FREE CHICO’S NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT SOURCE VOLUME 45, ISSUE 7 THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 2022 CHICO.NEWSREVIEW.COM
Whom to watch in 2022 •
Who will affect change in the city and county? HEALTH
SPECIAL REPORT JAN. 6 REFLECTIONS LOCAL THEATER RETURNS FILM: YEAR’S BEST
JANUARY 6, 2022
Vol. 45, Issue 7 • January 6, 2022 OPINION
Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Editor’s Note. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Guest Comment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 This Modern World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Second & Flume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Streetalk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Downstroke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Health: Mental health support during the pandemic . . . . . . . . . 8
Health: Ketamine therapy . . . . . . . 10
Whom to watch in 2022
ARTS & CULTURE
January Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Scene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20, 22 Reel World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Arts DEVO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Brezsny’s Astrology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
ON THE COVER: FROM LEFT: CHICO CITY COUNCILWOMAN ALEX BROWN AND BUTTE COUNTY SUPERVISORS DEBRA LUCERO AND TAMI RITTER PHOTO BY EVAN TUCHINSKY
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The numbers equal people
by Jason Cassidy j a s o n c @ n e w s r e v i e w. c o m
Epandemic amount of data being generated during the coronavirus can be daunting. For two years, news of the virus ven for the most committed COVID-19 dashboard watchers, the
the statistics. For those who have not lost a loved one to the disease, Alex Goldstein’s FacesOfCOVID Twitter account humanizes the people represented by the numbers. He’s in the U.S. has been told in statistics: 56 million (confirmed posted the stories of thousands of Americans who died infections), 62.6 percent (fully vaccinated), 1.5 million a from the coronavirus (submitted to him by their friends and day (COVID tests administered), 825,106 (total deaths, family members), including Veronica Bowers of Chico, as of press time). That last one is the biggie, and with the who died last Jan. 9: “Vero was a fighter … She loved fast-spreading omicron variant raging (already accounting her husband Jim & Yorkies Bella & Cisco ... Vero was a for more than 93 percent of new infections in the U.S.), connoisseur of tacos & knew every taco truck in town. She that ticker is bound to roll over to 1,000,000 in 2022. As worked for Social Services helping others.” She was 42. shocking as the number might be to consider, it’s obvious And regarding the magnitude of the death toll, maybe a that—given 39 percent of better way to get it across is to Americans don’t see COVID-19 put the numbers in a historical Many Americans as a public health threat and 45 context. Consider “excess percent of those unvaccinated deaths,” or the number of deaths are experiencing what still refuse to wear a mask in above normal. According to psychologists call public—the gravity of the death the U.S. Centers for Disease toll has not set in. Control and Prevention, in “psychic numbing,” a It’s not just pandemic 2020, the first year of COVID kind of protective shutfatigue causing the cognitive in America, there were roughly down of feelings that dissonance. In a very real way, 500,000 more deaths than the scale of COVID-19 is overexpected—an increase of 15.9 might allow a person to whelming, and many Americans percent from 2019. Other than chew out a retail clerk are experiencing what psycholothe 12 percent jump in 1918, gists call “psychic numbing,” who requests they abide the first year of the Spanish a kind of protective shutdown Flu, the excess death rate has by a mask policy. of feelings that might allow a never increased by double digits person to chew out a retail clerk in a year. It’s the most drastic who requests they abide by a mask policy, for example. increase in more than a century. With nearly half-a-million What will it take for Americans to better process reality? more COVID-19 deaths in year two of the pandemic, 2021 Locally, can we live up to the example set when we opened will likely break that record. our homes to strangers by taking in wildfire refugees, for Americans could just reset the bar and accept an increase example, and start to cooperate in reducing the spread of a of deaths in hundreds of thousands each year, or we could disease that’s killed more Butte County residents in the past refocus and open our hearts to strangers by making meanthree months than were lost in the Camp Fire? ingful sacrifices—masking up, getting vaccinated, etc.—for First, we have to remember that there are people behind Ω the greater good.
LETTERS Surrender, Oroville Re “What were they thinking?” (feature, CN&R, Dec. 3, 2021): If the city of Oroville wants to secede from the union, let them go. This means, however: United States currency is not longer valid inside the city limits. Armored trucks should be sent to clean out all U.S. currency now held within the city. Oroville must issue its own currency, which would have to be exchanged for U.S. currency in order to do business outside the city at a rate of exchange
JANUARY 6, 2022
agreed to with the U.S. Department of Commerce. U.S. postal services are to be ended inside the territory. They must set up their own postal system. All resident of the city of Oroville are no longer citizens of the United States. The city must issue passports to citizens for travel outside its territory. All are subject to foreign national status in the U.S. All Social Security, Medicare and other federal programs are suspended for the citizens of Oroville, forthwith. Driving privileges of U.S. citizens
are suspended for the citizens of Oroville. Citizens of Oroville no longer have the rights granted by the U.S. constitution for legal proceedings, bearing arms, freedom of speech, habeas corpus, etc. Citizens of Oroville attending colleges outside of Oroville must register as foreign students with a visa. All U.S. loan or scholarship agreements are no longer valid. City of Oroville is no longer LETTERS C O N T I N U E D
O N PA G E 7
New year’s update For this ﬁrst issue of the Chico News & Review for 2022, I had hopes of sharing good news of a holiday boon and a return to normal for our county and this newspaper, but we are not out of the woods yet. The reality is we are going to have to continue to be patient. The impact of COVID-19 on the health and economy of our community continues to hamper recovery efforts, including the CN&R’s. A spike in state cases has triggered another indoor mask mandate in California, and Butte County’s infection numbers are once again surging—with 703 cases reported between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1. Barely half of our county is vaccinated and with the fast-moving omicron variant spreading across the country, there is real potential for another signiﬁcant wave in our isolated neck of the woods during the winter months. For now, the CN&R will squeak by. Our small newsroom will continue to tell as many of our community’s stories— of ﬁre recovery, of controversies in local government, of triumphs in the arts, of pandemic struggles—as possible, but it is too early to tell when things will improve for good. Yet there are reasons to be hopeful about the paper’s prospects. For one, we have loyal readers and generous contributors to this newspaper who, along with a steady base of committed advertisers, have inspired our staff and enabled us to maintain a monthly print edition and regular online content. We continue to be here thanks to you. Plus, this new year will potentially bring some form of President Biden’s Build Back Better Act—which can hopefully be revived—with tax credits for local newsrooms. If the bill passes with the credit intact, papers such as the CN&R could get $25,000 per full-time reporter the ﬁrst year and $15,000 each for the following four. Also in the new year, we are bringing back one of the paper’s signature publications—the Discover Butte County guide. The glossy-covered handbook for culture, food, parks, etc., is popular with visitors and locals, and the spring/summer edition will hit the streets in March. There is a measure of hope that, with vaccinations now available to everyone ﬁve and older, even if omicron infections are widespread, hospitals won’t become inundated and far fewer people will die. Maybe the spring or summer will ﬁnally bring some normalcy to life. It will almost certainly be a new normal, one that will require a measure of adaptation, but we remain optimistic that our county and this paper can prosper again. Thanks as always for you support of the CN&R and for sticking with us during this time of enormous change. Jason Cassidy is editor of the Chico News & Review
Permanent Christmas W Christmas, which means everyone can go back to their regularly scheduled grump. e’re into January now, and so out of
Except: Wait. Some peoples in this world, they will celebrate Christmas today. Others, tomorrow. Still others celebrated long before December 25. The French and the Hungarians went to Christmas commencing December 6. In Italy, they non-stop Christmas from December 8 to by Kevin Jeys January 6. In Cuba, Christmas begins in The author, a former CN&R staff writer, is a October. Paradise resident who Meanwhile, there stayed on the Ridge doesn’t necessarily throughout the Camp Fire and its aftermath. have to be any Jesus, or Santa, or even an Island Of Misfit Toys, in the Christmas. We know this from the Jewish people, who get lit in the miracle oil of Hanukkah. Then there’s Muharram, which commemorates
Muhammad’s trek from Mecca to Medina. Also, the winter solstice, where all celebrate the darkest day of the year. Because, as everyone knows, you have to be in darkness to see the light. From this, we can begin to apprehend that it always, in all of the days, and all and everywhere, wants to be Christmas. [CN&R Editor at Large] Melissa Daugherty and I have understood this for some time, but felt like we had to stay in the closet. But now: We are out and proud. Some people, they go on about “permanent revolution.” But that is boring. What is really needed is permanent Christmas. For, there are two wisdoms. The first, which Melissa writes about [see page 6], is that life is precious, and fleeting—as my friend Jeffrey Miller, long dead, once poemed: “the first one’s free/you just get one”—and so you should really appreciate it, your life, and everyone else’s, while you can. The second is that which is nice and, also, magic. And. That. Is Christmas. The jesus, the santa, the solstice, the GUEST COMMENT C O N T I N U E D
O N PA G E 7
JANUARY 6, 2022
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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
Cheers to Dave I last saw Dave Mettler a few weeks before Thanksgiving. I was at Safeway to buy sourdough bread, but I popped over to the next aisle to say hello to the store’s venerable “wine guy.” I needed to get home and get cooking, but I loved chitchatting with Dave. During a previous shopping trip, he’d helped me select the bottles to fill out a six-pack of wine for the upcoming holidays. It was a treat for him as much as it was for me, as I’m a bit of a hard sell. That is, I’m an occasional wine drinker, mainly because I get migraines. Dave knew this, and he’d often ask whether I was keeping hydrated. He’d also always ask about my husband and my son, Henry, the latter of whom he’d seen only once since early in the pandemic, when we crossed paths with him and his granddaughter—them enjoying a walk, us on bikes— in our neighborhood. Dave was a doting grandfather. On several occasions over the years, I ran into him at the elementary school that Henry and his granddaughter attended. He often talked about her when we chatted in the store, his gravely voice softening as he listed her accomplishments. I first met Dave shortly after he began working at the Mangrove Avenue store in 2013, but it was decades into his career with Safeway. He won me over by offering a bakery cookie to Henry, who was then a little guy still sitting in the top basket of the grocery cart. At first, I was a bit taken aback by Dave’s presence. If you know, you know. But for those who don’t, he could be described as being, well, passionate about wine and spirits. The store’s beverage steward, he was responsible for stocking the shelves and helping customers, giving them suggestions tailored to their tastes or the occasion. Dave had a knack for steering customers to the best bottles for the price point. When Safeway was having a big sale, he’d suggest a six-pack, which knocks the cost per bottle down further. I caved on several occasions, because, let’s be honest, Dave was a hell of a salesman. He also knew his stuff—from Bordeaux to zinfandel—and gave great advice, both about wine and life. In fact, as I reported back in 2019, Dave became a certified sommelier, making him one of the most knowledgeable wine people in town. During the interview, when I asked him how the new bona fides had changed his job, Dave mentioned his confidence. But he quickly noted that he was still learning. “Your mind is like a parachute—it doesn’t work unless it’s open,” he said. That was the second time Dave had appeared in the paper. Years earlier, I made him one of the Best of Chico Editors’ Picks. He never stopped mentioning how grateful he was for that surprise write-up, noting the wave of congratulations and customers he gained from it. During our last conversation, as always, Dave asked about my family. I, too, asked about his. We talked for only five or ten minutes, but within that time, Dave showed me pictures of his granddaughter, beaming about how she was becoming quite the equestrian. He sorely missed her, as her family had moved to Oregon. He also showed off pics of him in his high school band. We laughed and then I said I needed to get home, never thinking that would be the last time I’d see him. Dave died after a sudden illness shortly before Thanksgiving. He was 65. It took me a few weeks to return to Safeway after I heard that he had passed away. And honestly, once I did, the store felt alien without his presence. Because it was a rarity not to find Dave helping a customer or stocking bottles in aisle 17, I simply expected he’d always be there. But, as we all know—more so these days than ever—life comes with no guarantees. Perhaps Dave’s last lessons for us would be to remember just that—and to befriend those around us and love our people unabashedly, as he did. To that I say, Cheers!
