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Our Mission: To publish great newspapers that are successful and enduring. To create a quality work environment that encourages employees to grow professionally while respecting personal welfare. To have a positive impact on our communities and make them better places to live.

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MAY 4, 2023 CN&R 3 CN&R INSIDE Vol. 46, Issue 11 • May 4–May 31, 2023
their advertising message. CN&R is printed at Western Web on recycled newsprint. CN&R is a member of Chico Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Chico Business Association, AAN and AWN. OPINION 4 Editorial 4 Editor’s Note 4 Letters 4 Guest Comment 5 This Modern World 5 Second & Flume 6 Streetalk 7 NEWSLINES 8 Briefed 8 What’s up with our water? Tuscan Aquifer explained 8 California’s ambitious plan for mental health access 14 FEATURE 16 Gardening in valley heat ARTS&CULTURE 20 May events 20 Scene 24, 26 Reel World 29 Arts DEVO 30 Brezsny’s Astrology 31 ON THE COVER: PHOTO OF BIG CHICO CREEK BY JASON CASSIDY PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY TINA FLYNN 26 MORE ONLINE Find content available only at chico.newsreview.com 16 Bruce Jenkins Insurance & Financial Services CA License #0B86680 • Medicare Supplement Plans • Medicare Advantage Plans • Social Security Maximization • Retirement Income Planning • Life Insurance 530-781-3592 We will do the research for you! www.brucejenkinsinsurance.com $10 OFF HEEL & SOLE SHOES HEEL SOLE SHOES Happy Mother’s Day!

The double-edged sword of AI in journalism

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a popular topic in the field of journalism. While it can bring numerous benefits, it can also have negative impacts if not implemented appropriately.

One of the most significant positive impacts of AI in journalism is its ability to automate various tasks. For example, AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data, making it easier for journalists to identify patterns and trends. This, in turn, can lead to more comprehensive and nuanced reporting. Additionally, AI can assist in language translation, which is particularly useful when covering international events.

Furthermore, AI can increase the efficiency and accuracy of journalism. By using algorithms to analyze data, journalists can identify trends and gather data more quickly than if they had to manually sort through it. This also makes it easier to fact-check information.

However, there are concerns with relying too heavily on AI in journalism. One of the most significant concerns is the risk of bias. If the algorithm is trained using biased data, it can generate skewed results, leading to inaccurate reporting. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that the data used to train AI algorithms is diverse and representative.

Another concern is the potential for job displacement. As AI algorithms become more sophisticated, they may be able to replace human journalists, leading to job losses in the


Charity with justice

Re: Editor’s Note: “Commitment” (By Jason Cassidy, April 6, 2023)

Editor Jason Cassidy lauds the Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT) program and quotes founder Bob Trausch: “If you see a problem, you don’t talk about it, you look for a solution. Arguing about which side is wrong, that doesn’t get you anywhere.” Cassidy sees CHAT’s success as achieved through “staying out of the political fray.”

It’s one thing to stay out of the fray and acknowledge you’re practicing pure charity—charity with no call for justice. And maybe it’s okay to bask in the glory of sacred cow status, praised even by those most antagonistic to homeless human rights (i.e., Chico City Councilman Sean Morgan). But preaching that arguing about right and wrong “doesn’t get you any anywhere” is problematic.

industry. This could have significant economic and social implications.

The most significant catastrophic danger of AI in journalism is the potential for misinformation and propaganda. AI-generated fake news or propaganda can be virtually indistinguishable from real news, making it easier for malicious actors to spread false information. This can have disastrous consequences for public understanding and perception of current events.

It’s essential to use AI in journalism carefully and ethically. While it can bring numerous benefits to the industry, it’s crucial to ensure that implementation doesn’t compromise the integrity and accuracy of journalism. By addressing these concerns, journalists can use AI to enhance their work, making it more efficient and accurate, while maintaining the trust of the public.

The potential benefits of AI in journalism are significant, but so are the risks. By using it carefully and thoughtfully, journalists can leverage its capabilities to improve their work while avoiding the catastrophic dangers of misinformation and propaganda.

The headline and preceding editorial were generated by the AI app ChatGPT using the prompt: “Write a 400 word editorial about the possible positive and negative impacts of AI on journalism.”

I don’t fault CHAT for skimming the “easiest” of the homeless population off the streets; CHAT doesn’t have the resources to meet the needs of the many left behind, or to end a housing crisis. But I do question those who remain 100 percent aloof while human rights violations abound—criminalization laws, camp sweeps, coercive containment, closure of our soup kitchen, the barricading of restrooms and drinking water—and then insinuate the small fraction who oppose these violations are nowhere. Here, the voice of charity abets a culture of tyranny.

Patrick Newman Chico

Systemic poverty

Life is often about choices, except if you’re one of the tens of thousands of

Butte County residents whose house burned down in a wildfire; except if you were one of the 500,000 disabled or elderly Americans who weren’t awarded benefits while 1,500 Social Security field offices were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic; except if your business got wiped out by the pandemic-induced economic downturn; except if you had a medical emergency that wiped out your savings and income.

In his new book, Poverty, by America, Pulitzer Prize-winning Princeton professor Matthew Desmond studies factors that contribute to economic inequality in the U.S., including housing segregation, predatory lending, the decline of unions and tax policies that favor the wealthy.


Let’s do our Best work

Wait a minute. It’s not already Best of Chico time again, is it?

The Chico News & Review’s annual celebration of all of Chico’s good stuff is back. Voting started May 3, the day this paper hit the racks. Traditionally a fall showcase, the special issue was moved back to late summer last year, and it worked out so well that we are plotting for a September reveal once again.

Best of Chico is this newspaper’s most popular issue, double the size of most of the rest of the year’s editions. The reason for this, of course, is because it’s largely focused on local businesses, with the readers’ choices for the best burritos, dentists and bike shops in town all revealed in what serves as a one-stop guide to Chico. Those businesses advertise because they know that a lot of eyes will be on these pages.

As significant as the Best of Chico edition is to the community and to the paper’s bottom line, there is a lot more to it than just that print issue. Work on the whole endeavor lasts nine months! After some preparatory tasks and organization in January, a Best of project team meets for strategic planning in February. That nine-person group includes some CN&R employees, but given our current bare-bones staff, we need to collaborate with the crew from the News & Review company’s Sacramento headquarters—as well as one very important sales coordinator keeping everything organized remotely from Missouri—in order to do all the work involved.

The campaign doesn’t officially wrap until the first week of October with the “Winners Issue,” a post-Best of promotion in which advertisers thank the readers.

In between, the nine of us design, sell, promote, create websites, tally votes, communicate with winners, write stories, distribute papers and deliver plaques.

In addition to the big reveal in print—and perhaps most important for local businesses—there’s the digital version of Best of Chico, which archives the winners online and will always be available for those searching for “best piercing studio” or visitors scouring the web for “best places to eat in Chico.”

Of course, there’s also the work of you, our readers, making all the best decisions. Like I said, voting for the 2023 edition of Best of Chico is underway. Go to chicobestof.com and do your part.


4 CN&R MAY 4, 2023
Send guest comments, 300 words maximum, to gc@newsreview.com or to P.O. Box 56, Chico, CA 95927. Please include photo & short bio. OPINION


Gun culture

The other day I woke up with a Carpenters moldy-oldy ear-worming through my brain: We’ve only just begun ...

Except the words were something like “we only just be guns” because it was the day after a young man was killed because he knocked at the wrong door; a young woman was killed because she entered the wrong driveway; and a child was killed because she chased a tennis ball into a neighbor’s yard. Then I read about the mass shooting in Dadeville, Ala., which felt awfully close to home since I spent the first 11 years of life in Camp Hill, Alabama, the home town of one of the youths killed.

Lethal mistakes:

getting lost, chasing a ball, going to a party. People argue that guns are a remedy for the disease of unease. Self-defense means shoot first ask questions later. We embrace the thrill of a quick response, the loss of self in struggle. The idea being that we’ll all be safer when we’re all locked and loaded. That dangerous abstraction flies in the face of active shooter drills in elementary schools, and things get even scarier when a first grader is the active shooter!

Fear and anger fuel our romance with guns. We make enemies out of helpless people and help people who are our enemies. We warn of triggering. We speak in bullet points. “Make my day” is a threat instead of encouragement. We aim at goals. We target opportunity. We shoot down ideas.

Lethal mistakes: knocking on a door,

And I am fairly certain that if we do not end our romance with firearms, we will only just be guns.

MAY 4, 2023 CN&R 5
The author is a retired University of Georgia faculty member who moved to Chico in 2018 to be near her grandchildren.
knocking on a door, getting lost, chasing a ball, going to a party.

Thanks, Roger

Twenty years ago this month, I graduated from Chico State and started my first journalism job. It was an internship at the Enterprise-Record, where I joined a team of nine news reporters.

There was Ari, Eleanor, Greg, Heather, John, Larry, Laura, Michelle, and last, but not least, there was Roger—Roger Aylworth—the beloved Chico newspaperman and devout Mormon best known for his Sunday column that often chronicled life with his dear wife, the “saintly Susan,” and their seven “widgets.”

Roger died on April 11 at the age of 72, and this former colleague is processing the loss of this local icon.

I ended up working with Roger for four years, but neither of us expected that would be the case when I accepted what was supposed to be a shortterm gig. Editor David Little typically didn’t hire graduating seniors for summer internships. He liked the idea of students taking what they’d learned back to their campus newspaper, but I also suspect he would have hated to let go of a reporter in need of a job.

When he offered me the internship, David made a point of letting me know that, while he’d made an exception, I shouldn’t expect a job at the end of the eight weeks. I told him I understood and was eager to live in the moment and gain real-world experience.

I already knew from reading bylines that there was very little turnover within the newsie ranks back in those days. Everyone was cordial to me, but I could tell that nobody planned on getting attached to someone arriving around Memorial Day and departing by early August.

Roger was among the most experienced of the group, then roughly 30 years in the business. He also was the most welcoming person in the newsroom, though he occasionally irked this fiercely independent young feminist. This includes the time he chided me for wearing open-toed shoes, footwear wholly inappropriate for, say, covering a wildfire, he explained. See, Roger’s dad instincts had kicked in around this newbie, and I didn’t know him well enough to understand that what some might refer to as “mansplaining” today was his way of giving advice that came from a genuine place of care and concern.

My reaction was, shall we say, cool. Picture an annoyed teenager staring at her father with no emotion and no response. I don’t think he expected that, and, to his credit, he changed his approach when imparting journalistic wisdom.

Roger was right about the open-toed shoes. I knew he was, which is why I stashed a pair of sneakers under my desk the very next day. (For the record, he would’ve preferred work boots.) I ended up using those shoes the next year, when I covered a wildfire in Cherokee.

Ultimately, I did well that summer. Eight weeks flew by and David and City Editor Steve Schoonover extended my internship. First to ten weeks, then twelve weeks, and so on. Then, one day, a reporter gave notice and I got a job offer. When I accepted, sweet Roger gave me the heartiest congrats.

By then, I’d grown to better tolerate his fatherly overtures, like not-sosubtly dissuading me from covering public safety issues (he’d seen things he couldn’t forget, he warned).

Over the years that followed, Roger appeared psychic about certain things, like complimenting one of my stories when I was having a bad day and somehow knowing before even I did that I was getting a migraine. I came to truly appreciate him, but sadly, I’m not sure whether I ever explicitly told him so. Knowing Roger, though, he’d be the first person to let me off the hook. That’s the kind of man he was. I’m thankful to have known him.

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What are you planting in your garden?

Asked in downtown Chico

Right now? Green beans, zuchinni and maybe some tomatoes [in my] back yard—up in Paradise.

“Most government aid goes to families that need it the least,” Desmond says. “If you add up the amount that the government is dedicating to tax breaks—mortgage interest deduction, wealth transfer tax breaks, tax breaks we get on our retirement accounts, our health insurance, our college savings accounts—you learn that we are doing much more to subsidize affluence than to alleviate poverty. If you look at the amount of money we spent on homeowner tax subsidies, like the mortgage interest deduction, that’s around $190 billion a year. Well, how much have we dedicated to housing assistance for low-income families? About $50 billion a year. It’s a colossal difference.”

Road less travelable

Well, I rent and my back yard’s a mess. We do have a lot of fresh herbs—rosemary, stuff like that. They kind of just free grow in our front yard and our back yard.

I just planted some tomato starts and I just bought a bunch of flowers.

One of the best, easily accessible to everyone trails in Bidwell Park was Upper Park Road. The City of Chico destroyed it for hiking to provide a better roadway for gas-powered vehicles. What was an accessible road/path for everyone has been covered in 4 to 6 inches of volcanic railroad ballast. It is a nightmare to walk on. Besides the looseness of the material, the crunching sound of steps or bike tires drowns out the sounds of nature that were so nice to hear.

