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Shut down by the coronavirus pandemic, live performances slowly return— thanks to vaccines by Jason


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See Sample Ballot page 18



A UGUS T 5 , 20 21



Vol. 44, Issue 14 • August 5, 2021 OPINION


Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Second & Flume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Guest Comment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 This Modern World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Streetalk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7




Downstroke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Will PG&E rebuild Miocene Canal?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Chico City Council’s new conservatives . . . . . . . . . . 12 Why the monarchs are disappearing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16



Bring back the Arts!




August Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Reel World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Scene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Arts DEVO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Brezsny’s Astrology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34


353 E. Second St., Chico, CA 95928 Our Mission: To publish great newspapers that are successful and enduring. To create a quality work environment that encourages employees to grow professionally while respecting personal welfare. To have a positive impact on our communities and make them better places to live. Editor at large Melissa Daugherty Interim Editor Jason Cassidy Contributing Editor Evan Tuchinsky Staff Writers Ashiah Scharaga, Ken Smith Calendar Editor/Editorial Assistant Trevor Whitney

Contributors Alastair Bland, Juan-Carlos Selznick, Robert Speer Managing Art Director Tina Flynn Publications & Advertising Designers Cathy Arnold, Katelynn Mitrano, Jocelyn Parker Sales & Business Coordinator Jennifer Osa Advertising Consultant Ray Laager Distribution Lead Trevor Whitney Distribution Staff Michael Gardner, Drew Garske, Jackson Indar, Bill Unger, Richard Utter, David Wyles

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President/CEO Jeff vonKaenel Director of Nuts & Bolts Deborah Redmond Director of Dollars & Sense Miranda Hansen Accounting Staff Gus Trevino Developer John Bisignano System Support Specialist Kalin Jenkins Got a News Tip? chiconewstips@newsreview.com Post Calendar Events chico.newsreview.com/calendar Want to Advertise? cnradinfo@newsreview.com Editorial Policies: Opinions expressed in CN&R are those of the authors and not of Chico Community Publishing, Inc. Contact the editor for permission to reprint articles or other portions of the paper. CN&R is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or review materials. Email letters to cnrletters@newsreview.com. All letters received become the property of the publisher. We reserve the right to print letters in condensed form and to edit them for libel. Advertising Policies: All advertising is subject to the newspaper’s Standards of Acceptance. The advertiser and not the newspaper assumes the responsibility for the truthful content of their advertising message. CN&R is printed at PressWorks Ink on recycled newsprint. CN&R is a member of Chico Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Chico Business Association, AAN and AWN.

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COVID surge: self-inflicted consequence Bfinancial the coronavirus as anyone. The isolation, strain and other effects of the global

tests are coming up positive. Doctors there are seeing the biggest surge since February. Butte County’s uptick has already begun. Two deaths were reported in July. pandemic have greatly impacted our personal Hospitalizations have increased. The case lives and business model. Like others, we’d count of 209 during the week of July 20-26 hoped to be back to life as usual by now, was nearly double of that recorded the roughly 17 months after the initial state previous week. lockdown. But for various reasons, such plans Such data doesn’t bode well for our have been upended. region, its medical facilities or its vulnerable First off, the virus is mutating. Presently, population. What’s further concerning are at least in the United States, communities the unknowns presented by Butte County’s are becoming overwhelmed by the highly K-12 schools reopening full steam this contagious Delta variant. In fact, accordmonth. The majority of elementary and ing to the director of the U.S. Centers for junior high students are excluded from Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle vaccination, as it is accessible only to those Walensky, it’s among the “most infectious ages 12 and older. Fortunately, the state respiratory viruses” known to scientists. mandates masking indoors at Indeed, as of late July, public schools. the Delta strain accounted On another bright note, the for nearly 85 percent Such data California State University of COVID cases in the nation. Meanwhile, as doesn’t bode system is requiring all students, faculty and staff be vaccinated. Walensky reported during a July 22 press briefing, well for our It’s a good thing considering the university’s primary attendees the total number of cases are “young invincibles,” folks region ... shot up more than 50 who in many cases believe they percent from the previous are immune to illness. In a recent week. More bad news: study by UC San Francisco, a quarter of Hospitalizations and deaths spiked 32 unvaccinated people between the ages of 18 percent and 19 percent, respectively. and 24 reported they “probably would not” Here’s the thing: This uptick wasn’t or “definitely would not” get the vaccine. beyond our control. See, 97 percent of those Last week, the California Department of hospitalized for coronavirus eschewed vacciPublic Health recommended everyone, even nation. Moreover, 99.5 percent of domestic the vaccinated, wear face coverings indoors, COVID deaths were unvaccinated people. and some counties—including Los Angeles Despite communities having ample and Sacramento—are requiring masks. supplies of the vaccine and knowing that According to Butte County Public Health’s it’s effective against the disease, hesitation spokeswoman, local health officials are not remains. reintroducing a mask mandate at this time. California, with approximately 52.5 Thing is, those who refuse vaccination percent of the population now fully are the least likely to voluntarily wear inoculated, ranks 18th in the nation for masks. Fact is, there’s a large segment vaccination. But the state’s poor perforof Butte County’s population that has no mance is impressive when compared with regard for the well-being of others. Butte County’s lackluster local rate of 39.5 When a surge happens in earnest, and percent, as of the CN&R’s deadline. Our people start falling ill and dying, it will be rural neighbor to the west, Glenn County, a sad reflection of our community. It didn’t had a higher rate of vaccination. have to go this way, but at this point, pleadRegions with lower vaccination rates are ing with the community to get vaccinated hardest hit. Take, for example, St. Louis, feels a bit like shouting into the void. So Mo., where 44 percent of the population is buckle up and take care of your own. fully vaccinated and 12 percent of COVID Ω

SECOND & FLUME by Melissa Daugherty m e l i s s a d @ n e w s r e v i e w. c o m

elieve us when we say we’re as sick of

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Tell us what you think in a letter to the editor. Send submissions of 200 or fewer words to cnrletters@newsreview.com. Deadline for September print edition is August 25.

AUGUST 5, 2021

A dark cloud Love isn’t enough. I learned that the hard way during childhood, when people I was close to deeply hurt and disappointed me. But never in adulthood has that lesson been so in my face as during this persistent pandemic. It’s been agonizing to watch certain family members flout lockdowns and mask mandates—and now, on the brink of another massive surge of COVID-19, refuse to get vaccinated. It’s maddening on so many levels, and it’s been eating me up inside. See, my family knows what’s at stake. Over the past year, the disease has claimed the lives of two relatives, both of whom spent the bulk of their last days in this earthly realm isolated from the people who love them. This includes my sweet grandfather, who contracted the virus at his assisted-living facility and passed away six days before Christmas, just a few weeks before vaccines were given to elderly folks in his area. I didn’t get to say goodbye to him in the hospital or when he was released for hospice care in what turned out to be his last hours. It pains me to know that he spent the twilight of his life with strangers, rather than the people who knew how special he was. I’m still working through the stages of grief, a process prolonged by the actions of the living. Indeed, all of my pain, guilt and anger is amplified by the fact that numerous people in my family have remained so willfully ignorant about the virus and what must be done to contain it. In a sane world, the death of cherished loved ones would result in deep reflection and the determination to help ensure that others in society don’t get infected and die. At the very least, it should trigger an instinct for self-preservation. For me, the most painful realization is that not even the health of vulnerable family members, including my medically fragile child, has been reason enough for certain relatives to get pricked in the arm. My son is too young to get the vaccine, and the job of keeping him safe weighs heavily on my mind. It stings to hear about how beloved he is from people who refuse to make a small sacrifice to protect him. As a mother who’d do anything to keep her son safe, it’s hard to fathom how they can reconcile such defiance with that love. The decision has made me question much in this life. It’s opened my memory hole, the place I’ve stored some disturbing realities about my family. I hadn’t confronted them till now, when life and death is on the line. It’s made me question who I am. Worse yet, I’ve come to question love itself. I’m not ashamed to admit that I literally begged one particular relative to get the vaccine. Sadly, it did nothing. I’m thankful for the people close to me who have been vaccinated. Still, the outliers keep a dark cloud hanging over our family. I’d never expected to be so utterly let down in my adult life, and considering the body count in our nation—nearly 630,000 at press time—I’m certain this kind of trauma is relatable for so many others. The pandemic has been an existential hellscape, and it’s depressing to think that it’s going to be here for quite some time. Again, I’ve come back to one conclusion: Love isn’t enough. It’s just not. As our editorial this month conveys, Butte County’s vaccination rate is lagging. Big time. Meanwhile, the Delta variant appears to be making the rounds. After a bit of a lull, we’re on the upswing in every category related to COVID-19. Case counts, hospitalizations and deaths are increasing. The positivity rate is at an all-time high. There’s no simple answer when it comes to why my family members—why anyone— would reject the science regarding vaccination. Politics, propaganda, anti-intellectualism and isolation all play a role. Maybe it’s a fetishized notion of rugged individualism, which, in these circumstances, I view as selfishness and a lack of compassion. I still hope that, at some point, perhaps when the vaccines are finally approved by the FDA, my loved ones will cave. In the meantime, especially with this new COVID wave, I’ll continue to worry about them. For those facing similar circumstances, I’m so sorry. I don’t have much to offer, other than my empathy. For what it’s worth, you’re not alone.


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Survival through art hen a dear friend was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis,

“Poetry,” she requested, “bring me poems.” Similarly, the poet Maggie Smith has said she knows when something tragic happens in the world because her viral poem “Good Bones” begins to make rounds on the internet again, shared by millions to millions of readers looking for language to sooth, resonate, and explain something about our suffering. Here, we say, take this distillation of image and sound by and understand newly. And, Sarah Pape miraculously, we do. The author is an Of course, I lean into poems instructor and editor at Chico State. because that is my form, my portal into the ineffable, but the same could be said for visual art, music, theater and dance. Our community is home to galleries, museums and performance venues that for decades have offered artistic awakening, healing and connection.

Chico has launched and supported many artists on their way to becoming—in part, because we comprise stellar audiences and enthusiasts, like the best parents and collaborators, watching, listening, as if to say, Keep making! Keep imagining! And while some of these spaces weathered the pandemic, others didn’t. As with so much right now, this is a loss we’ve only begun to measure. In her book on creative process, What It Is, the writer and artist Lynda Barry says image is “the soul’s immune system and transit system.” This definition holds new meaning for me after this year and a half of virus and quarantine. Made to stay inside, I witnessed myself and others reaching for art in ways that felt more like survival. At times when online teaching felt futile in the face of so much unrest, my students said writing kept them sane, grounded. I was reminded again: Art is not a luxury, it is a necessary element of human life. We take the material of our experience and transform it. Memory becomes sonnet. Loneliness becomes song. Fire becomes sculpture. And in this way, we continue forward—Chico will move forward—reimagining all Ω that’s been lost.