Melissa Daughtery is editor-at-large for the Chico News & Review 6
JANUARY 6, 2022
GUEST COMMENT C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 5
How will history remember Jan. 6 Capitol attack? Asked in downtown Chico
ever-burning oil, even the island of misfit toys, these are just symbols, metaphors, representations—seeing through a glass, darkly—of the nice, the magic. Kate Rusby sings a song called “I Am Christmas.” With this refrain: I am Christmas / let me in Try it. Every day. Open. To Christmas. The nice. The magic. All. And everywhere. Till the day. You are. No more. I am Christmas. Let me in. Ω
Jeremy Jierig Farmer/business owner
I think we’ll remember it how the media depicted it, and I think the media skews a lot of different things. It was a horrible day. I don’t think you can blame it all on one person. I think Americans have forgotten how to work together, and I think if we don’t figure that out soon, we’re going to be in big trouble.
Randy Taylor Retired/museum volunteer
It’s a significant event for sure, but I think there will be a little bit of controversy on both sides for years to come. How it will play out? It’s hard to say.
Valerie Kelsay retired
As a terrible, terrible event and certainly a turning point. It was shocking. I couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing and that this was really happening.
LETTERS C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 4 granted the right to USDA food or drug inspections. All U.S. products (including gasoline) are subject to tariff. Joel Eis Point Richmond
Inequity and Big Tobacco As people become more aware of the need for social justice, it is important to know that there has been a deadly industry targeting minorities for decades. The tobacco industry preys on the African-American community by doing things like placing up to 10 times more ads for tobacco products in some Black neighborhoods. There was even a time when they went to predominantly Black neighborhoods and handed out samples of menthol cigarettes to children as young as 9. While samples are no longer being distributed, menthol cigarettes and cigarillos are cheaper in Black, rural and low-income neighborhoods. Cheaper prices and the ability to buy single cigarillos make these items easier for people, including teens, to purchase. We can work as a community to bring about equity and social justice. Together we can push back against the tobacco industry by putting strong policies in place that protect all our local communities.
There are too many factors within the storm on the Capitol. Not very smart things were said through social media, which is the No. 1 cause of such an outburst. Social media is worldwide, and everyone sees things differently.
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OMICRON IS HERE
Included in the conversation about COVID-19 infections and ICU capacities is the impact the pandemic has had on our collective mental health. For this special health section, the CN&R reports on the help that is available to address the issue—from counseling and other county programs to new psychedelic therapies.
After weeks of declining COVID-19 infections, Butte County’s numbers spiked dramatically during the last week of 2021. Between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1, there were 701 new cases, the highest total since the summer surge and nearly triple the amount from the week before (242). According to Butte County Public Health, early sequencing results show that the omicron variant accounted for nearly 22 percent of infections in the county in December. The rising local numbers follow a national trend that’s seen unchecked omicron- and delta-fueled spread of the coronavirus, with infections up 254 percent in the United States over the past two weeks (as of Jan. 5). So far, hospitalizations aren’t growing at the same rate across the country; however, those numbers are still up 51 percent for the same two-week period. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccination greatly reduces the risk of infection and severity of COVID-19 (unvaccinated are ﬁve times more likely to be infected than vaccinated; 10 times more than those with booster dose). Vaccines and boosters are available at local pharmacies and community clinics. Visit myturn.ca.gov or pharmacy websites to schedule an appointment.
Kyle Williams’ life changed dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting him to seek mental health treatment. PHOTO BY ASHIAH SCHARAGA
CITY OKS SUIT SETTLEMENT Taking a big step toward resolution, the Chico City Council unanimously approved a settlement agreement for the federal lawsuit challenging its approach to homelessness. The 7-0 decision, in closed session at the council meeting Tuesday night (Jan. 4), sends the agreement to
Judge Morrison C. England, Jr., who must sign an order authorizing the terms. The city’s announcement said this could take up to two weeks. The lawsuit, Warren v. City of Chico, dates to last April, when eight plaintiffs represented by Legal Services of Northern California sued over the city’s anti-homeless ordinances and lack of shelter options. England issued a temporary restraining order, then an injunction, barring enforcement actions such as sweeps of encampments—and subsequently added a gag order preventing public disclosure of negotiations (see “From all sides,” chico.newsreview.com). City Manager Mark Orme told the CN&R that with the injunction in place, terms cannot be released until England signs the order.
JANUARY 6, 2022
‘Not alone’ Pandemic has taken toll on mental health, motivating some to seek treatment and use technology to connect
Ashiah Scharaga as h i a h s @new srev i ew. c o m
Iatwith travel and music—he’d perform venues in Chico and connect with fans
n early 2020, Kyle Williams’ life was filled
who had known him for years, then do it all over again in another city—Oroville, Sonoma, Reno, etc. But in an instant, a profession that sustained him creatively, emotionally and financially vanished. Venues closed their
doors indefinitely when the coronavirus pandemic escalated and quarantine shutdowns began in March 2020. Williams found himself reeling from this dramatic shift—in addition to being suddenly unemployed, he had recently gone through a separation and began sharing custody of his two children. For the first time in his life, Williams experienced depression, he recently told the CN&R. “I went from being out and about playing music three to four times a week to total isolation. … I didn’t realize how much I got from being out and around people, when I do gigs and connect with people,” he said. “The
weeks the kids weren’t there were really low and dark.” As the pandemic, now in its third year, has continued to ravage the world, with over 5.4 million dead from the disease, it has also taken a toll on mental health. Butte County Behavioral Health has seen a growing need for care as clients’ anxiety and depression has worsened, all while grappling with a shortage of health professionals, who are mentally taxed themselves. This mirrors what is happening nationally. According to a New York Times poll of 1,320 U.S. mental health professionals and clinicians, demand has surged and wait times are longer. General anxiety and depression are the most common reasons people are seeking support, along with relationship issues. However, mental health providers have also witnessed a decrease in stigma when it comes to seeking treatment and have found that telemedicine has helped break down barriers to accessing care. Local professionals who spoke with the CN&R also emphasized the importance of self-care and finding ways to connect with others during this time of uncertainty.
Finding support In the wake of the pandemic, Williams realized he had to find another way besides playing music to make money in order to have the financial stability needed to care for his kids, he said. He’s now raising funds to attend massage therapy school. While worthwhile, it’s been a tough transition for him, because performing has been “so intertwined with my identity, my passion and connection to other people.”
Though the isolation, depression and financial struggles he’s experienced over the past couple years were at times paralyzing, he said, they also motivated him to learn more about mental health and eventually seek care. Social media was an important resource that helped him feel less alone, he said. He discovered videos on TikTok created by others who were struggling with their mental health, which was not only “validating and affirming,” he said, but helped inspire him to seek treatment. When he recently checked into the Chico Family Health Center, he posted about it publicly on Facebook and received a lot of support—friends telling him “you are not alone” and “I am so proud of you.” Williams is now being treated for depression and has an appointment with a psychiatrist to evaluate whether he has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, as well. Though he’s still concerned about the shift in his career and uncertainty of the future, Williams said he is hopeful about his treatment. Throughout his struggles, there have been people in his life who have “really shown up when I’m honest about this and where I’m at mentally, and they make space for it,” he said. “I’m really grateful for that time, as hard as it was.” Williams is, indeed, not alone in his mental health struggles during the pandemic, according to Jessica Wood, a supervisor with Butte County Behavioral Health’s Adult Services, which provides therapy and rehabilitation services to adults with mental illness. Her team has seen an intensification of depression and anxiety as well as feelings of frustration and fear of the unknown among their clients, some of whom are also struggling with increased alcohol use. During this time, expanded telemedicine services have allowed the county to overcome some folks’ barriers to treatment. It’s been especially crucial for those with social anxiety, paranoia or other conditions that make in-person appointments difficult and for those who lack transportation, Wood said. Telehealth services have also helped the county better collaborate and have improved patient access to
care, added Jess Gilligan, program manager for BCBH Youth Services. For example, a client seeking psychiatric care in Gridley can be virtually connected to an available doctor in Paradise. “Inter-agency coordination has been strong, and technology has been able to help us with that,” she said. However, the demand has been so great and there is a shortage of health care professionals, she added, so “case load size has increased dramatically.” This means that some patients “might not be seen as often” as they would like, Wood added, but the county identifies those with the most severe mental health issues and prioritizes their appointments and care. Behavioral Health also began assigning clients a small team of providers (such as a counselor/
therapist, nurse, psychiatrist, housing specialist, and/or peer support specialist), in order to have “more hands on deck” to address client needs as well as staff turnover, Gilligan added. Other new programs have also made an impact during the pandemic, Wood and Gilligan said. The county launched Wellness Recovery Action Plan (or WRAP) groups in 2021 for its clients and staff at some of its centers. WRAP focuses on hope, personal responsibility, education, self-advocacy and support, Wood said, with each participant creating a plan to identify areas in which they may need assistance in order to improve their quality of life. It’s also used in individual therapy as well. Wood and Gilligan said this programming has made a difference.
