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GOODBYE & HELLO The CN&R family–past and present–raises a glass to the printed paper as it moves online



Join us online






CN&R J A N U A R Y 1 1 , 2 0 2 4

Bruce Jenkins


Vol. 47, Issue 7 • January 11, 2024

Insurance & Financial Services OPINION

CA License #0B86680


Editor’s Note. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Guest Comment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 This Modern World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Second & Flume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Streetalk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7




Briefed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 California universities repatriate Native American artifacts . . . . 8




Saying goodbye to the printed CN&R as it moves to online-only



Jan. & Feb. events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Reel World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Scene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 & 28 Arts DEVO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Brezsny’s Astrology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31


• Medicare Supplement Plans • Medicare Advantage Plans • Social Security Maximization • Retirement Income Planning • Life Insurance


We will do the research for you!

Mailing Address P.O. Box 56, Chico, CA 95927

Our Mission: To publish great newspapers that are successful and enduring. To create a quality work environment that encourages employees to grow professionally while respecting personal welfare. To have a positive impact on our communities and make them better places to live. Editor Jason Cassidy Editor at large Melissa Daugherty Staff Writer Ken Smith Contributors Ashiah Bird, Ken Pordes, Juan-Carlos Selznick Managing Art Director Tina Flynn Publications & Advertising Designers Cathy Arnold, Katelynn Mitrano, Jocelyn Parker Sales & Business Coordinator Jennifer Osa Advertising Consultant Ray Laager Distribution Lead Beatriz Aguirre Distribution Staff Dennis Bruch Jr., Michael Gardner, Jackson Indar, Linda Quinn, Wolfgang Straub, Bill Unger, Richard Utter, Jim Williams

Advertising Mail PO Box 13370 Sacramento, CA 95813 Phone (530) 894-2300 Website President/CEO Jeff vonKaenel Director of Nuts & Bolts Deborah Redmond Director of Dollars & Sense Miranda Hansen Accounting Staff Gus Trevino System Support Specialist Kalin Jenkins Got a News Tip? Post Calendar Events Want to Advertise? Editorial Policies: Opinions expressed in CN&R are those of the authors and not of Chico Community Publishing, Inc. Contact the editor for permission to reprint articles or other portions of the paper. CN&R is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or review materials. Email letters to All letters received become the property of the publisher. We reserve the right to print letters in condensed form and to edit them for libel. Advertising Policies: All advertising is subject to the newspaper’s Standards of Acceptance. The advertiser and not the newspaper assumes the responsibility for the truthful content of their advertising message. CN&R is printed at Western Web on recycled newsprint. CN&R is a member of Chico Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Chico Business Association, AAN and AWN.

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Send guest comments, 300 words maximum, to or to P.O. Box 56, Chico, CA 95927. Please include photo & short bio.



Props for print

Sickness of greed

Re: “CN&R to cease print publication; shift focus to digital” (Dec. 18, 2023). In high school, I was part of a program called Upward Bound, where I got to be the boss for the day. My job: editor at the CN&R. I got to write an article about my experience, my one and only piece ever published. Then I went to Madison Bear and played Street Fighter after getting burgers. One of the best days of my senior year. Sad to see you go to just digital form.

Re: “The economy vs. the planet” (Dec. 7, 2023) Your top 10 censored stories piece on excessive corporate profits due to war profiteering deserves praise. There’s a body of law codified by Justice Stephen Johnson Field in the latter part of the 1800s which says that corporate interests are more important than the rights of individuals. In addition, the top two professions that attract psychopaths are chief executive officers and lawyers— very toxic when combined. If we’re going to attack corporate greed, these two major issues are going to have to be strenuously dealt with, otherwise corruption and high prices will always plague us.

Sandy Harris Chico

The Chico News & Review has been a journalistic asset to the Chico community for many decades. I wish it good luck in making the transition to digital.

Michael Peters Chico

Fix healthcare

Thank you for all the years. I’ve enjoyed your news reporting—while living in Chico for many years and then online from the Central Valley for 14 years (and now from Santa Rosa). I’ve long considered your coverage more to my liking than the Chico ER (and the Modesto Bee while living in Turlock). I still have a copy of the CN&R’s powerful coverage after 9/11—which I read many times over trying to make sense of that horrific event. In-depth news and independent views and a sense of place that just doesn’t happen with TV “news.” Thank you, and keep on keepin’ on!

As a soon-to-be newly graduated RN, I recently volunteered at the Shalom Free Clinic in Chico. Each Sunday, a group of volunteer healthcare providers, aspiring medical professionals, and community organizers gather to bridge the gaps in our healthcare system and throw a lifeline to those left behind in our community. Though the patients I met were ethnically, socioeconomically, and age diverse, they were linked by a single common denominator: They all lacked health insurance. Since volunteering, I’ve found myself thinking about how organizations like Shalom exist in every city in every state. Each day, hundreds of thousands of volunteers work, without compensation, to care for people who would otherwise be left to struggle with their illnesses and injuries alone. Where would our nation’s health be without the free clinics, community health fairs, GoFundMe campaigns, meal trains, adopt-a-family fundraisers, etc.? I believe that these efforts represent a less efficient, grassroots attempt at universal health coverage, which is defined by the World Health Organization as all people having access to the health services they need, when and where they need them,

Ann LeBaron Santa Rosa


Michael J. Fitzgerald Oregon

Since 1977, CN&R has been the standout independent print medium for Northern California. The paper has put fire beneath the charlatan politicians of this area, and for that alone, I am thankful. No other had the courage to do so. As the times change, CN&R can continue to survive with community support. I’m in. Danny Wilson Chico



JANUARY 11, 2024

by Jason Cassidy j a s o n c @ n e w s r e v i e w. c o m

End note After the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out advertising and forced a temporary cessation of print publication in March of 2020, the Chico News & Review came back to print that July. For three-and-a-half years the newspaper has persevered, publishing monthly with the hope advertisers would eventually return. Unfortunately, most haven’t, so we find ourselves at this crossroads. As of this month, January 2024, the CN&R will cease print publication and continue as an online-only paper. To readers, “I feel ya.” It hurts to see this local institution go. Online will be fine, but for more than four decades this printed paper has been an important part of our lives—in stacks by the doors of the places we go; always there on the coffee table, or next to the toilet, or on the bar at the bar—we’ve picked up the CN&R and held a community in our hands, a community that’s losing a 46-year-long thread of its fabric. The paper wouldn’t have made it these past few years without the generosity of readers and loyal advertisers, and the News & Review is sincerely thankful to everyone who has contributed (and continues to contribute) to our efforts during these trying times. And to my CN&R cohorts, many of whom are losing their jobs or having their hours reduced with the shutting down of the print version, I want to say thank you for working with me to make something during and after the pandemic. I know it’s tempting to compare this era of pared-down monthly print editions with the decades of weeklies that came before, but it wasn’t nothing. Despite minimal resources, the challenges of remote work, losing our downtown office, and the emotional/physical toll of the pandemic and a thousand other bits of trauma during uncertain times, we worked hard and made something for the community. Much as the CN&R always has, we covered issues impacting our readers—from the pandemic and wildfire recovery to homelessness and the state of the arts—we just had fewer and fewer reporter hours, hence fewer and fewer stories.

So, thank you to my co-workers who are being laid off: the distribution crew for braving the cold barn and bringing the papers to the public; Ken Smith, for being the man on the town— from the George Floyd protests in City Plaza to Shakespeare in Bidwell Park—and for being my dude; and my long-time cohort Melissa Daugherty for not just keeping your voice in the paper (and those in power on their toes), but for your 17-plus years of friendship and mentorship. Thank you, Evan Tuchinsky and Ashiah Scharaga, for blessing the CN&R with your passion and commitment to telling the stories of community for as long as you could. Thank you to Trevor Whitney, Jamie DeGarmo, Peter Hogue, Ken Pordes and everyone else who worked and sacrificed on behalf of the paper. Thank you, Ray Laager, for keeping the faith and selling ads when almost no one was buying, and for rolling with me into the digital realm. Thank you to the staff at the Sacramento (and Missouri) office for unending support and camaraderie. Thank you, to owners Jeff vonKaenel and Deborah Redmond, for your belief in Chico and giving us three-plus years to try and make print work, and for your willingness to explore new realms online And an especially big thank you and uncomfortably long hug to Art Director Tina Flynn. You’ve committed your life to this paper, 45 years of presenting the stories of this community. For generations of residents, the picture of our history was painted by you. Some of my favorite work that I’ve done during my time at the CN&R has been the projects on which you and I have collaborated (“It’s Goin’ Chico time!”). It has been a great partnership and a wonderful friendship. I and the entire CN&R family owe you everything. Now, let’s keep the CN&R going. We need all of you to join us online at chico.newsreview. com. During this transition (and beyond), the best way to stay in the loop with our digital endeavors is to subscribe to the CN&R newsletter at, or just take your smart camera to the ad on page 6 and point it at the QR code.

Jason Cassidy is editor of the Chico News & Review


“No” to Valley’s Edge Stop Valley’s Edge has done extenfoothills on the east side of Chico, Adestroying sive research into the issues that worry valuable animal and plant habitat, Chicoans—fire danger, traffic, polluted town the size of Gridley thrust up into the

eliminating mature oak trees, water, water shortage, disrupting loss of open spaces “The proponents for biking and hiking. water flow, and developers of We have evidence that increasing Chico’s Valley’s Edge are verifies the negative greenhouse surely stretching impact Valley’s Edge gas emissions, would have on our the truth when and impairing city. they claim that the viewshed. The proponents and That’s developers of Valley’s they will have Valley’s Edge are surely stretchsignificant by Edge—a ing the truth when they affordable Eric Nilsson sprawling claim that they will housing in 1,446 acres have significant affordThe author is a of beautiful their plans.” able housing in their retired principal/ range and plans. The touted trails superintendent of oak savanna turned into and parks of the HOA development would Inspire School of Arts ticky-tacky houses on not be open to all Chicoans. This developand Sciences and has lived in Chico the hillside. But not ment is not meant for Chicoans. It’s meant since 1987. inexpensive houses. Not to put dollars in the pockets of developers, houses for the people in realtors and loan companies. Follow the Chico who need housing. Houses for people money. coming from the Bay Area or Southern On March 5, vote “no” on measures O California. Ω and P. Stop Valley’s Edge.

JANUARY 11, 2024



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

JOIN THE CHICO NEws & REvIEw ONLINE Local news and culture converge in an online space! we plan to be active participants in the dialogue that shapes our community’s future. • Subscribe to our weekly editorial newsletter to stay up to date on the latest news and arts. • Post your events to our free online calendar • Send your letters, news tips and press releases to us through the “Contact us” form on our website • If you have a local business, let us tell your story in our new Business Spotlight section • And if you’re able, please consider donating monthly to support our journalism. Your support is a commitment to keeping our community informed, engaged, and thriving. For advertising opportunities contact: Ray Laager 530-520-4742

Independent local journalism, since 1977. Now more than ever.

Bitter end For me, the print CN&R died not with the monthly issue you may be holding in your hands, but rather the one published on March 19, 2020, the last weekly edition. I found a copy the other day. It was smaller than usual, just 36 pages, because businesses pulled their ads as word of the state shutdown spread. Yet it was chock-full of arts and news coverage—all local stories written by CN&R reporters and contributors—as well as a long-form essay by yours truly about life with a disabled child. Even as the paper was being kicked down, the entire staff informed our jobs would be gone in a matter of days, we finished articles about how the pandemic was affecting others in the community. In an editorial, we encouraged readers to help one another. “Comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable” has always been my favorite journalism maxim, and it’s what this newspaper did best, week in and week out, until the coronavirus came along. I’ve been grieving its loss each day since. Indeed, that is the CN&R I’ll remember fondly, the one I’ll eulogize. This is not to slight the monthly version that has slogged away since August 2020, after which time I handed the editing reins to Jason Cassidy, who has dealt not only with staffing challenges but also had to repeatedly reinvent the paper. Like others, I’d hoped the CN&R could find a way back to weekly publication, with or without me. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. The paper is now going to embrace a fully online presence. That’s the nice way of saying the print version is a goner. We’ll have to wait and see what the new incarnation looks like. What we do know is that it’ll be a solo editorial operation—Cassidy doing everything. That means this is my last Second & Flume, the column I named after the eponymous intersection my corner office looked down on after I was named editor-in-chief back in 2013, the first woman to hold the job. I can’t tell you how much I miss that view. It felt symbolic to sit there, just a few blocks from City Hall, watchdogging the folks doing the people’s business. I was surrounded by the best reporters in the county, journalists equally invested in getting to the heart of each story, as they helped set the agenda on important community issues. Despite the stress and workload, I loved my job. I’ve played Monday morning quarterback many times since Cassidy told me the paper was ceasing print permanently, wondering if things could’ve turned out differently if I’d done more than write a column and the occasional editorial. I’ll never know, and it doesn’t matter anyway. Staying home with my son to shield him from the coronavirus will always be the right choice, a hundred newspapers be damned. Still, I’m sad as hell. It’s not my style to sugarcoat things. Fact is, newspapers are dying at a rate of two a week, turning the communities they’ve served into news deserts with higher rates of corruption and lower voter turnout. That could easily happen here. The CN&R ceasing print means it’s on the brink of becoming another statistic. Supporting Cassidy and the operation through donations and advertising is the only way to ensure Chico’s alternative voice lives on. As for me, as I depart after nearly 17 years, the conventional thing to do would be to list off the stories and awards I’m most proud of over my career. But I’ll skip that cliché. Instead, to everyone who has turned to this page over the years, I simply want to say thank you. It’s been an honor.

Melissa Daugherty is editor-at-large for the Chico News & Review 6


JANUARY 11, 2024


Do you still consume print media? Asked in downtown Chico



C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 4

without incurring financial hardship. Our country has the paradoxical honor of having both the worst healthcare outcomes as well as the highest out-ofpocket medical expenses of any other high-income country in the world. It is long past time that we joined the rest of the world’s high-income nations in adopting a universal health coverage system. Kascha Wilson Chico

Dylan Tellessen artist

Maybe not. I mean, I read books, but as far as media—not in print. Most of the media I get is online.

Will Brady restauranter Gosh, it’s terrible. Fact of the matter is, I’m more likely to only if it’s free. [The CNR] is some of the last stuff I did consume in that regard. The crossword going onto the New York Times [online] platform was probably, in my case, the worst thing that ever happened because now I just have it on my [smart phone].

Jessica Meek server

Yeah. Sometimes I’ll pick up a magazine or

a paper. I do lots of collaging, too.

of the Pacific Flyway

‘Stop this insanity’ As we have celebrated the birth of the Prince of Peace this season, we are faced with endless wars and misery around the world. It may seem remote to Chico citizens, but our tax dollars go toward financing the weapons that destroy lives everywhere—but even worse, it is costing us morally. During a recent interview with two young men, one Jewish, the other Muslim, on the Amanpour & Company show on PBS recently, the men—best friends—expressed beautifully the fact that we are all one. They reminded us that most people, whatever their religion or politics, just want to live in peace and security. The atrocious and viscous attacks on civilians in Gaza, and other conflicts around the world, are the result of cruel, self-interested, leadership. Murdering the innocent is not the solution to any problem. Behind these attacks are either smoldering anger and resentment over years and years of maltreatment that explodes into violence, or pure greed and lust for power, land, or resources, dolled up to look righteous. Due to these conflicts, prejudice rears its ugly head leading to violence toward our Jewish and Muslim friends, who are wonderful and charitable people. We mustn’t blame anyone for the actions of their leaders. Let’s pray for peace, and take action wherever and whenever we can and pressure heads of state to stop this insanity. Jeanne Thatcher Chico

Adil Syed graduate student Probably the only time would be at coffee shops, and when I’m waiting for coffee and there’s a stand of CNR’s there.

Thursday– Sunday, January 25– 28, 2024 Snow Goose Festival Headquarters: Patrick Ranch Museum 10381 Midway, Chico-Durham

There is still time to sign up for field trips, workshops & banquet at the Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway | 530-592-9092 “Avian Art” Exhibit & Friday Reception

Museum of Northern California Art (monca) 900 Esplanade, Chico, CA


You are invited to attend the very popular Snow Goose Festival “Avian Art” Reception, Friday, January 26, 5:00 pm–8:00 pm. View the inspiring collection of artworks, enjoy refreshments, splendid conversations, and a no-host bar. Bring a friend and meet the artists, along with fellow festival participants, and field trip leaders.

