From the Editor:
The Undercurrent, as an independent newspaper (of, by, and for the people), brings together a lot of different folks with a lot of different ideas. That being said, The Undercurrent itself does not endorse any of the views expressed in its pages, but endorses wholeheartedly the necessity of expressing views in all their variety—openly, honestly, and with an aim for the truth, whatever it turns out to be. To that end, we encourage our readers to send us letters. We’ll print them without edit. When a letter addresses a particular article, we’ll let the writer respond. When it addresses the paper as a whole, we’ll respond. In this way, together, we’ll inch our collective way closer and closer to the truth.
more times before you reach the end of this issue of The Undercurrent, but I must say it at least once here: Go see some friggin Rogue shows. The Rogue is an awesome, wonderful thing, and we should be extremely thankful as a community that some among us have stepped up and organized such a festival in our town. We’ve dedicated seven pages to covering the Rogue Festival in this issue. You’ll hear from this year’s co-producers, Jayne Day and Renee Newlove. Also, local musicians Blake Jones and Abigail Nolte, as well as touring fringe festival superstar Kurt Fitzpatrick, share some of their thoughts on the Rogue. Rounding out the Rogue section, be sure to check out the latest installment of Adam and Ed’s “The View Looks Good From Here, Fresno.” Seriously, though, after reading about Rogue, go see some shows. There are a whole bunch of shows (like a whole bunch, like whoa) to choose from—even, I was surprised to read, a few burlesque shows. Burlesque shows! Still say there’s nothing to do in Fresno? Also in this issue, Christy Arndt interviews musician Kellie Lee in her “Meet the Musicmakers” column, and Hugh Starkey reviews Darksiders in the latest “One Up!: a Review for Gamers.” In addition, I must mention three other important articles we’re printing this month. Paul Gilmore beautifully muses on history and how it’s used in his Howard Zinn obituary, Counterpunch founder Alexander Cockburn puts the recent killer whale tragedy into perspective in “Spartacus, Retold by a Killer Whale,” and we offer a piece from the LA Daily News Wire Service about a recent hunger strike held by unionized Disneyland employees who are being screwed over by the Walt Disney Company. All that being said, one final thing. If you enjoy reading The Undercurrent each month, if you think it’s an important resource for our community to have at its fingertips, then please, please patronize our advertisers. As you know, this newspaper is a volunteer effort, and all that sustains it are the few advertising dollars we can get. And we only sell ads to locally-owned, independent enterprises, many of which are, as you also know, hard-pressed for cash as well, given the state of our economy. So please, pass by the Starbucks and grab your daily tea at Little Leaf Tea on Bullard and Palm, for example. Skip the Olive Garden and Applebee’s and, instead, grab dinner at Mangosteen on Shaw and Fresno, a very cool fusion restaurant you’re sure to enjoy. These are just examples, but you get the point. Let’s keep our money local; let’s enrich our community. That’s it, I guess. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your continued support. Feel free to drop us a line about anything. Our email addresses are to the right. If you want to get involved in any way, please, by all means, contact us.
As a Fresno boy through and through, born and raised in this dusty bowl of a town, I find myself constantly defending my hometown, both to those who are from elsewhere, who perceive Fresno as merely the butt of a national joke, someplace no one wants to be, and to those who are from Fresno, who are forever complaining about “nothing to do” in Fresno. I’ve never been quite sure what people mean when they complain about nothing to do here. So I’ve gotten into the habit, lately, of pressing folks when they make this complaint. “If you were somewhere else, what would you be doing right now that you can’t do in Fresno?” Needless to say, they either can’t answer (which should make them realize that the problem is not with Fresno, but with them) or they can, and it boils down to some vague wish that there were more hip bars and clubs in Fresno (which should make them realize that the problem is not with Fresno, but with the fact that they really want to live in Vegas or LA. To be clear, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with Vegas or LA, but I’d rather have Fresno be Fresno and those places be those places, you know? Perhaps a big part of Fresno’s persistent selfloathing is our general disconnect from our history. Too many of us, and I include myself here, particularly those of us in the younger generations, grow up in fast food Fresno, test market Fresno, the Fresno that feels like a gigantic suburb. We aren’t connected very much at all to our communities because perhaps our parents weren’t, or perhaps we just watch too much television and don’t venture out enough. But there is quite a lot to Fresno, much of it hidden beneath the surface, much of it buried in voices we rarely hear in neighborhoods we rarely visit, but a whole lot of it just right there for the taking, if we just look a little and listen a bit. So, in that vein, we bring you an issue dealing with some local history, but specifically the more quirky aspects of our local history. If you’ve lived in Fresno for very long, you’ve probably heard some stories about past events and characters in Fresno, stories that may or may not be true. Well, here at The Undercurrent, we’ve done our homework, and hopefully you’ll enjoy these historical nuggets. Paul Gilmore writes about Fresno’s famous jack-rabbit overpopulation problem. If you remember the Wacking Day episode of The Simpsons, you’ll love this story. Matt Espinoza Watson recounts the crazy story of Moocow Molly, a famous Fresno madam (yes, madam as in female pimp), and Carlos Fierro gives us some insight into a few landmarks around Fresno and also shares a conversation he had with Jerry Van Dyke, who once starred in a national TV miniseries about Fresno. This is good reading, folks. Moving on, it’s Rogue season again. Now, I don’t want to beat you over the head with this, because Peace, —abid. you’ll read something along these lines about fourteen
Editorial Board Carlos Fierro firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessi Hafer email@example.com
Matt Espinoza Watson firstname.lastname@example.org Abid Yahya email@example.com Contributors Christy Arndt Alexander Cockburn Vince Corsaro Cheryl Chancellor-Freeland Jayne Day Kurt Fitzpatrick Teresa Flores Juan C Garcia Paul Gilmore Blake Jones Gena Kirby Agustin Lira Renee Newlove Abigail Nolte Chuck McNally Nicholas Nocketback Everardo Pedraza Hugh Starkey Ed Stewart Adam Wall WILPF Copy Editing Matt Espinoza Watson Abid Yahya
Layout Carlos Fierro & Abid Yahya
For advertising inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For letters to the editor, please email email@example.com. For submission information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For subscription information, visit FresnoUndercurrent.net or send a check for $35 to “The Undercurrent” P.O. Box 4857, Fresno, CA 93744. ©2010 Out of respect for our contributors, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the permission of the Editor-in-Chief.
HOWARD ZINN OBITUARY 4
Zinn’s Time by Paul Gilmore
Spartacus, Retold by a Killer Whale by Alexander Cockburn
SCIENCE, HEALTH, & ENVIRONMENT 6 7
The Palestine Report by Abid Yahya
STATE, NATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL
AfterWords by Carlos Fierro & Abid Yahya
L ABOR & ECONOMICS 9
Disney Hunger Strike Moves to Burbank by Daily News Wire Service
Jack-Rabbits in a Bar: A History Lesson From Medford Boorman by Paul Gilmore
FEATURED TOPIC: FRESNO’S QUIRKY PAST & PRESENT 11
Fresno, Names & Places by Carlos Fierro
Fresno: The Power!...The Passion!...The Produce!
by Carlos Fierro
From Fresno, With Love
by Matt Espinoza Watson
The Lost Socratic Dialogues: “The Aristotles” by Steven J Ingeman & H Peter Steeves
ABOUT THE COVER 24
Teresa Flores “The Go (Fwy 41)”
Meet the Musicmakers: Meet Kellie Lee by Christy Arndt
Integral Vision: Meditation: Its Healing Benefits by Juan C Garcia, Everardo Pedraza, & Cheryl Chancellor-Freeland Cultivating Consciousness: Childhood Obesity by Gena Kirby
The Undercurrent’s indie PREVIEW
One Up! A Review for Gamers: Darksiders by Hugh Starkey
GAME [RE]VIEWS SPECIAL ROGUE SECTION 18
The Rogue Festival Preview by Renee Newlove
Changing the Rogue Guard by Jayne Day
Dear Rogue by Abigail Nolte
Blake Jones on The Rogue by Blake Jones
The Last Straight Man in Theatre by Kurt Fitzpatrick
Regeneración: Ricardo Flores Magón & the Mexican Revolution of 1910 by Agustin Lira & Matt Espinoza Watson
The View Looks Good From Here, Fresno by Adam & Ed
PLUGS & PROFILES 28
28 29 29 COLUMNS 30
Sierra Foothill Conservancy: Upcoming Open Houses, Hikes, and Classes by Jessi Hafer
Chavez Vive!!: 17th Annual Cesar Chavez March and Celebration by Chuck McNally
Valley Water Consortium by WILPF
Spirt of 60s Activist Coming to Peace and Justice Festival by Peace Fresno Dear Nocketback by Nicholas Nocketback
by P AU L G ILM O R E
oward Zinn, the radical historian and activist who, for most of his career, taught at Boston University, died last month. I’m still upset about it. Why this should be so, I can’t quite figure out. I didn’t know the man. He wasn’t a friend. And his death certainly shouldn’t have been a shock—he was, after all, 87 years old. And from the reports I’ve seen, it was a nice way to go. Zinn was in Santa Monica, California to give a lecture, and was swimming in the hotel pool when he had a heart attack. The lifeguards immediately responded, but death was nearly instantaneous. Give me that kind of death at age 87, and you can count me happy. A nice, long, healthy life—quick finish. For Zinn, as my grandmother might say, it was just his time.
His time. That statement might harbor a clue of my reason for being upset. It irks me that time seems to be up for more and more people like Howard Zinn. I know they have to go, but in losing people like him, our already forgetful America is contracting a serious and dangerous case of community amnesia. Our memory of the last century—especially that hopeful, utopian, angry, dark, awful, and genocidal first half of the century—is literally dying. But perhaps I’m getting ahead of the story here. Undercurrent readers, I assume, have at least some idea who Howard Zinn was. Perhaps you’ve picked up a copy of A People’s History of the United States, Zinn’s surprisingly popular alternative “revisionist” history of everything from Columbus to Carter. If not, I recommend it to you. It’s a start. In it, he focuses not on the capital-letter people, the Kings and Queens, the Presidents and Senators, but instead on the ordinary people, industrial workers and slaves, suffragists and civil rights marchers, who joined together to try to shape their world in their interests. These folks usually lost, but they sometimes won, and Zinn celebrates those victories. As he put it, “Nations are not communities and never have been. The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest . . . between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and domi-
nated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.” I first read this kind of stuff in my college years in Greenville, South Carolina.
There was a war brewing in Iraq. This was the first gulf war and the first George Bush— the tragedy, not the farce. I was “agin-it” as they say down south, and that experience taught me and my very few anti-war friends that there were other ways to look at the world than the one that said we had to go to war. Those other ways had seemed to be hidden from us our whole lives. I started looking for those different ways to look at the war and pretty soon ran across Howard Zinn and his take on other wars, and other parts of our history. Zinn did not merely study history. He used it. He presented history as if it were an argument about the past, and a really important argument for those of us still living. He knew the old line about folks not knowing their history being condemned to repeat it, but he went further. He said on many occasions that “if you don’t know your history, it’s like you were born yesterday.” To him, history was not the disinterested pursuit of knowledge; it was something that was used, sometimes as a con. People did learn from history all the time—the folks who led us into Vietnam knew lots of history; they were supposedly “the best and the brightest.” They knew lots of facts. They just learned the wrong things about them and taught those things to others. And it was up to others to use history differently.
Zinn was a “presentist,” as we say in the profession. This is usually an insult, suggesting some kind of perversion of the “true” story—a twisting of the facts to serve some present concern. But Zinn pointed out that serving a purpose in the present did not require you to lie about or purposely distort the past. He wrote approvingly of Carl Becker’s definition of presentism as “the imperative command that knowledge shall serve purpose, and learning be applied to the solution of the problem of human life.” What was worse to Zinn was the kind of disengagement with the present that he saw in many of those who were committed to historical scholarship. He wrote that the “past is dead. Surely, it is useful, as a cadaver is useful to an anatomist, and interesting, as souvenirs and photos are, but we cannot be ‘committed’ to it in any sense and still call history a humanistic rather than a necrophilic endeavor.” Should we not instead, Zinn asked, be committed to “the present and future, with life itself the highest value?” Of course, there were and are all sorts of criticisms about this kind of history, many of which are absolutely right on. He freely and admirably admitted his bias, his disdain for “objectivity” in the traditional sense, borne out of his hard experience growing up “in the dirt and dankness of New York tenements,” being “knocked unconscious by a policeman” in a socialist rally, and “participating in the violence of war.” I think Zinn argued correctly that bias doesn’t necessarily make you wrong, but he still often let his wishes about the past cloud his judgment of the facts. He was quick to see ideological commitment to revolutionary politics in workers who likely saw little beyond their desire for ten cents more an hour. Zinn was also a bit overly romantic in his treatment of “the people,” preferring thousands of civil rights workers to enter that category, while leaving out millions of white supremacists. Hamilton was partly right: the people are sometimes “a great beast.” He often offered quite simple pictures of very complex situations.
But much of what Zinn can be criticized for also made him great. Where it is always important to attend to the nuances of a story, Zinn recognized the seductiveness of such a stance when it came to action. It had a tendency to excuse paralysis. A good friend pointed out this tendency among academics. For academics, she complained, any discussion of a problem comes down to “it’s all very complicated and there’s nothing we can do.” This was not Howard Zinn. For him, “you can’t be neutral on a moving train.” And he wasn’t. After years as a bomber in World War II, he became a peacemaker, always speaking out against war. Hired out of graduate school in the fifties to chair the history department at Spelman College, an all black women’s college in Atlanta, he dove into the civil rights movement. He was fired for his efforts. Undaunted, he moved to Boston, where he taught history and politics and fought against the Vietnam War, and later, against American ventures in Central America and Iraq, all the while fighting administration efforts to remove him from his job. He kept writing and fighting his entire life, until last month. And that’s why I’m upset that it is his “time.” He wasn’t just a historian from Boston. He was from the first half of the twentieth century. He was a piece of our memory. I’ll commit his crime of romanticism, and say that he knew that he was a participant in history, not merely a chronicler, and that writing history can be an act of participation too. He knew what it was to grow up the son of poor struggling Jewish immigrants in New York in the twenties and thirties. He knew what it meant to see the rise of fascism, and he knew what it meant to fight against it. He also knew the deadly confusions that accompany not just the decision to fight against injustice, but the question of how. He saw the brutality of war—he committed it. He knew what human beings were capable of, both the good and the bad, and he knew from raw experience that we forget both at our peril. He knew a lot about authority, something that I, and many of us who are “those that came after,” can only vaguely understand. He knew deeply how important it was to ask questions. That to me was his lesson. It’s too bad it was his time. _____ Paul Gilmore has lived here for going on ten years. He teaches history at Fresno City College, and has long been interested in socalled “alternative” history. He has even assigned some of it to students.