Gilligan had two staff members expressing concerns about burnout, and after attending a WRAP group, “they came back rejuvenated and excited” about their jobs again. These employees are now helping BCBH expand the program to more of its centers. “This is hard work to do and to sustain,” said Wood, who leads staff WRAP groups. “We’re teaching people it’s OK to advocate for yourself; it’s OK to get support; … [you]’re not alone. Even though we’re the helpers, we have hard days too, and learning it’s OK to talk to your coworkers about that— it’s powerful.”
Kindess and coping Since launching her practice in the 1990s, local therapist Silona Reyman has witnessed the resiliency of the human spirit and tenacity with which people continue holding onto hope despite tremendous suffering. Reyman has experienced what she calls a “trifecta of catastrophe” the past couple years. Her husband died suddenly in 2019. Then the pandemic hit. And in 2021, she was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer that is spreading and inoperable. But it’s been a time in which she’s experienced a lot of love and—though it may seem strange, she said—a lot of gratitude, too. She’s focused on small things that bring her joy each day: a surprise peach pie left at her door by a friend, for example; reading the paper while drinking a good cup of coffee in the morning. She’s focused on the things she also suggests for her clients when they are going through a tough time: exercising, eating well and staying connected to others. Even just one confidante can help, she said, whether it’s a family member or a close friend. As the pandemic progressed, Reyman noticed similar changes with her clients as Wood and Gilligan have with BCBH—anxiety and depression are common and can be really acute for those who’d experienced them before the pandemic began. As people have been cut off from their usual rituals, it has led Local therapist Silona Reyman turns to her favorite activities when she’s having a particularly hard mental health day. PHOTO BY ASHIAH SCHARAGA
Reach out If you or a loved one are in need of mental health services or experiencing a mental health crisis, call the Butte County Behavioral Health access line at 530-891-2810. Visit buttecounty.net/behavioralhealth for information on available county services.
to more feelings of loneliness and pessimism, especially as the pandemic has lingered, Reyman said. Divisiveness over politics and health and safety mandates has contributed to rising frustration. There’s a fatigue that wears away at the hope that people have for a better tomorrow. “There’s a tendency for us to feel very alone, and now in particular, because we are drifting in this confused and unsure world on this path that seems endless,” she said. The people who are coping the best are those who are “taking care of their health as best as they can,” not just physically but mentally, Reyman said. Being kind—to oneself as well as others—and patient is key. “We’re just in a tough, tough spot,” she said. “Turn that love back on yourself.” She encourages her clients to accept whatever feelings arise, even though it is challenging. “I worry about people who push away the grief or the fear or the sadness,” Reyman said. “It is so healing just to walk through it, as difficult [as it is]. Gratitude lists may sound “Pollyanna-ish when you’re suffering,” she added, but can be useful tools. Reyman uses them and also keeps a list of activities that help her cope when she’s having particularly hard days, such as journaling, reading poetry, meditating and praying, and spending time with her children. “I do feel there’s so much anger in the air, and frustration…. If we have something solid beneath us—a therapist or a friend or family, or basic good health—really take that in. That’s a blessing,” she said. “Whatever you’ve got, savor it.” Wood echoed these sentiments and encouraged people to use mindfulness and a gratitude stance to help themselves cope, as well as reaching out to loved ones and seeking mental health care if they are struggling. “We’re in this together.” Ω NEWSLINES C O N T I N U E D JANUARY 6, 2022
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Opening minds Ketamine therapy takes root locally amid mental health crisis story and photos by
Evan Tuchinsky eva nt @new srev i ew. c o m
lexandra Kriz felt she had to do
A something. As the pandemic dragged into its second year, the
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Chicoan found her community in the throes of a mental health crisis triggered by a string of countywide traumas—from the Oroville Dam spillway disaster to deadly wildfires—exacerbated by coronavirus restrictions in an area where residents already grapple with effects of state-leading levels of adverse childhood experiences (or ACEs). She found herself particularly concerned after reading about a rise in suicides and suicidal thoughts in young people (see “Kids in crisis,” News, March 9,
2021)—including students (and a teacher) at Chico High. Kriz, who battled post-traumatic stress after serving in the U.S. Army, told the CN&R she’s been “screaming from the rooftops” since the Camp Fire “that we need to have a comprehensive solution to treat mass-scale trauma in our community. As a veteran who was sexually assaulted, I know what it feels like to live with untreated trauma and the chaos it brings, the suffering and the fallout that inevitably occurs when you’re living in that space. “One of the factors in that [comprehensive solution] was using psychedelic therapy because of its efficacy in treating things such as treatment-resistant depression, PTSD, anxiety [and] suicidal ideation.”
The psychedelic therapy in question involves the use of ketamine. Though stigmatized by its use as a recreational drug, it has a long history as an anesthetic and ranks among the World Health Organization’s essential medicines. Medical practitioners have expanded the administration of ketamine to alleviate pain as well address opiate addiction and psychiatric conditions, with studies confirming effectiveness and safety. Kriz and her partner, vibrationalsound therapist Jesse Spallina, teamed up with an integrative medicine physician from the Bay Area, Dr. Daniel Rieders, to offer ketamine injections in Chico. The result is Phoenix Nest Community Project, a nonprofit collaborative opened last year and encompassing a range of holistic healing.
Left: Alexandra Kriz, co-founder of Phoenix Nest Community Project, calls her center “a sacred space with clinical safety.”
Concurrently, local medical practice Interventional Pain Solutions—which has provided ketamine infusions to pain patients for years—broadened its therapeutic scope and launched Norcal Ketamine Infusion Centers. Situated on the ground floor of an office complex on Humboldt Road, Phoenix Nest’s facility features a handful of therapy rooms, each distinctly decorated. Clients choose whichever feels most comfortable. The setting matters because of ketamine’s psychoactive properties. Staff include Dr. R. Carter Clements, an emergency physician who commutes from Orinda to work for the clinic; registered nurse Lori Moreno; and Kriz, who’s completing her Ph.D. in clinical psychology. “We refer to our center as a sacred space with clinical safety,” Kriz said. “Our approach to things, rather than making it about the medicine, is making it about the human connection and the experience that comes along with the use of the medicine.” The practitioners behind Interventional Pain Solutions recognize the same thing. That’s why they’ve created a separate setup via Norcal Ketamine Infusion Centers, which will grow beyond the single Chico location on East Avenue to Redding and Lincoln, other cities served by the pain-management practice. As at Phoenix Nest, the infusion center features quiet rooms where patients listen to music and relax during treatments. “We’ve had really good results with the ketamine for refractory depression [i.e., resistant to treatment], PTSD, obviously chronic pain,” said Dr. Zachary Lipman, an anesthesiologist and pain medicine specialist with the practice. “Therapies don’t work for everybody. So when you have something that’s new and different that somebody hasn’t tried, I think there’s a big need for it.”
Proven treatment Ketamine dates to the 1960s as an anesthetic for animals that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for human use in 1970. It’s particularly safe because, at proper dosages, it doesn’t slow the heart or breathing—unlike other anesthetics—but ketamine does create a dissociative experience that led the federal government to classify it as a controlled substance. It works in the brain on opiate receptors as well as receptors for glutamate, a chemical through which neurons communicate.
Ketamine therapy in Chico Phoenix Nest Community Project: 1459 Humboldt Rd., Ste. A, phoenixnestproject.com Norcal Ketamine Infusion Centers: 647 W. East Ave., norcalpaindocs.com
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Deanna and her staff are focused on helping people enjoy the best hearing possible so they can enjoy life more. Their FREE Hearing Evaluations determine if hearing aids would be beneficial. Their unique Try-Before-You-Buy program allows people to wear hearing aids in their normal activities for 30 days at no cost. No cost, No commitment, No risk…just the chance to see how better hearing could improve their life.
Dr. Zachary Lipman’s practice, Interventional Pain Solutions, has expanded its scope via Norcal Ketamine Infusion Centers.
Research released by the National Institutes of Health has validated the efficacy of ketamine for not just anesthesia or pain but also PTSD and severe depression. “The data on that is really profoundly positive,” Clements told the CN&R by phone in reference to ketamine’s antidepressive properties. “You won’t necessarily cure their depression, but you’ll cure their suicidality with a single treatment—which, when you think about it, is just amazing, because there aren’t a lot of therapies in medicine that work that well with a single dose.” Whether by injection at Phoenix Nest or infusion at Norcal, the regimen may require one, a few or a handful of treatments, with an additional dose after several months. A session at Phoenix Nest incorporates pre- and post-treatment counseling, runs 90 minutes to two hours and costs $600—though the nonprofit has a sliding scale based on income. Norcal is cash pay, too, at $400 per 40-minute treatment. “There’s a stigma,” Lipman said, referring to recreational use of the drug nicknamed Special K. “[An anesthetic like] Propofol, in the hands of the wrong person, can kill Michael Jackson [for example]; you have to be careful with any anesthetic. But in the hands of a professional, [ketamine is] a very effective medication for these uses.” Clements agreed. He joined Phoenix Nest because of the need he—like Kriz—saw locally to address trauma. He currently works two days a week in Chico but next month will increase his commitment to three. “I think that the use of ketamine to crack the shell on problems that can otherwise be very difficult to get the patient to open up about is groundbreaking,” he said. “It’s a revolution in psychiatric and psychologic care.” Ω
Knowing that hearing loss can lead to isolation, depression and loneliness, Deanna lives out their motto “Changing Lives Through Better Hearing” with every client.
invests in additional education for every person in her office. Today’s hearing aids are advanced digital devices programmed specifically for each person’s needs. Chico Hearing Aid Center carries a wide range of products and Deanna is an expert in matching the right device to each person.
