Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Win tickets to Eva Scow’s Brazilian Nights at Arte Americas Nights in the Plaza

nightsFresno’s summer days can be brutal. But our nights … our nights are so very lovely.

Which is why Arte Americas hosts a series of Friday-night concerts in it outdoor pavilion each summer. The Nights in the Plaza series features local and regional bands playing Latin lazz and mariachi, Brazilian, Son Jarocho and rockabilly.

We’ll be giving away passes each week (except Sept. 26) for the rest of the series’ run, which has just two weeks left. The countdown begins this week with Brazilian Nights, a special showcase curated by Eva Scow and featuring her band Espacio and San Francisco vocalist Sarah Cabral.

To enter to win passes to see the band, leave a comment in this post. Tell us your favorite way to spend a warm summer’s night in the Valley. The contest runs through noon Thursday. Winners will be chosen at random, notified by email and be able to pick up the passes at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. Street) during normal business hours. Passes are good for any concert night, but do not guarantee entry, so early arrival is suggested.

We’ll have a new contest up every Monday so keep checking back. Complete performer schedule and contest rules on the jump.

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Concert Announcement: Ladies Night Out Vol. 3 with Frankie J, Ginuwine


Get ready to live like its the 1990s … for a third time.

The Save Mart Center announced the third installment of the Ladies Night hip-hop and R&B concert will be stopping at the arena Nov. 22.

Ladies Night Out Vol. 2 came to the arena in 2011 and featured ’90s throw-back groups like Bell Biv DeVoe, Color Me Badd, Jagged Edge and H-Town.

This time around the concert features Mexican singer Frankie J (of the Kumbia Kings), R&B icon Ginuwine, “Baby Got Back” rapper Sir-Mix-A-Lot, the R& B duo Next and Silk, the ’90s group discovered by Keith Sweat.

Venue and radio presales for the concert begin 10 a.m. Sept. 8 according to Ticketmaster. They go on sale to the general public 10 a.m. Sept. 15.

Tickets are $29-$69 and available at select Save Mart Supermarkets, the Save Mart Center box office, online at or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Catch a video of Frankie J on the jump.

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Weekend pick: Keyboard Concerts


The Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series kicks off its 43rd season on Sunday with a familiar name: the Garrick Ohlsson. In the history of the series, Ohlsson is the most frequent guest artist. The acclaimed pianist — who shot to fame in 1970 when he became the first (and still the only) American to win a gold medal at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw — is making his sixth visit to Fresno since Andreas Werz took over as artistic director in 1992. Before that, Werz says, Ohlsson had been a guest artist two times.

Ohlsson’s 3 p.m. program includes Beethoven’s Sonata in E Major — one of the composer’s late works — and Schubert’s highly virtuosic “Wanderer Fantasy,” along with a variety of works by Scriabin (from late Romantic to modern) commemorating the 100th anniversary of the composer’s death in 1915.

One thing to know about this season: Ticket prices are going up.

Single general-admission ticket prices are $25, compared with $18 last season. Senior single ticket prices are $18, compared with $12 last season. Student prices remain at $5.

But Keyboard Concerts is still an incredible bargain. 

The last price increase was in 2008. Werz says the increase is necessary to maintain the high artistic level of the lineup. “Artist fees have gone up, production costs have increased, and we have experienced a slight decline in ticket sales in the last 3 or 4 years,” he says.

Even with the increase, prices are still significantly lower than anywhere else in the country, Werz says. If you want to hear Denis Kozhukhin play for the Portland Piano series in Oregon, tickets on the non-keyboard side are $45, and $54 on the other side.

Tonight: Light Rain plays Full Circle Brewing Co.


Doug Adamz readily admits what it was that got him into belly-dance music.

“What captured me was seeing the belly dancers,” says Adamz, who made a name for himself in the late 1970s with his band Light Rain, which plays tonight at Full Circle Brewing Company.

Adamz was living in San Francisco at the time and was doing folksy singer songwriter music, looking for place to play.

He wandered into Holy City Zoo, a folk music spot that later became an influential comedy club (Robin Williams could often been seen there).

“I happened to go in on a night when they were doing belly dance,” says Adamz. He offered to play, though he had zero experience with the musical style. It gave him more time with the dancers (one later became his wife).

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Silence is golden with cell phones

At the beginning of every movie shown at a local theater, there is some type of graphic that reminds all patrons to silence their cell phones. It never seemed necessary that the same kind of warning should be at the beginning of an interview.

