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The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, August 11, 2011

Eye Street

Index Nelson Varon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Michael Armendariz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Bakersfield Community Theater season . . . . . . .19 Arts Alive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Young Audiences workshop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 The Lowdown with Matt Munoz . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 BC planetarium schedule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26-29

Editor Jennifer Self | Phone 395-7434 | e-mail

She knows the tune by heart Amy Adams gets back on the mic for benefit show BY MATT MUNOZ editor


n her journey from the bright lights of reality TV to the glimmering stages of big production musicals, Bakersfield singer Amy Adams believed she’d never stop singing. Adams made her initial splash as a finalist on the third season of “American Idol,” where she emerged as a wild-child favorite with her attitude and multi-colored spiky hair. Though she didn’t reach the show’s final competition, opportunity continued knocking in the form of the “American Idol” concert tour and a high-profile stint on a touring production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in 2005. But even Adams’ golden pipes couldn’t withstand the rigors of touring and relentless production schedules. Before she knew it, she was being sent home on strict voice rest after injuring her vocal chords. It’s a secret she tried hiding from her fans for nearly five years. But given a clean bill of health from her doctor to begin again at full range, the 32year-old is excited to raise her voice once more, this time for a good cause, when she appears tonight at the Helping Little Hearts benefit concert at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace. “I was forced to take two years off by my doctors,” said Adams of her 2006 medically imposed exile, which took her off the road and into quiet life in Bakersfield. “I was under contract and I had a vocal hemorrhage. It was a pretty strict contract, so everything I did had to be cleared by a doctor before I could do anything. It was scary because singing was my livelihood.” Though she played small gigs to stay in the public eye, Adams said pulling the plug on her ambition made life difficult, but not impossible. “It was an interesting adjustment. Because my vocal chords didn’t heal naturally, I had to wait until I could have the surgery needed, which was January of last year. I just received my vocal clearance when I went back to the doctor.” During her extended break, Adams wasted no time. She charted a course for her professional return, which includes the upcoming release of her long-awaited new CD, more singing appearances, and continuing the local music mentoring program she founded through a partnership

“I was under contract and I had a vocal hemorrhage. It was a pretty strict contract, so everything I did had to be cleared by a doctor before I could do anything. It was scary because singing was my livelihood.” — Amy Adams

with Garden Pathways two years ago. “‘American Idol’ gave me so many tools, but what about these kids who have the dreams I had growing up? I came from a place where I didn’t know about available resources. That was my soul food. I couldn’t put all my stuff in my voice anymore, so I found these kids with all these dreams.” Adams began her latest mentoring session with the budding performers on Monday. Students are offered workshops in voice, music theory, performance and insights into the music industry, among other courses. “I started teaching safe voice singing, which I did a lot of while I was injured. This was something that students need to know. When I see these kids come in singing random songs that they hear on the radio, I also show them they can write their own, because I taught myself. That’s the stuff I care about — helping these kids find their own voice as an artist and who they’re gonna be. I just started the first camp for this year and the kids are unbelievable.” Lending a hand at tonight’s benefit concert is another way Adams can contribute to a worthy cause, and this one hits close to home. She’ll be singing with her friend Monty Byrom, whose 6-year-old son, Jake, has a congenital heart condition. “When my friend Monty asked if I would partner for the event I said, ‘Of course I would.’ My son, Harrison, is the same age as his son. Every time I look at Jake, I see my son. The hardest thing to do is trying to tell your kid what they’re going through, and it’s important to have these support systems for kids and parents that have to deal with all the emotions involved. Mended Little Hearts has camps for kids who will have scars forever from open-heart surgeries. Your heart breaks for the things that they have to go through.”


Bakersfield singer Amy Adams appears at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace tonight.

Helping Little Hearts Benefit When: 6 tonight Where: Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd. Admission: $75; includes dinner Information: 304-2173 or

For the evening’s entertainment, both Adams and Byrom will take turns at the mic as well as perform together on a few numbers, namely Byrom’s “Love Ain’t Easy,” which he contributed to Adams’ upcoming CD, “Never Looking Back.” Slated for release later this year, the CD may be pre-ordered at tonight’s show, with a portion of each purchase benefitting Mended Little Hearts. Byrom appreciates Adams’ involvement in the fundraiser, adding that bringing

awareness to support groups like Mended Little Hearts, which offers education and support for kids and families dealing with congenital heart defects. “We did a little research and found out that there are about 1,000 to 2,000 of these heart babies in Kern County, and most of the families don’t know there is support available,” Byrom said. “It’s amazing how these kids bounce back from treatment. When you see them run and throwing a baseball, it’s all worth it. I’m proud of my little guy. We hope this event is the first of many.” Also scheduled are live and silent auctions for autographed guitars from Merle Haggard, James “Munky” Shaffer of Korn, special party gift baskets, Xbox video gaming system and more. And if you can’t catch Adams tonight, head to the Spotlight Theatre, where she’s starring in the comedy “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”


Thursday, August 11, 2011 The Bakersfield Californian

Eye Street “Then in 1979 and ’80, everything went to pot. The electronic keyboard came in and that was the end of the organ industry, the demise of organ companies.” — Nelson Varon

A grand life for piano man

Nelson Varon tickles the ivories — as he’s been doing since he was 12.

Bakersfield retailer got his start in Vaudeville BY CAMILLE GAVIN Contributing columnist


t’s not every day you meet an entertainer who can boast of having cut his teeth in Vaudeville — especially considering that the heyday of that unabashedly American brand of barnstorming variety entertainment was about 100 years ago. But Nelson Varon can. “It was in the waning days of Vaudeville,” said Varon, who owns and operates the Kern Piano Mall. “Every week there was a new show, and we played for about 50 different acts. One old-time venue that sticks in his memory is a resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where he and his five-piece band played for three summers in the mid-1950s. Each act brought its own music, which often was scored for an orchestra that had 16 instruments. “We’d get their music on a Wednesday night and I’d distill it into five parts because all we had was an organ, trumpet, piano, sax and drums,” he said. “Then we’d rehearse.” Varon reeled off a list of old-time performers he played for, including Little Jack Little, Bingo the Chimp and the comedian Chuck McCann, who, with his sidekick, Paul Ashley, a puppeteer, later appeared on “Captain Kangaroo” and other television shows for kids. “Another act we had was ballroom dancers that did pratfalls,” Varon added, chuckling as he described the high point of the dance act, which came as the elegantly clad couple was executing an expert tango. “They’re dancing, and then he spins her out and she falls flat on her face.” That start in Vaudeville segued into a long career selling pianos and organs, an interest stoked when he began piano lessons as a child. The New York native quit lessons when he was 12, but continued playing on his own. After graduating from Stuyvesant High School in New York in 1945, he returned to his original piano teacher and managed to get an audition at Juilliard, arguably the most prestigious music school in the country. “For the exam at Juilliard I played Chopin’s ‘Revolutionary Etude,’” he said. “I got in about 15 measures before one of the (examiners) told me to stop and said, ‘Mr. Varon, did you ever consider another career?’ So I put my tail between my legs, enrolled in Queens College and became an engineering major.”


Not many people can say they worked in Vaudeville, but Nelson Varon can. He draws on his life as a performer as owner/operator of Kern Piano Mall, where he sells Steinways, among other models.

Nelson Varon, at home, displays mementos from some of the musical projects he was involved in.

During his student days and for several years after his college graduation, he played piano and the Hammond organ at state and county fairs. “That was another kick-and-a-half,” he said. “You’d do your show, then after that you got to hang out with the carnival guys.”

In 1961 he got a job selling and demonstrating pianos at department stores — first at Abraham Strauss and then at Macy’s. Oddly enough, it was at Gimbel’s, Macy’s chief competitor, where he met his future wife, Edith Gethin, who happened to be selling theater tickets at the store. A few years later they married, and Varon opened his first piano and organ store. He said he had 63 stores in the New York City area by the 1970s. “Then in 1979 and ’80, everything went to pot,” he said. “The electronic keyboard came in and that was the end of the organ industry, the demise of organ companies.” Nonetheless, he continued in the retail piano business until 1993, when he sold all of his properties and moved to Los Angeles. His wife, who had done live commercials in the early days of television, resumed her career. Before her death in 2003, Varon said, she appeared regularly in the soap opera “Search for Tomorrow,” had roles in a Lauren Bacall movie and in a Sam Shepard play

produced in Ojai. Over the years, Varon continued to perform for local churches and community groups. He also arranged several books of organ music, including “The Joy of Organ Music,” published in 2005. His move to Bakersfield happened almost by chance. “One day I took a ride up to Bakersfield with a woman, a friend of mine,” he said. “I thought it was a very friendly town and I liked it.” After moving here in 2008, Varon worked for Stockdale Music Co. until it went out of business. Then, last December, he opened his own business on Lake Ming Road, where he sells pianos made by Steinway, Boston, Kuwai and Pearl River. Incidentally, the piano store owner also writes short stories. His piece “Fixing Things,” was read in January on “Valley Writers Read,” a weekly program on the National Public Radio station in Fresno, KVPR-89.1 FM.


