc43_189.JPG “Glee” 8 p.m. KMPH (Channel 26.1): There’s a new episode of the Fox series tonight. It’s worth watching. Blah, blah, blah. You should know by now my feelings about the show.

The bigger news is that the “Glee Live! In Concert!,” starring 13 members of the television show’s cast, will hit concert stages this spring. The closest performances will be at Sacramento’s Arco Arena May 22 and San Jose’s HP Pavilion May 24.

The concert series begins May 21 at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas.

Cast members in the tour include Clovis East graduate Chris Colfer (Kurt) plus Lea Michele (Rachel), Cory Monteith (Finn), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Kevin McHale (Artie), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina), Mark Salling (Puck), Dianna Agron (Quinn), Naya Rivera (Santana), Heather Morris (Brittany), Harry Shum, Jr. (Mike), Chord Overstreet (Sam) and Darren Criss (Blaine).

The concert stops will include live performances of some of the show’s most memorable musical numbers from seasons one and two, including “Empire State of Mind,” “Toxic,” “My Life Would Suck Without You,” “It’s My Life,” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

Select tickets will be available to American Express cardholders beginning Feb. 11. Tickets go on sale to the general public for most cities at 10 a.m. Feb. 19.

Tickets will be available at ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000. For more information go to gleetour.com.

[UPDATE #2] More on ‘Drunkest Cities’

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On Friday, Heather showed us how lazy Fox News was when she wrote about that network running a story on its website trumpeting “America’s Drunkest Cities.” Though the story on the Fox site made it sound as if Men’s Health had just named Fresno to the top of the list, it turns out the network merely stumbled upon a year-old USA Today story and repackaged it as that day’s hot news. (How much you want to bet someone on the assignment desk read “2010″ on the USA Today date as “2011″?)

At that point I figured that the top-of-the-list honors for Dumbest TV Network was apparent.

Well, imagine my surprise on Saturday morning when MSNBC, supposedly Fox’s arch-rival, teased the same story. After a commercial break, the winner was named: Yep, Fresno is the most sloshed metropolis!

So to recap: Fox grabbed year-old news from USA Today. And then MSNBC, which isn’t exactly buddies with Fox, cribbed that news from Fox.

I talked to a Men’s Health publicist today, who assured me that the Fox story is indeed a year out of date. The publicist had no idea how Fox dug it up.

No worries then, Fresno — there’s no need to get defensive about a stupid magazine list for the second year in a row.

Good thing we don’t get too mad about those kinds of things. By the way, the upcoming Men’s Health list in March is “America’s Angriest Cities.” Fresno scores No. 52 on that list out of 100.

The Week Ahead: KRS-One, pre-Valentine’s Day festivities, Rhumba Bums and more

BOOGIE DOWN: Hip-hop pioneer KRS-One visits Fresno on Tuesday for a lecture and performance at Fresno State. More info here.

PRE-VALENTINE’S PICKS: Among the pre-Valentine’s Day weekend music choices hoping to woo lovers: jazz guitarist Lee Ritenour (Saturday at Tower Theatre), the oldies Valentine’s Day Super Jam (Saturday at Selland Arena), doo-wop group Lil Mo and The Dynaflos (Friday at Audie’s Olympic). There are also a few V-Day themed club nights (see above).

ALSO OF V-DAY NOTE: Not music related, but we figure you might wanna know it’s Wine & Chocolate Weekend on the Madera Wine Trail.

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Jamie Bell had trouble focusing on ‘The Eagle’

Film Review The Eagle.JPG If Jamie Bell looks like he’s swinging his sword blindly in the new action film “The Eagle,” it’s because the actor’s eyesight is so bad he needs to wear glasses. Of course there weren’t a lot of optometrists around in 140 A.D. so he couldn’t wear glasses in the movie.

“I have astigmatism in both eyes. I recently learned this,” Bell says of his sight problems. “I’m as blind as a bat.”

He’s sporting a pair of black framed glasses for the interview. Bell couldn’t wear the glasses in the movie but he could have popped in a pair of contact lenses.

Bell acts like it had been suggested he place heated spikes in his eyes.

“Oh no! I can’t even stand putting eye drops in my eyes. There’s just no way I can wear contact lenses,” Bell says.

Back when Bell had good vision, he came to fame in “Billy Elliot,” a film that became a stage production that is reportedly being turned into a movie. Elliot says it’s clear why Billy keeps dancing and dancing.

“It’s a great story. You really want to root for this kid and people love to get behind him,” Bell says.

A meaningful moment

I don’t know much more about Gen. Vang Pao than what I’ve read in The Bee — but I do know that he was a revered leader of the Hmong people, and that his death is truly a momentous event in that culture’s history. His multi-day funeral in Fresno is a rare opportunity to experience a bit of that culture. I headed down to the downtown convention center on Sunday to file past the General’s body and pay my respects — and to take in the scene.