“Gathering of Wings”

BANQUET & SILENT AUCTION with Keynote Speakers Bryce & Brita Lundberg, Lundberg Family Farms SATURDAY, JANUARY 27, 5:30PM – 9:30PM

Bell Memorial Union, Chico State University

Don’t miss the biggest event of the Snow Goose Festival, our “Gathering of Wings” Banquet. This treasured evening is a mix of great food, great company, and great entertainment and is anticipated by many as the one chance each year they have to visit and catch up with fellow birders and friends in the community. Join field trip leaders, and all our hard-working committee members and volunteers in celebrating this special evening.

Exhibitors & Family Activities (FREE)


Patrick Ranch Museum

Write a letter Tell us what you think in a letter to the editor. Send submissions of 200 or fewer words to

Displays by State, Federal, and Non-profit organizations, plus binoculars to bird books to Snow Goose Festival gear for sale, too. For family and youth there will be nature games, live bats, crafts, plus more!

Altacal Audubon Society JANUARY 11, 2024



NEWSLINES BRIEFED COMMUNITY RESOURCES/ACTION CHICO PEACE ENDEAVOR VIGIL: Join peace and social-justice advocates a the corner of Third and Main streets every Saturday, 12:301:30pm. FREE FOOD DISTRIBUTION: The SCCAC holds free food distributions every second and fourth Saturday. Sat, 1/13, 1/27 & 2/10, 2pm. South Chico Community Assistance Center, 1805 Park Ave. 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. BLUES & BREWS: A benefit for the Torres Shelter, with craft beers from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and performances by Big Mo & The Full Moon Band and more. Sun, 1/21, 1pm. $40. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St. 530-209-5427.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT 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, 1/23 & 2/13, 9am. Butte County Board of Supervisors Chamber, 25 County Center Drive, Oroville. CHICO PLANNING COMMISSION: The commission normally meets first and third Thursdays. Agendas are posted to the web the previous Friday. Thu, 1/18 & 2/1. City Council Chambers, 421 Main St. 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 Tue, 1/16 & 2/6, 6pm. City Council Chambers, 421 Main St. CLIMATE ACTION COMMISSION: Commission normally meets second Thursdays. Agendas are posted to the web the previous Friday. Thu, 1/11 & 2/8, 6pm. City Council Chambers, 421 Main St. OROVILLE CITY COUNCIL MEETING: Council normally meets first and third Tuesdays. Check site for latest agenda. Tue, 1/16 & 2/6, 4:30pm. Oroville City Council Chambers, 1735 Montgomery St. PARADISE TOWN COUNCIL: The town council normally meets on the second Tuesday of each month. Tue, 2/13, 6pm. Paradise Town Hall, 5555 Skyway. 8


JANUARY 11, 2024

Slow process of repatriation Some California universities have returned thousands of Native American artifacts and remains, most have yet to begin

W professor Elizabeth Weiss tweeted a picture to celebrate returning to campus hen San Jose State anthropology

in September 2021, it caught the attention of Assemblymember James Ramos, a by Amelia Wu Democrat from San and Bernardino and the Helena Legislature’s first and San Roque only Native American member. “So happy to be back with some old About this story: friends,” read the capIt was produced by tion of Weiss’ tweet, the CalMatters College which included a photo Journalism Network, a collaboration between of her holding the skull CalMatters and student of a Native ancestor in journalists from front of boxes of other across California. This remains. story and other higher education coverage For Ramos, a memare supported by the ber of the San Manuel College Futures FounIndian Reservation’s dation. For more info, Serrano/Cahuilla tribe, visit

the caption was an example of the lack of respect for Native history in California. The boxes in the photograph’s background were a reminder of the vast collections of Native remains and artifacts still being held illegally in California’s public university systems. The post prompted Ramos to request an audit of the California State University’s repatriation progress—the act of institutions giving back remains and artifacts to Native tribes as required by state and federal laws passed as far back as three decades ago. “To find that we’re still in the year 2023 and that hasn’t happened is really daunting to find out how we move forward,” Ramos said. “But now that I’m in the state Legislature, we have a stronger voice to ensure that people truly understand that this is something that needs to get done.” When the Cal State audit published in June 2023, results were similar to an audit of the University of California conducted three years prior—a lack of policies, urgency and staffing meant neither system complied

with the California Native American Graves Protection Act of 2001 or the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990. Cal State campuses collectively returned only 6 percent of the 698,000 Native remains and artifacts to local tribes. UC campuses collectively returned around 35 percent of 17,000 human remains as of October 2023, according to UC spokesperson Stett Holbrook, with an additional 30 percent in the process of being returned. Two campuses stand out among their peers, however. UCLA has returned 96 percent of its 58,200 items while Cal State Long Beach has given back 70 percent of its 9,000 items, the only campuses in their respective systems to return a majority of remains and artifacts back to Native tribes. Strong Native American voices along with allies in campus leadership and academic departments were factors that allowed both universities to lead their systems in repatriation progress. (Since the audit, UC Berkeley and three CSU

A vendor sells pottery items at the California Native American Day celebration at the state Capitol on Sept. 22, 2023. PHOTO BY MIGUEL GUTIERREZ JR. FOR CALMATTERS

schools—Sacramento, San Francisco and Chico—have stepped up efforts to make artifacts and ancestral remains available to tribes.) In response to the state audit of the UC system, university officials released new policies governing repatriation efforts in December 2021. The six UC campuses with collections of more than 100 items are now required to have a full-time repatriation coordinator. UC also required campuses to submit budget proposals to fund full return of their collections to tribes and add more tribal members to committees that review repatriation requests. As of June 2023, 12 of 21 Cal State campuses with collections subject to repatriation laws had yet to meet a 1995 federal deadline to complete an inventory of their collections, much less return remains or artifacts. Since the audit, Cal State has opened nominations for a new system-wide repatriation committee that aims for majority representation from Native American tribes, giving preference to California Indian tribal members. Assembly Bill 389, introduced by Ramos and signed into law in October, requires Cal State campuses to fund the full expense of returning their collections, including full-time coordinators. The law also shifts the system’s relationship with Native remains and artifacts by prohibiting their use for teaching or research, a win for tribes who have accused

Chico State’s indigenous land acknowledgement, endorsed by the local Mechoopda Indian Tribal Council.

universities in California of delaying repatriation so professors can continue their research. The law amounts to a major overhaul of the system’s repatriation process, ensuring funding shortfalls and research priorities no longer stall efforts. At San Jose State, Weiss will resign effective May 29, 2024, as part of a settlement after she sued the university for barring her access to the campus’ skeletal collection following her post. The campus holds around 500 Native remains and 5,000 cultural items and complet-

ed its first repatriation of two remains and two cultural items to the Central Valley Yokuts tribe in March 2020, according to the audit. “As I have said many times before, there is nothing wrong or controversial about this photo or the tweet,” Weiss wrote in a statement to CalMatters. “The photo shows my true love and respect for anthropology and the skeletal remains that make it possible.”

How UCLA returned nearly all remains and artifacts When the state auditor reviewed the UC’s progress, UCLA stood out. Between 1996 and 2022, UCLA returned nearly its entire collection of Native remains and artifacts through 127 repatriations to tribes in California, Arizona, Hawaii and Utah. Most items in the university’s collections were unearthed during university and government construction projects, according to the director of UCLA’s Fowler Museum, Sylvia Forni. “We don’t do anything special at UCLA that isn’t supposed to be done legally at other UCs and Cal States,” said Michael Chavez, who started as UCLA’s archaeological collections manager and repatriation coordinator this year. Chavez, a Native member of the Tongva of the Los Angeles Basin, applauded a 2020 revision to the state’s repatriation law making it easier for non-federally recognized tribes to reclaim their ancestors and artifacts. He said his work largely involves listening to local tribes, federally recognized or not. “We don’t decide for the tribe,” Chavez said.

New Year’s Resolution:

Have more fun… Get out & experience live performances, visit art galleries, go to concerts & theater, take a class, learn about grants, enjoy the natural beauty all around us &

live a little!

Stay in the know in Butte County by signing up for our FREE bi-weekly email

…and let the good times roll!

“We work in collaboration with the tribe and strongly defer to their opinion and position.” Chavez credits the university’s 2020 audit results to the impact of his predecessor, former coordinator Dr. Wendy Teeter. “[She] didn’t allow any obstacles to get in her way in the pursuit of repatriation,” Chavez said. Despite limited funding and her multiple roles as a lecturer in American Indian Studies, a member of the UC’s Native American Advisory Committee and curator at the Fowler Museum, Teeter established a culture of welcoming Native communities during her 25 NEWSLINES C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 0 JANUARY 11, 2024



NEWSLINES C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 9 years on campus. “We just broadened it to be more reciprocal in nature and more understanding that they had a lot to share with us and we had a lot to share with them,” Teeter said. Beyond consulting with tribes on repatriation efforts, Teeter said Archaeology and American Indian Studies faculty assisted efforts by leading listening sessions and campus tours to strengthen relationships between the tribes and campus community. Having allies across academic departments was another key to UCLA’s success, according to Teeter. Before campuses were required to estimate and fund the full cost of repatriation, Teeter said the vice chancellor of research would review funding requests to support her work, annually providing about $60,000. Additionally, she received financial help through applying for federal NAGPRA grants. Teeter is hopeful new policies at UC and Cal State will lead to sustainable funding for returning remains and artifacts to their tribal homes. Since retiring from UCLA last year, Teeter now works with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians as an archaeologist where she reviews development projects and mediates between the developer and the tribe. Forni, Teeter’s successor at the Fowler Museum, said she’s committed to finishing the work led by Teeter and others. “We think, at this point, [it] is 99 percent done,” Forni said.

Cal State Long Beach ‘a sacred site’ Puvuu’nga, the Native village that Cal State Long Beach occupies, is also a sacred site used for rituals and burials that connects tribes in Southern California and beyond. Since 1990, Cal State Long Beach returned 275 ancestral remains and 6,059 cultural items to three of the tribes local to campus, according to the June 2023 audit. The university is the only Cal State campus to have transferred the majority of its collection, at 70 percent. Founded in 1968, the American Indian Studies program at Cal State Long Beach is the oldest in California. Native history is central to the campus’ identity, unlike other institutions, said Dr. Craig Stone, professor 10


JANUARY 11, 2024

From left: Cindi Alvitre, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Coordinator, Craig Stone, Professor Emeritus and Director of American Indian Studies, and Luis Robles, Chair of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Committee at CSU Long Beach. PHOTO BY JULIE A. HOTZ FOR CALMATTERS

emeritus of American Indian Studies and the former provost designee for Cal State Long Beach’s repatriation committee. The land the university occupies has ties to more than 20 tribes from the Gabrielino, Acjachemen, Luiseño, and Cahuilla bands of Native Americans. “This is a sacred site, not just to the Tongva, Gabrielino people. This is a sacred site to anyone who’s been influenced by the Chingichnish spiritual philosophy,” Stone said. Chingichnish describes a deity and religion followed by Native tribes throughout Southern California. The campus began repatriating the remains of Native ancestors long before the 1990 federal repatriation law, Stone said. Skeletal remains of ancestors found on campus during construction projects were given proper reburial. “We interred in 1979,” Stone

In August, Chico State conducted the second-largest repatriation since 1990, repatriating 532 remains and 87,935 cultural items.

said. “So this is a commitment that people have heard of, know about, care about, and know when the law came into being, ‘Oh, yeah, we did that back in 1979.’” A Cal State Long Beach student in the ’70s, Stone was one of 10 people on the student council who approached then-President Steven Thorn about the skeletal remains of a Gabrielino ancestor unearthed near the university during the construction of a sprinkler system. “We went down there and we were gonna demand this and as soon as we got to the office he was like, ‘What’s going on guys? Let’s fix this, let’s review this ancestor,’” Stone said. “Which was interesting because people are not interested in fixing anything, so he was an ally right off the bat.” Cal State Long Beach would go on to have more allies—including Professor Emeritus Marcus Young Owl, who was Stone’s colleague for decades and a current member of the Cal State Long Beach repatriation committee representing the anthropology department. Young Owl, who describes himself as of Ojibwe descent, was a student and a founding member of the campus’ Indian Youth Council in December 1968. He started working as a faculty member teaching anthropology in 1987, replacing a professor who didn’t agree with repatriation, Young Owl said.

“I’m actually proud of the fact that the anthropology department was so willing to participate and have good relations with American Indian Studies,” Young Owl said. For the remaining 30 percent of the university’s collection, the repatriation process has been slow. Stone attributes this to the previous lack of funding for a full-time repatriation coordinator and the months-long work of sifting through buckets of dirt and bones to identify ancestral remains. A lack of funding for staff was a main issue cited in the audit of Cal State. Of the 23 campuses in the Cal State system, 10 reported a lack of sufficient funding to support the responsibilities that fall under federal and state laws, according to the audit.

The work of repatriation continues Like UC before it, Cal State is now taking nominations until Feb. 2 to fill repatriation committees on campuses and statewide. Led by Adriane Tafoya, Cal State’s repatriation project manager, Cal State is working with the Native American Heritage Commission to host virtual trainings for campuses. Cal State must adopt systemwide repatriation policies by July 1, 2025 and all campuses with collections must adopt campus specific policies

by July 1, 2026. The system will also have to submit yearly progress reports on its repatriation efforts starting in 2024. Since the audit, repatriation efforts on some campuses have ramped up, said Cal State spokesperson Amy Bentley-Smith. Since June 2023, San Francisco State has returned cultural artifacts to four tribes. This year, Sacramento State transferred 66,686 cultural artifacts and 498 ancestral remains to local tribes. In August, Chico State conducted the second-largest repatriation since 1990, repatriating 532 remains and 87,935 cultural items. In October, UC Berkeley filed a report with the federal registrar, the first step to make available 4,400 Native remains and 25,000 Native cultural items for repatriation to California tribes. Once completed, it will be the largest repatriation for the campus that at one time had 11,000 Native ancestral remains. “Tribal knowledge is key to repatriation, and we are so grateful to our tribal partners for working closely with us during this process,” UC Berkeley repatriation coordinator Alex Lucas wrote in a statement to CalMatters. For Johnny Hernandez, the vice chairman of the San Juan Nation in California, repatriation is more than a legal procedure—it’s a matter of reuniting family members with their tribes after decades apart. Invited by Ramos to speak alongside other tribal leaders at a California State Assembly hearing on Aug. 29, Hernandez underscored the importance of allowing Native ancestors to finally rest in peace. “There’s been a disturbance of grave sites on ancestral lands and remains of loved ones, our ancestors, being held without the opportunity to eternally rest in peace,” Hernandez said. “Imagine if it was your family, your ancestors, and their belongings that you hold near and dear that are owned and used under the guise of an artifact on display for the public’s learnings and teachings.” Ω

o l l e h , e y b d o Go After 46 years in print, the CN&R enters a new online-only era BY JASON CASSIDY jason c@ n ew sr ev i ew. com


his newspaper has been in print since 1977, and if you have this issue in your hands, you are holding the final edition of the Chico News & Review. As a 20-year veteran in the editorial department (and 33-year reader) of this paper, I am, like many of you, mourning the loss of such an important part of life in Chico, but as current editor-in-chief I’m also gearing up for the challenge of building a dynamic and engaged internet home for the CN&R. That’s my new job as the paper transitions to an online-only era. As a news source in America that’s ceasing print publication, the CN&R is in good company. According to the latest report from Northwestern University’s Local News Initiative project, “Since 2005, the country has lost almost 2,900 newspapers.” Most of those casualties have been non-dailies like the CN&R. The closings are coming faster, too, more than 130 shuttered in 2023 and by the end of this year the U.S. will likely have lost a third of its newspapers in the past 20 years. With the presses shutting down for this publication, Chico is left with just one print newspaper. Butte County won’t quite be a news desert—as more than half the counties in the U.S. are—but the absence of the CN&R and its critical alternative voice in racks around town leaves a huge local-news void. So, what are are we going to do now? The CN&R is making a commitment to

online publication (something that’s often been an afterthought for most of the paper’s history) in an effort to reboot our community journalism. For now that means, with very limited resources, that the CN&R will refocus on doing the job of keeping tabs on local government, connecting online to amplify conversations on the issues that impact this community. We will also continue to provide a comprehensive calendar of local events (our online calendar— calendar—has always been even more exhaustive than our much-loved print version) and be the source for arts coverage in Butte County. We’ll keep Best of Chico going (voting will start in the spring), and we hope to be able to revisit some of the CN&R’s past signature promotions (CAMMIES? Some other musical showcase?). With the absence of print, ad manager Ray Laager will explore new online advertising strategies, and we’ll depend on support from readers more than ever, most importantly we’ll need everyone to sign up for the weekly CN&R newsletter and join us online (see yellow box below). Additionally, we are seeking likeminded folks for collaborative partnerships to improve local news and arts coverage, and will also connect with initiatives (e.g., Press Forward, American Journalism Project) dedicated to what many are calling a “local news renaissance” in this country.