I was seated across from Pierce Brosnan and his “The November Man” co-star, Bill Smitrovich, at the Four Seasons Hotel. The actors were talking about their roles — Brosnan a retired CIA agent called back to duty and Smitrovich the CIA handler who makes that call.

It was a different kind of call that interrupted the interview.

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Jack’s Urban Eats opens Monday

The much anticipated Jack’s Urban Eats restaurant in Fig Garden Village will open at 11 a.m. Monday. The restaurant is near White House Black Market. It’s the first in our market of a Sacramento-based chain that has 12 locations total, most of them in and around Sacramento . The restaurant is quick casual (kinda like Chipotle, but obviously not Mexican food) with a big range of food on the menu.

The restaurant’s owners describe it as hofbrau-style cuisine, and it includes all types of sandwiches and salads. There’s the Jack’s Classic, which comes with char-grilled tri-tip, oven-roasted turkey or chicken breast, along with banh mi (a Vietnamese sandwich with grilled steak, daikon, cilantro and a sriracha-lime mayo). Vegetarians can order any sandwich by subbing in grilled portabella mushrooms for the meat. You can get a side of fries, dinner salad or mashed potatoes. (I’ve eaten at the one in Sacramento and let me tell you, the side of mashed potatoes they gave me was huge.) Salads range from a steak salad to kale and quinoa salad and a build-your-own salad option. Meals range from $6.95 to $9.95.

But it’s the “Urban fries” that get the most attention.  This signature dish is french fries topped with spicy chili oil, blue cheese and chili flakes. Or, as one reviewer described it, her “favorite food everrrrrr.”

The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday, and from 11  a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It employs 30 people.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend


UPDATE: This story has been updated to remove the Mike Tyson show, which is not this weekend at all. Calendars are confusing.

Slather on some DEET and …

1. Metalachi at Arte Americas Nights in the Plaza
Who doesn’t want to hear a mariachi version of “Run to the Hills?

2. “Preacherman at Burning Man
Fresno is the Detroit of California, might explain this show’s inclusion as the best of West Coast fringe.

3. Taste of River Park
Remember when River Park put a curfew on kids? This is like that, but with Let’s Go Bowling.

4. Keyboard Concert Series
Garrick Ohlsson opens the 43rd season of the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series. This should be on your list of “Things every Fresnan should do once.”

5. Madera Fair
It is officially fair season in the Valley. Enjoy!

For music-specific events, check out this week’s BANDGEEK roundup.

BANDGEEK: Light Rain, Light Thieves and a September to Dismember


For those looking to get all cultural, there’s “Seattle to Fresno — the Best of West Coast Fringe.” Also: Mike Tyson’s one-man show. For those looking to spend a couple of hours at a bar, club or theater listening to live music there is … all of this … Here’s your weekly BANDGEEK roundup.


  • TeeFLii.
    W/Ray Yung Omar Aura, B Dot and Eldra Jermaine. At Fulton 55. 9 p.m. $20-$50.

  • White Glove Service.
    W/Comacova, Louder Than Waves. At Strummer’s. 9 p.m. $5.

  • The Jules Winnfield.
    At Peeve’s Public House. 8 p.m. Free. All ages.

  • Endeavor.
    W/Until We Are Ghosts and Dependence. At Kuppajoe. 7:30 p.m. $6-$8. All ages.

  • Light Rain.
    At Full Circle Brewing Co. 8 p.m. $15.

  • Lit Up.
    At ApCal. 7 p.m. Free.

  • R.W. Hampton.
    At Maverick’s Coffee House. 7 p.m. $30.

  • Whisky Row.
    W/JJ Brown. At Engelmann Cellars. 7 p.m. Free.

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    Tonight: Mundy, Gentle Jaime, Werebear and War


    It’s not a full Bandgeek post (for that you’ll have to wait until tomorrow), but here is a quick list of tonight’s music options (or what I know of anyway). Feel free to add what you know in the comments section.

  • Mundy.
    W/Tippery Stew. At Cellar Door Visalia. 8 p.m. $10. (Flier link)

  • LTC Art Hop After Party.
    W/Gentle Jamie, WaterBox Inc., Where Sea Meets Sky. At Peeve’s Public House. 10 p.m. Free. All ages.