As a Certified Audioprosthologist, Deanna McCoy has completed a comprehensive course of education in hearing instrument fitting, which far surpasses the state requirement. She is active in state professional associations and continually
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Whom to watch in 2022 T
he pandemic may have altered a lot of traditions, but one we’ve
maintained at the CN&R is our annual Whom to Watch feature, spotlighting locals we anticipate will make significant impacts—or at least headlines—over the coming year. Women dominate our list this time. Their roles— county supervisor, city council member, deputy city manager, nonprofit agency executive director—put them in key positions heading into 2022. We also highlight a musician-turned-show booker in a similarly pivotal spot. These are some of the people we’ll be watching.
Highlighting a handful of figures positioned to impact the community over the new year
Last liberals standing
Debra Lucero, Alex Brown and Tami Ritter Last year brought a significant shift in local politics. Chicoans have grown accustomed to their two Butte County Supervisors (currently both liberals) holding minority positions on the five-member board, but after the 2020 general election, they saw control of the City Council flip to conservatives as well. In July, that majority fortified its position by appointing like-minded members to two vacated seats (one of which had been held by a progressive). Alex Brown, Chico’s vice mayor in 2019-20, is now the lone liberal on the seven-member council. She and Supervisors Debra Lucero and Tami Ritter represent priorities of a significant constituency (nearly 44 percent of Chico’s registered voters are Democrats, compared to 27 percent Republicans and 21 percent “no party preference”) in the face of opposition that often appears intractable. They’re outnumbered—and, with each in the final year of her first term, their seats will be up for grabs in 2022. Speaking together with the CN&R, Lucero and Ritter said they will run for re-election, while Brown’s plans are “to be determined.” All three remain equally passionate about championing issues and policies they see as important—from housing to social services to water— despite political dynamics. “I kind of feel like that little kid out there on the ice who keeps falling down,” Lucero said, pointing to the City Plaza rink. “You almost get up, and then you slip and fall again. It’s hard to get your feet under you.” “Yeah, but without the proper equipment, right?” Brown interjected. “You don’t have your safety equipment or your ice skates. The environment is set up in a way that disenfranchises your ability to do what you want to do or how you want to serve.” “Because there’s not a give and take,” Lucero continued. “There’s not a reaching across the aisle. They’ll let you talk, but then it’s like, OK, we’re going to do what we want to do.” Chico City Councilwoman Alex Brown (center) and Butte County Supervisors Debra Lucero (left) and Tami Ritter all have terms ending this year. PHOTO BY EVAN TUCHINSKY
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Taylor Storey starts the new year as the new executive director of True North Housing Alliance. PHOTO BY KEN SMITH
At the county level, that divide focused most clearly on redistricting, where Lucero and Ritter vehemently dissented on the map approved by the other supervisors—prompting the two to get behind a referendum effort challenging the new district lines. Petitions were circulating as the CN&R went to press. City-wise, homelessness has been the fulcrum, with Brown consistently objecting to decisions by the council majority, including those that precipitated the Warren v. City of Chico federal lawsuit. “I think there’s a lot of different ways for us to ‘do the right thing’ and it doesn’t look exactly the same for everyone,” Ritter said. “But there should be a way for everyone to get their ideas out there—to their representative, to have a voice in it—and that is so out of balance right now.” They haven’t felt they serve in vain. Ritter cited as an example increased funding allocations to behavioral health and social services over the past three years. “I don’t have to be in the majority to help facilitate change,” she said. “Because you have to get the vision out there,” Lucero added. “You have to get the hope out there.” “I’ll just admit, being in the majority was difficult, too, in its own ways,” Brown said, alluding to her first two years on the council, when the balance was 5-2 in favor of liberals. “It’s difficult to get work done, and it requires a steady hand, and you learn as you go when you just start out in these roles. I think more and more, whether somebody disagrees with me or somebody is supportive of me, all of that blends to make a better public servant out of me.” —EVAN TUCHINSKY evant@ n ewsrev i ew. com
Beacon for the unhoused
Taylor Storey Taylor Storey is intimately familiar with the type of catastrophic disaster that’s caused many North State residents to experience homelessness. A native of the Gridley area and an alumna of Chico State, Storey called Plumas County home for the last several years and was living in Greenville when the Dixie Fire leveled that community last August. Though her home was not destroyed by the blaze, smoke damage, toxic water and a lack of access to the property necessitated an unanticipated move back to Chico, an experience which undoubtedly informs her perspective as she takes the reins as executive director of True North Housing Alliance this week (beginning Jan. 4). The position has been held by Joy Amaro since 2017.
Storey’s many responsibilities in that role will include overseeing the operations of Chico’s only year-round emergency homeless facility, the Torres Community Shelter, which is in the midst of a multiphase expansion and renovation. The shelter is just one initiative the nonprofit facilitates; True North also provides bridge housing via its Aurora North and Friends House programs (for families and men, respectively), as well as rapid rehousing, street outreach and support programs. Storey sharpened her social work chops at Chico State, and she told the CN&R that she developed “a really extensive background in crisis work and working with people in the most need of services” as a therapist with Plumas County Behavioral Health (PCBH). In addition to this experience in the trenches, Storey said the main reason she clicked with True North’s board was her focus on program
development and management. “In time, I’ve become more focused on identifying social problems and their root causes, analyzing policies and looking for solutions,” she said. Storey pointed to a successful program she developed, implemented and ran for her master’s thesis called the Transition Age Youth Peer Employment Program (“It’s a mouthful, I know,” she quipped) in the Quincy/Greenville area. The program was designed to provide vocational and life-skills training to youths with mental illness in foster care and on probation. “When I was working with them clinically, as their therapist, I saw that many were falling through the cracks. They didn’t have support to help get into base-level programs,” she said. “There was really nothing for them.” Storey said the program effectively taught real-world skills while providing “off-the-couch” therapy, enabling participants to work with groups and develop their socialization while learning. She partnered with local nonprofits to provide training, particularly organizations oriented around land and resource management, forestry and conservation because they represent the main industries in Plumas County. Realizing the bulk of her clients were young women as well as members of the LGBTQ+ community, she deliberately sought out partnerships with groups led by women. Specific jobs included working on a sustainable farm and establishing a community garden with PCBH. Storey said her most pressing goal is establishing a strong, diverse administration team and developing partnerships with other service providers to tackle True North’s internal objectives and larger external homeless issues via a holistic, mutual-aid approach. She also believes she’s prepared for the type of scrutiny and ire aimed at local service providers when it comes to homeless issues in Chico. “I have a really great support system,” she said. “I always try to take care and ask for help when needed, try to recognize what’s within my control and what’s not, and keep focused on actual goals and the mission instead of personal attacks. “But, being human, I know it won’t always be easy.” —KEN SMITH kens@ newsr ev iew.c o m
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Expanding the music scene
Amber Abney-Bass is the Jesus Center’s new executive director. PHOTO BY KEN SMITH
Cameron Ford remembers booking his first live show at Secret Trail Brewing Co. The concert was to happen Sept. 5, 2020, the first performance after six months of none since the pandemic was declared. He had to really sell it to local singer/songwriter Pat Hull. “I laid it all out for him: ‘You’re going to be behind a [plexiglass] drum shield. You’ll be playing inside the taproom; everyone else will be able to hear you from outside the taproom. They’ll be outside because we have no seating inside.’” To start any job during the summer of Longtime Chico musician Cameron Ford is the events manager for the expanding Secret trail Brewing Co.
New center, new director
Amber Abney-Bass A lot has changed since Amber AbneyBass first joined the Jesus Center staff, as its development director, in 2014. For starters, the center itself was located on Park Avenue and was best known as a place for unhoused people to fill immediate needs— a meal, a shower, a mailbox and essentials like shoes, clothing and warm gear available at its free store. Last spring, the center moved a few blocks away, to Fair Street. At this new and still-developing campus, the focus has shifted to providing greater shelter capacity, a broader range of programming and easier connection to county agencies. Further improvements—including more shelter beds and mental- and physical health care facilities—are still in the works. The latest change is the center’s executive director. Laura Cootsona has left that role, which she’s filled since October 2015, and Abney-Bass officially took the title Jan. 1. Abney-Bass explained that the transition has been in the works for at least 15 months and that she’s been running the center’s day-to-day operations since she was named its chief operations director last January. While discussing the center’s development and her involvement with it over the past seven years, Abney-Bass spoke about how changes have been driven by several factors, the most fundamental of which is with the issue of homelessness itself. “I’ll be honest, when I started here, it seemed to me that the complexity of people experiencing homelessness was a lot simpler, if you will,” she said. “It just didn’t seem nearly as complicated, and
PHOTO BY JASON CASSIDY
therefore the responses were different. “For one thing, the numbers of people experiencing homelessness now is significantly higher than back then, and as that population has grown, so has the complexity, and we weren’t seeing the same results as we used to.” One of the increased complexities AbneyBass pointed to is the incidence and severity of substance abuse and mental illness. “When I first started at the center, there’s no question that drug use was occurring, but I think now it’s much more prevalent than it was before, and it’s the same with mental illness. A lot of us [service providers] are constantly trying to figure out if one drives the other. There are studies that answer that in a variety of ways, but at the end of the day, we see the connection, and we see how these issues serve as an anchor to weigh people down.” Increased need has prompted the Christian faith-based Jesus Center to embrace newer concepts like traumainformed care and harm-reduction models to “make that anchor smaller so people can imagine a life when the anchor is gone,” Abney-Bass said. “We’ve always been good at looking at what we do, being honest about what’s working and what’s not, and adjusting accordingly,” she added. “That’s how we’ll continue to do things and what shapes us.” Abney-Bass said she treasures the time she’s spent working at the Jesus Center and looks forward to the future. “It can be hard sometimes, but it’s always worth it,” she said. “There’s no shortage of heartbreak here … but there’s also no shortage of miracles.”