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Here’s the line of people waiting to file past the open casket.

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You Review: ‘Three Phantoms in Concert’

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Lots of positive feedback from readers about the Fresno Philharmonic’s “Three Phantoms in Concert” Saturday night at the Saroyan. Rosanne Balison writes:

I just wanted to say. I loved the concert. I purchased tickets for several concerts this year and I must say. This was the best by far! I loved it. I will be purchasing their musical CD’s as well. I have never seen anything like it. I loved the music, the singing and the comedy act so to speak in the middle. Thanks for it.

And Joan Levie writes:

Would you please tell me who performed the clarinet solo of “Fiddler on the Roof”melodies at the Three Phantoms concert at the Saroyan? Did Theodore Kuchar lead the orchestra or was that a guest conductor? He was marvelous.

Here’s a response to that question from the Philharmonic’s Don Reinhold:

The conductor was Carl Topilow. He’s been a guest before, most previously for the January 2009 Hollywood Music Night with the Star Wars characters. Carl is a longtime faculty member of the Cleveland Institute of Music — where Ted Kuchar was actually one of his students!, — and he is also the successful founder and Music Director of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra.

Anyone else have thoughts on the concert they want to share? Leave a review in the comments section.

FTW Moment of the Day

After Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime performance, it looks like the people of the world see the Black Eyed Peas for what they truly are — a bunch of no-talent cornballs with a gimmick that’s overdue to expire.

An ESPN.com poll asked the nation to grade the Peas’ performance. As you can imagine, I’m pleased with the results. For a nation that’s so often divided, it’s nice to see us come together for the important things. Like hating Fergie.

beppoll.PNGPREVIOUSLY: The Black Eyed Peas make me want to take my own life

Super Bowl commercials: What was your favorite? What did you hate?

I didn’t really pay as much attention to Super Bowl commercials this year. I didn’t do a survey like last year. But I at least came away with a favorite of this year’s batch — the Doritos commercial where crumbs bring things back to life, even Grandpa.

According to USA Today’s AdMeter, though, it was another Doritos commercial (the one with the pug) that was America’s favorite, tying with Bud Light’s “Dog Sitter.” Agree? Personally, I didn’t think either one was that great.

If you missed the many Super Bowl ads, or just want to watch them again, head over to YouTube or Hulu. Local blog The Dumb Drum has also narrowed down just the movie ads, for you film geeks out there.

So what was your favorite Super Bowl ad? Any you absolutely hated? Anybody quit Groupon in a fit because of its commercials?

On TV tonight: ‘The Chicago Code’

jason-warehouse_1072_rc.JPG “Chicago Code” 9 p.m. KMPH (Channel 26.1): Shawn Ryan’s “The Shield” is one of the best police dramas to ever air on television. Part of the power came from the series airing on basic cable where liberties could be taken with language, violence and sexual situations.

Although tempered by the confines of network television, Ryan’s new series is a powerful and addictive look at police work. It’s no “Shield,” but it is a close second.

That starts with the casting of Jason Clarke as the central cop. He brings the same macho intensity – and glimmers of insanity – that made the work by Michael Chiklis on “The Shield” so memorable. There’s no way to be a passive observer when Clarke’s on the screen as he commands each scene with such authority there’s no doubt who’s in control.

Delroy Lindro provides an equally impressive villain as a corrupt and charismatic Chicago politician. The weak link is Jennifer Beals as the boss of all Chicago cops. The actress gets blown off the screen by Clarke and Lindo.

That’s a small gripe. Otherwise, “The Chicago Code” is a killer new series.

You Review: George Strait & Reba

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Fresno got treated to a little bit of country royalty on Friday night, as George Strait and Reba shared the stage at Save Mart Center. Were you there? Let’s hear your review.

Who did you like better, George or Reba? What were the highlights of the show? The lowlights? How was the crowd? The setlist? The sound? Chime in on that, plus whatever else you’d like in the comments.

We got a couple more pics below:

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Planning your ‘Wicked’ purchase

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With just over a week to go before single tickets go on sale for “Wicked” at the Saroyan Theatre — the show opens April 6 for an unprecedented 16-performance run — here’s the latest:

  • Tickets go on sale 7 a.m. Feb. 12 at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment box office at 700 M St. Radio stations KSOF FM and KALZ FM will be on hand at 6:00 am with green breakfast snacks, giving away prizes and airing live.
  • Beginning at 10 a.m., tickets will be available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com/wicked, Ticketmaster Outlets, or by phone at 800-745.3000. There is an eight-ticket limit per patron.

