Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Oct. 12)

Here’s a rundown on promising arts/culture picks for the weekend. (Note: I’m posting this a day earlier than usual because of a Thursday night option.)

Remembering Hypatia

Earlier this year I got to wander the streets of Alexandria, Egypt, and there I learned about a remarkable woman: Hypatia, who is said to be the first woman philosopher, mathematician and astronomer. She was renowned for her intelligence and scientific insights. But she got caught up in the religious battles of the times. Hypatia was a pagan, and she was (horribly) murdered by an angry Christian mob in the year 415 A.D.


Hypatia’s life story is the focus of a fascinating sounding interdisciplinary lecture-recital on Friday at Fresno State. The event is an exploration of the ways in which women use their voices and are silenced in male-dominated societies.

The event is a collaboration between the university’s music and philosophy departments. It features soprano Maria Briggs and philosopher Tina Botts, who will explore the role of women in operatic dramas and philosophy:


The event will feature arias from the most famous operas by Verdi, Bellini and Puccini as well as Prokofiev’s song cycle to “Five Poems by Anna Ahkmatova” guided by philosophical commentary. It also will feature collaborative pianist Drew Quiring and other guest artists from Fresno State music department, including Limor Toren-Immerman on violin, baritone Limuel Forgey and Keegan Bamford on cello.

The recital-lecture is also sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities and Center for Creativity and the Arts.

I love the idea of this collaboration that brings together music, philosophy and history. It’s a sterling example of what universities can do to bring scholars of different disciplines together.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, Fresno State Concert Hall. $6 general, $5 students.


On the road again: Peter Boldt, left, Charlton Hughes and  Scott Chapman in “Route 66.” Photo / River City Theatre Company

Reedley Opera House

I’ve never seen “Route 66,” but from the description, it sounds like this jukebox musical from the River City Theatre Company will go down smooth and easy. Think “Grease” meets “Pump Boys and Dinettes” meets “Forever Plaid”:

Beginning with the sounds of 1950s Chicago and traveling along the ‘Main Street of America’ to the California coast with the surf music of the 1960s, this exciting musical revue features 34 of the greatest ‘Rock ‘n’ Road’ hits of the 20th century. Songs include “Dead Man’s Curve,” “King of the Road,” “Little Old Lady from Pasadena,” “Beep Beep,” “Six Days on the Road and “Little GTO,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” and many more.

Alexis Macedo directs.

Details: “Route 66,” opens 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, Reedley Opera House, 1720 10th St., Reedley. Runs through Nov. 5. Tickets $19-$49.50.

Shakespeare in Hollywood Poster

College of the Sequoias

Ken Ludwig’s fast and furious farce “Shakespeare in Hollywood” opens Friday in Visalia. The play is set in 1930s Hollywood. Here’s a description:

Add a sophisticated German director with an artistic vision, a couple of misplaced supernatural beings, and one of William Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies of all time, and you get “Shakespeare in Hollywood,” in which Max Reinhardt’s problematic 1934 production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — sure to be box office poison — is further complicated when Oberon and Puck, fresh from A Wood Outside Athens, find themselves transported from the land of legend and classical myth all the way to Hollywood.

I saw a production of “Shakespeare in Hollywood” 10 years ago at Good Company Players’ 2nd Space Theatre. It’s a funny, literate show. James McDonnell directs the COS version.

Details: “Shakespeare in Hollywood,” opens 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, College of the Sequoias Theatre, Visalia. Runs through Oct. 21. Tickets: $14 general, $12 seniors, $10 students.


Art and food

Another Visalia option: The eighth annual Taste the Arts Festival on Saturday offers three city blocks of art, culture, and wellness activities. It’s sponsored by the Arts Consortium.

Joanie Constable, a member of the consortium, notes in the Visalia Times-Delta that more than 70 local artists will display their paintings, sculptures, steel work, photographs, gourds, jewelry and more.

She adds:

We are featuring our Artist of the Year, Erik Gonzalez in our Pavillon area. Gonzalez is being honored as Artist of the Year for his commitment to getting art out to those who do not have access due to resources and low funding. Erik possesses a vision, the talent, and determination to be a catalyst for change in our community. Along with Urbanists Collective, a group of like-minded artists that he founded in 2012, Erik is changing the lives of youth in our area by giving them a creative outlet and purpose to do good.

There also will be plenty of food on hand, including the 4 Season Food Truck.

Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, on Garden Street between the Garden Street Plaza and the Old Lumberyard in Visalia. Admission is free.

Playhouse Merced

I’m a big fan of obscure musicals you’ll find so many blocks off Broadway they’re in the Hudson River. So you shouldn’t be surprised I’m an admirer of the original cast recording of “Evil Dead: The Musical,” a camp classic that for a decade has played all over the world (including an open-ended run in Las Vegas). I’ve never gotten to see a production, however. Until now.

ED Pub no style small-6

Let there be blood: Aaron Kohlhoff, left, Travis Walsh, Adam Trelatsky and Enrique Vega in “Evil Dead: The Musical.” Photo / Playhouse Merced

Playhouse Merced opens the show Thursday with a production that includes a “Splatter Zone for those who want an immersive experience.” Needless to say, I’m dropping everything and will be there opening night. (I’ll have to bite my tongue to keep from singing along to my favorite song: “All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons.”)

The musical is based on Sam Raimi’s original “Evil Dead” movie and sequels. (He gave his blessing to the stage version, but no thumbs up so far for a movie musical.) The company promises that “chainsaws will roar, demons will spout bad jokes while imprisoned in the basement, and moose heads will get possessed in this insane, funny, and bloody production.”

The show is rated M for Mature due to language, violence, and adult content.

Details: “Evil Dead: The Musical,” opens 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, Playhouse Merced, 452 W. Main St., Merced. Runs through Oct. 31 with a special Halloween show to close the run. Tickets: $22 adults, $10 students with valid I.D.


Afghanistan photographs

Fresno State’s Phebe Conley Art Gallery is now showing “The Other Eye on Afghanistan: Photographs by Farzana Wahidy.” An artist talk will be held 3:30-5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, in the Peters Business Auditorium (PB 191) immediately followed by a reception 5-8 p.m. in the gallery.

From the university’s College of Arts and Humanities blog:

(The exhibition) is a series of photographs taken by Farzana Wahidy in Afghanistan that focus on women, their humanity, beauty, life, hardships and joys. Subject matter range from images of daily life to the devastating effects of war.

Wahidy shared: “I think of photography as an international language. I find it as a way to express myself as women being raised during civil war and Taliban regime and also to share stories of women from my country to the world.”

Details: “The Other Eye on Afghanistan: Photographs by Farzana Wahidy” continues through Oct. 26. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays.

In conjunction with the exhibition, CineCulture will screen the film “Frame By Frame” at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, in the Peters Education Center Auditorium of the Student Recreation Center. Wahidy will be the discussant for the screening.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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