Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

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."