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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture.

Kevin Mahogany has been called the standout male jazz singer of his generation. His rich baritone is equally at home singing romantic ballads or on uptempo bebop songs. With influences that range from Motown to Charlie Parker, he’s been one of the top jazz vocalists for the last three decades, and he’s performing at Fresno’s Tower Theater this Saturday at 8:00 PM. A few days ago, FM89’s David Aus – host of our Sunday night jazz program – spoke with Kevin over the phone to learn a little more about his career and what valley audiences can expect.

From a film about legendary Gypsy-jazz star Django Reinhardt to a documentary about police and the Oakland community, organizers of the 13th annual Fresno Film Festival say the event has something for everyone. It takes place November 10th - 12th at the historic Tower Theatre. This week on Valley Edition, we spoke with Fresno Filmworks board member Justus Bier Stanberry about this year's event. 

Heather David / Cal Mod Books

Sixty years ago, taking a road trip in California was a lot different than it is today. In the days before superhighways, Airbnb and navigation software, a family vacation likely included a stop at a roadside motel. Hundreds of these "mom and pop" establishments popped up along the highway in places like Fresno and Bakersfield, offering a clean room, a swimming pool, and maybe even something exotic, like a faux-Polynesian tiki-themed cocktail lounge. Flashing neon signs and space-age architecture were designed to catch the eye from a moving car and bring in new customers 

NPR

Comedian Paula Poundstone is already a familiar name to NPR listeners, thanks to her appearances on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me. Now fans can hear even more of Paula, with a new NPR-produced podcast, a new book, and a tour that take her to Fresno for a performance Thursday night September

The highway plays an important part in the mystique of the American West. From the so-called "Mother Road" of Route 66 that wound from Chicago to LA, to the picturesque beauty of the California coast along Highway 1, our highways are more than just transportation infrastructure, they are a part of our culture. That’s certainly the case here in the middle of the state, where a ribbon of concrete and asphalt has stitched together towns big and small for decades – Highway 99.

Jazz mandolin virtuoso Eva Scow and her band Le Petit Strings visited Valley Public Radio for a special performance Thursday as part of the station's Summer Fund Drive. FM89 Development Director Joe Garcia hosted the performance in the Barrman Chaney Performance Studio, which comes a day before their Friday August 11th concert at Bitwise in downtown Fresno. 

Google

For decades Trout's Nightclub has been a fixture in the Oildale neighborhood of Bakersfield. It was the musical home of people like the late Red Simpson and others who helped make the "Bakersfield Sound" incredibly popular among country music fans in the decades following World War II.  The venue was also considered one of the city's last original honky-tonk clubs. But earlier this spring the bar closed, and doesn't show any signs of reopening soon.

theovationtheatre.com

Bakersfield has a new stage for actors to perform on. And its first show, "Jesus Christ Superstar," opens June 2.

The new space in the downtown Bakersfield arts district is called The Ovation Repertory Theatre. Its owned by Adam Cline, Hal Friedman and Bien Resolme. Friedman joined Valley edition Tuesday May 30 to tell us more about the opening and upcoming shows. To listen to the interview click play above.  

https://www.gordonhuether.com/

Downtown Fresno's Mariposa Plaza could soon get a major new piece of public art. The Fresno City Council is set to vote on a proposal Thursday May 25th to award a Napa  artist a $200,000 contract to create a new piece of public art for square at Fulton and Mariposa Streets.

The Fresno Art Museum often features works by acclaimed modern artists from around the world. But with a set of new exhibits opening this week, the museum is turning its attention to local artists. The museum's director Michele Ellis Pracy joins us on Valley Edition to talk about the exhibits by Nancy Youdelman, Leslie Batty and Maurice Cohen. Youdelman has long been an important feminist artist in the valley, inspired by the legacy of Judy Chicago during her tenure at Fresno State.

Pace Press

Fresno’s Linden Publishing has been around for decades, producing books in the non-fiction world under the Quill Driver Books label. Now the company is making a big splash with two new novels by local authors on a new imprint dedicated to fiction works. We talk with Jaguar Bennett and Heather Parrish of Pace Press, as well as retired judge James Ardaiz, author of the upcoming novel Fractured Justice, which will be released later this year.

Fresno Arts Council

For the fourth year the Fresno Arts Council is marrying art and agriculture into a show. The 2017 Arts Alive in Agriculture Showcase will be made up of local artists.

Kern Pioneer Village

It might be the most famous boxcar in Kern County, if not the entire state of California. The childhood home of the late country music star Merle Haggard is no longer in Oildale, where it sat for decades – it’s now at the Kern Pioneer Village near the end of a two year-long restoration. The  museum is throwing a party to celebrate the completion of the project April 9th called the Haggard Boxcar Festival.

Francisco Letelier

People in the Central Valley have painted murals for decades. They’ve represented civil rights and worker equality as well advertisements for companies. But FM89’s Ezra David Romero found that many murals painted today in places like Fresno have taken on a very different tone than murals painted just a few decades ago.

 

In the 1960s John Sierra started painting murals in the Fresno area.

His paintings had a strong political bent and many were mobile because of the lack of available walls.

Courtesy of Alexander Mickelthwate

Alexander Mickelthwate is one of the six candidates hoping to become the next music director of the Fresno Philharmonic. He’s in town this week to lead the orchestra in a concert on Sunday at the Saroyan Theatre, featuring Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique; Mason Bates’ Mothership and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No 5.

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