The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, August 11, 2011

Eye Street

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ichael Armendariz has always been a fan of something. In fact, he said his life has been defined by three of the fundamental elements from any good geek’s periodic table: acting, movies and comic books. Now, this 32-year-old entertainer is taking his considerable knowledge and expertise of his three favorite interests and using them to do his part to keep Bakersfield audiences entertained — whether he’s highlighting the best in local music, stand-up comedy, or theater with his performances in “The Nighttime Show with Michael Armendariz” at The Empty Space, or simply providing people with the best cinematic experience possible in his role as manager of a local movie theater. Armendariz’s artistic journey began with what turned out to be a fortuitous decision he made as a teen to attend Garces Memorial High, which was quite a commute from his home in Delano. “I was more of a brainy, arty student than my classmates that decided to stay. I never really fit in, in Delano. I guess I never really fit in at Garces, either. But I heard they had a better theater program, and more of an arts focus. I felt like I had more artistic opportunities at there than in Delano. Turns out, I was mostly right.” It was at Garces that Armendariz met Porter Jamison, the school’s theater director and a major player in the local theater scene. Jamison gave Armendariz his first shot at performing in a production outside of the relative safety of high school theater when the mentor advised Armendariz to pick up a role in a production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).” Armendariz has been acting on local stages ever since, and his “Nighttime Show” has been running steadily at The Empty Space. Formatted in the spirit of late-night television talk shows (Carson, Conan, Letterman, and the like), the production typically features three local guests — with a lot of banter in between, provided by Armendariz and his cohost on the couch, Jason Monroe. In fact, Friday’s performance will mark the official one-year anniversary of the “Nighttime Show,” a milestone its host is reluctant to celebrate without some pretty stellar stipulations. “Now that you mention it, I’ll have to see if I can come up with something special for this show,” he laughed. “Although we don’t really wanna celebrate our anniversary until we get one or all of our dream


Jason Monroe and Michael Armendariz at The Empty Space theater.

‘The Nighttime Show with Michael Armendariz’ When: 11 p.m. Friday Where: The Empty Space, 706 Oak Street Admission: $5 Information: or 327PLAY

guests on the show: Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, comedian Jimmy Pardo and Pearl Jam. If we ever manage to get any combination of one or all of those four, I’d find a way to make that our big anniversary show blowout.” Though Armendariz’s love for the stage remains true, passion doesn’t always pay the bills. So, throughout his career, Armendariz has taken a variety of day jobs, all of which have in some way related to his three primary passions. Seeking to learn everything possible about film, he worked as a projectionist, first at U.A. East Hills, and then for five years at what is now Reading Cinemas. He also helped turn Russo’s Books into one of the few places in town where readers of comics could go to pick up their beloved volumes, by acting as the store’s comic book buyer for three years. But like so many of us, some of Armendariz’s truly defining moments happened as a child watching the daring adventures of Indiana Jones, or the powerful bonds of friendship form between a young boy and an extraterrestrial unfold on the big screen. And for the last two and a half years, he’s channeled his

excitement for the cinema into his current career as general manager of Starplex Cinemas. “I’m such a nerd for movies that it’s kind of ridiculous,” Armendariz said. “What’s funny, is now I can look back and remember coming to the theater I run now to see movies here as a kid. I very distinctly remember seeing ‘Return of the Jedi’ here in ’83. And I think that only makes me work harder. I know how much going as a kid shaped my enjoyment of movies, and I want to make sure everyone has as good of an experience as I did.” Although his big childhood dreams didn’t quite play out the way that he expected, this entertainer of all trades still has plenty of them — becoming a writer for “Conan” or maybe having one of the projects he writes in his spare time picked up and published — but for the time being, Armendariz is happy with the role he’s created for himself here and is confident that Bakersfield’s local theater, music and entertainment scene can still provide ample opportunities for any of the other young thespians out there. “Bakersfield has everything that you’re gonna get in L.A. and in New York, just on a much smaller scale. It’s a perfect place to hone skills and potentially flourish. And you’re gonna be just as fulfilled here as you can be anywhere else. You can get the most rewarding things out of Bakersfield, if you’re willing to do it. You can complain about it, how there’s not enough art or theater or whatever. But if there’s something missing, that just means you need to work extra hard to make that culture you want to see here come to life.”


Thursday, August 11, 2011 The Bakersfield Californian

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Norman Colwell played a radio personality in Bakersfield Community Theatre’s production of “Talk Radio” in May. The theater’s new season opens in October with the production “Doubt, a Parable,” by John Patrick Shanley.

The little theater that could: 85 years at BCT Community playhouse unveils another season BY CAMILLE GAVIN Contributing columnist


nce again supporters of the unstoppable Bakersfield Community Theatre are gearing up for a new season. Believe it or not it’s the 85th anniversary of their birth — the theater, that is, not the performers. As I looked over the list of people who will direct shows in 2011-12, I noticed at least two — Roger Mathey and Eric Tolley — who in my mind are more often connected to The Empty Space, rather than BCT. But Thomas G. Robinson, who supplied the information, reminded me that both men have directed One-Act Festival shows at the playhouse on South Chester Avenue. BCT works with various directors usually known from one particular theater quite often, he said, citing as an example James Kopp, another Empty Space regular who just finished “Super Villain” at BCT. And then Robinson couldn’t resist this quip about the theater’s age: Having been around for so long, everyone will usually end up doing something at BCT in one way or another. In the coming season the theater will produce five main stage shows and an equal number in its youth series. Ticket prices remain the same and are sold prior to the scheduled opening of each show. Season tickets are also available. Call 831-8114 for details. For main stage productions admission

is $15 for adults, $12 for students, seniors and members of the armed forces, $10 for children 10 and under. Youth series shows are $12 for adults, $10 for children, seniors and military. Shows to be presented in 2011-2012 and their run dates are:

Main Stage series Oct. 7 to 22: “Doubt, a Parable,” by John Patrick Shanley, directed by Roger Mathey Jan. 13 to 26: “The Light in the Piazza,” book by Craig Lucas, music and lyrics by Adam Guettel, directed by Sheila McClure. Feb. 10 to 26: “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide &When the Rainbow is Enuf,” by Ntozake Shange, director to be announced. May 4 to 26: “The Rocky Horror Show,” book, music and lyrics by Richard O’Brien, directed by David Lollar. June 9 to 24: The 25th Anniversary OneActs Festival; various playwrights and directors.

Youth Theatre series Sept. 9 to 18: “With Their Eyes,” edited by Annie Thomas and Taresh Batra, created by Batra and Anna Belc, directed by David Lollar. Nov. 4 to 13: “The Giver,” by Eric Coble, directed by Eric Tolley. Dec. 2 to 18: “A Christmas Story,” by Philip Grecian, directed by Pat Kerley. April 13 to 21: “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” book and lyrics by Judith Viorst, music by Shelly Markham, director to be announced. July 13 to 29: “Honk!” based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen, book and lyrics by Anthony Drewe, music by George Stiles, directed by Kenneth Whitchard.

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The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, August 11, 2011


‘Jet’ set on aiding student travel CSUB art major plans exhibit to raise funds


’m always fascinated with the way ideas for some arts events bubble up to the surface. But what else should I expect from creative people? In this case it’s a student art exhibit with music and dancing called “Jet Set Our Dreams,” and it’s happening Friday evening at the Bakersfield Museum of Art. It came about because Mariah Sherman Graham, an art major at Cal State Bakersfield, will spend her junior year studying in Florence, Italy, as part of the CSU International Studies Program. It comes, however, with a price tag of about $22,000, and so far she’s come up a bit short of the total. Of course, just being accepted in such a program is a hurdle in itself. Understandably, Graham is overjoyed at being selected. “Words can’t define how I feel right now,” she said during a phone interview. “I think it’s absolutely phenomenal that I get to go there and see the originals, and here at home (students) can only look at them in books.” To help meet at least a portion of the money she needs, Graham has combined her talents with Lauren Nolasco, a communications major, along with several students in related fields who will show their work at Friday’s event. It’s called “Jet Set Our Dreams” with an emphasis on the “our” part because ultimately, Graham wants to form a company or a nonprofit organization that raises scholarship money for art students. “I definitely want to push JSOD,” she said. “Art students are getting a bad rap on campus and art programs are often the first to be cut. The typical (attitude) about art majors is negative — they think of us as starving artists. But we put a lot of hours into our work — some of my projects take as long as six weeks.” Graham said her family is very supportive of her endeavors and has always stressed the value of education. “But it’s not just the education, it’s your experiences in life and by


Karin Harmon playing Muriel Eubanks and Bryce Rankins as Andre practice a dance scene of the “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” The cast will have a benefit performance for a Gay and Lesbian Community Center on Friday night at the Spotlight Theater.


