Highlighting artists, community and cultural events in Bakersfield, CA.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Be back soon...

BakoArtistConnect is on holiday hiatus but will be returning in the new year. Bako look out--2010 is gonna ROCK!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

On Stage Now....

I hope you’re enjoying the rainy Bako weather. It certainly seems like a good time to curl up by a cat, enjoy a seasonal beverage and hope for a burn day to satisfy your craving for smoke-scented clothing. BUT….if instead, you feel like stretching your legs around town, perhaps in order to take in an art event or more, there are plenty of choices in all genres.

One holiday option is Christ Church of the Valley’s (CCV) 3rd Annual Christmas Wonder holiday celebration which benefits the Bakersfield Rescue Mission. Christmas Wonder’s theme this year is “An Island Christmas” so if you are longing for balmy summer days, you may wish to join CCV at 13701 Stockdale Highway each weekend night between 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Admission is only $5.00 and the event includes local performing groups, island singers, a dazzling light display, Christmas theater (including the Christmas Story featuring the music and lyrics of The Beatles (this I gotta see!), food, an art show, sand castle sculpture, cookies to decorate and more.

This entry I want to give you a listing of December’s theater options in Bakersfield. I am so proud to be able to share with you the diverse programs that each of these hard-working theaters have prepared. Yes, folks, this is Bakersfield…


Empty Space, 706 Oak St.
661 327-7529
“Hurry Up Santa” (Family friendly holiday show)
Fri/Sat 8pm
Sun 2pm
Admission: Donation (Suggested: $15/adults, $10/students, seniors
Doors open 30 minutes before showtime
“Annual Raunchy Sketch Comedy” (Adult comedy show)
Sat 11pm
Admission: $6.00
Doors open at 10:45 p.m.
Major League Improv (Family friendly comedy improve show)
Sat 6pm
FREE—Donations gladly accepted

The Gaslight Melodrama, 12748 Jomani Dr
661 587-3377
Gaslight’s Holiday Extravaganza & Holiday Vaudeville Revue
Tues-Sun through 12/23/09
Admission: $22/adults, children $20/Seniors (60+)
**Weekend performances appear to be sold-out (according to website) but some weeknights still available**

Bakersfield Community Theater, 2400 S Chester Ave
661 831-8114
“As Is” Directed by Billie Joe Fox (All but abandoned by friends and family, a man infected with AIDS is taken care of by his lover)
December 11, 12, 18, 19 at 8pm
December 6, 13 at 2pm
Admission: $15/General $12/Seniors, active military, students w/ID

Spotlight Theatre, 1622 19th St
661 634-0692
“Secret Garden” (Classic children’s tale brought to life)
December 11, 12, 18, 19, 26, January 1, 2 8pm
December 6, 13, 20, 27 2pm
Call for prices/reservations

Stars Theatre Restaurant, 1931 Chester Ave
661 325-6100
“The Honky Tonk Angel Holiday Spectacular”
December 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19
Thurs-Sat doors at 6:30pm
Sunday matinee doors at 12:30pm
Admission: Call for prices/reservations

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Homelessness, loss and isolation themes of exhibits at Bakersfield Museum of Art

December 10th, at the Bakersfield Museum of Art, a five-exhibit display on the themes of homelessness, loss and isolation begins.  More information on the GO.SEE.DO. sidebar and at http://www.bmoa.org/.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The New Face of Bako Part II

One thing you’ll notice, if you hang around the Arts District or Bako artists for any length of time, is that no one does this scene alone. Artists in this economy and in this environment have learned all too well that without support, without friends, without giving, you don’t get much of anywhere. BakoArtistConnect-ing is all about forming a network of artists and art lovers who want to create something really special in our little neck-of-the-woods. Actually, we may be looking towards creating a place we no longer refer to with phrases involving necks or woods. Anyway, a couple of days ago I shared some simple tips to getting “in” on the emerging Bako art scene. Today I take that notion a little deeper by offering some choices which will stretch you a bit more but which will aide your immersion into the new Bako culture.

SPEND. After all the time and effort you’ve spent creating your artwork you’ll be able to better appreciate the energy and talent of other artists you meet. Don’t forget to leave a little extra in your budget to support those peeps who are paving the way for all of us. In this new art culture, being a benefactor is extremely affordable. $5-10.00 is sometimes all it takes to encourage and/or feed an artist for another day!

PROMOTE. You don’t have to start a Bako arts & culture blog to be a promoter of the arts (although you could….). As you learn about events, share your new-found knowledge with your friends. At most events you’ll find a stack of flyers for upcoming concerts or exhibits. Grab a few and pass them out to someone you think would be interested. Grow the scene! Or….

VOLUNTEER. Good starting point: Bakersfield Museum of Art (BMOA). (www.BMOA.org) The museum needs volunteers for a variety of events and functions. Opportunities range from a few hours weekly, monthly or even yearly. Learn about art. Meet artists. Gain some art knowledge. Be an art hero! But….

STAY OPEN. Don’t be a snob. Bakersfield has a long way to go. Deal with it. Take the good with the bad, the exceptional with the puerile. There are gems in the rough that YOU can discover—about which later you can say, “I saw that/knew her/ate there/went to that—way back when,” and you can say it with all the smug satisfaction that only one who has travailed in the indie trenches of an underground culture can muster. What fun!

