Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

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.

This week on Valley Public Radio's Valley Writers Read, we hear a story by local author Oscar G. Williams titled “Bucket List." Read by Don Weaver, the story is about a list of four activities the children and grandchildren of two well-to-do 65 year old twins come up with for their grandparents to enjoy in their old age – golfing, skiing, motorcycling, and jumping out of airplanes at 10,000 feet.

A persecuted German family that was lucky enough to get out of Nazi Germany before WWII started life over again in Brooklyn, New York.  The story describes how they dealt with their new neighborhood, living conditions, work, schools, illness, and America's deep depression.

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story by local author Janet Nichols Lynch titled "Free Will." Maureen is the lead character.  She's been divorced from Jack, while Patrick, the father of six-month old Audrey, is the other man.  But now some serious problems have come up and Maureen is thinking about starting life all over.

This week on Valley Writers Read we hear a story by local author James Varner, "Memories of Growing Up with Friends." The story is all about the life-long friends the author made in the Bakersfield neighborhood where he grew up.  He tells us about the schools he went to and the profession he chose, and an event that brought back many memories, years later. 

This week on Valley Writers Read we hear a story by local author Thomas Nance, "Dad's Address Book." The story is set in the last part of World War II  in the Pacific.  The author re-constructs many of the stories about the infantry battles that we won in the South Pacific – island by island –  from letters his father wrote while serving under General Douglas McArthur.

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a piece by local journalist Mark Arax, who describes the huge farm show in Tulare where tractors sell for a quarter million dollars. Arax tells us about the unbelievable variety and staggering volume of farm production right here in the San Joaquin Valley. 

George Mason / Valley Public Radio

With members seemingly beyond their years in life experience, the Bakersfield Youth Symphony String Quartet graced the FM89 studios with individual stories to tell, in addition to the musicians’ performances of Bach, Haydn, Tchaikovsky and more.

Violinist Henry Song, a Stockdale H.S. senior and in his second visit to Young Artist Spotlight, came ready to tell us of his football prowess and his hopes for the future on a college gridiron. Hearing his violin mastery, one hopes he insures his fingers!

This week on Valley Writers Read we hear a story titled “Double Plot” by Judy Ryan. Listen for a moving story about love and loss over the decades. 

This week on Valley Writers Read, acclaimed novelist and former Fresno State professor Steve Yarbrough reads his story "The Intersection."

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

It was a full studio this time for Young Artists Spotlight, in the second of three Youth Orchestras of Fresno programs, which are being spread across the total 13 Wednesdays this season. So to the Bonner Studio came Emily, Lynette, Sebastian, McKenna, Amanda, and Peyton.

The rest of the young musicians looked on as 11-year-old violinist Emily Okayasu, who attends St. Anthony’s school, performed for her third year on Young Artists Spotlight.  It is not an exaggeration to say that jaws dropped and eyes lit up. And Emily’s accompanist was Matthew Dean.

Fresno State News

U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Levine died on Saturday at his home in Fresno. He was age 87. The former Fresno State professor was known as the poet of the working class, and drew inspiration from his time working in the auto industry in his native Detroit and from the San Joaquin Valley, which he called home for nearly 60 years.

Levine took pride in bringing stories of physical labor in America to the world of poetry. Poet Peter Everwine was a close friend and colleague.