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Cop on council? Michael O’Brien spoke to the [Chico City] Council on July 20. There were some red flags in his comments. Initially, he said District Attorney Mike Ramsey asked him to run. To critics of the DA, this should be alarming. During O’Brien’s short turn as police chief, the department was involved in the killings of four civilians. This should be alarming. Mr. O’Brien never revealed to the taxpayers the cost of these killings, including settlement costs, lost staff time, increased legal fees, additional training courses and increased insurance premiums paid by taxpayers due to legal actions filed against the city in three of the killings. The Chico Police Department already controls nearly 50 percent of the city’s annual budget. Hold on to your wallet if he is appointed a council member. To the taxpayers this should be alarming. Scott Rushing Ventura

Editor’s note: O’Brien was appointed to the council on July 27; see “Like minds,” page 12.

Stop supporting cigs We were surprised to see full-page advertisements promoting Big Tobacco with the Lucky Strike ads in the June and July issues of the Chico News & Review. The tobacco found in cigarettes, in brands like Lucky Strike, damages nearly every organ of the body and is the leading cause of preventable death in America. Smoking and tobacco product use cause many chronic conditions such as cancers and lung disease, and contribute to diabetes and heart disease. In Butte County, the tobacco use rate is nearly twice the state average (20.6 percent vs. 11.3 percent, respectively). To protect those we serve from the harmful effects of tobacco, the Nicotine Action Alliance of Butte County encourages community stakeholders, like the Chico News & Review, to support messages promoting physical health and mental well-being. The state of California has set the longterm goal of ending the sale of tobacco by 2035, and if you would like to help move the needle in the local efforts, please join our coalition. Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month, 3-4:30 p.m. (Call 552-3933.) Suzie Lawry-Hall  Chico

No place for bullies Are we really confronting the bullies? At the Thursday Night Market, my 13-year-old 6


AUGUST 5, 2021

son was openly harassed by a man hissing the word “gay” as he passed him by. I’m here to tell those bullies who stalk our streets that this young bright star is more a man than you will ever be. We adopted our son when he was only 6. He’d already gone through more than people twice my age have any right to. He then not only survived the Camp Fire but saved his entire new family and over 100 animals from it. Afterward, he went on to survive the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting. If my son takes his brave, happy, little tush downtown to meet up with some friends, I will let him wear whatever the heck he wants because choosing to be proud of himself is brave, too, especially in the face of men like you. By the way, he’s pan, not gay. Get with the times. Jessie Olson   Oroville

‘Can’t fix stupid’ Wearing masks inside—it’s the smart thing to do. Unfortunately, the policy of not having to wear masks indoors (provided you’ve been vaccinated) has been a great excuse for non-vaxxers to go maskless. I guess they believe it’s their right. Perhaps they also feel it’s their right to infect others. Maybe it’s all just a big hoax. All the doctors, scientists, virologists, nurses, etc. all are conspiring against us. I don’t think so. Yeah, everyone is sick of wearing masks. (Now we can wear them outside as well, thanks to the air quality from the latest round of fires.) To all you non-mask people: Don’t let them take away your freedom. Don’t wear a mask. But why stop there? Refuse to wear shirts and shoes in restaurants. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t drive while drunk. Don’t fall into the conspiracy of law enforcement trying to get everyone to drive the speed limit. Keep the government out of your life by rejecting unemployment benefits, disability benefits, Medicare and of course Social Security. Feel free to sign your checks over to me. I’d hate for anyone to have to compromise their principles by taking any sort of government “handouts.” The saying “you can’t fix stupid” has never been more relevant. Bill Unger Chico

Write a letter  Tell us what you think in a letter to the editor. Send submissions of 200 or fewer words to cnrletters@newsreview.com. Deadline for September print publication is August 25.


Feel safe going to a concert (with COVID still around)? Asked in downtown Chico

Alix MacDonald university employee

No. Well, outdoor and masked, that’s my caveat. I would feel safe socially distanced and masked as needed.

Krystle Tonga university employee

I think even masked and outdoors is unrealistic. When you’re at a concert, it’s hot, you’re in the moment, you just kind of want to enjoy the space. With all the cases that have come from festivals and concerts, I don’t know. It doesn’t feel safe. I would respect other people’s choice to go to a concert; I don’t think that I would go to a concert.

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Yeah, sure. As long as there are some guidelines and some distance between people. Unfortunately, we can’t mosh right now.

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Rena Eley casino employee

Yes, I do. I’m not afraid of COVID.

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With COVID-19 numbers rising and vaccinations lagging, Butte County Public Health is holding mobile clinics this month to supplement fixed locations administering vaccines. BCPH has clinics this afternoon (Aug. 5) at Nelson Middle School in Oroville, 4-6 p.m., and this evening at Notre Dame School in Chico, 6-8 p.m. Clinics move to the Gridley WIC Office on Tuesday (Aug. 10), 7-9 a.m., and Durham Memorial Hall on Wednesday (Aug. 11) and Sept. 1, both 3-5:30 p.m. Go to buttecounty.net/ph/COVID19/vac cine for appointments, though walk-ins are welcome, and for updates on mobile clinics. The webpage also lists pharmacies and community vaccination clinics with inoculations available regularly. As of the CN&R’s deadline, BCPH had recorded 13,176 coronavirus cases in the county since the start of the pandemic, including 200 deaths. New cases nearly doubled week-on-week last month. Meanwhile, Butte County ranked in the lower half of California counties in vaccination rates. BCPH, citing state Public Health figures, reported 45.9 percent of vaccineeligible residents (ages 12 and up) as fully vaccinated and 52 percent receiving at least one dose—compared to statewide rates of 63 percent and 72.5 percent, respectively.

In good faith? Struggling through a third parched summer, Miocene Canal users fear PG&E may not restore the water system


Chico Scrap Metal will stop collecting CRV (California Refund Value) materials Friday (Aug. 6), citing its ongoing legal battle with the city of Chico. The action is the latest in a decadeplus-long saga (see “Far from settled,” Newslines, Aug. 9, 2018). CSM was originally ordered by the city in 2006 to move from its East 20th Street location within five years but received multiple extensions. In 2016, pressed by a referendum effort led by a citizens group called Move The Junkyard, the City Council overturned an ordinance that would have allowed the business to stay, and legal wrangling continues. “Chico Scrap Metal must re-structure and financially prepare for this very costly task and therefore stop business practices that are more service driven than profit making,” a statement on CSM’s website reads. The business will continue to collect other scrap metal. Aside from CSM, the nearest largescale recycling centers are located in Oroville, but a number of Chico locations do in-store CRV redemption; check CalRecycle’s website for information (calrecycle.ca.gov).



AUGUST 5, 2021


Ashiah Scharaga as h i a h s @new srev i ew. c o m

GValley of a dying olive tree in her Butte orchard. The trees are over 120

ail Tozier placed her hand upon the bark

years old, she said, and haven’t been irrigated since November 2018, when the Camp Fire raged through the foothills and destroyed the orchard’s life force: the Miocene Canal. “It’s so depressing to look at them,” Tozier said with a heavy sigh. Her family used to produce awardwinning olive oils, but without water—save winter rains—the orchard isn’t producing viable olives. Tozier Ranch products have lost their spot on the shelves of many major and local retailers. Tozier has yet to quantify the loss—even the trees that are still alive will “never produce like they used to,” she said. This year’s drought is a challenge for most farmers in California, but for Tozier and others in this portion of Butte County, longterm survival has depended on the historic Miocene. Life without the canal—which is largely

owned by PG&E, whose equipment started the 2018 Camp Fire—has been devastating for farmers, ranchers and families living adjacent to the man-made waterway. Known for its series of flumes, the Miocene has run dry for three consecutive summers. During that time, longtime agricultural users have called on PG&E to restore the infrastructure, not only to secure their livelihood but also to preserve wildlife and defend the region against future wildfires. PG&E originally balked at the cost of repairing the canal, choosing to explore alternatives. In the meantime, it delivered some water to Miocene customers. Then, last summer, the company pledged to dedicate $15 million toward providing water access over the next five years while longterm solutions were explored. But for farmers reliant on the Miocene, little progress has occurred over the past year. In fact, facing drought in addition to the loss of their primary water source, many feel more desperate than ever as they await news that could make or break them. Last week, PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno said via email that engineering designs for repair of the Miocene should be completed by the end of this month. The plan will be used to determine requirements for permits and entitlements from local,

state and federal agencies and for final review and consideration for approval by PG&E management. And therein lies the rub: PG&E has not specifically pledged to embark on a rebuild, the cost of which is not yet public but is estimated to exceed the company’s initial commitment. Moreno said that the company cannot speculate on what-ifs but added that “should PG&E not approve spending more than the committed $15 [million], the remaining funding would likely be used to continue to deliver water to local residents but would also be available to contribute towards other long-term water delivery solutions.”

Drop in the bucket Since July 2019, PG&E has delivered 5,000 gallons of water per week to Miocene customers who’ve requested it. However, that volume of water is a proverbial drop in the bucket, farmers say—nowhere near what they need to irrigate thousands of acres of parched ag land and stave off future fires. In 2020, PG&E began offering water deliveries to households that were never paying customers but had benefited from the Miocene leaking, creating a lush envi-

Gail Tozier stands before a dried-up pond on her property in Butte Valley. PHOTO BY ASHIAH SCHARAGA

ronment. The canal—a system of ditches and wood-supported metal channels—was originally created in the late 1860s or early 1870s by the Miocene Gold-Mining Co. Recently, PG&E started delivering 10,000 gallons per week and 2,500-gallon water tanks to seven users who requested additional supplies, Moreno said. For Kurt Albrecht, owner of Chaffin Family Orchards, PG&E’s deliveries have helped provide water for his cattle, but his family had to tear out 30 acres of dead and dying peach and apricot trees. They’re keeping 20 acres of citrus trees alive with water from a family reservoir that filled to only onethird capacity this year. “We’re starting low on water and basically trying to spread the water thin enough to keep the trees alive to get through the summer,” he said. It’s a financial hit that has required him to dip into savings to pay the bills and keep his employees on payroll. Chaffin Family Orchards has been farming at a loss for three seasons post-Camp Fire, Albrecht said. The hardest part is the uncertainty, he added. “At this point, we can’t even make replant plans, ’cause I don’t know if the water is gonna come back. [PG&E’s] actions have been so questionable. … I’m gonna wait till

there’s water in the canal till we start planting,” he said. Meanwhile, even domestic water use is a concern. Some families are rationing water for everyday needs such as showering and toilet flushing; dirty clothes are hauled to laundromats in town. Ed Cox, spokesman for the Miocene Canal Coalition (an advocacy group made up of water beneficiaries), is familiar with such conservation practices. He’s spent $30,000 adding storage facilities to his property and pumping his wells to fill ponds that are used by his cattle and for fire suppression, he said. And as much as he’s invested, he knows of neighbors who’ve spent more to secure water. Everyone in the valley is hurting, he said, but the drought has made things particularly painful. In previous dry spells, the canal helped locals get by, Cox said. In his family’s case, it fed a nearby creek that ran year-round and kept his ponds full. The creek has since dried up. “It’s a matter of survivability, not profitability,” he said. “What do you do? Do you sit your family down and say: ‘We have no water. Are we moving, are we going to try to sell our property and go ahead and move on?’”