So now I want to hear from you. What are you doing to ensure our Bakersfield arts scene expands and thrives over the next few years? How can we work together? I’m looking forward to the day our scene is something we can all brag about. How about YOU?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quick Note

I know I said in a previous post that The Empty Space production, Beyond Therapy, directed by Ron Warren, was closing last weekend, but I stand corrected! You get another chance to catch the play Friday or Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. According to Julie Jordan Scott, one of the stars of the show, “Folks can laugh off turkey.” Ha! Great idea—even I can handle that kind of exercise! Admission is free but donations welcome (so be generous peeps, keep Bako art alive). Suggested donation is $15.00/adults, $10.00/students, seniors. The Empty Space is located at 706 Oak Street. Call for more info: 661 327 PLAY (7529)

Monday, November 23, 2009

The New Face of Bako Part I

The face of Bakersfield is changing. It really is. I hope you’re taking advantage of this transitional time in Bakoland to become part of that change—to become part of the new culture—in all its abstract, awkward, last-kid-picked, stumbling, groping-in-the-dark and awakening in Oz renewal. Parts of downtown are being revitalized as I write and as you read. New art galleries are taking shape. Progress is making strides. Diversity is coming to town. What are you doing to become part of the contemporary urban landscape? Or do you want to belong but don’t know how to join? Psst..here’s a little secret, “It’s easy.”

The following are a few options which you can do now to get “in” on the up-and-coming Bako art scene. (Tomorrow I’ll give you a few more to take you to the next level.)

SOCIALLY NETWORK.  Do you want to meet artists working in various media? Would you like to be the first to find out what events will be happening before the general public gets a whiff of the action? Social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Bakersfield’s own Bakotopia.com are abuzz with artists who are constantly updating their “friends” with news about their art, their events and even their personal lives. This is a great arena to meet people who share common interests and who will inevitably be at the kinds of events you will want to attend. Speaking of….

ATTEND EVENTS. Now that you know about First Friday, that great new exhibit opening at Surface or Metro or Younger Galleries, the ribbon-cutting for the new restaurant opening in the Arts District, or that writing class your new Twitter friend, Nick Belardes, is teaching—GO! Take part, become a regular face about Bako. You’ll see there are a lot of us, and we’re always looking for new members to join the ranks of our very non-exclusive club. So….

JOIN. If you are an artist in Bakersfield (or want to be an artist in Bakersfield) you NEED to join BECA (Bakersfield Emerging Contemporary Artists). This welcoming and accepting non-profit organization, which you can find on the web at www.BECA.ws, meets regularly to network, plan and attend art events in Bakersfield. With BECA, you get to choose when and how much to participate, so if you’re interested in actively creating the Bako scene, get to know the leaders of BECA—your input will be appreciated! Then….

CREATE. You write poetry. You draw cartoons. You create YouTube videos. You make your friends weep (in a good way) with your culinary skills. You knit your family Christmas gifts each year. You are an artist. Do not fear the “A” word. Embrace it. Create. Create. Create. And then share. Share. Share! Use that Bakotopia account to post a blog, or upload your photography. Now that you know that the Arts Council of Kern (www.kernarts.org) posts their call to artists regularly, get your best work together and try your hand at a juried art show. Or, submit work to BECA’s annual Burn the Witch all-women art collaborative. Don’t just be a spectator—Bako needs your creativity.

Simple, right? Meet me back here soon for a few more tips to take you further on your path to BakoArtistConnect-ing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend Alert!!

Ahhhh… the weekend in Bakersfield.. What shall we do? That depends. Do you enjoy film? Are you into fine art? Like free stuff and an elegant atmosphere? Is reading your thing? Do you have kids to entertain? Or would you like to catch some live theater? Well, here’s a short list of things to do this weekend to get you started on your quest for weekend fun!

(Friday Night) FLICS at The Fox Theater presents, Goodbye Solo, an American film by director Ramin Bahrani at 7:30 p.m. $5.00/General Admission. The film examines the attempts of a cab driver to befriend an older gentleman he believes is contemplating suicide. The movie has been described as, “Powerful”, “Inspiring”, and even “Cheerful”. In English; rated R.

(Friday & Saturday) It’s the last weekend to catch Beyond Therapy, a tale of awkward yet comic relationships, directed by Ron Warren, at The Empty Space, 706 Oak St. The production is FREE with donation. (Suggested donation is $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.) Call to make your reservation to guarantee your seat! 661 327-PLAY (7529) Dates: November 20, 21 at 8:00 p.m.

(Friday, Saturday & Sunday) Come and take part in a new Bakersfield tradition, the Beaujolais Nouveau Fest at Valentien Restaurant and Wine Bar, 3310 Truxtun Ave, Suite 160. Celebrate the new vintage and enjoy a special menu, wine tasting, live music, grape stomping and more! Also, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, Valentien will be having a “Give and Get” promotion all weekend: On Friday, if you donate a new or gently used blanket you will be the recipient of a FREE Small Plate; on Saturday, bring in NEW personal grooming items (dental, hair care, etc.) and Valentien will give you a FREE bowl of French onion soup; Sunday, anyone donating a new or gently used coat will be given a FREE dessert! C’est Bon!

