Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Fresno Filmworks

Eight films from places around the globe will play this weekend at the Fresno Film Festival. Think Palestinian race car drivers, an adaption of Heidi and a documentary all about Yo-Yo Ma. 

Image used courtesy of the Tejon Ranch

Twenty-five years ago this fall, the hills of Kern County became the focus of the international art community, with the temporary installation of over a thousand giant yellow umbrellas along the Grapevine. Now, two decades later, while the umbrellas are long gone, the event remains fresh in the minds of many. FM89’s Joe Moore brings us this report, which first aired on FM89 in 2011.  

This year the Tulare County Symphony is presenting a season inspired by folk songs and folk traditions from all over the world. The first concert of the season at the historic Visalia Fox Theatre is Saturday, and features music by composers Aaron Copland and Edgar Meyer. The concert is also an opportunity to hear the orchestra perform with its new orchestra shell which promises better acoustics for musicians and listeners alike.

Chuck Moses / BSO / Stilian Kirov

It’s fall and that means the Valley’s performing arts organizations are gearing up for their new seasons, including the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. Conductor and musical director Stilian Kirov is set to begin his second full season leading the BSO. And what a season it is, with acclaimed guest artists like Eunice Kim and Tomoki Sakata and acclaimed pieces like the Brahms Violin Concerto, Stravisky’s The Firebird and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Fresno Philharmonic

Over its history the Fresno Philharmonic has had only seven musical directors. Now the search is on to find the eighth. Over the next few months six candidates will visit the San Joaquin Valley to conduct interviews, masterclasses, and of course, perform with the orchestra at the William Saroyan Theatre. The Philharmonic's Executive Director Stephen Wilson joined us to talk about the candidates and the upcoming season. 

The San Joaquin Valley Town Hall Lecture Series has been bringing thought-provoking speakers to Central California since the 1930s. Now with the launch of their 2016-2017 season, the group has another excellent lineup, that features Dr. Michio Kaku, Leon Panetta, Wes Moore, Adam Steltzner, Marc Lapadula, Dave Barry and Lisa Genova. We talked with two Town Hall board members, Paul Smith and Lisa Cooper about the new season. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Central Valley native Juan Felipe Herrera was recently  appointed for a second term as the U.S. Poet Laureate. In his first year he traveled the states with a focus on diversity through his online project "La Casa De Colores." 

Herrera grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and was influenced by both beat poets and the Chicano movement of the 1960’s. Last year he joined the late Philip Levine as the only Fresno residents to hold the national honor.  

Joe Moore - Valley Public Radio

Downtown Hanford is known for several things, like its historic town square, and ice cream sundaes at Superior Dairy. But one big part of the town's civic identity has been dark for two years - the historic Hanford Fox Theatre. Now the Fox is back, with a new ceiling and other features after structural problems closed the venerable landmark. Dan Humason joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the renovations, the theatre's history and some of the shows that are coming up at the venue. 

Grizzly Fest Facebook

At this year's Grizzly Fest in Downtown Fresno acts like the indie band Cold War Kids and the reggae fusion group Slightly Stoopid will take the stage. Fresno hip-hop artist Fashawn will perform as well as other local artists.

Fresno Philharmonic

Maestro Theodore Kuchar is set to conduct his final Masterworks Concert for the Fresno Philharmonic this weekend, after 15 years as the orchestra's musical director. We spoke with him and mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor about this weekend's concert of works by Dvorak, Prokofiev, and Kalinnikov.

Vanguard Records

Acclaimed author Gerald Haslam grew up in the blue-collar Kern County community of Oildale in the 1940's, a child of the Dust Bowl migration to California. He went to school with another boy with a similar background, a child named Merle Haggard.

Courtesy of Brad Polzin

Band posters usually give concert goers their first inclination of whether a show is worth attending. Fresno Artist Brad Polzin knows a lot about that. He's collected posters from Fresno bands for decades and now he's curating a show all about them.

"We've all seen the big San Francisco rock posters that are so famous," says Polzin. "The Fresno artists were in that same era and they designed their own special, unique versions of these posters." 

Polzin says people have submitted posters from all different genres, venues and eras. 

This week on Valley Writers Read we hear a program from our archives featuring local author Jim Ashford reading his story "Ridge Runner."

Today on Young Artists Spotlight we feature performances by three students of local harp instructor Laura Porter. We will hear Aria Delgado, (Sanger Academy); Carter Williams (Fort Washington); Kimberly Klassen,(Kingsburg High) perform in the final Young Artists Spotlight program broadcast from the Bonner Performing Arts Studio.

 

Mai Der Vang

Last week Fresno Hmong-American Poet Mai Der Vang was awarded one of the nation's most prestigious book awards. The Academy of American Poets selected Vang, 34, as this years recipient of the Walt Whitman Award. Each year the honor goes to an emerging writer to make possible the publication of their first book.

In an interview with FM89, Vang says she was shocked by the news.

VANG: “I was just thrilled. I actually asked if they could double check to make sure it was me.”

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