‘Beyond frustrated’ Stakeholder meetings after the Camp Fire, including explorations of solutions such as installing a pipe to siphon water from Lake NEWSLINES C O N T I N U E D

O N PA G E 1 0

The Miocene Canal (shown in red) spans 25 miles, from Magalia to Oroville. MAP BY TINA FLYNN

AUGUST 5, 2021




C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 9

Oroville and connecting to Ridge irrigation districts, resulted in deadends. Tensions mounted between the utility and water beneficiaries. At one point, Paul Gosselin, the former director of Butte County’s Department of Water and Resource Conservation, chided PG&E for its lack of substantive participation and told property owners to seek legal counsel and file in PG&E’s ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. Though PG&E made the announcement last summer to commit $15 million toward restoring water access, a permanent long-term solution wasn’t specifically identified. Butte County Supervisor Bill Connelly, whose district encompasses this portion of Butte Valley, said the county has participated in the meetings to “try to help the people there that have been dewatered.” Connelly said that the county’s $252 million settlement with PG&E will be used for impacts to county government and infrastructure, not for impacts to individuals or privately owned utilities. “I don’t know what’s going to happen until they come out

with their [engineering] study and PG&E exposes themselves,” he said. “PG&E has kind of studied this to death, and they’re trying to limit their cost … In my mind, it’s unrealistic they can do it for $15 million. So it’s really [up to] the [district attorney].” Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey told the CN&R that PG&E’s pledge to dedicate $15 million to restoring water access to the canal was one made in “good faith”—made in a letter penned by former CEO and President Bill Johnson just before the company announced its plan to plead guilty to manslaughter charges for those killed in the Camp Fire. “I am committed to finding a solution for these residents while PG&E works with the community to find a long-term plan to replace water previously provided by the Miocene Canal,” Johnson wrote. In Ramsey’s view, “it certainly was the idea that that $15 million was to find that long-term [solution], be part of that long-term solution,” he said. PG&E provided Miocene beneficiaries with a $15 million estimate for repairs years ago.

Kurt Albrecht shows off an apricot tree two summers ago. His family had to tear out 30 acres of apricot and peach trees due to the Miocene Canal’s disrepair. CN&R FILE PHOTO

“That figure came from some place,” Ramsey added. “The context was the belief that that would be the solution.” He continued: “Is it enforceable? Enforceable in the court of public opinion, and I think PG&E is very concerned about that, let’s put it that way.” For the two dozen or so residents along this stretch of rural Butte County who are are contracted water users, their recourse is the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, he added. For those whose families have benefited from the canal’s seepage, the situation is “somewhat muddy,” Ramsey said, “by virtue of the fact that many of them had no water rights.” Albrecht is one such water user— with a contract so old it is written in miner’s inches—who chose to file in the lawsuit for fire victims. He says he’s yet to see a payout and anticipates that “there’s no way we’ll get full coverage. But there might be something.” Ryann Newman, whose family owns Aloha Ranch Inc., home of Ryann’s Happy Day Pony Ride and Fruit Caboose Concessions, received a USDA grant to help with the costs of installing a well at her property. This year, she was finally able to move her livestock back. They’ve been gone since summer 2019. The well has helped, but groundwater access in the region is spotty even outside of drought years. Newman expressed frustration at the drawn-out process of finding a solution with the utility company. According to a Butte County report from a Miocene Canal Workgroup meeting this past April, the earliest water could possibly be restored to the canal would be summer 2022, and that’s if PG&E decides to fund its repair. “We’re basically at square one to this day. And it’s incredibly disheartening for landowners who’ve watched their crops dry and had to move their animals,” Newman said. “We are beyond frustrated, I can tell you that.” The Miocene Canal in shambles after the Camp Fire. PHOTO BY SCOTT C. SHAW



AUGUST 5, 2021

Moreno of PG&E noted that the utility has spent time exploring myriad options for water access. Pumping water uphill from Lake Oroville and bringing in treated water from an irrigation district both proved unfeasible due to insufficient lake water levels, permitting and associated costs, he said. PG&E has already spent nearly $1 million on water deliveries and expenditures with engineering firms, according to the county’s report. For Newman and others, this is worrisome—the concern is that the company will continue to provide insufficient water deliveries instead of dedicating the $15 million it pledged toward a permanent solution. Moreno said that the $15 million was “broadly defined to support implementation of a plan to deliver water to local residents over the next five years,” and that the “costs to perform studies related to the evaluation of water delivery alternatives is consistent with the intended use of those committed funds.”

Scars from the Camp Fire Even with the water deliveries, olive farmer and rancher Tozier has had to cull her herd of cattle. Her husband has been running their backhoe constantly in order to take the water PG&E delivers from one tank to the different cattle troughs. “My husband and I are retired, and we’ve never worked harder in our lives,” she said. “How long will PG&E continue to bring us water? I have no idea. And if in fact they decide to rebuild the canal, how long will that take? There are too

many unknowns.” The uncertainty makes it impossible for anyone in the valley to make plans. As Tozier took the CN&R on a recent tour of her property, the skies above began filling with a smoky haze from the Dixie Fire. That blaze has consumed at least 67 structures and more than 248,000 acres across Butte and Plumas counties since igniting on July 14, and Cal Fire is investigating PG&E equipment as a potential cause. Last summer, the company pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the deaths of 84 people in the Camp Fire, as well as one felony count of unlawfully starting the 2018 blaze. Many victims who have filed in ongoing bankruptcy proceedings have yet to be compensated; meanwhile, KQED reported in May that the Fire Victim Trust in charge of compensating them has racked up over $50 million in overhead costs while disbursing $7 million to victims. For Tozier, the specter of the Camp Fire lingers, especially considering the Dixie Fire and current drought conditions. Cal Fire had not only used the Miocene to draft water to fight fires but had also drawn from ponds and springs throughout the area that are typically fed by the canal. Tozier’s property usually has ponds. Now, the landscape is bone dry. “I’m just so afraid of fires again in this area, especially when we have no water to protect our property,” said Tozier. “That’s the scariest part for me. Ω MORE


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Like minds Conservatives expand majority in filling out City Council story and photos by

Evan Tuchinsky

evant@ n ewsrev iew. com

W police chief last June, he fielded calls from people encouraging him to run for hen Michael O’Brien retired as Chico

City Council. The timing wasn’t right, he told the CN&R last Tuesday (July 27): After three decades in law enforcement, the last five leading Chico PD, he felt he owed his family his undivided attention. A year later, following the backto-back resignations of Councilman Scott Huber and Councilwoman Kami Denlay, O’Brien changed his mind. When approached to seek one of the replacement spots—by appointment—he put his name into a pool of 14 applicants for Huber’s at-large seat, alongside seven for Denlay’s District 3. O’Brien made it to the final round last Tuesday over the likes of former Councilman and Butte County Supervisor Larry Wahl, a current city planning commissioner, and former Vice Mayor Tom Nickell, a current board director of the Chico Area Recreation and Park District (CARD). After some pointed questioning of finalists, the four conservatives voted to fill the vacancies with the former chief and Dale Bennett, an architectural review board member and former planning commissioner who works in property management. O’Brien and Bennett were slated to be sworn in Tuesday (Aug. 3—after the CN&R’s print deadline), expanding the conservative majority to 6-1. Immediately after the appointments last week, Bennett declined to speak to the media, but O’Brien told the CN&R that he was excited to start serving on the council. “I need to kind of let this sink in, because I did not have a lot of time to



AUGUST 5, 2021

prepare, did not have a lot of time to think about it, other than we knew it was the right decision,” he said, referring to the support of his wife and family. “It’s a somewhat daunting task because of what’s going on in this community, but I think my experiences—particularly as chief, in crisis—will hopefully serve this council well, serve this community well, because I understand crisis leadership. “I learned some tough lessons: some good things, some bad things. I think that experience, given our current dynamic, will lend itself to this position.” Huber, a progressive whose term would have ended next year, resigned June 21 citing politically motivated harassment. Denlay, a conservative elected in November, stepped down June 27 amid questions about her residency (see “Out of bounds?” on chico.newsre view.com). By city charter, the council has 30 days to fill a vacancy by calling a special election or by appointment. The conservative majority decided on the latter process July 6. Both O’Brien and Bennett would need to run for re-election in 2022 to retain the seats, though O’Brien doesn’t intend to do so. “It’s a limited commitment; I have no aspirations of running for council again, I truly do not,” he said. “But if I can come in and lend whatever skills and leadership I’ve developed over the years, particularly my time as chief— we had a few things going on then as well—I was willing to take that step.” Former Chico Police Chief Michael O’Brien, appointed to the at-large City Council seat vacated by Scott Huber, says he doesn’t plan to run in 2022.

The decision After interviewing at the July 20 meeting, O’Brien and Bennett received four nominations each, the most of any applicants, with support from all the conservative council members. Alex Brown, the council’s lone progressive, nominated Planning Commissioner Bryce Goldstein for the atlarge position and no one for the District 3 slot. City Clerk Debbie Presson confirmed that the appointment votes mirrored these nominations. Finalists also included Jeffrey Glatz, chair of the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission (at-large); Amber Howard-

Michael O’Brien and Dale Bennett accept congratulations last Tuesday (July 27) after their appointment to the Chico City Council.

Brown, a Blue Oak School board member (District 3); and Sandra Husband, a program analyst and community volunteer (District 3). Brown questioned candidates about homelessness, affordable housing and police training. Mayor Andrew Coolidge also had questions, including an exchange with Goldstein, a transportation planner, about parking requirements. Coolidge told the CN&R that he had a harder time narrowing down the nominees than with the final vote. “I said at the onset of this process that I was looking for people who were calm, come to it with an idea of just serving and not have necessarily thoughts about pushing forward with a political future, who seemed to be here for the city and not for themselves,” he said. “I think they both fit that bill … . I think we have some calm, sensible people up there [already], and I think these choices were calm, sensible choices that’ll help move us through the issues we’re facing and hopefully calm the tenor of the conversation, calm the environment for Chico.” Goldstein expressed disappointment. She told the CN&R that she didn’t anticipate getting appointed, based on the nomination totals, though embraced the opportunity to speak to the council on substantive issues. “I think our community could defiNEWSLINES C O N T I N U E D

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nitely be represented better on City Council,” Goldstein said, adding: “They should have tried to make sure the people they appointed have similar backgrounds and viewpoints to the people who were serving [previously]. They don’t have to be exactly the same, but similar.”