(Saturday) Nick Belardes and Company will be at Russo’s Books at the Marketplace (9000 Ming Avenue, #I-4) 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Nick will be reading an excerpt from his book, “Random Obsessions” as well as reciting poetry, while retired creative writing professor and special guest, Nancy Edwards, will also recite poetry. Landen Belardes and Alex Mitts will be performing acoustic music. Autographed copies of Nick’s book will also be available for purchase—could make a great stocking stuffer!!

(Saturday) For the kiddies, Border’s Book Store will be having a Polar Express Pajama Party at 11:00 a.m. at their store located at 4980 Stockdale Highway. Activites are based on the classic children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg and will include games, stories, bells and more. Call 661 328-9800 for more information.

(Also!) This weekend would be a fantastic time to check out the various art exhibits on display around Bakersfield. Surface Gallery, at 1703 20th St, currently has a beautiful show of fresh, modern pottery entitled, “A Trio of Oakland Potters: Jason Dunn, Noelle Nakama, and Hue Yang.” Pieces are available at every price level. The gallery is open 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Saturday. Contact Surface Gallery: 661 323-4090

The Bakersfield Museum of Art, 1930 R St., wraps up its gorgeous Dia de los Muertos, Colors of China and Eye Street Gallery exhibits as it prepares to make room for a new opening in December. Don’t miss your opportunity to catch this local and international mix of artwork on display until November 22. Bonus: Saturday is Free Family Day/Arts and Sciences Day with FREE admission and kid-friendly activities from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.(museum opens at 12:00 p.m.) Visit www.BMOA.org or contact David Gordon at 661 323 7219 for more information.

This is also the last weekend to catch the diverse photography collections of Susan Reep, Altered Landscapes and Michael Fagans, Unguarded Moments at Metro Galleries, 1604 19th Street, before a new exhibit opens in this space. Susan’s hand-crafted collage work and Michael’s behind-the-scenes glimpses of war complement and contrast each other on literally two levels of the downtown gallery. Metro Galleries hours are 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.


Friday, November 13, 2009

To My Dearest Bako, CA:

My Dear Bako:

I am so sorry. I've neglected you. Although your  events have continued and your gatherings have dazzled, my attention has been on things far less interesting and much less rewarding than your downtown streets, your cultural hideaways.. Forgive me. I vow to return--to show my true love to your art scene. Truly, we have a long way to go!


(In other words: Sorry guys! New blogs, pics, videos, polls, events & more coming next week!! Starting late November, BakoArtistConnect will be better than ever!! Stay connected!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

First Friday is November 6, 2009

Look at that--another month gone and time once again for the Arts District party, First Friday! This month: New pottery exhibit at Surface Gallery, continuing photography exhibit at Metro Galleries, always wonderful open house atmosphere at several downtown boutiques, artwork from BECA (Bakersfield Emerging Contemporary Artists), Pasta on the Patio at Spotlight Cafe... what else? Live music, free food and wine and an ever-growing community of artits and art-lovers like you! Be there!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What the Aztecs and the Irish have in common:

If you're looking for something low-key, enjoyable and refreshing to wind you down from your Halloween candy high, you are in luck! Even more so because the events I'm about to describe are all FREE.

First up, head to Bakersfield Museum of Art, 1930 R Street, between 1:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Sunday November 1st, for free admission to all exhibits. Currently on display: Eyestreet Gallery featuring local art and artists, The Colors of China--paintings, calligraphy and children's art, and a fantastic Dia de los Muertos exhibit which today takes center stage. In honor of the dead (which is whom Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead honors), several local families will erect altars in the garden area in remembrance of loved ones who have departed this life. Beginning at 3:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. the public will be invited in to view these altars. There will also be food available for purchase (I'm hoping for a taste of authentic tamales) and not-to-be-missed art displays within the museum. After viewing the exhibit twice, I implore you to give yourself plenty of time to peruse the exhibits. There is so much to see and experience you will want to savor it slowly. Eyestreet Gallery, The Colors of China and Dia de los Muertos are open through November 22nd.

Also Sunday, if it's music you have a longing for, you may have your fill at a free concert at the First Congretional Church, 5 Real Road (corner of Real Road and Stockdale Highway), where local Celtic music favorites, Banshee in the Kitchen, perform their energetic blend of traditional and modern Irish music from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. This is a free treat and a preview of what to expect from this all-female band who will also be performing at next week's First Annual Bakersfield Celtic Music Festival (Noon-9:00 p.m., November 7, 2009 at CSUB Amphitheater--more details soon). These ladies are all very accomplished musicians and artists in their own right. Don't miss this chance to become a fan!

If after all that you still wish to celebrate a bit or a whole lot more, November 2, 2009, Dia de los Muertos continues at Golden State Mall, 3201 F Street, from 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. The 17th Annual Dia de los Muertos Expo 2009 promises to be colorful, traditional, cultural and artistic. Performances, crafts, art, food, a parade, the dead, the living, music, celebration--all together in one event. What could be better? Right, it's FREE.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Prep Guide

BOO! Did I scare ya? Whether or not you celebrate Halloween, it is certainly that ghoulish time of year. With a bevy of brewings going on in Bako that are spook-related I thought I’d give you my top picks for the rest of the week to get you in the spirit.. err.. mood.