2020 was rough, but with the on-again/ off-again nature of fluctuating mandates and the various COVID protocols— capacity restrictions, social distancing and those plexiglass barriers—one involving concert production was nearly impossible. “It got really weird,” Ford admitted during a recent interview at the brewery’s pub. “Every day, I had to set up that shield. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that anymore.” Despite the challenges, while many other venues have stalled or completely shut down, Secret Trail’s live programming has actually flourished during the pandemic. Thanks to the brewery’s investment in a greatly expanded seating area, Ford was able to shift all shows to the outdoors. Wednesday night open mics and Sunday afternoon concerts featuring area artists have been very well received by locals starved for entertainment. A couple months ago, Ford’s position as marketing/events manager—which includes website management, social media, booking, vetting musicians, stage management and sound engineering—was expanded to full time, and sometime in the new year (possibly early spring— depending, in part, how the pandemic plays out) he’ll be overseeing shows in Secret Trail’s newly expanded brewpub. The capacity of the space is 50 people, which means it won’t be economically viable to host too many touring acts, but Ford sees it as an opportunity for local and regional artists to play in a professional environment and maybe up their game in response. “There’s not a lot of places to play for musicians where the lights go down, the lights are on you, and no one is WATCH
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talking,” he said. “I think somebody like a Pat Hull is going to be so well-received in that environment because he’s somebody who puts a lot of thought into his content, and [this will be] the type of place that rewards that kind of effort … or at least that’s what I envision,” Ford said. “It [also] gives somebody new—like, anybody from Apollo School of Music—the ability to play a show where they have the potential to be received like that.”
For his part, the longtime Chico musician with far-ranging experience in the field—from studying music in England to playing piano on a cruise ship with an improv group from Chicago’s Second City troupe—is enthusiastic about the experience at Secret Trail. “I’ve never had a job that was so existentially fulfilling as this before,” Ford said. He also relishes the opportunity he has to try out different artists and approaches without having to jump through a bunch of
bureaucratic hoops. “The economic engine is not the music, it’s the beer. So, I have the ability to take more risks,” he said. “If I have an idea, I pitch it to [owners] Charlie and Michelle [Barrett], and they tell me to do it. That level of freedom—I’ve never had a job like that before. They are enthusiastic, they are extremely forgiving. “Now I want to work here for the rest of my life.”
Eye on revitalization
construction. She works on broad issues such as homelessness and infrastructure. “Here I have a little more direct working relationship with our local community than I did with my previous position,” Macarthy said. “It is a smaller organization, so certainly the breadth of opportunity and the types of work I’m able to take on is more varied.” Since coming onboard in April, she continued, “I’ve been spending a lot of my time in the planning phases [of projects], and I see that 2022 is going to be the year of implementation—and that’s exciting.” Among her plantings set to bear fruit is the plan for $21.1 million in federal funding allocated to the city for COVID-related recovery through the American Rescue Plan. This includes assistance for small businesses and youth programs; commercial building improvements; permanent parklets for downtown eateries; and, in conjunction with the county, a pallet shelter at the BMX facility by the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds.
Macarthy also pulled off the back burner plans to redevelop Lost Park, a creekside area along East First Street, which the city and Chico State jointly envision transforming into a “gateway” to downtown and the university. She said they’ll select a development team this year “to move that project forward.” She’ll continue interfacing with the local economic development group Team Chico on business retention, business expansion and jobs. “We look forward in 2022 to making sure that we are continually working toward an environment that enables investment to happen on a smooth basis and with assistance that the development community and businesses need to be successful,” she said. Orme looks to Macarthy for more: “Even though her areas of focus now are on the local business community, her ability to adapt to what’s needed at the time I’ve already bore witness to, and she’s not even been here that long.”
Jennifer Macarthy Jennifer Macarthy became Chico’s deputy city manager last spring, but to colleagues in the municipal center, it seems like she’s been on the job a lot longer. Her roots run deep, locally and in local government—and in less than a year, she’s made impacts that will ripple deep into 2022. Born and raised in Chico, where she lives and raised her two adult children, Macarthy worked as a management analyst for community and economic development under former City Manager Tom Lando. That kicked off two decades in agencies around Butte County. Current City Manager Mark Orme met her while she was the county’s deputy administrative officer for community and economic development; he lured her back to the city when the job for his deputy opened up. “It was wonderful to see such a dedicated public servant working on the county’s behalf, and that always stuck in my mind,” Orme said. “You always look around for people that have the ability to a) communicate and b) get the job done…. When I had a position to fill, I thought, ‘This is the person I’m going to reach out to,’ and I’m glad she considered it.” Though Macarthy’s focus with the city is, once again, economic development, that’s not the extent of her role. She serves as acting city manager when Orme is away. She coordinates initiatives, such as streamlining permit processes for
—Jason cassidy j aso nc @new srev i ew. c o m
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deputy city Manager Jennifer Macarthy, in her office overlooking downtown chico. PHOTO BY EVAN TUCHINSKY
JANUARY 6, 2022
Arts &Culture Artist: Kiri Bolles
THE COFFIS BROTHERS
JAN. ALL MONTH Art 1078 GALLERY: The Women Within Me Are Tired, an exhibit featuring work by artists Kiri Bolles and Isabella K. Saavedra. Opens 1/14. Artist reception 2/14. 1710 Park Ave. 1078gallery.org
CHICO ART CENTER: Member Showcase, work
THE WOMEN WITHIN ME ARE TIRED Jan. 14-Feb. 13 1078 Gallery
by artists, both regional and national, who support the art center. Through 1/30. 450 Orange St. chicoartcenter.com
JANET TURNER PRINT MUSEUM: New to the Collection – Prints Acquired from 2018-2021, including prints by significant contemporary artists Donna Westerman, Art Hazelwood, Jiha Moon, Aaron Coleman and Lesley Dill. Through 2/5. Arts & Humanities Building, Chico State. www.csuchico.edu/turner
MUSEUM OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ART: The Spirit of Pacific Western Traders, a collaboration between the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok, Concept: Art + Movement and the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria. Group exhibition looks at how one store affected generations of California Native artists. Through 1/23. 900 Esplanade. monca.org
Ice skating CHICO ICE RINK IN THE PLAZA: Through Jan. 30, Mon.-Thurs., 3-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sun., noon10pm (hours fluctuate on holidays). Ice skating in downtown Chico. Lessons and private party events also offered. $12. Chico City Plaza, downtown Chico. downtownchico.com
PARADISE ICE RINK: Through Jan. 17, Mon.Thurs., 2:30pm-8:30pm; Fri., noon-8pm (teen skate 9-11pm); Sat., noon-10pm; Sun., noon-8pm (adult skate 10-11:30am). An outdoor ice rink for the holiday season. $12 day pass; $5 for teen skate nights. Terry Ashe Recreation Center, 6626 Skyway. 530-872-6393. paradiseprpd.com
JANUARY 6, 2022
SWING DANCING: Free swing dance lessons. Thursdays, 7:30pm. Free. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. 530-413-9130.
SAT8 ALL THAT GLITTERS BURLESQUE + COMEDY: Things kick off with Venom Comedy, hosted by Cassidy Erin O’Brien and featuring Amber Pace, Annie Fischer, Don Ashby, Eliza Odegard and more. Sara Rooker headlines. The Malteazers burlesque show starts soon after. Sat, 1/8, 10pm. $12-$16. The Maltese, 1600 Park Ave.
BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY: The chillest Cleveland hip-hop crew returns. Plus, the Sugarhill Gang! (“Up jump the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie the beat!”) Sat, 1/8, 9pm. $40. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. goldcountrycasino.com
DRIVER: Local classic rock. Sat, 1/8, 8pm. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise.
SUN9 THE BANDIT QUEEN OF SORROWS: Singer/ songwriter, storyteller and poet on the patio. Sun, 1/9, 3pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.
WED12 OPEN MIC COMEDY: Hosted by Dillon Collins. Sign up 8pm. Wednesdays, 9pm. Free. The Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade. 530-520-0119.
INSPIRE SCHOOL-WIDE GALA 2022: This year’s gala, Be What You Want to See, will showcase student performances, interactive booths and club presentations. Sat, 1/8, 2pm. $10-$15. Inspire School of Arts & Sciences, 335 W. Sacramento Ave. inspirechico.org
POLAR BEAR PADDLE FEST: Kayakers compete in a poker race on the lake followed by a cold water dousing during the awards ceremony. Admission fee includes parking and race registration. Sat, 1/8, 8am. $25. Paradise Lake Boat Launch No. 1, Magalia. paradisechamber.com
ROCK MONSTERZ: 1980s cover band. Sat, 1/8, 10:30pm. Free. Feather Falls Casino & Lodge, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville. featherfallscasino.com
THU13 COMEDY THURSDAY: See Jan. 6. Thursdays, 8pm. Free. Bella’s Sports Pub, 231 Main St. 530-520-0119.
P-TOWN TONIGHT!: An original musical variety show written and directed by local theater stud Jerry Miller. The show’s host, Bobby LaButte, entertains the live studio audience with music and comedy in segments inspired by classics like The Tonight Show and others. Thu, 1/13, 7:30pm. Shows through Jan. 30. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org
SWING DANCING: See Jan. Thursdays, 7:30pm. Free. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway,
energetic music, and drag performances. All are welcome. Sat, 1/15, 3pm. Free. Grover Alley, Quincy.
P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Jan. 13. Sat, 1/15, 7:30pm. Shows through Jan. 30. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org
REMIX: Sacramento-based cover band. Sat, 1/15, 8pm. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. SYMBLANCE: Cover band + dance floor. Sat, 1/15, 8pm. $3. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise.
TWO SKIES WIDE: Local acoustic rock duo. Sat, 1/15, 9pm. Feather Falls Casino & Lodge, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville. featherfallscasino.com
SUN16 3 PINTS DOWN: Local cover band on the patio. Sun, 1/16, 3pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.
P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Jan. 13. Sun, 1/16, 2pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org
A VIENNESE NEW YEAR: Paradise Symphony Orchestra rings in the new year with pieces by Johann Strauss Sr. and Johann Strauss II, plus a selection of polkas and waltzes. Sun, 1/16, 6pm. $15$20. Paradise Performing Arts Center, 777 Nunneley Road, Paradise. paradiseperformingarts.com
FARMERS MARKETS: Butte County’s
clothes and more. Vendors and live musicians set up in the parking lot. Saturdays, 11am. The Magic Shop parking lot, 740 Flume St.
show & open mic hosted by Dillon Collins. Thursdays, 8pm. Free. Bella’s Sports Pub, 231 Main St. 530-520-0119.
FLUME STREET MARKET: Arts, crafts, vintage
Chico Women’s Club
COMEDY THURSDAY: Weekly comedy
Markets markets are open and selling fresh produce and more. Chico: Downtown (Saturdays, 7:30am-1pm); North Valley Plaza (Wednesdays, 8am-1pm); Chico State University Farm (Fridays, noon-4 p.m.). Magalia: Magalia Community Center (Sundays, 10am). Paradise: Alliance Church (Tuesdays, 7:30am-2pm); “Farmers Market Mobile” in Paradise, 1397 South Park Drive (Thursdays, 2pm).