“The Smile of Defiance” is one of the works that will be on display at the “Jet Set Our Dreams” exhibit at the Bakersfield Museum of Art.

studying abroad, living in another culture. I’m applying that (philosophy) in a situation that’s normally outside of my frame of reference.” And what will happen if she doesn’t come up with the total amount before Aug. 23, the day she plans to leave? “I will still go,” Graham said. “It will be a lot harder on myself and my family, but we understand that it is possible for us to not raise the money we need.” Friday’s event will feature the artwork of about 10 students, including Graham. It will include sculpture, painting and photography, and all pieces will be available for sale. A band called Ease will play during the evening, and refreshments will be served.

Benefit at Spotlight Tomorrow evening’s performance of the comedy “Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels” at Spotlight Theatre is a fundraiser for the Gay & Lesbian Community Center. As yet the center doesn’t exist

Camille Gavin’s “Arts Alive!” column appears on Thursday. Write to her via e-mail at

physically, but David Trujillo, the leader of the organizing team, says plans are moving ahead. He sees the proposed facility as a “drop-in place, a safe place where people can feel free to be who they are and not be judged.” In addition, the center will act as an educational resource and a venue for out-of-town speakers who can educate the public about gender differences. “The idea really came about after Seth Walsh’s suicide — we want to be able to reach out to youths when they are in crisis,” Trujillo said. “If we remain beneath the radar, tragedies like Seth’s will continue to happen.” Trujillo said the center group is “separate and distinct from the LGBTQ organization, but we have been in conversations with them; both organizations want to be in concert.” The performance at Spotlight is the Gay & Lesbian Community Center’s first major fundraiser. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. show, and free appetizers and wine will be served.

Jazz in Tehachapi Guitarist and composer Jim Scully has put together a new

quartet made up of himself and three other local musicians. It includes trumpet player Kris Tiner, Canaan McDuffie on drums and Glen Fong, bass. The “4-Tet,” as he calls it, will present a free concert on Sunday afternoon as part of the Tehachapi Summer Concert series in the mountain community’s Philip Marx Central Park. “We have a few other gigs lined up to present a bunch of new music I have written,” Scully said. “The project is dubbed the Lyric Inspiration Project.” Scully said the inspiration for his project arose from multiple threads he selected from a single line of lyrics from each of a number of pop singer-songwriters. He then used those threads — the text only — as a jumping-off point to compose new instrumental jazz. He describes the music he’s written as “melancholy, lyrical and intense, with lots of room for this quartet of improvisers to dig in and express themselves.” A grant he received from the American Composers Forum was used to support the writing of this music and to help pay for a recording project of this new material. “If all goes well,” he said, “a CD will be released in early 2012.” Two vocalists — Jennifer Neil, who is married to Scully, and local tenor Ron McOwen — will also be part of the performance on Sunday. The first half of the show will feature music from the standard vocal jazz repertoire, including works by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Chet Baker and Antonio-Carlos Jobim, among others. Scully also teaches at Cal State Bakersfield and is the director of the CSU Bakersfield Guitar Arts

GO & DO ‘Jet Set Our Dreams’ When: 6 p.m. Friday Where: Bakersfield Museum of Art, 1930 R St. Admission: $10 at the door, $8 in advance Information: 477-4428 Gay & Lesbian Community Center benefit performance of ‘Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels’ When: 6:30 p.m. Friday Where: Spotlight Theatre, 1622 19th St. Requested donation: $30 Information: 399-5225

Jim Scully Quartet When: 2 p.m. Sunday Where: Philip Marx Central Park, 311 East E St., Tehachapi Admission: Free Information: 330-9304

Series. The series’ second annual season begins on Oct. 21 with “Tin/Bag,” a duo featuring Tiner and New York guitarist Mike Baggetta.

Local playwrights in LA Two different plays, each written by a Bakersfield author, are being presented back to back as one production at the Elephant Stages-Elephant Theater on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. One is Roger Mathey’s “You Make Me Physically Ill.” The other is Patty Wonderly’s "So Damned Heavenly Bound." Both shows are being directed by Mathey, and running time is two hours with an intermission between each play. Performances began Friday and continue on weekends through Sept. 10.


Thursday, August 11, 2011 The Bakersfield Californian

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Young Audiences Workshop “Turning Dreams into Goals” at Summer Camp Bethel in Frazier Park.

Exploring kids’ dreams Program mentors aspiring artists BY CAMILLE GAVIN Contributing columnist


o have a dream of what you want to be when you grow up is a good thing, and Nicole SaintJohn of the Arts Council of Kern helps young people explore ways of expressing their desires using one of the programs designed by Young Audiences. A few weeks ago she was in Frazier Park, working with 20 middle-schoolage children who were attending Camp Ozone. It involved, among other things, having the kids sketch out a cartoon-like cloud on a large piece of newsprint. “We talked about what each one wants to be,” she explained, “and then we talk about learning what to do to take the next step to reach your dream.” Occasionally, Saint-John tells students about the steps she took to realize her dream of coming to the United States and becoming a recognized artist. “I tell them about growing up in the shadow of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War,” she said. “I was born in Hamburg, in the western sector, but my mother and grandmother escaped from Leipzig in East Germany — thankfully that was before I was born.” Her family wasn’t rich and money was scarce, she said, but they were hard workers. “My father was a gardener and he used to say that as a boy there were so many in his family he had to eat standing up because there weren’t enough chairs,” she said. “But I think maybe it was a joke.” Saint-John found a way to earn

“To Train Hard” is Ben’s first step to achieve his goal of being an athlete in this piece for the Young Audiences workshop.

money to attend college. Later she became a partner in a music software products company in Hamburg and designed labels for its products. The company had an office in Los Angeles and when the opportunity arose, she moved there. As an independent artist, her fine art work has been shown nationally and she has won several awards. About 10 years ago she moved to Bakersfield, mainly because housing was less expensive. Presently she is director of visual art programs for the Arts Council and over the past two years has attended seminars and conferences in various parts of the country to qualify as a teaching artist in the Young Audiences program and to mentor others who want to teach in the program. “The standards are quite high and you have to go through a screening process to qualify,” she said. “ As the program director, I received training at the Young Audiences workshops in Portland, Indianapolis, and New Orleans, including the Young Audiences Art in Education National Leadership Institute. This training was one of the most intensive and effective

training programs I have ever been part of.” The Arts Council’s goal is to offer the Young Audiences programs to all students of Kern County. This year, from January to June, the council has reached 3,888 students in 21 different projects held at 17 different venues. The project is being funded by a sizeable grant the council received from an anonymous donor and was coordinated by the Kern Community Foundation. The programs are presented at the request of schools and school districts. Saint-John is one of 19Young Audiences-approved teaching artists who will participate this year. Only four are local residents and she invites professionals in all areas of the arts — music, dance, theater and visual art — to contact her if they are interested in being considered for training. She can be reached at the Arts Council office by calling 324-9000. “Recently we trained four mentor artists to mentor students with Asperger’s Syndrome and/or high functioning autism to teach an arts-supported learning program with a social skill and a literacy component,” she said. “This program was partially funded by the Bakersfield Californian Foundation — Bakersfield and Ridgecrest are the communities where the program has been implemented so far.” Young Audiences was founded in 1952 and is the nation’s leading source of arts-in-education services. The goals of the organization are to help make the arts an essential part of young people’s education and to advance the artistic and educational development of children and youth by bringing them together with professional artists of all disciplines to learn, create and participate in the arts. The local council has been affiliated with Young Audiences since 2009.

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The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, August 11, 2011

Eye Street The Lowdown with Matt Munoz

Silly to ‘Smooth,’ lineup delivers Comedian, Santana among shows slated


here’s some sizzle left in the local summer show lineup. Even better, fall is just a few degrees away with some cool shows coming to Bako. Grab your smartphone social planner and block these dates out. Remember when “MADtv” gave “Saturday Night Live” a run for its money with some of sketch comedy’s more inventive characters? The supporting cast turnover rate for the show moved quicker than “SNL”’s, but some actors, like comedian Anjelah Johnson, stuck around just long enough to leave an impact during season 13 of “MADtv” with two of her signature characters: “Bon Qui Qui” and the Vietnamese “Beautiful Nail” lady. Permanently associated with her TV creations after leaving, she continues selling out venues, mostly because of YouTube, where many of her clips live on. She’ll most likely have something new perfected for the stage when she performs at the Fox Theater on Sept. 17. According to her official website,, she has Bako listed as city No. 3 on the tour, meaning she should have all the kinks out of her set by then. Not that it should matter, because there’s no crossing Johnson’s Bon Qui Qui, who “will cut you” should you make her mad. Tickets for her show are $28.50 and on sale now at the Fox Theater, 2001 H St., or online at A week later, ’60s guitar god Carlos Santana and his band will be at Rabobank Arena


Julieta Venegas will appear at Rabobank Convention Center on Oct. 22.