Wednesday, October 28th: Head to Metro Special Events, 2801 F Street, from 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. for The NeverEnding Comedy Show. Not only will you get laughs from local talent Brian Ross, Dane Forst, Ernesto Gomez, James Mongold, and Joe Alaniz, your holiday tie-in includes Witches! The continuing Burn the Witch all female group art show will be on exhibit to enjoy during the comedy performance. Admission to the 21 and over show is $5.00 and beer is available for only $2.50. Proceeds from the show benefit BECA (Bakersfield Emerging Contemporary Artists). Go get your ha-ha!

Thursday, October 29th: Need an adrenaline rush? This might be a good night to head to Talladega Frights, located at Fruitvale-Norris Park (6221 Norris Road), and let the cast of crazy characters at this haunted house scare a little life out of you. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. every night this week. Admission is $12.00 at the door, but you may still be able to find $2.00 off coupons at one of the attraction’s sponsors. Visit http://www.talladegafrights.com/ for more information.

Friday, October 30th: FLICS at the Fox returns with a vampire-themed presentation that will thrill and chill you. Although the film includes young actors in the lead roles, this bloody but beautiful movie (according to on-line reviews) is not a children’s film—Let the Right One In is rated R. This is sure to be a popular draw—you may wish to get there well before the 7:30 p.m. showtime. Admission is $5.00. The Fox Theater is located at the corner of H and 20th Streets.

Saturday, October 31st: It’s Halloween! Grab your costume and head to the closing reception of Burn the Witch IV at Metro Special Events, 2801 F Street, from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Check out the eclectic, the weird, the beautiful, the serene, the passion and the expressions that our local women artists have created. This is a great opportunity to purchase local artwork at very reasonable prices and support BECA (Bakersfield Emerging Contemporary Artists) and The Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault. A costume contest is also on the agenda—along with food, wine and live entertainment. Admission is only $5.00.

After Burn the Witch, join the patio crowd at Valentien Restaurant and Wine Bar, 3310 Truxtun Avenue, Suite 160, where Cinema Saturdays ends its October run with a zombie double-feature: Night of the Living Dead (original version) at 7:00 p.m. followed by the comedy-horror spoof, Shaun of the Dead at 8:45 p.m. Sit on the patio, meet some cool Bako peeps (or Tweeps!), enjoy a glass of wine, a delicious chocolate souffle or even a full course meal served by a most attentive and hospitable staff. Wear a costume & you'll even receive a sweet treat--A perfect end to your trick-or-treat week!

Happy Halloweenie! See you out there!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hey! Where ya been?

Bottleneck Brain. A condition referring to the conflict between having waited too long between writing and a plethora of events, ideas, moods, weather patterns….etcetera, floating around which could readily be adapted into material. Common to bloggers, journalists, writers et al.

First off, my apologies for taking the last week “off.” Although I was on hiatus attending to personal business, Bako certainly didn’t take a vacation! There were openings, presentations, concerts, film screenings, festivals, readings, art classes—you know, the norm for our bustling cultural hive. Some things are over, but lucky for me (and you) some things continue:

Larry Jason’s exhibit, “Body Language,” at JP Jennings (corner of 17th and Chester), runs through November 15th. Passing by the storefront windows, colorful, larger-than-life faces and figures visibly invite one inside to take a closer look. Jason’s canvases of bright, painted suits are a temptation to stick one’s own head above the silk-screened torsos in order to create a new artwork. (Although, as much as I really want to, I don’t think I’ll try this in person.) Stop in to see these bold graphics, as well as paintings of classic cars—their muscles flexing at sexy angles—and other artwork from local artists adorning the walls of the framing shop/gallery. JP Jennings is open Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:30(ish) p.m. (Tip: Call first if it’s getting close to closing time: (661) 323-1622.)

On October 17th, Burn the Witch IV, sponsored by BECA (Bakersfield Emerging Contemporary Artists), broke out on the scene amidst some controversy, mystery and just a touch of chaos. But, as should be expected from an all-female group art collaborative in Bako, the real story is amazing, beautiful artistry from many wonderfully creative women. So far I’ve only seen photographs, but even in pictures the pieces are inspiring, fun, eclectic and have whetted my appetite for more. Thankfully, the opening is not to be outdone by the closing—Halloween, from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.—at Metro Special Events, 2801 F Street. Admission is only $5.00 and benefits Alliance against Family Violence and Sexual Assault. Wear a costume! Support art in Bakersfield! And psst…. I’m proud to say, there’s even a few photos from yours truly in the exhibit. See you there!

Okay, I’ll be posting more soon along with a new Go.See.Do. and photos from some of the coolest happenings in Bakersfield, California. Check back sooooon….

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Weekend Shooting Schedule--Just need YOU!!


The Highway 99 Cruise 'n' Show begins Friday night and continues all weekend through Sunday afternoon. Come downtown for the festivities--dress for the sockhop and enter the Nifty 50's Costume Contest at Caffeine Supreme (20th & F), or let your dog wear the poodle skirt for the Nifty 50's Best Dressed Doggy Contest at Biscuit Doggy Boutique (1617 19th St). There's even a 50's Dance Contest, Fire Station One Birthday Party, Rockabilly Concert, kids area and pumpkin patch plus plenty of awesome cars.