Think free

I’ve worked for this print publication for 20-plus years, more than half my days as an adult. As I read the submissions for this final print feature, many of the stories shared by multiple generations of the CN&R family mirrored my own

Marquee of the Senator Theatre announcing the 2006 Chico Area Music Awards ceremony. CN&R FILE PHOTO

history here. From Josh Indar’s reminiscence of our coverage of the ridiculous slate of candidates for the 2003 gubernatorial recall election, to the comforting picture painted by Howard Hardee of the rhythms of the big upstairs arts office in the old CN&R headquarters, which was my downtown home base for 17 years. I’ve said it in these pages before: Being hired by the CN&R changed my life. For most of my time here, my title has been Arts Editor, and the fact that this Redding hick wound up in that position in the middle of this fun, weird, always evolving arts-rich community was a miracle that far exceeded my teenage dreams. And I was damn lucky to get hired. When I applied in 2003, I was an English major who spent more time playing guitar and putting on rock shows than going to classes. I had taken one journalism course (at Butte College with CN&R Editor-in-Chief Tom Gascoyne, as luck would have it), and my work history to that point was almost exclusively spent in restaurant kitchens. Tom gave me a shot, and I devoured the opportunity like a hungry dog fearful that the bowl might be taken away. With no other blueprint to follow, I molded the position to suit my vision of completely owning the art scene. Over time, that relationship with the community through the paper has became what defines me. My first months on the CN&R job were a crash-course taught by an all-star team of local journalism legends—Tom, Senior Editor Bob Speer, Designer Tina Flynn, Associate Editor Devanie Angel, News Editor Josh Indar and photographer Tom Angel. Tom Gascoyne taught me courage and curiosity (prodding me to always try and open closed doors) and to appreciate the work we do (frequently pointing out how “cool” it was that our words were read by the community every week). I learned storytelling from Bob, copyediting from Devanie, and I (kind of) learned to stick to deadlines thanks to Tina, who has also been my longtime partner in,

well, most everything the paper has done the last two decades. So many different heartbeats have come through the offices to make this newspaper— and to party together—over the years. We’ve rallied for all-hands-on-deck coverage of subjects silly and serious—from riding trikes in a downtown “bar olympics” to entering Paradise with heavy hearts after the Camp Fire to report on California’s deadliest wildfire. We’ve organized huge community events: the CAMMIES with myself and a succession of incredible sales mangers, Alec Binyon and Jamie DeGarmo; and multiple sold-out Keep Chico Weird talent shows at the El Rey Theatre with the superteam of DeGarmo/Melissa Daugherty/Meredith J. Cooper/Arts DEVO. And we’ve made lifelong friends with incredibly passionate, creative people who have gotten as much from the experience of working for as they’ve given to this community newspaper.

Since 1977

When the staff of the Wildcat student newspaper made the break from Chico State 46 years ago, it marked a new era for this little college town and this big rural county. Not only was the Chico News & Review born, but so too was liberalism in this area. The progressive streak that has run through the newspaper and this community has a direct line to the fiercely independent hippies and other rebels of those first few years who ran the paper as a collective as long as they could. In the pages that follow, many of those kick-ass rebels and hippies—plus the gonzos, punks, bulldogs and other warriors of the fourth estate from throughout this paper’s history—share the stories that made good on the paper’s promise as well as their thoughts on what their work has meant to to this community. There’s also plenty of grieving as folks say goodbye to the local institution that this publication has become while hoping that whatever comes next will have a similar positive impact on this community. Ω CN&R IN PRINT C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 2

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JANUARY 11, 2024



‘Independent local journalism, since 1977’ CN&R staffers and contributors from across the newspaper’s 46-year history share their goodbyes to the print version

Josh Indar

Staff writer and news editor (2001-2006)

It’s a season for goodbyes and this is a big one. The CN&R has been not just a community institution for the 23 years I’ve lived here—it’s played the single biggest role in forging my identity as a Chicoan. I started freelancing for the paper in 2001, and by 2002, I found myself serving as News Editor, churning out copy and raising all kinds of journalistic hell until my departure in 2006. It was a turbulent—some would even say scandalous—time for the paper and a difficult time for me personally, as I’d just arrived in town, a new father and full-time student who didn’t know a single person here and didn’t plan to stay long. But Chico has a way of keeping people around. As former CN&R Editor Tom Gascoyne told me at the time, “Chico is like a big easy chair—get too comfortable and you won’t be



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able to get up again.” Like so many who move here “temporarily,” I got plenty comfy, and the CN&R played a big part in that. For newbies and townies alike, this paper has long served as a gateway to community and a road map to the oft-obscured cultural and political landscape that makes us who we are. As a reporter, I was lucky enough to have a front row seat. And man, what a show it was. Thinking back on my short tenure at the paper, it seems almost unbelievable how much the tiny staff of this little weekly told us about who we are as a region and who was pulling the strings. In those days, Chico was struggling with its identity, trying to forge a future for itself as something more than just a party town or a destination for latter-day hippies looking to drop out of society. That struggle for identity was mirrored inside the pressure cooker of the CN&R newsroom, where strong opinions and murky horizons led us

into passionate and sometimes vociferous discussions on how to best serve our readers. Journalism was changing and we had to figure out how to change with it. Ad revenue was shrinking, competition was fierce and the internet was drawing eyeballs away like sirens to a rocky shore. We knew that to survive we had to have better writing and juicier scoops than the daily paper, arts coverage and commentary as edgy and hip as the other weeklies in town, and somehow still maintain journalistic standards. We had to be everything to everybody. It was an impossible task, but what I love about that time is how hard we all worked to make it happen. I guess when you don’t know something’s impossible, you have no reason not to try. And we tried

First print issue, August 30, 1977

everything. During the 2003 recall election, we were the only paper who attempted to interview every single one of the 135 weird and wacky candidates running for governor—a nonsensical endeavor that nonetheless turned out to be hugely entertaining and historic. Running a paper this way was an insane approach that got us into all kinds of trouble, but it paid off with some


of the very best journalism this area’s ever seen, and that’s not just my opinion. In 2004, the California Newspaper Publisher’s Association named us the best weekly in the state, no small feat for a shoestring operation in a backwater like ours. The freedom to try anything and everything was exhilarating for a writer like me, who’d felt stifled by the format and time constraints of my previous gig at a metro daily. But at the CN&R, the editors greenlit everything I pitched them—it was madness! I carried a gun around for a story on concealed weapons permits; flew to Concord in a B-17 bomber; had my phone tapped after interviewing a Red Bluff airplane mechanic who was deported for purported links to 9-11; and got our building buzzed by a black helicopter owned by some alleged mobsters working a shady land deal. I haunted every corner of the upper valley, writing about wild horses outside Susanville; a Nestle water grab up in McCloud; and the massive turbines beneath Oroville Dam. I covered grisly murders, shocking assaults, killer cops, cops getting killed, the war on Halloween, and the endless machinations of developers and politicians who, as it has always been, have their own ideas about how our region ought to be run. Who will tell those stories now? And if they do, how will readers find them? How can a group of folks bound together by nothing more than geography form a common identity when there is no common conversation, no agreement on what is happening or what is important? The loss of the printed CN&R is part of an ominous trend playing out across the country, where local journalism is dying due to public apathy and the relentless pursuit of profits over community. Same as always. Some say the internet is just as good or better than old-fashioned newsprint, that it empowers the little guy and

The first CN&R headquarters, a temporary location at the corner of Third and Normal. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHICO HERITAGE ASSOCIATION

allows us to form communities with like-minded folks. Wouldn’t that be nice. To me, the internet looks like an overflowing septic tank of misinformation, a divisive and corrosive medium that brings out the worst in people and blinds us to our common purpose and humanity. Still, I hope the CN&R is successful online. We desperately need it to be, because the stories we tell ourselves become who we are, and a community that can’t tell its own story is already lost. To whomever attempts to bring this old rag kicking and screaming into the modern age, I hope you will find the courage and energy to tell every story out there just as you see it. And I hope you’ll find an audience as loyal and generous as CN&R readers have always been. Try anything and

everything, raise some journalistic hell! Strange as it may seem, it’s the impossible tasks that need doing most.

Jeff vonKaenel

News & Review president/CEO (1980-2024)

I will never forget my first week at the Chico News & Review. I arrived in Chico in June 1980. The situation at the paper was somewhat dire. Payroll was behind three months. The paper owed printers up and down the state, and the IRS had set up a payment schedule for nonpayment. Butte County’s average household income was near rock bottom. Chico

college students, Oroville bluecollar workers and Paradise retired senior citizens were not rolling in dough. And because it was June, the students were gone and advertising would be nonexistent until August. Nevertheless, I was optimistic: On my first day at work I sold a full-page ad to a judicial candidate who was running in the June primary. But the real reason for my optimism was that even though the staff had not been paid for three months, they were still showing up for work, putting out a great newspaper. They were a group of dedicated people I wanted to hang out with. And then there was Chico. Chico is a special, special place. I had come from Santa Barbara, where I spent 10 years, first as a college student and then working for an alternative newspaper, the Santa Barbara News & Review. Everyone told me, “You will be so happy here.” And they were so right, both my wife Deborah Redmond (who started at the paper

in 1981 and has kept the machine of the paper on track as the longtime “director of nuts and bolts”) and I fell in love with this area. The college. Bidwell Park. But most of all, the community spirit. I missed the first three years of the paper’s history—when the college paper, the Wildcat, left campus and turned into the CN&R— but I have been around for all the ups and downs during the 43 years that followed. If you are holding the printed copy of this last issue, please know that what makes it so special is the other 85 million copies that preceded it. In these pages, we documented the creation of the Greenline, the numerous ebbs and flows of liberal and conservative city and county governments, the creation of a robust arts community, the birth of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and the Camp Fire and its aftermath. It was in these pages that Republicans, Democrats, Independents and the “we don’t give a damn” heard their own voices. Even more importantly, they heard each other. One of the most unusual and satisfying friendships I developed over the years at the paper was with very conservative County Supervisor and State Assemblyman Bernie Richter. He was so opposed to our paper that he funded a conservative weekly to try to put us out of business. Yet eventually, through deep and prolonged conversation, I convinced him (via his Ray’s Liquor store) to cater the CN&R’s 10-year anniversary party. I visited him at Enloe Hospital when he had back problems. He came by Enloe to visit me and my wife Deborah after the birth of our son. I spoke with him a few weeks PRINT C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 4

Sept. 1, 1983

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before his death in 1999. It has been an incredible 43 years. There are too many people to thank and not enough space to thank them. The paper owes a huge debt to Tina Flynn, the longtime designer who was there near the beginning and is still at the CN&R (wearing many hats as always). Thanks are due to the many ad managers including Alec Binyon and Jamie McCormack, and the many members of the sales staff including Brian Corbit, who made sure the paper survived year after year. We owe a debt to the distribution team who showed up every Thursday to distribute those 85 million copies. Also, the business department staff who paid all the bills, especially Charles Marcks, our business manager for many years. And the many talented designers who made the stories and ads look so beautiful, including Flynn and fellow longtime art director Don Button. Thanks to the reporters who got to know our community and brought you so many stories. And the editors: Bob Speer, who helped start the paper and came back numerous times to save it; my Santa Barbara college roommate George Thurlow, who brought us national recognition; and Melissa Daugherty, who oversaw our 300 Camp Fire stories as we helped our community recover and grieve. Thanks to Evan Tuchinsky for not only his service as editor, but for his frequent returns to help the CN&R during its times of need. And now, we are so grateful to Jason Cassidy, who has covered the arts for 20

August 27, 1987



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community informed, engaged, and thriving. Looking forward to 2024, I am once again optimistic about the future of the CN&R. Why? It’s the faith that I have in the people and businesses of Chico and Butte County. Thank you for continuing to support local independent journalism.

Steve Metzger (aka Henri Bourride) Contributor (1980-2023)

Oct. 7, 2010

years and now will be overseeing the transformation to an onlineonly edition along with Advertising Manager Ray Laager. As we close one door with the last print edition, we open a new door with an enhanced online version of the CN&R. While much has changed since the paper was born in 1977, what has not changed is the need for an independent voice that covers the greater Chico community, including Oroville and Paradise. We continue to need a platform that allows many voices to be heard, even when they are yelling at each other, and is not afraid to cover controversial issues. Over the years, we have made mistakes. At times we have contributed to the polarization in our community. For this I am sorry. But whatever disagreements you have with the CN&R, and I have some of my own, I would ask that these be balanced with the recognition of the importance of our Camp Fire stories, our arts coverage and our Best of Chico contests. We don’t expect or even want you to agree with us all the time. In these divided times, I believe the Chico News & Review is even more important in 2024 than it was in 1977. As we transition to a digitalonly platform, part of our online presence will include spotlights on local businesses to help ensure that Chico residents can still find and support their local business community. To stay connected, please subscribe to our weekly editorial newsletter (see page 6). And please consider donating monthly to support our journalism. Your support is a commitment to keeping our

Though I’d sold a handful of freelance magazine articles by 1980, my first actual professional writing assignment came from the offices of the Chico News & Review late that summer. Well, not “offices” per se. Actually, well … a bar. Probably the Towne Lounge. Maybe Canal Street. I forget. The formidable CARD men’s softball team the Pests—made up of Chico State professors and grad students and local journalists—were sharing pitchers of beer one evening after a game (probably a loss) when left fielder and then CN&R editor Gary Fowler asked me if I’d be interested in writing a piece on Chico fashion for Goin’ Chico, their huge annual special issue that was mailed to new students and filled the racks around town for weeks. “Fashion?” I said. “Moi?” He filled my mug. “Go for it, man. Do whatever you want. Funny. Serious. Doesn’t matter.” I took a long pull and shrugged. I ended up writing a tongue-incheek piece about the importance of fashion to academic success and gave it to Fowler. When I didn’t hear back, I nervously stopped by their (real) offices, located upstairs from what is now the Naked Lounge. The editors were in the middle of laying it out and were gathered around the proofs, howling. They got the joke. Thus was born a 43-year relationship with the News & Review, which I’ve cherished almost as much as I have the paper itself. Over the years, I’ve written many cover stories (including one on author John Gardner, who taught creative writing at Chico State in the early 1960s, and one on climbing/skiing Mt. Shasta), tons of reviews (of CDs, books, mov-

ies, Laxson Auditorium shows), and lots of guest editorials. Plus more spoofs, including one about JFK Jr. after he died. I’d grown weary of all the articles by writers who claimed to have known him so I wrote a piece about how we’d grown close when he was a student in my freshman writing class at Chico State. Every sentence was a joke (he was the sole occupant of the top floor of one of the dorms; he loved skiing Mt. Lassen because his family owned it; we hung out at La Salles a lot because he couldn’t pass the bar …), but not everyone got it. Lots of folks expressed their sympathies, and a few local teachers asked me to come speak to their classes about him. One day in the spring of 2003, I came across an ad in the paper that said they were looking for a food writer. Anyone interested should submit a couple of sample columns. I’d spent the previous 15 years writing travel books so had written about food a lot—both in the form of restaurant reviews and recipes from places I’d researched.

The rock: Bob Speer (pictured at CN&R offices in 1987) was one of the founders of the paper, and has been editor-in-chief more than anyone else—12 years total over three different stints. CN&R FILE PHOTO

Since I firmly believe that reviewers—especially restaurant critics—should remain anonymous, I invented a character who would be the “author” of the reviews. He was a good ol’ boy, fond of barbecue, grits, cheap American beer, and tailgate parties. I sent two to then editor Bob Speer. He got back to me shortly. “Steve, these are funny and well-written, but I don’t think that voice would last very long. Why don’t you try something else?” I was bummed, but went back to the drawing board and invented a totally different “author,” one Henri Bourride, a 50-pound-overweight French-chef wanna-be who had recently moved to Chico from New York City. Henri was fond of bouillabaisse, polenta, cabernets, and sidewalk bistros. He was a lovable goofball, often wrong, and talked about himself in the third

person. His assistant was Miss Marilyn, his aging French poodle. He was clearly gay. Speer liked Henri and said that he thought the voice would last a lot longer. “Can you do one every other week?” he asked. Thus was born a 12-year series of “Chow” columns. I wrote something like 250 of them. So I was among the many, many Chicoans hugely saddened by the news that the paper had fallen victim to COVID in 2020, though I was thrilled when Jason Cassidy and the tiny new crew rallied from their tiny new office and managed to continue with regular online editions and a monthly print edition. I kept contributing, not only financially but with long online essays and articles. And now I’m even more saddened to learn that this is the final print edition. I’m thinking about how much the paper’s meant to my writing career over the years, and about how it’s shaped my Chico experience—the always-thoughtful election analysis, the gutsy investi-

Tom Gascoyne, Bryce Conrad, George Thurlow, Kim Weir, Evan Tuchinsky, Melissa Daugherty, Kevin Jeys, Ken Smith, Mark McKinnon, Tina Flynn, Mark Thalman, Tom Angel, Josh Indar, Joe Martin, Danielle Toussaint, Carey Wilson. Giants all. Thank you.