  • ArtHop w/Fresno Underground Art.
    W/Werebear. At Tioga Sequoia Beer Garden. 5 p.m. Free. (Flier link)

  • War.
    At the Madera Fair. 7 p.m. $10, reserved seating. Free festival seating with fair admission. (Flier link)

  • Miro Sorvino understands ‘Intruders’

    The new BBC America series, “Intruders,” is a chilling paranormal tale set in the Pacific Northwest. What appears to be a series of unrelated incidents slowly come together to reveal a secret society dedicated to the pursuit of immortality. The reason the series is so creepy is that the writer and executive producer is Glen Morgan who’s best know for his work on “The X Files.”

    It’s a rather complicated story but Academy Award-winner Mira Sorvino, who plays the mysterious Amy, was ready for all the ins and outs before the cameras started rolling.

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    Joan Rivers was comedy pioneer


    Can we talk?

    There were times when Joan Rivers aggravated the living daylights out of me when she was working a red carpet. Her lack of knowledge often created awkward moments such as the time she thought Anthony Hopkins was attending the Oscars with his mother but it turned out it was his wife. Or, identifying British actor Jim Broadbent as being from Australia.

    Those bobbles aside, the passing of the 81-year-old Rivers means not only the loss of another Hollywood icon but a real comedy pioneer. There are few women who were as influential on comedy as Rivers. If they ever decide to make a Mount Rushmore for female comics, Rivers, Phyllis Diller, Carol Burnett and Moms Mabley would have to be top contenders to be included.

    It wasn’t just what we saw on camera but Rivers did a lot in the world of comedy that few people ever got to see. Kathy Griffin constantly seeks out comedy mentors and she found a great one in Rivers.

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    A pick for tonight’s ArtHop: Christel Dillbohner


    In my ArtHop roundup in Thursday’s Life section I highlight Christel Dillbohner’s new exhibition at 1821 Gallery & Studios. It’s titled “Ice Floe Journals,” and in 25 paintings and mono prints she entices the viewer into a glacial world. Part of her technique is to scrape and manipulate the thick, milky emulsion she concocted for this body of work, much like glaciers themselves scratch and shape the land. I write:

    It’s easy to fall into the mood of her pieces, as if you’ve just opened a door and walked out into the harsh beauty of a brisk and encompassing Arctic landscape. You feel the foot-stamping cold.

    And while there’s nothing explicitly political about her works, the implication is clear: The ice is melting, far faster than it should.

    I’ve connected strongly with Dillbohner’s work in the past. I raved about her 2007 show at the Fresno Art Museum, which she called “An den Ufern der Zeit — at the Shores of Time.” (It made my list of one of the top cultural events of the year.) It included a multimedia installation titled “The Undertow, ” made up of  600 glazed and waxed paper cones, colored deep red and black, suspended from the ceiling by individual strands of filament.

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    New ‘Dancing with the Stars’ cast named


    Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews appeared on “Good Morning America” to announce the lineup for the next round of competition on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars. ” Among the 13 celebrities are the usual batch of actors, athletes and celebrities you thought were dead.

    The first performances will be Sept. 15. That’s also when two-time “Mirrorball” champion Julianne Hough joins Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba at the judges’ desk.

    Here’s this year’s contestants and my early odds on how they will do:

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    New place to shop: Revival 23

    Pretty. That’s the best word to describe the newly opened Revival 23 in Old Town Clovis. The little shop is at 453 Pollasky Ave., inside the Dewitt building and across the breezeway from Lululemon. Everything in here is pretty: flowy, feminine tops hanging on rustic pallets, colorful refinished furniture, vintage wall decor and bottles of bubble bath displayed on shelves that are painted pink.

    The shop carries a little bit of everything, including clothing, decor and lots of jewelry. Chunky statement necklaces – usually priced between $18 and $24 — are popular, along with pendants on long thin necklaces. Revival 23 carries a line  of candles, hand cream and bubble bath called Lollia. It’s a line that’s also carried at Anthropologie (though Revival 23 appears to have more of it), and that’s fitting because the store has an Anthropologie feel.

    But unlike that retailer, Revival 23 carries vintage and repurposed furniture, including an old farmhouse table and repainted dressers dolled up with new knobs that look like little clocks. There’s picture frames that have been turned into chalkboards and signs that say “coffee” and “home” spelled out in old hinges, handles and other parts.

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    The Rev. Nuge talks retirement and his spot in the Best of West Coast Fringe


    Seattle to Fresno — The Best of West Coast Fringe,” is a mini-performing arts festival. Think of it as Rogue Festival aperitif, something to prepare your palate for the actual event (even if it is six months away).

