Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

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."

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.