The roadway had problems—because of the failure of Public Works to maintain it and the City to invest in it—but only in a few areas, not the entire 3.4 miles of road. In addition, this erosion control project built swales into the roadway requiring hikers on foot to walk through or jump over running water in the swale when it is rainy.

Upper Park Road is no longer accessible to casual hikers, strollers (try pushing one through that stuff), wheelchairs (a failure to follow ADA requirements?), narrow-tire bicycles, or horses (the ballast has very sharp edges and are not small stones).

You can thank the City of Chico for creating this mess.

I wish I had a garden. I have no space, or any sun. I would be planting herbs, probably thyme and basil, nightshades—like tomatoes, chilis.

Stephanie Rose university employee
Write a letter Tell us what you think in a letter to the editor. Send submissions cnrletters@newsreview.com. Deadline for June 1 print publication is May 22. LETTERS



ENDANGERED SPECIES CONCERT: Kai Music & Arts is hosting a fundraiser for Butte Environmental Council featuring music by five local bands. Fri, 5/19, 8:30am. Mulberry Station Brewing Co., 175 E. 20th St. (530) 809-5616

IVERSON WELLNESS FAIR: Nearly 50 booths of health/wellness resources. Plus, live music, burgers, free massages and more. Thu, 5/11, 10am-2pm. Northern Valley Catholic Social Service, 492 Rio Lindo Ave. (530) 241-0552.

FREE FOOD DISTRIBUTION: The SCCAC holds free food distributions every second and fourth Saturday. Sat, 5/13 & 5/27, 2pm. South Chico Community Assistance Center, 1805 Park Ave. southchicocac.org

MAGALIA RESOURCE CENTER: Food, clothes, and household items distributed Thursdays and Saturdays. Donations of non-perishable food and small household items accepted. Magalia Community Church, 13700 & 13734 Old Skyway. 530-877-7963.

MOTHERS DAY RIDE FUNDRAISER: Meet at the Harley dealership and ride to raise money for women’s shelters. Sun, 5/14, 11:30m. Sierra Steel Harley Davidson, 1501 Mangrove Ave., (530) 893-1918.

SEED TO SHADE: To improve Chico’s urban forest, Butte Environmental Council has ambitious tree-planting programs in place through the spring. If you’d like to volunteer or would like a tree, visit the site to register. becnet.org

WOMEN BUILD: Any woman age 16 and up can join Habitat for Humanity at its Paradise job site and help build new homes. Registration required. Visit site for details. Sat-Sun, 5/20-21, 11:30am. buttehabitat.org/women-build


BUTTE COUNTY SUPERVISORS: Meetings are normally held the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Visit site for posted agenda as well as current meeting calendar. Tue, 5/9 & 5/23, 9am. Butte County Board of Supervisors Chamber, 25 County Center Drive, Oroville. buttecounty.net

CHICO PLANNING COMMISSION: The commission normally meets first and third Thursdays. Agendas are posted to the web the previous Friday. Thu, 5/4 & 5/18. City Council Chambers, 421 Main St. chico.ca.us

CHICO CITY COUNCIL MEETING: The City Council meets on every first and third Tuesday of the month. Agendas, minutes and video archives are available at chico.ca.us/agendasminutes. Tue, 5/2 & 5/16, 6pm. City Council Chambers, 421 Main St. chico.ca.us

Crash course in water

Jim Brobeck is long-time Butte County water advocate and the environmental community representative on the Stakeholders Advisory Committee for the Vina Groundwater Sustainability Agency.

waters to the ocean as well as critical rearing refuge for young salmon.

If used conservatively, the Tuscan Aquifer can even sustain our homes, businesses and farms as we face the uncertainty of prolonged drought. However, if overuse tips the system out of balance, we risk losing this buffer altogether.

Tuscan Aquifer system annually. (One acre/ foot = 325,851 gallons and is enough to fill an acre with one foot of water.)

The surface water provides irrigation for rice cultivation and wildlife refuges.

The mature urban forest of Chico and valley oak woodlands of Butte County exist because of the Tuscan Aquifer. This system underlies the valley floor portion of several Northern Sacramento Valley counties and the lower Tuscan—the pressurized deep portion of the aquifer that supports the overlying water table–is literally the foundation of the quality of life for all that thrive here.

The water table provides baseflow to streams and water to our deep-rooted trees. The Tuscan baseflow below connects tributary streams to the Sacramento River, allowing Chinook Salmon migratory pathways between their foothill/mountain spawning

What follows is an attempt to provide a basic foundation of understanding of this most vital resource by answering some general questions about how water works in Butte County.

Where does Butte County get its water?

Surface water, groundwater and precipitation.

According to the 2016 Butte County Water Inventory, the valley floor portion of Butte County consumes 715,000 acrefeet of surface water diverted from rivers and streams (Feather River, Sacramento River, Butte Creek) and 411,000 acre-feet of groundwater pumped primarily from the

Groundwater is used predominantly for irrigation of orchards and annual crops. Groundwater is also the source of water for urban and industrial use. Chico, for instance, uses about 20,000 acre/feet of water per year.

Precipitation provides an estimated 914,000 acre-feet of water annually to agriculture, streams, wetlands, oak woodlands and urban forests.

What is an aquifer?

An aquifer is an underground structure of porous or fractured rock, beds of gravel and sand or silt that can absorb transmit and store water. There are two general types: unconfined and confined.

The water table is an unconfined aquifer that is connected to the regional aquifer system. Deep rooted trees can reach into the

8 CN&R MAY 4, 2023
Local expert answers questions about the Tuscan Aquifer and how water works in Butte County NEWSLINES

capillary zone just above the water table. When the water table extends to the surface it creates springs and supports streamflow.

A perched aquifer—a type of unconfined aquifer—can form when a lens of impermeable material is located above the water table. Percolating precipitation can collect in these areas. A perched aquifer is isolated from the regional aquifer system and is a less reliable source of water.

A confined aquifer underlies the unconfined layers. In the Sacramento Valley, confined aquifers are recharged (by rivers, creeks and precipitation) at locations above the valley basin and are located under geologic layers of nearly impermeable aquitards created by periodic volcanic flows. The elevated origin

of recharge results in pressurized conditions below that can push upward, supporting the regional unconfined water table above.

What do we know about the Tuscan Aquifer below us?

While it is known that the aquifer is the foundation of the hydrology that sustains the ecology and economy of much of the Northern Sacramento Valley, an accurate characterization of the system is still uncertain. Some experts describe the Tuscan Aquifer as a multi-layered groundwater system that underlies the North Sacramento Valley from Red Bluff to the Sutter Buttes, and from the edge of the Sierra Cascade foothills on the east and westward under the Sacramento River into Glenn County as far west as Orland and Willows.

The lower Tuscan Aquifer is about 500-700 feet below the surface in Chico, 1,100 feet in Hamilton City and up to 1,500 feet below Orland. Isotope analysis by the California Department of Water Resources indicates that the “age”

of the groundwater ranges from under 100 years to tens of thousands of years. Wells in the lower Tuscan Formation along the eastern edge have the youngest water, and the deeper wells in the western and southern portions of the valley have the oldest water.

The aquifer system is often depicted as layered like a lasagna, but new studies show it to be more complex in structure. Chico State geology professor Todd Greene—a faculty associate for the university’s Center for Water and the Environment—describes it as more like a bowl of spaghetti with interconnected stream channels buried by overlapping sediment, including concrete-like volcanic mud flows.

In either case, geologists seem to agree that the lower Tuscan contains paleo-channels, remnants of rivers or streams that have been filled or buried by younger sediment which gets cut into and eroded by subsequent generations of streamflow. Another Isotope study—commissioned for Butte County between 2015-2017—indicates that the lower Tuscan is replenished by precipitation in the foothills and mountains on the eastern side of the valley. The recharged water flows slowly into the Sacramento Valley under cemented Tuscan lava cap creating a pressurized lower Tuscan Aquifer that helps support the shallow aquifer above, which supplies streams, capillary moisture to trees and fresh water to most of the domestic wells in the basin.

The model of the Tuscan Aquifer that I envision is not based on pasta varieties but on arterial circulatory systems: pressurized arteries (deep strata Tuscan) that flow to ever smaller blood vessels and capillaries (the shallow Tuscan). Like a circulatory system. the smaller vessels need to have arterial pressure to function. But gravity has a role to play. If the lower Tuscan is lowered by groundwater pumping, the upper layers drain down well casings and permeable layers while being pulled toward the large extraction wells.

How much water is in the Tuscan?

The aquifer system is not a bathtub. The pumpable water is in layers of gravel and sand, while the layers of clay and volcanic mud flow do

not produce water. The fresh water moving through the Tuscan Aquifer may be 20-23-million-acre feet. A healthy environment requires a balanced water budget, so only a small portion of the total water can be safely extracted. Wise use would limit pumping to the amount that is naturally replenished minus the amount that must provide baseflow to streams and other groundwater dependent habitat. In the San Joaquin Valley pumping has greatly exceeded recharge over the past century, causing groundwater levels to fall as much as 400 feet in places. This has resulted in shallow wells going dry, oak woodlands fading and dramatic land subsidence to spreads—sinking nearly 30 feet since the 1920s in some areas—damaging buildings, canals and roadways. As the water pressure has dropped, well bore perforations have allowed the water table to leak downward

through the confining beds into the evacuated lower aquifer.

How is the Tuscan utilized today?

The shallow unpressurized aquifer at the top is the source for many domestic wells as well as groundwater dependent ecosystems, including the Chico urban forest. Historically, irrigation wells have tapped this unconfined aquifer.

The confined pressurized aquifer below is the source of Chico’s municipal/industrial supply and most of the recently developed agricultural wells on both sides of the Sacramento River. Irrigation district infrastructure was designed to divert river flow to irrigate crops. But during recent decades, water districts have punched many new wells into the lower Tuscan Aquifer to supplement their surface water supply.

What’s the status of our aquifer?

The overall level of the Tuscan Aquifer is trending downward as

MAY 4, 2023 CN&R 9
Butte County environmentalist Jim Brobeck sits near the Big Chico Creek diversion dam at the Five Mile Recreation Area in Bidwell Park. BY JASON CASSIDY Map showing the surface and subsurface extent of Tuscan and Tehama aquifers. MAP COURTESY OF CALIFORNIA DEPT. OF CONSERVATION After an especially wet winter, Butte Creek is running strong just downstream from the Honey Run Covered Bridge area. PHOTO BY JASON CASSIDY

the cumulative impact of increased extractions exceed natural recharge.

The citizens of Chico have done a great job in cutting the amount of water used—by over 30 percent during the past few years.

Some data indicates that orchard crops in Butte County are not adding acres, however, that’s not the case in other counties in the Tuscan region. Investor-owned agricultural enterprises west of the Sacramento River continue to break ground on new orchards. New demand on the aquifer is expanding as water districts supplement supplies during dry years when river diversions are reduced. Senior districts in Glenn

and Colusa Counties market portions of their river allotments and replace them with groundwater.

The greatest decline in aquifer level is occurring in Glenn and Colusa Counties. In Butte County declines have been noted around Durham.

Agriculture pumping in the North Valley is connected to subsidence here as well. It’s occurring near the I-5 corridor between Arbuckle and Orland where, since 2018, the ground has irreversibly dropped more than 2 feet in some areas. The cumulative impact on the shared North State aquifer appears to contribute to the overall decline in groundwater levels all the way into Butte County.

The true scope of any decline is still unknown. According to

hydrologists at Chico-based Davids Engineering, “[The] ultimate effects of pumping can occur significantly after pumping starts, or even after pumping has ceased. The timescales involved in aquifer responses to pumping and other stresses can be on the order of decades, making it difficult to associate cause with effect. In general, the longer the timeframe for effects to be observed at a given monitoring point once they become evident, the longer those effects will persist, even if the pumping causing the effects is halted immediately.”

How is our groundwater managed?

Groundwater extraction by agriculture in the region is, with the exception of well spacing regulations, unmanaged. Farms certainly pay to develop wells and to operate the pumps, but there are no limits on how much water is used. Municipal customers on the other hand have been encouraged by state policy and rate-tier pricing to conserve water.

What is SGMA?

SGMA (pronounced “sigma”) is the acronym for the California Sustainable Groundwater

A cross-sectional diagram showing the system of unconfined and confined aquifers and the water table above. IMAGE COURTESY OF USGS WATER SCIENCE PHOTO GALLERY With a water table-dependent blue oak in the foreground, the Tuscan formation that slopes down from the North Rim of Chico Creek Canyon in Bidwell Park can be seen on the horizon. The Tuscan plunges underground as it continues into Chico, forming a hard cap over the lower portion of the aquifer below.
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Management Act. This 2014 legislation was a response to the extreme land subsidence and water-quality issues resulting from a century of groundwater overuse in the San Joaquin/ Tulare basin and other smaller basins in the state. Sustainable groundwater management under SGMA seeks to avoid “significant and unreasonable undesirable results.” SGMA proposes that groundwater management is best accomplished at the local level, and Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) around the state have been charged with drafting Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) to help meet this challenge.

