Share in my video debut

My new monthly talk show gets its big premiere tonight, thanks to CMAC. You’ll be able to access it on demand

There might not be a red carpet tonight, but let’s cue up the rotating spotlights downtown anyway:

The talk-show version of The Munro Review premieres at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4, on CMAC 1 (U-verse 99 and Xfinity 93).

A monthly talk show, you say, complete with “Tonight Show”-style desk and comfy chairs for the guests? You bet.

It premieres on CMAC 1 (U-verse 99 and Xfinity 93), and it will rerun throughout the month of October. You’ll also be able to watch the show on demand at and on CMAC’s YouTube channel. Plus — because we believe in lots of options — you can watch it right here on this very post.

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Happy trails

A beautiful Sunday traveling Sierra Art Trails was a chance to meet more than a dozen talented artists

Sunday’s Sierra Art Trails had it all: great weather, a Fresno River that actually had water in it, outstanding brownies (thank you, teenage son of Lisa Anderson and Martin Shapiro), friendly patrons, a nice Coarsegold lunch spot (another thank you, Wild Fig Kitchen), and even a substitute landscape photographer (Franka Gabler had to catch a plane to Italy, so a friend held down the fort at her studio).

Plus, of course, welcoming artists at every stop.

I stuck to the southern part of the Trails this year, starting at Yosemite Lakes Park and making it to the outskirts of Oakhurst. I only wish I could have visited even more artists. But there’s always next year! Here’s my pictorial journey.

With Carolyn Hartling in Yosemite Lakes Park. My friend Barbara bought the beautiful painting right above us.

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May the force not always be with us

Are the new security measures at Saroyan Theatre the new normal? I hope not

The Bee’s Rory Appleton has an interesting piece about something new for audience members at the Saroyan Theatre: bag checks and metal detectors. The practice is part of a larger trend of increased security at the Save Mart Center, Selland Arena and other local venues.

Appleton writes:

A series of unrelated events both in Fresno and abroad have led many of the local venues to tighten up their bag policies. Some also have added metal detectors to their entrance routines. Both are a byproduct of 2017 life, but both have led to long entrance lines for everything from rock concerts and symphony performances to San Joaquin Valley Town Hall events.

My first encounter with the Saroyan’s new security policy was the long line to get into the Fresno Philharmonic’s opening pops concert of the season on Saturday night. When I arrived at about 7:20 p.m., 10 minutes before the concert was to begin, the line to get into the south entrance stretched almost to the parking garage.

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Friday night brights

Two fun things I want to get out there in the big old digital world:mamma-mia-544

The first is a bit of interesting news from Good Company Players. The rights to “Mamma Mia” were just released, and the title will replace “Hairspray” in the 2018 season. Opening date is March 22.

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Sept. 8)

Options include grand opening of Parabolic Gallery and a staged reading of “Curious Incident” at the Selma Arts Center

Here’s a rundown on promising arts/culture picks for the weekend:

Parabolic Gallery

After a distinguished career as a design professional in Southern California, Anthony Fernandez moved to Fresno last year to begin a new chapter in his life. He dreamed up Parabolic Gallery, which promises an “intersection of fine art, furniture design and decorative arts, both contemporary and vintage.”


A grand opening party for the gallery, at 431 E. Olive Ave., is 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9. The public is invited. Featured artist is Michael Frank in a show of digital art titled “Permutations.”

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From a spark, the arts get down to business

Innovative partnership between business leaders and schools relies on a pragmatic philosophy: the arts are needed for economic survival

Here’s something to celebrate about Fresno County: Local business leaders and educators are leading the way in terms of supporting arts education in our schools.

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I got to know a lot more about the county’s innovative arts-business coalition and its SPARK! program when writing a freelance story that was posted yesterday on the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation website. The folks at Hewlett are so enamored of this program — which was originally conceived by Bob Bullwinkel at the Fresno County Office of Education and Darius Assemi of Granville Homes — that they awarded two sizable grants, totaling $280,000, to build the SPARK! program’s website and market it.

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Donald’s notes: Summer Arts, week 4

Friday’s update includes details on the free student showcases.

This is a roundup of news, reviews and notes from the fourth and final week of the CSU Summer Arts program, which is back at Fresno State after a five-year absence. I’ll be updating this post as the week progresses. If you have Summer Arts tidbits or thoughts on a performance you’d like to share, email me at For the public calendar of events, click here.

Cutting-edge technology: Students prepare for the 3-D video projection mapping showcase, 9 p.m. Friday, July 21, in the South Gym at Fresno State. Photo / Todd Sharp, CSU Summer Arts

Student showcases

One of the best (and cheapest!) things to do at Summer Arts is attend one of the free student showcases. After two weeks of intensive learning and creating, these students are anxious to show off a little. One of the highlight events is sure to be Friday’s “Video Projection Mapping in 3D Space” in the South Gym.

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (June 23)

It’s opening weekend for the Blossom Trail Players. Plus: a new show in Oakhurst, star gazing near North Fork, cabaret night at “35MM” and the kickoff of Summer Arts.

On my list for promising cultural weekend options:

‘Bye Bye Birdie’

Put on a happy face and experience the season opening production of Sanger’s Blossom Trail Players. The Broadway classic “Bye Bye Birdie,” which spins a thinly veiled tale of an Elvis Presley-type character drafted into the military, includes such well-known songs as “Honestly Sincere,” “The Telephone Hour,” “How Lovely to be a Woman” and, of course, the iconic title tune.

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All shook up: Greg Guerra makes the girls swoon as Conrad in the Blossom Trail Players production. Photos / Madlyn Esquer

The show opens Thursday, June 22, and runs through July 1.

There are more than 40 in the cast and an orchestra of 20 — let’s hear a cheer for live musical accompaniment! — in this production directed by Brittany Zenz and choreographed by Shannon Pelletier. (Andrew Esquer is music director.)

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