The choices Of the two appointees, O’Brien is the more prominent, having served as police chief during a string of Butte County emergencies collaterally impacting the city— most notably the Camp Fire—and the fatal shootings of Desmond Phillips, Tyler Rushing and Stephen Vest by Chico PD officers. Five days ahead of the council appointment, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey announced O’Brien as head of the Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force. Bennett is an industrial and commercial property manager who, along with his city service, has been on the boards of the Chico Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Chico Business Association. In their appointment applications (available via chico.ca.us/ city-council within the July 20 agenda), O’Brien and Bennett listed similar priorities: primarily, addressing homelessness and safety. O’Brien, citing his work with the Jesus Center board as well as Chico PD, discussed his “unique perspective” toward homelessness that “involves both compassion and accountability,” which he reiterated at last Tuesday’s meeting. Bennett wrote of the city’s need to resolve the Warren v. Chico federal lawsuit (see “Court order: Stay” on chico. newsreview.com) and told the council last Tuesday that “people are moving to Chico for their minimal survival,” echoing a conservative talking point of homeless people as transients. Former Planning Commissioner John Howlett, who served with Bennett, said the architectural review board “seemed to me to be a very good fit for him. I don’t necessarily see him as someone who’s ever [been] perceived as being very interested to be on the council, so I think he was hand-picked to kind of go along with how the conservative Ω majority is going to vote.” more



AUGUST 5, 2021


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Fight The Bite!



AUGUST 5, 2021



NEWSLINES The population of western monarch butterflies has declined by 99.9 percent since the 1980s. PHOTO COURTESY OF RIVER PARTNERS

Regal restoration

Preservation groups work to revive dwindling monarchs, pollinator species


Evan Tuchinsky eva nt @new srev i ew. c o m

KOroville decade, most notably the past five years—working at Wildlife Area as a scientist for the California im Armstrong misses the monarchs. Over the past

Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), as well as the Chico-based nonprofit River Partners—she’s seen “a rapid decline” in the number of monarch butterfly caterpillars on the blossoms of milkweed plants. Her observations correlate with broader California data indicating a 99.9 percent decline of western monarchs since the 1980s. Implications transcend the butterflies themselves. “Monarchs are important [because] they’re kind of an iconic keystone species,” Armstrong told the CN&R on a recent morning at the wildlife area. “They’re a really good indicator for problems in the ecosystem, but they’re also just a large, colorful butterfly that the public can get involved in appreciating and conserving—and when you conserve an area for one species, you’re inadvertently conserving an area for a lot of other species.” That’s what Armstrong, a restoration biologist, is doing with colleagues at the Oroville Wildlife Area. It’s one of eight sites around California—four Kim Armstrong, a restoration biologist for River Partners, at a in the North Valley—where River Partners and monarch butterfly restoration site several organizations are restoring 595 acres in the Oroville Wildlife Area. of monarch habitat, funded by a $1.2 million PHOTO BY EVAN TUCHINSKY California Wildlife Conservation Board grant.



AUGUST 5, 2021

The Oroville restoration covers two locations totaling 80 acres, where around 1,500 milkweeds have been planted and irrigated. This is the first to be completed. The other Nor-Cal sites are the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area near Chico (around 50 acres), Feather River Wildlife Area near Yuba City (40 acres) and the Yolo Bypass Area near Sacramento. The remaining sites are by Modesto, Bakersfield, Los Banos and San Diego. “Monarchs are one of the few species of insects that most people can identify; it’s a species people know,” said Angela Laws, an endangered species conservation biologist with the Xerces Society, a group dedicated to protecting invertebrates. She and Washington State University biology professor Cheryl Schultz are designing the habitat plans and monitoring for the eight sites. “I think because of their unique behavior—how they migrate, overwinter, form these clusters—it’s an amazing thing, and I think it really captures people’s imaginations,” Laws continued. “People feel emotionally connected to it. Just from doing outreach, I can tell you, people are passionate about this butterfly, and I think people are more aware of it than other species that might be declining just as much as monarchs are.” Take native bees, monarchs’ fellow pollinators, as an example. Through extensive media coverage, many people know about the peril of honeybees, but far fewer know that California is home to 1,600 bee species. That morning at Oroville Wildlife Area, Laws found no monarchs on the new milkweeds, but tiny bees buzzed around the flowers—evidence of the side effect Armstrong called “inadvertently conserving an area for a lot of other species.” Oroville Wildlife Area Manager A.J. Dill told the CN&R on-site that gauging success doesn’t hinge on butterfly counts. “There are still places on this wildlife area that are barren moonscape from the dam area construction, all the way back to the mining days of yesteryear,” he said.

Oroville Wildlife Area Manager A.J. Dill. PHOTO BY EVAN TUCHINSKY

“All this land was basically tossed away as wasteland; no benefit to the public. Here we are—60, 70 years later—we’ve got this whole ecosystem in the works.”

Causes and effects Western monarchs, butterflies that migrate in the fall from the Rockies to the California coast, previously were prevalent, numbering around 4.5 million in the 1980s. But the most recent annual Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count—covering the 20202021 overwintering season— found less than 2,000 had come to spend the cold months, continuing a trend tracked by Xerxes Society researchers. River Partners and the Xerces Society connect the population decline to losses of habitat. While pesticides have decimated honeybees, herbicides have hit monarchs. Roughly 1,500 native milkweeds have been been planted in Oroville as part of a monarch habitat restoration project made possible by a California Wildlife Conservation Board grant. PHOTO BY EVAN TUCHINSKY

Milkweed, which often grew among crops, has declined across breeding grounds as farmers adopted plants genetically modified to withstand weedkiller, predominantly Roundup. A Sacramento judge ruled in November that insects are not covered under the California Endangered Species Act, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined in December that protecting monarchs under the federal Endangered Species Act “is warranted but precluded.” All these factors cue the habitat project. “Restoration is a process,” Laws said. “We’re not just going to flip a switch and now it’s perfect habitat. We’re in the process of improving this area, and over time we’ll see more and more pollinators come out. “We’ve seen a couple different species of native bees today, some native flies that are really important pollinators. So there’s diversity out here, and as this planting becomes more established, as there’s more flowering, I think we’re going to see more pollinators.” Added Dill: “Part of it is the activity level [at the project areas]. There’s a lot of activity right now. Once the plants take off on their own, it’s going to be different.” Cultivation at the Oroville site began last June. Laws said the dry winter and heat of spring and summer impacted milkweeds’ blooming. Planting at Upper Butte Basin will start this fall. Laws and her fellow researchers will regularly survey the sites to look for signs of monarchs, from caterpillars to full butterfly clusters. In any case, she continued, “for a lot of these sites, they’re going to be a lot better than the control [i.e., unrestored areas], which would have been just invasive grasses that provide no floral resources for monarchs or other pollinators. So, it’s an improvement, for Ω sure.”

AUGUST 5, 2021




202 1

Time to vote:

GOODS & SERVICES Ag/Growing Supplies Antiques store Appliance store Auto repair shop Auto paint/body shop Bank/credit union Bike shop Cab company Cannabis dispensary (within driving distance of Chico) Car dealership Car wash Convenience Store Day spa Dry cleaner Esthetician/waxing studio Feed store/farm supply Place for a mani/pedi Florist Gift shop Grocer Barbershop Hair salon Place to buy clothes Baby/kids’ clothier Jeweler Liquor store New Business (non-food service, open in last year) Nursery Pet groomer Local pet store Place to buy books Place for electronics/ computer repair Place to buy outdoor gear Place to buy home furnishings Shoe store Sporting goods Tattoo parlor Thrift store Attorney General contractor Financial planner (name and location) Insurance agent Landscaper



AUGUST 5, 2021

Our celebration of all the good stuff in Chico is finally here and you’re invited to be part of the Comeback! All you need to do is vote for your favorite people, places and things that make Chico such a great place to live and visit.

How to vote:

The polls are open now and voting takes place exclusively online where full contest rules are available. Categories are shown on this page.

Voting ends Sunday, Sept. 5, at 11:59 p.m. Outdoor living (patios, pergolas, pools, etc.) Plumber Professional photographer Housecleaning service House painter Real estate agent Roofer Solar company Tree service Window treatments

FOOD & DRINK Local restaurant – Chico Local restaurant – Oroville New eatery (open in last year) Food server (name and location) Delivery driver (COVID) Chef Caterer Cheap eats Craft beer selection Fine dining Patio Take-out/Curbside (COVID) Breakfast Brunch Lunch Munchies Bakery Diner Local coffee house International cuisine Asian cuisine Italian cuisine Mexican cuisine

Vegetarian cuisine Street food Barbecue Burger Burrito Ice cream/frozen yogurt Pho Pizza Sandwich Sushi Taco Local winery – Regional (Butte/Glenn/Tehama) Locally produced food – Regional (Butte/Glenn/Tehama) Local brewery – Regional (Butte/Glenn/Tehama)

HEALTH & WELLNESS Alternative health-care provider Acupuncture clinic Local CBD source Chiropractor Dental care Dermatologist Eye-care specialist General practitioner Hearing aid specialist Pediatrician Physical therapy office Veterinarian Massage therapist Gym Boutique gym Personal trainer Local Zoom workout (COVID)

www.chic obestof.c om

NIGHTLIFE & THE ARTS Bar Sports bar Watering hole for townies Mixologist (name and location) Happy hour Place to drink a glass of wine Margarita Bloody Mary To-go cocktail or bar service (COVID) Virtual local show (COVID) Place to dance Venue for live music Local music act Local visual artist Art space Place to buy art Theater company Casino – Regional (Butte/Glenn/Tehama)

COMMUNITY Charitable cause Community event (virtual or in-person) (COVID) Farmers’ market vendor Museum Place to pray/meditate Radio station Youth organization Local personality Instructor / professor Teacher (K-12) Volunteer Dance studio Golf course – Regional (Butte/Glenn/Tehama) Martial arts studio Yoga studio Place for family fun

Scan to VOTE now

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Arts &Culture THE MAVERICKS & LOS LOBOS August 12

Rolling Hills Casino

Company, 166 Eaton Road, Suite F. chicothe atercompany.com


Jigga Julee and a performance by Kinetics Academy of Dance. In the area near Rue21. Sat, 8/7, 1-3 p.m. Chico Marketplace, 1950 E. 20th St. shopchicomarketplace.com

OROVILLE FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY BOOKSALE: Book sale. Sat, 8/7, 10am. Butte County Library, Oroville Branch, 1820 Mitchell Ave. buttecounty.net

POP-UP RECORD SHOP: Browse vinyl from

Outpatient Records and hear music from a bunch of guest selectors. Sat, 8/7, 10am. Plant Love, 2267 Springfield Dr., Unit 110.