Artist: Isabella K. Saavedra
Theatre on the Ridge
FRI14 P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Jan. 13. Fri, 1/14, 7:30pm. Shows through Jan. 30. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org
SAT15 KING OF THE CAGE - FIRESTORM: Live mixed martial arts at the casino. Sat, 1/15, 7pm. $45-$80. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. goldcountrycasino.com
PLUMAS PRIDE WINTER FESTIVAL: Cozy, creative costumes, warm drinks,
WED19 OPEN MIC COMEDY: See Jan. 12. Wednesdays, 9pm. Free. The Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade. 530-520-0119.
THU20 COMEDY THURSDAY: See Jan. 6. Thursdays, 8pm. Free. Bella’s Sports Pub, 231 Main St. 530-520-0119.
P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Jan. 13. Thu, 1/20, 7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org
SWING DANCING: See Jan. 6. Thursdays,
IS YOUR EVENT ONLINE?
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
7:30pm. Free. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway,
8pm. Free. Bella’s Sports Pub, 231
Main St. 530-520-0119.
FRI21 CAMELOT: A new musical adaptation of the Arthurian legend by the local theater company, celebrating the full score by Lerner & Loewe on an intimate scale with half the characters. Fri, 1/21, 7:30pm. Shows through Feb.13. $22-$25. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com
P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Jan. 13. Fri, 1/21, 7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org
SAT22 CAMELOT: See Jan. 21. Sat, 1/22, 7:30pm. $22-$25. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com
KYLE SMITH BAND: Reggae rock from Ventura. Sat, 1/22, 9pm. $8. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave.
P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Jan. 13. Sat, 1/22, 7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org
RAGDOLLS: Aerosmith tribute band. Sat, 1/22, 10:30pm. Free. Feather Falls Casino & Lodge, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville. featherfallscasino.com
SIP AND SHOP: More than 15 local small businesses and makers showcase their crafts. Live music TBA. Presented by Bloom Marketplaces. Sat, 1/22, 12pm. The Commons Social Empourium, 2412 Park Ave.
SUN23 CAMELOT: See Jan. 21. Sun, 1/23, 2pm. $22-
ECONOMIC FORECAST CONFERENCE 2022: Annual conference on current workforce and other issues affecting the North State. Register online ahead of the event. Thu, 1/27, 9am4:30pm. $140 - $1,120. Bell Memorial Union Auditorium, Chico State. www.nspdc.csuchico.edu/#/ced
P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Jan. 13. Thu, 7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org
SWING DANCING: See Jan. 6. Thursdays, 7:30pm. Free. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. 530-413-9130.
2022 W. Second St. elreychico.com
P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Jan. 13. Sat, 1/29, 7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org
WEBSTER MOORE TRIO: Groovy jazz covers. Sat, 1/29, 9pm. Feather Falls Casino & Lodge, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville. featherfallscasino. com
CAMELOT: See Jan. 21. Fri, 1/28, 7:30pm. $22-$25. Chico Theater
WINDSYNC: Chico Performances pres-
Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org
presents the Nor-Cal roots rockers along with local jam band Blu Egyptian. Fri, 1/28, 6:30pm. $10$12. (Find “Chico Concerts” on Facebook.) Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St.
P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Jan. 13. Fri, 1/28, 7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org
SAT29 CAMELOT: See Jan. 21. Sat, 1/29, 7:30pm. $22-$25. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com
LIL PETE AND NEF THE PHARAOH: The two Bay Area rappers are on tour along with special guest Kony Ginobli. Sat, 1/29, 7pm. $25. El Rey Theater, 230
ents the wind quintet chamber ensemble. The group performs wind masterworks, adapting the music to their instrumentation and championing new works by today’s composers. Sun, 1/30, 2pm. $40. Arts Recital Hall, Chico State, ARTS 279. 530-898-6333. chicoperformances.com
MON31 DARK STAR ORCHESTRA: Grateful Dead cover band from Chicago. Mon, 1/31, 8pm. $27.50. Senator Theatre, 517 Main St. jmaxproductions.net
WED3 OPEN MIC COMEDY: See Jan. 12. Wednesdays, 9pm. Free. The Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade. 530-520-0119.
$25. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com
NIMESH PATEL: New York-based comedian and Emmy-nominated writer. Sun, 1/23, 6:30pm. $30. El Rey Theater, 230 W.
Second St. elreychico.com
P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Jan. 13. Sun, 1/23, 2pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org
SHIGEMI, ETHAN, AMAN TRIO: Local jazz trio. Sun, 1/23, 3pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.
WED26 OPEN MIC COMEDY: See Jan. 12. Wednesdays, 9pm. Free. The Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade. 530-520-0119.
THU27 CAMELOT: See Jan. 21. Thu, 1/27, 7:30pm. $22-$25. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com
COMEDY THURSDAY: See Jan. 6. Thursdays,
NEW Snow Goose Festival Headquarters: Patrick Ranch Museum 10381 Midway, Chico
Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com
P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Jan. 13. Fri, 1/30, 2pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735
THE COFFIS BROTHERS: Chico Concerts
Thursday– Sunday, January 27– 30, 2022
CAMELOT: See Jan. 21. Sun, 1/30, 2pm. $22-$25. Chico Theater
FRI28 Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com
of the Pacific Flyway
THE SPIRIT OF NATIVE ART For its latest group show, The Spirit of Pacific Western Traders, the Museum of Northern California Art (MONCA) has turned its space over to Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Concept: Art + Movement, the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria and curators Meyo Marrufo and Jennifer Bates. The exhibit explores how the Pacific Western Traders store—founded in 1971 in Folsom and now one of the premier venues for California Indian arts— impacted generations of Native artists with its shows, classes, demonstrations and art markets. On display through Jan. 23.
There is still time to sign up for field trips at the Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway. While many are sold out, we still have some great trips to provide you with a grand birding adventure.
www.snowgoosefestival.org | 530-592-9092
“WINGS IN ART” EXHIBITION This impressive art exhibit is located at the Museum of Northern California Art, 900 Esplanade, in Chico SHOWING: January 27–30, February 3–6 HOURS: Thursday–Sunday, 11:00am–5:00pm
Feast your eyes on wonderful art by artists whose subjects include wildlife and habitat along the Pacific Flyway. This impressive art exhibit located at the Museum of Northern California Art, 900 Esplanade, in Chico will feature the work of many artists in a variety of media, including sculpture, clay, oils, fiber arts, watercolor, acrylics, mixed media, glass, and photography.
“WINGS IN ART” FRIDAY RECEPTION
FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2022 | 5:00PM–8:00 PM
You are invited to attend the very popular Snow Goose Festival “Wings in Art” Reception, Friday, January 28, 5:00 pm–8:00 pm. View the inspiring collection of artwork, enjoy refreshments, splendid conversations, and a no-host bar. Bring a friend and meet the artists, along with fellow festival participants, and field trip leaders. SPECIAL NOTE: Due to the popularity of this event, we are taking measures to ensure visitors’ safety by allowing 100 attendees per hour, starting at 5pm. Call the museum 530487-7272, Thursday – Sunday, 11:00am –5:00pm to reserve your one hour time-slot, and include your family and friends too. Masks required indoors.
BIRDS IN SACRAMENTO VALLEY’S WINTER WETLANDS | FILM BY HENRY GANZLER This film plays in a loop throughout the time the museum is open
JANUARY 27– FEBRUARY 6 THURSDAY –SUNDAY, 11:00 AM –5:00 PM Parking at Chico High School, Esplanade, Oleander Ave., First Christian Church, 295 E Washington Ave (two blocks east), and Chico Junior High School.
FREE TO THE PUBLIC JANUARY 6, 2022
SCENE The Pageant Theatre PHOTO BY JASON CASSIDY
Open arthouse Pageant Theatre emerges from pandemic shutdown renewed and improved
W in Chico, Pageant Theatre owner Miles Montalbano figured it would hen the global pandemic arrived
pass by quickly. He and his 2020 crew were looking forward to celebrating the Pageant’s 40th anniversary in March. “We thought by the lockdown Robert Speer would last only rober ts peer@ a couple of newsrev i ew.c om months,” he said Now showing: during a recent Red Rocket opens interview in the Jan. 7. Check website theater. for times and listings Little did for upcoming films. Montalbano Pageant Theatre know then that it 351 E. Sixth St. would be nearly pageantchico.com 20 months— November 2021—before he would be able to kick open the theater doors. What he now wants patrons to know is that he used that time to upgrade the theater in multiple ways. The Pageant they will experience today is much improved from the pre-pandemic Pageant. Back then, though, they had to decide what to do next. At-home streaming services became even more entrenched during the pandemic, and there are no alternative business models when it comes to movie theaters, especially small arthouse theaters like the Pageant. Check that word “arthouse.” What had kept the Pageant going until the arrival of the pandemic—ironically, coinciding with the anniversary—had been its screening of small-scale independent movies, rather than the expensive blockbusters shown in multiplexes. “We book movies that we want to see,” Montalbano said. The Pageant’s mission, he says in the theater’s online
JANUARY 6, 2022
lesbian love affair and begins having, as the website synopsis puts it, PHOTO BY EVAN TUCHINSKY “scenes of wild religious madness.” statement, “is to celebrate the art of You won’t find it at Tinseltown. To the suggestion that “it’s a film and community by bringing the best in arthouse, independent, world quintessential Pageant movie,” Montalbano replied, laughing, cinema, documentary and classics “Absolutely. It’s got it all.” to town.” An example: Early last month Local documentary filmmaker Al (December) and shortly after reopening for business, the Pageant Mitchell founded the Pageant in 1970 and ran it for many years. screened Benedette, directed When he decided to sell, two by the always provocative Paul local guys, Tim Giusta and Roger Verhoeven. Set among 17th-cenMontalbano (Miles’ father), took the tury nuns, it’s about a sister who leap into moviehouse ownership. becomes entangled in a forbidden Siblings Miles and Nicole Montalbano co-own the Pageant, Chico’s arthouse theater.
