The List: From a celebration of Dr. King to Oscar shorts, promising picks for the weekend

Welcome to The List, a curated offering of promising events for the weekend. Why stay home with Hulu when there’s a whole world of local stuff to enjoy and support?

1. Let there be peace

Collaboration concerts can be wonderful things, and the topic of this one suggests a particularly satisfying emotional experience: “Walk in Peace: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black History Month.”

The event features the choirs of Fresno State, Fresno City College and Clovis North High School.

From the organizers:

The music will focus on the African American Spiritual intertwined with readings of writings and speeches by great Americans such as, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Pearl S. Buck, Langston Hughes and, of course, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We are thrilled to have Fresno State Theatre major Jimmy Haynie and Fresno City College Staff member Jewell Riversmith as our guest readers this year.

The program includes joint-choir performances of U2’s “MLK,” “We Shall Overcome,” “The Trumpet Sounds Within-a My Soul” and “Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down.”

This is the third annual “Walk in Peace” concert.


Cari Earnhart, Julie Dana, Elisha Wilson and Heather Bishop are faculty members adding their talents to the occasion.

If you go: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, Fresno City College Old Administration Building Auditorium. Admission is free.

A scene from the Oscar-nominated short ‘Favre.’

2. Keep it short

I love the idea of getting to see all the Oscar-nominated shorts over one weekend. These are films that most people never got to see in the past (except for Academy voters). Not only is it a great help to have seen the lineup when you’re filling out your Oscar party ballot, but these films are sometimes among the most memorable entries each year. Thanks to Fresno Filmworks, you get the chance to be on the inside.

My friend and colleague Jim Ward at the Visalia Times-Delta has an excellent roundup of the three programs (Live Action Shorts, Animated Shorts and Documentary Shorts). The funny thing is that I was starting to watch a screener of the Live Action Shorts when he texted to warn me that it’s a pretty bleak lineup this year. I thought to myself: How depressing can it be?

Oh. My. God. That sound you hear is me still trying to scrape my soul off my polished concrete floors, where it fled trying to escape the unrelenting gloom. Four of the five titles include awful things happening to (and because of) children, and the one film that doesn’t — a sweet and sad, deftly directed short titled “Marguerite,” about a dying woman — isn’t exactly the biggest mood lifter of the year. I think that “Fauve,” about two boys goofing off around a spectacularly unfenced industrial site, will give me nightmares for at least a couple of months, and the gripping (and beautifully acted) “Detained,” based on a true-crime English tale, sent me scurrying to Wikipedia for more details before falling into a dispiriting stupor. And don’t get me started about “Skins,” which Ward expertly pegs for its “Twilight Zone”-like menace. You can’t pick your parents, alas.

All that said, I can’t in good conscience recommend the Live Action Shorts lineup unless you are committed to celebrating the excellence of the filmmaking rather than getting pulled down to dark emotional depths.

The Animated Shorts and Documentary Shorts programs are far less soul-crushing, though tears are likely involved. Again, Jim gives a thorough rundown. I just sniffled through the wonderful “Bao,” about a lonely mother who grows attached to a dumpling after her son leaves for college, as part of the Animated Shorts.

Here’s the schedule:

Friday, Feb. 8:  5:30 p.m. Live Action; 8:30 p.m. Animation

Saturday, Feb. 9: 1 p.m. Animation; 4 p.m. Live Action; 7 p.m. Documentary

If you go: Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Ave., Fresno. Tickets are $10 general, $8 students and seniors.

3. Keyboard excitement

Roman Rabinovich, superstar pianist originally from Uzbekistan, makes a stop at the Philip Lorenz International Keyboard Concert Series. He originally wowed the world as a winner at the 2008 Rubinstein International Piano Competition.

The program includes J.S. Bach’s Partita in D Major, Rachmaninoff’s “Selections from Moments musicaux,” and Schubert’s Sonata in C minor.

You can win a pair of tickets to the concert! Enter here by 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8.

If you go: 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, Fresno State Concert Hall. Tickets are $25 general, $18 seniors, $5 students.


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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