The List: On busy holiday weekend, no excuse for scrooging around at home

Welcome to The List, a curated offering of promising events for the weekend. 

1. Swede Fest 19: Don’t miss it

I am a relative latecomer to the Swede Fest fan club. Sure, over the years I’ve appreciated and chuckled at various entries to this Fresno-famous “low-tech” film festival that I’ve seen online. (The idea is that filmmakers create low-budget, summarized, recreations of a popular Hollywood movie or TV show. And we’re talking low budget.) But it wasn’t until last year that I attended the actual festival itself.

Pictured above: Dumb Drum put some swede moves on a certain movie you might have heard of that’s opening soon. Photo: Dumb Drum

And I was hooked.

What will you find? Twenty films, including entries from a bunch of seventh graders at the Cardinal Wiseman School in London. (Word travels far and wide these days.)

The lineup also includes an entry from the master sweders at Dumb Drum. This year they’re offering a shot-by-shot recreation of the trailer for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” (You can find the video all over Twitter, but I’m stubbornly waiting to watch it in the theater.)


Also, a little bird named Heather chirped on Twitter that she and her brother’s “Forrest Gump” swede, a blast-from-the-past selection from years ago, will be a featured selection. Can’t wait to see it again. (Completely random side note: Can you believe that the Bubba Gump shrimp franchise is still going strong? File under Inexplicable 21st Century Oddities.)

Josh Tehee at the Bee has a nice roundup of the festival.

If you go: 7 p.m. today (Friday, Dec. 13) at the Tower Theatre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Fools Collaborative

Amalie Larsen, Drag Santa and Terry Lewis in a photo from last year’s “Joyful Noise Holiday Cabaret.’

2. No fooling: This is a talent extravaganza

The Fools Collaborative — a smart and significant group of thespians that elevates the Fresno-area theater scene in so many ways — offers its second annual “Joyful Noise Holiday Cabaret” on Sunday.

A portion of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to Fresno State’s Student Cupboard, a free food and hygiene pantry for current Fresno State students.

The powerhouse lineup includes Brooke Aiello, Karen Burley, Rodolfo Robles Cruz, Emma DenBesten, Camille Gaston, Dominic Grijalva, Christy Hathaway, Mitchell Lam Hau, Amalie Larsen, Chris Mangels, Lex Martin, Jessica Meredith, Erik Olson, Mindy Ramos, Amy Ryan and Laramie Woolsey.

Plus, you can look forward to the return of The Fools’ very own Drag Santa, Harley Sinn.

A reception with free wine, beer coffee, cocoa, holiday treats, and a 50/50 raffle will take place immediately following the cabaret.

If you go: 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, 2101 N Fruit Ave., Fresno. Suggested donation is $10, but audience members are welcome to Pay-What-They-Can. 

The Munro Review

Janice Noga in the New York production of ‘Janka.’

3. Experience the stirring message of ‘Janka’

‘Janka’ is coming this weekend to Hanford.

Janice Noga for more than a decade has been perfecting her role in this show about her mother-in-law, Janka Festinger Speace, who survived a Nazi concentration camp. Janice’s husband, Oscar Speace, wrote the play about his mother using original source materials, and the pair have toured with it across the nation and around the world.

To read much more about the history of the production, which played in New York in 2015, read my 2018 interview with Noga.

And for even more coverage, read my Fresno Bee report on the New York production.

These performances are hosted by Hanford’s Kings Players at the Temple Theatre.

If you go: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15; Temple Theatre, 514 E. Visalia St., Hanford. Tickets are $25.

Shine! Theatre

4. Glass slippers are so last year

Shine! Theatre Company presents an original children’s musical titled “Cindy!” Here’s a description:

Cindy is a dutiful daughter who does her best to remain kind … even when faced with her less-than-perfect step-family. This holiday season join Shine! as we serve up a new pop musical adaptation of the timeless classic, “Cinderella.” This original musical features smart, upbeat, contemporary music along with a sassy, hip version of the fairy tale.

The show is directed by tony sanders.

If you go: 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14; 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15; at the Tower Theatre. Tickets are $17.50-$20.

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Clovis Community Choir

5. Bach, Musica Viva, Clovis Community Choir and more

So much music, so little time! Performances include:

The Bach Children Choir and Bach Youth Chorale present “Christmas Carols Reimagined” (4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, Fresno City College Old Administration Building Auditorium).

The chamber group Musica Viva offers “Advent Readings and Reflections Through Music and Words” in Kingsburg (7 p.m. Friday, Holy Family Catholic Church), Reedley (7 p.m. Saturday, First Mennonite Church), and Fresno (7 p.m. Monday, University Presbyterian Church).

The Clovis Community Choir performs 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at Shaghoian Hall.

Want a complete roundup? Check out Bradford Riley’s Local Music Ensembles calendar spreadsheet, which gives even more options.

5. And don’t forget …

I’ve already filled you in on Central California Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” (2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; Saroyan Theatre).

A new theater company brings us “A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play” (opens 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13).

Plus: It’s closing weekend for Fresno State’s charming “As You Like It.” There’s no excuse to stay home.


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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