Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

On this week's Valley Writers Read, Lillian Faderman reads from her book “Naked In The Promised Land.”  Originally her family came from Poland, but now, even though she still sees him, the mother's husband has left and denies being the baby's father.  In the end, the mother, her baby, and the mother's sister decide to start life over again in California.

This program features a story by Paul Hernandez entitled  “Nampay the Amazonian.” Nampay is a popular musician who becomes world famous and revered.  The story is read by several of his associates -- his promoter, his pilot, a fellow musician, a fan, and even the man who constructed his wonderful guitar.

Charismatic,  controversial, courageous and complicated. Those are just a few words that could sum up the life of the late civil rights leader and farm labor activist Cesar Chavez. Now over 20 years after his death, a new biography seeks to provide fresh insight into a man who is an inspiration for millions. The book is called “The Crusades of Cesar Chavez” by Miriam Pawel, who joined us on Valley Edition to talk about Chavez the man and Chavez the myth. 

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.