The final GSPs were due in January of 2022, and the final plan for the Vina subbasin—one of the main groundwater sources for Chico and the northwestern portion of Butte County—was approved by a Vina GSA board made up of one representative each from five entities: Butte County Board of Supervisors, Chico City Council, Durham Irrigation District, agricultural well-user stakeholder, and domestic well-user stakeholder.

Representatives from the environmental community (including this author), domestic well owners, business associations, Cal Water, Butte College and Chico State were chosen to participate in the Stakeholders Advisory Committee (SHAC) alongside numerous agricultural pumpers.

The submitted GSP has drawn criticism from several members of the advisory committee who are concerned that the potential increased pumping of the aquifer allowed in the final plan could cause more domestic wells to go dry, lead to depleted streamflow, and desiccate both urban forests and oak wooodlands.

Honor the carrying capacity of resources

Century-long mega-droughts during the

Groundwater pumped into a North Valley rice field.

Medieval period (especially between 900 and 1350 CE) forced the native peoples of the Southwest to abandon their civilization. But the people living in the great Central Valley were able to endure these dry periods. Robust aquifer systems provided the buffer needed for oak woodlands to persist and for streams to connect with rivers for anadromous fish like salmon to complete their life cycle. The Tulare Lake region has been continually inhabited for more than 10,000 years. The lake, the rivers, and the groundwater supported perhaps the largest population of Native Americans north of Mexico.

Even during the paleo mega-droughts the Sacramento Valley of Northern California maintained a rich, diverse environment that supported some of the densest populations of non-agricultural people in the world. Groundwater migrates slowly downstream and modest amounts of precipitation allowed the basin aquifers to remain in balance with the ecosystems like oak woodlands and salmon spawning/rearing streams to remain intact.

Paleosalinity records that reveal salinity conditions in the western Delta as far back as 2,500 years ago indicate that the last 100 years are among the most saline of periods in the past 2,500 years. One hypothesis is that depleted groundwater conditions allow salt water to intrude into the Delta.

Great Valley aquifers have buffered the impacts of the mega-droughts. If the Tuscan is drawn down during dry periods to meet regional and state-wide demand, we risk the destruction of that protection. Domestic wells will go dry. Streams will leak away. Valley Oak groves will be eliminated. The Chico urban forest will wither.

12 CN&R MAY 4, 2023
True sustainability identifies and honors the carrying capacity of resources. Ω 10
• AVOID DAWN AND DUSK • DRAIN STANDING WATER • WEAR REPELLENT 530-636-4574 | www.proframeconstruction.com LICENSE #1024110
Fight The Bite!
MAY 4, 2023 CN&R 13

of the state’s residents, yet its performance in providing mental health care has been so ragged that Kaiser was the subject of a multimillion dollar fine in 2013 and a separate settlement with state regulators four years later. In both cases, the insurer was found to be dismally deficient in providing mental health services to its members.

Yet almost nothing has changed. In fact, by last summer, when more than 2,000 Northern California therapists affiliated with the National Union of Healthcare Workers went on strike during contract negotiations with Kaiser, they cited those precise ongoing issues: severe understaffing leading to drastic delays in appointment times for patients. [Disclosure: The NUHW is a financial supporter of Capital & Main.]

Unfinished mental health business

This story was produced by the award-winning journalism nonprofit Capital & Main, and is co-published here with permission. capitalandmain.com

California Gov. Gavin Newsom last month announced a whopper initiative for the 2024 ballot. Sprawling in its ambition, the proposal would build bedspace

for more than 10,000 people dealing with mental health or drug issues. Its structure makes clear Newsom’s conviction that these areas are interrelated, often part of a cycle.

It’s a smart proposal, whatever the prospects for passage. By updating the Mental Health Services Act of 2004, the initiative would direct at least $1 billion a year in local assistance, the money coming from an existing 1 percent tax on those earning more than $1 million. It would provide funding specifically

for homeless veterans.

“This is the next step in our transformation of how California addresses mental illness, substance use disorders and homelessness,” Newsom said as the initiative, carried by state Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), was announced. “People who are struggling with these issues, especially those who are on the streets or in other vulnerable conditions, will have more resources to get the help they need.”

If passed, the measure certainly

would represent a significant step, as Newsom noted.

One problem: The state is still struggling to effectively deploy some of the steps it has already taken.

Among the most glaring deficiencies facing California is the lack of access to mental health services, the need for which grew exponentially during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. But that is hardly a phenomenon confined to those dealing with substance use issues or housing crises.

In fact, the state’s private health giants have ongoing policies that often make it difficult or impossible for their members to schedule timely mental health appointments or follow-ups.

With a California membership of 9.4 million, Kaiser Permanente provides health care to almost a quarter

The union and Kaiser eventually settled on a new deal, which among other things provides more “patient management time” for therapists to speak with family, contact social services or perform other support functions that are separate from actually seeing patients. But Kaiser continues to show hundreds of job openings for therapists both in Northern and Southern California, suggesting that patient delays are likely to continue indefinitely.

That in itself is distressing—but it’s also a violation of state law. A bill signed by Newsom in 2021 requires that mental health and substance abuse patients be scheduled for follow-up appointments within 10 days of their initial visit with a provider. And a subsequent measure, signed into law last year, increases tenfold the fines on health plans that delay or deny such timely access to care.

These measures were intended to force health giants like Kaiser to do what they’re supposed to do when it comes to critical areas such as mental health care. The increased monetary penalties, in particular, addressed the reality that for largescale health providers churning billions of dollars in revenue each year, paying the state’s relatively puny

While the state ponders ambitious new laws to improve services, California could strengthen what’s already on the books
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a press conference in San Diego on March 18. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

fines was more cost efficient than actually building out their mental health services to the scale their patients need.

But none of that matters if the laws aren’t enforced. And if one thing is abundantly clear, it is that the state agency charged with policing the health care industry doesn’t have the workforce or resources to do its job.

It falls to the state’s Department of Managed Health Care to enforce laws that demand timely access to mental health services. One example: Last year, the DMHC announced a “nonroutine survey” of Kaiser Permanente’s mental health services—essentially, a special investigation into KP’s failure to address its ongoing problems.

Mary Watanabe, the director of DMHC, said the unusual audit was ordered after her department received a 20 percent increase in complaints from Kaiser patients about inadequate access to mental health care from 2020 to 2021. Watanabe also told a state Senate select committee last summer that “strike or no strike, as the regulator we are going to hold [Kaiser] accountable” under the law demanding timely access to care.

But here’s the reality: The DMHC’s method of ensuring compliance is to conduct “desk audits” of providers every three years—essentially, asking the health companies to send in their own data on patient visits and staffing levels, then having the department comb the results to see if action is warranted. Other state agencies, including the California Department of Public Health, have the capacity to conduct field investigations, do in-person interviews and view hospital data in real time.

As to the nonroutine Kaiser survey?

Announced by DMHC last May, it isn’t even scheduled to be completed until the end of this year, 19 months after its inception—despite the obviously dire circumstances that prompted it. (In response to questions from Capital & Main, department spokesperson Kevin Durawa replied, “The DMHC non-routine survey of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. [Kaiser Permanente] is still in progress.”)

“In terms of the DMHC, my simple conclusion is that the department is just not structured to enforce mental health parity laws,” said Sal Rosselli, NUHW’s president. “They’re not [adequately] funded, they’re not staffed, they’re not structured—they just can’t do it.”

Union leaders said they’re working with members of the state Legislature on measures that would give the DMHC more teeth, presumably in the form of funding and staffing. In the meantime, Durawa said that the department “applies all the requirements in the law when taking enforcement actions,” including the enhanced fine system that took effect at the start of this year.

There have been some signs of improvement. Rosselli noted that in the wake of the Northern California therapists’ contract agreement with Kaiser, patients in some parts of the region have begun seeing shorter wait times. “The way we describe it is, we’re stumbling forward,” he said. “There are some service areas where patients are seen in a timely way—not a majority, but progress.”

At the same time, therapists represented by NUHW in Southern California say Kaiser officials there are attempting to reduce patient management time so as to squeeze in more actual patient visits rather than hire more therapists to meet the need. That was one of the issues that prompted the strike in Northern California.

State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) was the author of the bills that mandated the 10-day turnaround for follow-up appointments and enhanced the fines against health plans that ignore the law. While it’s early, he said, the first returns are encouraging.

“We’re still waiting to see the full impact of SB 858, which went into effect just four months ago,” Wiener said. “The state has already imposed several penalties on health plans that failed to provide timely access to care, sending a clear signal that Kaiser and other health plans need to make systemic changes to address these unreasonable delays.”

It is a start. But it depends upon rigorous enforcement, the kind that the DMHC isn’t currently built to provide. While Gov. Newsom’s broad 2024 ballot proposal is meant to shore up coverage gaps for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, his administration would do well to give its own watchdog department the resources it needs to do the important work of holding health plans accountable to their own patients. Ω

MAY 4, 2023 CN&R 15
530-924-6400 | www.patiopros.com LICENSE #1066922
... if one thing is abundantly clear, it is that the state agency charged with policing the health care industry doesn’t have the workforce or resources to do its job.

Hot tomato

Caring for the garden’s sun-loving plant in the overheated North Valley

It’s May, and the initial tomato frenzy has died down. The nurseries have sold the bulk of their tomato starts, and most are likely in the ground, already showing several blossoms. Your tomato plants no doubt have plenty of space and support and are already sending their roots deep into the well-fertilized soil of your garden. But on the horizon, a killer awaits.

Before long, the forecast will reveal weeks-long waves of temperatures of 100 and higher (in 2022, between June 9 and Sept. 9, Chico cracked the century mark 38 times). The world is getting hotter, and

as it does the tomato plant’s sun-loving nature is taking a beating.

It’s no secret that tomatoes do well in most of California, but for backyard gardeners in our neck of the state, in addition to the usual fights versus pests and disease, summers bring the battle to protect this beloved crop from extreme heat.

To help Nor-Cal gardeners improve their tomato game, the CN&R brings you some informed advice from two experts: Debbie Arrington, a lifelong gardener and an award-winning garden writer for the News & Review; and Sherri Scott, farmer and owner of Harvests & Habitats Nursery.

Tips for keeping your tomato plants happy

Any Californian with a few square feet of outdoor space grows tomatoes (or wants to) with dreams of hefty slicers by the Fourth of July. There’s a reason our tomato mania is so strong: Tomatoes thrive here.

Our area has plenty of what tomato plants crave: sun and heat. But how much is too much?

Prolonged triple-digit heat waves can toast tomatoes.

When temperatures stay above 90 degrees for several days, tomato flowers may drop off or refuse to set fruit. Leaves can fry and turn crispy. Ripening tomatoes may split or develop calluses.

So give your vines a hand—along with enough water and shade—to cope with extreme heat. This advice comes from UC Cooperative Extension master gardeners, as well as longtime local tomato growers.

16 CN&R MAY 4, 2023
A Comanche Creek Farms-grown start of the Juliet tomato hybrid is ready for planting.
plant Irrigate ing, at you or plunge dig look. two normally that’s morning, tomato during much happen Black need weather. out particularly problems. let lead brown tomato. cause
4 cool or mulch. (not intense heat. and just you nitrogen luxurious dead the
has dead flourish happier gardener,

Water early and deep. Each tomato plant needs at least five gallons a week. Irrigate your tomatoes in the morning, making sure water reaches down least 6 inches into the soil. How do you know? Test the soil with a probe long screwdriver; it should easily plunge into the soil. Or use a trowel, dig down (away from the roots) and look.

During hot weather, water tomatoes two to three times a week. Tomatoes normally wilt during a hot afternoon; that’s OK. But if they’re wilted in the morning, water immediately. Some tomato varieties will wilt every day during summer heat regardless of how much water they receive. This tends to happen with Russian heirlooms such as Black Krim.

Tomatoes planted in containers may need extra water every day during hot weather. Their potting soil tends to dry out faster. Plants in black containers are particularly susceptible to heat-related problems.

Keep watering consistent and don’t let soil dry out completely. That can lead to blossom end rot—the hard brown callus on the flower end of a tomato. Inconsistent watering also can cause fruit to split.

Mulch is your tomato plant’s friend. Make sure your vines have at least 2 to inches around them to help keep roots cool and soil evenly moist. Straw, leaves shredded bark make the best tomato mulch. Many gardeners prefer straw (not hay) because its light color reflects intense sun rays instead of absorbing heat. Hay contains seeds that can sprout and suck nutrients out of soil.