Music CANA ROAD BAND: Local six-piece band that plays blues, rock and country covers. Sat, 8/7, 4:30pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com

THE KELLY TWINS: Dueling-piano show by local

twin brothers Jon and Chris. Pre-sale only. Sat, 8/7, 7pm. $15. Argus Bar + Patio, 212 W. Second St. facebook.com/argusbar

NED LEDOUX: Wyoming-based country singer/ songwriter. Sat, 8/7, 9pm. $30. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com

AUGUST ALL MONTH Art CHICO ART CENTER: Discovery Series - Social Justice, artwork that demonstrates awareness of social justice issues and inspires conversation. The exhibit is dedicated to supporting emerging artists in Northern California. Through 8/8. Also: Visionary Art Legacy, an exhibit featuring paintings by artists from the original visionary art movement born in San Francisco in the 1960s, inclugin Susan Cervantes, Geoffrey Chandler, Margaret Daley and more. Shows 8/21-9/19. Reception 8/27, 5-7pm; artist talks via Zoom 8/29, 4pm. 450 Orange St. chicoartcenter.com


museum’s Demo Lab taken over by Chico State GEOS Department as expert paleontologists and fossil scientists-in-training work on actual finds from the field. Watch live fossil preparation and chat with scientists in residence. Through 9/4. 625 Esplanade. csuchico.edu/gateway

JANET TURNER PRINT MUSEUM: Janet Turner Unwavering Naturalist, prints and process materials by the printmaker, former Chico State professor and museum namesake. Through 9/11. Arts & Humanities Building, Chico State. csuchico.edu/turner

MUSEUM OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ART: No Word for Art, an exhibition of contemporary Hmong art from Northern California. There is no word for “art” in the Hmong language. This is a story that is unfortunately repeated across cultures currently, and many people



AUGUST 5, 2021

are afraid to pursue art as their career though it is their passion. Co-curated by Elizabeth Lee and Stacey Lo. Through 9/26. 900 Esplanade. monca.org

Events MERIAM PARK DRIVE-IN: Movies Fridays and Saturdays through August—from Groundhog Day to Forrest Gump. Visit site for films and schedule. 8:45pm. $25-$35. Meriam Park Drive-In, 1930 Market Place. meriampark. com

Markets FARMERS MARKETS: Butte County’s markets

are open and selling fresh produce and more. Chico: Downtown (Saturdays, 7:30am1pm & Thursdays, 6-9pm); North Valley Plaza (Wednesdays, 8am-1pm); Chico State University Farm (Fridays, noon-4 p.m.). Paradise: Alliance Church (Tuesdays, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; “Farmers Market Mobile” in Paradise, 1397 South Park Drive (Thursdays, 2pm).


bands emerge from the garage and take over the patio for this all-local bill. Thu, 8/5, 7:30pm. $7. Argus Bar + Patio, 212 W. Second St. facebook.com/argusbar

THE EMO NIGHT TOUR: Angsty dance night. Thu, 8/5, 8pm. The Maltese, 1600 Park Ave. facebook.com/themaltese

The Mavericks

TAINTED LOVE: 1980s cover band. Sat, 8/7, 8:30pm. $20. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. goldcountry casino.com

SKID ROW AND WARRANT: Hair metal legends tour-

ing in celebration of 30th anniversary of their hit albums, Slave to the Grind and Cherry Pie, respectively. Winger and Autagraph also perform. Thu, 8/5, 6pm. $30. Rolling Hills Casino Amphitheater, 2655 Everett Freeman Way, Corning. rollinghillscasino.com

FRI6 Music FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERTS: Live local music

every week in downtown Chico. This week: Rigamarole. Fri, 8/6, 7pm. Free. City Plaza, downtown Chico. downtownchico.com


local vendors, kayak rentals, and live music by Legend. Fri, 8/6, 4pm. Riverbend Park, 50 Montgomery St, Oroville. (530) 533-2011. orovillechamber.com

PUB SCOUTS HAPPY HOUR: Traditional Irish tunes every Friday during happy hour. Fri, 8/6, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St.

REECE THOMPSON LIVE: Acoustic covers from

Tom Petty, Johnny Cash & CCR to Adele and Green Day. Fri, 8/6, 4:30pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. meriam park.com

SERENA KARISE BAND: Local soul and blues rock. Fri, 8/6, 6pm. Free. Secret Trail

Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. secrettrailbrewing.com

Theater THE FOURSOME: Four friends, in town for their

college reunion, meet on the golf course and compare notes from their lives as they search for happiness and lost ambition to conquer the world. Shows through Aug. 22. Fri, 8/6, 7:30pm. $16-$20. Chico Theater

Theater THE FOURSOME: See Fri 8/6. Sat, 8/7, 7:30pm. $16$20. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheatercompany.com

SUN8 Music COLE SWINDELL: Grammy-nominated,

multi-platinum country star live. Sun, 8/8, 8pm. $40-$125. Rolling Hills Casino Amphitheater, 2655 Everett Freeman Way, Corning. rollinghillscasino.com

THU12 Music THE MAVERICKS AND LOS LOBOS: Two Grammywinning bands in one night. Thu, 8/12, 8pm. $30-$100. Rolling Hills Casino

Amphitheater, 2655 Everett Freeman Way, Corning. rollinghillscasino.com

TYLER DEVOLL: Local singer/songwriter. Thu, 8/12, 7pm. Almendra Winery & Distillery, 9275 Midway Road, Durham.

Theater THE FOURSOME: See Fri 8/6. Thu, 8/12, 7:30pm. $16-$20. Chico Theater Company, 166

Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheatercompany.com


Island/indie-pop band followed by soul/funk rock artist. Fri, 8/13, 7pm. Free. Purple Line Urban Winery, 760 Safford St., Oroville. 7173864. brittanyandtheblisstones.com

FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERTS: Free outdoor concerts downtown. This week: Sugarkane & Co. Fri, 8/13, 7pm. Free. Chico City Plaza, 132 W. Fourth St. downtownchico.com

GREG LOIACONO: Chico legend of The Mother

Hips fame performs with his solo band. Fri, 8/13, 6:30pm. $20. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St. 592-3909. facebook.com/ events/529884898204327

OROVILLE CONCERTS IN THE PARK: This week: Blu Egyptian. Fri, 8/13, 6:30pm. Riverbend Park, 50 Montgomery St, Oroville. (530) 533-2011. orovillechamber.com

PUB SCOUTS HAPPY HOUR: See Aug. 6. Fri, 8/13, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. THE RATTLESNAKES: Classic, southern and country rock covers. Fri, 8/13, 4:30pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place.

SOUL POSSE: Live cover band. Fri, 8/13, 7pm. Union, 2053 Montgomery St, Oroville.

Theater THE FOURSOME: See Fri 8/6. Thu, 8/12,

EMMA AND WILL: Local acoustic duo covering

Sublime, Billie Eilish, Eagles, Johnny Cash and more. Sun, 8/8, 5pm. The Commons Social Empourium, 2412 Park Ave.


dards and originals by the local trio of Shigemi Minetaka, Ethan Swett and Aman Cowell. Sun, 8/8, 3pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. secrettrailbrewing.com

Theater THE FOURSOME: See Fri 8/6. Sun, 8/8, 7:30pm. $16-$20. Chico Theater Company, 166

Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheatercompany.com

WED11 Events OPEN MIC COMEDY: Weekly open mic hosted

by Dillon Collins. Sign-ups 8pm, showtime 9pm. Wed, 8/11, 9pm. Free. The Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade. 520-0119. facebook. com/events/251296513090934


Chico Theater Company

“Bodega Mystic,” by Paul Nicholson Bodega



So is the CN&R calendar! Submit virtual and real-world events for the online calendar as well as the monthly print edition at chico.newsreview.com/calendar

Chico Art Center

7:30pm. $16-$20. Chico


Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater company.com

LANCE MICHAEL CORNWELL: Nineties country music. Sat, 8/21, 9pm.

Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. facebook. com



West Coast hip-hop legends bring G-funk to the casino. Sat, 8/21, 9pm. $45. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. (800) 334-9400. goldcountrycasino. com

Music CHRIS CAIN: A free concert

for Camp Fire survivors by the San Jose blues musician. Sat, 8/14, 7pm. Free. Paradise Performing Arts Center, 777 Nunneley Road, Paradise. paradiseperform ingarts.com

Theater THE FOURSOME: See Aug. 6. Sat, 8/21, 7:30pm. $16-$20. Chico Theater

Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheatercompany.com

DYLAN’S DHARMA: The Helltown

reggae-rock jam band headlines, Ridge Strong Band opens. Sat, 8/14, 9pm. $5. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave.


JAZZ SATIE: Live music outside on the patio. Sat, 8/14, 1pm.


The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

BARN FIND CAR SHOW: Classic, European and Japanese domestic cars. Motorcycles, too. Sun, 8/22, 11am. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com


acoustic vocal-harmony duo formerly known as The Bidwells. Sat, 8/14, 4:30pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com

Theater THE FOURSOME: See Aug. 6. Sat, 8/14, 7:30pm. $16-$20. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheatercom pany.com

Music COLLECTIVE SOUL: The Just Looking

Theater THE FOURSOME: See Aug. 6. Thu, 8/19, 7:30pm. $16-$20. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheatercom pany.com





LORNA SUCH: Jazz and swing music by the local singer/songwriter. Sun, 8/15, 3pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. secrettrailbrewing.com/

Theater THE FOURSOME: See Aug. 6. Sun, 8/15, 2pm. $16$20. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheatercompany.com

WED18 Events ANNUAL DRIVE-THRU DINNER: Barbecued tri-tip,

ranch rice pilaf, salad with ranch dressing, bread and dessert. Proceeds benefit the museum. Wed, 8/18, 4:30pm. $45. Patrick Ranch Museum, 10381 Midway, Durham. patrickranchmuseum.org

OPEN MIC COMEDY: See Aug. 11. Wed, 8/18, 9pm. Free. The Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade. 520-0119. facebook.com/ events/251296513090934

THU19 Music THE RETROTONES: Live cover band. Table reservations are required. Thu, 8/19, 7pm.

Almendra Winery & Distillery, 9275 Midway Road, Durham.

CAMERON FORD: Local singer/songwriter. Fri, 8/20, 4:30pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam

Park, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com

FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERTS: Free outdoor concerts

downtown. This week: The Jeff Pershing Band. Fri, 8/20, 7pm. Chico Downtown Plaza, 132 W. Fourth St. downtownchico.com

PUB SCOUTS HAPPY HOUR: See Fri 8/6. Fri, 8/20, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. ROCKHOUNDS: Classic rock. Fri, 8/20, 9pm. $5. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave.