    Curated by former Rogue producer Jayne Day and Grant Evan Knutson of Minion Productions, the event will features five fringe shows at Mia Cuppa Caffe, starting 6 p.m. tonight with the Fresno Dance Collective, local poets Michael Dominquez and Taylor Harris and (sandwiched in between) Tommy Nugent, better known to Fresno fans as The Reverend Nuge.

    Here, I talk with Nugent about his retirement from performing and just how a resident of Detroit gets booked as “Best of West Coast Fringe.”

    First: This is a West Coast fringe show. You’re a midwestern fellow (Detroit is the Midwest, right?). How did you get booked on this?

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    A shout-out to Corridor 2122

    Corridor 2122 is marking its 10th year in Fresno with a big ArtHop celebration Thursday night. If you didn’t catch my cover story in last Friday’s 7 section, it’s never too late. Here’s Bee artist S.W. Parra’s clever cover design:

    corridorcoverFrom my story:

    The collective is celebrating its big milestone at next week’s ArtHop with a 10th anniversary show featuring works from both past and current members. It’s been an impressive run: Month after month, with group and solo shows that range from cerebral to wacky to caustic to beautiful to just plain bizarre, I often get an artistic charge.

    Other times — rarely — I feel as if I’ve walked into Dudsville.

    But that’s part of the surprise. What appeals to me is the energy of the place — the sense of ideas percolating, of boundaries being pushed, of lifting the veil on the process of making art.

    And here’s a video I made while doing the story:

    Jean Pigozzi real interesting man

    Move over Jonathan Goldsmith. The Esquire Network believes they have the “world’s most interesting man” in Jean Pigozzi. In the new series, “Friends Call Me Johnny,” launching at 10 p.m. Sept. 3 on the cable channel, Pigozzi shows that he became famous for being famous long before Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian.

    The series shows how connected Pigozzi is as he travels the globe to sit down with friends such as Michael Douglas, Martha Stewart and Calvin Klein. Like a real-life Forrest Gump, Pigozzi has partied at Studio 54 and was on hand for the founding of Apple computers.

    “I’m not a dentist. I’m not an airplane pilot. I’m not a fisherman. Mainly what I do, I invest in high tech companies. And I spend quite a lot of time in Silicon Valley. I’m interested by the future. So I’ve invested in many companies, like Facebook and Compaq computers.” Pigozzi says. “I’m incredibly old, so I started when they were still making computers out of wood. That’s what I do.”

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    Contest tests your ‘Boxtrolls’ abilities

    “The Boxtrolls Cardboard Challenge” is asking children to create crafts inspired by the new movie, “The Boxtrolls,” using cardboard boxes as the main resource – just like the Boxtrolls themselves.

    Wearing cardboard boxes like turtles wear their shells, the Boxtrolls are kindhearted tinkerers who have used their imagination to build a home and community beneath the cobblestoned streets of the town of Cheesebridge. They are always making unique and creative devices out of found materials, using their imagination. The Boxtrolls include Fish, Shoe, Sparky, Bucket, Oil Can, and Wheels – and an 11-year-old boy named Eggs who thinks he’s a Boxtroll.

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    The Beehive Interview: John Walker on his ArtHop show

    I wish you could all go out on an assignment with Fresno Bee photographer John Walker. I love to watch him walk into a situation — whether it be a story about an esoteric visual artist, a shoot for a complicated theater production or an emotional, heart-tugging profile — and figure out the best visuals. John likes to talk to people, and his soft-spoken curiosity often steers me toward aspects of a story that I hadn’t thought of exploring. 

    He’s been shooting photos professionally for nearly 35 years, and he picked about 50 images for his new ArtHop show, which will be held 5-8 p.m. Thursday in The Bee’s front lobby. With the wealth of images that John has made over the decades, it was hard narrowing them down to a relative few.

    I caught up with him for an interview.

    john walkerHow would you describe your photographer’s “eye”? Do you think it’s something you learned or were born with?

    Personally, I think either you have it or you don’t. I don’t think it’s something you can learn. The technical side of it you can learn, and it’s pretty easy these days with all the high-end cameras on the market, with auto-everything. It’s possible for almost anyone to make decent photographs — to emulate others’ work, but in the end it’s vision that is the most important, this intangible element. This is what makes photography exciting … everyone sees things differently. A lot goes into making a really good photo: composition, lensing, lighting, timing, but mainly it’s the ability to “see” and have the vision of making it all work together.