Don’t fertilize during a heat wave. It just puts more stress on the plant. When you do feed them, stay away from highnitrogen fertilizers; they’ll produce luxurious vines but no tomatoes.

If foliage turns brown, leave the dead leaves in place. They help protect the fruit from sunburn. After the heat has subsided, prune off the completely dead leaves so new foliage can grow.

With these tips, your tomatoes can flourish all summer long. They’ll be happier plants, and you’ll be a happier gardener, too.

Keeping cool and picking the best tomato plants for a warmer world

A Q&A with Harvests & Habitats Nursery owner Sherri Scott

Is it too hot for tomatoes in Butte County?

A lot of people are asking why they can’t grow tomatoes any more, and I would say that a lot of the farms are not struggling like backyard gardeners are.

We are learning that tomatoes can’t set fruit in the heat; they’ll drop their flowers—the pollen becomes sterile and then they’ll drop. We’re not cooling down like we used to. Out at the farms they do get the breezes. A lot of the farms are out near the riparian corridors where they get some extra cool down. In town, we have the urban heat sink. With more asphalt and more houses, it’s not cooling down anymore.

If extreme heat is forecast, what can you do to protect plants?

They do need the sun to set flowers, and they do need the sun to ripen.

If you really want to control your environment, then [you can] shade when it gets really hot and your flowers are in pollination. Once they set fruit, it probably would be fine to remove [the shade].

When people say shade, a lot of folks automatically assume shade cloth. If you’re going to do that, they have different gradations, and I was reading that 30 percent [will] still let in enough light and cool it down a bit.

[Shade on plants] is not my first choice for cooling it down. I think there are others—shading the area, shading the house. Find a place [to plant] that’s further away from a structure or cement or things that hold heat; find ways to cool down the property without eliminating the sun.

Any suggestions for cultivars that do well in our area?

Varieties can make a difference. Definitely the bigger the tomato, the harder it is for it to set fruit. Some of the really old heirlooms—like the potato-leaf type—have this kind of flower that doesn’t allow for as good of self-pollination.

[Plant] smaller varieties: Cherries are pretty steady. Find heat-tolerant varieties. I’m shopping for seeds that have some heat-tolerance bred into them—Homestead, Floridade, Arkansas Traveler, those are a few.

Other suggestions for what to look for when choosing plants?

The other thing that I really love is determinates. With indeterminates, the harvest is over a long season and [the plants] get huge. They just keep on going. Determinates have a shorter lifespan, they tend to be really early, they tend to come all at once. So, there’s a lot more control. You’re sure to get a harvest.

I’m suggesting to folks who’ve been having trouble to try some determinates. You aren’t tortured with caring for this plant over the long season. Even Romas are a determinate.

Another thing to think about is where your seeds are coming from. For instance, Redwood Seeds, they grow their own seeds. They’re local, they’re in Tehama County where it’s hot as heck in the summers, too. If they’re getting tomatoes for seed, they’re getting harvest. Locally adapted seeds is something I’m pushing for—getting seeds from a seed company that has a like climate. Also, I’ve been really wanting as a community to come together and share seeds. If we have a neighbor who’s successfully growing a nonhybrid variety, if they could save seeds and share it … we can together create a locally adapted variety. A few tomato plant care tips: Worms?

Finding ways of making your yard more inviting to birds is good. Also, hand picking [the worms], and having [the plant pruned and] more open so you can see them.

What kind of mulch?

I like rice straw because it’s a little bit more malleable; it forms a mat so it’s really good at suppressing weeds. Having that straw not only helps keep the moisture, but it also really encourages the microfauna and microflora. It protects them and gives them moisture and there’s this interaction.

Morning or afternoon sun?

I’ve seen too many people try to grow tomatoes in morning sun. I think just the cherries might make it. The bigger ones definitely need as much sun as possible. It’s not just growing the fruit, but it’s also the flavors. The flavors are really going to come from that heat and more sun. And if all else has failed?

I would recommend that people plant a cherry tomato and a determinate tomato, or other small fruited one, then get one of the big slicers from the farmers.

MAY 4, 2023 CN&R 17
Sherri Scott, owner of Harvests & Habitats Nursery, tends tomato and other starts in the greenhouse on her south Chico farm. PHOTO BY JASON CASSIDY
Harvests & Habitats Nursery 1710 Park Ave. (530) 680-7020 facebook.com/grubgrown harvest of heirloom tomatoes. PHOTO

Goods & Services

Best Ag/Growing Supplies

Best Antiques Store

Best Appliance Store

Best Attorney

Best Auto Paint/Body Shop

Best Auto Repair Shop

Best Baby/Kids’ Clothier

Best Bank/Credit Union

Best Barbershop

Best Bike Shop

Best Cab Company

Best Cannabis Dispensary (within driving distance of Chico)

Best Car Dealership

Best Car Wash

Best Consignment/

Second-Hand Threads

Best Convenience Store

Best Day Spa

Best Dry Cleaner

Best Esthetician/Waxing Studio

Best Feed Store/Farm Supply

Best Financial Planner

(name and location)

Best Florist

Best General Contractor

Best Gift Shop

Best Grocer

Best Hair Salon

Best House Cleaning Service

Best House Painter

Best Insurance Agent

Best Jeweler

Best Landscaper

Best Liquor Store

Best Loan Officer

Best Local Pet Supplies Store

Sample Ballot


We need your help to cultivate the 2023 crop of winners for the CN&R’s annual celebration of our local bounty. All you need to do is vote for the people, places and things that make Chico such a great place to live and visit.


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


Best Men’s Clothier

Best Motorcycle Dealer

Best Moving Company

Best New Business (non-food service, open in last year)

Best Nursery

Best Outdoor Living (patios, pergolas, pools, etc.)

Best Pet Groomer

Best Piercing Studio

Best Place For A Mani/Pedi

Best Place For Electronics/ Computer Repair

Best Place To Buy Books

Best Place To Buy Home Furnishings

Best Place To Buy Outdoor Gear

Best Plumber

Best Professional Photographer

Best Property Management

Best Real Estate Agent

Best Reptile Store

Best Roofer

Best RV Rentals

Best Shoe Store

Best Solar Company

Best Sporting Goods

Best Tattoo Parlor

Best Thrift Store

Best Tree Service

Best Video Production

Best Wedding/Event Planner

Best Window Treatments

Best Women’s Clothier

Nightlife & The Arts

Best Art Space

Best Bar

Best Bloody Mary

Best Casino – Regional (Butte/Glenn/Tehama)

Best Dance Company/Studio

Best Happy Hour

JULY 26, AT 11:59 P.M.

Food & Drink

Best Asian Cuisine

Best Bakery

Best Barbecue

Best Breakfast

Best Brunch

Best Burger

Best Burrito

Best Caterer

Best Cheap Eats

Best Chef

Best Craft Beer Selection

Best Delivery Driver

Best Diner

Best Fine Dining

Best Food Server (name and location)

Best Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt

Best International Cuisine

Best Italian Cuisine

Best Local Brewery – Regional (Butte/Glenn/Tehama)

Best Local Coffee House

Best Local Restaurant – Chico

Best Local Restaurant – Oroville

Best Local Winery – Regional (Butte/Glenn/Tehama)

Best Locally Produced Food –Regional (Butte/Glenn/Tehama)

Best Lunch

Best Mexican Cuisine

Best Munchies

Best New Eatery (opened in last year)

Best Patio

Best Pho

Best Pizza

Best Sandwich

Best Street Food

Best Sushi

Best Taco

Best Takeout/Curbside

Best Vegetarian Cuisine

Health & Wellness

Best Acupuncture Clinic

Best Alternative Health Care Provider

Best Boutique Gym

Best Chiropractor

Best Dental Care

Best Dermatologist

Best Eye Care Specialist

Best General Practitioner

Best Gym

Best Gymnastics Studio

Best Hearing Aid Specialist

Best Local CBD Source

Best Local Healthcare Provider

Best Martial Arts Studio

Best Massage Therapist

Best Pediatrician

Best Personal Trainer

Best Physical Therapy Office

Best Plastic Surgeon

Best Veterinarian

Best Yoga Studio


Best Local Music Act

Best Local Visual Artist

Best Margarita

Best Mixologist (name and location)

Best Museum

Best Place To Buy Art

Best Place To Dance

Best Place To Drink A Glass Of Wine

Best Sports Bar

Best Theater Company

Best To–Go Cocktail Or Bar Service

Best Venue For Live Music

Best Watering Hole For Townies


Best Charitable Cause

Best Community Event

Best Farmer’s Market Vendor

Best Festival (Butte County)

Best Golf Course – Regional (Butte/Glenn/Tehama)

Best Instructor/Professor

Best Local Personality

Best Place For Family Fun

Best Place To Pray/Meditate

Best Radio Station

Best Teacher (K–12)

Best Volunteer

Best Youth Organization

18 CN&R MAY 4, 2023
MAY 4, 2023 CN&R 19




1078 GALLERY: Cumulations, works using flotsam gathered from San Francisco Bay as printing implements by Berkeley artist Tanja Geis. Shows through 5/7. Next up: Members’Show 2023. Reception/birthday party May 13, 6-8pm. 5/12-6/4. 1710 Park Ave. 1078gallery.org

B-SO GALLERY: BFACulminatingExhibits, weekly rotating shows featuring student works. Through 5/12. Free. Chico State (Ayres Hall). www.csuchico.edu/art

CHICO ART CENTER: Chico,OurHometown, a Chico-themed group show. Opens 5/7. Reception: 5/7, 11am-3pm, during the Orange St. Block Party. 450 Orange St. chicoartcenter. com

IDEA FABRICATION LABS: TreewithCityinDistance –EvolutionofanA.I.Sketch, an exhibition consisting of 500 pieces, each of which is derived from a single image via A.I. evolution. Opens 5/7. Reception: 5/7, 11am-3pm, during the Orange St. Block Party. 603 Orange St. chico.ideafablabs.com

MUSEUM OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ART: Bike-Pedia, a group exhibition featuring biking-themed works. Showing in conjunction with the Wildflower Century bike race/ride. Through 5/14. 900 Esplanade. monca.org

THE TURNER: Ink&Clay, Chico State’s 27th annual Juried Student Print Exhibition. Student Awards Ceremony April 21, 5:30pm. Through 5/13. Chico State. www.csuchico.edu/art


FARMERS MARKETS: Butte County’s 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 (Thursdays, noon-4 p.m.). Magalia: Magalia Community Center (Sundays, 10am). Paradise: Alliance Church (Tuesdays, 7:30am-2pm); “Farmers Market Mobile,” 1397 South Park Drive (Thursdays, 2pm). Thursday Night Market, downtown Chico (Thursdays, 6-9pm).

Open Mics & Karaoke

CASINO COMEDY NIGHT: Live comedy every other Thursday at the Spirits Lounge in the casino. Thursdays, 8pm. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. goldcountrycasino.com

COMEDY THURSDAY: Weekly comedy show and open mic hosted by Dillon Collins. Thursdays, 8pm. Free. Bella’s Sports Pub, 231 Main St. (530) 520-0119.

GNARAOKE: Karaoke hosted by Donna & Mike. Thursdays, 7pm. Free. Gnarly Deli, 243 W. Second St.

OPEN MIC AT THE DOWNLO: Hosted by Jeff Pershing. Sign up to perform two songs. All ages until 10pm. Fridays, 6:30pm. Free. The DownLo, 319 Main St.

OPEN MIC COMEDY: Open mic comedy night hosted by Dillon Collins. Wednesdays, 9pm. (Sign-ups 8pm.) Free. Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade. (530) 520-0119.

SECRET TRAIL OPEN MIC: Weekly event at the brewery. Wednesdays, 6pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.


Special Events

KEEPING DANCE ALIVE: Chico Community Ballet’s annual repertory dance concert. Two shows in two nights. Thu, 5/4, 7pm. $20. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. chicocommunity ballet.org


FIRST DATE – A MUSICAL COMEDY: A blind date turns into a night of shenanigans as restaurant patrons break out in song in this musical comedy. Shows through May 21. Thu, 5/4, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

WIZARD OF OZ: This year’s spring musical for Chico State’s Music and Theatre department is the story of Dorothy, Toto and the rest of the Oz gang. Shows May 4-7. Thu, 5/4, 7:30pm. $8-$20. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. 530-898-3300. csuchico.edu/hfa


ACOUSTIC THURSDAYS: This week: Robert Karch. Thu, 5/4, 6pm. Free. Mulberry Station Brewing Co., 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

JOSIAH JOHNSON: Solo show with the co-founder of Seattle indie-folk crew The Head and the Heart. Local singer/songwriter Madde opens. Thu, 5/4, 7pm. $12-$15. Argus Bar + Patio, 212 W. Second St. eventbrite.com

MARUDA: Australian bass producer Hamish Prasad aka MARAUDA. Plus, Chee, Digital Extract and Eyeced. Thu, 5/4, 8pm. $25. Senator Theatre, 517 Main St. jmaxproductions.net

TOM WAITS COVER NIGHT: Local bands pay tribute to the man. Performers include October Coalition, Danny Cohen, Michael Bone, Zac Yurkovic and more. Thu, 5/4, 8pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 824 Oroville Ave.