Spartacus, Retold by a Killer Whale C
by A LE XAN D ER CO CK BU RN
all him, just for now, Spartacus. He was two years old when the slavers captured him in 1982 and hauled him off to Oak Bay, near the town of Victoria, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, in the far Canadian west. And there he met his fellow slaves, Nootka and Haida. Day after day, in slave school they learned their tricks. Day after day, they did their act for the paying customers. And then, on February 20, 1991, in the tank operated by Sealand of the Pacific, the three struck back at their captors. Okay, not Spartacus, but an orca whale—Tillikum, the one who drowned 40-year-old Dawn Brancheau last Wednesday in the Shamu tank, at SeaWorld, Orlando, after grabbing her by her ponytail. Tillikum was caught off Iceland. Nootka and Haida, both females, were seized in the Pacific. In fact, Nootka was the third orca by that name to be bought by Sealand. The first two died within a year of their capture. At that time, enslaved orcas had a life expectancy in captivity of anywhere from one to four years. These days they do a bit better. In wild waters, orcas live to be anywhere from 30 to 60. By the time of the 1991 slave revolt, Nootka III already had a couple of priors back in 1989, when she’d attacked trainers twice. Then, on Feb. 20, 1991, Keltie Byrne, a 20-year-old marine biology student, champion swimmer and part-time trainer, slipped while she was riding on the head of one of the orcas. Tillikum, Nootka and Haida took turns in dragging her beyond reach of trainers trying to hook her out with long poles. As Jason Hribal, author of our forthcoming CounterPunch/AK Press book Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden Story of Animal Resistance, reconstructed the episode on our CounterPunch site, “‘The whale got her foot,’ an audience member recalled, ‘and pulled her in.’ We do not know which orca it was that started it, but all three, Nootka, Haida, and Tillikum, took their turns dunking the screaming woman underwater. ‘She went up and down three times,’ another visitor continued. The Sealand employees ‘almost got her once with the hook pole, but they couldn’t because the whales were moving so fast.’ One trainer tossed out a floatation ring, but the whales would not let her grab it. In fact, the closer that such devices got to the young woman, the further out the
whales pulled her into the pool. It took park officials two hours to recover her drowned body.” As is typical with theme parks in the business of exploiting animals, whether whales or elephants or some other captive breed, Sealand tried to pass off the disaster as a one-in-a-thousand mishap—sort of a bad-
SeaWorld got its start in the mid1960s, founded by four UCLA grads planning to run an underwater restaurant and marine life exhibit. After various ups and downs, in the late 1980s, the three SeaWorlds passed into the hands of the vast brewing conglomerate Annheuser-Busch, which pumped millions into upgrades, finally selling the theme parks to the Blackstone Group for $2.7 billion in 2009. So, there’s a lot riding on the slave orcas toiling away (according to a SeaWorld official, as many as 8 times per day, 365 days a year) as the star attractions in each of the Shamu stadiums. The first Shamu was put to work in the San Diego SeaWorld, now on its fifty-first “Shamu”— one of 20 enslaved orcas presently owned by Blackstone. Tillikum’s asset value is enhanced by his duties as a sperm donor. He’s a breeding Tillikum, at SeaWorld, Orlando “stud” often kept in hair day for orcas. The citizens of Vancouver solitary, away from the other orcas. One of his Island didn’t see it that way. Many said the long-distance partners was Kasatka, at the San whales had understandably mutinied against Diego slave facility. Kasatka was also captheir ghastly imprisonment and exploitation tured off Iceland at the age of two, in 1978, and should be freed. They started picketing and bought by SeaWorld, and has seen service Sealand. The company trotted out the usual for the company in Ohio, Texas, Florida and story that captive orcas actually like being California, making three efforts in San Diego slaves, forced to work 365 days a year, several to kill her trainer—in 1993, 1999 and 2006. times a day and, if freed, would swiftly die. Her official SeaWorld bio refers chastely to What is meant here is that slave orcas are the 1999 episode as “an incident” where she worth a lot of money—up to a cool million got “a bit aggressive,” whereupon—as a each, which explains why Russia has now lift- SeaWorld spokesman put it, she was sent “for ed its ban on orca trafficking. some additional training and behavior modifiThere are actually quite detailed cation.” Canadian laws governing the export of wild As Hribal writes, “In order to see the creatures. Sealand, soon to go out of business, world from Kasatka’s perspective, three facts got the permits by saying the whales needed need to be considered. First, there are no to be sent south to the U.S. for “medical rearecorded incidences of orcas ‘in the wild’ sons.” Sold to the SeaWorld empire, Tillikum attacking humans unprovoked. This is an instiwas shipped off under cover of darkness to tutional problem. Second, Kasatka and other Orlando, Florida. Nootka followed, and died performers have a long history of attacking there in 1994 at the age of 13. Haida and her trainers. Resistance in zoos and aquariums, in calf Ky ended up in SeaWorld, San Antonio. truth, is anything but unusual. Third, the zooHaida died in 2001 but imparted the spirit of logical institutions themselves have to negotirebellion to Ky, who nearly killed his trainer ate with their entertainers to extract labor and in 2004. profit. Indeed, animal performers have agency,
and zoos have always (privately, at least) acknowledged this. Therefore, the next time you hear about an orca attack, don’t dismiss it from above: ‘Animals will be animals.’ But, instead, look from below: ‘These creatures resist work, and can occasionally land a counterpunch or two of their own.’” All the SeaWorld shows should be shut down, as should all kindred exhibits. If it’s judged by an independent panel that the artificially bred orcas simply couldn’t hack it in the wild blue yonder, let them laze around in their pools and toss them an occasional corporate executive, perhaps starting with slaveowner Pete Peterson, co-founder of Blackstone, a public pest who richly deserves an orca jaw clamped on his ankle. For those who think the references to slavery are excessive, remember the words of Frederic Douglass, quoted by Hribal. Douglass often made direct comparisons between the treatment and use of other animals and that of himself. “When purchased, my old master probably thought as little of my advent, as he would have thought of the addition of a single pig to his stock! Like a wild young working animal, I am to be broken to the yoke of a bitter and life-long bondage. Indeed, I now saw, in my situation, several points of similarity with that of the oxen. They were property, so was I; they were to be broken, so was I; Convey was to break me, I was to break them; break and be broken—such is life.” Maybe, in the wake of Tillikum’s lethal onslaught on Dawn Brancheau, lover of orcas, in Orlando earlier this week, they taped his whale talk to his seven fellow prisoners. Maybe, one day they’ll decode them. I doubt there was contrition. He was probably pointing out that although the act of rebellion was entirely justified, the aesthetics of orca exploitation by humans were such that he’d actually upped his remaining profit potential— he’s 30 now—for Blackstone. As one entertainment consultant pointed out, attendance will probably go up for “Shamu” shows. Orcas after all are “killer whales,” and the public needs to be reminded of this once in a while. _____ Jason Hribal’s Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden Story of Animal Resistance will be published by CounterPunch Books/AK Press this coming fall. _____ Alexander Cockburn can be reached at email@example.com
Meditation: Its Healing Benefits
he purpose of this month’s column of Integral Vision is threefold: to consider some of the healing benefits of meditation; to offer a simple, yet powerful method of silent meditation known as Centering Prayer; and to list some of the meditation resources available to people in the Greater Fresno Area. Benefits of Meditation People come to meditation for a variety of reasons. Some people feel called to the silence for practical purposes: they want to relieve their stress, feel a sense of calm, well-being and relaxation in body, mind and spirit. Others find nourishment and inspiration for their creative, artistic or social justice pursuits. And yet others are drawn to meditation as a way to experience inner peace and stillness in a busy and frantic world. In short, they seek intentional silence as a way to find refuge from the stresses of daily life. Our youth need a practice to help them develop the connections between the limbic system and the neo-cortex. This can be accomplished through the use of meditation, and the installation of affirmations, such as, “As a man amongst men, I am strong and dedicated to my positive growth and development.” Affirmations combined with meditation help instill a sense of positive regard and confidence. As alluded to in previous articles, the boys who attended the past summer adolescent group were able to overcome their difficulties with school, relationships with their parents, and troubles with their peers through the use of meditation in the beginning of the group process. The boys stated that they had never felt so relaxed in their entire lives. Meditation also allows for the development of consciousness from the less complex stage to the more advanced integral stages. But in addition to the ability to cultivate deeper states and stages of awareness there are also the more concrete benefits derived from meditation. In his classic book, The Relaxation Response (original, 1975), the mind/body medicine pioneer and Harvard Medical School professor, Herbert Benson, M.D., laid out in pragmatic terms the benefits of meditation, contemplation, or relaxation (for the less religiously inclined). He stated that there can be significant improvements or even cure when self-care techniques such as relaxation are utilized in such conditions as angina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmias, allergic skin reactions, anxiety, mild and moderate depression, bronchial asthma, constipation, dizziness, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, insomnia, nervousness, pain, and premenstrual syndrome, just to name a few. Some people are encouraged to practice meditation by their doctors and therapists, for example, as a way of lower-
ing their high blood pressure or helping the heart to function optimally. It can also accelerate the healing of wounds or trauma, be it emotional, physical or sexual; as well as aide in the healing of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other conditions such as chronic rage, guilt, and grief. Still others are called to meditation as a natural progression in the evolution of their prayer life; they feel inspired to experience a more intimate relationship with the divine—wanting a more fulfilling, closer and deeper connection with Ultimate Reality. Many practitioners of the much-acclaimed 12-Step addiction recovery program have found meditation as an effective and fruitful way of implementing the 11th Step, which is reprinted here as follows: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” Many Twelve Step practitioners have reported that Centering Prayer or other forms of silent meditation are excellent ways of implementing the 11th Step. Others are inspired to meditate by Oprah or the lives of Gandhi and Cesar Chavez, or by reading the best-selling books of Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Thomas Keating, Thich Nhat Hanh and many other authors whose books grace the shelves of our local bookstores. And still other people feel the need to follow a deep inspiration from within, to transcend a worry-consciousness or a depressed mindset, and experience the equanimity and peace that comes from getting in touch with their true self, their experience of inner freedom, calm, love and joy—as they develop a higher awareness and consciousness. For whatever reason we might feel called to explore the world of silent meditation, there are many wonderful resources available in the Fresno Area to help us explore the contemplative or meditative path for psychological, spiritual and emotional healing, well-being and integral evolution.
The Method of Centering Prayer One such method of silent meditation comes from the Christian contemplative tradition; it is called Centering Prayer. It is a contemporary form known at various times in history as the Prayer of the Heart, Prayer of Simplicity, Prayer of Faith, Prayer of Simple Regard. As Thomas Keating puts it, in his book, Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer, Centering Prayer is a “method of reducing the obstacles to the gift of contemplative prayer and of facilitating the development of habits conducive to responding to the inspiration of the Spirit” (2009 edition, 190). Keating goes on to describe contemplative prayer as the “development of one’s relationship with Christ to the point of communing beyond words, thoughts, and feelings; a process of moving from the simplified activity of waiting upon God to the ever increasing predominance of the gifts of the Spirit as the source of one’s prayer” (191). Keating offers the following guidelines for a 20-minute period of Centering Prayer as follows:
(1) Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within. (2) Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within. (3) When you become engaged with your thoughts, return ever so gently to the sacred word. (4) At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.
Meditation Resources in the Fresno Area
Contemplative Outreach of Central California (www.contemplativeoutrach-norcal.org): contact CoCoordinators Beverly Garcia, 559-251-4013, or Everardo Pedraza, 559-230-9736, firstname.lastname@example.org. -Wednesdays, 6:30 to 8 p.m., St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church (Maroa and Bullard), Conference Room. -Mondays 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., University Presbyterian Church (on Cedar just south of Bullard). l Summer Meditation Retreat: July 9-11, 2010, Centering Prayer Weekend Retreat, with Juan Garcia, Ph.D., and Everardo Pedraza, M.A., at St. Anthony Retreat Center in Three Rivers, California. Contact Everardo at 559-2309736 or email@example.com. l
World Community of Christian Meditation, John Main Tradition
Mondays at 12:45 p.m., following the noon Mass, Meditation group at St. John’s Cathedral, in the Choir Room, contact Betty Bachica at 559.264.4007. l Meditation Group at the Convent of the Sisters of the Divine Master in Fresno, Sr. Marta at the convent, 559275-9978. l In Kingsburg, contact Benita Lankford, World Community of Christian Meditation, 559-897-3711. l
Interfaith Meditation Groups
Interspiritual Peace Meditation Group at Woodward Park: Every 3rd Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m., starting March 20th, at Woodward Park, Riverview Picnic Shelter (bring your own meditation cushion or lawn chair to sit on), contact Everardo at 559-230-9736. l Zen and Interfaith Meditation: Saturdays, from 9 to 11 a.m., at Unitarian Universalist Church, contact Kuzan Peter Schireson at 559-877-4567 and/or firstname.lastname@example.org Zen Meditation: l Empty Nest Zendo in Northfork (www.emptynestzendo.org): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Church, Fresno, contact Empty Nest Zendo at: 559-877-4567. l
Raja Yoga Meditation
l Raja Yoga Meditation, contact Sr. Veena Kapoor, Ed.D., at 559-435-2212
Other Contemplative and Mindful Offerings
l The Center for Mindfulness (www.thecenterformindfulness.com): contact Lori Granger, M.S., LMFT, 559-2280099, drop-in meditation clinics, contemplative psychotherapy and other wonderful programs. l Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: contact Carmen Illic at 559-324-6504. l California Vipassana Center: 559-877-4385 l Hygienic,“Easy-to-Clean” Meditation Cushions: www.PeaceMeditation.com.
ichelle Obama has her finger on the steadily increasing pulse of one of the fastest growing problems we face today, childhood obesity. This isn’t some campaign she pulled randomly from a hat, this is a genuine concern. American parents are made to believe that we have to fear our children being kidnapped or hurt in an automobile accident; both of these occurrences do happen, but they are rare on their own. The biggest killer in America is dietrelated disease. The evening news focuses on salacious happenings and murders, when what is really happening to us and our children, what is REALLY killing us, hardly gets paid lip service.
The diet related diseases are cardiovascular conditions, diabetes and hypertension, all of which are completely preventable for at least 95% of people just by changing diet and lifestyle. Two thirds of adults have diabetes and 15% of kids do too. What should freak parents out is that diabetes has increased 70% in the past ten years; this may be the first generation in which our kids have a shorter lifespan than we do! Our children for the most part simply are not eating food. Or at least they are not eating foods our great grandparents recognized as food. The foods our children eat are highly processed, loaded with fillers and chemicals. Most of the fruits and vegetables are notions of what fruits and vegetables used to be. Most children have never tasted a ‘real’ tomato, an heirloom that’s never been genetically modified, that has flavor. Ask an elementary school aged child what an eggplant looks like. I dare you to pick a random third grader, hold out a radish, beet or head of cauliflower, and ask them, “What’s this?” I watched a segment of Jamie Oliver (of The Naked Chef fame) at a TED conference (watch the clip yourself at www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jamie_oliver.html) where he shows a video that he took in West Virginia and showed children various vegeta-
bles and they couldn’t identify them! He held up tomatoes and a child asked if they were potatoes. The children in this town are part of a global problem. Our children grow up without knowing how to cook. Our children have no concept of where food comes from. Oliver is on a mission to start a revolution. He wants parents to wake up and realize that the food that we are feeding our children is killing them. As parents we need to educate ourselves about labeling and portion sizing. We need to understand that where the food comes from is important. What is actually in the food that we eat? As parents we should be angry and we should act. The very idea that our kids have a shorter life expectancy should upset everyone. What can we do, though? How do we fight? How can we make a difference? Education. Educate yourself about nutrition, learn about where your food comes from. “How do I do this?” you may ask. Well, I’m glad you did, here’s a great place to start—there is a film series put on by the Unitarian Universalist Church called FOOD FOR THOUGHT. You can reach them online at www.uufreno.org or call them at (559) 322-6146. Jamie Oliver says at the end of his speech that his wish is “for you to help a strong sustainable movement to educate every child about food, to inspire families to cook again, and to empower people everywhere about obesity.” I had tears in my eyes as I was watching this and decided that I wanted to be part of this movement. So I invite you, if you are interested in being active in making a difference, if you cannot abide what the corporations have in store for your children’s health, to join me. I will be holding educational seminars at Ginkgo Tree Yoga in the Village on Van Ness. Classes will be free. If you are interested in knowing more, call me at (559) 930-2032. We are our children’s advocates, we are their voice and protectors. Let’s not sit back and let the powers that be slowly kill our kids. We use car seats, and we worry over them getting H1N1; it’s just as important, if not more important, to worry about the food they eat, and more so, to do something about it. ______ Gena Kirby is a wife, mother, Doula, Childbirth Educator, and creator of mommymattersonline.com. She is the creator and host of the radio show, Progressive Parenting, which airs every Thursday at 1pm on KFCF 88.1 FM.
“While I, and the Fatah movement to which I belong, strongly oppose attacks and the targeting of civilians inside Israel, our future neighbour, I reserve the right to protect myself, to resist the Israeli occupation of my country and to fight for my freedom…I still seek peaceful coexistence between the equal and independent countries of Israel and Palestine based on full withdrawal from Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.” —Marwan Barghouti (in The Washington Post, 2002)
SHALIT MAY BE COMING HOME
s recently as last month, I was somewhat hopeful that Gilad Shalit would finally be freed. Shalit, then a corporal in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), was captured in 2006 by Palestinian militants belonging to Hamas and has been held ever since. He was 19 when he was captured; he’s 23 now. I cannot begin to even imagine the horror and isolation of his long captivity, and I firmly condemn the cruelty of Hamas in using Shalit, a human being who deserves better, as a pawn in their struggle.