Melissa Daugherty

Special projects editor, news editor and managing editor (2007-2013); editor-in-chief (2013-2020); editor-at-large (2020-2024)

May 19, 1988

gative pieces on local politics. But I’m also thinking of all the amazing people who have helped make the paper such a bright beacon in often-dark times—some of whom I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths with and whose work I’m humbled to have been included with in these pages: Fowler, Speer, Cassidy, K. Patrick Conner, JuanCarlos Selznick, Joe Kane, Larry Tripp, Anthony Peyton Porter,

I was interviewed by the TV news when I became the CN&R’s editor-in-chief. In addition to simply covering the changing of the guard—me succeeding Robert Speer—the reporter asked what it meant to be the first woman to lead the paper. It didn’t dawn on me then that I also was the first one to lead any professional newspaper in Chico. I told the reporter I didn’t see my promotion as particularly groundbreaking. After all, this was 2013. How naive. I realized it was a big deal for

Butte County when I got a death threat early into my tenure. It was scribbled on an editorial I’d written regarding a police shooting I viewed as unjustified, an opinion validated a few years later when the city of Chico settled a wrongful death lawsuit with a nearly milliondollar payout. At the time, I asked Speer how many death threats he’d received in his 40 years of journalism. The answer: none. I was shocked, but shouldn’t have been. The threat was telling. The writer called me a slut and a whore, among other things not fit for print. It was the first of several such notes. That’s on top of the womanhating voicemails and emails—too many to count. But for every vile message from an incel or male supremacist, I received hundreds of others from supportive readers, men and women. At first, it changed me a little. Instead of shrinking, I swung harder. Too hard on occasion, I’ll admit.

In truth, it took me years to find my footing as editor. But when I did, I was more excited than ever about journalism in Chico. Over the years, I assembled the best team of journalists, reporters who left other outlets to be challenged by this paper’s higher standards, the type of reporting that makes a difference, bringing awareness to issues that ordinarily wouldn’t reach the public consciousness, and in many cases actually affecting change. There are too many examples to list, but the one closest to my heart is the Chico Police Department making it policy to announce when a deceased person is found in a public right of way, something a former police chief agreed to do solely at my unrelenting urging. You know, because homeless people are human beings and the public needs to discuss what it means about society, our community, when so many are dying on the streets. Sadly, no other organization has PRINT C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 6

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Jan. 30, 1992

been able to step in to do the type of enterprise and investigative work that was the hallmark of this newspaper, leaving a gaping hole in the journalism landscape. The CN&R has been the pulse of Chico, and watching it flatline hurts. One of the hardest things for me to accept since the pandemic shutdown is that the paper was decimated just months before we were set to expand our newsroom with the addition of a grant-funded reporter. I suppose it’s a little selfish on my part, but watching my vision for its future slip from my grasp was devastating. And now, having spent more than a third of my life working for this publication, saying farewell feels a bit like grieving the death of a loved one. I’m in good company. Longtime Art Director Tina Flynn recently told me she felt like she was going through the stages of grief herself. More than half her life has been spent in service to the community through the CN&R. “Service to the community” are the key words. Anyone who’s worked for the paper knows it’s more about giving than receiving. By the time this last print issue hits the racks, I may finally have reached “acceptance.” I think I’m close, because I know that, despite the sadness I now feel, I’d do it all over again.

Which, naturally, was intimate with area developers. His dad knew all those people; so did Gary. People we were ceaselessly skewering in the newspaper. Like Dallas Lewis, a man we commonly monikered Malice Sue-Us, pretty much begging him to come after us for our Libels. After nearly every issue one or more of these people would call Gary’s father and exasperate: “Jim! Something needs to be done with that boy!” But that never happened. Gary would not be done. He just kept on keeping on. That’s the sort of people who worked there. I raise a glass to all of them. When the town burned down then-editor Melissa Daugherty, who I had never met, drove up here, though the town was closed, to basically take care of me. She hadn’t known me, but I had been at the paper, and so was of her karass. That’s who we are, too, CN&R people. We will always be connected. And. For all time.

Mark Lore

Associate editor, calendar editor, arts editor (2004-2008); contributor (2008-2020)

In the mid-’80s my family would go to the cultural hub that is Round Table Pizza in Red Bluff on a Friday night, where I’d grab a Chico News & Review from the stand. At that point I don’t think I even knew where Chico was. But reading the columns and seeing those ads for the music venues, I knew I should probably be there.

Kevin Jeys

Early staff writer (1979-1981) and longtime contributor

When Gary Fowler was CN&R editor his father was running McClelland Air Conditioning. 16


JANUARY 11, 2024

April 23, 1983

By the early ’90s I was driving to Chico to see shows (Mudhoney and Monoshock at Lava Lounge!), and finally moved to town in 1996, while also realizing my dream of writing for … The Synthesis. Anyway, the CN&R was still huge for finding the good shows, and knowing where the cheap drinks could be drank. And I could tell it was the better paper, with a far deeper connection to the community. Once I awakened from my newto-Chico hangover, I began the path I was meant to take (thank you, Peter Berkow)—studying journalism at Chico State, and with that came an internship at the CN&R. I filed a few stories that summer, and met some of the motley crew I’d eventually call colleagues and lifelong friends. My official tenure at the CN&R was comparatively short to the many that came before and after. I’d like to think I left some sort of a mark (scar?) in that time. But the paper has definitely helped shape me. The skill of being a writer and editor, and the desire to fight injustice have always been in me— the CN&R helped me hone those things and put them to important use. I’ll always be a journalist, even as the institution continues to deteriorate. My hope is that the CN&R will find new, creative ways to exist online. The alternative is not a good one, as checks and balances for city governments are more

important than ever. And shedding light on local artists and musicians is essential. Here’s hoping the CN&R’s almost-50-year legacy will at the very least inspire people to continue fighting the good fight. And give voice to those who can’t.

George Thurlow

Editor-in-chief (1981-1991)

I came to Chico in late 1981 as the Editor of the Chico News & Review at the invitation of Jeff von Kaenel, a dorm mate at UCSB who introduced me to journalism in Santa Barbara. I had just returned from covering the war in El Salvador and it was quite a change to walk into La Salles at 5 p.m. I developed some exciting stories, starting soon after my arrival with a series of pieces about how wealthy rice growers were cheating the federal government in the rice subsidy program. Then it was on to a series of revealing stories showing then Sen. Jim Nielsen, who bragged he was a farmer, was in reality a pesticide salesman who fudged on his legal residence and enjoyed free cowboy boots from special interest groups. I studied the underbelly of the huge cocaine business in Chico in the ’80s, showing how restaurants, lawyers and banks set up money laundering schemes. After my first story a N&R staff member visited me in tears telling me the bad guys had a simple message for me: my son attended Little Chico Creek Elementary School. I was not a brave soul then. I dropped the ongoing story. I would rather have my son than reveal the names of accountants, lawyers and bankers who were involved in the money wash. We had a tremendous staff with Danielle Toussaint and Mark Thalman covering the environment and Butte County’s rich natural world; Robert Speer promoting the arts and theater (he was the best copy editor I’ve ever met); Tom Johnson producing a war story like no other before. Others came and went to remarkable careers: K. Patrick Conner to edit at the San Francisco Chronicle; Mark Ulriksen to illustrate covers for the New Yorker; Kim Weir to Moon

March 10, 1990

Publications. We covered politics and government with a fierce attitude. We celebrated the best of Chico and its people. Jeff vonKaenel provided the spark and his wife Deborah Redmond, also a Santa Barbara News & Review veteran, held it all together. Tina Flynn was upstairs keeping an eye on everything. I met my wife in Chico and her daughter. My two sons were born there. We owned property in Butte Creek Canyon but when I learned somebody was growing pot on an almost unreachable cliff, I decided to sell it. Like so much of Chico, it had beautiful views and a peacefulness not found anywhere else. But it was in the middle of the pot wars of the ’80s and the DA said he would confiscate property where marijuana was found, whether the owner was aware or not. That was the dialectic of our Chico. I have come full circle with this article having returned to Santa Barbara. My book on El Salvador. Blood On All Our Hands, will be released in February 2024 and it is being laid out and published

in Chico by veteran word craftsmen Dave Hurst and Heidelberg Graphics’ Larry Jackson. I could have taken it anywhere in the world, but I trust the work of these Chicoans. They are the gifted guardians of the printed word. They will continue the legacy of the Chico News & Review.

Tina Flynn

Art director, production designer, wrangler of cats (1978-2024)

My job has mostly been behind the scenes producing the print version of CN&R but I’ve been fortunate to be around journalists all the time. That taught me these simple life lessons: be curious; always tell the truth; be aware there are more details below the surface; have a plan B; respect a deadline.

Ashiah Bird (née Scharaga) Staff writer (2018-2023)

My history with the Chico News & Review is permanently etched onto my skin. In late 2020, I got two small quote marks tattooed on my wrists. When I told my tattoo artist about the style I wanted, I said “like this”

and showed him a picture of a story in the CN&R. These tattoos complement another one of mine, my first, that I got during my first year as a writer with our paper: an intricately designed pen nib with a sword in the center on my right inner forearm. In many ways, I am still grieving the loss of my life as a full-time community journalist and CN&R staff writer. After my colleagues and I were laid off in March 2020 due to the pandemic, I became a freelance writer for our then online-only paper. Shortly after, I was rehired part-time, and I stayed in that role as long as I could. I reached my fifth anniversary with the paper in January, and my last byline was published in our August 2023 issue. It’s difficult to encapsulate those years and what they meant to me. My experience at the CN&R has forever changed me for the better. I became a better journalist. A better truth seeker. A better story teller. I became deeply connected to my community. And I made friends that I now consider family. CN&R Editor Jason Cassidy beautifully officiated my wedding, and my husband and I have played music together in his backyard. I am a proud nanny of our Art Director Tina Flynn’s precious senior cat. And Melissa Daugherty, CN&R editor-at-large, and I grew so close over our shared love of community journalism and thrifting that we now affectionately call one another sisters. My work at the CN&R also helped land me my current job with True North Housing Alliance, the nonprofit that operates the Torres Community Shelter, because of the relationships I established as a reporter covering issues related to homelessness. I also dove headfirst into reporting on the recovery of survivors after the Camp Fire, documenting their struggles and stories, advocating for them in the only way I knew how: through my printed words on a page in our local newspaper. In all of the work that I did, I always strove to represent the humanity and dignity of folks, especially those who are so often demonized, marginalized, victimized and silenced. To those inter-

July 9, 1992

viewees, all I have is gratitude for you—for your vulnerability, for trusting me with your story, your truth. I’ve forever been changed by you. I’ve forever been changed by my time at the CN&R. And now I carry a permanent reminder of that everywhere I go.

Ken Smith

Staff writer/contributor (2009-2024)

I moved to Chico from San Diego in 2009 and, at the time, I wasn’t too stoked about it. Having grown up in Redding, I’d spent half my life trying to escape Northern California, and was quite fond of the life I’d built over a decade in America’s Finest City. As I prepared for the move, a good friend and fellow journalist who’d spent a few years here gave me one of the best and most fateful pieces of advice I’ve ever received: “Hit up Jason Cassidy, the arts editor at the Chico News & Review. He’s the best dude, you guys like the same weird stuff, and he’ll give you work.” I took his advice. There is no better way to become intimately familiar with a place than to work at a newspaper, especially one with the history, independent spirit, and commitment to community as the CN&R. Freelancing for the paper, I quickly became entrenched in the local arts scene and branched out to write the occasional news story and contribute features to the now longdefunct Greenways and Healthlines sections. People invited me into their homes to share their life stories, and I fell in love with a town that—fortunately—was a far cry and safe-distance away from my hometown. I remember my first visit to

the office, when Jason invited all the arts freelancers in one Friday afternoon for shots of whiskey with some of the staff. I was able to put faces to the names I only knew from the staff box, though they were honestly hazy from the drink by the time I left the building. I remember then-editor Bob Speer asking one of our ad people about his recent excursion to Burning Man, and he responded that his favorite part of the trip (tee hee) was a day spent exploring the art installments after consuming a heroic dose of magic mushrooms. These were professional dudes who wore ties to the office and whose work I respected. I knew I’d found my people. In early 2012, I was asked to write my first cover story, and given carte blanche regarding the topic and writing style. I opted for a series of vignettes about my relationship with my brother Craig, a magical dude who had schizoaffective disorder. The week it was published, Bob called me into his office and offered me a staff writing position. I accepted, and for the next few years I had the best job in Chico, writing into every section of the paper and becoming even more ingrained in the community. The story about my brother went on to win top writing honors from the California News Publishers Association that year, my first of several awards from them, and I contributed to the newspaper as a whole winning many more. I don’t mention this to brag, but to illustrate my gratitude.

August 8, 1996

Print and independent journalism were already in their death throes then, and writing jobs were (and remain) increasingly scarce. It was even more rare to find an outlet that gave me as much freedom and editorial input as I’ve been blessed with here. One of my early assignments as a staff writer was an exit/ entrance piece that required me to interview my outgoing and incoming editors—Speer and Melissa Daugherty, respectively (talk about pressure). I asked Bob, one of the paper’s founders from the rebellious Wildcat days, why he’d chosen to stay in Chico and maintain a relationship with the CN&R all these years. “Because I found a community worth fighting for,” he answered, words that continue to resonate with me. I stepped away from my staff position in early 2018, though I continued to contribute to the paper regularly. When the Camp Fire hit, I reached out to Melissa to offer my pen and within hours I was at a makeshift emergency evacuation center at Chico’s Neighborhood Church. Two days later, I made my first of many trips into the stillsmoldering burn scar. In addition to reporting, we took pet food and water for the four-legged survivors, and lists of addresses so that, at the end of the day, we could tell friends and fellow staffers if their houses still stood. I also spent days in the evacuated zone below Oroville Dam as the threat of “catastrophic failure” loomed. I rejoined the staff to help keep the paper alive after COVID hit, in time to cover the tragic North Complex Fire, local protests in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and the continuous plight of Chico’s unhoused. Again I mention these things in appreciation and not hubris: I am thankful for the opportunity to serve my community the best way I know how—through my witness and with my words. And I’m grateful for the CN&R’s 46 years of helping to keep Chico “a community worth fighting for.” I’m also worried about that same community. Fires will burn again. The local impacts of homePRINT C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 8 JANUARY 11, 2024




lessness, poverty, policing problems and inequity aren’t disappearing. As the pandemic and its fallout proved, situations we can barely imagine will continue to manifest. Chico is not the same one-of-a-kind place I moved to and fell in love with more than a decade ago, and there are forces who would be happy to see many of the aspects that make it unique disappear. Politics—local and otherwise—get crazier by the day, and democracy itself is in peril. I know the CN&R will continue the good fight online, but not having the power of print Is a great loss. My tenure at the CN&R also ends with this final print issue. I’m proud of the work I’ve done and to be one of the last standing, alongside Jason, who started my journey here and has worked exhaustively to sustain it. And I’m glad, more than I can ever express, that I took that friend’s advice and reached out to him.