Special Events

CHICO TAPROOM ANNIVERSARY PARTY: The Chico craft-beer bar celebrates its sixth anniversary with a space-disco-themed party. DJ from 8pm to 11pm. Fri, 5/5, 6pm. Chico Taproom, 2201 Pillsbury Road, Ste. 114.

CINCO DE MEOW: Broad Spectrum presents the greatest cat-themed variety show fundraiser! With FURbulous prizes, and fish tacos on spesh, plus comedy, burlesque, contests, games, music and more. Have a ball and raise money for The Chico Cat Coalition. Fri, 5/5, 8pm. $15. Gnarly Deli, 243 W. Second St. gnarlydeli.square.site

KEEPING DANCE ALIVE: See May 4. Fri, 5/5, 7pm. $20. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. chicocommunityballet.org


D.B. COOPER THE INCREDIBLY TRUE STORY: A “tangentially related” comedy based on the story of the notorious 1971 heist of a 747 airliner by an anonymous hijacker who was never found. Written by locals Sam Lucas and Cohen Morano. Through May 6. Fri, 5/5, 7:30pm. Blue Room Theatre, 1105 W. First St. facebook.com/ blueroomtheatre

FIRST DATE – A MUSICAL COMEDY: See May 4. Shows through May 21. Fri, 5/5, 7:30pm. $25$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

WIZARD OF OZ: See May 4. Fri, 5/5, 7:30pm. $8-$20. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. 530-898-3300. csuchico.edu/hfa


BLÜ EGYPTIAN CHICO DE MAYO CONCERT: Chico Concerts presents a Cinco de Mayo party with local jammers Blu Egyptian and Pipe Down from Lake Tahoe. Fri, 5/5, 7pm. $15 - $20. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St. eventbrite.com

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring traditional Irish music weekly to Duffy’s. Fri, 5/5, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. 530-343-7718.

FIRST FRIDAY’S AT CAFE CODA: Music is back at Coda for this monthly pop-up market out back on the patio. Live in May: Chico Latin Orquestra! Fri, 5/5, 11am. Cafe Coda, 265 Humboldt Ave.

THE RATTLESNAKES: Live music. Fri, 5/5, 8:30pm. $5. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

PERREO DANCE PARTY: Cinco de Mayo party with DJ Fresko Eddy, DJ Crank and DJ Eclectic. Fri, 5/5, 8pm. $5-$15. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St. elreychico.com

THUNDER LUMP W/EXTRA MAYO: Two sets of Thunder Lump deliciousness. Fri, 5/5,

9pm. $10. Gnarly Deli, 243 W. Second St. gnarlydeli.square.site


Special Events

BLUES FEST: Live music all night with Tommy Castro & the Painkillers, Lydia Pense and Cold Blood and the Jeff Pershing Band. Sat, 5/6, 5:30pm. $25. Feather Falls Casino & Lodge, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville. mms. oroville chamber.biz

MOVIES IN THE PARK: Bring a blanket or a low back chair and sit under the stars while enjoying a family friendly movie. This month’s film: TopGun:Maverick Starts approximately 15 minutes after sunset. Sat, 5/6. Free. Lower Bidwell Park, softball field. chicorec.com

SIERRA NEVADA BEER CAMP: The weekend theme park for grown-ups is back with human foosball, hungry human hippos, and keg bowling, plus new antics—live karaoke with a full band. Oh, and beer! Sat, 5/6, 1pm. $35-$50. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., 1075 E. 20th St. sierranevada.com

WILDFLOWER MUSIC FESTIVAL: The annual fundraiser for Wildflower Open Classroom is back, with performances by The Brothers Comatose, John Craigie and Con Brio and a kid’s area with bounce houses, crafts and more. Food and brews for sale. Sat, 5/6, 2pm (gates open 1pm). $55. The End of Normal, 2500 Estes Road. eventbrite.com


D.B. COOPER THE INCREDIBLY TRUE STORY: See May 5. Fri, 5/5, 7:30pm. Blue Room Theatre, 1105 W. First St. facebook.com/ blueroomtheatre

FIRST DATE – A MUSICAL COMEDY: See May 4. Shows through May 21. Sat, 5/6, 7:30pm. $25$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

WIZARD OF OZ: See May 4. Shows May 4-7. Sat, 5/6, 2pm & 7:30pm. $8-$20. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. 530-898-3300. csuchico.edu/hfa


CHRIS SCHADT BAND: Funky R&B originals. Sat, 5/6, 8:30pm. $5. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

DRIVER: Live music and dancin. Sat, 5/6, 8pm. Free. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. 530-413-9130.

HARLAN: Country of the 1990s. Sat, 5/6, 9pm. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave.

STRUNG NUGGET GANG: Live folk/bluegrass/ Americana. Sat, 5/6, 4:30pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. 530-399-0753.

SOUL POSSE: Live music. Sat, 5/6, 1pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway. 530-809-1650. TheAlliesPub.com

TWINSICK: Minnesota EDM duo. Sat, 5/6, 8pm. $20 - $30. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St.. elreychico.com


Special Events

CUTTROAT COMEDY: The world’s most brutal (but fair!) comedy competition. Sun, 5/7, 7pm. $5. Gnarly Deli, 243 W. Second St. gnarlydeli. square.site

MOTHER MAY I, SIP AND SHOP: A pre-Mother’s Day pop-up at Lassen Traditional Cidery, with 30-plus local makers and creatives.

20 CN&R MAY 4, 2023
CHICO ART FESTIVAL May 12-13 St. John’s Episcopal Church


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

Cider tasting, photo booth and tarot card readings, too. Sun, 5/7, 12pm. Free. Lassen

Traditional Cidery, 643 Entler Ave., Ste. 52. 530-591-0198. lassencider.com

SIERRA NEVADA BEER CAMP: See May 6. Sun, 5/7, 1pm. $35-$50. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., 1075 E. 20th St. sierranevada.com

ORANGE ST. BLOCK PARTY: The galleries and maker spaces on the block open their doors for a spring party. Participants include Idea Fab Labs (debuting its TreewithCity in Distance project), Maker Radio 94.5 FM, Chico Art Center, Orange St. Consignment and Sparkle Studio Productions. Free. Orange St.


FIRST DATE – A MUSICAL COMEDY: See May 4. Shows through May 21. Sun, 5/7, 2pm. $25$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

WIZARD OF OZ: See May 4. Shows May 4-7. Sun, 5/7, 2pm. $8-$20. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. 530-898-3300. csuchico.edu/hfa


MODEST MOUSE: PNW indie stalwarts return to Chico. Portland industrial-lounge crew Mattress opens. Sun, 5/7, 8pm. Senator Theatre, 517 Main St. jmaxproductions.net

TUE9 Music

BRASS FROM THE PAST: Chico State Brass Choir performs classical, romantic and contemporary works. Tue, 5/9, 7:30pm. Free. Recital Hall, Chico State, ARTS 279. 530-898-3300.

THU11 Theater

FIRST DATE – A MUSICAL COMEDY: See May 4. Shows through May 21. Thu, 5/11, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com


MOSSY CREEK: The beloved local bluegrass supergroup returns! Thu, 5/11, 6pm. Free. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St.

RAYVEN JUSTICE: Oakland-based MC Rayven Justice with opener BP the Official. Thu, 5/11, 8pm. $15-$25. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St.. elreychico.com


Wretched Stench and Laceration from the North Bay come through Chico to play some death metal riffs with locals Voyeur and Aberrance. Thu, 5/11, 7:30pm. $10. Naked Lounge, 118 W. Second St..


Special Events

CHICO ART FESTIVAL: The Chico Visual Arts Alliance (ChiVAA) presents a weekend of local art and performances, featuring artist booths, Ballet Folklorico, fire dancers, Children’s Choir of Chico and more. Fri, 5/12, 4pm. Free. St. John’s Episcopal Church, 2341 Floral Ave. 530-318-2105. chivaa.org

COMEDY NIGHT WITH BYRON KENNEDY: Radio host-turned-comedian Byron Kennedy headlines. Support from locals Don Ashby, Jared Carter and Dillon Collins. Fri, 5/12, 7:30pm. $10-$20. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St. elreychico.com



4. Shows through May 21. Fri, 5/12, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com


BAD JOHNNY: Live rock. Fri, 5/12, 8pm. Free. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. 530-413-9130.

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring traditional Irish music weekly to Duffy’s. Fri, 5/12, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. 530-343-7718.

LOKI MILLER: Local guitarslinger plays a solo set. Fri, 5/12, 4:30pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. 530-399-0753.

POOR MAN’S WHISKEY: Music is back at the Big Room. Return to Chico’s favorite dance floor as the SF crew bring its blend of highoctane bluegrass and pychedelic blues/jam rock. Fri, 5/12, 7pm. $25-$30. Sierra Nevada Big Room, 1075 E. 20th St. eventbrite.com

REVEREND HORTON HEAT, THE DELTA BOMBERS: JMax Productions brings the inimitable rockabilly showman to The Box. Vegas rockers the Delta Bombers open. Fri, 5/12, 8pm. $25. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. jmaxproductions.net


Special Events

2023 CALIFORNIA NUT FESTIVAL: Locally grown and produced foods and beverages—including North Valley almonds, walnuts, pecans—are spotlighted at this annual festival. Plus, cooking demos, live music and local art. (See special pull-out guide in this issue.) Sat, 5/13, 11am. $15-$40. Patrick Ranch Museum, 10381 Midway, Durham. 530-892-1525. californianutfestival.com

CHICO ART FESTIVAL: See May 12. Sat, 5/13, 10am. Free. St. John’s Episcopal Church, 2341 Floral Ave. 530-318-2105. chivaa.org

PARADISE CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL: Everything chocolate! Tons of samples to try. Plus, pie and ice cream eating contests, a chocolate fountain, carnival games, crafts, art, live music (by The Apologetiks, Big Mo & the Full Moon Band) and more. Visit site for more info. Sat, 5/13, 10am. $5. The Terry Ashe Park, 6626 Skyway, Paradise. chocolatefest.us

SECRET TRAIL SPRING FEST: The sixth annual spring parking-lot birthday party, featuring Secret Trail’s locally produced beers and live music all day. Performers include: Ivy Flats, Matt Axton Band, Isle of Black and White Sat, 5/13, 12pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. secrettrailbrewing.com


FIRST DATE – A MUSICAL COMEDY: See May 4. Shows through May 21. Sat, 5/13, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com


ALBINO CROWE: Live music. Sat, 5/13, 8pm. Free. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. 530-413-9130.

CHICO LATIN ORQUESTA: Live Afro-Caribbean music. Sat, 5/13, 8pm. $5. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

CREED FISHER: Blue-collar country music from southern singer/songwriter. Sat, 5/13, 9pm. $30. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com

DUST IN MY COFFEE: “Western” music from Auburn. $5. Sat, 5/13, 6pm. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place.

REECE THOMPSON: Live music. Sat, 5/13, 1pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway. 530-809-1650. TheAlliesPub.com

SUN14 Theater

FIRST DATE – A MUSICAL COMEDY: See May 4. Shows through May 21. Sun, 5/14, 2pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

THU18 Theater

CHICAGO: Five, six, seven, eight … California Regional Theatre continues its run of bigticket Broadway musicals with one of the biggest of them all, the tale of Vaudeville’s Merry Murderesses. May 18-June 3. Thu, 5/18, 7:30pm. $31-$35. First Street Theatre, 139 W. First St. crtshows.com


May 6 End of Normal

FIRST DATE – A MUSICAL COMEDY: See May 4. Shows through May 21. Thu, 5/18, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com


ACOUSTIC THURSDAYS: This week: The Wild Heartz. Thu, 5/18, 6pm. Free. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

KATE CLOVER, THE WIND-UPS, THE FED-UPS: Valley Fever presents a night of garage/punk/rock with Kate Clover and band (L.A.), plus Chico crews The Wind-Ups and The Fed-Ups. Thu, 5/18, 8pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 824 Oroville Ave.