Bakotopia Unplugged Open Mic Night With host Matt Munoz When: 8 to 11 p.m. Wednesdays. Signups start at 7:30 p.m. Where: Fishlips, 1517 18th St. Information: 324-2557 or visit the Facebook page for updates.

on Sept. 27. According to the group’s official Web archive at, the last time he performed in Bakersfield was opening night of the Kern County Fair on Sept. 20, 1989. I was there for that free show along with thousands packed like sardines. It was the pre-“Supernatural” era when extended jams from classic

albums like “Abraxas” and “Caravanserai” were still in the set list. I was happy to see his comeback, but if I have to hear “Smooth” one more time, it might get ugly. The story goes, Santana refused to return to Bakersfield after that concert 22 years ago because the sight of cows and pigs awaiting judgment in pens behind the rodeo grandstand stage angered him. Apparently Carlos wasn’t having it and said, “No más.” It seems all is forgiven now, and just in time for the fair again. I’m kidding. Tickets are $28 to $88 and can be purchased at the Rabobank ticket office, 1001 Truxtun Ave. or at For more information, call 852-7777. Also coming to the Fox is punk icon Billy Idol on Oct. 19. Still fistpumping with a better head of hair than the majority of his peers, Idol

Matt Munoz is editor of, a sister website of The Californian that devotes itself to promoting Bakersfield’s art scene. Matt’s column appears every Thursday in Eye Street.

has more good songs out there than I can remember. I recently saw a video of fellow ’80s Brit singer Adam Ant on a BBC talk show, also looking fairly well for his age. But if you’ve followed Ant’s life in the tabloids, you’ll remember his shiny dome was arrested for threatening people with a gun at his hometown pub a few years back. He cleaned up his act and wears a pirate wig now, but in Idol’s case, the 55-year-old never hit the skids like others from the early MTV generation. After popping up as himself in Adam Sandler’s “The Wedding Singer,” the Idol revival continues “Rebel Yell”ing around the world. Longtime sideman guitarist Steve Stevens is still in the Idol lineup and come the midnight hour, you’ll cry “more, more, more.” Tickets for this show are $42.50 to $80 and available now for purchase. Call 324-1936 for more info. Most of my friends know that I’ve had an embarrassingly undying crush on Mexican singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas for years, so it should be no surprise I’m overjoyed that Venegas is coming to Rabobank Convention Center on Oct. 22. One of the most innovative artists in the Latin alternative music lexicon, the Long Beachborn, Tijuana-raised accordionslinging rockera has been a critical favorite on both sides of the border. Starting out as a member of legendary rock ska act Tijuana No!, Venegas established herself as the new voice of punk feminism in the country with solo debut “Aqui.” But following her second album, the brilliant “Bueninvento,” she went through a pop makeover, shocking hard-core fans, but quickly became a household name, winning five Latin Grammys and one American Grammy award over the course of her career. If you’re a newbie to Venegas’ music, I recommend you pick up her records “Limon Y Sal” and “MTV Unplugged,” and join the crush club. Tickets can be purchased at the Rabobank and at


Tickets are currently on sale for Billy Idol’s Oct. 19 concert at The Fox.

Reality TV Don’t forget to check out tonight’s live finale of Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” to see if Bakersfield dancer Sasha Mallory will take home the title of “America’s Favorite Dancer.” The Fox Theater will once again be hosting a fan gathering to see the results live on the big screen tonight, beginning at 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. In other reality TV competition news, Vallitix’s Josey Hernandez will be appearing on tonight’s edition of the wild ABC game show “Wipeout.” Filmed earlier this year at the series’ secret Santa Clarita compound, the popular show is a laugh riot. Sworn to secrecy by producers, Hernandez can’t reveal the outcome, but invites all to witness the carnage. “Wipeout” airs tonight on ABC at 8 p.m.

Heading north This weekend’s Outside Lands festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco just might take the big California summer festival crown. This year’s lineup has The Shins, Phish, Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, The Roots, Ximena Sarinana, OK Go, Foster The People, Erykah Badu, The Original Meters, Deadmau5 and more. I love these massive music, food and multimedia festivals. The weather is expected to be in the low ’60s, and my camera is ready. I’ll be back with a full report next week. For more information, visit


Thursday, August 11, 2011 The Bakersfield Californian

Eye Street


The stunning night sky comes to life indoors at Bakersfield College’s William M. Thomas Planetarium.

Planetarium sets calendar for fall Shows take viewers on out-of-this-world journeys Bakersfield College’s William M. Thomas Planetarium has announced the show schedule for the fall semester. Each show will begin with a short tour of the evening sky using the planetarium’s Goto Chronos star projector. The schedule: Ice Worlds (7:30 p.m. Sept. 22; $6.50; seniors/children $4.50). A 24-minute fulldome show using the planetarium’s Spitz SciDome to travel to the Arctic and Antarctic to examine the ecosystems that live and thrive there, and see how their survival is connected with our own. Beyond Earth, we’ll see how the existence of ice shapes the landscapes and the natural systems on other planets and moons in our solar system, including Mars, Titan and Enceladus. Dawn of the Space Age (7:30 p.m. Oct. 20; $5.50; seniors/children $3.50). A 41minute full-dome show from Mirage3d, which immerses the viewer in the first 50 years of space exploration, from the launch of the first artificial satellite Sputnik, to the magnificent lunar landings and privately operated space flights (much of which is being pioneered just east of us in the Mojave area). Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity (7:30 p.m. Nov. 17; $5.50; seniors/children $3.50). Brings the current science of black

holes to the dome screen. Supported by grants from NASA’s high-energy GLAST telescope project and the National Science Foundation, this cutting-edge fulldome projection features high-resolution, animated visualizations of cosmic phenomena, working with real data generated by computer simulations. Visualization (as opposed to a Hollywood-type movie) uses only real data and computer simulations of real processes, not some artist’s imagination. Season of Light (7:30 p.m. Dec. 1; $6.50; seniors/children $4.50). A 37minute all-dome presentation from Loch Ness Productions using the Spitz SciDome projector. This presentation traces the history and development of many of the world’s most endearing holiday customs, all of which involve lighting up the winter season, from the burning Yule log, sparkling Christmas tree lights and candles in windows, to the lighting of luminarias in the American Southwest and the traditional ritual of the Hanukkah Menorah. More information on the shows is available at the planetarium s website, All shows last approximately one hour. To purchase tickets, call the Bakersfield College ticket office at 395-4326. Tickets will not be sold at the door. Dates and shows are subject to change. Shows sell out regularly, so purchase tickets early. — Bakersfield College

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The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, August 11, 2011

Eye Street

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In Jackson, Miss. in 1963, Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone), left; Minnie Jackson (Octavia Spencer), center; and Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) together take a risk that could have profound consequences for them all in “The Help.”