With them in charge, the Pageant became firmly established as the alternative to the mall multiplexes. Its popularity served it well for several years, until the movie industry forced a switch to digital projection—at the hefty cost of $50,000 for a new projector at the Pageant. Fans rallied as the theater used online crowdsourcing to raise the money. For the next several years, things were going well. Then the pandemic hit. Suddenly the theater, now owned by Miles, faced an impossible challenge: It had no paying customers,
but the bills kept rolling in. Working now in full partnership with his sister Nicole, Miles applied successfully for a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, available as part of the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan. The grant was remarkably flexible. The feds left it up to Montalbano to decide how to spend the money. “All they asked was to see our budget,” he said. The grant money enabled him to clear away overdue rent and unpaid back payroll, lift the theater into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, install a new airfiltration system, create dedicated wheelchair spaces and add closed captioning and hearing-assistance headphones. “The grant really was a gift to us,” Montalbano said. It gave them enough money to last through 2022. Gone are the popular, but funky, couches at the front of the auditorium. “The couches had to go,” Montalbano said. “They always have a finite lifespan.” As compensation to regulars, perhaps, the popcorn machine remains in place, and attendees can still buy beer. For its grand reopening on the weekend of Nov. 26-27, the Pageant called on Jonathan Richman, the famous singer-songwriter and founder of The Modern Lovers. As it happens, Richman is married to Nicole Montalbano and lives in Chico, far from his original East Coast haunts. A distributor suggested that for its grand reopening, the Pageant hold an advance screening of The Velvet Underground, Todd Haynes’ new documentary about the seminal proto-punk band, which features an interview with Richman, who was present at many of the band’s early shows and who knew the members personally. The theater was packed both nights, with Richman helming a lively Q&A following the screenings. The money collected went, in typical Pageant fashion, to the homeless-assistance group Safe Space. “We’re trying to get the word out that we are here,” Montalbano said. “I hope this is something Chico can support. It’s all about the love of film and our community.” Ω
JANUARY 6, 2022
Open season preview Local theaters are back on schedule after two years of disruptions
Fhavedarsbeen for performing arts venues a mess. The COVID-19
or the past two years, the calen-
pandemic has forced cancellations, reschedules (re-reschedules) and prolonged closures. Chico’s theater community has responded to the challenges as well as possible— enforcing social-distancing/masking requirements, staging outdoor shows and even going virtual at times. Looking forward to 2021, with vaccination rates slowly risby ing, most local Jason Cassidy companies are j aso nc@ feeling optimistic newsrev i ew.c om enough to book full seasons. Even the Blue Blue Room Theatre Room Theatre— facebook.com/ which was blueroomtheatre forced to vacate California Regional its downtown Theatre location and has (800) 722-4522 been in limbo crtshows.com since—has a proChico State, duction planned Department of for spring. What Music and Theatre follows is a (530) 898-5152 preview of the www.csuchico. edu/muta/ offerings from the first half of Chico Theater the year. Here’s Company hoping the actors (530) 894-3282 can stay on the chicotheater.com boards and we Theatre on can all fill our the Ridge calendars without (530) 877-5760 having to cross totr.org anything out. 22
JANUARY 6, 2022
P-Town Tonight, Theatre on the Ridge (Jan. 13-30): The troupe on the Ridge invites you to “spend the evening with Bobby LaButte,” the host of this original musical late-night-style variety show written and directed by Jerry Miller.
Camelot, Chico Theater Company (Jan. 21-Feb. 13): A small-cast rendition of Lerner and Loewe’s classic musical version of the story of the love triangle between King Arthur, Guenevere and Sir Lancelot.
The Fox on the Fairway, Chico Theater Company (Feb. 4-20): A classic farce, with shenanigans played out among the members of a posh golf club. Company, California Regional Theatre at First Street Theatre (Feb. 4-20): Stephen Sondheim died this past November, and the legendary musical composer left this world as one of the most celebrated figures in American theater. The musical revue Company was one
of his earliest successes, winning six Tony Awards in 1970.
Becky Shaw, Theatre on the Ridge (March 3-13): A finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize, this comedy by Gina Gionfriddo about what happens when a couple fixes up the wife’s best friend with the husband’s handsome but strange co-worker. The Little Mermaid, California Regional Theatre at CUSD Center for the Arts (March 11-27): Musical version of the popular Disney animated feature. Godspell, California Regional Theatre at First Street Theatre (April 1-15): April brings to Chico two 1970s musicals based on the Gospels from The Bible— Chico Regional Theatre’s offering of Godspell, in the first half of the month, and Chico Theater Company’s Jesus Christ Superstar opening April 22.
Doublewide, Texas, Theatre on
the Ridge (April 7-24): A fast-paced comedy set in the smallest trailer park in Texas.
California Regional Theatre’s production of the musical Annie was one of its first shows at the new First Street Theatre venue in downtown Chico. PHOTO COURTEST OF CALIFORNIA REGIONAL THEATRE
The Twilight Zone, Blue Room Theatre – venue TBA (April 15-16): The Blue Room makes a brief reappearance on the scene this spring with a “very lowkey and DIY production” of three episodes of the classic sci-fi TV series.
Jesus Christ Superstar, Chico Theater Company (April 22-May 15): See Godspell above.
Legally Blonde the Musical, Laxson Auditorium (May 5-8): For its annual spring production, Chico State’s theater department is staging this musical version of the book/movie of the same name, about the So-Cal sorority girl who enrolls in law school to try and win back her man.
Shakespeare in the Park, Legacy Stage (June): On June 11, Legacy will unveil what work will be featured, but no matter which of
the Bard’s plays it is, the return of live theater to Bidwell Park is something to excited about. Join them online at facebook.com/ LegacyStageChico at 11 a.m. for the live announcement.
Too Many Cooks, Theatre on the Ridge (June 2-19): A fast-paced comedy set in the 1930s in the aftermath of the stock-market crash. Amid a backdrop of rumrunning gangsters, a father and daughter start a new restaurant and are forced to find a last-minute replacement when their star chef fails to show up to the grand opening.
Flaming Idiots, Chico Theater Company (June 3-19): What’s the surest way to get customers through the door of your restaurant? Stage a murder at the place! Ω
JANUARY 6, 2022
REEL WORLD The Power of the Dog
Film flood 2021 CN&R critic’s rundown of a year of mostly new movies (and other curiosities) that streamed across the home screen
O& Dream good stuff found its way into the Stream screening room during 2021. kay, first things first. An abundance of
And the best of it, as of the penultimate week of Juan-Carlos December, looks like this: Selznick A baker’s dozen “Top Ten” (in descending order): 1. Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog (USA/New Zealand) 2. Matteo Garrone’s Pinocchio (Italy) 3. Miranda July’s Kajillionaire (USA) 4. Christian Petzold’s Undine (Germany) 5. Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland (USA) 6. David Fincher’s Mank (USA) 7. Elizabeth Lo’s Stray (Turkey) 8. Todd Haynes’ The Velvet Underground (USA) 9. Celine Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France) 10. Roy Andersson’s About Endlessness (Sweden) 11. Rebecca Hall’s Passing (USA) 12. Thomas Bezucha’s Let Him Go (USA) 13. Anders Thomas Jensen’s Riders of Justice (Denmark) Honorable mentions (alphabetical order): Annette (France), Concrete Cowboy (USA), Cry Macho (USA), Curtiz (Hungary), The Devil All the Time (USA), The Dig (UK), The Dry (Australia), East of the Mountains by
JANUARY 6, 2022
(USA), High Ground (Australia), Lost Bullet (France), The Man in the Hat (United Kingdom), Non-Fiction (France), Old Henry (USA), Out Stealing Horses (Norway), Summer of Soul (USA). Let Him Go, with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, is not the best film of 2021, but it is a particularly interesting example of the year’s compacted and convoluted genre films. Costner is a retired lawman and Lane is his dynamic, horse-whispering wife. Both get convulsively caught up in the wife’s quest to retrieve their grandson, and his young widowed mother, from the clutches of a crime family in rural Kentucky. The matriarch of that family (Lesley Manville, wildly over the top) is an evil stepmother for the ages, and
there’s a high body count by the finish. By turns lurid and delicate, empathetic and implacable, the onscreen results are an erratic but mostly fascinating melange of genres—crime film, soap opera, case study, family melodrama, semi-classical tragedy. It borders on the ridiculous, but it’s at its best when it’s setting up competing kinds of rooting interest with the two protagonists while also complicating and sometimes undercutting the powerful sympathies involved with each. Rich complications of that sort distinguish a number of the year’s most striking genre entertainments. In the Danish Riders of Justice, an aging combat officer seeking justice and/or revenge for the death of his wife finds fragmented, unstable common cause with his college-age daughter and a pair of goofy statisticians. What results is a weirdly perceptive mix of crime story, social commentary and comedy of moral and statistical errors. In Lost Bullet, from France, an ex-convict mechanic who soups up pursuit cars for the police force gets framed for murder by a corrupt cop and must scam his way back to a stolen car that has ballistic evidence that will exonerate him. It’s
a crime story in which outlaw guile, high-tech skills and car chases are the key weapons. In Stray, a sleeping dog in Istanbul is awakened by the midday call to prayer and begins to howl, mournfully, semi-musically and at length. In the middle of a shot in A Life for a Kiss, a short western from 1912 , a thirsty outlaw drinks from a ranchwoman’s bucket and then, before stealing a rather forceful kiss from her, turns and offers the bucket to his horse; and the horse, who must be thirsty too, rejects the offer in no uncertain terms. Animals viewed as characters in their own right turned up memorably in a number of films I saw in 2021: the dogs in Stray and East of the Mountains; horses in Let Him Go, Concrete Cowboy, Out Stealing Horses, Old Henry, The Power of the Dog, etc. Special mention of memorable movie achievements that weren’t actually feature films: Bruce Springsteen’s Jeep commercial, at halftime of the Super Bowl broadcast; David Lynch’s What Did Jack Do?; Harry Langdon’s First Talkie, on YouTube; season No. 1 of Steve Martin’s Only Murders in the Building, on Hulu. Music films: I haven’t seen Get Back, Peter Jackson’s Beatles documentary, but I finally did catch up with two very good features from 2019: Once Were Brothers, about Robbie Robertson and The Band, and The Quiet One, about Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman. (I hope there’s a really good feature-length Charlie Watts documentary already in the works somewhere). And there was the multifaceted surprise of The Velvet Underground, Haynes’ documentary/collage about Lou Reed, John Cale, Andy Warhol and the band of that name. Also at the top of my Must See/ Must Hear list, Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), Questlove’s epochal documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, A commercial on late-night TV for a mesothelioma medication features the testimony of a kindly-looking elderly couple. She gently does most of the talking; he looks quietly at her and at the camera with a sad, gentle calm. It’s a straightforward sales pitch, but with an unusual note of emotional honesty. The sad, stoic calm of the man doesn’t seem to contradict what his wife is saying, but his expression suggests there’s something in the disease that’s beyond words, beyond medicine, maybe just plain unspeakable. Wondrous creatures: Movie characters who are superhuman in ways that most superheroes are not: a child prodigy who is a very animated puppet for most of Leos Carax’s Annette; a puppet played by a real boy in Garrone’s Pinocchio; a talking monkey interrogated by the director himself, in Lynch’s What Did Jack Do? Must-read movie reviewer: Richard Brody, in The New Yorker (NewYorker.com). Ω