Similarly, I condemn the cruelty of the state of Israel in using roughly 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners as pawns in just the same way. (The mathematical-minded among us may even argue that the Israeli use of humans as pawns is morally worse than the Palestinians’— roughly 10,000 times worse.) Negotiations being led by a team of German mediators were reportedly going well in January, and there was even talk that, among the possibly hundreds of Palestinians to be released by Israel in exchange for Shalit, was one Marwan Barghouti, who many refer to as the Mandela of Palestine. PALESTINE’S MANDELA
In 2004, Barghouti, a fiery, lifelong organizer for the cause of Palestinian freedom,
was arrested by Israeli troops, accused of multiple counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. As he was ushered through the Israeli judicial system, he continually refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli courts, arguing simply that he was a political leader among his people, participating in a legitimate resistance against an illegal and violent military occupation. He was found guilty, and he’s still being held to this day. He was born in the small village of Kobar, near the city of Ramallah, in the West Bank. This was in 1958, when the West Bank was part of Transjordan, now called Jordan. When Barghouti was eight years old, the Israeli military occupied the West Bank, his village, his home. He watched, through eight-year-old eyes, as his neighbors, family, and friends—his people—were humiliated and brought so low. He watched the cruelty of Israeli troops in the streets of his hometown, saw the street-level organizing that turned into the resistance movements of Fatah, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs, and Hamas. He witnessed the mass killings perpetrated by Israeli soldiers, and the casual assassinations of leaders in the resistance. At the age of 15, he joined up with Fatah and put his energy into politically organizing against the occupation. At age 20, he was arrested by Israeli troops, accused of belonging to a terrorist organization, and held until the age of 24. While imprisoned, though, he studied and became fluent in Hebrew and completed his secondary degree. After being released, he became a leader among Fatah’s young guard in the West Bank, while the elder leaders of Fatah were exiled in Tunisia and Lebanon. When he was 29, he became a household hero in Palestine when he stepped up as one of the key leaders and organizers throughout the First Intifada, for which Israel deported him to Jordan. In 1994, the Oslo Accords were signed, and he was able to return to Palestine. Two years later, he was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council with
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a nearly unanimous mandate. He then used his clout for the next several years to reach out extensively to Israeli academics and others in the Israeli peace movement, while also leading the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank during the Second Intifada. Also in the years after Oslo, Barghouti organized a campaign against human rights abuses and other corruptions being committed by Fatah’s own security services, run by Arafat himself. He did this as a member of Fatah. He built a resistance movement within the resistance movement. The crucial importance of this moment cannot be overlooked. It was the norm in Palestinian politics at the time (much like it is today, and much like it is in any postcolonial third world state) for officials like Arafat (and like Abbas today) to enrich themselves and secure their legacies, as the people they are supposed to lead—their people—starve and suffer all around them. Barghouti, like every other Palestinian politician in modern times, had and has every reason to succumb to the standard model of Palestinian statesmanship: wear fancy suit, sign whatever, shake hands with everyone, get rich, live well, achieve nothing. Yet, Barghouti has refused. Still the street-level organizer he always was—even from within prison—Barghouti has truly earned the fervent respect of the Palestinian people. Not only has he led in the fight against the corruption that plagues Palestinian politics, he’s also survived at least one Israeli attempt on his life and served two sentences in Israeli prison, totaling over ten years and counting. And still he fights. Even from within his cell, he won a seat on the Palestinian Central Committee, which he still holds. And on top of that, his writ-
ing through the years demonstrates a truly patient, intelligent, and cunning political mind at work. So when I read that the Israeli negotiatiors were considering releasing Barghouti in exchange for Hamas’s release of Gilad Shalit, I was jazzed. Shalit deserves his freedom, and his imminent release I take as good news, unequivocally. But on top of that, the Palestinians deserve a better leader than the sell-out Abbas (see last month’s Report), and Barghouti, to my mind, is that better leader. He’s suffered for his people, and he’s a hell of a lot better a human being than his pocketed Uncle Tariq predecessors. Abbas, whose controversial term as Palestinian president is set to end and whose legitimacy is widely questioned, has publicly announced that he will not seek re-election, and various news sources are now referring to Barghouti as the “favorite” to succeed him, though he still languishes in his prison cell. THE HEARTBREAK CONTINUES
Just three weeks ago, though, a chief official for Hamas, Mahmoud Zahar, announced that the German-mediated talks (on which so many hopes were pinned) have collapsed. To hear him tell it, once the talks reached a point of near-completion, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu inserted himself into the process, attempting to add in a number of changes to the agreement at the last minute, and Hamas simply walked away from the table. We’ll see what transpires, but I’m waiting anxiously for the day that Shalit can return to his family and Barghouti to his people.
CARLOSFIERRO & ABID YAHYA byC
rance, home to Europe’s largest Muslim population, is having a real tough time maintaining its longstanding commitment to being a secular society. They’ve already banned headscarves, veils, burqas, crosses, yarmulkes, Stars of David, and any other religious paraphernalia in all public schools, offices, and functions. They’re now considering an outright ban on the burqa altogether, not to mention their disapproval of Muslim women who wear full-body swimsuits in public pools. Recently, another French, knee-jerk, antiMuslim backlashing has revealed itself. The city council in the city of Roubaix has issued a complaint against the national French fast-food chain, Quick, which recently took the regular, non-halaal, bacon burger off the menu and replaced it with a Muslim-friendly turkey burger at eight of its 350 locations. The xenophobic French politicians on Roubaix’s council who fear “Islamisation” argue that this amounts to discrimination against nonMuslims. WTF? To call this discrimination would be like saying that Taco Bell discriminated against you because they wouldn’t sell you a box of Kellogg’s Corn Pops. So Quick doesn’t sell the bacon burger at this location? Maybe just drive down the street to one of the 342 other locations that do sell the bacon burger. Maybe just go somewhere that sells what you want and buy it. Not every store is obligated to sell every thing. It’s stupid. It’s just another right-wing, racist reaction to the fact that there are now a whole bunch of people in France who are brown and different. There are those in France who are basically saying to the 5 million
Muslims who call France home that, though it’s fine that they’re Muslim, they better not dress or eat like one. So I’ve written this letter. It’s a letter to France. Dear France,
Secularism does not mean the absence of religion. For a country to be secular means that its official government functioning should be free of religious reference or influence. It means the government shouldn’t have a religion—but the citizens are free to worship this or that or whatever. So get over it, France. People pray. I know it may seem silly, but people love to do it. Look, we get it, France— you’re atheists and proud of it. You don’t want any Muslims, let alone the five million you’ve got—with their creepy, somber religious rites and deeply held religious convictions— gumming up the works of your smoothly-functioning secular society, the godless happy. Okay, we get it. Let’s even assume I’m on board. Let’s assume that I think religion is silly and sometimes much worse, and that I appreciate the simple
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beauty of a society with a rigorously defended secular character. So the goal, then, France, is to discourage the religious, to multiply the atheists among us, to aid our citizens in throwing off the cloak and shackles of religion. Let’s assume you and I agree on this, France. Even if we assume that, we still have to look at the world, France. In every country whose citizens are permitted religious freedom, the number of atheists is on the rise, and organized religion is losing its hold. But in countries where some force is attempting to snuff out a religious community, folks hold onto their religious convictions ever more firmly. It’s classic child psychology, France, so just chill out. Let Muslim women wear their headscarves. Let restaurants serve Muslim cuisine. Relax. Soon all the dirty little Muslim kids running around the teeming suburbs of Paris will discover junk food, internet porn, and recreational drug use…and heading to the mosque to pray will be the last thing on their minds. Problem solved. Yours truly, Abid Yahya The Undercurrent USA
PS/ Don’t get me wrong, France. I know there’s more to you than this current flare-up of xenophobic mania, but I had to call you on it. Seriously, I’ll never forget your great accomplishments, particularly the revolution and your groundbreaking innovation in the field of kissing. But knee-jerk religious intolerance in this day and age? You’re better than that. ~AY
olitical theory and philosophy has dealt with the issue of equality for quite some time. And, for quite some time, the winning side has been that which argues that humans don’t so much want to be equal as they want to get ahead. However, psycholo-
gists at the University of Rutgers believe they have found evidence for inequality-averse social preferences in the human brain. Put simply, people are averse to unequal outcomes. The psychologists, Elizabeth Tricomi, Antonio Rangel, Colin F Camerer, & John P O’Doherty, conducted the study by recruiting pairs for the experiment. They used MRI to gauge activity in the ventral striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which, according to the psychologists, are the “two areas that have been shown to be involved in the valuation of monetary and primary rewards in both social and nonsocial contexts.” The study consisted of
rewarding one member of the pair with a high monetary reward (making him rich), and the other little or none (keeping him poor). Subsequent rewards were given to the pair and it was found that among the “rich member” there was more activity when subsequent rewards were given to the “poor member,” thus lessening the inequality, than when given to himself, thus increasing the inequality. Among the “poor member” more activity was registered when rewards were given to himself, lessening the inequality, than when given to the “rich member,” thus increasing the inequality. To read more about this study see: http://alturl.com/9wmj. ~CF
Disney Hunger Strike Moves to Burbank
by D AI LY N E WS W I RE SE R VI CE
NAHEIM, 02/16/2010—Eight Disneyland employees who have been on a weeklong hunger strike to protest stalled negotiations on a new labor contract will break their fast today as they end their demonstrations in Anaheim and move to Disney’s headquarters in Burbank.
Next year the union would pay 25 percent of what other union members pay, Brown said. Then the premium would increase to half of what other union members pay in 2012 and 75 percent in 2013 until all of the unions would be paying the same amount in 2014,
Ten hotel workers represented by Unite Here Local 11 began their fast Feb. 9, but two dropped out for medical reasons, Leigh Shelton of Unite Here said. They are trying to draw attention to negotiations that have stalled since 2008 over Disney’s proposal to have union members begin paying for their healthcare plan. The activists have been camping out in front of the Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel and Spa and picketing. On Saturday, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello put on a show. “Throughout all this the workers have refused any food,” Shelton said. “The situation has gotten so bad the workers have nothing else they Brown said. can do but put their own health in jeopardy to make the The health plan most similar to the one Local company pay attention to them.” 11 has now would cost $68 a week for a family, Brown Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown said the said. Disney has some plans that are less expensive, she company has offered to meet with union leaders before added. an independent federal mediator. Unite Here workers have given up pay raises “We were ready to meet and instead they held over the years so they could keep their health care plan a hunger strike,” Brown said. “We continue to be ready free of monthly premiums, Shelton said. to meet. We think that’s a much more productive path to “The vast majority of workers we represent take.” make less than $13 an hour,” Shelton said. “We’ve Union leaders are happy to meet with the given up wage raises and we’ve negotiated big compromediator, but it will be difficult to strike a deal when mises to maintain this healthcare.” both sides are so far apart on fundamental issues, Unite Here workers will hold a mass demonShelton said. stration at 5:15 p.m. today to cap off their Anaheim Disney wants the about 2,150 Unite Here protests. They will move their protests to Burbank workers to enroll in the healthcare plan the company’s Wednesday. 30 other unions have. But that plan includes monthly “Maybe they’ll listen to us up there,” Shelton premiums, and Local 11 workers don’t pay them—only said. co-pays for visits to doctors and prescriptions, Shelton _____ said. This article originally appeared at One of the hunger-strikers would have to pay http://www.dailynews.com/ci_14409984. up to $500 a month to cover himself and his family, and he only makes $11.11 an hour, Shelton said. “We’re US soldiers total US total US US soldiers not sure where killed in Feb 10 soldiers killed soldiers killed killed in Feb 10 they get that $500-a-month figure,” Brown said. “The contract we’ve offered would ease a local IRAQ IRAQ AFGHANISTAN AFGHANISTAN member into that plan, so they We have not included numbers for civilian casualties because, though there are many studies and sources positing estimates, there is would continue to pay nothing in no single, reliable, regularly-updated source of data regarding civilian casualties. Just assume that the number of civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan dwarfs even the number of American soldiers injured, let alone killed, each and every month. 2010.”
Casualty Counter 1,008
Jack-Rabbits in a Bar: A History Lesson from Medford Boorman
Fresno’s Quirky Past and& Present
by P AU L G ILM O R E
“What?” I had been sitting in a bar on a sunny afternoon drinking a beer and staring at the TV and “jack-rabbits” brought me back into the real world. “Jack-Rabbits.” It was Medford Boorman, a regular, sitting next to me. He must have just come in. Med’s a big man, but I hadn’t seen him. “Hares actually—they’re not really rabbits, you know. It’s just a name.” “Yeah. I know.” I didn’t know. What was Med talking about today? Should I push him on this one? With Med, you never know what you’re gonna get. But I bit: “Jack-rabbits, huh? What about ‘em?” This short question, for those who don’t spend much time in a bar, is permission. You must be careful about giving it, but beer makes you careless, I suppose. That short exchange was actually a complex communication. 1) “Jack-rabbits man” means, “Hello, may I tell you a story that may or may not have something to do with jack-rabbits.” 2) “What?” means, “I kind of heard you but I have to buy time to get my bearings before I answer you.” 3) Med’s second “jack-rabbits” means, “take your time man. I’ve got all day and I’m going to tell you this story.” 4) “They’re not really rabbits, you know” is a
challenge. 5) “I know” doesn’t fool anyone; everyone knows it means exactly the opposite of what it says. Men at a bar cannot directly admit that they don’t know something, even something as trivial as this. And then, of course, 6) “What about ‘em?” I had just given permission to be told a story—I didn’t know how long—about something. Maybe jack-rabbits. “Yeah, jack-rabbits are actually hares. They’re much bigger and faster and they got the long ears. That’s how they got the name, the ears. A cross between a jackass and a rabbit, get it? And man they got the brains of a jack-ass, too.” At first, I didn’t respond. Maybe I could take back permission. Awkward pause. And then I let it out. “Yeah?” There was no going back now. “Yeah man. Dumb as hell. Jackasses.” And with a laugh, “But they breed like rabbits!” I laughed with him. It was funny. “Like rabbits man!” For a minute, I thought he’d slap my back, but he got back to the hares. “You’re not from the valley, are you?” Med asked. “No.” I replied. “You probably never heard of the jack-rabbit problem here then, huh?” “Here in the Valley? Nope.” “Well, let me tell you man. They
used to have millions of them all over the place here. The farmers, back in the 1800s, they had all sorts of problems with those jackrabbits. But even before, the Indians and the Spanish all talked about the huge number of jack-rabbits around here. They used to swarm man—really swarm.” “Like a plague,” I offered, keeping up my end. “Yeah man. Biblical. Like Egypt. But this wasn’t locusts or frogs, which are bad enough. I mean I can imagine frogs would be pretty bad. I’ve never seen a swarm of frogs and I’m sure it’s bad, but this? This was rabbits! All over, eating everything. And no warning—I mean no warning like Moses coming out and telling people that it’s coming.” “And they’re breeding,” I chimed in. “Yeah!” said Med, getting warmed up now, “Like rabbits, they’re breeding! Numbers growing all the time. I mean, how do you stop that? It’s like that old Star Trek episode with all those furry things.” “The Trouble with Tribbles.” “Huh?” “The Trouble with Tribbles. That’s the name of the episode. The furry creatures were called tribbles.” Why did I know this? “Yeah, well these jack-rabbits are breeding like tribbles. And they’re destroying the crops around here. The orchards and grapes were really just coming in in the 1880s and 90s. We just got the railroad and there were some folks who were irrigating, but that all just made the problem with the rabbits much worse. I mean with irrigation and all, it’s like we were just laying out a big banquet for them. Can you imagine it?” “No.” “Yeah. All you can eat buffet. Anyway, these rabbits have got to go. I mean they’ve got to be destroyed.” “Killed.” I say. “Yeah. Let’s be honest. Killed.” Med looked at his beer and shot, untouched on the bar. He took a big swallow on the beer and downed the shot. “So how do you destroy all those rabbits? That’s the question. They’ve got to go. The natural predators, owls, coyotes, maybe hawks, they’re pretty much gone, and they’re no match for the rabbits anyway.” “Why not just shoot them?” I asked. Med gave me a pitying look. “Guns ain’t gonna cut it either. I’ll bet there weren’t enough bullets in the state. Not that they didn’t try, with shotguns, down near the Kings River. Killed a couple thousand rabbits, but a lot of the hunters got shot too. A little peppering, nothing serious. Well, the Indians all over California here in the Valley and on the east side of the Sierras too, they used to do these big rabbit drives. They’d set up a corral made out of nets.” “Nets?”