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Tale of perseverance shows true character BY MOIRA MACDONALD The Seattle Times


s the movie version of “The Help” better than the book? Yes, it is, primarily for one reason: The book doesn’t have Viola Davis in it. Davis, who achieved the nearimpossible feat of stealing a scene from Meryl Streep in 2008’s “Doubt,” plays Aibileen, an African-American maid in early-1960s Jackson, Miss. In Kathryn Stockett’s wildly popular novel, she’s one of three narrative voices; the others are fellow maid Minny (played by Octavia Spencer), who’s more outspoken than the quiet Aibileen, and Skeeter (Emma Stone), a young white woman and new college grad who hits on the idea of writing a nonfiction book from the perspective of black Southern maids. Tate Taylor’s movie adaptation, however, subtly moves Aibileen front and center: Hers is the only voiceover we hear. Speaking softly, with little of the heavy dialect with which Aibileen is written in the book, Davis creates both an unforgettable character and an unexpected star turn. Aibileen doesn’t put herself out there; she’s quiet, resigned to a way of life that includes petty bullying from her employers, and keeps her more radical notions to herself and her diary. Davis lets us see this woman’s strength, her heartbreak that’s still fresh from the loss of her son (on the

‘The Help’ ★★★ Cast: Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Sissy Spacek, Cicely Tyson Running time: 137 minutes Rated: PG-13 anniversary of his death “every year I can’t breathe,” she says, in a broken whisper), and the horrifying truth of her life as a domestic worker, raising the children of women who won’t let a black person use their toilet. “We love the children when they’re little,” says Aibileen, shown in smiling interaction with her toddler charge, “and then they turn out just like their mamas.” It’s an immensely moving performance, finally giving Davis the wide canvas of a leading role — and it helps to address the imbalance at the heart of the book, though doesn’t entirely solve it. Compared with the lives of the maids, and the injustice they face daily, Skeeter’s storyline is far less compelling and her character seems callow and unformed. You wonder why the book can’t focus more on Aibileen and Minny, particularly in the way it celebrates Skeeter’s bravery at the end. (Yes, it was commendable and gutsy for her to embark on such a project — but far

more risky for the maids involved. Skeeter, a white woman of means and education, could simply move out of town and start again if things had misfired.) This problem persists on screen: We’re drawn to Skeeter because she’s so likable, but we’re not sure why she’s getting so much attention when far more intriguing characters are just over in the kitchen. But Stone’s charmingly natural performance wins us over. All around, “The Help” is wonderfully acted — I’d be remiss in not mentioning the wicked gleam in Spencer’s eye, the breathy screwball energy Jessica Chastain brings to a small role, and Sissy Spacek’s dottySouthern-lady zip — and it’s a rare treat to see a movie focusing on such a strong female ensemble. Taylor and the actresses do well with the small moments that bring this troubled era to life: the way Skeeter, however well-meaning, doesn’t realize that she’s being disrespectful to Aibileen; or how the town’s society women smugly raise money “for African children” while turning a blind eye to their maids’ lives. But ultimately, this version of “The Help” comes down to Davis’ Aibileen, as she strolls down a sunny road to a new life. It may not be any easier than the life that came before — but we can rejoice with her that, maybe just for a moment, she feels free.


Thursday, August 11, 2011 The Bakersfield Californian

Eye Street

Valley poet named laureate Fresno professor thought honor had passed him by BY DONALD MUNRO McClatchy Newspapers

FRESNO hilip Levine, the powerhouse poet whose Pulitzer Prize helped put the writing program at Fresno State on the international map, received another significant honor Wednesday: the title of poet laureate of the United States. Levine, 83, was named to the position Wednesday by the Library of Congress. He will be the 18th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, the post’s official title, and will serve for 2011-12. The position has been in existence in various forms since 1937. Levine’s name had been kicked around for years in connection with the title, which includes a $35,000 stipend and the opportunity to work on a project while at the library. “Actually, because of my age, I just assumed that I had been found wanting some years ago,” Levine said Tuesday with a typical dose of self-deprecation. “I didn’t even think about it much.” The job description includes giving an annual lecture, introducing poets in the library’s annual poetry series and raising “the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.” It does not involve actually writing any poems, a common misconception that again brings up a lighthearted Levine riff. “I don’t know if they’d want me writing


GO&DO Today Concerts by The Fountain, pop rock and indie with The Bird Channel, 7 to 9 p.m., The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave. Helping Little Hearts Benefit, for children who have congenitial heart defects, auction, dinner, dancing, entertainment by Monty Bryom Band, Amy Adams, 6 p.m., Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd. $75. Tickets available at Front Porch Music or can be purchased at 3042173. So You Think You Can Dance viewing party, doors open at 7 p.m., telecast begins at 8 p.m., Bakersfield Fox Theater, 2001 H St. Free but donations accepted. Don Thompson, will be reading some of his writings; open to others who are welcome to bring prose and poetry, signups begin at 6:45 p.m., Russo’s, 9000 Ming Ave. 665-4686. Bakersfield Raider Nation Meeting, discussing the annual Raider Jam, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Cataldo’s Pizzeria, 6111 Niles Street. 340-7167. Comedy Night with Chris Lopez, 8 p.m., The Ice House, 3401 Chester Ave. $6 adults; $1 children 12 and under. 412-3242. Mystery & Adventure Book Group, with host Marcia Stephens, 7 p.m., Barnes and Noble, in the cafe, 4001 California Ave. 6312575.


Fresno author and Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Levine has been named the U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry by the U.S. Library of Congress.

for official events,” Levine said. “A poem to Congress? No thank you.”

‘... a visionary of our dense, troubled, mysterious time’ In a statement, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington called Levine one of America’s great narrative poets. “His plain-

WIN A BURGER The readers have spoken and Californian restaurant critic Pete Tittl was listening. We asked for recommendations on the best burger spots in town and received dozens of nominations. Pete checked them all out and the results are in Sunday’s Eye Street. For a sneak preview of the section — and a chance to win one of more than a dozen gift cards to Prime Cut, Juicy Burger and Crest Bar & Grill — tune in to the Californian radio hour on KGEO Radio 1230 from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday. Tittl and Eye Street Editor Jennifer Self will talk burgers with callers and the top chefs at Prime Cut and Juicy Burger. To plug your favorite or win a gift card, call 631-1230 during the show. Paws & Claws, an evening of fun and information about animals, 5 to 7 p.m., Beale Library, 701 Truxtun Ave. 868-0770. Read the Classics, for young readers ages 8 to 12, 4 p.m., Barnes & Noble, children’s department, 4001 California Ave. 631-2575.

Friday Movies in the Park, presents “Up,” begins at dusk, Silver Creek Park, 7011 Harris Road. 326-3866. Fantastic Friday Storytime, with Miss Olivia, 10 a.m., Barnes & Noble, 4001 California Ave. 631-2575.

spoken lyricism has, for half a century, championed the art of telling ‘The Simple Truth’ — about working in a Detroit auto factory, as he has, and about the hard work we do to make sense of our lives.” Levine, who has written 20 collections of poems, received the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for “The Simple Truth.” He won the National Book Award in 1991 for “What Work Is” and in 1980 for “Ashes: Poems New and Old.” He is a professor emeritus at Fresno State and also taught at New York University, Columbia University, Princeton University and UC Berkeley, among other schools. Critics have called him “a large, ironic Whitman of the industrial heartland” for his emphasis in his poems on the lives of factory workers trapped by poverty and the drudgery of the assembly line. Joyce Carol Oates once called him “a visionary of our dense, troubled, mysterious time.” Levine was born in Detroit and started teaching at Fresno State in 1958. The university didn’t even have a creative writing program at the time. His close friend and fellow poet Peter Everwine, who taught with Levine for many years, said the poet laureate designation is a significant honor for Levine that caps a long and distinguished career. And it means more bragging rights for the university. But there’s something deeper to consider: the timing. “The country seems to be so occupied with who we are, what we are, what kind of country we are,” Everwine said. “We have a dysfunctional government, an economy falling apart, two wars, terrible unemployment. Everyone is sort of saying, ‘Who are we as a people?’ I think Phil’s poetry is directly related to those kinds of things.”

Freise Hope House Grand Opening, open house, speakers, music, food, refreshments, tour of its facility, 10 a.m. to noon, Freise Hope House, 721 8th St. 868-6608.

Saturday “Smoke” Cinema Saturday, begins at sundown, Valentien Restaurant & Wine Bar, 1310 Truxtun Ave., Suite 160. 864-0397. American Competitive Trail Horse Association Competition Timed Trail Ride, live music by Open Range, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., Ethel’s Old Corral Cafe, 4310 Alfred Harrell Highway. Registration, 3637613. Chalk on the Walk!, get creative on the sidewalks of Tehachapi, Downtown Tehachapi, Main Street. $15 entry fee. 8226062. Cupcake Decorating Party and Storytime, 11 a.m., Barnes & Noble, children’s area, 4001 California Ave. 631-2575. Golden Days of Spain Renaissance Faire, with food, music and revelry, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Tait Ranch, 3344 Frazier Mountain Park Road, 31⁄2 west on Interstate 5, Frazier Park. $7.50 adults, $5 children 10-17, $5 seniors (65+), children under 9 are free; $2 parking. or 858-367-9708. Lantern Light Tour & Ghost Hunt, 9 to 10:30 p.m., Silver City Ghost Town, 3829 Lake Isabella Blvd., Bodfish. $12 per person of all ages. 760-379-5146. Make Your Own Green Beauty Products, for that special man in your life, 10 a.m. to noon, Greenshops, 4821

“I don’t know if they’d want me writing for official events. A poem to Congress? No thank you.” — Philip Levine, the newly installed poet laureate of the United States

Levine splits his time these days between Fresno, where he lives seven months out of the year, and Brooklyn, where he lives the other five. Although retired from full-time teaching, he makes guest appearances at writers conferences around the country. But he considers Fresno home, even with all the changes over the years. “The air and the water got worse, but aside from that, the living got better,” he said. When Levine looks back on his career, two things stand out. “The single greatest reward was the writing of the stuff itself, the poetry,” he said. “And the second biggest one had to do with my students, mainly here at Fresno State. I had some amazing students here who went on to wonderful careers as poets. Many became very good friends of mine.” As for the national attention that will no doubt be focused on him, Levine acknowledges that it’s nice to be recognized, but he insists that no one should get too excited about awards and honors. (He has sat on enough awards committees to know how the sausage gets made.) In the overall picture, they mean very little. “Something like the Pulitzer is quite wonderful for a couple of weeks, and then you go back to work,” he said.

