Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

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.

Courtesy of Tim Z. Hernandez

Albert Franco recalls his late mother like any son might. 

He says she was a wonderful cook, housewife, grandmother, and mother.

But at Bea Kozera's funeral, in a Fresno cemetery in late August, Franco described what made his mother's personal story extraordinary.

“Some of you are aware of my mom’s notoriety,” Albert Franco said. “She was a famous person, which we never knew - never knew, for about 60 years almost.” 

Pianist Inon Barnatan joins us at Valley Public Radio to talk about his new CD of works by Franz Schubert, and about his upcoming performance in Fresno, in the debut concert of the Fresno Philharmonic's 60th anniversary season. Barnatan will perform Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2, a rarely heard work by the Russian master. In this interview we discuss Barnatan's career, his beginnings in classical music as a young child in Israel, his approach to the recording studio, and much more.

http://timzhernandez.com/

Author Tim Z. Hernandez's new novel "Mañana Means Heaven," tells a fictionalized story of the real-life “Mexican Girl” from Jack Kerouac’s "On The Road."  

Valley Edition Host Joe Moore interviewed Hernandez about why he chose to tell the story, how he met Bea Franco (later known as Bea Kozera)  and more. 

Here are some highlights from our interview with Hernandez:

In Visalia, Pizza and Poetry Mix at Howie & Son's

Aug 23, 2013
Howie & Son's

If you want to hear poetry on a Friday night in the San Joaquin Valley, stop by Howie & Son’s Pizza Parlor in Visalia.

You’ll find us in the back room, by the video game machines.

This isn’t your standard poetry reading. It’s poetry slam, the competitive art of performance poetry. We write our own verse and then deliver it, forcefully and in our own distinctive style.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The City of Selma opens the doors of its new Arts Center Wednesday evening with a ribbon cutting ceremony. And while the building's striking architecture is creating a buzz, its mission as a cultural center has captured the community's imagination. Valley Public Radio’s Joe Moore reports.

Dozens of painters, plasterers, and electricians were hard at work today in downtown Selma, putting the finishing touches on a new jewel in the city's downtown - the $2.5 million Selma Arts Center. 

How I Started an Opera Company in Visalia

Jul 29, 2013
Visalia Opera Company

How did I, of all people, end up starting an opera company? The answer has to do with being willing to forget about credentials and just take that first step. The answer also has to do with the open culture of my hometown.

I grew up in Visalia, singing Gloria Estefan and Selena songs at county fairs. All I wanted to do when I grew up was to be a pop singer—to shake my booty on stage and wear glittery outfits. I didn’t know the first thing about opera.

Fashawn

One of today’s brightest young stars in the world of hip hop is from Fresno. His name is Fashawn. He’s been on the cover of XXL Magazine, he’s toured internationally with some of the biggest MC’s, and his own recordings and videos like the critically acclaimed “Boy Meets World” combine clever wordplay and rhythms with a message.

Good Company Players

For generations Fresno residents have laughed and cried with the actors of the Good Company Players. Now celebrating 40 years on the stage in Fresno’s Tower District, the community theater company, and its founder Dan Pessano, are the subject of a new e-book from Fresno Bee features writer Donald Munro – called “The Company We Keep” – it’s available for download on the 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

One hundred years ago this summer, a group of U.S. Army cavalry soldiers left the Presidio in San Francisco, and made the hot dusty trek across the San Joaquin Valley to both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. Veterans of the Spanish American War, were charged with protecting the new national parks from poachers, timber thieves, and with building park infrastructure. They were in essence America's first park rangers. 

When author Anne Fadiman first visited Merced in the late 1980s, she says more than 10,000 Hmong refugees and their children were living there. At that time, about one out of every six people living in Merced was Hmong, she says.

The hospitals were overwhelmed by the new refugee population, she recalls. Medical interpretation was not legally mandated at that time, and Merced Community Medical Center had just one Hmong interpreter. It often fell to the hospital janitor, or a family’s young child, to translate sensitive medical information to a patient.

http://steveyarbrough.net/

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story titled "A Life of Ease" by acclaimed novelist Steve Yarbrough. John Grisham wrote of Yarbrough, [he is] "wickedly observant, funny, cynical, evocative, and he possesses a gift that cannot be taught: he can tell a story." 

Yarbrough's 2004 novel "Prisoners of War" was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and his 1999 novel "The Oxygen Man" won the California Book Award.  He taught at Fresno State from 1988 - 2009. Yarbrough's story is about a minister in a small church in Mississippi and his interactions with his parishioners. 

This week on Valley Writers Read, Fresno author Sally Stallings reads two stories about Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet.  The author gives us a good look at what happened to both young and old—both backstage and out front at various Christmas performances of the popular ballet.  

This week on Valley Writers Read, our program revolves around the sport of golf with two stories by local authors. In Angelo Angarano's “Born Again Golfer,” we hear what happened to an avid golfer when he enlisted a Zen Buddhist golf pro to help him answer an important question. And in David Creighton's story “Golf!  A Four-Lettered Word”  the author describes what happened to a golfer who dumped three consecutive golf shots right into the middle of a lake.

When poet James Tyner was a child, he faced an uncertain future, including time spent homeless, and living in tough, gang-ridden neighborhoods in Southern California. He says two things helped "save" him: a love of literature and the city of Fresno.

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear two stories from two local authors. Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco resides in Merced and reads her own story, titled "Military Cemetery." It tells us about an encounter between two young women and a couple of men they met at a bar, one of whom has a shocking announcement. The second story, "Leaving Rapunzel's Window" by Fresno author Anne Leath Biggs describes the author's childhood in a middle-class neighborhood on Michigan Avenue in Fresno.  

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story by Tehachapi author Valerie Schultz titled "The Rufus Gene." The story is about a the adventures of family who move into an upscale neighborhood and their mixed-breed dog Rufus. 

This week on our program, Fresno author Ed Miller reads his story "Blur" is about a dinner date that went sour. Find out what happened in this intense edition of Valley Writers Read. 

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

This weekend the stage of the Saroyan Theatre will be filled with hundreds of young musicians, with hundreds more in the audience. It’s all part of an effort by a Fresno composer to break down the boundaries between classical music and mariachi, and to bring young audiences into the world of music, in a fun, interactive way. Valley Public Radio's Rebecca Plevin reports.

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It’s Sunday afternoon and the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is rehearsing a new, mariachi-inspired song.

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story by Oakhurst author Susan Norman titled "Learning the Ropes." It's about CJ, a precocious teenaged girl who had been sent to a school for delinquents. The parents come to see their daughter on visiting day and watch the youngsters climb a complicated jungle gym.  That afternoon, CJ's mother decides to climb the jungle gym herself.  This forebodes some big changes in family relationships. KVPR's Leigh Murray reads this story.

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