Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

This week's program features a story by Don Parkay entitled “The Distance Between Stars.”  Mom and daughter live in the countryside up in the high desert of Western California.  Dina, the daughter volunteers at a bookstore in town.  Then, when Mom meets Clay, the owner of the bookstore, they seem to be attracted to each other.

Lionsgate / Pantelion Films

Later this month, the story of the late farm labor leader Cesar Chavez hits the silver screen with a biopic by acclaimed director Diego Luna. It’s the first time a major motion picture has been made about the life of the founder of the United Farm Workers Union. It features a cast of Hollywood stars including America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson and John Malkovich, with Michael Pena cast as the late civil rights hero. Tomorrow night President Obama will host a screening of the movie at the White House.

Michael Karibian / Educational Employees Credit Union

Franz Weinschenk reads “A Hike down Colony Mill Road.”  Story is about an unhappy group of sailors from San Francisco known as the “Kaweah Colony,” who built a saw mill at the 5,000 foot level in what it now Sequoia National Park. It took them four years to construct a 10-mile road up to the saw mill, but they were forced to vacate once the national park was established.

California's water wars are nothing new. But Firebaugh-based filmaker Juan Carlos Oseguera says the current struggle over water cutbacks to westside growers is truly a "fight." His new feature-length documentary film, titled "A Fight For Water" seeks to tell the story of the communities in the San Joaquin Valley who were hit hard by water cutbacks in 2009 due to environmental restrictions on delta pumping. 

Courtesy Light Thieves

South By Southwest (SXSW) may be the biggest gathering of music, entertainment and technology leaders on the planet. The annual festival in Austin is not just a place where Google unveils its latest products, and where Edward Snowden makes his first public address since becoming a whistleblower on NSA spying. It’s also where many up and coming bands and DJs go to make a name for themselves on a national stage, including some from the San Joaquin Valley.

This week on Valley Writers Read, Howard Hendrix reads “Red Rover, Red Rover.”  This is a science fiction story about a billionaire who, along with his talking dog “Cogzie,” decides to move to Mars.  Soon, and often, the dog reminds him how mankind has abused dogs, which gets the two of them into a big fight.  

Benjamin Boone

Fresno jazz artist, educator and composer Benjamin Boone has embarked on a fascinating new musical journey: mixing his music with the poems of former Poet Laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Levine. 

Levine, who is a longtime Fresno resident is among the nation's most revered poets. He's also a big jazz fan, dating back to his youth in Detroit. In fact, many of his poems reference jazz, including iconic stars like Clifford Brown and John Coltrane. 

This week on Valley Writers Read, Mark Arax reads from “The King of California.”  This is the story of how some cotton farmers dried out the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi (Tulare Lake) and made it into a huge cotton empire.  The lead grower, J.G. Boswell, believes in making a factory out of the fields and goes by the saying “from the lab to the fields to the gin.”

This week on Valley Writers Read we hear a story by Fresno author Jim Ashford titled "Country Roads." Back in high school, Tom Carson fought off some bullies who were after Billy Slurd.  So that when Billy passed away, he left Tom a present-- a magic 1956 Ford Thunderbird that turned into a time machine.  When you tuned in the radio, all you could hear is 1956 radio talk –  Al Radka carries on about Mrs. Winterbottom and KYNO broadcasts of the Fresno Cardinals.

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story by Hope Nisly titled "Milk Run." Austin and Jed escape from the half-way house in which they're incarcerated and live in the mountains selling pine cones to vacationers.  But they get re-arrested and soon find themselves being transported back to prison.  They try to tip over the van they're in, but don't succeed.  So now face many more years of imprisonment.

Gary Hill reads “There's No One At Manubi, Only Flies.”  This story takes place in the huge Gibson Desert of Australia.  A desert tribe desperately hopes a distant rain cloud will end the drought.  But it doesn't.  But just as they prepare to die of thirst, they see a water truck in the distance.  However, even if it saves them, some will not want to go to the mission with the truck but remain in their ancestral home.  

Valerie Schultz reads “Some Kind of Bee” and “Four Seasons and The Moon.”  Grandma is driving down the street when a bee blows in the window.  She's so distracted she loses concentration and wrecks the car.  Now all she can talk about is how old she is, just old enough to make funeral arrangements.  But she's in for a big surprise!

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of John Steinbeck’s tale of the Dust Bowl emigration to California – the Grapes of Wrath. Late last year, Cal State Bakersfield launched a year-long celebration of the book and its author, which includes an event taking place Wednesday night at CSUB titled “If Steinbeck was a Farmer.”

Jim Benelli reads “Big Joe and the Red Headed Hitchhiker.”  A beer-drinking, Buck Owens-loving truck driver is on his way to St. Louis with a load of tomatoes.  He picks up a red-headed  hitchhiker who knows all the words to Buck Owens' songs but somehow disappears after the truck has an accident out in the Mojave desert.  

Debbie Everson Borofka reads "Remembrance."  The narrator's father came down with bronchitis when he was just a baby.  So the grandparent put him in a tent with boiling water inside to supply steam.  Unfortunately, the water spilled over and scalded the baby's feet so badly that he lost them.  This accident affected family relationships for decades.

Backbeat Books

Buck Owens was one of the giants of country music, helping to define a rough and ready sound that will forever be linked with the city that Owens called home – Bakersfield. While Owens died in 2006, his legacy lives on. Now a new book titled “Buck 'Em: The Autobiography of Buck Owens” tells his story.

Judy Ryan reads “Whistle Stop.”  It's a story about Jennifer who for years didn't want to talk but only whistled.  She got pregnant, ran away from home, gave her baby up for adoption, and finally decided to look for her grandparents.  That's when she thought she found her grandfather—who really wasn't.  

Ten Speed Press

Three members of the Masumoto family, Mas, his wife Marcy, and daughter Nikiko read “The Perfect Peach.”  They tell us what it takes to grow peaches and grapes on their productive farm in Del Rey and describe how they tend to their land and how to enjoy the results of their labor—especially those delicious peaches!

M Street Arts Complex

Over the past decade, downtown Fresno's arts scene has blossomed with new galleries and studios, not to mention live-work lofts and an area filled with public art that's been dubbed the mural district. 

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

During the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead,) people remember loved ones who have died. Traditionally, they honor the deceased with altars featuring sugar skulls, marigold flowers, photos and their favorite foods and drinks. This month, Arte Americas, in downtown Fresno, is exhibiting altars in memory of local residents and Latino icons.

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