1. SEE SOME SWEDES
Saturday brings us the sixth installment of Fresno’s wacky, magical and homegrown Swede Fest. If you’re unfamiliar, “swedes” are short, low-budget remakes of popular movies made by anybody — from experienced filmmakers to people with Flip Cams. Two other big selling points: the event is free and it’s open to all ages. Below is a special swede that festival organizers Bryan and Roque made to promote their appearance on “Great Day” this week, and it’s a perfect example of what sweding is all about.
Every now and then I think it’s helpful to write what I call an “intro” story — something that folks who know very little about a niche cultural field might use to latch onto what could be a new and exciting experience for them. That’s the case with this weekend’s Fresno New Musical Festival, which opens Friday and continues through Sunday at Fresno State. We made my piece the 7 cover story.
For the story I interviewed a couple of Fresno State alums who have gone on to significant careers in composition: Mark Carlson, the festival’s featured composer; and Kurt Erickson, a guest composer. Here are extended interviews with both.
Question: What’s it like for you to come back to Fresno State as featured composer at this festival?
It is such an honor to be asked to come back to Fresno State as featured guest composer. I was given so many wonderful opportunities in my musical life when I was a student there. The place was full of highly talented and skilled musicians, both among teachers and students, and I have always been grateful for the many opportunities to study with, play with, and write for such great people. I’ve always wanted to have some chance to return the favor, so to speak, as well as to find out what’s going on there now. So far, I am very impressed.
This weekend’s entertainment options include several family-friendly picks.
TELEVISION “Shake It Up,” 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Disney Channel: This teen buddy comedy set against the world of dance gets a lot of energy from stars 13-year-old Bella Thorne and 14-year-old Zendaya. It’s a nice fit for the Disney Channel formula of programs aimed at young girls.
DVD “Toy Story 3″: Woody, Buzz and the rest of the toys try to adjust to what life is going to be like after Andy leaves for college. The film continues the high standards — from cutting-edge computer work to smart writing — that have made Pixar Studios the Disney of the 21st century when it comes to animation.
MOVIES “Megamind”: Director Tom McGrath offers a clever take on the Superman-Lex Luthor storyline that’s been copied and parodied in loads of TV and film projects. His film looks at what would happen if Superman’s girlfriend, Lois Lane, had more in common with his arch nemesis, Lex Luther. That twist makes for a film with more pow, zap and thump than most animated offerings.
A casualty in all this that almost went unnoticed was Parker, the Grizzlies’ great mascot.
Yes, Parker will still be the mascot next year. But the guy who got in that big, hot costume and played Parker every day– his name is Brad Collins — is no longer with the team. Sports columnist Matt James wrote a great column about Collins’ exit and what will become of the Parker character you that should read if you’re a Parker fan.
From the column:
“They want him to be more accessible,” said [Grizzlies] media relations director Noah Frank. “They want more than one Parker. It’s going to be a bunch of part-timers. So they can have him all over the place.”
In an apparent attempt to make Parker ubiquitous, or perhaps collapse the entire time-space continuum, the Grizzlies’ new management is turning the full-time position of its mascot into multiple part-time jobs.
If you think that me allowing my son to be a female character for Halloween is somehow going to ‘make’ him gay then you are an idiot. Firstly, what a ridiculous concept. Secondly, if my son is gay, OK. I will love him no less. Thirdly, I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off.
That’s just one great part. Do yourself a favor and take five minutes to read the entire thing, then pass it along to someone else.
The recent news 18-year-old actress/singer Demi Lovato’s getting treatment for emotional and physical issues rekindles the question of why some young performers go on to successful careers and why some crash and burn.
Look at Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Mandy Moore. All three stepped into the Hollywood Spotlight when they were young. While Spears and Lohan have become tabloid regulars, Moore seems to have escaped the Hollywood hazards.
I may have picked up a clue during an interview with Moore for her work in the Disney animated film “Tangled” as to why the 26-year-old has avoided the major pitfalls.
The night before the interview, Moore was in Disneyland. She was excited because she got to see her favorite “Disney Princess,” Ariel, during the parade.
We’ve already pumped up tonight’s opening of the “Post No Bills” show at the Chance James Studio at Broadway Studios. Here are some other ArtHop picks:
SPECTRUM ART GALLERY
Featured artist is Bay Area photographer Margaretta K. Mitchell. She is the author of five books, and her work has been featured in major museums nationally. Mitchell won’t be here in person today for ArtHop, but she does plan to be in Fresno on Nov. 13 for an artist’s reception and to lead a workshop titled “Personal Photographic Project — You on Paper.” Pictured below: Mitchell’s “Smocked Silk.”
“Eastern Standard,” which continues at Fresno State through Saturday, aptly captures a particular time, place and demographic. It’s the late ’80s in New York City, and we meet a group of (mostly) wealthy young professionals grappling with the issues of the times. Those issues include HIV/AIDS, rampant materialism, the gap between the rich and poor — and even the contemporary art scene. (You know you’ve entered a Manhattan-centric world when there’s a joke about Julian Schnabel.)