Stockdale Highway. 834-6477. Old Fashioned Country Fair, cooking demonstrations, petting zoo, farmer’s market, ice cream making contest and more, noon to 4 p.m., Tehachapi Museum, 310 S. Green St. Free. 823-7120. Spanish Storytime, with Clara Castillo, 3 p.m., Barnes & Noble, 4001 California Ave. 631-2575. Star Party with Kern Astronomical Society, 8 to 10 p.m., The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave. 487-2519. Street Teams, opportunity to reach the hurting and needy parts of our community with food, love and prayer, 10:30 a.m., Jesus Shack, 1326 30th St. or call 324-0638. Twilight at CALM, with a wildlife presentation, scavenger hunt, 5:30 to 8 p.m., CALM, 10500 Alfred Harrell Highway. Regular admission prices apply; CALM members are free. Free hot dogs, chips and beverage to the first 500 people. or 872-2256. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10859 Rosedale & Ladies Auxiliary , 9:30 a.m., Greenacres Community Center, 2014 Calloway Drive. 588-5865. Yokuts Park Fun Run, practice racing and earn points, 7 a.m., Yokuts Park, Empire Drive off Truxtun Avenue. No fee. or 203-4196 or 391-7080. Certified Farmers Market, 8 a.m. to noon, next to Golden State Mall, 3201 F St. Please see PAGE 26


The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, August 11, 2011


THEATER “A Chorus Line,” doors open at 6 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday, Stars Dinner Theatre, 1931 Chester Ave. $45 to $55; show-only tickets $35; matinee $46 to $50. 325-6100. “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: The Musical,” 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Spotlight Theatre, 1622 19th St. 634-0692 or Improv Comedy Show, with Center For Improv Advancement, 8 to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Ice House, 3401 Chester Ave., Suite M. Adults: $5 on Friday and Saturdays, children under 12 are $1 every day. “The Night Time Show with Michael Armendariz,” 11 p.m. Friday, The Empty Space, 706 Oak St. $5. 327-PLAY. Major League Improv, improvisational comedy show, appropriate for families, 6 p.m. Saturdays, The Empty Space, 706 Oak St. Free but donations are accepted. 327-PLAY.

ART Artwork on Display, “I Dream of Art,” now until Aug. 27, The Empty Space, 706 Oak St. 327-PLAY. Reiter Gallery Art Parlor, presents “Heart” photography by

Jerome Lazarus R., Simon Cardoza and Mitch Reiter, on display now Aug. 19, Reiter Gallery, 1914 Chester Ave. 862-0059. “Connections,” an exhibition of works by artists participating in the visual arts festival, on display until August 28, The Bakersfield Museum of Art, 1930 R St. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed Mondays. 323-7219. All Media Class, by instructor Phyllis Oliver, all media welcome, with color theory stressed. For more information or to register, email or call 348-4717. Art classes, beginning watercolor, beginning drawing, advanced drawing and watercolor painters’ group, taught by Carol Bradshaw. Call or email for details and enrollment. or 760-376-6604. Art for Healing program, of Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield has many unique classes that may help alleviate stress and anxiety resulting in illness, loss, grief or caring for another. All classes are free but some suggest a donation and are held at Mercy Hospital, Truxtun Campus, Truxtun and A St. Visit or to register, 632-5747. Basic Beading & Wire Wrapping Workshop, with Susi

Incredible dining.

Klassen, private instruction or by appointment, The Bead Hut, 610 18th St. To schedule an appointment, call 324-0975 or 706-6490. Beginning Oil Painting, with instructor Glen Jelletich, classes held 1 to 3 p.m. Mondays. Call 399-3707 for more information or to register. Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Drawing, by instructor Nina Landgraff, series of five two-hour classes. Call for more information or to register. 304-7002. Free art classes, for homeschool children, 11 a.m. Thursdays, Moore’s Art School, 837-1037. Juliana’s Art Studio & Gallery, offers youth art, clay sculpture, stained glass, silver jewelry, voice lessons, Juliana’s Art Studio & Gallery, 501 18th St. For times and dates call 327-7507. Native American Arts Association, meets to learn basketry, beadwork and more, 9 a.m. to noon each Thursday, The Stockdale Moose Lodge, 905 Stine Road. 852-5050. The Art Center, 1817 Eye St., 869-2320; offers a variety of painting and drawing classes. Call for details. The Art Shop Club, 9 a.m. to noon each Thursday, Friday and Saturday, The Art Shop, 1221 20th St. All mediums. 322-0544, 589-

7463 or 496-5153.

p.m. Saturday.




Elevation Lounge, 818 Real Road, 325-6864; Improv Tuesday Live comedy with DJ after party, 9 p.m. Tuesdays.

Jerry’s Pizza, 1817 Chester Ave., 633-1000, Plug in Stereo, $10, 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Blues Kern River Blues Society Jam, 2 to 8 p.m. every second Saturday, Trout’s, 805 N. Chester Ave. 8727517. Sinaloa, 910 20th St., 327-5231; Glenda Robles, 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday.

Classic Rock Bellvedere Cocktail Lounge, 3090 Brundage Lane, 325-2139; Mike Montano Band, 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Ethel’s Old Corral Cafe, 4310 Alfred Harrell Highway, 873-7613; Open Range Band, noon to 4 p.m. Friday. Iron Horse Saloon, 1821 S. Chester Ave., 831-1315; Two Timerz, 2 p.m. Saturday. Lone Oak Lounge, 10612 Rosedale Highway, 589-0412; No Limit, 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Banacek’s Lounge, 4601 State Road, 387-9224; Dirt Road Band, 9 p.m. Saturday. Pyrenees Cafe, 601 Sumner, 3230053; The Usual Suspects, 1 to 5

Country Trout’s & the Blackboard Stages, 805 N. Chester Ave., 399-6700:, offers karaoke, line dancing, West Coast Swing, among other various activities. Call for times and days. Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd., 3287560; Buddy Alan & the Buckaroos, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Ethel’s Old Corral Cafe, 4310 Alfred Harrell Highway, 873-7613; Still Kickin, 7 p.m. Friday; Angels and Outlaws, 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday. Ethel’s Old Corral Cafe, 4310 Alfred Harrell Highway, 873-7613; Nighlife with Pairs and Spares, 7 p.m. every Sunday. $5 members; $7 nonmembers. Tejon Club, 117 El Tejon Ave., 3921747; Crossroads, 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Cover Sandrini’s, 1918 Eye St., 3228900; Chrisanova, 9 p.m. each Monday. Please see PAGE 28

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Thursday, August 11, 2011 The Bakersfield Californian






1 Jessica Moncrief 2 Omega Galvan 3 Marion Balan




CAPTURE KERN features the best of our county photos, and you are in control. These photos were submitted in Capture Kern County’s People categories, sponsored by Motor City Buick|GMC|Lexus. Start shaping the CAPTURE KERN contest by visiting to upload your own photos or to vote on others. It’s free, easy and fun.

4 Vincent Sierra


5 Alison Beitzell



The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, August 11, 2011




Joaquin Squares, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Rasmussen Center, 115 E. Roberts Lane. $5. 324-1390, 325-3086 or 399-3658. Folklorico Classes, advance dancers/performing group 6 to 8 p.m. Fridays; and beginners, all ages, 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays, Fruitvale-Norris Park, 6221 Norris Road. $22 per month for beginners; $25 per month for advance dancers. 833-8790. Mavericks Singles, ballroom and country dancing with music by Lost Highway, 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Kern City Town Hall, 1003 Pebble Beach Drive. $6 member; $8 guest. 831-9241. Pairs and Spares Dance, 7:30 p.m. each Friday, Rasmussen Senior Center, 115 E. Roberts Lane. $5; $7 nonmembers. 399-3575 or 332-1537. Dance classes, beginning west coast swing, intermediate/advanced west coast swing with instructor Mimi Johanson, at 8214 Mossrock Drive. Call 927-7001 for details. Whirlaways Square Dance Club, has workshops/classes every first, third, fourth and fifth Mondays, Park Stockdale Civic Association Community Center, 205 Rio Bravo Drive. or 213-3105. African Dance for Fitness, taught by national touring artists, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and 1 to 2 p.m. Saturdays, Su Studio Dance Academy, 1515 21st St. $5$7 per class. or 760917-3685. Beginner Belly Dance Lessons, 8 p.m. every Tuesday, Centre Stage Studio, 1710 Chester Ave. 3235215.

