Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Courtesy of Steve Skibbie

Creative Fresno is on the hunt for murals. 

Murals outside of bars. Murals on random petroleum station walls. Murals in parks. 

Murals. Murals. Murals. 

The group recently began collecting data on murals throughout Fresno County in a project called the Digital Mural Map funded by the Fresno Regional Foundation. The project will feature photos of the murals and information about the artists on a mobile friendly website and later select murals will be featured in a photo book. The mural hunt will end in December and the website should be up and running in May, 2016.

For Fresno natives of a certain age, Al Radka, the Fulton Mall, Lesterburger and parties in "the figs" all are cultural touchstones that bring back memories of a simpler time. They're also the subject of a new book by journalist Steven H. Provost titled "Fresno Growing Up: A City Comes of Age: 1945-1985." From historic photos of long lost Fresno landmarks to stories about life in the 50's and 60's, the new book seeks to capture the essence of an era when so many baby boomers grew up.

Jim Choi and Chihiro Wimbush / Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm

  In the tiny community of Del Rey sits one of the nation's most acclaimed organic farms. The Masumoto family has been farming the land there for generations, and their heirloom peaches are sought after by the country's top chefs. But the Masumoto farm is also in transition, a transition of generations, as David "Mas" Masumoto's daughter Nikiko has returned home to work with her father and keep the farm alive for another generation. 

This week on Valley Writers Read we hear a story about how, during the Vietnam War, a Hmong family was lucky enough to get out of their homeland. The story describes how, for years, this Hmong family fled from soldiers, hid in jungles, crossed the Mekong River to Thailand, and finally emigrated to America. The story is by Joel Pickford and is read by Lor Lee.

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story by local author Hope Nisly titled "Seasons of Doubt." The story is mainly about personal behavior and philosophies.  Here is a young, very traditional Mennonite girl enrolled in grammar school who meets Summer, another girl with many surprising and often contrary views.  The story tells us what happens when Summer writes an essay entitled “Why I Am An Atheist”?

This week on Valley Writers Read we hear two stories: “Paper or Plastic” by James Benelli and “Night Sweats” by Ed Miller.  Both stories are read by their authors. The first story is a light hearted tale about a bag boy in a grocery store who was just about seduced by a very wealthy customer.  The second story is about a veteran with post traumatic stress disorder.

Editor's note: this program contains adult themes and may not be appropriate for all listeners.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

For the second time in five years, a Fresno poet has received the nation’s highest honor for his field. Former Fresno State professor Juan Felipe Herrera is the new Poet Laureate of the United States. Herrera grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and was influenced by both the beat poets and the Chicano movement of the 1960’s. He joins the late Philip Levine as the only Fresno residents to hold the national honor.  

In this interview Valley Public Radio's Ezra David Romero chats with Herrera about his life, poetry and future. 

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story titled "My Life As A Mystic"  by David Borofka. Even though the main character is an appraiser (which is anything but being “other worldly”) he sees himself as a “mystic.”  Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than what happens toward the end of the story. Listen and find out what happens on this week's program.

Alabastro Photography

The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra has a new conductor. Orchestra president Brian Burrow announced Tuesday that Bulgarian artist Stilian Kirov has been selected as the symphony's new musical director.

The move caps a year where the orchestra featured a series of guest conductors, following the departure of longtime leader John Farrer. 

Kirov says he's excited to work with the orchestra and the entire Bakersfield community:

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story by local author Janice Stevens. "Central Valley Honor Flight" is an account of a trip Stevens took in April of 2014  to accompany local World War Two veterans to our nation's capital. As a representative of a local magazine, Janice Stevens accompanied these veterans as they visited many of the memorials dedicated to them.

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story by local author Craig Bernthal titled "Route 18." Through no fault of her own, Linda, a troubled teenager, is thrown into the middle of a really difficult divorce.  By law, she's required to reside with each of her separated parents for two weeks at a time.  She desperately tries to escape her agonizing confinement by traveling down an imaginary highway – the one she calls "Route 18."

paulapoundstone.com

Comedian Paula Poundstone is a regular guest on NPR's news quiz Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me. Now local audiences can see her perform live on stage at Fresno's historic Tower Theatre on Saturday May 30th. She joined us on Valley Edition to talk about her career, her housekeeper and her kindergarten teacher.

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear "The Automobile Ride," a short story by author Angelo Angarano. Shortly after this program was produced, Angelo passed away at the age of 95. We dedicate this program in his memory. While his cousin Gino butchers some songs on the accordion, Angelo celebrates his ninth birthday.  And just a couple of weeks later Angelo's father buys the family's first car, a 1929 Model A Ford sedan with all of 9,500 miles on it.

This week on Valley Writers Read we hear a story by local author and farmer David Mas Masumoto titled "Scent Of A Father." 

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story by local author Robert Walton, titled "Lulu Garlic, Contraband." 

Fresno Filmworks

What do The Beach Boys, Glen Campbell and Frank Sinatra and The Monkees have in common? They all relied on the same group of backup musicians, studio pros in LA in the 60's and early 70's known informally as "The Wrecking Crew." While you probably haven't heard their names, you have heard their music.

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear two stories by local author Howard Hendrix, "Son of the Sun" and "The Self-Healing Sky."

This week on Valley Writers Read we hear a story by local author Mary Benton titled "The Grape Fields." The story is read by Leigh Murray.

This week on Valley Writers Read we hear a story titled “Johnnie Ray and Miss Kilgallen” by Bonnie Hearn Hill, and read by her husband Larry. Find out about the early days of television and radio, about some of the prominent TV, radio and journalism personalities of that era.  Learn more about their private lives and popular shows like “What's My Line.”

Columbia University

Acclaimed playwright Leslie Ayvazian wrote her humorous play "Nine Armenians" around 20 years ago about a young woman visiting her ancestral homeland for the first time. Now a new production of the play is in Fresno as part of the area's commemoration of the centennial of the Armenian genocide.

Ayvazian joined us on Valley Edition to talk about her thoughts on the play two decades after its premier, and how her attitudes about her culture and the Armenian genocide have evolved over the years.

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