Theatre THE FOURSOME: See Aug. 6. Fri, 8/20, 7:30pm. $16-$20. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheatercom pany.com

SAT21 Events

Around 2021 Tour with special guests Better Than Ezra and Tonic. Sun, 8/22, 8pm. $30. Rolling Hills Casino Amphitheater, 2655 Everett Freeman Way, Corning. rollinghillscasino.com

EMMA AND WILL: Local acoustic duo covering

Sublime, Billie Eilish, Eagles, Johnny Cash and more. Sun, 8/22, 3pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. secrettrailbrewing.com

Theater THE FOURSOME: See Fri 8/6. Sun, 8/22, 2pm. $16-

$20. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheatercompany.com

TUE24 Music JENNY DON’T AND THE SPURS: Portland cowpunks headline, plus local big acoustic crew The October Coalition Family Band. Tue, 8/24, 9pm. $8 - $10. The Maltese, 1600 Park Ave. facebook.com/themaltese

WED25 Events OPEN MIC COMEDY: See Aug. 11. Wed, 8/25, 9pm. Free. The Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade. 520-0119. facebook.com/ events/251296513090934

DRAG SHOW: An evening of drag, drinks and dancing. Sat, 8/21, 9:30pm. The Maltese,


EMMA AND WILL: Local acoustic duo covering


1600 Park Ave. facebook.com/themaltese

Sublime, Billie Eilish, Eagles, Johnny Cash and more. Sat, 8/21, 1pm. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.


Popular covers and some original music by the local band. Sat, 8/21, 4:30pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place.


by JP Roxx & The Loco-Motive Band. Sign up at 6:30pm, music starts at 7pm. Thu, 8/26, 6:30pm. Free. The Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave.

Theater WILD WOMEN OF WINEDALE: A comedy by Jessie

Jones, Nicholas Hope & Jamie Wooten about three women at a crossroads in their lives. Directed by Judy Clemens. Shows through Sept. 11. Thu, 8/26, 7:30pm. $16. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr. org

FRI27 Music

8/28, 4:30pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam

Park, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com

THIRD EYE SPIRAL AND REVOLVER: Two live sets: a Tool tribute band and Rage Against The

Machine tribute, respectively. Sat, 8/28, 9pm. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave.

Theater WILD WOMEN OF WINEDALE: See Thu 8/26. Sat, 8/28 7:30pm. $16. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

ALAN RIGG BAND: Live jazz, blues, R&B and more from the local group. Fri, 8/27, 4:30pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park,


FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERTS: Live music in down-


1930 Market Place. meriampark.com

town Chico. This week: local reggae superstars Mystic Roots Band. Fri, 8/27, 7pm. Free. City Plaza. downtownchico.com

PUB SCOUTS HAPPY HOUR: See Fri 8/6. Fri, 8/27, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. TIM THURMAN: Local boy and now Nashvillebased country singer/songwriter. Fri, 8/27, 9pm. $10. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave.

Theater WILD WOMEN OF WINEDALE: See Aug. 26. Fri, 8/27, 7:30pm. $16. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

SAT28 Music 2 YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY: Live music by

Samaria & Paul from 1-4pm, Soul Posse from 5-8pm and a British Classic Car Show to celebrate two years of the pub. Sat, 8/28, 12pm. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway Ste. 130.

RIGMAROLE: High-energy funk, jazz, rock, and classical music by the collective of music educators from Northern California. Sat,


California singer/songwriter and folk duo. Sun, 8/29, 3pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Suite 120,. secrettrailbrewing.com

SUBLIME WITH ROME: The reggae rock col-

laboration between Rome Ramirez and members of Sublime is on tour with Dirty Heads. Sun, 8/29, 8pm. $40-$150. Rolling Hills Casino Amphitheater, 2655 Everett Freeman Way, Corning. rollinghillscasino. com

Theater WILD WOMEN OF WINEDALE: See Aug. 26. Sun, 8/29 7:30pm. $16. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

WED9/1 Events OPEN MIC COMEDY: See Aug. 11. Wed, 9/1, 9pm. Free. The Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade. 520-0119. facebook.com/ events/251296513090934


ROCK WITH CAUTION Holy moly, there are a lot of good shows in the North State this month, from a hair-metal reunion with Skid Row and Warrant at Rolling Hills Casino (Aug. 5) to a solo gig by Mother Hips co-founder Gregg Loiacono (pictured) at Chico Women’s Club (Aug. 13). Here at the CN&R, we are still a little wary. This newspaper does not make it a habit of editorializing in the calendar pages, but it seems irresponsible to talk about

events and not point out that we are heading in the wrong direction with COVID-19 case numbers. As such, it would seem wise to wear your mask to any public event, especially indoors, and keep your distance from others as much as possible. Maybe even limit your outings to vaccinated-only events. Please, take care out there.

AUGUST 5, 2021





Jason Cassidy jason c @ new newsrev srev iew.c om

a comeback

The following Q&As are part of the CN&R’s Bring Back the Arts campaign, an interview series featuring artists and leaders of Butte County arts and music venues discussing their efforts to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.


he bands are in the bars, the community theaters have announced their season schedules, and perhaps most significantly, live events will soon return to Chico State’s Laxson Auditorium. After a year-and-a-half of COVID-19 restrictions, the arts—including live in-person performances—are back. The pandemic has been brutal to the scene, especially performance venues, many having been shuttered for at least a year. Some couldn’t weather coronavirus shutdowns, and in Butte County, the casualties have included downtown’s longstanding Blue Room Theatre and the south Chico cultural hub Blackbird.

Stephen Cummins, director of Chico Performances, stands outside Laxson Auditorium, where the university is planning to host its first public performances since the beginning of pandemic shutdowns in March 2020. To attend, audience members will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations. PHOTO BY JASON CASSIDY



AUGUST 5, 2021

Shows have returned from COVID exile but masks (and even vaccine cards) may be required As state restrictions gradually rolled back during spring, and relief grant monies rolled in, Butte County venues started to slowly come back to life. Now, more than a month after California has fully reopened, most have either started back up or have shows planned in the coming months. Notable exceptions include the Sierra Nevada Big Room (which currently has no shows or plans for live events in the works), Feather Falls Casino (nothing on the calendar yet) and the Pageant Theatre (which won’t reopen until air filtration and American Disabilities Act upgrades are completed). Of those hosting live public events, most places have simply met the state’s mandate of asking unvaccinated individuals wear masks indoors. At Chico State, however—for the events produced at Laxson Auditorium by both the North State Symphony and Chico Performances—only those who’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to attend. On the eve of the announcement of a partial season schedule (see info box, page 25) for Chico Performances, the CN&R talked to Director Stephen Cummins about what to expect when the lights come back on. Do you have a full season booked for 2021-22? We are going to announce September, October and November. We’re not going to announce any farther back. Frankly, I don’t want to go to full contract with people and have to cancel. There’s a whole lot of headache with refunding ticket sales and doing all that, so we said, “Let’s just go through November.” What’s the first show? The first show is easy for us to do; it’s Ira Glass. It’s one guy on the stage, nice and easy. He’s doing Seven Things I’ve Learned—from This American Life. Ira’s our first show, and then our biggest show is probably Post-Modern Jukebox, Scott Bradlee’s group—that’s a dozen musicians, horn section. And we’re doing a Cirque show, so that’s another dozen-plus performers.

And it’ll be vaccinated-only allowed to attend? Vaccinated only. It’s self attestation, [plus] proof at the door. When you buy the ticket, you basically check a box that says, “I understand that I’m buying this ticket and a vaccination is required.” You can either show your card or show your California vaccination I.D. Do you have a sense of whether people are ready to come to shows again? They’re ready to come back. Our latest survey was of our community volunteers. We have about 100-plus folks who volunteer, ushers mostly. They’re a great crosssection—they love us, they love coming to events, they buy tickets, they volunteer. They also are an older group, and in our first set of surveys that we did, it was clear that our older population was our most concerned. So, we surveyed this 100-plus group of people [recently] and it came back: “We are ready to come back.” How do you feel about welcoming people back to Laxson Auditorium at this point in the pandemic? I really do think people are ready. I feel like our audience—[with] the rules that we’re putting on everybody to keep everyone safe—I think they’re going to

After a year-and-a-half of uncertainty, Chico singer Max Minardi is back on a consistent show schedule, playing regular haunts like the patio of Secret Trail Brewing Co. PHOTO BY GIANNA MINARDI

go with it. Somebody, somewhere will politicize it. It’s terrible that a health crisis has become politicized, and people are making bad choices because of it, which makes me sad. I think that maybe we’re a carrot in a world where people feel like there’s a lot of sticks out there. Here’s a carrot: get vaccinated and come enjoy an evening with David Sedaris. How has the pandemic changed how you do business? I know a lot of folks in the performing arts centers, we are so ingrained in our process. I’ve joked that I can measure my life in season brochures. There’s no season brochure this year. So, yeah, I think we’ve all changed. Our change has The Mariachi Divas are one the acts scheduled to perform at Chico State during Chico Performances’ LatinX Music & Culture Festival on Oct. 2.


been this little three-month-season rollout, and maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that allows us to be more flexible. What needs to happen for the arts to come back and thrive again? Arts and artists are resilient. They’re going to find a way. But what is the community’s support for them going to be? This is the big performance space in the community, but it’s also located at the university, which also has dictates—curricular and cultural—on its time and space and use. So, should there be a civic auditorium in this community? What are the other community commitments we can make? Right now it’s 1 percent of the Transient Occupancy Tax. In other counties around the state it’s 2, it’s 5. Do we put it on a bond issue to say, “yes, we’re going to create an arts district,” or build a facility that we can call Chico’s not just Chico State’s? Where’s the support, not just from the city, but also from us as taxpayers, or people who give to foundations and things that support that?

BACK TO THE HUSTLE Max Minardi Since graduating from Chico State in 2013, Max Minardi has been a professional performing musician, so it probably goes without saying that he took a hit during the STAGING C O N T I N U E D AUGUST 5, 2021

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coronavirus pandemic. “I did more digging out of the savings account than I was hoping to,” he admitted during a recent interview. With his charming and humble approach to performing a wide range of cover tunes (and a few originals), the Chicobased singer has become a popular figure locally and regionally as he’s performed his way into a career as lounge/restaurant/wedding singer. The CN&R checked in with Minardi to see one local artist was recovering as the state and his profession have started to reopen.

F R O M PA G E 2 3

Return of the performances Live events are back at Chico State. Tickets go on sale Aug. 17 for Chico Performances members and Aug. 24 for general public. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required to attend. Fall schedule: All shows at Laxson Auditorium, except where noted Sept. 25: Ira Glass – Seven Things I’ve Learned Oct. 2: LatinX Music and Culture festival (on Kendall Lawn) Oct. 9: Tape Face Oct. 22: Cirque Mechanics – Birdhouse Factory Oct. 24: Jupiter String Quartet (in Zingg Recital Hall) Nov. 2: David Sedaris Nov. 9: Ballet Hispanico Nov. 13: Postmodern Jukebox

guess this was about a week and a half ago. People are always pretty kind, but [the music is] very wallpapery sometimes. But we got a lot of really genuine [reactions]. One person almost came to tears, came to talk to us and said, “You’re our first concert since being locked down, and it’s just so great to be able to hear music.” Generally, people seemed really grateful to have an outlet for that type of musical catharsis.