The late Wes Moore, aka “The Colonel,” led the Driller marching band at Bakersfield High School from 1941 to 1979, positively influencing countless youth. As Kern County collectively picks up the book “The Other Wes Moore” as the 11th annual One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern community read this fall, many who knew him will recall Bakersfield’s own Wes Moore. The book, about two Wes Moores growing up in similar neighborhoods, is about how life choices and mentoring can make a difference in a young person’s future. As part of this community read, the One Book committee is collecting memories of our own Wes Moore to publish in The Bakersfield Californian and online at Please submit your stories in 300 words or less to Jennifer Burger at by Wednesday, Aug. 31.

DJ Rockstarz Party Bar, 7737 Meany Ave., Suite B5, 589-6749; DJ James, 9 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Free. Banacek’s Lounge, 4601 State Road, 387-9224; with DJ Casey Overstreet, 9 p.m. Fridays. Le Corusse Rouge, 4647 White Lane, 834-1611; with DJ Chill in the Mixx, 5 p.m. every Friday until 2 a.m. Saturday. Sandrini’s, 1918 Eye St., 3228900; Beat Surrender, 9:30 p.m. Friday. Tam O’Shanter, 2345 Alta Vista, 324-6774: DJ Frankie Perez in the mixx, 8:30 p.m. Friday. The Bull Shed Bar & Grill, at Hotel Rosedale, 2400 Camino Del Rio Court, 327-0681; with Meg, 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Sandrini’s, 1918 Eye St., 3228900; The Press, 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Jazz Cafe Med, 4809 Stockdale Highway, 834-4433; Richie Perez, 7:30 to 11 p.m. Thursdays. Imbibe Wine & Spirits Merchant, 4140 Truxtun Ave.,

633-WINE; live music & wine bar with featuring local artists, along with 24 wines, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday; featuring Jazz Connection, along with 24 wines, 7 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Jazz at the Nile, open to all jazz artists, bring your instrument, 6 p.m. every Sunday, The Nile Theater, 1721 19th St. $10. Imbibe Wine & Spirits Merchant, 4140 Truxtun Ave., 633-WINE; live music & wine bar with featuring Jazz Connection, along with 24 wines, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Intimate Theatre & Music Hall, 2030 19th St., 323-1976; Ron Christian and his Big Band, 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Padre Hotel, Prairie Fire, Roof Top, 1702 18th St., 427-4900; Jazz & Martinis, 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday. Le Corusse Rouge, 4647 White Lane, 834-1611; Bakersfield Jazz Workshop, 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. every Wednesday.

Karaoke B. Ryder’s Sports Bar & Grill, 7401 White Lane, 397-7304; 8 p.m. Thursdays and Tuesdays. Bellvedere Cocktail Lounge, 3090 Brundage Lane, 325-2139; Bellvedere Idol Karaoke Contest, prizes for winners, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursdays and Sundays. Cactus Valley Mexican Restaurant, 4215 Rosedale Highway, 633-1948; 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday; beer pong and happy hour all day Sunday. Cataldo’s Pizza, 4200 New Stine Road, 397-5000; 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Corona’s Cantina, 9817 S. Union Ave., 345-8463; 7 to 10 p.m. Thursdays. Don Perico Restaurant, 2660


Wesley Moore was the band director at Bakersfield High School from 1941 to 1979.

The community read kicks off Sept. 20 and ends with a visit from the author to California State University, Bakersfield on Nov. 8. For more information, please call Jennifer Burger at 661-6542138. Oswell St., Suite 133, 871-2001; 7 to 11 p.m. Thursdays. Pour House, 4041 Fruitvale Ave., 589-9300; 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. T-Bones Steakhouse, 8020 District Blvd., 398-1300; with Irish Monkey Entertainment, 6:30 to 11 p.m. Thursdays. The Old River Monte Carlo, 9750 Taft Highway, 837-0250; 8:30 p.m. every Thursday. The Wright Place, 2695-G Mount Vernon Ave., 872-8831, 8 p.m. every Thursday. Tomi’s Cowgirl Cafe, 1440 Weedpatch Highway, 633-1949; Karaoke King Show, all ages, 7 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. Julie’s The Branding Iron Saloon, 1807 N. Chester Ave., 6 to 10 p.m. every Friday. Maria Bonita Mexican Restaurant, 10701 Highway 178, 366-3261, 7 to 11 p.m. Fridays. All ages. The Pourhouse, 4041 Fruitvale Ave., 589-9300; 9 p.m. every Friday. The Prime Cut, 9500 Brimhall Road, 831-1413; hosted by Ed Loverr, 9 p.m. to midnight Friday. The Regent, 2814 Niles St., 8714140; 8:30 p.m. every other Friday. Chateau Lounge, 2100 S. Chester Ave., 835-1550; 9 p.m. every Saturday. Del Rio Cocktail Lounge, 5840 State Road, 393-0262; 8 p.m. every Saturday. Pyrenees Cafe, 601 Sumner, 3230053; 8 p.m. to midnight Saturdays. Rocket Shop Cafe, 2000 S. Union Ave., 832-4800; 8:30 p.m. to midnight Saturday. Sports & Spirits, 6633 Ming Ave., 398-7077; 9 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays.

Tejon Club, 117 El Tejon Ave., 3921747; 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday. The Playhouse, 2915 Taft Highway; 397-3599; 7 to 10 p.m. Sundays. Diana’s Pit Stop, 10807 Rosedale Highway, 587-8888; 8 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. Rockstarz Party Bar, 7737 Meany Ave., Suite B5, 589-6749; 8 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays. The Wrecking Yard, 9817 S. Union Ave., 827-9192; 7 to 10 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Best Western , 2620 Buck Owens Blvd., 327-9651; The Junction with host Mac Clanahan, 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Cataldo’s Pizzeria, 6111 Niles St., 363-7200; 6:15 to 10:15 p.m. Tuesdays. City Slickers, 1001 W. Tehachapi Blvd., 822-4939; 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. DoubleTree Hotel, Club Odyssey, 3100 Camino Del Rio Court; 8 p.m. to midnight Tuesdays. Le Corusse Rouge, 4647 White Lane, 834-1611; A to Z Karaoke, 8 p.m. to midnight Tuesdays. Lone Oak Inn, 10612 Rosedale Highway, 589-0412; 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Magoo’s Pizza, 1129 Olive Drive, 399-7800; 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. McMurphy’s Irish Pub & Sports Bar, 14 Monterey St., 869-1451; 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesdays. Round Table Pizza, 2060 White Lane, 836-2700; 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday. The Bull Shed Bar & Grill, at Hotel Rosedale, 2400 Camino Del Rio Court, 327-0681; 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Trout’s & The Blackboard Stages, 805 N. Chester Ave., 3996700; 7 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Ethel’s Old Corral, 4310 Alfred Harrell Highway, 873-7613; 6 to 9 p.m. every Wednesday. Latin/Salsa Latin Salsa Dancing, 8 p.m. Thursdays, DoubleTree Hotel, Club Odyssey, 3100 Camino Del Rio Court. 323-7111. Iron Horse Saloon, 1821 S. Chester Ave., 831-1315; Latin Breeze, 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tam O’Shanter, 2345 Alta Vista, 324-6774: Salsa dancing, 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. DoubleTree Hotel, Club Odyssey, 3100 Camino Del Rio Court, 633-1949; various levels, 3 to 9 p.m. every Sunday. $5 per person, per lesson. Le Corusse Rouge, 4647 White Lane, 834-1611; Salsa Solution, DJ Ed Rivera, 7 p.m. Sunday. $8, 21 & over only.

Mariachi Camino Real Restaurant, 3500 Truxtun Ave., 852-0493; Mariachi Imperial, 6 to 9 p.m. Sundays.

Oldies KC Steakhouse, 2515 F St., 3229910; Jimmy Gaines, Bobby O and Mike Halls, 6:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Old School Que Pasa Mexican Cafe, 2701 Ming Ave., 832-5011; Al Garcia & the Rhythm Kings, 8 to 11 p.m. every Thursday. B. Ryder’s Sports Bar & Grill, 7401 White Lane, 397-7304; Michael Anthony’s Disco Ball, 9 p.m. Saturday. $5; 21 & over only.

