Donald’s list: Weekend choices (March 2)

Options include the chamber group Moment Musical, the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra, a memorial concert for Fresno State’s Brad Hufft, an artists reception at Arte Americas, and the final performance of ‘Sherlock Holmes’

Arts picks for a busy cultural weekend:

Moment Musical

The chamber group Moment Musical presents its latest “Sunday Serenade” concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 4, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 50 E. Santa Ana Ave., Fresno.


The program includes Paul Wranitzky’s Sextet No. 3 in E flat major written for flute, oboe, violin, two violas and cello.

Also on the program: Antonin Dvorak’s Terzetto in C major (for two violins and viola); and Camille Saint-Saens’ Fantasie in A major (for violin and harp).

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5 picks for February ArtHop

Options include Dixie Salazar at Fig Tree Gallery, Suzanne Bertz-Rosa at Bitwise, and the new show “Kindred” at Arte Americas

Dixie Salazar turns her attention to a prominent issue in her new show at Fig Tree Gallery: global warming. It’s one of my picks for interesting sounding exhibitions in ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and exhibitions in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods.

I checked in with Salazar to get a preview of “Summer 2017: Fire and Water.”


Q: How many works are there in the show? Tell us about your approach.

A: There are four quite large painted collages. They are abstract but with much perceived water imagery and fire also. I also collaged burned paper onto the pieces. I was working on this piece in the summer of 2017 and was affected at some level by all the devastation caused by natural upheavals. I work intuitively, so much of this became apparent to me after I finished the work.

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Dec. 15)

Weekend options include GCP holiday cheer, Playhouse Merced, an exciting look at Latinx Theatre at Arte Americas, “A Bob Hope Christmas” and “Another Night Before Christmas” at Sierra Repertory Theatre

Five picks for the weekend:

Good Company cheer

You couldn’t ask for more talented Christmas entertainers. A group of veterans from Good Company Players will perform favorite songs Saturday at Sequoia Brewing Co. in the Tower District. Join Teddy Maldonado, Shawn Williams, Tim Smith, Emily Pessano, Sara Price and Paddy Myers for a lineup of Yuletide vocals.

From left, Paddy Myers, Teddy Maldonado, Shawn Williams, Tim Smith, Emily Pessano and Sara Price.

By the way, I love the above photo. Emily and Paddy look like they’re naughty, Tim and Sara are being so nice, Teddy looks ecstatic that it’s December, and Shawn has a smile as big and white as the North Pole. The whole tableaux just seems warm and jolly.

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Oct. 27)

Options include Fresno State’s new production of “Native Son,” Arte Americas’ big “Cala Gala” festival, theater openings in Oakhurst and Visalia, and the National Chamber Choir of Armenia

Here’s a roundup of promising arts/culture picks for the weekend:

‘Native Son’

Fresno State’s theater department opens a new adaptation of Richard Wright’s classic novel about a poor black man living in 1930s Chicago accused of killing a wealthy white woman. I caught up with director Thomas-Whit Ellis for a rundown on the show.

Joshua Slack and Arium Andrews star in “Native Son.” Photo / Fresno State

The new adaptation: “Native Son,” which Wright wrote in 1940, was adapted into a play soon afterward. (It was directed by Orson Welles and opened on Broadway in 1941.) In 2014, a new adaptation by Nambi Kelley opened in Chicago. Ellis had become a fan of Kelley’s work when he directed “Hands Up,” a 2016 Fresno State production written by seven playwrights. He saw the new “Native Son” in a production by the Marin Theatre Company. Fresno State is one of the first universities in the country to produce it, he says.

The format: Kelley adapted the novel into a compressed, taut, 90-minute series of vignettes in a “hard hitting, fast-paced manner,” Ellis says.

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Masked identities, lucha libre style

Southern California artist Sergio Teran visits Arte Américas Saturday in a reception for his exhibition “South of the Grapevine”

Arte Américas has a lot to celebrate this month. On Sept. 30, the cultural arts center marks its 30th anniversary with a big bash. And it’s nearing the end of a successful run of “South of the Grapevine,” the second annual exhibition featuring well-known Southern California artists.

One of those artists is Sergio Teran, who will be honored at an artist’s reception at Arte noon-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2. (He’ll give a lecture at 1 p.m. followed by a gallery tour of his show.) Teran is particularly known for his lucha-libre mask motifs and his examination of bicultural identity.

Devil winds: Sergio Teran’s “Jardine Del Diablo.”

Teran shares the exhibition with fellow artist Rick Ortega. “The two create strong works that excite the eye and engage the soul,” says Arte executive director and exhibition curator Frank Delgado. “The colors of their palettes are bright and distinctly Latino — and their content is beautifully executed and filled with deep narrative.”

I caught up with Teran via email to talk about “South of the Grapevine.”

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Aug. 11)

Weekend options include metal-meets-mariachi at Arte Americas and a new musical arts series at Bitwise Industries

I’ve already told you about two of this weekend’s big theater events (“Hedda Gabler” and “R&J”). Here are a few more promising (and, for this blog, a little off-the-beaten path) cultural picks for the weekend.

Metalachi performs at Vinyl nightclub at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, NV
Different kind of mariachi: METALACHI performs Saturday at Arte Américas.

Mariachi meets metal

This concert has such an interesting premise that I can’t resist: METALACHI is the first heavy-metal mariachi band in the world. (I’m not sure if it’s the only heavy-metal mariachi band in the world — that would be a pretty small group, right?) And it’s returning to Arte Américas for a concert on Saturday, Aug. 12, in the outdoor Plaza Paz.

The ensemble uses traditional mariachi instruments to re-interpret songs by Metallica, Guns N Roses, Led Zepplin, Bon Jovi, and more. Add in painted faces, over-the-top costumes, raunchy humor, and raucous theatrics, and this isn’t exactly your grandfather’s mariachi concert.

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5 picks for August ArtHop

From Kerby C. Smith’s bracing winter photography at M Street to the glory of ink pens at Bitwise, here are promising options for Thursday

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.

Pohono Bridge 3000w
Woman in red: Kerby C. Smith’s “Pohono Bridge.”

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.

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5 picks for July ArtHop

From James Dean at K-Jewel to an artistic musical bash at Tower District Records, here are promising options for the monthly open house of galleries and studios

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:

Marilyn Monroe
Entertainment icon: S.W. Parra’s ‘Marilyn Monroe.’

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.”

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