“Nets. Yeah. Made out of a kind of hemp that they twisted into twine.... Man, they should legalize it. A million uses. They make rope out of it, paper—you know. People used to grow hemp all the time. And what’s the problem with growing a little pot man? You can’t tell me that alcohol’s better for you than pot.” “The nets? For the rabbits?” A rule around Med, or just about anyone: Don’t talk about legalization. Not that legalization is a bad idea, but next thing you know you’ll be talking about the CIA, Area 51, and taxes, taxes, taxes. So, stick to jack-rabbits. “So yeah, anyway, they made these nets and then fanned out to a huge surrounding area and herded these jack-rabbits into the corral. They’d run along their little paths right into the nets. There you got your meat and skins and all kinds of stuff. I think in Arizona, they’d herd the rabbits with horses and throw these boomerang-type things and get ‘em that way.” “But how many are you going to get that way?” I wondered. “Not many. So these farmers took the corral idea and built these big long fences, sometimes a couple miles long. One big “V.” And then they’d drive all these rabbits into the point of the V where they’d be trapped.” “Sounds like a pretty big project.” “Yeah. They formed clubs. Like the Goshen Rabbit Drive Club. They bought like a mile or two of this wire netting and hundreds of long iron stakes. This stuff was mobile—they moved over to Huron at one point. The wire nets weren’t even that high. Just about two feet. Easy to jump over for a jack-rabbit. But once those rabbits were inside of the wings of that big V, they didn’t do it. Nobody knows why. Maybe they were tired. Or maybe it has something to do with being herded. That’s what I think. They were in a herd.” “Makes sense.” “Anyway, these rabbit drives got really big in the 1880s and into the 1890s. Traver did rabbit drives to celebrate the town’s birthday, man! And thousands of people came from all over. The railroad offered special rates for these things—tourists came in from San Francisco. To the rabbit drive! Everybody would get clubs and fan out over a huge area and club the ground and shout and yell to flush out the rabbits.” “Hey, Med, wasn’t this on the Simpsons once, with snakes?” “Yeah. The Simpsons covers everything. It all goes back to The Simpsons man. Anyway, there was this one in 1892 just a bit west of Fresno here—the Grand Army Rabbit Drive, they called it. One of the biggest. Thousands of people. But maybe the biggest was in 1896. The county and a bunch of rabbit drive clubs put up the money for it. It was
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Fresno, Names & Places
Fresno’s Quirky Past and P & resent
really well organized. They had a Grand Marshall and everything. Different cities had different contingents, like army divisions, from Kingsburg, Selma, Fowler. They started early in the morning herding rabbits to a half circle 18 miles long and then spent like four more hours closing in, like phalanxes man, on all those jackrabbits. Marching and pounding the ground with clubs and yelling. This is like all the jack-rabbits for sixty square miles, man, and the space was just closing in on ‘em. Yelling and shouting, smacking the ground. Man. That would’ve been something to see.” “I don’t know.” I mumbled. “Yeah. Well, anyway. They finally get them to the point of the V, and there’s a gate there and a big pen where they all go. Sixty square miles worth of jack-rabbits in a one or two acre pen! By this time they’re like two, three deep in the pen, jumping around. A coyote even got rounded up on accident and suffocated under all those rabbits. And ten thousand people are crowded around pressing up against the pen trying to get a look at all those rabbits and waiting for the big moment. And then. Then they blow a whistle and a hundred or more men and boys climb over the fence into the pen and just start clubbing. All these rabbits jumping around, no place to go. No escape. And jack-rabbits are noisy too. You know they sound like wailing babies? Well, they do. Think about it. Some ninth grade kid and his dad flailing away with axe handles, beating rabbits to death. Cracking heads. While all the women and girls cheer them on outside the fence. And all these rabbits crying like babies. Thousands of rabbits too. Clubbed. Twenty thousand rabbits, maybe more, on that one day. True story man.” “Twenty thousand?” “Yeah. True story. It happened right here.” At this, Med was silent. He finished his beer, got up and walked to the door and called back to me, “Jackrabbits, man.” “Jesus. I’m glad I’m not a rabbit,” I said, turning back to the beer and the TV. “A hare man—a hare.” _____ Paul Gilmore has lived here for going on ten years. He teaches history at Fresno City College, and has long been interested in so-called “alternative” history. He has even assigned some of it to students. As for learning history in a bar, he would never condone such a despicable act. Go to college.
by C AR LO S F IE R R O
t’s funny, the way places and things get named. Though the aboriginal peoples of California were well aware of the Giant Sequoias (the Tule River Tribe referred to the trees as Toos-pung-ish and Hea-mi-withic), it was a Brit who was first to list the tree with a scientific name; John Lindley named the giant trees Wellingtonia gigantean after the Irish born, British commander who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.
42mile flume, running from Shaver to Clovis
Giant Sequoia, inside Sequoia National Partk
Unbeknownst to Lindley, Wellingtonia was not a valid name since it was already used for another unrelated plant. (Interesting aside, Scotsman John D. Matthew took seeds with him back to the British Isles and now the Benmore Botanic Gardens in Scotland boast a rather impressive avenue of Giant Sequoias.) In any case, even though the name persists in England, the name went through further changes. For a while it was referred to as Washingtonia californica, although that name was invalid for the same reasons as the Wellingtonia. Finally, in 1939 John Theodore Buchholz tagged the tree with the name that still persists today, Sequoiadendron giganteum, named after the Cherokee chief Sequoyah. Though the Sequoias may have a more well-known namesake, many of the places and things around Fresno have names, the origins of which are largely unknown. Shaver for instance, the town, lake
and dam, are named after CB Shaver, who moved to California from Michigan in 1891 and became the president of the Fresno Flume and Irrigation Company . The area around Shaver, like most of the Westside of the Sierra Nevadas, is rich in trees, just wishing to become lumber. Men like Shaver knew this to be the case. The only problem is that the Sierra Nevadas, unlike the Rockies, at least on the Western side, go from 300feet elevation to 14,000feet elevation in a very short span. From the edge of the foothills to Huntington Lake (7000feet) is a little less than 30miles, as the crow flies. Logging in the Sierras meant transporting the lumber on wagon down to Fresno. A railroad was tried, but engineers couldn’t overcome the incredible cost of building a railroad down the steep grade. The plan to build a flume to carry the lumber was agreed upon, and the construction of a dam and flume system (a total of 42 miles) from Stevenson’s Creek to Clovis
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Fresno’s Quirky Past and P & resent
The Power!...The Passion!...The Produce! by C AR LO S F I E R RO
Kearney’s plans for his sprawling estate, Chateau Fresno was commenced. For a log to go from Shaver to Clovis took roughly six hours, and at times the brave of heart would, as Hunter S Thompson would say, Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride. Most would only ride portions of the flume. Some sections on the steepest grade could reach speeds of up to 35mph. Those who did take the ride on the flume were helping themselves to a pre-Disney spectacular the likes of which the rest of us will never see.
Another example of a Fresno place whose namesake may be forgotten to some of our readers is Kearney. We know about Kearney Boulevard’s eucalyptus and palm-lined street. We also know about Kearney Park and Mansion. But, Martin Theodore Kearney, the namesake, played a significant role in the development of Fresno, and is largely responsible for Fresno’s agricultural prominence. Kearney, while working for W. S. Chapman and Bernhard Marks (Marks Ave), came up with the idea of selling farmland as subdivided plots, complete with fencing and irrigation (irrigation made possible by the canals of Moses J. Church, which of course is where Church Ave gets its name (Perhaps the most astonishing thing was that they were selling 20acre plots for $1000)) . By doing so, it would make it much more cost effective to start a small farm and attract more people to Fresno to start farming. Kearney later took the same idea and applied it to his own projects. In so doing, he became a very wealthy man. Kearney was a promoter as well as a businessman (perhaps the
two go hand in hand), selling Fresno as a new Garden of Eden. (This was made easier by the fact that the editors of the two major Fresno papers of the time, J W Ferguson (Fresno Weekly Expositor) & S A Miller (Fresno Weekly Republican) were both owners of plots that Kearney was selling)  At the center of this Eden would be his sprawling estate on Kearney Blvd and Garfield Ave. The estate, which was to be called Chateau Fresno, was meant to be home to a 100room castle, though at the time of Kearney’s death in 1906, only the groundskeepers quarters were finished, known today as Kearney Mansion. More interesting, however, is the fact that Kearney left the property to the University of California. Kearney dreamed that an agricultural college would be built on the property, with his castle as the administration building and his gardens (Kearney Park) as the campus. Long before Merced beat Fresno out for a UC campus, the UC regents had already passed Fresno over, and in this case screwed Kearney over. 43years after Kearney’s death, the UC regents sold off all but the gardens, which it leased to Fresno County. For all of Kearney’s success, his dream of a European style castle and a UC agricultural campus both failed to materialize . _____ NOTES:  http://www.sierrahistorical.org/archive s/cbshaver.html  http://alturl.com/gsyc (valleyhistory.org  http://historicfresno.org/nrhp/kearney.htm
Fresno always seems to be on the verge of something, but never quite there. So when Fresno gains some prominence, for what ever it might be, we Fresnans latch on. We still proudly declare that we are an All American City, ten years removed. More often than not, though, Fresno is singled out for some sort of slight rib. Hollywood seems especially fond of the joke. From Thelma & Louise, running across a hillbilly trucker on his way to Fresno, to Ralph Macchio giddy over his prospects of not having to come to Fresno in the Karate Kid...Fresno is where the trouble started in the original The Body Snatchers. Then we were mentioned in Honey I Blew Up the Kid, in which Rick Moranis’ character says, “do you think I’m just some guy from Fresno, who tinkered with crackpot ideas in his attic?” Of course Fresno, or our City Hall, was featured prominently in the film, The Puppet Masters. The film needed a futuristic looking scene, and our newly constructed city hall fit the description. Kevin Costner features a scene of Fresno in his golf comedy Tin Cup. Who can forget Jerry Van Dyke, who played Tucker Agajanian ConAir’s use of Fresno as the place where bodies fall from the sky. Indiana Jones and the [Playa del Carmen, Mexico, May 2009] Kingdom of the Crystal Skull used Chandler -Jerry Van Dyke: Where are you from? airport as a third world backdrop. The eerie -Me: California…Fresno. drive to the Bates Motel in the film Psycho is a -Jerry Van Dyke: Ahhh…I was there once, for stretch of 99 in Fresno. work…I was in a miniseries called Fresno. However, all of this pales in compari-Me: You know you upset quite a few people? son to the 1986 soap opera spoof, Fresno. -Jerry Van Dyke: It was a fun shoot. There I recall when the TV miniseries was were a lot of good people on that show…it was announced. The city hadn’t been that excited a nice town [smiles]. since the Redwave stormed the Blue Demons -Me: Yeah… in the 1983 NIT championship game. -Jerry Van Dyke: I have a lot of fond memoHollywood was taking note of Fresno, ries… and not just in passing, not a line here, or a -Me: Of the town? scene there, but an entire miniseries focused on -Jerry Van Dyke: The miniseries. our beloved city. The excitement was palpable, local news stations ran stories detailing the he phrase, “if you can’t beat them, join miniseries. Fresno waited for the miniseries to them,” comes to mind when ever I con- start, and when it did, there was a hush over sider the rap that Fresno gets. There is the city. Fresno wasn’t in the spotlight, but so much that Fresno has going for it, but we was the punch line. And it didn’t take long for never can seem to get ahead of the curve when the jokes to start. it comes to the perception of our fair city. The opening scene features a conquisForever being that city stuck, landlocked tador like figure riding though the foothills of between San Francisco & Los Angeles, on the “Northern California Territory, 1581” as one of way to Yosemite & Kings Canyon, and just a his men rides up bringing him the fruit from few hours away from the coast…never a destination, but on the way to everything. Miniseries continued next page...
From Fresno, With Love
Fresno’s Quirky Past and P & resent
Gregory Harrison as Torch & Teri Garr as Talon, from Fresno
“Look what I have found.” Ahhh, where did you find these?” [Pointing] “Over there, they are good, yes?” “Send word to her Majesty, that God has smiled on us. Gentleman, we have found the fruit of life!...The grape is good, it will sustain us. [Just then two other men run up carrying bushels of grapes] “Look, we have found these in the valley beyond.” [The commandante, taking a hand full pops them into his mouth, choking on the foul taste spits them out] “You call these grapes, they taste like Fresno!” The opening scene, of course, harkens back to the naming of our city. Fresno, which means Ash, is named after the plentiful Ash trees that could be seen along the river and other places, giving off a pleasant smell; you could smell Fresno before you could see it. From that point on, the jokes about Fresno wouldn’t let up. The story itself told of two raisin magnate families, the Kensingtons (led by Carol Burnett) and the Canes (led by Dabney Coleman). The two families battle for control of the raisin capital. As you would expect from soap operas,
Fresno is filled with backstabbing, melodrama, intrigue, sexual trysts, and murder, all set in the worst place in America. And the producers had hopes that the miniseries would garner enough rating to allow for a permanent series, though the ratings’ sluggishness killed any hopes of that. But if we in Fresno hoped that that miniseries would spotlight Fresno, the writers and producers never had any such intention. In a 1986 interview with the Washington Post, writer Barry Kemp told how the idea for the miniseries came about. The article details, “Barry Kemp, creater [sic] of the “Newhart” series, laughed when he heard about Fresno’s placing last on the livability list. And then he heard that Fresno is the raisin capital of the world, and he went hysterical. “That triggered it,” said Kemp. “We said, ‘Well, that’s what we’ve been looking for.’ We’ve been looking for a way of having a little fun with the nighttime soaps and the miniseries...and Fresno and raisins just struck us as being perfect. “Kemp was laughing at Fresno about the same time CBS was playing around with the idea of doing a funny miniseries. “Their people happened to be talking to my people and it all sort of fell together.”
Even though the initial excitement gave way to some self-consciousness, our fair city handled it with a certain amount of decorum and grace. Channel 47 held a Fresno style Hollywood premiere, and the Fresno Bee’s Eli Setencich wrote humorously about the whole thing. “MTM Productions and CBS-TV issued a joint statement today apologizing to a national TV audience for the production of “Fresno” the miniseries, saying that it wasn’t their fault that Fresno was not half as funny as they thought it was and that, in fact, Lubbock was considerably funnier and would be the focus of their next prime-time television series spoofing afternoon talk shows and nighttime game shows.” So even though we took our knocks, after the initial horror, we were able to laugh. We’ve always done that pretty well. We are a rather quirky town, with quirky people. Not quite a small agricultural town, not sure if we want to be like a hip San Francisco, or a glitzy LA. We’re an amalgam of a lot of different things, a lot of different places, a lot of different people. Somehow it almost works…
by M ATT E SP IN O ZA WA T SON resno has long been home to interesting characters. A little over a hundred years ago, one of the most prominent businesswomen in town was a madam named “Moocow Molly.” The first I heard of her was about a year ago, as I was dropping our paper off at Richard Silva and Dixie Salazar’s art studio downtown. Richard and I got into a conversation about Fresno history, and he proceeded to tell me a story he’d heard as a youngster. I recently went to the California history room at the main branch of the Fresno County Library to look into it a little further, and found the verification I was seeking in Catherine Rehart’s Valley’s Legends & Legacies series of books. (She now has five volumes out with tons of quirky & not so quirky historical stories about Fresno & the Valley.) After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Fresno became a place of refuge for the prostitutes in SF who no longer had business up in the bay. This didn’t sit too well with “Moocow” Molly Livingston, who ran the Diamond Palace on Tulare and E streets downtown, a place where gentlemen could go to be entertained, so to speak. Molly, it seems, was rather close with the Mayor and Police Chief, and decided to call in a favor. Shortly after, Mayor W. Parker Lyon led a crowd, including Molly and the Chief of Police, in rounding up the ladies and putting them on a train to L.A. The way Richard Silva recounted the story to me is that, in the excitement and hubbub of the roundup, several of Fresno’s high-society/socialite types got caught up in the roundup and shipped off as well, including the Mayor’s wife. They protested and spoke up against their removal, but were told to “get on the train with the other whores.” In Valley’s Legends & Legacies, however, this part of the story is a bit different; the roundup does indeed happen, and there is some confusion as local women are caught up in the mix, but the Chief of Police helps sort them out before letting the train depart for LA. I like Richard’s version better, though I guess I trust Rehart’s a bit more as far as historical accuracy... Rehart concludes her short essay on the incident by recounting the special card that the mayor of Fresno sent along with the ladies, to be delivered to the mayor of Los Angeles upon their arrival. The card read “Love from Mayor W. Parker Lyon. I heard you were short of entertainment and we’ve got too much, so here’s some.”