Open Mic Fishlips, 1517 18th St., 324-2557; Bakotopia Unplugged Open-Mic Night, 8 p.m., sign-up sheet begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

Reggae/ska The Prime Cut, 9500 Brimhall Road, 831-1413; Dub Seeds, 9:30 p.m. Saturday. $5; 21 & over only.

Rock Rockstarz Party Bar, 7737 Meany Ave., Suite B5, 589-6749; live bands, 9 p.m. every Thursday. Sandrini’s, 1918 Eye St., 3228900; RevoltRevolt, No Captains, Black Sails Western Shores, 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Jerry’s Pizza, 1817 Chester Ave., 633-1000, Vanna, In Fear & Faith, Adestria, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, Ten After Two, Close to Homes, A Loss of Words, 5 p.m. Tuesday. $14.

Rock ’n’ blues Pyrenees Cafe, 601 Sumner, 3230053; Robert Heft band, 8 p.m. Friday.

Music showcase The Prime Cut, 9500 Brimhall Road, 831-1413; featuring local artists, 7 to 10 p.m. every Wednesday.

Top 40 DoubleTree Hotel, Club Odyssey, 3100 Camino Del Rio Court. 323-7111; 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. every Friday.

Trivia night Bellvedere Cocktail Lounge, 3090 Brundage Lane, 325-2139; 7 p.m. Tuesdays. Chuy’s, 2500 New Stine Road, 833-3469; 7 p.m. every Tuesday. Sandrini’s, 1918 Eye St., 3228900; Trivia Night with Dave Rezac, 10 p.m. Tuesdays.

Variety B. Ryder’s Sports Bar & Grill, 7401 White Lane, 397-7304; Revolution, Acapulco Sunrise, 2Faded, Indosurf, 9 p.m. Thursday. $5; 21 & over only. Vinny’s Bar & Grill, 2700 S. Union Ave., 867-2898; The Dirt Road, 9 p.m. Friday. Crest Bar & Grill, inside Bakersfield RV Resort, 5025 Wible Road, 833-9998; Steve Woods, 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Please see PAGE 29


Thursday, August 11, 2011 The Bakersfield Californian


Golden State Mall, 3201 F St., Dance to Joe Loco, 2 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

UPCOMING EVENTS Monday 8/15 Bakersfield Blaze vs. Visalia Rawhide, 7:45 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Sam Lynn Ball Park, 4009 Chester Ave. $8-$12.50 (Monday $1). or 716-HITS. Cardio Kickboxing Classes, with heavy Muay Tai bags, 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. Saturday, Kickboxing Bakersfield, 9601 S. H St. 374-5728. Cartooning & Scrapbooking with Jeanie Truitt, for ages 7 to 12, 10 a.m. to noon, Bakersfield Art Association Art Center, 1817 Eye St. Free, materials provided. 8692320. Recreational Swim Team, for ages 5 to 18, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. or 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Bakersfield College, 1801 Panorama Drive. Open enrollment. 395-4663. Roller Hockey Beginners Clinic, 6 to 6:45 p.m., Rollerama, 1004 34th St. $5. 327-7589. Senior Discovery Days, each Monday for seniors 60 and older receive 50 percent off admission, 10 percent discount in the gift store, CALM, 10500 Alfred Harrell Highway. 872-2256.

Tuesday 8/16 Barney Live in Concert Birthday Bash!, 3 and 6:30 p.m., Bakersfield Fox Theater, 2001 H St. $15 to $33. or 3225200.

THE BEST SERVER AROUND Eating out remains one of our favorite pastimes, even in this challenging economy. But the food is only part of the reason we make tracks to our favorite local restaurants. It’s the waiters and waitresses who have the ability to turn a meal into a memorable experience. Who are the most charming/capable/ friendly/caring/funny servers in town? Oildale Farmers Market, 3 to 6 p.m., northeast corner of N. Chester Ave. and Norris Road, Oildale. 868-3670. Sierra Club Conditioning Hikes, three to five miles, 7 p.m., meet at corner of Highways 178 and 184. 872-2432 or 873-8107. WWE Smackdown Live, with Randy Orton, Ezekiel Jackson, Sin Cara, The Great Khali and more, 6:45 p.m., Rabobank Convention Center, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $15-$60 plus fee. or call 800-745-3000.

Wednesday 8/17 Optimal Hospice New Volunteer Orientation, volunteer orientation for individuals interested in volunteering time to hospice families, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4700 Stockdale Highway, Suite 120. 716-4000. Summer Kids Festival 2011 “The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader” Movie, 9 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Maya Cinemas, 1000 California Ave. $1 all ages; hot dogs/popcorn are $1.25 w/purchase of child’s ticket. 6360434.

Send us your nominee and include your name and phone number, the server’s name, the restaurant’s name and why this server is so great (250 words, max). The top server has the chance to win a $50 gift card to Goose Loonies and a four-pack of tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Email Lifestyles Editor Jennifer Self at

Thursday 8/18 “A Chorus Line,” doors open at 6 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Stars Dinner Theatre, 1931 Chester Ave. $45 to $55; show-only tickets $35; matinee $46 to $50. 325-6100. Bakersfield Blaze vs. Lake Elsinore Storm, 7:45 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, Sam Lynn Ball Park, 4009 Chester Ave. $8-$12.50. or 716-HITS. Buck Owens Birthday Bash, featuring Trace Adkins, 7 p.m., Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd. SOLD OUT. or call 322-5200. Concerts by The Fountain, top 40 hits with A.K.A., 7 to 9 p.m., The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave. Disaster Volunteer Meeting, 6 p.m., American Red Cross, Kern Chapter, 5035 Gilmore Ave. 3246427. Read the Classics, for young readers ages 8 to 12, 4 p.m., Barnes & Noble, children’s department, 4001 California Ave. 631-2575. San Joaquin Sport Divers

Meeting, for those interested in free diving, snorkeling and scuba diving are welcome, 7:30 p.m., Rusty’s Pizza, 6675 Ming Ave. 5893334. Third Thursdays Faire in the Park, entertainment, barbecue, arts and crafts, games, contests, farmer’s market, 5:30 p.m., Central Park at Mill Creek, 21st and R streets. 325-5892.

Friday 8/19 “Beirut,” 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, The Empty Space, 706 Oak St. $5. 327-PLAY. Dave Alvin & The Guilty Ones, 8 p.m., Fishlips Bar & Grill, 1517 18th St. $20; 21 & over only. or 322-5200. Fantastic Friday Storytime, with Miss Olivia, 10 a.m., Barnes & Noble, 4001 California Ave. 6312575. Movies in the Park, presents “The Longshots,” begins at dusk, Dr. Martin Luther Jr. Park, 1000 S. Owens Street. 326-3866. “Opera Fever,” featuring the works by Mozart, Schubert, Puccini and Strauss, being performed by Guye Memmott, Scott Miller, Jesye Havrilla, Philip A. Day Jr., 7 p.m., St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 2216 17th St. Free. 864-0490. “Saved in The Nick (Tickle) of Time,” 7 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. Saturday, The Empty Space, 706 Oak St. Visit “Seussical Jr. the Musical,” 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday, Bakersfield Community Theater, 2400 S. Chester Ave. Presale $10; $15 adults; $12 children. 831-8114. “The Show Must Go On,” followed by the vaudeville revue

ls iona s s ut ofe l Pr left o a c i e MedDon’t b

“Hot Summer Nights” 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday, Gaslight Melodrama Theatre & Music Hall, 12748 Jomani Drive. $12 to $23. 587-3377. Third annual Center of the World Festival, three-day festival with an amateur playwriting competition, music, Chumash storytelling, reader’s theater performance of 10 selected plays, community jam fest and more, opening ceremony begins at 7 p.m. Friday; events begin 1:30 p.m. Saturday; and closing ceremony begins at 1 p.m. Sunday, Pine Mountain Club, in the commercial center gazebo, 1626 Askin Trail, Pine Mountain Club., or 242-1583.

Saturday 8/20 26th annual “The Rockin’ Ride for Life” Poker Run, benefitting Muscular Dystrophy in Kern County; with music, food, prizes, bounce house, face painting, bike show, 50/50 raffle, chance to win a Harley, registration begins at 8 a.m., ride leaves at 10 a.m., event until 4 p.m., Bakersfield Harley Davidson, 35089 Merle Haggard Drive. $25 per motorcycle; $40 w/two riders. Email debbie@ or 325-3644. 48th annual Tehachapi Mountain Festival, pet parade, carnival, arts & crafts booths, pancake breakfast, gem and mineral show, parade, beer garden, car show, PRCA rodeo and entertainment, Saturday and Sunday, Philip Marx Central Park, Tehachapi. or 822-4180.

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