ONYX: JMax Productions brings the OG hardcore hip-hop crew to The Box. R.A. the Rugged Man opens. Thu, 5/18, 8:30pm. $25. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. jmaxproductions.net


Special Events

SPRING RELEASE - CIDER AND MUSIC: The sun is out, time for new ciders … and live music! Come try some newly released Lassen

Traditional ciders and rock out with Chico noise makers West by Swan and Viking Skate Country, plus DJ RJ as well as come-onecome-all porch band, The October Coalition. Gnarly Deli will be serving up grub, so it’s a legit party. Fri, 5/19, 5pm. Free. Lassen

Traditional Cidery, 643 Entler Ave., Ste. 52. lassencider.com

TRUE NORTH ART POP-UP: Celebrating the 25th anniversary of True North Housing Alliance with a parking lot party featuring art, music, food and more. Fri, 5/19, 10am-3pm. Free. 101 Silver Dollar Way.


CHICAGO: See May 1. Fri, 5/19, 7:30pm. $31$35. First Street Theatre, 139 W. First St.


FIRST DATE – A MUSICAL COMEDY: See May 4. Shows through May 21. Fri, 5/19, 7:30pm. $25$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com


ANTSY MCCLAIN & THE TRAILER PARK TROUBADOURS: Americana and “humor with a heart” from the ultimate troubadour and his band. Fri, 5/19, 7pm. $30. Paradise Performing Arts Center, 777 Nunneley Road, Paradise. paradiseperformingarts.com

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring traditional Irish music weekly to Duffy’s. Fri, 5/19, 5pm. Free. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main Street. 530-343-7718.

HEIRLOOM: Live local rock. Fri, 5/19, 8pm. Free. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. 530-413-9130.

THE SUN FOLLOWERS: Local acoustic duo. Fri, 5/19, 4:30pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. 530-399-0753.


Special Events

K-9 CLASSIC: Enter your pup into the Mutt Strut and show off their skills. Pets (and their humans) are encouraged to wear costumes. Food, games, K-9 demonstrations and more. Sat, 5/20, 10am. DeGarmo Park, 3428 Esplanade. chicorec.com


CHICAGO: See May 1. Fri, 5/19, 7:30pm. $31$35. First Street Theatre, 139 W. First St. crtshows.com

FIRST DATE – A MUSICAL COMEDY: See May 4. Shows through May 21. Sat, 5/20, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

DANCE ALIVE May 4-5 Paradise Performing Arts Center



Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

AKI KUMAR: KZFR radio presents the San Jose-based musician who blends traditional American styles with elements from Indian music. Thu, 5/25, 6:30pm. $20-$25. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St.. 530-895-0706. KZFR.org

CJ SOLAR: Louisiana-bred songwriter-turnedNashville country-rock performer. Thu, 5/25, 7:30pm. $15-$25. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St.. elreychico.com


Special Events

SILVER DOLLAR FAIR: See May 25. Fri, 5/26, 4pm. $5-$15. Silver Dollar Fairgrounds, 2357 Fair St. (530) 895-4666. silverdollarfair.org


COSMIC FROG: Live psychedelic rock. Sat, 5/20, 8:30pm. $5. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th Street. 530-809-5616.

EMMA & WILL: Live music. Sat, 5/20, 1pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway. 530-809-1650. TheAlliesPub.com


ZELLER: Chico electric jazz-fusion band Electric Spaghetti Monster’s EP-release party. Plus, fellow locals Furlough Fridays, and Redding singer-songwriters JustMakeMeCry and Zach Zeller. Sat, 5/20, 7pm. $10. Naked Lounge, 118 W. Second St..

JONATHAN FOSTER MUSIC: Acoustic songwriter. Sat, 5/20, 4:30pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. 530-399-0753

ROCKHOUNDS: Live music. Sat, 5/20, 8pm. Free. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. 530-413-9130.

SUN21 Theater

FIRST DATE – A MUSICAL COMEDY: See May 4. Shows through May 21. Sun, 5/21, 2pm. $25$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com


BEER SCOUTS: Live music. Sun, 5/21, 3pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.


Special Events

SILVER DOLLAR FAIR: Carnival rides, fairway games, livestock, auto races, art displays, plus live entertainment by Blood Sweat & Tears, Ned Ledoux, Nate Smith, The Outlaw Mariachi and more (see website for schedule). Thu, 5/25, 4pm. $5-$15. Silver Dollar Fairgrounds, 2357 Fair St. (530) 895-4666. silverdollarfair.org


CHICAGO: See May 1. Thu, 5/25, 7:30pm. $31$35. First Street Theatre, 139 W. First St. crtshows.com


ACOUSTIC THURSDAYS: This week: Zac Yurkovic. Thu, 5/25, 6pm. Free. Mulberry


CHICAGO: See May 1. Fri, 5/26, 7:30pm. $31-$35.

First Street Theatre, 139 W. First St.


B-SIDE: Live music. Sat, 5/27, 8pm. Free. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. 530-413-9130.

CHUCK EPPERSON JR. BAND: Live rock. Fri, 5/26, 4:30pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. 530-399-0753.

HIGHWAY VAGABONDS: A tribute to Miranda Lambert. Fri, 5/26, 9pm. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com

STEVIE COOK AND FRIENDS: Live music for dancing! Fri, 5/26, 8:30pm. $10. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St.


Special Events

SILVER DOLLAR FAIR: See May 25. Sat, 5/27, 12pm. $5 - $15. Silver Dollar Fairgrounds, 2357 Fair St. (530) 895-4666.


CHICAGO: See May 1. Sat, 5/27, 7:30pm. $31$35. First Street Theatre, 139 W. First St.


MELANIE KENDRICK: Live music. Sat, 5/27, 1pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway. 530-809-1650. TheAlliesPub.com

SECOND HAND SMOKE: Live music. Sat, 5/27, 8:30pm. $5. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.


Special Events

SILVER DOLLAR FAIR: See May 25. Sun, 5/28, 12pm. $5-$15. Silver Dollar Fairgrounds, 2357 Fair St.. (530) 895-4666.


ICE CUBE: OG night! Ice Cube with opener Too Short. Sun, 5/28, 8pm. $55-$130. Obsidian Spirits Amphitheater at Rolling Hills Casino & Resort, 2655 Everett Freeman Way, Corning. rollinghillscasino.com


SILVER DOLLAR FAIR: See May 25. Mon, 5/29, 12pm. $5-$15. Silver Dollar Fairgrounds, 2357 Fair St. (530) 895-4666. silverdollarfair.org


This year, April showers are bringing OG MCs to the North State as three legendary hip-hop acts come through in May. First up, JMax Productions is bringing New York-based pioneers of “hardcore hip-hop,” Onyx, to the Tackle Box on May 18. And later in the month, one of America’s most influential musical artists, Ice Cube, plays the Obsidian Spirits Amphitheater at Rolling Hills Casino on May 28 … and Too $hort opens!

22 CN&R MAY 4, 2023
KATE CLOVER May 18 Winchester
June 9–11 at The Center for The Arts in Chico Tickets available online KineticsAcademyofDance.com Check out our Summer Camps & Year-round Classes for Babies - Adults 627 BROADWAY ST, SUITE 100 IN DOWNTOWN CHICO • 530-345-2505
MAY 4, 2023 CN&R 23


scuffed and rendered bloodless. Bonner also created a small black coffin framed by bones using wood and paint, as well as several other paintings.

“Death comes for everyone and it’s unavoidable,” he said, “and you’ve gotta live for what you like.”

Other students, like Chloe Spainhower, have enjoyed the freedom of creating art without any particular subject in mind. Her pieces feature imagery that she enjoys, including snakes, moths and eyes.

“When I work on art, I’m not in the past or the future,” she said. “It helps me release stuck emotions and relax and focus on the present moment.”

phrases such as “my cats,” “my hometown,” “time, “family,” “The Flumes,” and “peace of mind,” in white, black and blue lettering on a background of fake currency. It is signed “insincerely, PG&E.”

Mercer also will be displaying her drawings and paintings in the show that are centered on her experience living with PTSD and growing up with a sibling with severe mental illness. One of her works depicts a disfigured woman standing next to a straight-faced man, reminiscent of “American Gothic.”

“I just grab a pen and draw when I’m feeling overwhelmed. It’s just about putting the thoughts on paper,” she said. “I’ve never been this vulnerable in public ever, except for the Phoenix, but even then it was in collaboration with others.”

Laid bare

Paradise art students explore mental health for group exhibition

t-shirt with the phrase “It’s OK,” with panicked thoughts staked into its head.


izzy Eakins’ panic attacks come on suddenly, and when they do, it’s hard for her to breathe. Her mind races, overwhelmed with thoughts like: What do I do?

story and photos by Ashiah Bird ashiahb@ newsreview.com

Preview: StigmaticSpotlights, a one-day exhibit presented by Ridgeview High School and Jess Mercer May 15, noon-8 p.m.

(reception & entertainment 5-8 p.m.)

Student works will be for sale (with all proceeds going directly to them). Patrons can also donate to Jess Mercer’s trauma-informed art programming.

Museum of Northern California Art 900 Esplanade monca.org

Am I OK? Why do I feel like this?

In her art class at Ridgeview High School in Paradise, she has channeled her experiences with anxiety into emotive, tangible creations. One of those is a clay figure with a rope around its neck. It wears a gag that says “Shh” and a

Eakins will be showing this piece, along with illustrations and another sculpture, in a one-day exhibit called Stigmatic Spotlights, presented by Ridgeview High School and local artist, arts educator and trauma specialist Jess Mercer, on May 15 at the Museum of Northern California Art (see infobox).

She will be joined by just over a dozen other school mates who’ve picked up paint brushes, pencils and even welding tools to express themselves. While the teens’ artworks and mediums vary, all center on mental health.

Throughout the creative process, the students at Ridgeview, a continuation high school, have received support from their art teacher, Lauri Touchette, and Mercer, who has been providing trauma-informed art therapy to students at campuses across Butte County since January 2019.

Mercer is known for spearheading several initiatives in Paradise geared toward helping the community heal and recover from the 2018 Camp Fire. These include the “Ridge Key Phoenix” sculpture, made with keys donated by fire survivors, a community-created mural on the Skyway Antique Mall honor-

ing those who died in the blaze, and a partnership with the gym Paradise Stronger to establish community gathring space, the Equilibrium Wellness Center.

As the students have prepared for their art show, Mercer has often witnessed them discussing mental health and trauma they’ve experienced. At the same time, they also have expressed a lot of enthusiasm for the opportunity to share their work publicly for the first time.

“The kids are being honest,” she said. “They’re so excited, and it’s the most I’ve seen them smile in a long time.”

Young people don’t always have a safe space to express their thoughts and feelings on topics such as depression, suicide and loneliness, Mercer said. The goal of this show is to make these subjects “not so taboo” and to give the teens a platform in which they have the creative freedom to say what they want to say.

“I have always found importance in safely helping youth translate the residue of trauma into a visible, feeling form,” she said. “I want to keep padding this space for them to be so authentically themselves.”

Senior art student Cameron Bonner focused on death for his pieces. His work “Drained and Damaged” depicts an anatomically correct heart made of plaster,

Similarly, her classmate Caden Gleaton worked with electrical spool and water piping to make a rustic table. He’s allowed himself to be “very impulsive” and go with the flow while creating the piece. Even though it turned out differently than he planned, he’s content with the outcome.

The students also collaborated on evocative group pieces. One is a pair of lungs composed of vaping pens and products. Another forms the terms of an IOU in the wake of the Camp Fire, upon which the students painted words and

Ridgeview High School students created two group pieces for the art exhibit, including this pair of lungs made with vaping products.

Ridgeview art teacher Touchette also will participate in the show, and said “it’s the first time in so long I’m just expressing myself.”

In her piece, a tree emerges from the center, one side a dark blue facing a chaotic landscape, the other side a warm brown, representing new life.

“This reminds me of the fire,” she said. “As I was painting it, I was like, ‘Maybe I’m starting to heal from that.’”

Touchette expressed pride in her students and their dedication to their artwork. She teaches art at Paradise E-Learning Academy, Paradise Junior High and Ridgeview, and said that though her students have high needs due to the traumatic things they have lived through, they have also opened up and formed close bonds with their teachers.

Eakins, in addition to her pieces that explore her relationship with anxiety, will also feature another work in the show that’s particularly meaningful to her—an illustrated portrait of her dog, Lorelia, her ears perked and curious eyes staring at the viewer.

On a recent day in her classroom, Eakins gazed at the piece and smiled warmly. Her mother recently went through a divorce, she explained. Lorelia helped Eakins get through that difficult time.

“She’s such a happy dog,” she said. “Any time you see her you’re smiling and laughing.”