Elizabeth Kieszkowski (aka Bitter Betty) Arts editor (1989-1996)

Chico had something really special going on in the ’80s—and some of the best of it probably happened before I moved to town in 1988. It was a vital time in Chico, with art galleries, book and record stores, bars and stages, and miles of canyonland to inspire sunbaked thoughts, along with raw, independent music pushing up in unglamorous places, as long as there were young, creative and/or questing people around. Colleges created a nexus for different kinds of scenes, and Chico State fed the town; it helped to have an art school, and places people could

May 19, 1994



JANUARY 11, 2024

Oct. 26, 1986

get together and start a party-sized creative riot. The music scene was hot, with good bands in town and great bands coming through town. It was a special time, with oneof-a-kind, talented people, and we made something at the Chico News & Review. We’ll debate the internet another time, but the fact that digging up news about what was happening required either talking directly to someone or physically being somewhere—a library even—made everything that much more challenging/scary/rewarding. I’d discovered the magic of reviewing art and music with the UC Davis college paper before I came to Chico. (You mean I could just ask to talk to The Flaming Lips and they would call me from an Arizona phone booth, two or three band members crowded in, raving about Evel Knievel?! And then I could go to the show, for free!?) So I figured I really didn’t need money (I was wrong, but I was young), and I decided to write for a “living.” When the Chico News & Review hired me for, I think, $9.50 an hour, 30 hours-a-week in the first year, I thought I hit the big time—and in a way, I did. For some other people it’s 4-H or team sports, or that gang they fell in with during high school, but the way I see things is shaped mostly by the written word, friend to misfits everywhere, and rock ’n’ roll, because music is a way to break free. And in Chico circa

1989, those things became intrinsic to my (sort-of) adult life—I was a writer, and as the CN&R’s arts editor, I wrote about music, mostly, and things I came to care about because of music, like art and artists, sexuality, post-punk sadballadeers Vomit Launch and ’50s gateway drug Matt Hogan. The beauty of working for the CN&R was we were creating, and we were informing. We aspired to be worth readers’ time, and accurate, even with the crazy stuff (h/t firestarter Kevin Jeys)—but editor Bob Speer let us take it as far as we could, and sometimes farther. He worried that I might be harassed when I wrote about imagining myself as a man (in hindsight, Patti Smith?) to imagine doing what I wanted to do, but I don’t think he knew I was already getting fan mail in the form of penis Polaroids

(no internet, remember) and letters from jail. As Bitter Betty, my column had a soft spot for drag queens and slackers (performance artists, in other words) and DIY types of all kinds. I owe all this and a portion of my life to Bob, who treated my ideas with respect despite my halfformed, half-cocked character. Had Bob not hired me, encouraged and corrected my work and allowed me to believe I had some talent (and gifted me one Xmas with a Lucinda Williams CD), it’s possible I’d be working at an office job today. I’m truly, forever grateful. It mattered then that it was on paper; I don’t think that’s the key point anymore, but it was good then. I worked with Talent: with dedicated photographers like Rudy Giscombe (RIP), who made photographing cows a master-class in lighting and composition; and talented designers like Blynda Barnett, whose compositions told the story and made me gasp with happiness; and genius-level writers like Charles Mohnike (having Charles as calendar editor was like having, I don’t know, Lee Hazlewood working on your records—and check it out, he’s creating an archive of Chico music online … right … now). Speer’s work and that of others who preceded me, such as the evocative Kim Weir, showed me that writing was art and craft. And the newspaper showed me that words, news, imagery and information could change things, and did. I left Chico in 1996 to become editor of another alternative newspaper, the Honolulu Weekly, and I’m still a writer in Hawaii, though that paper folded years ago. But working with the Chico News & Review was the experience that made me—like Chico itself, heaven, hell and all points in between. I had the time of my life.

Joe Martin

Contributor (1983-1990); staff writer, news editor, associate editor, editor-in-chief (1990-2000)

April 30, 2015

I lived in Chico from 1980 till 2000, and throughout those years, reading the new CN&R every Thursday was as essential as morning coffee. It was my window into everything happening in town

June 27, 1996

that week, from whatever the city council was arguing about to what bands were playing at Hey Juan’s. I started contributing to the paper as a student intern, and then as a freelancer, and eventually worked there full time for 9 years. It’s funny, but I can barely remember anything about the news stories I covered, though they all seemed important at the time. What I do remember is the people: the CN&R staffers who became lifelong friends, and the various politicians, activists, actors, musicians, gadflies, cops, criminals, business folk, and downtown goofballs I probably would never have gotten to know if it hadn’t been my job to find out what they were doing and write something up for next week’s edition. The newspaper really was my way of connecting with the community, and what an interesting community it was. I’m sure it’s still as filled with interesting people and readers who want to know about them as it was in the ’80s and ’90s. I hope and believe the online version of the CN&R will find a way to keep telling those stories.

Peter Hogue (aka Juan-Carlos Selznick) Film critic (1978-2024)

By some peculiar stroke of very good luck, I was teaching literature courses in the English Department at Chico State when a remarkable group of young writers and future journalists turned up in my classes. Joe Kane, K. Patrick Conner, Steve Metzger, Joe Martin. Two of them, Kane and Conner, were part of the group that founded the Chico News & Review; Metzger has long been a frequent contributor to the paper;

and Martin was chief editor for a time. And all four were teammates of mine on the Pests, a slow-pitch softball team whose continuing history parallels that of the CN&R. (I first met Jason Cassidy much the same way, at Chico State, only a little later on.) Kane and Conner knew I was also teaching cinema studies and publishing some film criticism. In the second year of the paper’s existence, they invited me to become the CN&R’s movie reviewer, and I leaped at the opportunity. They gave me carte blanche on subject matter, and accepted my decision to use a nom de plume—Juan-Carlos Selznick. (My reasoning was that Peter Hogue the academic might take weeks to compose a threepage essay—the pseudonym gave me the freedom to wing it, thoughtfully, for 500 words on a weekly deadline.) Early on, I’d watch a film on its opening weekend, and the review would appear on the following Thursday—which was something of a disadvantage with films that had only a one-week run locally. All that changed for the better when Tim Giusta and Roger Montalbano at the Pageant Theatre started getting early delivery of upcoming films in order to provide preview screenings. Those private previews made it possible for my reviews to appear the day before the film in question had its Chico premiere. And so much the better for all involved, since most of the films I chose to review did not have the benefit of blockbuster advertising.

Staff writer (1977-1978 and 1982-1984)

It’s fair to say there would be no Chico News & Review if not for the Chico State Wildcat. In its earliest incarnation, the News & Review was produced by essentially the same staff that produced the last issues of the Wildcat. We were refugees from the English and journalism departments, mostly—passionate, eccentric, not without talent. A handful of knuckleheads and trouble-makers, too. True, the office was a madhouse, an asylum, really. The music could get loud. Empty beer cans occasionally rolled across the floor. It could be difficult to see through the smoke. There was silliness and laughter. There was outrage. On any given day, there were as many dogs in the office as editors. But actual journalism took place now and then, some of it pretty damned good, often challenging the institutions that funded us, namely the university and the Associated Students. Truth to power can be an annoyance, and at our best, we could be highly annoying. It was that conflict that ultimately led to the founding of the News & Review. I was sorry to see the Wildcat go, honestly. Working there was the most fun I’ve ever had in a newsroom. I’d go back and do it again in a second. I’m just as sorry to see the News & Review cease its print publication. It’s been a long and extraordinary run. We all have our time and place, I suppose. But that doesn’t make it any easier to say so long.

Howard Hardee

Staff writer, calendar editor, contributor (2010-2017)

Feb. 13, 1997

The CN&R editorial team in a photo for a 2019 feature on covering the Camp Fire: (clockwise from bottom) Jason Cassidy, Meredith J. Cooper, Ken Smith, Ashiah Bird (née Scharaga), Andre Byik and Melissa Daugherty.

K. Patrick Conner

It had been my dream to be a writer since I was little, and the Chico News & Review was the first to pay me to do so. Working there as an intern in 2010 and as a regular staffer from 2011-2017 was one of the most exciting and fulfilling times of my life. Leaving Alaska in 2011 to take a part-time position as the paper’s calendar editor—which paid less than I was making sharpening hockey skates at a sporting goods store in Fairbanks—was a world-expanding


decision. Right out of college, I snuck a toe into publishing and came to learn about art, music, the environment, local politics and the colorful characters of Butte County in greater depth than I could have imagined. I felt extremely lucky. What I miss most are my old coworkers and the everyday rhythm of working in downtown Chico— early morning walks through Lower Bidwell Park and Annie’s Glen, filling my canteen at Peet’s Coffee, doubling back to Second and Flume, bounding up the back stairs and bursting into my shared office with then-arts editor Jason Cassidy. He’d be all like, “Word,” and I’d be like, “Jason, killer,” and then we’d both put on headphones and jam out stories. Ken Smith— hired as a staff writer within a few months of me joining the CN&R and a close co-conspirator throughout my time at the paper—would regularly excuse himself from the newsroom to the arts office to talk about music, heavy life stuff, or

Feb. 27, 2003

some heinous decision the city council had made the previous night, before stepping onto the back porch for a cigarette. I miss cruising out on wacky assignments with Kyle Delmar, one of our many talented freelance photographers. I miss listening to former editors Bob Speer and Tom Gascoyne recall obscure local lore. I miss longtime designer

Tina Flynn asking for someone to explain, in great detail, from the beginning of time, the origin story of a particular photo. I miss the Wednesday afternoon meetings after we put the paper to bed, in which we’d discuss how that morning’s calamity was to be avoided next week and maybe even plan a few issues ahead. Shoot, I even miss those pull-out-your-hair mornings under deadline pressure. I can hear my old boss Melissa Daughtery’s distressed voice— “Is that story coming?” And did I snap a photo? “Yeah? Oh, thank God.” “It needs a better caption than that,” Managing Editor Meredith Cooper might chime in. I miss the boisterous laughter from Alec Binyon’s, and later Jamie McCormack’s, office suggesting that the sales team was having a much better time than we were. I can clearly hear the rhythm of Jason’s All Stars heavily ascending the back staircase followed by the semi-broken screen door crashing shut on the second floor of the CN&R building. Close my eyes, I can smell the musty newspaper smell of the place. Sometimes, I’ll get a little sappy and stop to put my hand in the handprint I made in once-fresh concrete in the parking lot. The initials and handprints of some of my former colleagues are there, too. They are all fading. The building is going to be an investment office now. The loss of the print newspaper is, for me and many others, the symbolic passing of a special time and place that still feels close enough to touch. I am proud to have been there. I loved it unreservedly.

David Philhour (aka Dr. PMT, Paul Maddox Taylor) Process camera operator (1980-1982)

I joined up with this band of journalistic merry pranksters in the fall of 1980 when they were paying themselves with Tommy Tutone t-shirts left over from the not PRINT C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 2 0 JANUARY 11, 2024




very successful fundraiser for the CN&R held out at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds. I was hired on to operate the gigantic Robertson flatbed process camera that occupied two rooms in the space above Nellie’s on Second Street. I was charged with creating half-tone enlargements or reductions of photos, and line shot for copy using a process called photo-mechanical transfer. Hence my name, Dr. PMT. What a fascinating group of creatives, politically astute, and riotously funny group of comrades. Ideas kept bouncing around the office like silver balls in a madcap pinball machine, and the score just getting higher and higher. The editorial staff were the flies in the ointment of those who would, with dreams of greater profit, turn Chico into San Jose. With such luminaries as Gary Fowler, Kevin Jeys, Kim Weir, Danny Pollack, Juan-Carlos Selznick and a host of contributing writers the copy was insightful, well-researched, sometimes shocking, sometimes hilarious, often with a touch of Gonzo. The production rooms were a bustle of creative energy with Tina Flynn, Mark Thalman, Kevin Cahill, Steve Barbaria, Mark Ulriksen, Merlin, Tricia Macdonald, Jennifer Atkinson. On production night the music of Charlie Robinson would float up through the floorboards from Nellie’s downstairs. Otherwise Bruce Springsteen, the Stones or some other exceptionally hip group would be blasting out from the boombox as many hands crafted the look of the paper as they hunched over their light tables.

…. but that was not to last. I raise a glass to those who took the Wildcat off campus to become the irreverent voice that was the CN&R. Also to the new management that kept the boat afloat for these many years. May the CN&R sail on in cyberspace though it will no longer line the cat boxes and parrot cages of Butte County.

Kim Weir

Staff writer (1977 and 1980-1981) March 30, 2017

Back in the darkroom for the process camera, Dr. PMT was blasting the songs of Ituri Rainforest, Pygmy music collected by anthropologist Colin Turnbull. Lizanne Sandbach Fowler was there at her CompuWriter churning out galleys to hand to the proofer and then off to the paste-up crew. Out pounding the streets, trying to sell ad space to the merchants who were often opposed to and appalled by the editorial stance of the paper, were Kim Tackett and Rosemary Febbo. They tried their best to keep this ship afloat and raise enough money to keep the presses rolling. And never forget Steve Silberman (Presto Silbo), who valiantly distributed each weekly issue into the hands of an eager readership. Those were the halcyon days, but the money was running out. Staff meetings epitomized the collective spirit of the CN&R in those days, where every voice was heard and every opinion was discussed. A true work of democracy

It was all about the news from the start, for me—that start being the Chico State Wildcat. Community news. Because the town desperately needed a second newspaper, to keep the daily Chico Enterprise-Record honest. The E-R of the 1970s had become a mean-spirited mouthpiece for Chico’s old guard. Those who enjoyed most of the benefits of life in a thriving college town— especially the money vacuumed up by mom-and-pop businesses and real estate rentals. But the money wasn’t enough. Still the good ol’ boys needed to demonize college people. The E-R did its part by viciously attacking some truly decent human beings, distorting their actions and beliefs in the process. The E-R’s journalists were not the problem. Most were quite good, bird-dogging story details and reporting them fairly. If there was news bias, it came from the bosses, from back-room decisions about which topics would get covered. About which stories lived, and which died. The paper’s viciousness came from then-Editor Bill Lee, the scribblings of his poison pen perhaps representing others’ views. Those gleefully malicious editorials were dark works of art. And if the E-R’s targets wrote in to complain—or worse, request a retraction—the attacks escalated, getting still more unhinged. People lost jobs and careers, friendly neighbors, long-time friends. I grew up in Chico when it was that town. Most of you reading this would not recognize it, despite the physical familiarity. People with even mildly liberal leanings had no safe place in public life. Smug The longtime downtown offices of the Chico News & Review. The building was sold in 2021. PHOTO BY JASON CASSIDY



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April 30, 1987

certainties and self-righteousness snuffed out open community conversation. It was appalling. Someone had to do something. The best public protest we Wildcatters could muster, in the mid-1970s, was an April Fool’s Day spoof, a sendup, the Chico Enterprise-Retched. Mostly spoton, from its smarmy tone and snarky editorials to tips on finding clever new uses for grandma’s tiny silver spoons. A hit! So much so that amused E-R staffers raced over to grab entire bundles of Enterprise-Retcheds, to pass around back at the office. As April fools and otherwise, Wildcat reporters kept at it, covering complicated topics and doing a steadily better job of it. Stories such as: The need to protect rich agricultural lands in Butte County from urban development, to fully support and value the local farm economy. The need to end illegal four-by-

four lot splits—essentially condoned for ages by the Butte County Board of Supervisors—because they effectively circumvented land-use development standards about housing density, roads, property access, and health and safety. (Illegal land subdivisions contributed to the 2018 Camp Fire disaster.) The need to fold Chapmantown and other cast-off, low-income, unincorporated areas of Chico into the city, so all community residents could enjoy political representation and essential services. Community news was also a strong suit at the Chico News & Review, once the CSU trustees nudged the one-time student newspaper into a new identity and off campus. But it was stunning nonetheless, in 1981, some time after I’d joined the CN&R news crew, when Chico voters filled all four open seats on the city council with liberals—public pariahs no more. It was always all about the news, and continuing the community conversation.

Evan Tuchinsky

Editor-in-chief (2006-2009); contributor (2010-2015); contributing editor (2016-2024)

July 19, 2012

I first learned of the CN&R six months before coming here. My wife’s family lived in Paradise; we visited for Thanksgiving, and as avid readers, they had a stack of issues by the living room. Flash forward to April: I walked through the door at Second and Flume, got a quick orientation at the front desk, then walked upstairs to the editor’s office. I met

Chrisanne Beckner, the interim editor who hoped to return to her real job writing for the SN&R as soon as possible; Bob Speer, who’d agreed to return on a contract that, I quickly learned, expired at the end of the week; and the lone holdovers from my predecessor’s staff, calendar and arts editors Jason Cassidy and Mark Lore. The cover story that week profiled another new guy in town, then-City Manager Greg Jones. I don’t remember much of the first few days except hiding under my desk when folks weren’t looking and wondering, “What have I gotten myself into?” But things turned around fast. Bob agreed to stay as news editor, willing to give me a chance—and accepting that I’d already hired an associate editor, Meredith J. Cooper, with whom I’d worked in Riverside. (She was traveling the world and wouldn’t arrive till June. She’d accepted the job from a callbox in London.) Jason and Mark were Jason and Mark: funny, friendly and unflappable.

May 7, 2017

Readers also were willing to give me a chance, even those who doubted I’d succeed as a successor. My boss’s assignment for me helped immeasurably: Jeff vonKaenel gave me a list of 30 people to meet in 90 days, and 29 of them— from council members and county supervisors to business leaders and community activists—shared their local knowledge with me. (I still haven’t met Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. ...

maybe some day!) Our group of writer/editors, contributors and interns carved our own identity. Bob and I had the temerity to endorse a conservative for City Council—somehow, the world didn’t end!—and my columns became known for taking on socalled friends (see: “Frenemies of the park”) as well as so-called foes (see: “Chief concerns”). A feature on 9/11 conspiracy theorists drew a sharp rebuke from a Chico State journalism professor who liked me even less after we revealed one of his students apparently plagiarized AP in her Orion article. We also continued the awardwinning legacy of the CN&R, most notably with a feature story by Richard Ek that spurred a series of follow-ups on city pensions, long before anyone else sounded the alarm. The California News Publishers Association recognized Ek for his reporting and the CN&R with its public service award. Our opinion section, news, arts and design (i.e., Tina Flynn) also rated among the state’s best. We expand-

ed environmental coverage with the GreenWays section. When I left, 100,000 readers were picking up the CN&R each Thursday. The staff, which by then included future editor Melissa Daugherty, kept putting out mustread issues weekly. I started freelancing for Bob and Melissa after moving out of state; when I moved back, Melissa brought me in on three occasions as contributing editor, the News & Review’s equivalent of a professor emeritus. I’m proud of that point in the paper’s history. Even more, I’m proud of the people. We were, and remain, family.