Once it became evident that the pandemic was going to Chico Performances keep live shows down for a 898-6333 chicoperformances.com prolonged period, how did you respond? My biggest challenge Are things back to normal Live Max Minardi: was developing that Aug. 29, 3 p.m., at The Commons for you? gameplan … especially Look for performance schedule The past few months, updates at: balancing the ethics of things have been getting maxminardi.com where was OK to play back to normal—in pretty and the circumstances big quotes there. It’s startunder which I was coming to feel good, man, getfortable playing. It was ting back to playing. I’ll have had 15 gigs [in July], which is pretty tricky, but I think over time it kind of developed on its own. decent. My general resting pulse during a normal year is closer to 20 [per month], Do you feel safe playing out now? but 15 is still many shows better than it I do. I feel good with the vaccination that was a year ago. I’ve gotten. Has the market for performers returned all How’s it felt to be back at it? the way? I feel great. I’m a big fan of—to some A little bit. On one hand. there’s the extent—overworking myself. I love [the] quote-unquote money-making stuff, and hustle. I love sending emails, and writing those are more the cover gigs at like Reno, contracts, and driving long distances to corthe casinos, weddings, and bar gigs and porate events. That kind of stuff really fulfills restaurants. And on the other side—which me. I love it. I love staying busy. Ω I consider more touring—is when I get the opportunity to play my own music and I take that on the road. So, in the capacity of going to Reno and that kind of stuff, yes. How have people been responding to getting to listen to live music again? It’s really strange. I was in Reno, I


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Ira Glass will give a talk, Seven Things I Learned, Sept. 25 at Laxson Auditorium. PHOTO BY SANDY HONIG

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REEL WORLD Far left: Sweet Country Left: High Ground

mystery from his past. Guns and religion are less prominent in this case, but the scorched little town seems rife with guilty secrets and half-spoken suspicions. Falk renews a relationship with an old girlfriend (Genevieve O’Reilly), and the film deftly intertwines his youthful memories with his moving about the community in search of clues. All in all, it’s a vividly realized mystery tale, with a rich sense of moral and existential ambiguity.

Film daze (played by Tom Holland) is in the middle of it all, scrambling through misadventures and worse with his apocalyptical war-vet father (Bill Skarsgard), an outlaw uncle (Douglas Hodge), a bizarre traveling evangelist (Harry Melling), an extravagantly perverse pair of serial killers (Riley Keough and Jason Clarke) and Robert Pattinson as the Rev. Preston Teagardin, hightoned seducer of young women. Johnny Cash’s version of “Peace in the Valley” plays over the closing credits.

CN&R film critic still streaming and dreaming in this latest roundup of compelling home-screen cinema Pinocchio M (Amazon Prime) presents the familiar tale as a highly stylized atteo Garrone’s

live-action epic with extravagantly masked and cosby tumed actors in all Juan-Carlos the roles including Selznick the legendary puppet who wants to be a real boy. Roberto Benigni, the one big name in the cast, plays the puppet-maker Geppetto, and sprightly little Federico Ielapi is superb in the title role. But, crucially, the real star is the film’s richly evocative mise en scene, which casts a wondrous spell throughout. In a way, Garrone is channeling the wistful poetic realism of Fellini and Vittorio De Sica, but in a visual style that’s closer to Guillermo del Toro’s

Pan’s Labyrinth. (Side note: del Toro is co-directing a stop-motion animated, musical-fantasy version of Pinocchio to be released on Netflix in 2021 or 2022.) The film’s presiding fairy princess (Marine Vacth) is a mentor/ guardian angel whose worldly sweetness has a hint of sorrow in it. As such, she seems central to the spirit of the entire film. Two roustabout scoundrels known as Cat and Fox are particularly memorable fixtures in the film’s gallery of darkly caricatured villains. The Devil All the Time (Netflix), adapted from an esteemed novel by Donald Ray Pollock, scores smartly and sometimes a little too fiercely as country noir, but the overall results

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transcend that generic pigeonholing. This multigenerational tale of religion and violence in and around a backwoods Ohio town called Nockemstiff sports a small multitude of devilish characters, and Antonio Campos’ level-headed direction of the proceedings gives the entire film a sort of sober, tragicomic dignity. One Arvin Eugene Russell

Robert Connolly’s The Dry (streaming

on multiple platforms), from Australia, also rates as country noir of exceptional quality. Federal agent Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) returns to his drought-ridden hometown of Kiewarra for the funeral of an old and troubled friend. Somewhat hesitantly, he stays on to investigate the friend’s death and soon finds himself also entangled in an unsolved



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Sweet Country, a 2018 release, and the newly released High Ground are both outstanding instances of the Australian “western.” Both are set in the nation’s northeastern outback circa 1920, and both involve violent conflicts between indigenous peoples and representatives of the British empire. Both bear striking resemblances to classic westerns involving Native Americans and the U.S. Cavalry, particularly those that give special emphasis to the indigenous peoples’ perspective. Both serve powerfully as epic tragedies, with the fatal consequences of racism and colonialism looming as the “tragic flaws” in the characters’ lives: in High Ground, a disillusioned army tracker (Simon Baker) and a young aborigine named Gutjuk (Jacob Junior Nayinggul) whom he saves from massacre; in Sweet Country, an aborigine ranch hand (Hamilton Norris), a pacifistic preacher/rancher (Sam Neill), and an army sergeant (Bryan Brown). Ω


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DIY together New collective provides space for community care and skillshares

Camong losses during the pandemic, and the most mourned in activist hico suffered many cultural

and artistic circles was the closure of Blackbird. Though ostensibly an anarchist bookstore that served coffee, the little yellow Victorian building was more than just a cafe, live music venue and purveyor of leftist reading material to those who frequented it; it was a place to meet, scheme, organize and build comstory and munity. photos by Ken Smith It was also a space for kens@ newsrev i ew.c om learning, and Blackbird freThe Loiter Club quently hosted Corner of 18th Street skillshare workand Park Avenue shops where participants could learn everything from screenprinting to how to help stop lethal drug overdoses. Recently, a new spot sprung up in South Chico dedicated to some of those ideals—particularly community-building. The Loiter Club (just a few blocks down Park Avenue from Blackbird’s old location) is a new shared collective space based on the ideal of community care in its many forms. “The vision for the space is essentially a community-care collective and expanding on the ideas of what community care includes,” said Marin Hambley, one of the founders. “The core values are meeting people where they’re at, using harm reduction in anything we do and creating a space where all people feel safe and good.” The bottom floor of the two-story building serves as the new home of North Valley Harm Reduction Coalition, which provides physicianled services to people struggling with addiction. The top floor is a A finished LED sculpture of a UFO by art camper Valerie Rose.



AUGUST 5, 2021

Zak Elstein (right) teaches a session of the LED/electronics class during the Loiter Club’s summer art camp.

shared workspace for a growing group of artists, professionals and assorted care providers, as well as a venue for sharing skills with the community.

Below: Art camp at the Loiter Club.

Sharing is caring The Loiter Club recently hosted its first Art Camp, featuring various skillshares taught by members of the collective, who also happen to be some of Chico’s most respected artists and makers. There were three courses: LED lighting and basic electronics (taught by shadow- and music-box maker Zak Elstein), painting (with musician and artist Michael Bone) and sewing (led by jewelry maker Claire Fong). The classes were small and generally ran for one hour, weekly (for four to six weeks), to offer bitesized bits of know-how in a manner palatable to even the most scholastically disinclined. All were handson and project-focused. Painting students walked away with finished pieces most weeks, sewing students made heating/cooling pads, and those in the electronics class each constructed a free-standing wire sculpture lit by LEDs. All three teachers plan to offer another course in the fall and hope

fellow collective members will step forward with new workshops. Though providing practical skills and hands-on instruction, the philosophy behind the courses is different than the typical workshop model. For one thing, accessibility is a key factor, with prices kept low (between $60 and $80) and on a sliding scale to ensure no one is excluded due to cost. “I feel like there should be more opportunities for skill-based learning for adults outside of like a college situation, which is expensive and can be hard to get started,” Elstein said. “This is meant to be cheap, easy and affordable. It’s also meant to be laid back and fun so everyone can learn with no pressure.” Another low-barrier aspect of the workshops is that attendees of all skill levels are welcome to participate. Bone said enthusiasm is more important than experience, and his own zeal for painting was part of his motivation to teach at the Loiter Club. He said he paints daily since first picking up a brush in earnest less than two years ago, and he wanted to meet others with a similar passion for the medium. “I don’t really know many other painters in town, so I wanted to expand my circle,” Bone said. “It’s inspiring to meet people who are so enthusiastic. Painting is like playing piano—you can always get better at it—so that enthusiasm to keep practicing and learning is way more important than having skills.” Fong, who also teaches textile arts at Blue Oak School, said there’s a social justice element to

her sewing class. “I think it’s important that everyone know how to repair clothing and know the effort that goes into our clothing,” she said. “It’s really taken for granted, especially when there’s so much disposability in the fashion industry … it’s not sustainable. “There is so much waste in the world, and the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter, right behind the oil industry,” she continued. “Fast fashion has created so much environmental destruction, and there’s also social justice implications with unfair labor practices and exploitation of workers in developing countries, especially with women and children. “Just like with the kids I teach, I think it’s important for us all to learn where our clothes come from and how to take care of them.”

Teaching the teachers Each of the instructors for the first three art camp classes had previous experience teaching in some capacity, yet each said they found the peer-to-peer format for classes at the Loiter Club to be inspirational and to have advanced their own education. Bone said the simple process of making weekly worksheets caused him to take a different perspective on his own learning process and ongoing work. “I’d think, ‘Do I really want to teach people that—and why?’” he

said. “It made me think critically about how I do things and why and how I can do them better, and that’s very valuable.” Elstein said revisiting the basics had measurable, time-saving and anxiety-reducing effects on his own recent artwork. “The last step in shadow boxes is when all the wires are hanging out of the back and I have to put them all together,” he said. “It can be really confusing and kinda chaotic, but after explaining circuits so often for a few weeks—and especially parallel circuits—it’s been crazy easy since that class. “Normally I learn things by just plowing through them, so figuring out how to share the information made me sit down and think about it in a way I haven’t done before. “I really enjoyed it,” Elstein said in summary. “You meet a bunch of new people and do something constructive and fun together … that’s kind of the whole point.” Ω

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AUGUST 5, 2021

ARTS DEVO by JASON CASSIDY • jasonc@newsreview.com

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Rushing Around Town…

PREPARED TO FAIL? Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden had a saying that, in my point of view, applies to Chico PD officers Bauer and Taylor killing of Stephen Vest. The saying is this: IF YOU FAIL TO PREPARE YOU WILL BE PREPARED FOR FAILURE. Sergeant Nicholas fired two shots into Stephen Vest when he realized he did not have his “less-lethal” bean bag shot gun. He had gone on duty unprepared. The less lethal gun was in another vehicle. What supervisor let Bauer go on duty unprepared? Was the supervisor disciplined? Does the Lexipol Police Policy Manual used by Chico PD advise officers to go on duty with only a rifle or pistol? Do the citizens of Chico know what Lexipol is to Chico PD? You should find out Chicoans. Did Stephen Vest have a better chance of surviving being shot with multiple bean bag rounds or the nine bullets fired into him by officers Taylor and Bauer? Had officer Bauer been prepared would Stephen been shot down with bean bag rounds or hollow point bullets? How can DA Ramsey and Chief Madden ignore these facts and exonerate the shooters? Is there justice for Stephen? Chicoans need to question their law enforcement leaders about Lexipol policies. Your police department controls about one half of your annual budget.

https://youtu.be/gEBwhGF7KA0 A production of the Real News Network, Police Accountability Report.