Also Saturday and Sunday, make time to head over to The Marketplace to catch Via Arte 2009.  Now in its 11th year, the event is sure to be fantastic as always. Professional, amateur and student artists will be creating chalk masterpieces in the parking areas in front of Starbucks and Tahoe Joe's and an area open for children to create their own pieces of sidewalk art will also be available. Live music and entertainment is scheduled throughout the event including Saturday's offerings of smooth jazz with Tony O'Brien, Claydoh the Clown, Bahiyya Almas Belly Dancers, Thee Majestics, The Beagles and Mento Buru . On Sunday, AKA, Chesterfield King & the Sultans of Swing as well as Claydoh the Clown and Bahiyya Almas Belly Dancers will be performing.

Another interesting suggestion is the 2nd Annual Coptic Festival at St. Demiana Coptic Orthodox Church of Bakersfield, 9200 White Lane. Saturday and  Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. festivities will include, food, childrens's activities, photo opps with "The Kings and Queens of Egypt", books, crafts, gifts, church tours and an informational film. The Coptic faith is the largest denomination of Christianity in Egypt. Expand your cultural horizons with a visit to the Coptic Festival--admission is free!

And if you like quirky films, Saturday night don't forget to stop by Valentien Restaurant and Wine Bar, 3310 Truxtun Ave, Suite 160, for "Cinema Saturdays". Free wine-tasting at 8:45 p.m. (Get there early 'cause when it's gone, it's gone!) and free show at 9:00 p.m. "Harold and Maude" will be playing this Saturday; additional movies will be scheduled each Saturday in October.

Don't you dare say there's nothing to do in Bakersfield!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Weekend Recap/What's coming up!

So, First Friday I decided to stray a bit from my usual routine of sticking to the galleries and instead spent some more time experiencing a few of the businesses on 19th Street. I wandered into Ellie Jaye’s Boutique, 1608 19th St., and was immediately impressed with the creative spirit of the store. This is the kind of shop you’ll want to check out if you need a unique gift for a child or a fun, fashionable outfit for your little girl or guy. You can also shop on-line at http://www.elliejayes.com/. Although the store is the main attraction, the owners are expanding their space with the addition of a licensed massage therapist within the building (Simply Jerry Massage Therapy 661 619-6121) as well as a photography studio which is currently being built upstairs (Solorzano Photography 661 827-8279).

After some sweet snacks at Ellie Jaye’s, I headed over to Kuka’s, 1609 19th St., where the warmth of the Mexican folk art, fine gifts and furnishings awaited. I sampled the delicious variety of chips, dips, salsa and crackers being offered, and just had to take home a package of dip mix for future munching. The distinctive way Kuka’s bags your selection is a signature flourish that makes any purchase feel decadent–even if it’s just a dip mix! Go to http://www.kukasfolkart.com/ to see many of the beautiful items for sale in the store.

Warmed up and ready for a meal, I headed over to the Spotlight Café, inside Spotlight Theatre, 1622 19th St., where each First Friday the Café serves a pasta meal for only $6.95. There was a crowd inside the theater waiting to see the opening night of Evil Dead: The Musical (now playing weekends during October), but I found a place on the patio which was perfect for people watching and enjoying the amazing weather. All the options sounded excellent, but I chose the fettucini with chicken and zucchini. Yummy! Apparently this is a First Friday routine for some–I will happily follow their tradition.

Lest I forget, however, I did begin the evening at MetroGalleries, 1604 19th St., where a new exhibit of photography featuring collage work from Susan Reep (Altered Landscapes) and a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of soldiers in Afghanistan by Michael Fagans (Unguarded Moments) will be on display until November 28th. It is a fascinating mix of the real and surreal with an invitation to decide for yourself which is which. Check it out. While at Metro, I sampled delectable appetizers from Valentien, 3310 Truxtun Ave., #160,  and visited with one of the owners of that restaurant and wine bar, Jennifer Sanderson. During October, she tells me, Valentien is playing host for “Cinema Saturdays,” which features a different film each week. La Dolce Vita and Amelie were two of the previous offerings and Harold and Maude will be playing this Saturday at 9:00 p.m. The wine bar and kitchen will also be open for late night noshing and imbibing.
On Sunday, I stumbled upon one event while waiting for another to begin. Central Park, 19th and R Streets, was the place to be to enjoy an afternoon of perfect weather, art and community. Looking forward to seeing the Cuauhtemoc Aztec dancers, I noticed the park was filled with people, booths and the sounds of live music. The event was, "Meet Your Special Neighbors," and vendors from around Kern County who serve those with special needs were on hand to share information and resources. One of these agencies, Autism Society Chapter-Kern Autism Network is sponsoring a free screening of the movie, The Black Balloon, Thursday, October 15th, 7:00 p.m. at the Fox Theater, 2001 H St. The movie stars Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense, Little Miss Sunshine) and is based on a true story. Guest speaker, Dr. Stephen Shore, will also be discussing his own experience with autism and answering questions for the public. The movie is rated PG-13; for more info call 661 588-4235 or email kernautism@gmail.com.