Bill Unger

Distribution driver (2007-2024)

Eight-track tapes, the typewriter, disco, film, and yes, print media. What do they all have in common? Hands please. As part of the CN&R delivery staff for many years, I’ll miss my gig, driving 150 miles to such places as Artois, Proberta (let’s hear it for Proberta!), Gerber, Dairyville, etc.

I’ll also miss the personal relationships I’ve developed over the years with other CN&R employees, both past and present. After the Camp Fire, the CN&R really felt like a part of my family (the good part). As Camp Fire survivors, my wife and I (like so many others) have really appreciated the hundreds of articles and great writing you have provided on this topic. Thanks to the CN&R for providing us with such thorough coverage for over four decades. Also thanks for having the testicular fortitude to print alternative points of view. I’ve personally had two letters printed that were quite critical of the paper. (Geez, just what does it take to get fired around here?) Lastly, thanks to Ken Smith, Evan Tuchinsky, Melissa Daugherty, Ashiah Bird, Jason Cassidy and all the other writers. I will miss holding the paper and physically turning the pages. The good news is the CN&R will still be online and I look forward to reading the latest political, entertainment and other news online. Ω

JANUARY 11, 2024





Jan. 20

Chico Women’s Club

SAFE SPACE FUNDRAISER: Lots-o-bands for good

ONGOING Galleries & Museums 1078 GALLERY: Jonathan Richman + Anna Marsh, a showing of oils, watercolors and pastels. Shows 2/9-25. 1710 Park Ave.

CHICO ART CENTER: Member Showcase, group show. Reception: Jan. 19, 5-7pm. 1/13-2/2. 450 Orange St.

MUSEUM OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ART: From the Archives, works from MONCA’s permanent collection. Through 1/21. Next: Avian Art, MONCA’s annual bird-themed group show coincides with the Snow Goose Festival. Shows 1/25-3/17. 900 Esplanade.

THE TURNER: Hard Pressed – Etching Then & Now, this exhibition traces the development of etching from early modern Europe to the present day, uncovering the artistic currents and controversies that have shaped this distinctive art form. Shows 1/23-3/16. Talk/opening reception Feb. 1, 5:30 p.m. Arts & Humanities Building, Chico State. www.

THU1/11 Music JENNY DON’T & THE SPURS: Jenny Don’t is back at Duffs on a Thursday night! The Family Band and Kelly Bauman open. Thu, 1/11, 8pm. $10$15. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. eventbrite. com

LIVE JAZZ: Every Thursday. Thu, 1/11, 7:30pm. Free. The DownLo, 319 Main St. 530-354-5028.

LIVE MUSIC AT THE PUB: Local acts each week. Thu, 1/11, 6pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

FRI 1/12 Special Events BOB’S COMEDY SHOW: Featuring Bryant Hicks, plus Connor Lonsdale; locals Annie Fischer and Ranae Cherry; and your illustrious host, Bob! Fri, 1/12, 8pm. $14. Gnarly Deli, 243 W. Second St.

Music BIG MOUNTAIN & KULCHA BOX: Reggae night with Cali-roots crew Big Mountain, plus Kulcha Knox. Lost on Main presents an Allstar night of reggae music. Fri, 1/12, 8pm. $20-$25. Lost on Main, 319 Main St.

CHUCK BRODSKY: PATCH presents this storyteller, songwriter, troubadour and modern-day bard. Fri, 1/12, 7pm. $25-$35. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. (530)2825642.



cause—Astronaut Ice Cream, My Boyfriend’s Band, October Coalition Family Band, more ... Th, 1/18, 8pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 824 Oroville Ave.

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring

JANUARY 11, 2024

traditional Irish music weekly to Duffy’s. Fri, 1/12, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. 530-343-7718.


LISH BILLS ALBUM RELEASE: Kirk Williams solo project is back, and backed by a full band. Zach Zeller and Pheasant Club open. Fri, 1/12, 9pm. $10. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St.



SHERLOCK HOLMES - THE FINAL PROBLEM: See Jan. 18. Shows Jan. 18-Feb. 4. $18. Fri, 1/19, 7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road,

noisemakers joined by Stockton’s Amazon Crimes. Fri, 1/12, 9pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 824 Oroville Ave.


NAT BOTSFORD: Country star posts up at The Box with his full band. Fri, 1/12, 9pm. $10. Tackle


Box, 379 E. Park Ave.

BASSMINT CHICO: A night of bass music. Fri, 1/19, 8:30pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 824 Oroville

RAY CHARLES PROJECT: A swinging septet of outstanding Bay Area musicians offers their take on some of the highlights from Ray’s amazing songbook. Fri, 1/12, 7pm. $25. Paradise Performing Arts Center, 777 Nunneley Road, Paradise.


BIOMASS (L.A.), FOREST LAWN (L.A.), LEVEL, REGIME: Total heaviosity. Fri, 1/19, 7pm. $10. Naked Lounge, 118 W. Second St.

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring

traditional Irish music weekly to Duffy’s. Fri,

SAT 1/13

1/19, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. 530-343-7718.


Special Events

and his brothers hit Chico as part of their Sweat Tour. Fri, 1/19, 6pm. $45. Sierra Nevada Big Room, 1075 E. 20th St. (530) 893-3520.

INSPIRE SCHOOL-WIDE GALA: Live performances, an exhibit hall where you can explore Inspire clubs and participate in activities and class projects, food trucks and more. Sat, 1/13, 2pm. $10-$15. Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. 530-891-3090.


TEA WITH THE QUEENS: This will be an afternoon of royalty, drag, tea and treats. Sat, 1/13, 4pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 824 Oroville Ave.

Theater SHERLOCK HOLMES - THE FINAL PROBLEM: See Jan. 18. Shows Jan. 18-Feb. 4. $18. Sat, 1/20, 7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road,

Music COLD BLUE MOUNTAIN, RIP ROOM: Local heavymakers Cold Blue Mountain are joined by S.F.’s Rip Room. Sat, 1/13, 9pm. $10. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St.

GIN BLOSSOMS: The band behind the hit “Hey Jealousy” is at the casino! Sat, 1/13, 8pm. $49-$79. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. (800) 334-9400.

LIVE MUSIC AT THE PUB: Local acts each week. Sat, 1/13, 1pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

RADIO RELAPSE 10TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW: Chico’s favorite 1990s tribute band celebrates a decade of fun. Sat, 1/13, 9pm. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave.

RITA HOSKING & FRIENDS: Chico Concerts presents the Nor-Cal singer/songwriter who plays soul-stirring American folk music. Sat, 1/13, 7pm. $25. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St.

SMOKEY THE GROOVE: Chico’s premiere “sevenpiece, rage-edelic/acid jazz/funk-rock ensemble” heads upstairs to the country bar. Sat, 1/13, 9:45pm. $15. Crazy Horse Saloon, 303 Main St.


Music STEELY DAN BY SPECIAL GUEST: Two-set tribute to The Dan. Sat, 1/13, 9pm. $10. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. 530-413-9130.

TUE1/16 Music ROLAND TUESDAYS: Brewmaster Roland on the piano! Tue, 1/16, 6pm. Free. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

WED1/17 Music BIOMASS (L.A.), FOREST LAWN (L.A.), LEVEL, REGIME: Sludge, dungeon-metal, PV, punk, hardcore ... probably more adjectives. Regardless, it’ll be HEAVY! and ALL-AGES! Wed, 1/17, 7pm. $10.

Naked Lounge, 118 W. Second St.

THU1/18 Theater SHERLOCK HOLMES - THE FINAL PROBLEM: A stage adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “final” Holmes story pits the infamous detective against his nemesis, the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty. Shows Jan. 18-Feb. 4. $18. Thu, 1/18, 7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise.

Music LIVE JAZZ: Every Thursday. Thu, 1/18, 7:30pm. Free. The DownLo, 319 Main St. 530-354-5028.

LIVE MUSIC AT THE PUB: Local acts each week. Thu, 1/18, 6pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

BARBARA MANNING: Chico’s favorite musical daughter returns. Doug Stein’s Uptown Underground opens the show. Sat, 1/20, 7pm. $25. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St.

BLACK VINYL 45: Lights, lasers and live music from Redding. Sat, 1/20, 8pm. $5. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave.. 530-339-5586.

DIRTY AUDIO: JMax Productions presents the visiting DJ/producer. Sat, 1/20, 8pm. $10. Senator Theatre, 517 Main St.

GEORGE CRUSTANZA, DOLORES, DIVIDED YOUTH, SEDITION: SF, Sac and Chico hardcore. Sat, 1/20, 7pm. $10. Naked Lounge, 118 W. Second St.

KODI LEE: Americas Got Talent winner comes to Butte County. Sat, 1/20, 8pm. $49-$79. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. (800) 334-9400.

LIVE MUSIC AT THE PUB: Local acts each week. Sat, 1/20, 1pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426


Submit events for the CN&R calendar at

Broadway, Ste. 130.

SECOND HAND SMOKE: Smokin’ blues, swing and rock. Sat, 1/20, 8pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 824 Oroville Ave.

SUN1/21 Special Events BLUES & BREWS: It’s the second blues+beer fest and benefit for the Torres Shelter, with craft beers from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and performances by Big Mo & The Full Moon Band, The Rockhounds, The Stumpjumperz Band and The Unknowns. Sun, 1/21, 1pm. $40. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St. 530-209-5427.

COMEDY AT THE STATION: Jacob McClain hosts a night of stand-up Sun, 1/21, 8pm. $5. Mulberry Station Brewing Co., 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

Theater SHERLOCK HOLMES - THE FINAL PROBLEM: See Jan. 18. Shows Jan. 18-Feb. 4. $18. Sun, 1/21, 2pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise.

TUE1/23 Music HED PE: JMax Productions brings the

So-Cal “G-punkers” to The Box. Johnny Richter and Stacc Styles open. Tue, 1/23, 7:30pm. $20. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave.

ROLAND TUESDAYS: Brewmaster Roland on the piano! Tue, 1/23, 6pm. Free. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

THUMPASAURUS: Thumpasaurus gets funky and weird at the Big Room. Tue, 1/23, 6pm. $20. Sierra Nevada Big Room, 1075 E. 20th St. (530) 893-3520.

WED1/24 Music SUNNY SWEENEY: The genre-bending singer/ songwriter brings the rich musical traditions of Texas and Tennessee to The Box. Wed, 1/24, 9pm. $15. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave.


Jan. 18. Shows Jan. 18-Feb. 4. $18. Thu 1/25, 7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise.

Music LIVE JAZZ: Every Thursday. Thu, 1/25, 7:30pm. Free. The DownLo, 319 Main St. 530-354-5028.

LIVE MUSIC AT THE PUB: Local acts each week. Thu, 1/25, 6pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

FRI1/26 Theater SHERLOCK HOLMES - THE FINAL PROBLEM: See Jan. 18. Shows Jan. 18-Feb. 4. $18. Fri, 1/26, 7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: Millie’s getting

Jan. 19

Sierra Nevada Big Room

Jan. 11

married! At her bachelorette party the drinks flow and soon the girls reveal secrets about their love lives with hilarious results. Musical hits from the 1960s include “I Will Follow Him” and “Hey There Lonely Boy.” Shows Jan. 26-Feb. 18. Fri, 1/26, 7:30pm. $25$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.





BASSMINT CHICO: A night of bass music. Fri, 1/26, 8:30pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 824 Oroville Ave.

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring

traditional Irish music weekly to Duffy’s. Fri, 1/26, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main Street. 530-343-7718.

GIMME GIMME DISCO: JMax Productions brings disco to Lost on Main. Fri, 1/26, 8pm. $15. Lost on Main, 319 Main St.

SAT1/27 Theater SHERLOCK HOLMES - THE FINAL PROBLEM: See Jan. 18. Shows Jan. 18-Feb. 4. $18. Sat, 1/27, 7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise.

WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: See Jan. 26. Sat, 1/27, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.

Music BLÜ EGYPTIAN ALBUM-RELEASE PARTY: The local high-energy jammers have another new album! Melli Farias and Family Mystic join the party. Sat, 1/27, 8pm. $15-$20. Lost on Main, 319 Main St. 530-566-3454.

LIVE MUSIC AT THE PUB: Local acts each week. Sat, 1/27, 1pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

ROLLING STONES’ STICKY FINGERS: Craig Martin’s Classic Albums Live production recreates the best albums in rock history—note-for-note, live on stage. Chico Performances brings the crew to Laxson for a presentation of the Stones’ stone-cold classic. Sat, 1/27, 7:30pm. $34-$48. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. 530-898-6333.

Duffy’s Tavern

SUN1/28 Special Events CHICO TOY-ANIME-COMIC CON: Comics, anime, toys, costumes and prizes. Sun, 1/28, 11am. $7-$8. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St..

OFF CAMPUS COMEDY: Jessy Jaymes hosts— fourth Sunday of every month. Sun, 1/28, 7pm. $15. Blue Room Theatre, 1005 W. First St. 408 449 2179.

Theater SHERLOCK HOLMES - THE FINAL PROBLEM: See Jan. 18. Shows Jan. 18-Feb. 4. $18. Sun, 1/28, 2pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise.

WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: See Jan. 26. Sun, 1/28, 2pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company,

Theater SHERLOCK HOLMES - THE FINAL PROBLEM: See Jan. 18. Shows Jan. 18-Feb. 4. $18. Thu, 2/1, 7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise.

WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: See Jan. 26. Thu, 2/1, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.

Music ALO: Cali jammers, Animal Liberation Orchestra, will be joined by Sway Wild. Thu, 2/1, 6pm. $30. Sierra Nevada Big Room, 1075 E. 20th St.. (530) 893-3520.

LIVE JAZZ: Every Thursday. Thu, 2/1, 7:30pm. Free. The DownLo, 319 Main St. 530-354-5028.

LIVE MUSIC AT THE PUB: Local acts each week. Thu, 2/1, 6pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.

TUE1/30 Music ROLAND TUESDAYS: Brewmaster Roland on the piano! Tue, 1/30, 6pm. Free. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

THU2/1 Special Events COMEDIAN LIZ MIELE: The New York comedian who has appeared on Comedy Central, Hulu and NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. Thu, 2/1, 6:30pm. $15-$25. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St.

FRI2/2 Special Events MICRO MANIA WRESTLING: The touring wrestling event returns to The Box. Fri, 2/2, 9pm. $25-$55. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave.

ALES FOR TAILS: The Northwest SPCA partners with Feather Falls for Nor-Cal brewfest to raise money for the tails of dogs and cats. Sat, 2/3, 1-5pm. $30. Feather Falls Casino, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville. 530-533-3885,

Theater SHERLOCK HOLMES - THE FINAL PROBLEM: See Jan. 18. Shows Jan. 18-Feb. 4. $18. Fri, 2/2,

EVENTS C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 2 4 JANUARY 11, 2024




C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 2 3

7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise.

WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: See Jan. 26. Fri, 2/2, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.

Music BASSMINT CHICO: A night of bass music. Fri, 2/2, 8:30pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 824 Oroville Ave.

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring

traditional Irish music weekly to Duffy’s. Fri, 2/2, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. 530-343-7718.

YELLOWMAN & DYLAN’S DHARMA: Legendary Jamaican reggae performer Yellowman is joined by local rock/reggae superstars Dylan’s Dharma. Fri, 2/2, 8pm. $20-$25. Lost on Main, 319 Main St.


SUN2/4 Theater SHERLOCK HOLMES - THE FINAL PROBLEM: See Jan. 18. Shows Jan. 18-Feb. 4. $18. Sun, 2/4, 2pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise.

WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: See Jan. 26. Sun, 2/4, 2pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.

TUE2/6 Music ROLAND TUESDAYS: Brewmaster Roland on the piano! Tue, 2/6, 6pm. Free. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

Theater SHERLOCK HOLMES - THE FINAL PROBLEM: See Jan. 18. Shows Jan. 18-Feb. 4. $18. Sat, 2/3, 7:30pm. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise.

WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: See Jan. 26. Sat, 2/3, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.