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AUGUST 5, 2021

SOON ... Bring back the arts, and the directors, and the punks, and the notebook with the hand-

written open-mic poem, and the sound people, and the guest curator, and the guy who sweeps up the broken glass and beer from the dance floor, and the paint-splattered hands, and the guitarist visiting from Mali, and the dancer visiting from Oakland, and the pre-show cocktail, and the all-tube amplifier, and the hula-hooper in the plaza on Friday night, and the fold-up tables at the parking lot pop-up, and the bongos (yeah, even the freakin’ bongos), and the techs in black pulling levers behind the curtain, and the pita chips and hummus at the reception, and the retiree in a Tommy Bahama shirt scootin’ to Big Mo’s shuffle, and the 2 a.m. pizza slice, and all the freaks, and the volunteers at the fundraiser, and the funmakers, and the arts editor who closes his eyes and floats on his back as the waters of creation pool up around him. Arts DEVO is dreaming a bit. In many Tite Nauts ways, the scene is coming back. This Bring Back the Arts issue is the culmination of a series of CN&R features on the people and venues trying to figure out ways to survive COVID-19 shutdowns and a reopening that’s been complicated by low vaccination rates and more virulent strains of the coronavirus. I want it as bad as anyone, but if coming back at full strength means even more time away from the art scene, I’d prefer to mostly live in my head a little longer.

THE WIZARD WINS To a nightmare he woke from his lair in the woods—an army of orcs and

their crushing machines ... That’s the opening scene of a fantasy, right? One that begins with a tragedy in which a force in possession of all of the resources overtakes a defenseless population that has nothing? Nope. That nightmare is real. Those words are from the opening of “Wizard in the Park,” the first single by brand-new, kick-ass Chico four-piece Tite Nauts (featuring Robin and Josh Indar of Severance Package—on vocals and guitar, respectively—and local men-aboutbands, bassist Greg Hopkins and drummer Nate Daly). Against an ’80s/ fantasy metal backdrop (think Judas Priest-meets-Phantom Bluemeets-Dio), the Nauts have crafted an allegorical reimagining of the actual homeless encampment sweeps in Chico during the coronavirus pandemic—in which the city of Chico, via its police officers and city workers with heavy machinery, dismantled homeless campsites in parks and other green spaces. Of course, a federal judge recently ordered the orcs to stand “Wizard in the Park” down until such time that the city can provide adequate shelter options for our unhoused neighbors. In the song, there is a wizard of the park who fights off the invaders, but in real life, the vanquishers are the team at Legal Services of Northern California, the folks behind the Warren v. Chico lawsuit brought on behalf of eight local homeless plaintiffs. “LSNC was able to summon the legal wizardry to, at least temporarily, stop the city from harassing and traumatizing their most vulnerable citizens,” says the accompanying explainer on the Bandcamp page where Tite Nauts is selling digital downloads of the tune to raise money for the legal-aid organization. Visit the Shut Up Records (shutuprecords.bandcamp.com) to donate, download and possibly catch a ride on some lightning into a righteous battle: There lies a lesson/ To leave those who suffer alone/ There might be a wizard/ To stand up for those without homes!

WHAT’S IN A WORD? There is no word for “art” in the Hmong language.

No Word for Art

That’s according to the press release from the Museum of Northern California Art (MONCA) for its new group exhibition, No Word for Art: Contemporary HmongAmerican Art in Northern California, which opened July 29. This makes it difficult for young Hmong artists to talk about art with their elders and keeps many from creative careers, the curators explain. The exhibit asks the question, “As a society, how do we value art?” It explores the complexities of Hmong-American identity from the perspective of the artists of this North State community. For more info visit monca.org.

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AUGUST 5, 2021




C H I C O ’ S

Find us online c h i c o . n e w s r e v i e w.c o m

FOR THE WEEK OF AUGUST 5, 2021 ARIES (March 21-April 19): Filmmaker

Federico Fellini had an unexpected definition of happiness. He said it was “being able to speak the truth without hurting anyone.” I suspect you will have abundant access to that kind of happiness in the coming weeks, Aries. I’ll go even further: You will have extra power to speak the truth in ways that heal and uplift people. My advice to you, therefore, is to celebrate and indulge your ability. Be bold in expressing the fullness of what’s interesting to you.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “Look


for a long time at what pleases you, and longer still at what pains you,” wrote the novelist Colette. What?! Was she making a perverse joke? That’s wicked advice, and I hope you adopt it only on rare occasions. In fact, the exact opposite is the healthy way to live—especially for you in the coming weeks. Look at what pains you, yes. Don’t lose sight of what your problems and wounds are. But please, for the sake of your dreams, for the benefit of your spiritual and psychological health, look longer at what pleases you, energizes you, and inspires you.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): If you deepen

& E N T E R T A I N M E N T

your affection for butterflies and hummingbirds, I will love it. If you decide you want the dragonfly or bumblebee or lark to be your spirit creature, I will approve. You almost always benefit from cultivating relationships with swift, nimble and lively influences—and that’s especially true these days. So give yourself full permission to experiment with the superpower of playful curiosity. You’re most likely to thrive when you’re zipping around in quest of zesty ripples and sprightly rhythms.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Life is

showing you truths about what you are not, what you don’t need and what you shouldn’t strive for. That’s auspicious, although it may initially feel unsettling. I urge you to welcome these revelations with gratitude. They will help you tune in to the nuances of what it means to be radically authentic. They will boost your confidence in the rightness of the path you’ve chosen for yourself. I’m hoping they may even show you which of your fears are irrelevant. Be hungry for these extraordinary teachings.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The next two months

will be a propitious time for you and your intimate allies to grow closer by harnessing the power of your imaginations. I urge you to be inventive in dreaming up ways to educate and entertain each other. Seek frisky adventures together that will delight you. Here’s a poem by Vyacheslav Ivanov that I hope will stimulate you: “We are two flames in a midnight forest. We are two meteors that fly at night, a two-pointed arrow of one fate. We are two steeds whose bridle is held by one hand. We are two eyes of a single gaze, two quivering wings of one dream, two-voiced lips of single mysteries. We are two arms of a single cross.”

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Virgo spiritual


author Don Miguel Ruiz urges us not to take anything personally. He says that if someone treats us disrespectfully, it’s almost certainly because they are suffering from psychological wounds that make them act in vulgar, insensitive ways. Their attacks have little to do with what’s true about us. I agree with him and will add this important caveat. Even if you refrain from taking such abuses personally, it doesn’t mean you should tolerate them. It doesn’t mean you should keep that person in your life or allow them to bully you in the future. I suspect these are important themes for you to contemplate right now.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): “People who

feel deeply, live deeply, and love deeply are destined to suffer deeply,” writes poet Juansen Dizon. To that romanticized, juvenile nonsense, I say: NO! WRONG! People who feel and live and love deeply are more emotionally intelligent than folks who live on

BY ROB BREZSNY the surface—and are therefore less fragile. The deep ones are likely to be psychologically adept; they have skills at liberating themselves from the smothering crush of their problems. The deep ones also have access to rich spiritual resources that ensure their suffering is a source of transformative teaching—and rarely a cause of defeat. Have you guessed that I’m describing you as you will be in the coming weeks?

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Professor

of psychology Ethan Kross tells us there can be healthy, creative forms of envy. “Just as hunger tells us we need to eat,” he writes, “the feeling of envy could show us what is missing from our lives that really matters to us.” The trick is to not interpret envy as a negative emotion, but to see it as useful information that shows us what we want. In my astrological opinion, that’s a valuable practice for you to deploy in the coming days. So pay close attention to the twinges of envy that pop into your awareness. Harness that volatile stuff to motivate yourself as you make plans to get the very experience or reward you envy.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):

Poet Walt Whitman bragged that he was “large.” He said, “I contain multitudes.” One critic compared him to “a whole continent with its waters, with its trees, with its animals.” Responding to Whitman, Sagittarian poet Gertrud Kolmar uttered an equally grandiose boast. “I too am a continent,” she wrote. “I contain mountains never-reached, scrubland unpenetrated, pond bay, riverdelta, salt-licking coast-tongue.” That’s how I’m imagining you these days, dear Sagittarius: as unexplored territory, as frontier land teeming with undiscovered mysteries. I love how expansive you are as you open your mind and heart to new self-definitions. I love how you’re willing to risk being unknowable for a while as you wander out in the direction of the future.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Poet

Ezra Pound wrote a letter to novelist James Joyce that included the following passage: “You are fucking with my head, and so far I’ve been enjoying it. Where is the crime?” I bring this up, Capricorn, because I believe the coming weeks will be prime time for you to engage with interesting souls who fuck with your head in enjoyable ways. You need a friendly jolt or two: a series of galvanizing prods; dialogs that catalyze you to try new ways of thinking and seeing; lively exchanges that inspire you to experiment.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Blogger

Mandukhai Munkhbaatar offers advice on the arts of intimate communion. “Do not fall in love only with a body or with a face,” she tells us. “Do not fall in love with the idea of being in love.” She also wants you to know that it’s best for your long-term health and happiness if you don’t seek cozy involvement with a person who is afraid of your madness or with someone who, after you fight, disappears and refuses to talk. I approve of all these suggestions. Any others you would add? It’s a favorable phase to get clearer about the qualities of people you want and don’t want as your allies.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I gave my

readers homework, asking them to answer the question, “What is your favorite rule to break?” In response, Laura Grolla sent these thoughts: “My favorite rule to break is an unwritten one: that we must all stress and strive for excellence. I have come up with a stress-busting mantra, ‘It is OK to be OK.’ In my OKness, I have discovered the subtle frontier of contentment, which is vast and largely unexplored. OKness allows me not to compete for attention, but rather to pay attention to others. I love OKness for the humor and deep, renewing sleep it has generated. Best of all, OKness allows me to be happily aging rather than anxiously hot.” I bring this to your attention, Pisces, because I think the coming weeks will be a favorable time for you to investigate and embody the relaxing mysteries of OKness.

www.RealAstrology.com for Rob Brezsny’s EXPANDED WEEKLY AUDIO HOROSCOPES and DAILY TEXT MESSAGE HOROSCOPES. The audio horoscopes are also available by phone at 1-877-873-4888.



AUGUST 5, 2021

AUGUST 5, 2021



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