Also coming up, Wednesday morning, October 7th, from 9:30 to 11: 00 a.m., John Harte, long-time Bakersfield Californian staff photographer, now semi-retired, will be speaking and sharing multi-media pieces in a presentation entitled, "The New Photojournalism--How the Internet Empowered America's Visual Story Tellers."  The event is part of Bakersfield Museum of Art's "First Wednesday," program. BMOA is located at 1930 R St. Admission is free to members, $4.00 for seniors and $5.00 for the general public. Side note: John is also the guy I like to blame for the creation of BakoArtistConnect as he teaches the Multi-Media class which I attend at Bakersfield College and for which this blog is an assignment! Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This weekend in Bako!!

This weekend: First Friday, new theater shows , FLICS at The Fox, the opening of Talladega Frights Haunted House, Oktoberfest on Saturday, $1.00 admission at Bakersfield Museum of Art featuring the Aztec dancing of “Cuauhtemoc” on Sunday and of course, the final days of the Kern County Fair! Here's a peek at what to do Friday, for the rest, keep checking Go. See. Do. in the sidebar of this page.
It feels like we just celebrated First Friday but already here we are in the month of October and that means another party downtown! The Arts District will be hopping this First Friday, October 2nd, as the photographers have their day with an opening at MetroGalleries, 1604 19th Street. Featured photographers are Susan Reep (Altered Landscapes) and Michael Fagans (Unguarded Moments). After checking out this new exhibit, make sure to stroll over to the many other businesses whose doors will be open for shopping and browsing including: smoothies and coffee drinks at Caffeine Supreme, Mexican folk art at Kuka’s, Biscuit Boutique & Doggy Spa for pet fanciers, fashion at Jezebelle’s, gifts and décor at Charisma Boutique, and of course, the awesome art at Surface Gallery. Shops and galleries will be open late with exclusive specials, free food, live music and art on the sidewalk. DO NOT MISS IT!!

Also downtown on Friday: Spotlight Theatre, which will be serving Pasta on the Patio for $6.95 during First Friday’s events, opens a new show just in time for the spooky month of October—Evil Dead, the Musical, directed by Jarred Clowes. This fun, horror-themed show will be playing October 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 29, 30 & 31 at 8 PM and Sunday October 25 at 2:00 PM. Parents be advised this show features adult language and violent themes that may not be suitable for all ages. Contact Spotlight Theatre for ticket info & reservations: (661) 634-0692.

Film buffs rejoice: FLICS at The Fox continues on Friday with another international offering, Laila’s Birthday. This film is not rated; for more info including a synopsis, go to http://www.flics.org/. Show begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are just $5.00.

And if being scared out of your wits is your idea of fun, why not head over to Talladega Frights located at Fruitvale Norris Park, 6621 Norris Road, with its haunted house and cast of freaky characters? Friday is the opening, but the show will run several dates during October. $12.00 at the door gets you your fill of frights. For more info, head to http://www.talladegafrights.com/.

That’s it for now—Saturday’s “TO DO” coming up next!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Coming soon!!

I'm speechless. I'm flabbergasted. How did it get to be Tuesday and I still haven't updated Bako on the many awesome events taking place this week?? All I can offer is that, at the fair on Sunday, the extreme heat partially baked my brain into a pile of sluggish mush and only today, with the cooler weather, have I snapped back to reality. So now, get ready, because Bakersfield is about to explode with events like Oktoberfest, Via Arte, Burn the Witch, Talladega Frights Haunted House, many new theater productions and of course, First Friday, FLICS, gallery exhibit openings, craft fairs and fall festivals. Details are on the way!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bako this week!

Food! Concerts! Rides! The Great Kern County Fair returns. BECA sharpens up for Saturday’s Band Razor. Last chance to catch The Kern Shakespeare Festival.

Believe it or not (and I know, it is very hard to believe), it is now fall and that means lots of activity in Bako as we get ready to head toward the holidays. Thankfully this week is not quite as crazy as last–(See this week’s slideshow to get an idea of some of last week’s frenzy of events)–because Bako might need a chance to breathe before we dive into the busy season.
However, I say this on a week when the Kern County Fair begins, the Shakespeare Festival continues, MetroGalleries hosts a concert, FLICS has a film offering and BECA hosts Band Razor–a show featuring several bands.

Of course, the biggest event of the week is the return of the Great Kern County Fair! My mouth is already watering for a corn dog, cinnamon roll, tri-tip sandwich, kettle corn, baked potato... Oh, and there’s concerts, rides, exhibits and family-friendly shows too. Wednesday night’s opening act is country singer Phil Vassar, Thursday it will be Tower of Power and Friday, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. All performances start at 8:00 p.m. on the Budweiser Pavilion. The concerts are free with fair admission: $8.00/adults, $3.00/ages 6-12, children under the age of 5 are free. Parking is $5.00. Fair hours are: Monday - Thursday 3:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; Friday the 25th from 10:30 a.m.-11:00 p.m.; Friday, October 2nd, 3:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.; Saturdays Noon - 11:00 p.m. and Sundays, Noon - 10:00 p.m. On Friday, September 25th, seniors 55 and over can enjoy free admission to the fair.