Keep this in mind, however: There are ways to get the tickets earlier through Ticketmaster. Various special promotional codes are being passed around via Twitter by the promoter. I was just able to reserve an orchestra seat using the code “WITCH.” I’m not sure how long that will last, but it’s worth a shot. (Remember, if you go down to the box office and purchase in person, the only additional fee you’ll have to pay is the city’s facility fee.)

Now for the prices:

ORCHESTRA

$122.25 Ticket + $21.00 Fees = $143.25
$47.25 Ticket + $14.45 Fees = $61.70

LOWER BALCONY

$77.25 Ticket + $16.90 Fees = $94.15

UPPER BALCONY
$57.25 Ticket + $15.45 Fees = $72.70
$47.25 Ticket + $14.45 Fees = $61.70

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‘AI’ judges tell Valley teens they can’t sing

If you missed it on “American Idol” last night, two teens from the Valley auditioned in L.A. The buddies — one from Lemoore and the other Corcoran – thought they could sing but did not impress (Awful!). I couldn’t find video of them actually singing, but if you watch from the 2:44 to 3:10 mark on this video you’ll see the judges giving them the boot.

On the up side, both teens took it in stride, stayed positive and didn’t act like total jackasses. They were no where near as nutty as these two auditions:

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Clovis West High gets the ‘Phantom’ spirit

It’s definitely a “Phantom of the Opera” weekend. Not only is the Fresno Philharmonic bringing in three former Broadway Phantoms for a big pops concert, but Clovis West High School is opening the local premiere of the musical Friday at the Mercedes Edwards Theatre for a three-weekend run. (In a bit of synergy, cast members from the Clovis West show will get to attend the Philharmonic rehearsal Saturday morning and meet the cast members.) I’d hoped to embed a promo video in this post but couldn’t get the coding to work, so here’s a still image — check out the video link below.

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Click here for the video.

The Rogue Festival wants YOU!

We’re just about a month away from this year’s Rogue Festival (March 3-12), and festival organizers are on the prowl for volunteers to help take tickets and man venues. The have a series of volunteer meetings coming up — the first of which is tomorrow — if you’re interested.

They write:

We have added a couple of new venues, so we need more volunteers this season. We have scheduled training on 3 Saturdays: Feb. 5, Feb 19, and Feb. 26, 2011 at 11 a.m. Training to be held at the City Arts Gallery, 1475 N. Van Ness, Fresno. Volunteers can also email committee at gorogue2011@yahoo.com to sign up for any saturday.

PREVIOUSLY: First look at the 2011 Rogue Festival muse

Donald’s weekend picks

1. PHANTOM TIMES THREE
The “Three Phantoms in Concert” performance Saturday night at the Philharmonic features Craig Schulman, Mark Jacoby and Gary Mauer, all of whom have played the title role in “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway and around the world. Here’s my advance story in Friday’s 7 section. I’ve heard this concert is virtually sold out, so if you want to go, you’d better start scraping for a ticket right now.

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than the George & Reba concert and that big football game on Sunday.

1. GET LIQUORED UP AT FULTON 55
It’s weekend No. 2 of Fulton 55, Fresno’s newest concert venue. Not that we’re saying you should get sloshed or anything, but the headline for this weekend is that the club’s liquor license is in effect, which is good news for the drinkers among us (that’s almost all of you, right?). Tonight brings us blues band Rod Piazza and The Mighty Flyers ($15) and Saturday has Ska Parade 20th Anniversary Tour w/ Monkey, Go-Go 13, Warsaw Poland Brothers, MC Tazy Phyllipz, King Sugar and more. ($15)

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On Rustica Kollection and the uptick of Iron Bird Lofts shops

I’m really excited about about all the new businesses opening lately around Iron Bird Lofts. Of course, Iron Bird Cafe is the main attraction down there, but a handful of other local consumer-aimed businesses are opening up too.

I made a note about this in a recent column about reasons to be excited about downtown in 2011, but figured this is worth expounding upon a bit.

Recently opened Iron Bird shops include Faithful & True Tattoo Studio (which has its grand opening tonight for ArtHop), Iron Bird Beauty Bar, The Dungeon MMA gym and Rustica Kollection. And let’s not forget that Iron Bird Massage has been open for a while too. Add Fulton 55 right across the street, and it’s a happening little area.

One place that’s getting a fair amount of attention is Rustica Kollection, it’s a boutique right across from Iron Bird Cafe that sells gifts, crafts, accessories and clothing with a wordly flair. All of its good are “fair trade” and hand-made. Fresno Famous has a nice feature on the shop, if you want more of the back-story. I stopped in there last week during one of my trips to Fulton 55 and took some photos to share here on The Beehive. Pictured below is owner Pablo Antinao, who moved to Fresno from Chile seven years ago.

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