24 CN&R MAY 4, 2023
PHOTO BY ASHIAH BIRD Lizzy Eakins created several pieces exploring her experiences with anxiety and panic attacks. PHOTO BY ASHIAH BIRD
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Art in the machine

Exhibit features 500 generations of AI interpretations of one image prompt

At first glance, the rows of square, ceramic tiles laid out across two tables inside Idea fab Labs (IFL) look fairly similar: saturated, black-and-white designs vaguely resembling asymmetrical Rorschach images. A closer look, however, revealed much more—dozens of unique images, each remarkable both for their similarities as well as their differences. That dichotomy—uniform, yet unique—is a central theme of artist Erin Banwell’s latest work, Tree With City in the Distance: Evolution of an AI Sketch It is Banwell’s first foray into creating art using artificial intelligence (AI), based on a whim that became a short-term obsession. The exhibit will be held at IFL, the maker space that Banwell owns and co-founded.

story and photos by Ken Smith kens@ newsreview.com

Preview: Opening reception for TreeWithCityinthe

Distance: Evolution of an AI Sketch happens May 7, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

The reception at Idea Fab Labs (603 Orange St.) is in conjunction with the Orange St. Block Party (Orange Street, between 5th and 7th), featuring offerings from arts-related businesses on the street, including Maker Radio 94.5, Orange Street Consignment, Sparkle Productions, 7th Street Centre for the Arts and Chico Art Center (hosting the reception for its new exhibit, Chico,Our Hometown).

It started with a simple prompt typed into an AI imaging program to create the titular image—a sketchlike, abstract image that can reasonably be interpreted as a lone tree in the foreground of a faraway cityscape. Then, he used that image to create four more slight variations, and those to create four more. At some point he stepped in, and began choosing which pieces from each generation would propagate, and which would go

the way of the dodo bird. In all, the process was repeated for 100plus generations.

“There’s many different ways you can interact with any of these AI programs, and the way I chose to do so for this project is this evolutionary process.” he said. “Each image has offspring with genetic mutations, and I’d pick the ones that I wanted to go again. As the force of nature that decides what animals reproduce in the analogy of evolution, my artistic choice was the decider of what would reproduce and which lineage would die off.”

After hundreds of iterations pushed through his computer during an estimated 48 hours of nearstraight work (“It felt like one sitting … I stopped to sleep now and then, but that’s pretty much it.”), Banwell said that a number of distinct series and lineages took form. Early on, in some of the images, one tree became two trees. Some he described as having a three-dimensional feel, “like a picture of a picture on a wall,” while others began to have a fabric-like appearance. Some of the fabric-like images then morphed into what Banwell described as flowers. In another lineage, a yin-

yang shape formed, while others developed sharp, pointy edges.

Banwell chose 500 of his favorites, and at the time of the interview was printing the images to tiles for the May exhibition. “Just hanging the show will be really interesting and a massive undertaking,” he said. “I want to follow these lines of evolution in a way that visually speaks to people, so they can see and take in the process of evolution happening over the whole thing.”

To this end, he’s printing most of them on 4-by-4-inch tiles, with prime examples of each family group printed on 12-by-12-inch tiles. He intends to hang them in clusters, with evolutionary links between. Each of the individual tiles, numbered according to its

serious alarms. In March, a group called the Future of Life Institute published an open letter signed by more than 1,000 petitioners (including the likes of Steve Wozniak and Elon Musk) calling for a halt on AI development while guidelines and safeguards are developed to keep the technology from doing indelible harm to humanity.

As a tech-forward artist (IFL has been on the cutting edge of 3-D printing, using lasers, LEDs and other tools), Banwell said he sees AI as just another tool.

initial order of creation, will be for sale.

The show’s opening reception on May 7 will coincide with the inaugural Orange Street Block Party (see info box). The event is hosted by IFL offshoot Maker Radio 94.5 FM in cooperation with other art-oriented establishments in the neighborhood: IFL, Orange Street Consignment, Sparkle Enterprises, Mains’l and Chico Art Center. A section of the street will be closed for the free, all-ages event and there will be food trucks, live music, other art on display, a yart sale, and children’s activities hosted by Chico Children’s Museum.

The role of AI

Banwell’s exhibit comes at a crucial time, as the rapidly expanding capability and accessibility of powerful AI programs fuels controversy about how the technology will affect everything from individual industries to society as a whole.

While many creatives are growing increasingly concerned about how AI is impacting their livelihoods, some speculative tech types are sounding even more

“Some artists are up in arms and some are embracing it,” he said. “It’s like any other paradigmshifting innovation, and I compare it a lot to Photoshop. I think a lot of artists are feeling like I imagine film photographers felt when that first came out. It’s so huge that it’s hard to even comprehend how it’s going to affect your medium. But looking back now at Photoshop, it’s just a tool to be used, it’s not its own entity. It can be used well, or it can be used poorly and in non-artistic ways.”

Banwell shared his overarching philosophy—that anyone who creates something and calls it art is an artist, and their work is likewise art. Then, it’s up to audiences to interpret and accept or reject the results. In the case of Tree With City in the Distance, he considers AI the method he used to create a body of work.

“Well I’m no expert on AI, and I certainly heed the warnings of every sci-fi cautionary tale,” he said when asked about potential problems. “In the end, I understand how AI works: by training a computer to make decisions based on how you told it to judge all the similar data you fed it during the training.

“Technology can be used for good or bad. That won’t change. I suppose I’ll continue to use it for good: to create art which others can experience, with the goal being to create a sense of awe in the viewer. I find that when a person feels awe, even momentarily, it’s almost like anything is possible again and that’s a beautiful thing.” Ω

26 CN&R MAY 4, 2023
Artist Erin Banwell poses inside Idea Fab Labs with a few of the AI-generated images he prompted and transferred to white tiles for his upcoming exhibit.

Resident Services

Workshops, after school programs, and financial troubleshooting bring life to CHIP’s rental properties.

The Community Housing Improvement Program believes rental complexes are more than opportunities for housing—they’re a chance for respite, self-improvement and community.

In his birthplace of Ecuador, with an education and background in psychology, Washington “Washo” Quezada worked and volunteered in indigenous communities and marginalized neighborhoods—often creating programs aiding children and families.

After he moved to Chico, California in 1996, CHIP hired Quezada in 2002 to help start a Resident Services department.

“I love the idea of creating, that’s always been my thing,” Quezada says. “My background is in creating projects, learning about a group or agencies, and then trying to make it so they can meet the needs of the people.”

As one of two Resident Services Specialists overseeing CHIP’s 19 apartment complexes, Quezada helps organize and host a variety of free events and services, as well as annual celebrations such as a big summer barbecue, Halloween pumpkincarving and turkey for Thanksgiving.

Past events have included cooking and finance classes, workshops on avoiding money scams, after school programs, Zumba workouts, and gardening at Murphy Commons—which Quezada says has Chico’s first community garden on city grounds.

“To me,” says Quezada, “it’s super important to create

a culture. The properties I work for, they know something is happening each month.”

Whatever the event’s activity, Quezada hopes they help create a culture within the apartment’s community, a regular and reliable source of connection for people’s shared likes and needs.

“They come to the nutrition class or bingo,” Quezada says, “and they get to know each other and they get to become friends.”

Though certainly informative and fun— classes may be paired with a raffle or a meal—Quezada believes CHIP’s goal in organizing such events goes beyond bringing neighbors together for a good time.

“I haven’t met one person in CHIP that is not really wishing to help people,” Quezada says. “So, in that sense, the question is, ‘how can we support people?’ Let’s not just give them housing but how can we offer possibilities for them to open doors?”

Quezada views Resident Services as a department that helps connect residents to these open doors—opportunities for respite or self-reflection on areas someone may wish to change or improve.

“No one has to be a part of resident services,” Quezada says, “but if they come and they start requesting things, it becomes a conversation.”

Knowing what the residents enjoy and find helpful allows Quezada to go into the surrounding communities and bring

in private, government, religious or nonprofit agencies that can provide the residents with support, wrap-around services, or health and happiness.

In the past, Quezada says Resident Services has partnered with such groups as CalFresh, CSU–Chico, UC Cooperative Extension, Oakland’s Centro Legal de la Raza, and Northern Valley Catholic Social Service. He praises their willingness to hear and adapt their offerings to what the residents want and need.

“It’s a program that feeds itself from the community,” Quezada says. “We can offer what agencies and people around the communities can offer.”

Using these same agencies, Quezada often works oneon-one with residents for life’s ubiquitous challenges—paying rent or questions around financial, employment or medical paperwork.

“It’s not just a relationship between money and apartment,” Quezada says, “it’s a human relationship that we are offering them.”

In this vein, measuring the effectiveness and return on the program’s investment isn’t marked by increased attendance or the baking contest’s grand prize.

“If I think there’s one person,” Quezada says, “who actually changed the way they saw nutrition, changed their life around it, and then became a part of a community around it, the whole program is successful.”

PAID ADVERTISEMENT To learn more about CHIP’s programs, visit chiphousing.org
MAY 4, 2023 CN&R 27
Residents from the new senior apartment complex, Creekside Place in Chico, have regular community gardening meetings. PHOTO BY RAY LAAGER
If I think there’s one person who actually changed the way they saw nutrition, changed their life around it, and then became a part of a community around it, the whole program is successful.”
Washington“Washo”Quezada Resident Services Specialist

Organic waste diversion goals

Butte County working to meet new state law requirements

Restaurants, grocery stores, farms and other sources of commercial food waste are under pressure to make big changes to what they do—and do not—add to the waste stream.

California’s SB 1383, or the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy, aims to reduce the disposal of organics in landfills 75% by 2025, which means diverting more than 20 million tons from landfills across the state.

To help meet this lofty goal, commercial sources of organic waste will be expected to send surplus food to foodrecovery organizations that help feed people who would otherwise go hungry. Under the law, such businesses must donate all edible but unsellable food by January 1, 2022, a deadline passed.

“It’s a huge mandate,” says Sheila McQuaid, a program manager with Chico State’s Center for Healthy Communities. “People are just figuring this out. We’re working really closely with Butte County to help make sure they can comply.”

While efforts are underway to divert as much organic food waste as possible from the Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility, not all food can be recovered. Inevitably, some of it goes bad and gets thrown away.

Much of that organic material is sent to North State Bioenergy off Highway 99 south of Chico. Formerly operated by North State Rendering, the facility shut down its animal rendering operations in 2016 and recently was acquired by Republic Services, which bills itself as “a leader in recycling and composting in California.”

North State Bioenergy takes commercial food waste collected from communities across Northern California for processing with the facility’s anaerobic digester to produce biogas, which can be

used to generate electricity or to power vehicles in Republic’s fleet. “Today, the facility’s operations are fully circular, with biogas generating enough electricity to power the facility,” the company says.

North State Bioenergy processes roughly 100 tons of material daily, according to Tony Perez, general manager of Republic Services. But the facility cannot accept yard trimmings, as the anaerobic digester is a “wet” digester that only uses high-liquid feedstocks.

get in line with SB 1383. “This infrastructure is important to helping our customers and the community meet the diversion requirements of California’s SB 1383 and … it also provides a source of renewable energy for the local community,” Perez says.

Grana and “a lot of restaurants in downtown Chico” are already donating much of their surplus food to food pantries, shelters and small farms for feeding animals, according to Valerie Meza, recycling coordinator for Butte County. “Turkey Tail Farms takes scraps for their animals and for composting on their farm,” she says.

All cities and counties were expected to comply when SB 1383 went into effect January 1, 2022. But Butte County does not currently have the infrastructure. Facility permitting through State agencies to develop large scale municipal compost sites, coupled with high fixed costs and operating costs, delay progress. Another issue is equipment availability. Oroville, for example, is rolling out a program to collect food waste from commercial sources this year but is restrained by a lack of equipment, says Jennifer Arbuckle, a consultant who helps local governments comply with the new law.

“They just have to get new infrastructure equipment like trucks and a couple more staff members,” she says. “And … the current market to get a new garbage truck or compost truck is a year’s lead time, so that’s just what’s holding them back.”

This is a critical distinction because local governments are compelled under SB 1383 to divert all organics—food waste and yard waste alike—and eventually allow residents and commercial operations to mix yard and food waste in the same bin. But the nearest facility that can compost both is in Yuba County.

Still, the anaerobic digester at North State Bioenergy is a critical piece of the puzzle for Butte County as it works to

For now, Butte County’s cities are under notices of intent to comply with the law—and could face fines if they don’t fulfill them.

“Those types of projects take time,” Arbuckle says. “So you just have to work towards it and have a game plan and a schedule that you turn into the state that makes sure you’re on the right track.”

“It’s a huge mandate. People are just figuring this out.
We’re working really closely with Butte County to help make sure they can comply.”
Learn more at www.recyclebutte.net 28 CN&R MAY 4, 2023
SHEILA MCQUAID a program manager with Chico State’s Center for Healthy Communities
Food waste and baked goods from commercial accounts are disposed at North State Bioenergy to produce biogas. PHOTO COURTESY OF BUTTE COUNTY PUBLIC WORKS

Tutti Frutti and a Cannes nominee

everyday challenges and perils in this dissident filmmaker’s activities.