THU2/8 Theater WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: See Jan. 26. Thu, 2/8, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.

Music AJ LEE & BLUE SUMMIT: The Bay Area bluegrass

CHICO LATIN ORQUESTA & SUIKA T: Local dynamic Latin-music crew is joined by Mexico City vocalist/rapper/percussionist Suika T. Sat, 2/3, 8pm. $15. Lost on Main, 319 Main St.

LIVE MUSIC AT THE PUB: Local acts each week. Sat, 2/3, 1pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

band has performed all over the world and will be joined by Two Runner when they perform at the Big Room. Thu, 2/8, 6pm. $30. Sierra Nevada Big Room, 1075 E. 20th St. (530) 893-3520.

LIVE JAZZ: Every Thursday. Thu, 2/8, 7:30pm. Free. The DownLo, 319 Main St.. 530-354-5028.

LIVE MUSIC AT THE PUB: Local acts each week. Thu, 2/8, 6pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426

SWEET N’ JUICY: Sweet is a banana, N’ is the king

Theater WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: See Jan. 26. Fri, 2/9, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.

Music BASSMINT CHICO: A night of bass music. Fri, 2/9, 8:30pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 824 Oroville Ave.

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring

traditional Irish music weekly to Duffy’s. Fri, 2/9, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. 530-343-7718.

SAT2/10 Theater CHICO STATE MUSICAL THEATRE: A presentation of the senior showcase audition material that this year’s graduating class will be bringing to New York City. Sat, 2/10, 7:30pm. Free. Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall, Chico State, PAC 134. 530-898-5351.

WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: See Jan. 26. Sat, 2/10, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.

Music BASSMINT CHICO: A night of bass music. Fri, 2/9, 8:30pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 824 Oroville

crew steps out from behind the “redwood curtain.” Sat, 2/10, 8pm. $20-$25. Lost on Main, 319 Main St.

KOTTONMOUTH KINGS: Cali hip-hop crew Kottonmouth Kings are joined by Rehab, Scotty Austin (former lead singer of Saving Abel), The Crowned and The Almas. Sat, 2/10, 9pm. $25-$30. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave.

LIVE MUSIC AT THE PUB: Local acts each week. Sat, 2/10, 1pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

SUN2/11 Theater WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: See Jan. 26. Sun, 2/11, 2pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.

It makes sense that a son of Willie Nelson would become a country musician and do cool stuff like back up Neil Young on a couple of albums, but Lukas Nelson has gone out of his way not to trade in on his family name. The singer/songwriter and his group the Promise of the Real continue to forge their own country-rock path, and are on the road supporting their latest rollicking release, Sticks and Stones. JMax Productions brings the group to Chico for a performance at the Senator Theatre on Feb. 17. 24


JANUARY 11, 2024

North State Symphony Laxson Auditorium


DIGGIN’ DIRT: Seven-piece band funk/soul


Feb. 17

of the pineapples and Juicy is a strawberry. Don’t think about it too much; just come party. Thu, 2/8, 6pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.




Broadway, Ste. 130.

TUE2/13 Special Events FLY FISHING FILM TOUR: The largest fly fishing short-film event of its kind. Tue, 2/13, 7pm. $16-$25. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St.

Music ROLAND TUESDAYS: Brewmaster Roland on the piano! Tue, 2/13, 6pm. Free. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

THU2/15 Theater WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: See Jan. 26. Thu, 2/15, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.

Music KELLER WILLIAMS: The singer/songwriter who jumps from bluegrass to folk to rock to reggae, funk, jazz and everything in between will be busting out two sets at the big Room. Thu, 2/15, 6pm. $25. Sierra Nevada Big Room, 1075 E. 20th St. (530) 893-3520.

LIVE JAZZ: Every Thursday. Thu, 2/15, 7:30pm. Free. The DownLo, 319 Main St.. 530-354-5028.

LIVE MUSIC AT THE PUB: Local acts each week. Thu, 2/15, 6pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

LIZZIE NO: KZFR brings the soulful alt-country singer/songwriter to the Women’s Club. Thu, 2/15, 6:30pm. $17-$20. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St.

MARK HUMMEL BLUES HARMONICA BLOWOUT: An evening of harmonica-heavy blues with Mark Hummel, Lee Oskar, Jason Ricci, Chris Cain and more. Thu, 2/15, 7pm. $30-$40. Paradise

Performing Arts Center, 777 Nunneley Road, Paradise.

NEW MUSIC SYMPOSIUM: The annual two-day festival of new music returns with one night of student showcases (Feb. 15) and one night with visiting guest musician, synth pioneer Suzanne Ciani (Feb. 16). Thu, 2/15, 7:30pm. Free. Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall, Chico State, Performing Arts Center 134. 530898-5351.

FRI2/16 Theater WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: See Jan. 26. Fri, 2/16, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.

Music BASSMINT CHICO: A night of bass music. Fri, 2/16, 8:30pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 824 Oroville Ave.

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring

traditional Irish music weekly to Duffy’s. Fri, 2/16, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. 530-343-7718.

NEW MUSIC SYMPOSIUM: The annual two-day festival of new music returns with one night of student showcases (Feb. 15) and one night with visiting guest musician, synth pioneer Suzanne Ciani (Feb. 16). Fri, 2/16, 7:30pm. Free. Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall, Chico State, Performing Arts Center 134. 530898-5351.

SISSYFIT, CATCH WEIGHT, SEDITION, JUNIM: A selection of hardcore and grind from Sac,

SAT2/17 Special Events THE LALAS BURLESQUE: The hilarious, sexy troupe visits Oroville. Sat, 2/17, 8pm. $25-$40. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. (800) 334-9400.

Theater WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: See Jan. 16. Sat, 2/17, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.

Music LIVE MUSIC AT THE PUB: Local acts each week. Sat, 2/17, 1pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

LUKAS NELSON & PROMISE OF THE REAL: The country-rock crew comes to town on the heels of the release of their latest album, Sticks and Stones. Sat, 2/17, 7pm. $27.50. Senator Theatre, 517 Main St.

MOZART REQUIEM: The centerpiece of North State Symphony’s February concert is Mozart’s beloved Requiem, left unfinished at the time of his death, leaving many questions unanswered about the true intention of the work. Sat, 2/17, 7:30pm. $21$47. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. 530-898-6333.

MON2/19 Music MICHAEL NAU: Since the mid-2000s, Michael Nau has crafted a catalog of thoughtful, reflective songs as the frontman of indierock mainstays Cotton Jones, Page France, and Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread. His solo album, Accompany, was released Dec. 8. Natalie Jane Hill opens. Mon, 2/19, 8pm. $22$25. Argus Bar + Patio, 212 W. Second St.

TUE2/18 Music ROLAND TUESDAYS: Brewmaster Roland on the piano! Tue, 2/18, 6pm. Free. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

WED2/21 Special Events BRIAN REGAN: Vanity Fair called him “the funniest stand-up alive,” and Chico Performances brings the 30-year veteran comedian to the Laxson stage. Wed, 2/21, 7:30pm. $39-$69. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State, (530) 8986333,

Special Events COMEDY AT THE STATION: Jacob McClain hosts a night of stand-up Sun, 2/18, 8pm. $5. Mulberry Station Brewing Co., 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

songwriter/producer DENM plays it chill in the vein of Sublime and Slightly Stoopid and will be joined by Philly’s Little Stranger at Lost on Main. Presented by JMax. Wed, 2/21, 8pm. $25. Lost on Main, 319 Main St.




WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?: See Jan. 26. Sun, 2/18, 2pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company,

LIVE JAZZ: Every Thursday. Thu, 2/22, 7:30pm. Free. The DownLo, 319 Main St.

166 Eaton Road, Ste. F.

Broadway, Ste. 130.

FRI2/23 Special Events LANCE BURTON & FRIENDS: The master magician comes to the casino. Fri, 2/23, 8pm. $42 $72. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. (800) 334-9400.

Music BASSMINT CHICO: A night of bass music. Fri, 2/23, 8:30pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 824 Oroville Ave.

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring

traditional Irish music weekly to Duffy’s. Fri,

2/23, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. 530-343-7718.



Providing affordable,

integrative health care

since 2010

• Acupuncture • Cupping • Massage • Pregnancy & Fertility

Music DANIEL HIESTAND MEMORIAL CONCERT: Chico State’s Department of Music and Theatre presents a concert of traditional music historically significant to the Chico area. Sat, 2/24, 7:30pm. Free. Harlen Adams Theatre, Chico State, PAC 144. 530-898-5351. www.

LIVE MUSIC AT THE PUB: Local acts each week. Sat, 2/24, 1pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426

Music DENM & LITTLE STRANGER: So-Cal singer/


LIVE MUSIC AT THE PUB: Local acts each week. Thu, 2/22, 6pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426

• Herbal Therapy • Pediatrics • AND MORE!

1815 MANGROVE AVE, CHICO Details & Appointments (530) 345-5300

Broadway, Ste. 130.

SUN2/25 Special Events OFF CAMPUS COMEDY: Jessy Jaymes hosts— fourth Sunday of every month. Sun, 2/25, 7pm. $15. Blue Room Theatre, 1005 W. First St. 408 449 2179.

WED2/28 Theater STOP KISS: Sara and Callie’s first kiss provokes a

HARD PRESSED: ETCHING THEN & NOW Jan. 23-March 16 The Turner

violent attack that transforms their lives in a way they could never anticipate. Diana Son’s off-Broadway play is presented by Chico State Theater Dept. Shows Feb. 28-March 3. Wed, 2/28, 7:30pm. $8-$20. Wismer Theatre, Chico State. 530-898-5351. www.csuchico. edu/hfa

Music VOCTAVE: Chico Performances presents the 11-member a cappella sensation. Wed, 2/28, 7:30pm. $38-$55. Laxson Auditorium, Chico

Marysville and Chico. Fri, 2/16, 7pm. $10. Naked Lounge, 118 W. Second St.

Go here

State. 530-898-6333.

THU2/29 Theater STOP KISS: See Feb. 28. Thu, 2/29, 7:30pm. $8-$20. Wismer Theatre, Chico State. 530-898-5351.

The North Valley’s most comprehensive calendar for Nightlife, the Arts, Entertainment and more!

JANUARY 11, 2024



REEL WORLD Lakota Nation vs. United States

Pupille; Agnés Varda’s beautifully restored O Saisons, O Chateux and much else in the Icarus Films box set, Early Short Films of the French New Wave; They Die By Dawn, Jeymes Samuel’s stylized 51-minute western from 2013; a half dozen two-reel comedies from the silent movie era, featuring the combined comic ingenuity of Fatty Arbuckle, Buster Keaton and; a host of early Our Gang comedies, including especially Your Own Back Yard (1925) and A Tough Winter (1930), both of which boldly bring racial issues into the kids’ characteristically comic stories.

Questions of character

The year in cinema and streaming CN&R film critic’s 2023 film and TV highlights

Sanother flash points and turn-ons for difficult year, 2023. An

abundance of cinematic pleasures, magic moments, by and roving corJuan-Carlos respondences in Selznick these challenging times calls for an abundance of year-end best-of’s. A simple Top Ten just won’t do.

Underrated, a surprisingly incisive and moving portrait of NBA superstar Steph Curry, as well as a handful of feature-length films about artists, musicians and writers—All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (photographer Nan Goldin); Little Richard: I Am Everything; The Stones and Brian Jones; The Super 8 Years (novelist Annie Ernaux); Vjeran Tomic: the Spider-Man of Paris.

Wes Anderson

Cinema-quality TV

tream & Dream Lounge highlights,

With Asteroid City and four short films based on Roald Dahl stories, Anderson & company were arguably half of a Top Ten all by themselves. And Do Not Detonate, an anthology of “inspirations for Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City,” strikes me as one of the year’s very best books about film.


Lakota Nation vs. United States, directed by Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli, is one of the very best and most urgent films of the year. Other outstanding documentaries include The League, a history of Negro League baseball, and Asteroid City Far right: Lawman: Bass Reeves



JANUARY 11, 2024

1923; C. B. Strike; Dark Winds; Fargo, season 5; Lawman: Bass

Reeves; Perry Mason, season 2; Poker Face; Reservation Dogs; Slow Horses. The last three titles on that list are particular favorites of mine, as are performances by Gary Oldman (Slow Horses), Natasha Lyonne (Poker Face) and Jon Hamm (Fargo).

Short stuff stands tall

Anderson’s Roald Dahl adaptations—The Swan, Poison, The Rat Catcher and The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar; Alice Rohrwacher’s Oscar-nominated Le

The slippery, shifting dynamics of relationships and personal identity is a powerful ingredient in many of the year’s most impressive dramas. That’s writ large with power and finesse in Martin Scorsese’s grand adaptation of Killers of the Flower Moon, but it’s also richly present in the more intimate and shrewdly nuanced portrayals of Todd Haynes’ May December and Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla. It’s present in somewhat more ferocious form in the German film Afire, and in the brusque psycho sexuality of Ira Sachs’ Passages. And two very fine French films, Alice Winocour’s Revoir Paris and Dominik Moll’s The Night of the 12th, start off as conventional crime films but soon evolve into character drama that is both compelling and incisive.

Once upon a time in the western

I’m okay with the notion that Killers of the Flower Moon is what a western looks like when it’s a Scorsese movie. But my western pleasures for 2023 lean more toward the role of Bass Reeves. The Lawman: Bass Reeves TV series with David Oyelowo in the title role gets my vote for the year’s second best venture into the genre. (The best, from where I sat, was Surrounded, which has a black protagonist, but no Bass Reeves.) Celebrated as the first black American to be deputized as a U. S. Marshall, Reeves figures in a number of recent westerns with black stars—Delroy Lindo plays him in the remarkable The Harder They Fall (2021), David Gyasi in the intriguing Hell on the Border (2019), and Isaiah Washington in the somewhat disappointing Corsicana (2022). The Old Way, with Nicolas Cage as an old but not quite reformed outlaw, has the feel of a project rushed into production before it ever had a chance to become something of real interest. The Furnace (2020), which has an Afghan cameleer fleeing across the Australian Outback, is a hybrid “western” that is much more to my liking.

Native Americana

It seems to me it was a very good year for motion pictures with Native American characters and issues. Lakota Nation vs. United States, Reservation Dogs, War Pony, The Unknown Country, Killers of the Flower Moon. Ω

SCENE POTUS, Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive opens Feb. 29 at Theatre on the Ridge.

Back to the boards A preview of the winter/spring calendar of local theater

Tthe into a groove after being so disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic, one that includes

he Chico theater scene has kind of settled

many of the usual suspects making their way through our area in the months to come. There by are familiar musicals Jason Cassidy (e.g., Why Do Fools j aso nc@n ewsrev iew.c om Fall in Love?, Grease, Into the Woods, Little Shop of Horrors) and Theaters: a couple from the Neil Simon communityBirdcage Theatre 1740 Bird St., Oroville theater well (Lost in (530) 282-5603 Yonkers, Fools). There are also plenBlue Room Theatre ty of new cuts added 1005 W. First St. to the winter/spring playlist this year, blueroomtheatre including a couple of California Chico State producRegional Theatre tions that address curat First Street Theater rent issues surrounding (139 W. First St.) gender, sexuality and at Center for the Arts (1475 East Ave.) equality (Stop Kiss, (800) 722-4522 The Prom), and two brand-new selections— Chico State released in the last year Department of or two—coming to Music and Theatre Theatre on the Ridge See listing for (POTUS, Insertion). campus venue (530) 898-5152 Chico Theater Company 166 Eaton Road (530) 894-3282 Legacy Stage Theatre on the Ridge 3735 Neal Road, Paradise (530) 877-5760

Sherlock Homes: The Final Problem, Theatre on the Ridge (Jan. 18-Feb. 4): A stage adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “final” Holmes story pits the infamous detective against his nemesis, the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty.

Why Do Fools Fall in Love?, Chico Theater Company (Jan. 26-Feb. 18): A bridal shower and an engagement party are the settings for a group of friends to talk about life and love and sing classic 1960s pop songs. Blue Stories, Blue Room Theatre (Feb. 9-10): A Valentine’s edition of the theater’s infrequent storytelling series. Musical Theatre Senior Showcase, Chico State – Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall (Feb. 10): A presentation of audition material that this year’s graduating class will be bringing to New York City. The Vagina Monologues, Birdcage Theatre (Feb. 15-25): The groundbreaking episodic play by V (formerly Eve Ensler) has grown into a global activist movement to end violence against women. Stop Kiss, Chico State – Wismer Theatre (Feb. 28-March 3): Sara and Callie’s first kiss provokes a violent attack that transforms their lives in a way they could never anticipate in this off-Broadway dramedy by Diana Son.