ARTS DEVO by JASON CASSIDY • email@example.com
BAND DAD Last month, Butte County’s music scene lost one of its giants, Don DiBono, who died on Dec. 7. He was 74. In the December issue of the CN&R, this column featured a tribute to those from the local arts/music scene who we lost in 2021, with very brief synopses outlining their contributions. If the newspaper hadn’t already been in the racks when DiBono passed, his blurb would have read: Longtime Chico music impresario, owner/booker for Cabos nightclub and Entertainment Services concert productions, booker for Feather Falls Casino, mastermind of the band Decades and No. 1 Beatles fan. DiBono was unwavering in his commitment to promoting live events in Butte County. For 45 years, he followed his passion for music and applied his natural talent as an organizer to bring touring musicians to Chico (Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, many a Beatles tribute, to name a few) and put local acts on stages. It is perhaps his time running the legendary Cabos (which Don DiBono was in the old Herreid Music spot at The Junction intersection PHOTO BY ALAN SHECKTER in Chico) where DiBono’s legacy is most felt locally. From 1976 to 1985, the south-of-downtown club was a jumpin’ nightspot featuring local and touring bar bands, including the likes of Robert Cray, Norton Buffalo and even The Doobie Brothers. If you’ve enjoyed the rock and blues dance bands that—in the years since—have kept the dance ﬂoors of places like La Salles, the Blue Max and even the Sierra Nevada Big Room packed, you have DiBono to thank for putting Chico on the map and setting the stage for the bookers who came after. DiBono’s most recent role had been as booking agent/manager for the very popular cover act Decades, which features his son Billy DiBono on drums and for which he booked more than 1,000 shows in Chico and beyond over the past 11 years. It is regretful that the CN&R had yet to honor him with a CAMMIES Lifetime Achievement award before COVID forced the cancellation of last year’s event. It was long overdue for such a pioneering and iconic ﬁgure in the scene. The CN&R sends condolences to Billy, the other members of Decades and all the rest of Don’s family and friends. MY DAD On Dec. 8, after a years-long struggle with a variety of life-threatening illnesses, my dad, Mike Cassidy, died in the ICU at Mercy Medical Center in Redding. Early that morning, my mother, sisters, a few other family members and I visited him in pairs to say our goodbyes before he peacefully passed at the age of 71. Mike wasn’t my birth father, but he’s always been Dad. My mom, Carla, and he were married a few days before my fourth birthday, and I have called him “Dad” ever since. He taught me to drive a stick shift; he sang the “greasy, grimy gopher guts” song for me and my three sisters on command; and he was our ﬁercest defender—confronting bullies, teachers and anyone else who made the mistake of causing a problem for his kids. He worked hard his whole life to make ours possible. Dad had rough start in life, and it’s pretty unbelievable that the young hellraiser from Long Beach with the unruly afro (which he’d sometimes tame with egg whites) chose to settle down, get married, adopt me and my sister Leslie, have two more daughters (Heather and Sheridan) with my mom and commit his life to selling things (cars mostly) to feed and clothe us. I know without a doubt that he would say his luckiest day was the night he met Carla at that bowling alley in Hemet and that his greatest achievement in life was choosing her and enjoying a lifetime of love in return. Dad and I weren’t very close. Mostly, we were just two very different people. I do know I love him as my dad, and I know he loved me as his son. And that’s everything. Rest in peace, Dad. A young Mike Cassidy surrounded by his wife and three of his four kids.
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FOR THE WEEK OF JANUARY 6, 2022 ARIES (March 21-April 19): In the fantasy tale The Wizard of Oz, a tornado lifts the hero Dorothy from her modest home in rural Kansas to a magical realm called Oz. There she experiences many provocative and entertaining adventures. Nonetheless, she longs to return to where she started from. A friendly witch helps her find the way back to Kansas, which requires her to click her ruby slippers together three times and say, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.” I suspect, Aries, that there’ll be a different ending to your epic tale in 2022. At some point, you will decide you prefer to stay in your new world. Maybe you’ll even click your ruby slippers together and say, “There’s no place like Oz, there’s no place like Oz.” (Thanks to author David Lazar for that last line.)
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Fifty-five percent of the people who live in Toronto speak primarily English or French. But for the other 45 percent, their mother tongue is a different language, including Portuguese, Tagalog, Italian, Tamil, Spanish, Cantonese and Mandarin. I wish you could spend some time there in the coming months. In my astrological opinion, you would benefit from being exposed to maximum cultural diversity. You would thrive by being around a broad spectrum of influences from multiple backgrounds. If you can’t manage a trip to Toronto or another richly diverse place, do your best to approximate the same experience. Give yourself the gift of splendorous variety.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): One of your primary meditations throughout 2022 should be the following advice from The Laws of Human Nature, a book by motivational author Robert Greene. He writes, “In ancient times, many great leaders felt that they were descended from gods and part divine. Such self-belief would translate into high levels of confidence that others would feed off and recognize. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy. You do not need to indulge in such grandiose thoughts, but feeling that you are destined for something great or important will give you a degree of resilience when people oppose or resist you. You will not internalize the doubts that come from such moments. You will have an enterprising spirit. You will continually try new things, even taking risks, confident in your ability to bounce back from failures and feeling destined to succeed.”
CANCER (June 21-July 22): I would love to unabashedly encourage you to travel widely and explore wildly in 2022. I would rejoice if I could brazenly authorize you to escape your comfort zone and wander in the frontiers. It’s not often the planetary omens offer us Cancerians such an unambiguous mandate to engage in exhilarating adventures and intelligent risks. There’s only one problem: that annoying inconvenience known as the pandemic. We really do have to exercise caution in our pursuit of expansive encounters. Luckily, you now have extra ingenuity about the project of staying safe as you enlarge your world.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): I suspect that your life in 2022 might feature themes beloved by Leo author Emily Brontë (1818–1848). “No coward soul is mine,” she wrote, “No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere.” I suggest making that one of your mottos. Here’s another guiding inspiration from Emily, via one of her poems: “I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading: / It vexes me to choose another guide: / Where the grey flocks in ferny glens are feeding; / Where the wild wind blows on the mountainside.” Here’s one more of Brontë’s thoughts especially suitable for your use in the coming months: “I’ll be as dirty as I please, and I like to be dirty, and I will be dirty!”
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): What reversals and turnabouts would you like to experience in 2022, Virgo? Which situations would you like to transform dramatically? Are there imbalances of power you would like to rec-
BY ROB BREZSNY tify? Contradictions you’d love to dissolve? Misplaced priorities you could correct? All these things are possible in the coming months if you are creative and resourceful enough. With your dynamic efforts, the last could be first, the low could be high, and the weak could become strong.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): “Everything good I’ve ever gotten in my life, I only got because I gave something else up,” wrote author Elizabeth Gilbert. That has often been true for me. For example, if I hadn’t given up my beloved music career, I wouldn’t have had the time and energy to become a skillful astrology writer with a big audience. What about you, Libra? In my reckoning, Gilbert’s observation should be a major theme for you in 2022.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Author C. S. Lewis wrote that we don’t simply want to behold beauty. We “want to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.” If there were ever a time when you could get abundant tastes of that extravagant pleasure, Scorpio, it would be in the coming months. If you make it a goal, if you set an intention, you may enjoy more deep mergers and delightful interactions with beauty than you have had since 2010.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Sagittarian singer-songwriter Tom Waits began his career in 1969. He achieved modest success during the next 11 years. But his career headed in an even more successful direction after he met Kathleen Brennan, who became his wife and collaborator. In a 1988 interview, Waits said, “She’s got the whole dark forest living inside of her. She pushes me into areas I would not go, and I’d say that a lot of the things I’m trying to do now, she’s encouraged.” In 2022, Sagittarius, I’ll invite you to go looking for the deep dark forest within yourself. I’m sure it’s in there somewhere. If you explore it with luxuriant curiosity, it will ultimately inspire you to generate unprecedented breakthroughs. Yes, it might sometimes be spooky—but in ways that ultimately prove lucky.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Capricorn-born Muhammad Ali was far more than a superb professional boxer. He was an activist, entertainer and philanthropist who gathered much wisdom in his 74 years. I’ve chosen one of his quotes to be your guide in the coming months. I hope it will motivate you to rigorously manage the sometimes pesky and demanding details that will ultimately enable you to score a big victory. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you down,” Ali said. “It’s the pebble in your shoe.”
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): At a pivotal moment in his evolution, Aquarian playwright Anton Chekhov (1860–1904) swore an oath to himself. I’ll tell you about it here because I hope it will inspire you to make a comparable vow to yourself about how you’ll live your life in 2022. Author Robert Greene is the source of the quote. He says that Chekhov promised himself he would engage in “no more bowing and apologizing to people; no more complaining and blaming; no more disorderly living and wasting time. The answer to everything was work and love, work and love. He had to spread this message to his family and save them. He had to share it with humanity through his stories and plays.”
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Here’s what Piscean author Anais Nin wrote in one of her diaries: “When I first faced pain, I was shattered. When I first met failure, defeat, denial, loss, death, I died. Not today. I believe in my power, in my magic, and I do not die. I survive, I love, live, continue.” According to my analysis of the astrological omens, Pisces, you could claim her triumphant declaration as your own in 2022, with special emphasis on this: “I believe in my power, in my magic. I survive, I love, live, continue.” This will be a golden age, a time when you harvest the fruits of many years of labor.
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.
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