Fresno’s Quirky Past and P & resent One of my most loathsome pupils, I’m afraid. Don’t get him started—he’ll talk for hours. S: He must be, what, nine? Hey, sport. What’s that you’ve got there? A: It’s a little something I’ve been writing. S: Marvelous! A burgeoning miniPlato! So, what kind of things do you write? Do you write adventure stories, like your master? A: Heck no. S: That’s too bad. He might have been able to use some of your ideas. A: That’s plagiarism. No, I’m working on a compendium of all knowledge. S: Goodness! That’s a tall order, young man. But I see you’ve already started on it. What have you got there, three scrolls? That’s so precious! A: This is just the introduction to part seven. S: … P: See what I mean, Socrates? I struggle to turn out a single epic, and this little ocrates: Plato, my dear boy! How are page. whippersnapper churns out scroll after scroll. you doing these days? Still stuck at S: You know, Plato, I really should be A: Well, if it makes you feel any betfirst base? getting home. ter, Mr. Plato, sir, I am kind of stuck right P: It’s short. And it’s super intellectuPlato: Hello, Socrates. now. Maybe you two old people can help me? al. We follow Ulysses and his side-kick Dirk S: And what’s that you’re writing? S: We’d be delighted! What can we Savage all across the city-state as they go You and your dreams of getting published! do for you? Are you working on the part through one day; and the text references so Let’s see…“Dirk Savage Versus the about the immutable Forms that give order many myths that you’d have to be the wisest Troglodytes”? You have only a few papyri and meaning to the chaotic substrate of physiman in Athens to catch them all! here, and most of the lines are crossed out. cal matter and thus demand our attention and a S: “I drew him down to me so he P: I don’t know, Socrates. Sometimes turning away from this petty realm of becomI think I’m intellectually predisposed to some- could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his ing? Because that’s kind of my specialty. heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I thing better. Plus, hasn’t it all been done? I A: That was book four—and it turned will Yes.” mean, no matter how much I glorify Dirk out to be sort of the opposite of what you just P: So? Savage, isn’t he really just a pale imitation of said. Anyway, I’m working on a miscellany S: My young friend, don’t you know Theseus or Heracles? now. I call it “On Wondrous Things Heard.” how to use a comma? S: It’s true. I thought that last piece It’s a compendium of the weird and the P: Ancient Greek doesn’t have comyou showed me, “Dirk Savage Tries to Get wacky, you might say. A delightful side-trip Home After the Trojan War,” was more than a mas. through the fanciful world of legends, arcana, S: Still. little bit derivative. But don’t lose heart, my rumors, and half-truths. P: Maybe you’re right, Socrates. I’m friend. If some blind slave can get published, S: That’s not philosophy. starting to think that what I need is a different so can you. A: The idea is that we define normalP: Homer’s been published?! D’oh! kind of hero. Something that hasn’t been done cy by sketching a boundary between what is S: Indeed. No one really has the time before. Perhaps not a muscular, physically possible and impossible. capable, well-endowed, womanizing hero at to memorize verse anymore. I hear “Iliad 2: S: Ah, I see exactly what you mean. The Wrath of Achilles” is coming out soon in all, but someone who is the opposite of all Wait, no I don’t. What are you talking about? those things. soft-papyrus. A: Let me give you an example. S: I have meant to talk to you about P: Hack. Suppose I told you that the Parthians are ruled your sex scenes, now that you mention it. S: Don’t hate, Plato. Just do your by a queen who is half woman, half snake. P: Pretty steamy, eh? own work and take pleasure in your competiHer upper torso is that of a woman, while her S: Do you even know what a woman tors’ success. Here, let’s see how this new abdomen and lower body are replaced by the story of yours begins. “Sing, oh muse, of the looks like? coils of an enormous serpent. P: Please, Socrates, I need some help semi-interesting things that Dirk Savage someS: The possibilities are interesting. here. times does during the course of his normal A: That doesn’t seem implausible to S: Have you considered a talking daily routine.” Hmmm…. Not exactly what you? goat? I love goats! you would call a real attention grabber, but S: Of course not. Why should it? We Aristotles: Mr. Plato! then they can’t all be “Call me Ishmael.” are all familiar with the interbreeding of P: Oh no. It’s Aristotles. And he’s P: It gets better after he meets the humans and barnyard creatures. coming this way. Troglodytes. P: Minotaurs, satyrs, centaurs. The S: What a cute little fella! S: No doubt. list is endless, really. I mean, I can only think P: He is one of my pupils, Socrates. P: Try this one instead. Read the final
of those three, but it’s probably endless. A: But, we’re talking a snake here. A snake. Sheesh, you guys will believe anything. I could probably tell you that bees get together and do a little jig. S: Now you’re just being silly. A: Or that Pericles writes prompts for his speeches on his hand. S: Politically motivated lies. P: You betcha! A: Well, whatever. The real reason I stopped by is that I’m hoping to get some wacky Athens-related anecdotes from you old people. I figured you must have a ton. P: Is that all that we adults are to you? Just a repository of cheap quotes about the past? Not a living philosophy motivating your daily thoughts and actions? A: Science and philosophy progress not so much because the preceding generation is convinced of the truth of new arguments, but because a new generation that has grown up assuming the truth of those arguments supersedes the old. S: … A: Now, what have you got for me. Anything? S: I heard that there is one corner of the gymnasium where all young men fear to go. A: Sounds interesting. Go on. S: That’s all there is, really. And I don’t understand it, because I think it’s perfectly comfortable back there. It’s my favorite place to oil up. P: How about this, boy. There was once a fabulous island full of virtuous and capable people who had erected towering temples made out of alabaster and gold filigree so that they sparkled in the sunlight and were dazzling to behold. A: Sounds pretty boring. P: Well, these temples were so towering that no one knows how they did it. How about that, huh? Maybe they needed some kind of alien technology or something. A: Meh. P: Okay, well…then the whole island was destroyed! Yeah. In a single day, even. A: It might have some potential. Keep working on it and get back to me. I’ll see if I can fit it in. What about you, Socrates. Do you have anything for me? S: Not really. To be honest, young Aristotles, Athens isn’t the kind of place where you should expect to find wackiness. There’s nothing really quirky about our past. Aegeus, the goat-man after whom the Aegean sea is named, had a freaky three-way with Poseidon and Athena that led to Athena giving birth to Theseus who founded our great city—
Dialogue continued next page...
Fresno’s Quirky Past and P & resent
a city named after Athena because in a competition to claim the land, she offered an olive tree to the rest of the gods and Poseidon offered a stallion, and the gods were more pleased with the olive tree so they decided to name the city after Theseus’ mother rather than one of his fathers. P: You and your goat-men. A: Do you guys really believe that? S: Who in their right mind wouldn’t? At any rate, if you wish to pursue this oddities project, you’ll have to travel, because there is absolutely nothing strange around here. A: It’s called “On Wondrous Things Heard” not “On Wondrous Things I Had to Spend a Lot of Time Tracking Down and Seeing with my Own Eyes.” I’m busy. S: At any rate, Athens is a center of rigorous logical investigation and scientific inquiry, where philosophers and sophists endeavor, through rational argument, to come as close as humanly possible to the true knowledge of nature and the world. Even its political institutions are founded on the idea that every land-owning male citizen is rational and thoughtful, so that he carefully weighs all sides of every issue before casting a vote. P: That’s a good one, Socrates! A: Why are you two laughing? P: Sorry, kid. It’s just that our democracy is probably about as rational and thoughtful as a dancing bee-woman. In fact, if you’re looking for something to write about, the political institutions of— A: Book five. P: Oh. Well, maybe I should write about it, then. “Dirk Savage in the Land of the Republic.” It has a nice ring to it. S: You know, I still can’t get past the fact that none of this is actually philosophy. I spend all of my time trying to teach everyone about leading an examined life as a true “lover of wisdom,” and for what? What will become of philosophy after I am gone? My own student wants to write action stories, and the next generation after that is only interested in compiling lists of side-show freaks? I mean, where is the philosophy? P: It’s fun, Socrates. S: Right. Well, philosophy isn’t about fun. You can’t just say anything you want and call it “philosophy.” I can pee on your leg and tell you it’s raining, but that doesn’t make it so. A: As philosophers, we are asking after the way in which truth is disclosed, and what sort of beings we must be such that the world is capable of appearing to us, right? S: Huh? A: An investigation of the way in which presence is made possible, and how
unconcealment always already conceals, is a necessary step if we are to recover the question of Being that has been obscured by the project of disclosing beings. S: Are you on drugs? A: All I mean is that our own thrownness predisposes us to state the question of “the examined life” in a particular way. If we are the being for whom Being is a question, then a return to the things themselves will mean that a careful description of the way in which we are able to think disclosedness and Geworfenheit is in order. Hence, when we ponder in the correct manner such mundane things as meteorology, sleep, or the wondrous story of a snake-woman, we are doing the most important task of philosophy. S: I don’t understand any of that so I am going to assume it is wrong. Ah, youth. It makes one so stupid. P: I may not agree with my pupil on every count, Socrates, but I do think that “philosophy” can mean more than just wandering around and talking about the Forms. S: Sure, why not? And then I suppose you could publish a bunch of mediocre jokes in a half-baked dialogue in a regional newspapyrus each month and think that that’s philosophy, too? P: … S: Anything goes! Read your horoscope? That’s philosophy? Got a dirty limerick? Philosophy! Note scratched on a bathroom stall? Philosophy! Does it mention someone thinking while they’re pooping? Double-philosophy! P: Old friend, no one can go on a rant like you. Sometimes I think… Hmm… Wait a minute! Nah, it would never…unless…. S: What is it, Plato? P: I wonder… S: Did the muse just speak to you? Did you think of a new adventure for Dirk Savage? P: Even better, Socrates. I think I’ve come up with an entirely different genre. This could be my ticket—an all new kind of hero. He’s old and rather run-down, snub-nosed, physically weak, and practically impotent. S: Sounds attractive to me. A: Lame-o. P: Oh no, he’s not lame. Because this hero thinks that he is the only one who truly understands the craziness around him. He’s the only one who sees past the pall of ignorance through which everyone else views the world. He’s the true “philosopher.” S: I’m really liking this! A: Has potential. Of course, he’ll have to die for his beliefs, or it won’t be emotionally compelling. S: What now? P: You’re right, Ari. We need a plot
S: Maybe he’s just given a lot of gold and respect and left to retire early? A: No. It’s got to be a martyr story. And to make it marketable, shouldn’t it be based on a “real-life” set of events so it can all seem ripped from the headlines? P: Perfect! A: What if he is cruelly condemned on false charges, even? S: Actually, I’m not so sure…. P: No, no! This is great! What do you have in mind? A: I mean, what if he is brought up on false charges of corrupting the youth of Athens, then he’s put on trial, the trial is rigged, and the ugly old man is forced to drink hemlock. Bam! Down he goes! Ha ha! S: They say it’s bitter. I don’t think he would drink hemlock. P: Imagine the trial scene! Imagine the death scene! This could really sell. Ari, you’re a genius. A: That’s what I’ve been telling you. S: I’ve got an idea. What if it ends with the old man just being banished to an island? An island full of goats? Why are you both laughing? P: Ari, don’t you have to go tell the city elders about something? Remember? Those accusations about a certain someone touching you in a certain somewhere that’s fairly “corrupting”? A: You owe me for this, Mr. P. P: Son, if it works, we’ll talk about a percentage of the royalties. S: Guys, guys! Come to think of it, I truly believe that Dirk Savage is the way to go with this. Docudramas are so passé, Plato. Fiction is where it’s at. Adventure stories that have a bit of philosophy in them! And those few lines of the Troglodyte narrative have real potential. Maybe your young pupil could even help you find some account of mythical beasts from his “Wondrous” papyri that Dirk could take on for his next adventure. Yes, this is a much better project. Here, Aristotle. Let me reach over and take those scrolls from within your toga and we can take a look at… A: [running off to city elders] Ow! Oh! My “special place”! S: Right. Well. I’ll just be waiting in my corner of the gymnasium. _____ H. Peter Steeves is Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University and can be reached at email@example.com. _____ Steven J. Ingeman is an independent scholar and Circulation Supervisor at Mary Riley Styles Library in Falls Church, VA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dead, Beyond The Grove, At The
ds, ect., $10, CR, 6:30p
UE FESTIVAL, 7p - 9:30p
ROGUE FESTIVAL, 5:30p - 11p
Glen Delpit, Audie's Olympic, 5p L.R.A. (cd release), Death Alley Motor Cult, Crucial Point, HateFX, Audie's Olympic, 9p Catch Us If You Can, man Up! Nancy, Love Letters, Small Talk, $8, KPJ, 7:30p Meatball Magic, free, RL, 10p Creative Fresno Blender, IBC, 5p - 8p Cineculture: The Land Speaks Arabic, free, CSUF McLane 121, 5:30p Lecture: Health, Human Rights, and Justice in Gaza: The Aftermath of War, Peters Business 191, 2p Ballad: The memory, Revue Café/Lounge, 6p The Thomas Confession (Saving Temperance, Come September, Mercy Fists, Incoming Rush), $8, CR, 7p l
scriptions, Quiet s, Empire of Giants, Olympic, 8p ne, CRS, 8p omedy Show, ADG, 8p ents: I Am Ghost, Modern Day $12, CR, 7p
l l l
ROGUE FESTIVAL, 5:30p - 11p
UnHappy Hour w/Roger Perry, Audie's Olympic, 5p I, Madman, Handlebarz, Audie's Olympic, 9p Joey Parker, Jordan Dipersloot, Chris Beery, Highway City Benefit, KPJ, 8p Fresno Filmworks: A Night at the Oscars (Oscar Nominated Short Films), $10 each ($15 for both), TT, 5:30p (live action) & 8p (animated) Afton Presents: (Dying Prayer, Allinaday, Delorean Gray, ect.), $12, CR, 6:30
t Hop (Metro/Outlying)
ls Night Out vs. Faded 80z w/DJ Audie 5000, Audie's Olympic, 9p of Pain, Wolf City, Revenge is nning from a Figure, Grow, $7,
oetry Jam, $5, FCB, 8p Simply Sinatra, $20+, WST,
medy Show, ADG, 8p ents:Medodora, BRI, Sensual Saint, g Vintage, ect., $12, CR, 6:30p
l l l
Glen Delpit & the Subterraneans, Audie's Olympic, 5p Brandon Tyler, Tim Balint, Paul Chesterton, KPJ, 8p Live Bait, $6, FCB, 8p Karen Marguth, $5, ADG, 8p Meatball Magic, free, RL, 10p Eva Scow Live Brazilian Jazz, ADG, 8p
l l l l l l
This Charming Band (Smiths), Dead Souls (Joy Division), DJ Julian, Audie's Olympic, 9p Lecture: The Major Language Groups of Native America, free, AAM, 11a Fres Phil: Beethoven's 9th, $15+, WST, 8p Sierra Foothill Conservancy Hike (see plug, this issue) Live Entertainment, AQS, 10p Three Guys Playin’ the Blues, ADG, 8p Gorilla Productions(The Ruin, Gifflegs, The Gromits, The Realists, ect.), $10, CR, 6p
13 l l l l l l l l
l l l l l l l
Mike Smith, Audie's Olympic, 5p l Blues/Psychadellic Rock w/A.C. Myles, Federale, Chief Nowhere, The Quarter After, Audie's Olympic, 9p l Cineculture: William Saroyan's Will, free, CSUF McLane 121, 5:30p l Rotting Out, Creatures, Downpresser, Expire, CYC, 6p
2ST: 2ND Space Theatre, 928 E Olive AAM: Arte Americas, 1630 Van Ness AQS: Aqui Shi, 1144 E. Champlain Dr. #108 ADG: Austin’s Downtown Grill, 820 Van Ness Ave CIF: 935 F St
ROGUE FESTIVAL, 1p - 11p
ROGUE FESTIVAL, 11:30a - 2a
Mother of All Blues Jam Open Mic & Pot Luck, Audie's Olympic, 3p Dylan Tidyman-Jones (cd release), Wheels of Fortune, Zodiac Twins, Audie's Olympic, 9p Cloud 99, free, VVV, 10:30p Radagun, $15, TT, 7p Dangers (CD release), Owen Hart, Power, Grow, Blackwater, $6, CYC, 6p Sierra Foothill Conservancy Open House (see plug, this issue) San Joaquin River Parkway hikes, $10, 7:30a or 8a San Joaquin River Parkway birding walk, $3 donation, 6:15p Live Entertainment, AQS, 10p l
Psychobilly w/the Stellar Corpses, the Midnight Howlers, Audie's Olympic, 9p l Bad Luck & Trouble, $6, FCB, 8p Fres Folklore Society: Anne & Pete Sibley, $20, FAM, 7:30p Sierra Foothill Conservancy Class, $15 (see plug, this issue) San Joaquin River Parkway wildflower walk, $10, 9:30a LOL Comedy Fest, $20, TT, 8p Live Entertainment, AQS, 10p Brad Wilson, ADG, 8p All Or Nothing H.C.,Knifethruhead, Inferior, Smoke My Pipe, Vulgar, $5, CYC, 6p l
An Event? where:
uns, Candy Sound, Style Like ors, Bicicleta, Olympic, 8p klorico de Mexico of Amalia dez, $30+, Roosevelt HS, 7p Comedy Show, ADG, 8p ings Caulfield, Tragic Ends, zard, Manic Relapse, $6, CYC,
l l l l l
CPB: Cracked Pepper Bistro,389 E Shaw CR: Club Retro, 4450 N. Brawley CT: Crest Theater, 1170 Broadway Plz CYC: Chinatown Youth Center, 901 F Street FAM: Fres Art Mus, 2233 N 1st St FCB: Full Circle Brewing Co. 620 F Street IBC: Iron Bird Café, 1915 Fulton St ITZ: Studio Itz, 370 N Fresno St KPJ: Kuppajoe, 3673 N First St
Db and the Struggle, The Super Lucky Catz, Shon J., Audie's Olympic, 9p Badlands, $6, FCB, 8p Sierra Foothill Conservancy Hike (see plug, this issue) Sierra Foothill Conservancy Class, $15 (see plug, this issue) Live Entertainment, AQS, 10p
LMK: The Landmark, 644 East Olive PAL: Palominos, 805 East Olive PDP: Piazza del Pane, Cedar & Nees RL: The Red Lantern RR: Roger Rocka’s, 1226 N Wishon SBN: Squoia Brewing, North, 1188 E. Champlain SBT: Squoia Brewing, Tower, 777 E. Olive SL: The Starline, 831 E Fern SLG: Starline Grill, 833 E Fern
TT: Tower Theatre, 815 Olive TM: the Manhattan, 1731 W. Bullard TP: Thai Palms, 7785 N. Palm WST: William Saroyan Theatre, 700 M St WWP: Woodward Park VVV: Veni Vedi Vici, 1116 N Fulton
THE 2010 ROGUE FESTIVAL / MARCH 4 — MARCH 14
THE ROGUE FESTIVAL PREVIEW W
ow, it’s Rogue time again! For all you readers that have read this article in the past, you’ll be completely “in da know.” But for those of you that are new to the Undercurrent or to the Rogue Festival, here is your guide to a few of the many performances you’ll be able to see at the 2010 Rogue Festival. We have so many performers with so many stages that it will be hard to get to them all, but you can go online to roguefestival.com for a more inside look. All dates and times can be found on the website or in your Rogue Map. Those performances highlighted here are suggestions of what you might like to see.