Panahi has made entire films with dashboard cameras inside automobiles (compare the wonderful Taxi from 2015, for example). Here too, the methods are minimalist, but a generous, tough-minded humanism is the prevailing impression.

Living – That sly character actor Bill Nighy is featured in this portrait of an aging bureaucrat, a dried-up English gentleman who begins to see life differently when he’s diagnosed with a soon-to-be fatal illness. Based on a classic Japanese film, Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru (“To Live”), it’s a thoroughly Anglicized version of Kurosawa’s original, which was itself based in part on Tolstoy’s novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich Tom Burke and Aimee Lou Wood play key characters in the old gent’s late-life renewal. Nighy’s eloquently low key performance is enhanced with bent posture, cramped gestures and a half-whispery speaking voice. The screenplay adaptation is the work of novelist Kazuo Ishiguro. Ω

An international collection of films now streaming

France – In this Palme d’Ornominated French production from 2021, offbeat auteur Bruno Dumont constructs a puzzling, ironically attractive portrait of a TV star, a celebrity newscaster named France de Meurs (strikingly played here by French star Léa Seydoux). She is by turns a fatuous and narcissistic media star, a daring investigative reporter, a virtual stranger to her novelist husband and their young son, and yet also a woman of conscience and bold social action. Her clownish, ratings-crazed producer (Blanche Gardin) serves as both daffy enabler and loyal sidekick. Dumont builds brooding drama out of the TV celebrity’s crises, contradictions and blind spots in ways that seem to challenge the audience’s perspectives as well.

child in a bedraggled family with five kids and another on the way. Her harried mother sends her to spend the summer with relatives, a childless couple whose attentive ministrations as temporary foster parents open Cáit’s eyes to what she’s been missing at home, and to her own sense of self worth. She blossoms, but the changes make her return to her own family—the prelude for further complications.

The film is based on a Claire Keegan story, and writer-director Colm Bairéad gives it all a gently poetical alertness. Young Catherine Clinch is fine in the title role, and Carrie Crowley is especially good as the temporary mother. Irish Gaelic and some English are spoken in this Oscar-nominated gem.

time rock-’n’-roll favorites.

Lisa Cortes’ superb new documentary makes a similar impression by way of a brilliantly expansive biographical portrait that extends into the dynamics of race, sexuality, religion and music in America. Cortés builds a fascinating two-hour narrative out of archival materials, film and TV clips, testimony (from John Waters, Tom Jones, Mick Jagger and others), reminiscences and insights (from friends, relatives, colleagues and critics), and—most and best of all—Richard’s own observations and outbursts.

The Quiet Girl – In rural Ireland circa 1980, the title character is 9-yearold Cáit, a very quiet and rather solitary

Little Richard: I Am Everything –When Richard Penniman (aka Little Richard) passed away three years ago, I was a little surprised to find that I had stronger feelings about the man than with any of the others among my old-

No Bears – The now-imprisoned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi plays a version of himself in this documentarystyle tale about a clandestine effort to make a film at a remote location near Iran’s border with Turkey. Filmed in the director’s amiable, casually observant style, No Bears exudes a gentlehumored, and almost leisurely, kind of courage while never losing sight of the


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French actress Léa Seydoux plays the title character in France, the latest film by director Bruno Dumont.


AMISH RAKE FIGHT, ET AL. If you’ve ever played music in a group with others you’ve made the band-names list. Perhaps, like Art DEVO, you are a little obsessive about such things and you save that list and continually add to it as the ideas come. I mean, we could start a new band tomorrow. We should totally start a band! Let’s call ourselves The Timber Lanes, or Picasso … Wait, no [checks list] … Hammer Truck!

In a music-crazy city like Chico, a band’s gotta have a strong name game. Some of the best band names I’ve ever heard—not just from this town, but from anywhere ever—have appeared on local fliers:

Amish Rake Fight, Dionne Warlock, What You Like Salad?, Brutilicus Maximus, The Crystal Methodists, Butte County Cosmic Love Division, Vomit Launch, Swiss Family Donner Party, Nothing Rhymes With Orange, Ride the Nine, Pitchfork Tuning, Dog Killer, Dr. Becky Sagers Ph.D., Land of the Wee Beasties, Deathstar, Free Beer, Li’l Suicide Bunny, Mid-Fi, Gorgeous Armada (featuring Handsome Gorgeous), Experimental Dental School, Aubrey Debauchery, Ooh La La, Abominable Iron Sloth, Blood Bath and Beyond, Bunnymilk, Tri-Lateral Dirts Commission, Pageant Dads, French Reform, Hallelujah Junction, West by Swan, Michelin Embers.

I was reminded of many of those classics in a recent discussion in the new Chico Old-School Music Scene Facebook group started by a couple of local-music legends—Charles Mohnike (former CN&R writer and drummer/guitarist who played in many bands—Incredible Diamonds, Blue Plate Special, The Verves, etc.) and Feeney Arnold (saxman in everything from Brutilicus Maximus to The QuasiMofos).

The group debuted last month and it’s already amassed an impressive archive of images, news clippings, fliers and digitized audio/video documenting more than a half century of local music. They’ve also created a streaming Chico Old-School Radio station that plays all-oldschool-local music (pre-2011) all the time. The playlist is as eclectic as a month’s worth of shows as the legendary Juanita’s nightclub/burrito joint. A recent session took me from a live recording of a Honky Tonk Nite at The Maltese Bar all the way back to the very-reverbheavy vocals of The Heat Seekers from the 1984 debut compilation cassette for the Devil in the Woods record label.

Tune into that freaky Chico sound at: zapt.com/chicomusic

SOUNDS OF THE WILD With the final month of school comes the season finale for the North State Symphony, Masterworks4. In addition to pieces by Rachmaninoff and Dvorak, the production will feature a new work called “Lassen Awakes” by Marko Bajzer. The Nor-Cal composer came up with the piece during his time as 2022 Artist-in-Residence at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Bajzer was commissioned to write “an orchestral work depicting the park,” and according to his website, it’s the first part of his multi-movement FromSeatoShining Sea;aMusicalJourneythroughAmerica’s NationalParks. Catch the world premiere with our local symphony Sunday, May 14, at 2 p.m., at Laxson Auditorium.



AndnowformerSS CaptainLutzewillrevisithisoldhaunts, satisfiedperhapsthatallthatisawaiting himintheruinsonthehillisanelement ofnostalgia.Whathedoesnotknow,of course,isthataplacelikeDachaucannot existonlyinBavaria.Byitsnature,byits verynature,itmustbeoneofthepopulatedareas...oftheTwilightZone—opening May 26 at the Blue Room Theatre

30 CN&R MAY 4, 2023
Snake, Jack Dammit International and Ska-T on stage with Brutilicus Maximus: all old-school, all great names. PHOTO BY BLYNDA BARNETT TwilightZone at the Blue Room.


ARIES (March 21-April 19): Before forming the band called The Beatles, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney performed under various other names: the Quarrymen, Japage 3, and Johnny and the Moondogs. I suspect you are currently at your own equivalent of the Johnny and the Moondogs phase. You’re building momentum. You’re gathering the tools and resources you need. But you have not yet found the exact title, descriptor, or definition for your enterprise. I suggest you be extra alert for its arrival in the coming weeks.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I’ve selected a passage to serve as one of your prime themes during the rest of 2023. It comes from poet Jane Shore. She writes, “Now I feel I am learning how to grow into the space I was always meant to occupy, into a self I can know.” Dear Taurus, you will have the opportunity to grow ever-more assured and self-possessed as you embody Shore’s description in the coming months. Congratulations in advance on the progress you will make to more fully activate your soul’s code.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Georges Rouault (1871-1958) was a Gemini painter who bequeathed the world over 3,000 works of art. There might have been even more. But years before he died, he burned 315 of his unfinished paintings. He felt they were imperfect, and he would never have time or be motivated to finish them. I think the coming weeks would be a good time for you to enjoy a comparable purge, Gemini. Are there things in your world that don’t mean much to you anymore and are simply taking up space? Consider the possibility of freeing yourself from their stale energy.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Britain occupied India for almost 200 years. It was a ruthless and undemocratic exploitation that steadily drained India’s wealth and resources. Mahatma Gandhi wasn’t the only leader who fought British oppression, but he was among the most effective. In 1930, he led a 24-day, 240-mile march to protest the empire’s tyrannical salt tax. This action was instrumental in energizing the Indian independence movement that ultimately culminated in India’s freedom. I vote to make Gandhi one of your inspirational role models in the coming months. Are you ready to launch a liberation project? Stage a constructive rebellion? Martial the collaborative energies of your people in a holy cause?

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): As crucial as it is to take responsibility, it is also essential to recognize where our responsibilities end and what should be left for others to do. For example, we usually shouldn’t do work for other people that they can just as easily do for themselves. We shouldn’t sacrifice doing the work that only we can do and get sidetracked doing work that many people can do. To be effective and to find fulfillment in life, it’s vital for us to discover what truly needs to be within our care and what should be outside of our care. I see the coming weeks as a favorable time for you to clarify the boundary between these two.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Virgo-born Marie Laveau (1801–1881) was a powerful Voodoo priestess, herbalist, activist, and midwife in New Orleans. According to legend, she could walk on water, summon clairvoyant visions, safely suck the poison out of a snake’s jowls, and cast spells to help her clients achieve their heart’s desires. There is also a wealth of more tangible evidence that she was a community activist who healed the sick, volunteered as an advocate for prisoners, provided free teachings, and did rituals for needy people who couldn’t pay her. I hereby assign her to be your inspirational role model for the coming weeks. I suspect you will have extra power to help people in both mysterious and practical ways.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): What are the best methods to exorcize our personal de-

mons, ghosts, and goblins? Or at least subdue them and neutralize their ill effects? We all have such phantoms at work in our psyches, corroding our confidence and undermining our intentions. One approach I don’t recommend is to get mad at yourself for having these interlopers. Never do that. The demons’ strategy, you see, is to manipulate you into being mean and cruel to yourself. To drive them away, I suggest you shower yourself with love and kindness. That seriously reduces their ability to trick you and hurt you—and may even put them into a deep sleep. Now is an excellent time to try this approach.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): As she matured, Scorpio poet Sylvia Plath wrote, “I am learning how to compromise the wild dream ideals and the necessary realities without such screaming pain.” I believe you’re ready to go even further than Plath was able to, dear Scorpio. In the coming weeks, you could not merely “compromise” the wild dream ideals and the necessary realities. You could synergize them and get them to collaborate in satisfying ways. Bonus: I bet you will accomplish this feat without screaming pain. In fact, you may generate surprising pleasures that delight you with their revelations.


21): Some primates use herbal and clay medicines to self-medicate. Great apes, chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas ingest a variety of ingredients that fight against parasitic infection and help relieve various gastrointestinal disturbances. (More info: https://tinyurl.com/PrimatesSelfMedicate.)

Our ancestors learned the same healing arts, though far more extensively. And many Indigenous people today still practice this kind of self-care. With these thoughts in mind, Sagittarius, I urge you to spend quality time in the coming weeks deepening your understanding of how to heal and nurture yourself. The kinds of “medicines” you might draw on could be herbs, and may also be music, stories, colors, scents, books, relationships, and adventures.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The mythic traditions of all cultures are replete with tales of clashes and combats. If we draw on these tales to deduce what activity humans enjoy more than any other, we might conclude that it’s fighting with each other. But I hope you will avoid this normal habit as much as possible during the next three weeks, Capricorn. I am encouraging you to actively repress all inclinations to tangle. Just for now, I believe you will cast a wildly benevolent magic spell on your mental and physical health if you avoid arguments and skirmishes. Here’s a helpful tip: In each situation you’re involved in, focus on sustaining a vision of the most graceful, positive outcome.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Is there a person who could serve as your Über Mother for a while? This would be a wise and tender maternal ally who gives you the extra nurturing you need, along with steady doses of warm, crisp advice on how to weave your way through your labyrinthine decisions.

Your temporary Über Mother could be any gender, really. They would love and accept you for exactly who you are, even as they stoke your confidence to pursue your sweet dreams about the future. Supportive and inspirational. Reassuring and invigorating. Championing you and consecrating you.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Congratulations on acquiring the Big New Riddle! I trust it will inspire you to grow wiser and kinder and wilder over the coming months. I’ve compiled some clues to help you unravel and ultimately solve this challenging and fascinating mystery. 1. Refrain from calling on any strength that’s stingy or pinched. Ally yourself solely with generous power. 2. Avoid putting your faith in trivial and irrelevant “benefits.”

Hold out for the most soulful assistance. 3. The answer to key questions may often be, “Make new connections and enhance existing connections.”

MAY 4, 2023 CN&R 31
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