In this post: various musings on weekend topics, including: Dominic Grijalva wins a chance to go to the Kennedy Center; Audra McDonald will have a Fresno theater named after her; some thoughts on Omar Naré's "Nuevo Mariachi" concert on Saturday; and your chance to offer input on Fresno State's proposed performing arts center. 

Triple threat

He directs, he designs killer graphics, he sings. Now here’s the latest accomplishment for “Spring Awakening” director Dominic Grijalva: On Saturday he won the top musical theater award at the American College Theater Festival’s regional competition in Mesa, Ariz. [caption id="attachment_8343" align="alignnone" width="671"]dom award Dominic Grijalva, left, and Kaitlyn Hipwell of Weber State University after the musical theater awards at the ACTF regional musical theater competition.[/caption] Next step is the national competition at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in April. He also won a $600 scholarship to attend the Open Jar Musical Theatre Workshop in New York.

One of the great things about ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods, is that it’s year-round. We don’t take the month off in Fresno just because it’s a little toasty outside. Here’s a list of five cool picks for August. ArtHop at most venues runs 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3, but check the Fresno Arts Council website for variations. [caption id="attachment_3773" align="alignnone" width="2560"]Pohono Bridge 3000w Woman in red: Kerby C. Smith's "Pohono Bridge."[/caption]

M Street Arts Complex

I like the way Kerby C. Smith thinks. He waits until the hottest time of the year to unveil his new exhibition of 18 images he photographed in January through March in the Yosemite Valley as the park was buried in winter’s bountiful snowfall. My guess is that your internal body temperature will go down a few degrees just looking at these crisp and creative works. (And it helps that the M Street Arts Complex galleries are air-conditioned.) I caught up with Smith to chat about “Cool in July,” which has been extended through August. The exhibition is sponsored by the Fresno Arts Council, the Chris Sorensen Studio, Electric Motor Shop, Horn Photo and Abby Pet Hospital.

If it’s the first Thursday of the month, it must be ArtHop. My own arts home might have changed recently, but at least one thing is still the same: my picks for this popular monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District areas. Here are five venues that sound promising: [caption id="attachment_2739" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Marilyn Monroe Entertainment icon: S.W. Parra's 'Marilyn Monroe.'[/caption]

K-Jewel Art Gallery

S.W. Parra, or “Surfwest” as you might know him under more breezy circumstances, is a well known local artist thanks to his long tenure as a cartoonist and illustrator at a certain Fresno daily newspaper. In January I was wandering through the Chris Sorensen Studio “Black and White” show when I bumped into Parra and his big, award-winning entry in the exhibition: a 5-foot-by-6-foot painting of James Dean titled “Icon.”