Our premium mainstage is the Starline. A longtime supporter of the Rogue Festival, the shows at the Starline are guaranteed to be jam packed with gusto. Performer Tommy Nugent comes to us from Detroit, MI with his show, “The Burning Man and the Reverend Nuge.” Nugent’s show goes through one man’s journey from Pentecostal preacher to atheist street magician looking for enlightenment at the annual Burning Man festival in northern Nevada. Gemma Wilcox returns with 20 new characters in “Shadows in Bloom.” If you remember her show from last year, you know this is a must see. “Burnt at the Steak” is a piece brought to us by first time performer Carolann Valentino. She takes us through the story of a young woman’s past experiences running a male dominated multi million dollar steakhouse in NYC. You can expect comedy through song, dance and numerous charac-
by RENEE NEWLOVE terizations. Nugent, Wilcox and Valentino’s shows are $7. Dianna’s Dance Studio, formerly termed Dianna’s North, will host a multitude of dance shows. Ananka Belly Dance Company brings “Belly Dance in an Enchanted Sea,” Mahzjai Bellydance Fusion performs as well as a new contemporary dance troupe in Fresno, MadCompany. Dianna’s Dance Studio also will host Tony Imperatrice & the Suicide Lounge in “A Tribute to Barry Manilow.” Song selection will include “Mandy,” “Could it be Magic,” “Daybreak” and many more! Have you ever been to Jack’s Shack Bar? If not, you’ll be taken there and introduced to a lovelorn lad, a lovely young lady and a Monster from the sea, who are all full of stories for you. Check out “Corin’s Concoction” for more information. These shows will range from $5 to $7. The Rogue Festival is proud to introduce a new venue to Fresno! The Million Elephant Too will be joining the mix and hosting quite the motley crew of performances. Katherine Glover returns with “A Cynic Tells Love Stories,” where the seduction of porn stars and falling for straight girls are discussed along with more stories. Martin
Dockery treks from the Atlantic to the Sahara in search of an epiphany in “Wanderlust.” Dockery’s performance has been awarded ‘Best of Fest’ at the London Fringe, Winnipeg Fringe, Orlando Fringe and the Frigid Fest NYC. Sleight of hand and wonder that has astounded audiences for years, the “Magic of
Bryan Patrick” returns for another year. His magic will truly inspire and amaze. And to throw something completely different in the mix, don’t miss “Cap’n Scurvy’s Apocalypse Hoedown Revival.” Audience members should be on the lookout for obtuse language, vulgarity, religious mockery and banjo music. These shows range
in price from $5 to $7. Lynn Ruth Miller joins us for her Veni Vidi Vici is our pre- third year with “Another Side of mium café space…and what’s the Mirror.” Brand new performer cooler is it’s on the back patio! Charles Tenney takes you through Merlinda Espinosa has not graced his “Notes on Physics.” And a Rogue stage for quite some returning for their second year are time, but we welcome her beauti- Elliott Owensby and Kylee ful and soothing voice back. Warkentin. Tom Hosler and Kyle Come see her weave through great Oakes return with their show music from throughout the “Didgeridoo.” And long time Americas in both English and Rogue performers, Pipe on the Spanish. The local scene in Fresno Hob, bring their Celtic sounds in has always intrigued and beguiled for a group of shows you definiteBlake Jones and his friends. Come ly don’t want to miss. Their shows see “The Underground Garden: range from $3 to $4. Scene Makers, Stories and Fresno Another new space the Rock n’ Roll” for their take on Rogue Festival is proud to welwhat’s going on around here. Also, a returning performer who has not been here since 2002, Jose De Loza will be performing original songs, and his is not a show to be missed. The crazy group, Songs for Pints, are drunk again, but will bring you “647(f)… A Drunk In The Night Tank” anyway. New to the Rogue John Hefner, “The Hefner Monologues” Festival is the Madwoman’s Attic Ensemble and their production of come in is KP’s Actors Gym. Here “Imaginary Friends.” Audiences you’ll find the poetry of Liesl will see Mary McCarthy and Garner with “Every Other Beat of Lillian Hellman conduct a postMy Heart,” the music of Boxcar mortem battle of wits in a Figaro “Recorded Live at the comedic look at fact and fiction Rogue Festival,” and the off-beat versus belief. All shows are $4. comedy of Fresno’s very own Spectrum Art Gallery is a John Law Hastings, better known performer favorite for the Rogue as simply JLH. Also in this new Festival and continues to host (PREVIEW continued on next page...) our amazing performers.
THE 2010 ROGUE FESTIVAL / MARCH 4 — MARCH 14 (PREVIEW continued...)
formances: Kurt Fitzpatrick’s “The Last Straight Man in Theatre” and Travis Sheridan’s “Man in Labor.” Sheridan takes audiences on a comedic journey through careers a man has worked at since he was 6 years old. We are excited these two perform-
space comes a new performer from Cabin John, Maryland. John Hefner, in “The Hefner Monologues,” promises tales of first loves, first heartbreaks and a first visit to the Playboy Mansion. All shows are $4. Switching up a new component from last year, Ashtree Studios has in previous years been a café and gallery space, but shifts to a gallery to allow for sculpture to be added to the visual art displayed in the Rogue Festival. They are bringing in a “Why Did You Do it That Way?” An Artist Discussion Forum that will allow you, the audience, to understand how they, the artists, came up with their individual pieces. Artists that can be seen at Ashtree Studios are Edward Stewart, Adam Wall, Aileen Imperatrice, Sergio Huerta and Gail Seymour. You can also check out the 2010 Rogue Artists’ Repertory Theatre, “Parallel Lives” Festival Muse as well. Each ers are coming back, both for their second discussion is $4. The Rogue Festival is proud to con- year. Their shows range from $5 to $7. With all the different offerings the tinue to offer independent local films at Mike Brigg’s place. This space is doing dou- Rogue Festival is bringing you this year, you’d think we couldn’t add more. But you ble duty for the Rogue Festival in hosting cannot overlook the beauty of dance, espeour Film as well as offering two BYOV percially when performed by beautiful ladies. The Valley Burlesque Society has numerous Special Featured shows they’ve lined up for your viewing pleasure. With themes of Carnival Carnivale, For Medicinal Purposes Only, and An Evening of Classic Burlesque, the imagination runs wild. Just hop, skip or shimmy over to Full Circle Brewery to view those teasing ladies. The Severance Building is historical in Fresno and will make history this year with their performances offered during the Rogue Festival. “Trio: Three One-Act Plays by Carolyn Gage” Tanjora Tribal Bellydance, “The Sea of Dreams” will be proudly presented
by Theatre Ventoux. One Acts include, “Calamity Jane Sends a Message to Her Daughter,” “A Labor Play,” and “The Poorly Written Play Festival: Possibly the Worst One-Act Play Ever Written.” Tanjora Tribal Bellydance displays their talent in “The Sea of Dreams.” Artists’ Repertory Theatre brings us “Parallel Lives,” the journey of two women who help God create the Universe. And back by popular demand, funny man Barry Smith revives “Jesus in Montana: Adventures in a Doomsday Cult.” If you missed Barry’s first Rogue show 4 years ago, you must see it this year! Prices range from $7 to $9. Fresno City College also joins in with their staged production of “The Exonerated,” the true story of six wrongfully convicted survivors of death row told in their own words. Check with the FCC Box Office for ticketing information. The Rogue Festival is entering its 9th year of celebrating independent performance and art. This is huge for us, but we realize it would not happen if not for YOU! We appreciate your participation, sponsorship, and continued support of the Rogue Festival. There are still opportunities to get involved in the Rogue Festival; ask one of our great volunteers how! _____ Renee “Solitaire” Newlove, coproducer and head of performer relations for Rogue, has been a volunteer and performer with the Festival since 2006. She is new to the Producer role, but welcomes the challenge and hopes to move the Rogue Festival forward to bigger venues, more audiences, and more performances. She would like to thank you for your continued support and participation in the Rogue Festival!
THE 2010 ROGUE FESTIVAL / MARCH 4 — MARCH 14
CHANGING THE ROGUE GUARD T
here’s no place like Rogue, there’s no place like Rogue… Yes, with Rogue just around the corner, I’m channeling my inner Dorothy. I’m excited because of the new performers we have this year, the new venues, and the new role I have to play. You see, once upon a time, many Rogues ago (nine, in fact), Marcel Nunis hatched a festival, and a vision for the festival to flourish. Part of that vision was the idea that the role of the Rogue Producer should change every five years. Marcel passed the torch to John Jordan, who has been the producer for the past four years. With the festival growing so much, it was decided that perhaps a pair of producers should be the next choice: Renee Newlove and myself (Airplane Jayne). I thought I’d share with you some of the highlights of this “Changing of the Rogue Guard.”
John (carrying a HUGE notebook): Are you two ready? Renee: Yes. I’ve got my Rogue calendar all filled out. We should be done with everything by December 1st. APj: Hmmm….we need more money – and sooner rather than later! I want to have all the sponsors lined up by August. John: Renee, it’s lovely that you think you’ll be done by December. But remember, things always come up. APj, that is a good goal, but it might not work out that
by JAYNE DAY early.
Renee: Can you believe that three months have gone by? APj: Oh no! Where are all my sponsors? Why haven’t they responded? Renee: Whatever happened to that person who offered to do the website in July? John: You two need to focus. Applications are in two months. APj: Fine. I’ll call the sponsors in September…and I’ll get someone else busy on the website. Renee: I’ll make a note to our Rogue wishlist. WANTED: WEBSITE DESIGNER APj: Correction. WANTED: WEBSITE DESIGNER; FREE. John: Do we have our new venue secured? APj: Yes…I’m Jayne Day pretty sure…positive. September
APj: ::sob, sob:: I don’t understand…. Renee: ::weep, weep:: What happened to our new venue? John: These things happen, ladies. We’ll find another…stop crying, it’ll be fine. APj: I just need someone to hold me. Renee: We are 11 days behind on my calendar. APj: No one is returning my calls regarding sponsorships
John (holding them both): It’s okay. It’s Rogue! We’ll be fine. October 1st, 9:00 am
John: Applications are open. APj: I hope we have enough applicants. October 1st, 2:00 pm
Renee: I think we might be full. John: I guess we’d better tie down that third venue… APj: ::clunk:: (head hits the floor) December
APj: New venue secured! Sponsors are finally in!!! Renee: Map is almost ready! APj: We’re almost done! John: We’ve only just begun. Have you (takes out his HUGE notebook and begins to read) finished…..ordered……called…..followed up
Renee: But my calendar says we’re supposed to be done… APj: I think his book trumps our calendar… February
APj: Rogue Map is done and on its way! Renee: Meetings with the Venue Managers have all taken place. APj: Now we can relax? John: No, ladies…..(takes out his HUGE notebook and begins to read…again), now the real work begins….
All joking aside, I am very excited in my new role as co-producer of the Rogue Festival. This last year has been an incredible learning experience, and I have made tons of notes that I hope will make this festival more enjoyable, and next year’s even better. Thanks to Marcel for always answering my questions, to John for always answering the phone when I call, and propping me up during this transition, and to Renee, who is so incredibly well-suited to the role of Rogue Producer. _____ Jayne Day, also known as Airplane Jayne, co-producer of this year’s festival, attended the Rogue Festival in 2005, and quickly found herself drawn into its web. In 2006, she organized and coordinated the financial aspect of the festival, and she joined the Board of Directors in 2007. Each year found her getting more and more involved, culminating in her new role as co-producer. It has been exciting to be a part of the Rogue Festival as it has evolved, and she hopes to see the Rogue Festival continue to grow. Jayne encourages you to come see a show, be in a show, volunteer at a show, and donate to the Rogue.
THE 2010 ROGUE FESTIVAL / MARCH 4 — MARCH 14
BLAKE JONES ON THE ROGUE T
he Rogue Festival, first and foremost, has offered me the challenge and the opportunity to run off into untried territory. My creative life mostly spins around writing songs and making recordings, all with the mind that most of these songs will be performed live by our band. There’s a great deal of latitude offered within that framework, but the Rogue offers me the chance to step out of it completely and into a parallel universe of my choice. Even amongst one’s fellow Rogue performers and organizers, there’s an expectation that you won’t just be doing your regular shtick.
The Underground Garden: Scene Makers, Stories and Fresno Rock n’ Roll With that kind of pressure, thankfully, the Rogue Festival also works as a supportive and inspiring community. During the festival, it’s very common to see artists connecting: meeting new people, sharing ideas and often conspiring on how they might combine their ideas and talents to make something fresh for the next year. For myself, it’s meant meeting dancers, theater people, poets and painters. Some of these people became my collaborators; all of them increased my understanding and helped me push my own creative boundaries. This year, Tom Magill, a friend and fellow musician, and I have put together a show called “The Underground Garden: Scene Makers, Stories and Fresno Rock n’ Roll.” It’s all part of this larger idea that I’ve been playing with about the inter-connectedness of local music and art. (You can read
by BLAKE JONES
more about this idea, our show and the related projects and comment on our blog at www.theundergroundgarden.com.) We’ve assembled a sort of live talk show where we’ve invited guests like Jerry Satterberg of the local 1960s band 12 Miles Out, Doug Carlson of Folly’s Pool (representing the late 70s and the scene around the Wild Blue Yonder club), Jim Conley (KFSR) and Dave Stewart (Capital Punishment and Stage Dive Records) representing 80s indie and hardcore, and Freddie Martinez, former owner of
Club Fred. In three distinct episodes, we hope to share a few tall tales, a few songs and a lot of laughs. _____ Blake Jones has been in on the Rogue beastie since Year One (1835?), at first as a sort of liason between the musicians and the theater-people and, starting Year Two, as a venue manager and cafe coordinator. As a performer, he uses the Rogue as an opportunity to step out of his normal role as barelyknown rock/pop band leader and step into the role of whatever strikes his fancy for that particular season. Check out blakejonesmusic.com.