POTUS, Theatre on the Ridge (Feb. 29-March 10): The alternate title for this new play by Selina Fillinger is Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. It’s a comedy about a presidential PR nightmare that’s morphed into a potential global crisis. Grease, Center for the Arts (March 1-10): California Regional Theatre’s got groove, it’s got meaning, it’s got this classic musical featuring a soundtrack of tunes paying tribute to the early days of rock-’n’-roll. Lost in Yonkers, Chico Theater Company (March 8-24): Neil Simon’s Tony Awardwinning dramedy revolving around the dysfunctional Kurnitz family of Brooklyn. Fools, Birdcage Theatre (March 21-31): Set in small village in Ukraine, this Neil Simon comedy follows the story of schoolteacher who finds work in a town that has been cursed with chronic stupidity for two centuries. Pulp Theatre, Blue Room Theatre (end of March, dates TBA): Four playwrights come up with an original script based on old

pulp paperback novels. Game of Tiaras, Theatre on the Ridge (April 4-21): “Terrible, hilarious tragedy” of Game of Thrones/King Lear proportions ensues when the king of a magical country decides to split his kingdom between his three daughters, Cinderella, Belle and the Snow Queen. Into the Woods, First Street Theatre (April 4-21): California Regional Theatre is bringing James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s insanely popular musical—a mash-up of Grimm’s fairy tale characters, from Little Red Riding Hood to Jack and the Beanstalk—to downtown Chico. All Shook Up, Chico Theater Company (April 19-May 12): “The story is all new; the hits are all Elvis.” What else is there to say!? The Prom, Chico State – Laxson Auditorium (May 2-5): This 2019 musical follows four well-intentioned Broadway actors who bring their “celebrity” and their egos to conservative middle-America to come to the defense of a young lesbian whose been banned from bringing her girlfriend to her high school prom. The New York Times called it “a joyful hoot. With its kinetic dancing, broad mugging and belty anthems, it makes you believe in musical comedy again.” The Taming of the Shrew, Cedar Grove – Bidwell Park (May 29-June 9): Legacy Stage is back with more Shakespeare in the Park for late-spring, this year a “bold, pink, completely untamed” interpretation of this Shakespearean Comedy. Little Shop of Horrors, Birdcage Theatre (June 6-16): This community theater mainstay has it all—music, horror, comedy and a giant, talking, carnivorous plant. Insertion, Theatre on the Ridge (June 6-23): A new comedy about a young intern at an erotic-fiction publisher who, upon being presented with the opportunity of a lifetime, learns everything she can about sex in a “serious of hilarious, harrowing, and heartwarming escapades.” Tootsie, First Street Theater (June 6-23): Tony Award-winning musical based on the movie of the same name and centered on the story of an actor who resorts to adopting a new identity as a woman in order to land a job. The Savannah Sipping Society, Chico Theater Company (June 7-23): Four Southern women navigate their mid-life crises together in this joyful comedy. Ω JANUARY 11, 2024




Hot ticket Bonfire Storytelling series bringing multi-generational tales to sellout crowds

A violet, nor is she a stranger to the stage. As a seasoned actor, writer, cie “Twitch” Schiff is no shrinking

punk musician, concert promoter and out-and-proud trans person, by she is usually Ken Smith unfazed by selfexpression, or by kens@ n ewsrev iew.c om crowds. But that wasn’t the case one night last Next Bonfire: November, when Bonfire Storytelling, Schiff found herFeb. 2, 7 p.m. self shaking in Tickets: $15 Available 2/14 the wings at the at Chico Women’s & Ikoda Collective Club, preparing (232 Broadway) to share a deeply Chico Women’s Club personal story 592 E. Third St. about her father to a packed house for that month’s installment of Bonfire Storytelling. “I was so nervous before I went on … I was literally trembling, and



JANUARY 11, 2024

The performers and hosts of the Nov. 2 Bonfire Storytelling event on stage for the show at the Chico Women’s Club and (at right) around the table during a rehearsal the previous month. PHOTOS COURTESY OF BONFIRE STORYTELLING

that’s just not something that happens to me anymore,” Schiff said recently. “But I realized I was sharing my story on stage with other people who were also baring their souls, in an environment of accepting people who wanted to hear what we had to share.” Schiff made it through her story with aplomb, and said the feeling of accomplishment from the rare opportunity to combine her love of writing and performance—as well as the overwhelming audience response— made it well worth it. “The applause afterward … it just felt like so much more than from singing someone else’s song or reciting a Shakespeare monologue, because every part of what they were reacting to was me.” Bonfire is a recurring storytelling event held during the first week of each month. At each event, a multi-

generational ensemble of six storytellers—one from each decade, from their teens through their 80s—tells a 10-minute personal tale based on a theme. In Schiff’s case, the November theme was “We Are Family.” Others have included “Ghosts” (October) and “Endings” (December). As the old adage goes, “Everyone has a story to tell.” If Bonfire’s success is a fair indicator, then local audiences are eager to hear those tales. Since debuting at Ama Posey Studios in June (with an allLGBTQ roster in honor of Pride Month), the event has outgrown two venues (it was also held at 330 Wall Street in the space once known as the Wall Street Center for the Arts—now law offices). Since moving to the Chico Women’s Club last November, every show has sold out the 180-capacity space, in as fast as 15 minutes. The event is organized and hosted by Bonnie Pipkin, who Bonfire Storytelling founder Bonnie Pipkin. PHOTO BY KAIA ANDERSON

grew up in Chico and cut her teeth on stage at the Blue Room Theatre beforemoving to New York City at the age of 18, where she lived for nearly two decades. In New York, she regularly attended storytelling events like The Moth and Generation Women, the latter of which inspired Bonfire’s multi-generational format. Since returning to Chico a few years ago, she’s hosted salon-style birthday parties every March, at which many guests would choose to tell a story for their performance. She pondered doing a public event, and after Posey offered her former studio space as a venue, she decided to jump in with both feet. “I decided to go for it and to make it a monthly thing,” Pipkin said. “I knew that would be extra work, but wanted it to be that way so it could

grow, and to be consistent so that people would know it’s there and will be there when they’re ready to go to it. And people have responded, it seems to have really struck a chord here.” Pipkin said she designed the event to grow, hoping that each installment’s storytellers would have their own draw and that those storytellers and audience members would return and spread the word, but that she “had no idea it would snowball the way it has.” To date she’s only purchased advertising once—announcing the premier event in this publication—and relies entirely on social media (@bonfirestorytellingchico on Instagram and her personal Facebook page) and word of mouth for promotion. Pipkin hand-selects the storytellers for each event, with some help from her “co-conspirator” Dylan Latimer (another prodigal Chicoan and Blue Room alum who spent decades in the Big Apple before returning to town). In the month running up to performances, the storytellers meet several times with Pipkin, Latimer and each other to refine and rehearse their stories. She said that, in addition to ensuring age representation, she makes an effort to cultivate diversity and amplify underrepresented voices by always featuring queer people and people of color. “I want it to be a reflection of our community and our world,” Pipkin said, adding that an ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter has

been included at each show since September. Pipkin decided to shake up the format a bit for the first two Bonfire events of 2024. Jan. 4 was the “Wild Card Show,” a “story slam”-style event at which potential storytellers were chosen at random to tell a five-minute tale based on the prompt “It’s Kind of a Funny Story.” The top storytellers (judged by a panel of previous participants, including Schiff) won cash prizes. February will feature neurodivergent storytellers and a theme of “Love.” In March, Bonfire will return to its regular format, and Pipkin intends to make the Women’s Club the event’s permanent home. She also said she plans to extend each monthly outing to two nights, with the same set of storytellers for both shows. “There’s something that happens in the room the night of the show … it’s connection,” Pipkin said of Bonfire, and of the art of storytelling in general. “I think we don’t take a lot of time, in general, to truly listen to someone’s story. Having a roomful of people holding that space for someone on stage … energetically, that feels really powerful. And I think that’s what has really resonated with people in the community. “This is a time in the world when we are seeing people dehumanized and I think the act of telling a story is humanizing, and that’s meaningful at this moment in time.” Ω

JANUARY 11, 2024




YODEL-AY-BLEEP-BLOOP This column is Arts DEVO’s happy place— standing in the middle of the local arts scene, taking in a wide view of the comings and goings of local and visiting creators and painting a picture of the eclectic scene to share with readers. As I survey the next month or so, the local arts spectrum is typically colorful and the wide range is perhaps best illustrated on one end by: The Last of the Vaudeville Cowboys ... Rick Crowder lives in Paradise and his yodeling-cowboy alter-ego Sourdough Slim has toured the country for more than 30 years, playing fairs, cowboy poetry gatherings and folk festivals, as well as some of the Sourdough Slim and Robert Armstrong most famous venues in the country, PHOTO BY VERN EVANS including the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. He’s been featured in the Los Angeles Times and performed on Good Morning America and will be playing the Barn at Meriam Park Jan. 12, 5-7 p.m. As if Slim wasn’t enough of a draw, joining him for set of Western swing, country-blues, vintage jazz, cowboy classics and comedy bits is none other than Robert Armstrong, one of the most important underground comics artists (creator of Micky Rat), and bandmate to R. Crumb in the retro-swing outfit, the Cheap Suit Serenaders. And it’s a free show! On the other end of the spectrum:

The Diva of the Diode … The annual New Music Symposium at Chico State is perhaps the most consistently innovative arts event of the year in these parts. The two-day showcase features one concert of original music by student composers, and one featuring a performance by a visiting artist. Guest performers have included such experimental/new-music luminaries as minimalist trailblazer Terry Riley, and this year’s headliner is none other than Suzanne Ciani synthesizer pioneer Suzanne Ciani. The PHOTO BY MARIA JOSE GOVEA five-time Grammy-nominated composer and musician/sound artist has has had a long, wild career that’s included museum installations, neo-classical compositions/recordings, commercial jingles and studio sound effects (the sound of a Coke bottle opening, and the swoosh in the chorus of “Afternoon Delight”—both are Ciani), and immersive quadraphonic performances on the legendary Buchla 200e modular synthesizer. The last one will be what Ciani will present for day two of the symposium, on Feb. 16. The students are on stage the day before (Feb. 15); both concerts take place in Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m., and both are free!

WHAT NOW? As y’all are undoubtedly aware, this here is the final print version of this col-

umn. It’s the 723rd time I’ve filled up these page inches with my arts blatherings. In addition to these analog relics, there are another 32 digital-only renditions that filled the gaps during COVID, and that number will grow as the CN&R and Arts DEVO move to virtual publication only. Here’s hoping all you artists, rockers, scenesters and freaks will meet me online with your ideas for trouble and fun, so I can share and we can all continue to party together and keep Chico from turning into just another boring-ass town. Rock on, my friends.



JANUARY 11, 2024

FREE WILL ASTROLOGY FoR the week oF JANUARY 11, 2024 ARIES (March 21-April 19): Why do birds

sing? They must be expressing their joy at being alive, right? And in some cases, they are trying to impress and attract potential mates. Ornithologists tell us that birds are also staking out their turf by chirping their melodies. Flaunting their vigor is a sign to other birds of how strong and commanding they are. In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you Aries humans to sing more than ever before in 2024. Like birds, you have a mandate to boost your joie de vivre and wield more authority. Here are 10 reasons why singing is good for your health: tinyurl. com/HealthySinging

bY Rob bRezsNY for guidance. He was assigned to perform 12 daunting feats, most of which modern people would regard as unethical, like killing and stealing. There was one labor that encouraged integrity, though. Heracles had to clean the stables where over a thousand divine cattle lived. The place hadn’t been scrubbed in 30 years! As I meditated on your hero’s journey in the coming months, Libra, I concluded that you’d be wise to begin with a less grandiose version of Heracles’ work in the stables. Have fun as you cheerfully tidy up everything in your life! By doing so, you will earn the power to experience many deep and colorful adventures in the coming months.


TELL YOUR STORY Do you need a credible way to get information out there?

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Which zodiac SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I will name sign is most likely to have a green thumb? Who would most astrologers regard as the best gardener? Who would I call on if I wanted advice on when to harvest peaches, how to love and care for roses as they grow, or how to discern which weeds might be helpful and useful? The answer, according to my survey, is Taurus. And I believe you Bulls will be even more fecund than usual around plants in 2024. Even further, I expect you to be extra fertile and creative in every area of your life. I hereby dub you Maestro of the Magic of Germination and Growth.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Research I’ve

found suggests that 70 percent of us have experienced at least one traumatic event in our lives. But I suspect the percentage is higher. For starters, everyone has experienced the dicey expulsion from the warm, nurturing womb. That’s usually not a low-stress event. The good news, Gemini, is that now and then there come phases when we have more power than usual to heal from our traumas. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, the coming months will be one of those curative times for you.

two taboos I think you should break in 2024. The first is the theory that you must hurt or suppress yourself to help others. The second is that you must hurt or suppress others to benefit yourself. Please scour away any delusion you might have that those two strategies could genuinely serve you. In their place, substitute these hypotheses: 1. Being good to yourself is the best way to prepare for helping others. 2. Being good to others is the best way to benefit yourself.

“Doubt has killed more dreams than failure ever will,” says Sagittarian author Suzy Kassem. Many of us have had the experience of avoiding a quest for success because we are too afraid of being defeated or demoralized. “Loss aversion” is a well-known psychological concept that applies when we are so anxious about potential loss that we don’t pursue the possible gain. In my astrological estimation, you Centaurs should be especially on guard against this inhibiting factor in 2024. I am confident you can rise above it, but to do so, you must be alert for its temptation—and eager to summon new reserves of courage.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): At their

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In 2024,

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Here are my wishes

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

best, Libras foster vibrant harmony that energizes social situations. At their best, Scorpios stimulate the talents and beauty of those they engage with. Generous Leos and Sagittarians inspire enthusiasm in others by expressing their innate radiance. Many of us may get contact highs from visionary, deep-feeling Pisceans. In 2024, Cancerian, I believe you can call on all these modes as you brighten and nurture the people in your sphere—even if you have no Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Leo, or Pisces influences in your astrological chart. for you in 2024. 1. I hope you will rigorously study historical patterns in your life story. I hope you will gather robust insights into the rhythms and themes of your amazing journey. 2. You will see clearly what parts of your past are worth keeping and which are better outgrown and left behind. 3. You will come to a new appreciation of the heroic quest you have been on. You will feel excited about how much further your quest can go. 4. You will feel gratitude for the deep inner sources that have been guiding you all these years. 5. You will be pleased to realize how much you have grown and ripened.

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

Eduardo Galeano mourned how our institutions condition us to divorce our minds from our hearts and our bodies from our souls. Even sadder, many of us deal with these daunting schisms by becoming numb to them. The good news, Virgo, is that I expect 2024 to be one of the best times ever for you to foster reconciliation between the split-off parts of yourself. Let’s call this the Year of Unification. May you be inspired to create both subtle and spectacular fusions of your fragmented parts. Visualize your thoughts and feelings weaving together in elegant harmony. Imagine your material and spiritual needs finding common sources of nourishment.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): According to ancient Greek myth, the half-divine hero Heracles consulted the Oracle of Delphi

Do you have a complex story that needs to be told?

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):

I predict you will be blessed with elegant and educational expansion—but also challenged by the possibility of excessive, messy expansion. Soulful magnificence could vie for your attention with exorbitant extravagance. Even as you are offered valuable novelties that enhance your sacred and practical quests, you may be tempted with lesser inducements you don’t really need. For optimal results, Capricorn, I urge you to avoid getting distracted by irrelevant goodies. Usher your fate away from pretty baubles and towards felicitous beauty.

people feel that “wealth” refers primarily to financial resources. If you’re wealthy, it means you have a lot of money, luxurious possessions, and lavish opportunities to travel. But wealth can also be measured in other ways. Do you have an abundance of love in your life? Have you enjoyed many soulful adventures? Does your emotional intelligence provide rich support for your heady intelligence? I bring this up, Aquarius, because I believe 2024 will be a time when your wealth will increase. The question for you to ruminate on: How do you define wealth?

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “No one

can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life,” said philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Here’s my response to that bold declaration: It’s utterly WRONG! No one in the history of the world has ever built anything solely by their own efforts, let alone a bridge to cross the river of life. Even if you are holed up in your studio working on a novel, painting, or invention, you are absolutely dependent on the efforts of many people to provide you with food, water, electricity, clothes, furniture, and all the other goodies that keep you functioning. It’s also unlikely that anyone could create anything of value without having received a whole lot of love and support from other humans. Sorry for the rant, Pisces. It’s a preface for my very positive prediction: In 2024, you will have substantial help in building your bridge across the river of life. for Rob Brezsny’s EXPANDED WEEKLY AUDIO HOROSCOPES and DAILY TEXT MESSAGE HOROSCOPES. The audio horoscopes are also available by phone at 1-877-873-4888.

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