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    A new addition to the ArtHop family: Second Saturday


    ArtHop draws lots of people downtown on the first Thursday of the month. The Fresno Arts Council and local businesses want to expand that success with another monthly event. I wrote about it in my Sunday Spotlight column: 

    It’s called Second Saturday ArtHop — though my guess is that if it takes off, the event will be known simply as Second Saturday. Select galleries and studios in the downtown area will commit to being open from noon-4 p.m. on the second Saturday each month. The art venues will be joined by restaurants and businesses. The first Second Saturday is set for Sept. 13.

    Organizers want the big draw to be a focus on families. For the inaugural Second Saturday event, the Clay Mix gallery will offer a program of bowl making for kids and families as a benefit for the Community Food Bank. Other possible family-focused events in the future: chalk art for kids, fingerpainting, storytelling and puppetry.

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    Tower e’rth Shop goes from home decor to street art

    A little shop in the Tower District has a lot going on. The e’rth Shop — formerly E’rth World Imports — at 816 E. Fern Ave. was bought by a new owner about eight months ago who as been transforming it ever since. Owner Victoria Pallares has been steadily replacing the home decor with two things: clothing and art by local street artists.

    First, the clothes. The shop sells a lot of vintage T-shirts. Concert T-shirts and vintage sports T-shirts — like the 1980s Lakers shirts — sell especially well. There’s other clothing, including women’s too. A jewelry maker who goes by the name “Alien Girl” sells jewelry made from gemstones, such as turquoise rings and stones as pendants. The store also sells streetwear, including “Boy Fresno” T-shirts from FTK, which used to have a couple of shops in the Valley.

    But what sets the store apart is its emphasis on local artists. These aren’t the type of artists you’ll find at upscale galleries. Most fall under the definition of “street artists,” and their modern style of art has a urban and graffiti-inspired feel. You’ll find bright paintings featuring Native Americans, an updated take on Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup images, and a cartoon-like spray can that does all sorts of things. Many artists don’t use their real name, in part because their art is printed on stickers that are slapped on buildings and elsewhere in a modern version of graffiti art.

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    Tonight: Horror-rock icon Doyle


    Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein (or just Doyle for those who know) is the Misfits’ odd-man out. He doesn’t carry the name recognition of Glenn Danzig, the original singer (and founding member) for the horror-rock band. Nor did he fully capitalize on the band’s resurgence (or the merchandising opportunities it held) in the late ’90s in the way of his brother, Jerry Only (who still plays under the Misfits moniker).

    Instead, Doyle ventured out on his own with a series of projects that were more “Earth A.D.” than “Walk Among Us” and gave the guitarist an opportunity to flex his playing style — a barrage of down strokes done at breakneck speed through a collection of low-end speakers and amp heads that provide a crunch that is unmistakably Doyle. He released albums with both Gorgeous Frankenstein and the self-named Doyle (whose “Abominator” came out last year) and played series of Misfits sets while on a series of tours opening for Danzig (to the utter joy of fans).

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    Win ticket to Metalachi at Arte Americas Nights in the Plaza

    nightsFresno’s summer days can be brutal. But our nights … our nights are so very lovely.

    Which is why Arte Americas hosts a series of Friday-night concerts in it outdoor pavilion each summer. The Nights in the Plaza series features local and regional bands playing Latin lazz and mariachi, Brazilian, Son Jarocho and rockabilly.

    We’ll be giving away passes each week (except Sept. 26) for the rest of the series’ run. This week’s concert features everybody’s favorite metal + mariachi band Metalachi, who are no strangers to Fresno.

    To enter to win passes to see the band, leave a comment in this post. Tell us your favorite way to spend a warm summer’s night in the Valley. The contest runs through noon Thursday. Winners will be chosen at random, notified by email and be able to pick up the passes at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. Street) during normal business hours. Passes are good for any concert night, but do not guarantee entry, so early arrival is suggested.

    We’ll have a new contest up every Monday so keep checking back. Complete performer schedule and contest rules on the jump.

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    THEATER REVIEW: ‘The Tempest’


    The Woodward Shakespeare Festival production of “The Tempest” had a rough opening Thursday night at Woodward Park.

    Very rough.

    This production wasn’t ready for an audience. Awkward pauses, lethargic pacing, forgotten lines and a turgid advance through what should be an airy, magical narrative marred the evening. The production had some strong points in terms of choreography and costume and sound design, but the most important aspect of any Shakespeare play — the text — was often problematic among an array of cast members. I fear that director Julie Ann Keller got too absorbed in the movement and design of the show and didn’t make sure her actors were well versed in the fundamentals.

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