THE 2010 ROGUE FESTIVAL / MARCH 4 — MARCH 14
THE LAST STRAIGHT MAN IN THEATRE
DEAR ROGUE by ABIGAIL NOLTE
ear Rogue Performance Festival,
al arts, and more, all within two weeks in one city. You are run by faithful volunteers that work tirelessly to make it go down every year so artists like me can show up and make music. This is my fifth year participating in a Rogue Café performance. Every year gets better and better. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Cheers, Abigail Nolte
I was asked to write an article about you, our ever loving relationship and myself, Abigail Nolte. I’m surprised that people still haven’t caught on to the marvelous festival that you are. You are like match.com for the arts community, bringing together the artist and the lover of art. (I would say eHarmony, but on match.com, you get to look at peoples’ pictures…not that I’ve used any of those dating sites.) I tell people to use the “Rogue Map” as a tool to find what you are looking for. I, for example, am Abigail Nolte doing a solo performance this year. If people like female _____ singer/songwriters that sing songs of Abigail Nolte is a local musician, love, life and living, they should find returning to Rogue for her fifth their way to the patio at Veni Vedi Rogue Cafe Performance at Veni Vidi Vici at one or all of these times: Vici. She hosts an acoustic music •March 6th at 1pm night at the Starline Grill every 1st •March 12th at 7:30pm and 3rd Monday from 8 to 10pm. She •March 13th 6:15pm thanks the Rogue Festival and The You, my beloved festival, Undercurrent for celebrating local bring art from all over and make it music and art. accessible to others. Theatre, music, dance, film, performance art, puppetry, spoken word, storytelling, visu-
by KURT FITZPATRICK
his is my second consecutive year at the Rogue Festival, having appeared here in Fresno in 2009 with my autobiographical solo show “Hooray for Speech Therapy.” I loved the Rogue, particularly because I enjoyed the people so much. From the people running the festival to the audience attending the shows, it was a real blast to spend time with the community of Fresno. I sold out shows, and even had a guy drive by in his car and salute my show about stuttering by yelling out to me, “Great sh-sh-sh-sh-show!”
ing place over one night. I play Mary, a horny black woman, Guardino, a male prostitute, Will, a punk rock teenager, and several other characters. One of my favorite characters is Claude, an eccentric and lonely millionaire who ventures out from his seventy-two room mansion to the Junction Diner to order his favorite dessert, and finds some form of love. I think the Rogue audience is going to enjoy “The Last Straight Man In Theatre,” and I feel very privileged to be able to return to Fresno for the festival. Since I am writing this article BEFORE the There were elefestival, I can say right ments of Fresno I had to get now I can’t wait to used to, though. Having arrive! I’m looking grown up in the Northeast forward to seeing part of the US, I was everyone from last delighted to see oranges year and meeting new growing from trees as I faces as well. walked down the street! I “The Last immediately picked and ate Straight Man In them, but Rogue’s Airplane Theatre” plays at the Jayne told me that technicalMike Briggs BYOV at ly those trees are on private 1212 N. Vess Ness. property. I still believe that Friday 3/5 @ 9pm, oranges from a tree are fair Saturday 3/6 @ game. Kurt Fitzpatrick, “The Last 2:30pm & 7pm, Friday This year, I am back 3/12 @ 7pm & 10pm, Straight Man in Theatre” (photo with my latest solo show, and Saturday 3/13 @ “The Last Straight Man In by Alison Williams) 4pm & 8pm. Theatre.” This show is much Admission is $7. Rated R for adult language different than my show from last year. and themes. Whereas that show was bare bones in terms _____ of tech, this show heavily relies on projectKurt Fitzpatrick is the writer and performer ed video. In 2009, when my director Alison of “The Last Straight Man In Theatre.” He Cousins and I decided we wanted to have performed his show “Hooray for Speech video involved with this new show, we Therapy” at last year’s Rogue to sold-out decided to have the show be almost comaudiences. He has performed his shows in pletely multi-media, with me playing charthirteen different International Fringe festiacters on the screen and interacting with vals, and will be touring throughout this them on stage. Whereas “Avatar” is a 3-D year. experience, “The Last Straight Man In Theatre” is 4-D. This show is a fictional story, tak-
REGENERACIÓN: Ricardo Flores MagÓn & the Mexican Revolution of 1910
THE 2010 ROGUE FESTIVAL / MARCH 4 — MARCH 14
by AGUSTIN LIRA & MATT ESPINOZA WATSON
n celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, Teatro Inmigrante (Immigrant Theater) has created a new production to be showcased during the Rogue festival, called “Regeneración: Ricardo Flores Magón and the Mexican Revolution of 1910.” Teatro Inmigrante was founded by Agustín Lira, NEA 2007 National Heritage Fellow and Cofounder of El Teatro Campesino, and Patricia Wells Solórzano (of Trio Alma), in response to the immigrant bashing that reemerged in such earnest across the nation in 2001. Immigrant Theater uses satire, slap-stick, comedy, pantomime and mime in its original plays to dramatize events of historical, cultural, and political significance. Its past plays have highlighted the contributions and accomplishments of immigrants and Latina women in particular, demonstrating that immigrant energy vitalizes and nourishes this nation, rather than draining it. Utilizing narrative, songs and theatrical dramatizations by Teatro Inmigrante members, Regeneración will run approximately one hour and fifteen minutes. The play centers around Ricardo Flores Magón, who is considered by many to be the true precursor and Father of the Mexican Revolution. He dedicated his life to bringing an end to the brutal dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz and to liberating the oppressed Mexican people subjected to extreme poverty, slavery and genocide. In less than forty years Díaz managed to decimate almost half of México’s indigenous population and peasantry. Beginning his life long struggle against tyranny while a teen in high school in Mexico City, Ricardo and his two brothers Jesus and Enrique took to the streets, joining mass student demonstrations against Diaz’s second reelection. Continuing in the same vein,
Ricardo formed an opposition party to the regime, the Mexican Liberal Party, and founded the newspaper, Regeneración (Regeneration), exposing violations of rights and calling for national unity against the despot. Sustaining repeated incarcerations at Belen, a spider and rat-infested prison, and enduring relentless persecution by the Mexican government, Ricardo and PLM members went into exile in the US in 1903 following a decree by Díaz promising to imprison anyone who would publish articles written by Magón. Prospering economically beyond its wildest dreams due to its close relationship with Díaz, the US government gladly teamed up with México and pursued, infiltrated, arrested and incarcerated Ricardo and the PLM members, shutting down their presses, confiscating their property, and ultimately framing them in court. Ricardo’s message of freedom printed in Regeneración’s liberating pages sparked the flames of revolution on both sides of the border, inspiring hope in the hearts of the desperate masses for a better world. Despite tremendous odds and opposition, and through tremendous self-sacrifice,
Ricardo and the PLM members organized the first armed uprisings in Northern Mexico and Baja California in 1906 and 1908, anticipating the Revolution of 1910, which finally exploded, shattering the horrific reign of Porfirio Díaz. In the words of Agustín Lira, “to sum it all up, it is one of the greatest untold stories of all time detailing Magon’s life and death struggle against the brutal dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz. A tale of remarkable courage, tragedy, vision and triumph in the face of monumental odds.” I’ve caught several of the Teatro’s past performances, and based on those experiences, be ready for some great music accompanying the play, and inspired performances by cast members. Que Viva la Revolucion Mexicana!! The performances will take place at: Unitarian Universalist Church, Friday, March 5 at 7:00 pm (2672 E.
Alluvial Ave, Clovis, CA 9361); Arte Americas, Sunday, March 7 at 7:00 pm (1630 Van Ness Ave., Fresno, CA 93721); First Congregational Church, Friday & Saturday, March 12 & 13 at 7:00 pm (2131 N. Van Ness Boulevard, Fresno, CA 93704). Ticket prices are: $10.00 for General Seating, $7.00 for Seniors & Students, $3.00 for children 12 and under. All venues are wheelchair accessible and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. For more information call (559) 237-3016.
Teresa Flores “The Go (Fwy 41)”
Tell us about this particular cover image. “The Go (Fwy 41),” 2000, mixed media on canvas. This is one of my first paintings. It’s ten years old. When I made it, I wanted to make something Fresno-based because at the time I wasn’t seeing artwork that represented Fresno. This painting is special to me because I found a way to incorporate the ideas that I was dabbling in at the time: silhouettes of soldiers, street art, Kinko’s, collage, home. What got you started in your artistic endeavors? I got tired of not using my voice. It was an artistic endeavor just to come to that realization. I’m committed to my work, so I wouldn’t say that I’m endeavoring anymore. Feels more like
a quest... How long have you been creating art here in Fresno? This is a weird question. My family moved to Fresno when I was three. Shortly after that, I drew all over the squares of the parquet floor while my brother colored himself blue and my grandma watched Dallas; thus, my journey began. Careerwise, around five or six years. Has Fresno or the Fresno art scene had any influence or effect on your work? I draw from the summers I spent downtown on Fulton Mall as a kid and riding the bus home with my grandma. I’m influenced by all the different parts of town that I have lived in. This is especially apparent in my video work, where I use the city as a vehicle to explore social issues that impact the rest of society. As for the Fresno art scene’s influence…whoa. I have the utmost respect for Gallery 25. I could spend hours in the Silva/Salazar Studios. The entire Van Ness & Mono scene is amazing. And even those flunkies at Broadway Studios are pretty cool...
How would you describe your style? I believe Bruce Lee said it best: “The best style is no style.” If someone wanted to see more of your work, how would they go about that? I’ll be showing my work at The Revue in the Tower District through the month of March. Then in April, I’ll be part of a group show at Nihon Gallery in Chinatown. I don’t have a website yet, but I have a blog and you can see some of my work on that, http://notteresa.blogspot.com. What if someone wanted to give you money for your work, how would one go about that? That’s an interesting concept. I’ll try that out at my next show. I suppose one could email me and tell me which work they are interested in at email@example.com.
What projects are you working on or dreaming up for the near future? Grad school. That’s all I want right now. Please provide a short bio Staying busy keeps me out of trouble. I’m very busy. BA in Art: Drawing & Painting emphasis; Art Instructor, California Arts
Left: “Holmes,” Middle: “Hotmess,” Top right: “Untitled,” Bottom right: “Burdened”
Academy; Fresno Filmworks, board member; Fresno Filmmakers Alliance, (we’re not a board yet); substitute teacher (no breakdancing in class); Gallery 825 member, Los Angeles; fifth-generation Californian (quit questioning my ethnicity); recovering Catholic-school girl; former lingerie merchandiser; Art Laboe lover.
Meet Kellie Lee
rock musician’s road to success is a tough one, only meant to be traveled by artists who are strong at heart. For Kellie Lee, who picked up the acoustic guitar at age 16, the key to success has been her steadfast determination to follow her heart and trust her individual calling.
“It has not been easy, but it’s been productive,” Lee said. She is among the rare singer-songwriters who are completely self-taught; playing by ear is what comes most naturally to her.
“I’m a fighter; I’ve gone through a lot of troubles in my life, and you can hear that through my songs,” Lee said. “It’s been a rough road, but I just don’t give up. I have a dream, and I believe it’s my calling in life, and it has never left; I have this feeling in my heart and it has never gone away, so I know that I have to do it.” Ten years after realizing her destiny in music, at age 26, she has grown up to become a solo acoustic rock guitarist traveling on her own. Lee has always felt mysteriously drawn to California. In 2006, when she finally took a trip to explore Los Angeles, she immediately found work and decided to stay. By then, she had already performed live in Texas bars and several folk music festivals; and she left with a recorded demo of her work. She quickly learned that it’s an extremely competitive business, but with time, she adapted to the various challenges and expectations. Within two years, Kellie had moved to Fresno to focus on recording her first album with Steel Records; she had just been signed to the new label as their first artist. While living in Fresno, she performed several times at Full Circle Brewing Company and Starline Grill; Lee saw a lot of opportunity in the Tower District, which was where she got the best response. She also learned the importance of networking with other artists.
“If you’re not completely established, it’s hard to be a new artist,” Lee said. “I met some great musicians there that really have some amazing talent.” While recording at Steel Records, Lee knew that she was going for a live, Tuesday-night rock sound; and she wanted the recording to sound raw and gritty. In the studio, she was given the freedom to produce some of the tracks. The resulting debut album, Stereotype, is exactly what Kellie had in mind. Upon the release of her album in early January 2010, Kellie was at a crossroads. Not sure where she belonged, she moved back to L.A. to promote Stereotype. Her current goal is to keep evolving as a singersongwriter and eventually perform for a living. Many of the songs on Stereotype are about making tough choices. She sings in a raw, emotionally-charged voice to help others find their own inner strength. “Stop and Listen” is her favorite song on the album because it is deeply heartfelt. It’s about a friend of hers who had been on a particularly tough path and chose to commit suicide. Kellie did what she could to help, and the lyrics reflect what she had wanted her friend to understand. In the beginning of the song, Lee sings, “Did I tell you that I died today?” This is symbolically sung from her friend’s point of view. “In the second verse, I’m basically trying to say: I’m trying to tell you how I’m feeling, and you’re not listening to me. I’m trying to tell you that it hurts inside, but you still weren’t listening,” said Lee. She noted that her friend’s actions stopped other people from doing the same thing, because they felt the pain. Listening to Kellie Lee, one can feel the emotional strength in her honest lyrics and naturally dynamic voice. Many people have tried to encourage her to sing happy songs, but the truth is that she knows what she’s doing. On “It’s Not Your Fault,” a song about her best friend’s life-changing divorce, Lee’s emotionally-mature grasp of someone else’s pain is masterfully carried by her voice. She sings, “I can’t stay here with you/ I can’t forfeit my youth/ And I know, I know it’s not your fault/ Trust me, leaving you here is breaking my heart/ Try and grab my hand/ You can’t reach it/ ‘Cause I’m already gone/ You just didn’t know it,” and her approach inspires both an inner strength and a sensitivity toward others.
Once again, Lee is trying to get the world to stop and listen, to help someone else when they’re in pain. She makes it clear that Stereotype is not a pop album; this is gritty rock uprooted from Texas, with a sense of humanity. “Stereotype is about your feelings and about turning to music,” Lee said. As her career continues to develop, she knows that her style will go through changes and she is ready to face that challenge. “I’m constantly experimenting with it,” Lee said. “As I evolve, I’d like to not only be an acoustic artist; I want to pick up the electric, which I have played at a couple of my shows. I wanna really rock it out, and I think that comes along with just evolving.” Kellie Lee is currently touring in California; and Stereotype can be purchased at her shows, online at www.steelrecordsusa.com and through iTunes. _____ Christy Arndt is a Fresno native and CSUF graduate. If you are a local musician, and would like to be interviewed for “Meet the Musicmakers,” please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE 2010 ROGUE FESTIVAL / MARCH 4 — MARCH 14
THE VIEW LOOKS GOOD FROM HERE, FRESNO
d—Another month rushes b y, and it seems that Fresno has been named, yet again, the worst at something in a nation. We’ve been called dumbest, fattest, worst, most illiterate, and now we’re also the drunkest. Some people are going to get super defensive and go way out of their way to disprove this survey, which, by the way, isn’t very difficult to do. Others will completely ignore the survey, which is also easy to do. The difficult road is to really examine the survey and to agree with the elements that are true, point out the problems in the methodology, and still try to make Fresno a better place to live. I mean, for those that already think of Fresno as a punchline, this was just another haymaker to throw. I’m not going to change that person’s mind by getting all aggravated and fighting tooth and nail to prove it wrong. They’ll just come back with some other reason why they think Fresno sucks. But if I really want to change their opinion, and change the results of future surveys, I need to show them what is good about Fresno. This month, we get to see one of Fresno’s best—and yet somehow Fresno’s most unnoticed—gems, the Rogue Festival. Yes, some people might enjoy alcoholic beverages while attending Rogue events that are held at venues that serve booze. For those that don’t know the Rogue—and it’s hard to imagine someone reading the Undercurrent doesn’t know the Rogue—it’s a large performing arts festival held yearly in Fresno. And one of the biggest and best parts of the Rogue is that all of the money from every show goes directly to the artists and performers. All the blood, sweat, tears and years invested by the artist are rewarded directly
by ADAM & ED through your financial support. Instead of sitting on your couch, loading another bowl or slamming back another beer, get out and spend that money on a show. The shows are done by local performers, as well as performers that come from across the globe. Literally, the Rogue has drawn international acts, acts from other cities and states, alongside our home grown talent. And as the Rogue has aged (this is the ninth year), it has improved in many ways. More venues have been added, more acts, and visual arts alongside performing arts and music. This is where I give a shameless plug for myself and Adam who will both be showing work at Ashtree studio throughout the Rogue and the month of March. You can also hear each of us speak about why and how we created our artwork at the “Why Did You Do it That Way? Artist Discussion Forums” that happen during the festival. They are rather interesting little events where you can not only hear an artist’s thoughts, but also ask questions about their work. Adam, what are your thoughts and feelings about the Rogue festival and its impact on Fresno? Adam—I can’t say I disagree with your framing. People who don’t like Fresno (local and out-of-towners) will always cling to whatever evidence supports their preconceived notions, ignoring all the rest. Rogue is just one more glimmer on the sometimes purposefully
obscured gem of Fresno. It’s one more instance of unpaid volunteers who dearly love both Fresno and its creative community coming together to enliven a local neighborhood with all manner of talent from the art world. Rogue is Fresno citizens who put up with all the derision and still work their asses off to bring something good to the city. Rogue is where you can get a taste of some of the bigger performance companies or hear a local musician plying their trade or see an experimental show. Some of these acts have been performed by people who have never done such a thing before. That’s the beauty of Rogue being nonjuried; it can be a place where someone gets a foot in the door and makes a start. This festival is the kind of thing that all the naysayers should come out and see. They should come in droves. Go to the ATM, pull out $20, and go see three or four or five shows. See a one-person show. See a comedic show. See the visual art. Meet some other Fresnans, meet some artists and performers, and have a good time seeing that our town and Rogue have a lot to
Ed—Very good points. I’d like to challenge all of our readers, and myself as well, to go see an act or group that you haven’t seen before. I know several of the performers from previous Rogue festivals, and I’m sure they will put on very good shows again. But I need to get out and see someone new, and I won’t consider my Rogue festival experience a success unless I do. And if you miss the Rogue completely,
well, shame on you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see many of the local Rogue performers doing their thing throughout the year. It may be old hat for us to promote local entertainment and events through this column but who cares. There are talented artists, musicians, performers, actors and more here in Fresno, and if we’re ever going to make this a legitimate market, we need to help it along every step of the way.