For those into the local music scene or those wanting an introduction to the alternative arts in Bakersfield, don’t miss Saturday’s “Band Razor,” sponsored by BECA (Bakersfield Emerging Contemporary Artists). Seven bands will take the stage at Le Corusse Rouge and local artwork from BECA artists will be featured in the patio. The $5.00 admission benefits BECA as it moves into production of this year’s annual “Burn the Witch” all-woman art exhibit. “Band Razor,” which was created by BECA member Amanda Rosado, allows visual artists, singers and musicians to complement and support each other through the use of their talent. If you are a local artist or art-lover who wants to know how to get involved in Bakersfield’s growing art community, consider joining BECA. Membership is free & you will be the first to know of unique art events like “Band Razor.” More information can be found at www.BECA.ws. Le Corusse Rouge is located at 4647 White Lane. Show starts at 6:00 p.m. for all ages, over 21 after 9:00 p.m.

Lastly, and I mean that in the saddest way possible, the Kern Shakespeare Festival is in its last days. And I don't mean for just this year. Due to budget cuts, the Festival ends its 25-year run this Sunday, September 27th at Bakersfield College Indoor Theater. This year's productions are King Lear, taking the stage September 22, 24 and 26th and Midsummer Night's Dream, playing September 23, 25, and 27th. Shows start at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $5.50/adults, $3.50/students, children under 6 are not allowed in the theater. Don't let this opportunity to catch the Kern Shakespeare Festival pass you by--you won't get another chance.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Coming up..

Whew! What a week!! Bakersfield you are wearing me out with your goodness! So many impressive events last week with many more coming up. Starting tomorrow the slideshow will feature pics from "Saving Grace"-- the fundraiser to benefit Ricky's Retreat, BMOA's triple-feature exhibit opening from Thursday, "Food Glorious Food" which opened at the Younger Gallery on Friday, plus celt-rockers 1916 playing at Fishlips and the awesome artists of BECA which hosted ARTaMentals on Saturday. Also, I'll be giving you the highlights for the coming week. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This week in Bakersfield, CA—Do not miss these events!!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.: “Saving Grace”, a fundraiser to benefit Ricky’s Retreat, the Bakersfield’s AIDS Project Hospice House and Resource Center which has fallen into default. (Read the Bakersfield Express article by Jason Gutierrez here: “The Grassroots Effort to Save Ricky’s Retreat.”) This event will include live music from indie-rock artist Eric Himan, a silent auction featuring art from many local talent including Jill Thayer, Yvonne Cavanagh, Liz Sherwyn, Susan Reep, Barbara Reid and photography from Solorzano Photography’s Paul Pomeroy. The wonderfully ambient MetroGalleries, 1604 19th Street, will play host; Food, wine and dessert will be provided by Valentien, Spotlight Café, Imbibe and Frosting Ink. Tickets for this wonderful, worthwhile event are only $30.00. Even if you can’t attend, please consider making a bid in the auction. More info or to RSVP, call Jason Guitierrez, 661-496-9245.

Also starting Tuesday, if you can’t get enough theater in Bakersfield, the Kern Shakespeare Festival makes its fall return to Bakersfield College’s Indoor Theater. Alternating evenings, this year’s productions will be, “Midsummer Night’s Dream” (September 17, 19, 23, 25 & 27)  and “King Lear” (September 18, 20, 22, 24 & 26). Plays commence at 8:00 p.m. and tickets are $5.50 for adults and $3.50 for students. Keep in mind, no one under the age of six is allowed. Tickets may be purchased at the door or call the BC ticket office at 661-395-4326 for reservations.

On Thursday the 17th, plan to attend the opening of three fine exhibits at Bakersfield Museum of Art (BMOA), 1930 R St.: “Colors of China: Paintings, Calligraphy and Children’s Art”, “Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)” and “Eye Gallery” (featuring local artists). A 20-30 minute traditional Mexican blessing ceremony with dancing will take place on the grounds at 5:30 p.m., just prior to the official opening of the exhibits at 6:00 p.m. Appetizers and no-host bar will be available; $10.00 non-members, admission free to members of BMOA. Click on the link in the Go. See. Do. section for full descriptions of the exhibits and to find out what else the Museum is planning.

Are you an artist with no plans for Saturday? Well now you know where to go and what to do! BECA (Bakersfield Emerging Contemporary Artists) presents ARTamentals, a day of art classes and mini-seminars at JP Jennings, 1700 Chester Avenue (corner of 17th and Chester). Classes are $5.00 each and proceeds benefit BECA. For full line-up of classes, go to BECA’s website (See Go. See. Do. on this page’s sidebar) and click on the calendar. There will be activities for kids as well as adults. Check it out & support your local art scene!

Also on Saturday, World Records presents the 5th Annual B-Town Blues Fest from 3:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at the CSUB Amphitheater. This is a benefit for Houchin Blood Bank and in fact, discounts apply for blood donors. (Call Houchin for more info: 1-877-364-5844.) Reserved tables are $40/seat; Lawn tickets $30/adult, $20/students, military & seniors; 17 and under free. Dinner tickets are $10.00. Performers include: Sonny Landreth, Janiva Magness, The Soul of John Black, A Piece of Joy and more. Sounds like a good time!