Richard Greenberg’s 1988 play is well written, and there are some solid performances. But the whole experience made me think about the question of relevance.
“Eastern Standard” just doesn’t seem like a very strong selection for a university theater department that last month staged a 1944 period piece written in 1981 (“A Soldier’s Play”), is following this one with an adaptation of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” continues with a 1743 comedy by a Venetian playwright titled “Servant of Two Masters” and will then finish up with the not-exactly-hot-off-the-presses “The Glass Menagerie.” If “Eastern Standard” is meant to put a contemporary twist on the season, then ouch.
UPDATE: This is happening tonight at ArtHop and it’s going to be a blast! We’ve got a bunch of rad poster designs for you to peruse, plus snacks and music to make it even more fun. Here’s a bit about the show from Donald Munro’s ArtHop preview in today’s Bee.
“The Big Bang Theory,” 8 p.m. KGPE (Channel 47.1): Eliza Dushku’s boyfriend, Rick Fox, got booted from ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” but the former “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” actress is keeping the couple on TV. She’s got a guest starring role in tonight’s episode of the CBS comedy.
Dushku plays an FBI agent who must interview the friends of Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) in order for the girl-crazy scientist to get security clearance for a Defense Department job.
The interviews don’t go smoothly from Raj (Kunal Nayyar) not being able to speak to Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) zealousness that reveals a little too much information about Wolowitz.
This is new comedy ground for Dushku as she’s best known for her work in serious TV shows. But, serious sci-fi actresses Summer Glau and Katee Sackhoff have guest starred on “The Big Bang Theory” and showed a knack for comedy.
So if you’re a local film buff or an aspiring filmmaker interested in hearing an experienced filmmaker (Kelley has had three films released and worked with Gus Van Sant) talk about the challenges of the movie industry, this is your chance. Jon Gann, founder of the DC Shorts Film Festival, joins Kelley in the lecture. To get a better taste, check out this interview that Rick Bentley did with Kelley.
You can buy tickets here for $10, or … you can win a free pair from us. Just be the THIRD commenter on this post to tell us your favorite indie film and you’ll win the tickets. We won’t publish any of the comments until we have a winner. You’re ineligible if you’ve won something from us in the past 30 days. Winners will be notified by e-mail, so leave a real one. Complete rules after the jump.
In addition to serving up gourmet burgers and a long menu of beers, Eureka!Burger is occasionally adding live music to its list of offerings. Case in point: Its Wednesday Night Live concert series that brings young guitar slinger Trey Tosh to Eureka! each Wednesday night in November. The music starts at 9 p.m. and there’s no cover.
It’s rare when a planned interview doesn’t happen. A few have been canceled because airplane flights got delayed or the actor picked up a job at the last minute and became unavailable.
The way a planned interview with former major league baseball player Pete Rose got canceled is really one of the weirdest.
Rose is the subject of the new documentary “4192: The Crowning of the Hit King.” If all you care about are the playing days of the former Cincinnati Reds star, then this is a solid film. The fact it doesn’t deal with his gambling problems or his ban from baseball is like seeing a documentary on the Titanic that ends before the iceberg hits. But, this film was made to highlight the glory days of Rose.
In connection with the documentary, Rose had agreed to sit down with me at a restaurant in Sherman Oaks to talk about his career.
“Circus,” 9 p.m. KVPT (Channel 18.1): The three-part series, airing over three consecutive Wednesdays starting tonight, offers a look behind the scenes of the Big Apple traveling circus.
“We decided to follow Big Apple for a number of reasons. Big Apple is a traditional, one-ring, European-style circus. We liked the fact that many of the artists who perform with Big Apple hail from multigenerational circus families. We also liked Big Apple because of their policy of using only dogs and horses as animal partners,” says creator and executive producer Jeff Dupre.
“But most of all, we chose Big Apple because they know how to put on a great show.”
The goal of those behind the TV show is to make viewers feel like they are in the middle of the ring. That’s done through cameras placed around and in the middle of the action. They even mounted small cameras on the flying trapeze artists.
“Some of the stories we’ve told in the six-hour series are triumphant, while others are heartbreaking, from bomb threats to personal injuries,” Dupre says.
It all goes to make the PBS offering the greatest show on TV tonight.
Anybody check out the Straight No Chaser concert last night at Saroyan Theatre? Did the vocal group wow you? We’d love to hear some reviews.
A number of photos are below from Bee photo correspondent Carlos Camarena. He writes:
Their show has an almost theatrical feel — a mix of quirky comedic antics, classy songs, a little holiday spirit and — go figure — a little Gaga. Their brilliantly arranged (and comically choreographed) medley included hits like “Just Dance,” “Paparazzi,” “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance.”
Who else was there? What did you think about the Straight No Chaser’s performance? Did you have a favorite song? Anybody see their two sold-out shows in Fresno last year? How did this compare. Chime in on any of that, and whatever else you want in the comments.
Have you ever wanted to be on “The Amazing Race?” Got a bike, scooter, skateboard or some other non-motorized wheeled way to get around? Quick on the draw when it comes to text messages?