P I C T U R E D
THE NEW ROOM • DIA DEL ASTRONAUTA
You’ve heard the term “post-punk,” but do you know what it means? Postpunk happened just as the punk rock explosion of the 1970s began to wane. Bands of this era brought back jangle-y guitars, danceable beats, and intelligible lyrics. Have you heard of Joy Division? Of course you have. Gang of Four? Maybe. Bands like Interpol come from those roots. LA group The New Room do the genre right, and you shouldn’t miss them on this Love, The Captive bill, as they appear in Fresno in support of their debut full-length “Only World We Know”. T U E M A R 0 2 release, Local monsters of Shoegaze, Dia del 9 0 0 P M • A L L A G E S • $ 5 Astronauta, will also perform.
BIG JOHN BATES & THE VOODOO DOLLZ • REV. DEADEYE
You don’t have to be a punk or rockabilly fan to dig this show. Both genres will appear on this bill; but in the end, it’s all guitar-rock, and it’s all about being entertained. Big John Bates has a band of hot punk-rockabilly kittens assembled, and boy, can they play. Fans of Rev. Horton Heat will be all over this. Tourmates Reverend Deadeye and His No Man Gospel Band couldn’t be more aptly named, as they veritably define garage-gospel. Austin cowpunk outfit Hotrod Hillbillies fall somewhere between, tying things together; and don’t forget Fresno T H U M A R 0 4 punk heroes, The Giddy-Ups, who 9 0 0 P M • 2 1 + • $ 8 represent the hometown nicely.
BDOWNS • STRANGE VINE • POOR MAN’S POISON
This is the St. Patrick’s Day happening in the Tower, an eclectic bill with the common thread being Good Fun. The Bungalowdowns (better known to fans as Bdowns) blend rock, rockabilly, and funk/soul/blues to perfection; the result is danceable energy created by a great group of musicians, fronted by none other than Mitch of Six Ounce Gloves. Strange Vine is not just any twopiece band. See these guys and wonder how they can make so much amazing blues-y rock sound happen without another four musicians. True talW E D M A R 1 7 ents, Hanford’s Poor Man’s Poison, beautiful, acoustic-based coun9 0 0 P M • 2 1 + • $ 5 play try/folk with great prowess.
FEDERALE • CHIEF NOWHERE • THE QUARTER AFTER
A few months back, Rob Campanella of Los Angeles record label The Committee to Keep Music Evil brought Fresno a tremendous bill featuring The Asteroid #4 and The Morning After Girls. He’s at it again, this time with Federale (Brooklyn, NY), a rock band in the truest, most classic sense. You just don’t often hear thick, 1960s-style acid rock like these guys do it. Complementary, yet much more subtle, psychedelic outfit Chief Nowhere (featuring Campanella’s brother Andy) will wow you. Listening to Campanella’s band, The Quarter After, will send you back to the era of F R I M A R 2 6 The Byrds. Local blues-meister, A.C. 9 0 0 P M • 2 1 + • $ 5 Myles, will provide support.
DARKSIDERS (for XBOX 360 and PS3)
’ve been struggling with myself while trying to pinpoint exactly what I didn’t like about Darksiders. Well, it couldn’t have been the graphics, as they are well done, but with today’s technology, it’s hard not to make a believable looking dungeon…I’m just saying. The same can be said for the sound and music in the game. Darksiders does shine in the realm of voice acting, however, with the likes of veteran voice actor Mark Hamill highlighting the cast. In fact, I found the voice acting to be above average and hands down the best element of Darksiders.
Was it perhaps the story? Yes and no. Granted, the story is cohesive, but it’s the same story you’ve played in other games, most notably God of War. You play as War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Things go wrong on Earth and you are stripped of your powers, which you progressively regain and can power up, much like in God of War. The upgrading of weapons is a great way to keep the action going as you collect orbs to power your weapons (swords, scythes and guns) and level them up, gaining new moves and combos. While comparing Darksiders to other games in the action genre, one will also notice similarities to the Legend of Zelda games on the N64. Granted, just the dungeons resemble Zelda while the action is pure God of War. You also will ride a horse and utilize a boomerang and hookshot for climbing, like Link did in the Zelda games. You use the boomerang to transfer fire to objects, which can be lit to open new doors and solve puzzles. While borrowing from so many different games, Darksiders is hefty on the control side of things. This is where I really had a problem with the game. Especially in action games, it’s important to keep the pace of the game fast and fluid. Darksiders is not the latter. The cumbersome controls really only effect combat negatively, although it can also be a pain in some of the dungeon levels. There you’ll have to sometimes hold one of the face buttons on the controller while pressing another face button above the one you’re holding. Again, not too bad, but it’s unnecessary.
I felt that combat completely fell apart due to the afore-mentioned button scheme of holding/pressing multiple buttons. One of the shoulder buttons is used to do three different things in combat, some of which would be handy to do in conjunction with one another; but this cannot be done, because the game has one of the buttons you need in use doing something else that you need done. For example, you may be holding the block button but then have to hold the left shoulder button to lock on. But that button also controls lock-on (which by the way is nothing but a center screen button) and dashing. Hitting both would result in a party attack of sorts. I found myself running around in circles around the enemies trying to lock on, or block. Pretty much whatever I wanted to do was not what War would enact on screen. Then I realized just how easy the game was when I simply ran around the enemies and struck, and it lost a lot of its luster with that realization. I also felt that it lacked an overall visceral-ness that other action games of its ilk have. In Darksiders the player can initiate some cinematic type kills (a la God of War), but without having to press buttons in time to keep the sequence going. While it’s nice to see all that’s going on without having to anticipate the next button press, some added oomph here would have helped, I felt. All in all, Darksiders is a mediocre game that will take the average player about 10-12 hours to complete. The player can back-track through levels, but the only advantage is extra orbs to power up as no items present themselves upon further exploration. Suffice to say, it’s just a pretty straightforward play-through. The shoddy controls could have been fixed by having, say, a stance button where each stance has some of the allotted moves in the game, broken up to clean up the button clutter. I rate Darksiders (for XBOX360/PS3) a 5/10. ______ Hugh Starkey has lived in the valley his whole life, which is how long he’s been playing video games. That makes him wonder if he himself is living in a game…
Sierra Foothill Conservancy: Upcoming Open Houses, Hikes, and Classes by J E SSI HAF E R
he Sierra Foothill Conservancy (SFC), established in 1996, boasts four preserve areas just a short drive away that can be enjoyed through their weekend classes and hikes or their two March open houses. As wildflowers and nicer weather arrive in March, this is a great time of year to see what these local treasures have to offer.
by CHU CK M CN ALLY
n November 22nd, 1993, the first annual Chavez march and celebration took place, honoring his life, his legacy of nonviolent struggle, and the renaming of Kings Canyon, Ventura and California Ave. Over 5,000 people marched down Cesar Chavez Boulevard that day, though the City Council refused to give them a march permit, and revoted to kill Chavez Blvd about a week and a half later.
On Saturday March 27th of this year, people from all over Fresno and the surrounding communities will gather to celebrate the life and struggles of Cesar Chavez at 9am at Holmes Park (on First and Huntington Blvd). The march will start around 10am, food and entertainment will begin at around noon, and the celebration will continue into the afternoon til around 3pm. ______ Chuck McNally was raised in Fresno and graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in Ethnic Studies after spending many years involved in various campus and community struggles, including working with Berkeley Copwatch.
W Bullard Ave
N Palm Ave
houses, SFC offers periodic guided hikes of varying difficulties. SFC requests reservations for these hikes, which are free to the public, though donations are welcome. Upcoming hikes are being held on March 6, 7, 21, and 27 and on April 3, 10, 11, 17, 18, and 24. Visit their website for hike descriptions and locations. SFC also offers more indepth classes for $15 for nonmemMarch 13 from 9am to 4pm bers. Upcoming classes, led by local is the McKenzie Table Mountain experts, include “Natural History of Preserve Open House and Plein Air the McKenzie Preserve” on March Paint Out. During this event, the 20, “Wildflowers on the McKenzie public is welcome to explore the trails Preserve” on March 27, “Writing and wildflowers, bring a picnic, and about Nature in the Sierra Foothills” observe the “Plein Air” (French for on April 10, “Wildlife on the “open air”) artist invitational, which McKenzie” on April 11 at 9am, features several artists (including a “Cultural Uses of Sierra Nevadan previous Undercurrent cover artist, Plants” on April 17, “Bats at Brianna Johnson-Smeds) in action, McKenzie Preserve” on June 4, and painting the landscape. The event is free, and no reservation is necessary. more. Advanced registration is SFC is also holding an open required. For more information, visit house of their newest preserve—the or call www.sierrafoothill.org Fine Gold Creek Preserve—on March 559.855.3473. 21 from 10am to 4pm. In addition to these open
Chavez Vive!! 17th Annual Cesar Chavez March and Celebration
Valley Water Consortium by W I LPF
he Sustainable Action Club of Fresno City College, as a part of the Valley Water Consortium, will host a Central Valley Water Forum: “Facts vs. Fictions” on Saturday, March 13, 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. in the Social Science Building at Fresno City College. This event will feature some of the region’s most knowledgeable speakers on water and related issues. Journalist/author Mark Arax will introduce speakers David Cehrs, Lloyd Carter, Barbara Barrigan-Parilla, Dan Bacher and Maria Herrera. A Q & A period will be moderated by veteran newsman Bill Murphy.
Afternoon breakout sessions will examine Community Rights to Health vs. Corporate Rights to Profits, Jobs and Water, Land Use Planning, Central Valley Salinity Issues, and Where Our Water is Going. The final session of the day will be a debate on the proposed $11.14 billion water bond measure coming up on the November, 2010 General Election ballot. The event is free but you must register. Go to www.revivethesanjoaquin.org, download the form, and mail it in with your check for $6 if you want a box lunch. You may also brown-bag it. Remember: It’s YOUR water. It’s MY water. It’s OUR water.
Spirit of 60s Activist Coming to Peace and Justice Festival
he 1960s and 70s were dominated by the war in Viet Nam, the Civil Rights Movement and by the expansion of personal expression and consciousness, as exemplified by the music of the Beatles. Today the Spirit of the 60s is alive and well and will be “haunting” Peace Fresno’s Peace and Justice Festival, to be held March 21st from 12:30 to 5:00 PM in the Jr. Exhibit Building at the Big Fresno Fairgrounds.
by PE A CE F RE SN O
Voices for Creative Non-Violence, www.vcnv.org. Kelly has dedicated her life to activism with a com-
This spirit will be most clearly embodied by actor Thomas Ian Nicholas, who portrays the colorful 60s anti-war Thomas Ian Nicholas as Abbie Hoffman, activist Abbot Howard wearing “flag shirt” “Abbie” Hoffman in the upcoming film “The mitment that rises to the level of Chicago 8.” Nicholas, who at 29 Gandhi and the Rev. Dr. Martin has more than 40 movie and televiLuther King, Jr. sion appearances to his credit, will The Festival will open appear at the Peace and Justice with musical entertainment from Festival in the character of Abbie the Raging Grannies and the Hoffman. He will deliver a speech Sanger Academy Charter School as Hoffman and will mingle with Guitar Ensemble. Following the the crowd in character before perspeakers, the entertainment will forming a set of his own songs. continue with Fresno’s stunning The specter of the 60s will contin- Flamenco Moderno group Ibice, ue with a talk by Rick followed by Thomas Ian Nicholas, Reyes, a former Marine and Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who has testified against our involvement in Afghanistan before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Reyes will be followed by the keynote speaker, author/activist Kathy Kelly, a three time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize and co-founder of
whose musical style (think John Mayer meets the Beatles) will surprise you with its strength and passion. Closing the Festival will be local favorites Blake Jones and the Trike Shop, presenting an eclectic mix of interests deeply influenced by the musical revolution of the 60s. The Peace and Justice Festival, aka “The Rally in the Valley” is held in March each year to mark the beginning of the war in Iraq on March 20, 2003. This year it is growing and moving indoors to the solar powered Big Fresno Fairgrounds. It will be an afternoon of live music, entertainment, food, information, and political action, bringing together a variety of Central Valley groups that are working toward a just, peaceful, and sustainable community and planet. Participants will have an opportunity to browse the informational tables of these groups and talk with their representatives. Vendors have been included for the first time this year. Over 70 groups and vendors are expected. Health and wellness representatives will be on site and local craftspeople will be selling their hand-made goods. There will be a “kids zone” with a magician, Uncle Bill Warner. Admission and parking are both free! Additional information is available at www.peacefresno.org.
Dear Nocketback, Normally, your advice is utterly repulsive and I find your column to be more problematic than beneficial. However, my mom reads this and loves you, for some god-forsaken reason, so, here I am. I am not exactly sure, but I believe my girlfriend might be a lesbian. How can I tell? —Wool Over Eyes Dear WOW, During my professional love making tenure, I’ve come across many lesbians. (Jesus, that sentence sounds nasty when I re-read it.) Anyhow, I’ll break it down for you in numerical form so you can take it with you on the go. She’s probably a lesbian if… (1) When going to the gym, she ONLY works out her back and bicep. (2) She has four tattoos and all of them are on her forearms. (3) She has coached anything. (4) When her haircut screams Harry Potter (the first movie)—and not Hermione (5) At any point during lovemaking, she calls you Six, from the hit 80s TV show Blossom. —Yours, Nicky Nocky Dear Nocketback, I am in love with a gangster. Truly, she’s a genuine gang member. She’s incredibly hot, and can, at times, be incredibly sweet, but my god is she frightening. On the real, she’s crazy. I’ve seen her take 10 straight shots of tequila. Get in fights with dudes. She’s got dog paws on her neck and scars on her stomach. She has 3 kids and sees
none of them. She’s a hot mess, and I love it. I’ve never been attracted to chicks like this but she’s got me sprung. She’s completely horrible for me and I don’t know what to do. Even if I wanted to leave, I couldn’t. She’ll have me shot or jumped or worse. I mean her uncle has a tattoo on his face, for god sakes. —OG Vato
Nocketback continued next page...
here. Real talk: you need to cut and run with this one—no pun intended. If you don’t leave soon, she’ll have Dear OGV, you barefoot and bloated in the Well, this is a highly volatile kitchen ironing the red rags for all sitchy and you should tread lightly her homies—and being a bloated adult male in the kitchen of a female Bulldog gang member is nothing if not ludicrous. However, you’ve written me in your time of need, knowing how I’ve helped save thousands of local lives from utter disaster. Here’s what you do: answer me this, what’s the fastest way for a man in this lifestyle to flee the scene from a woman?...C’mon, think harder…there it is: you have to get her knocked up. Yes sir, as you’ve seen in the past, she has kids and then doesn’t see them or the man anymore. It’s your only choice. Tap that ass unprotected and get free. —G’s Up, Ho’s Down
March 2010 Issue