Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Arts & Culture

Arts and culture.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Over 5,000 people came to the Central Valley this weekend to watch the first World Surf League team competition, live. The event took place at Kelly Slater’s world-class wave pool in Lemoore, and some think this surf ranch is the next frontier for the sport.

Chris Estep loves to watch surfing. He says he and his wife watch the competitions whenever they can, but always from their home in Fresno, via livestream video.

Valley Public Radio listeners are familiar with the work of writer Howell Hurst. The former Kern County resident has had several of his short stories featured on the station's program Valley Writers Read. Now he has a new book "I Can't Hear the Drums Anymore" which collects many of those stories. He joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his writing. 

Digital Delano

Many communities across the valley have rich histories. The challenge in many cases is preserving those stories, memories, photos and artifacts for future generations. In one Kern County community, a new effort is underway to do just that. We recently spoke with history professor Oliver Rosales about the Digital Delano project. The effort to collect and record oral histories and more is holding a special event May 1 at the Bakersfield College Delano Campus, and we learn about local residents can help participate. 

Madera County

Madera County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with a plan for a new cultural and performing arts center in downtown Madera. The project would create a joint powers authority to build the facility, which includes the City of Madera, the Madera Unified School District and the Madera County Arts Council. The center would be built where probation and the district attorney’s offices are now, and would include renovation of the historic county library. It’s unknown how much the project would cost.

Finishing Line Press

Fresno has long been a hotbed of poetry, from Philip Levine to Larry Levis to Juan Felipe Herrera. Now a new generation of poets is taking up the tradition of chronicling the region's land and its people. Ronald Dzerigian is one of those poets, and his new book "Rough Fire" captures a unique slice of the local landscape. Dzerigian is a Fresno State MFA grad, and the new collection is his first book, due for release on July 20th 2018 by Finishing Line Press.

In a few months, California families from Eureka to Calexico will begin hopping in the family car for that grand American tradition of the road trip.

Harper Collins

A new biography of billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian tells the story of how a young boy from Fresno went on to become one of the richest businessmen in America. From airlines to film studios to the auto industry and casinos, Kerkorian was the consummate dealmaker, but he was also a quiet philanthropist, supporting Armenian causes through his Lincy Foundation. We recently spoke with journalist William C.

Rollin Pickford

A new exhibit at the San Joaquin River Parkway's Coke Hallowell Center For River Studies showcases the works of famed local artist Rollin Pickford. For much of the 20th century, Pickford was acclaimed for his paintings of the landscape of Central California. The new exhibit "Rolling Pickford: California Light" showcases works exclusively depicting the San Joaquin Valley. On display now through April 29th at the River Center at 11605 Old Friant Road in Fresno.

Google Street View

In 2010, architect Julia Morgan became the first woman to win the prestigious Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects. It was a landmark achievement for the native Californian, who is most famous for designing Hearst Castle for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. It’s the institute’s highest honor, and one shared by icons of the industry like Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Ghery. Even more remarkable – Morgan was awarded the honor 57 years after her death. The award was an attempt in part to correct a longstanding omission by the male-dominated AIA.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno audiences will get a special taste of the classical world of art songs this weekend at Fresno State. The university's music department will host its first "Art Song Festival" Friday and Saturday at the music building, featuring performances by students, faculty and guest artists. Poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will also participate in the event. Professor Maria Briggs joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the event.  

Brittany Greeson/GroundTruth

Critics across the globe are starting to pay attention to the music of one young valley artist – Omar Nare. The Sanger native was recently profiled on Public Radio International and the New York Times for his fresh take on mariachi traditions. He’s taking traditional songs and re-inventing them with hints of jazz, soul and funk.

Kelly Mizue Aoki / Yonsei Memory Project

A new project organized by fourth-generation Japanese Americans is seeking to preserve memories and create art. Called the Yonsei Memory Project, the effort is a project of Nikiko Masumoto and Brynn Saito. The two will hold events in Fresno on Saturday Febaury 17th and Monday February 19th, including memory tours and an event of poetry and art at the Fresno Assembly Center, the site where local Japanese Americans were processed before they were sent to concentration campus during the Second World War.

Go For Broke

The Kingsburg Historical Society is hosting a new traveling exhibit on the Japanese American experience during the Second World War. The small farming community is known today for its Swedish heritage, but before the interment of citizens in domestic concentration camps during the war, it had a vibrant Japanese American community. The new exhibit, "Courage and Compassion: Our Shared Story of the Japanese American WWII Experience" is on a nationwide tour from the Go For Broke National Education Center, with support from the National Park Service.

Randi Lynn Beach / used with permission

California's mammoth feats of water engineering in the 20th century turned the barren west side of the San Joaquin Valley into the most productive farmland in the world. But in the 21st century, as society's appreciation of the environmental costs of these water diversions, many have questioned whether west side farms will last into the next century. Combined with the threats of drought, climate change, and increasing salinity, the question is fertile ground for photojournalist Randi Lynn Beach.

Sierra On-Line

It might be hard to believe today, but the Madera County community of Oakhurst was once one of the biggest players in the world of computer gaming. For much of the 1980's and 90's, the mountain community was home to Sierra On-Line, an early pioneer in computer gaming, known for adventure game titles like Kings Quest. Sierra's games featured both innovative technology and groundbreaking storytelling, an approach that came directly from company founders Ken and Roberta Williams.

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.

Pages