Know a few things about downtown Fresno? Want a $15,000 diamond ring?
If you said “Yes” to all of those, then you should definitely check out Saturday’s Race for the Ring, an inaugural text message-based scavenger hunt happening around downtown Fresno. This event sounds really cool. Here a few reasons why:
The prizes are crazy — a $15,000 ring from Roger’s Jewelers, plus about $10,000 dollars in other prizes.
It’s all happening downtown, which is always great.
Scavenger hunts are super fun. If you disagree, you’re wrong.
I’ll be honest, I had pretty much resolved we’d never hear a new song from Amy Winehouse, what with all her time seemingly dedicated to being a burnout. But super producer Mark Ronson dusted her off to record a cover of Lesley Gore’s “It’s My Party” that’ll appear on a tribute album for mega-er producer Quincy Jones.
She sounds a little drunk in some places, but who’s to say she wasn’t sloshed out of her mind when she was recording “Back to Black” — and that was pretty good. Welcome back, Amy. Try not to puke on anybody.
We made it. After approximately 16 billion negative TV commercials and enough Internet chatter to choke Bill Gates’ server, election day is here. We at the Beehive hope, first and foremost, that you get out there and vote. In that spirit, we’d like to turn this thread over to you, our readers, to chat about your experiences today.
You can tell us:
About your voting experience today. Were the polls crowded or like ghost towns?
Did anybody get exit polled?
What’s your state of mind today? Excited? Grim?
Any stuff on the Internets keeping you amused on this Election Day?
Does anyone else get a natural high just from the act of voting? (I can’t help it. I think about the jillions of people throughout history who have never had the privilege of actually voting for their leaders, and I get this big, smarmy smile.)
The Daily Dues Election Centre blog is chock full of local ancedotes, stats, links and Twitterfeed highlights. Check it out. (There you’ll learn that Mike Oz only had to wait three minutes to vote at his polling place this morning.)
To put you in a civic mood, check out last week’s City Beat column from George “I Just Wore Out Another Pair of Walking Shoes” Hostetter, who pounded the pavement of City Council District 3 to gauge the mood of voters.
Here in Fresno, there’s a lot of pride for the Giants win — even from an A’s fan such as myself, who couldn’t help but get lured into the Giants improbable run. I owe much of that to the Fresno Grizzlies, who gave me and thousands of others the chance to see this year’s World Series heroes before they captured the hearts of baseball fans nationwide.
No shocker here: I don’t love Fresno Magazine’s annual “Best of Fresno” list. But each year I look forward to its publication, for the ensuing debate, if nothing else.
I will say, and this might seem totally biased once you read further, that the winners this year seem a little bit better. Just itsy-bitsy. Most of it is still pretty useless stuff that’s primarily meant to sell “thank you” ads.
The entire list is below, but I have a few thoughts first:
THE BEEHIVE WINS: Here is a shocker: We won in two reader-voted categories — best blog and best local website. On one hand, I’m thankful that people voted for us. On the other hand, I’m not going to act like this is anything more than what it is — a bunch of our fans voted for us in a rather meaningless online contest. So thank you to those people. And thanks to Fresno Mag, for not disqualifying us because we’re mean to you. In fact, should The Beehive ever start its own awards, we’ll definitely consider you guys for best glossy health-related ads.
It’s a boy! We are elated to announce the birth of a baby Sumatran orangutan born yesterday afternoon, October 31st. The birth is a significant accomplishment due to their endangered status. Sara and her son will be resting off exhibit for a yet to be determined length of time.
Indie folksters El Olio Wolof may call Merced home, but they’ve always gotten love in Fresno like they’re a hometown band. So it’s fitting that the band is playing one of its final shows here in Fresno tonight.
For my money, El Olio has been one of the best-sounding and most interesting “local” bands of the past 10 years. Maybe it’s the accordion. Or the surreal storytelling in their songs. The band’s 2008 album, “A Tedious Task,” was one of my favorite local CDs — and is actually still in my car to this day.
If you’re a big El Olio fan, then mark Jan. 8 on your calendar. That’s the band’s final gig — happening in Merced at The Partisan.
For the most part, the kids were kind, cute and grateful to be taking my Kit Kats. But there were offenders, oh yes there were.
Here are some of the people who were not treats. (Note: Offenders not pictured)
The Cell Phone Talker: I had three different people come to my door last night while on a cell phone. I’m not talking about parents on phones, standing behind their kids. I’m talking about people holding out bags wanting my nom-noms. Look, I’m as tethered to my phone as anyone, and even I’ll admit this was ridiculous. A special shout out to the tween girl on her phone who said neither “trick or treat” nor “thank you.” I think Microsoft made a commercial about you. No … really!
The Possibly Lying Adult: “Oh, can I have one more for my other kid who is sick at home?” What that really means is: “I think you’re an idiot and I’m gonna try to get more candy out of you. You don’t know how many kids I have, sucker! This Butterfinger is going to work with me tomorrow.” Maybe you really do have a sick kid at home. Maybe I’m just cynical. But I doubt it.