Finally, the 28th Annual Fun in the Sun Car Show, takes place on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Kern County Museum. Regular admission to the Museum will apply, $7.00-10.00. This show will feature over 150 pre-1959 cars. If you would like to register a car, contact Debbie Wilson at 661-587-6379 or Larry Coburn at 661-832-8340.

There’s a lot of other great stuff going on which I will be “tweeting” each day. Make sure you’re following me on Twitter to get the latest updates. www.Twitter.com/BACpage. And don’t forget, if you attend these events, you might see yourself in next week’s slideshow!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bako Sucks. O RLY.

My new Twitter friend, bakosucks, compiles amusing tweets from various individuals in the twitterverse related to how much, well…. how much Bako sucks. Apparently it requires quite the wit to take a knock at our fair city. Bako smells like cows? Yes, sometimes it does. Bako is hot. Duh. There’s nothing to do in Bako. Here, my friend, is where we part ways. My fingers would beg to differ, having spent last night typing up the new Go. See. Do. calendar of events for the next two weeks in Bakersfield. This Week’s highlights:

This Friday, Flics (Film Lovers International Cinema Society), opens their season at the Fox Theater, 2001 H St., with a film from Kazakhstan, Tulpan. The show is at 7:30 p.m. If you love to go to the movies, enjoy independent and/or foreign films and want to view films amongst an appreciative audience, Flics is for you. Best of all, each film in the season is only $5.00. For a schedule of upcoming flicks, click on the link in the Go. See. Do. section on the sidebar. Many films are family-friendly and all films are handpicked for their social impact and/or entertainment value. All films are shown on Fridays.

On Friday and Saturday 9/11 and 9/12, the 37th Annual Greek Festival will once again showcase the warmth and culture of Bakersfield’s Greek population. There will be plenty of Greek food, homemade desserts, vendors, music, dancing and for the brave and over 21 crowd, Ouzo. (If you’re not sure what that is, re-watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding.) The Greek Festival is held at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 401 Truxtun Avenue (near the Beale Memorial Library). Friday festivities run from 3:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Saturday, the day begins at 1:00 p.m. and ends at 11:00 p.m. Tickets are only $3.00. Don’t miss this once-a-year celebration! Opa!

If live music, unlimited food samples and plenty of beer and wine are what you’re looking for this weekend, you can have all of that and support a worthy cause too at Village Fest (formerly Brews in the Village), held this Saturday, September 12th, at the Kern County Museum, 3801 Chester Ave. Event times are 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. and will include live music on five stages with some of Bako’s favorite bands: Mento Buru, The Beagles, Soulajar, Fatt Katt and the Von Zippers plus many others. Admission includes 15 beer or wine samples of your choice from over 100 brew and 60 wine choices. Proceeds benefit the museum and Childrens’ Advocate Resource Endowment (CARE). Tickets are $63.00 in advance, $68.00 at the event.

As if all that isn’t enough, can you say, Lights, Curtains, Action—six times? No less than that many shows will be playing at Bakersfield playhouses by this weekend. Shows at The Empty Space, Stars Theater, The Gaslight Melodrama, Bakersfield Community Theatre and two offerings from Spotlight Theatre round out the highlights for this week. Not long ago, it was hard to find any players strutting or fretting upon a stage in Bako. Not so any longer! Get out there and support the many talented members of our community as they take to the various stages around town.

Next week: Even more stage offerings as the Kern Shakespeare Festival begins, a very worthy fundraiser for Bakersfield’s AIDS project takes place, exhibits open at Bakersfield Museum of Art and many other wonderful events are scheduled. Check back for updates and features—and don’t forget to check out the current slideshow for pictures of just a few of last week’s highlights.

Monday, August 31, 2009

What? Culture in Bakersfield?

Yes, it’s true. It has been found, in pockets, in this dusty, histamine-laced valley—even here in our own city: a burgeoning art scene, a bevy of things to do and people who care about our community! Need proof? Just check out Go. See. Do. to see some of the things happening in the next couple of weeks. There are benefits, art shows, concerts, fundraisers, theater performances—even a spoken word event!

This weekend, in addition to art, live music, food & wine samples and an atmosphere that will make you believe you’ve left Bakoland, the monthly Arts District treat, First Friday, will include two exhibit openings downtown. “Latination,” which opens at Metro Galleries, 1604 19th Street, will feature the artwork of local and other Hispanic artists; “One,” opening at Surface Gallery, 1703 20th Street (across from the Fox Theater), is the celebration of the one-year anniversary of the locally owned gallery. The accomplishment is definitely one worth celebrating in a town that does not make it easy to survive. Proving the point, recently closed underground gallery and indie art center, Basement Gallery (which thankfully looks like it has a new lease on life—more details to follow), will be sorely missed at Friday’s event but its spirit will live on as members of BECA (Bakersfield Emerging Contemporary Artists) hold a fundraiser including carnival games and an art raffle at 19th and Eye Streets, just outside their former headquarters. BECA is a local group comprised of individuals who want to connect with other artists and art lovers to create, discuss and participate in building an art community in Bakersfield. To get involved join BECA at http://www.meetup.com/Bakersfield-Emerging-Contemporary-Artists.

Also keeping the spirit alive is Ginn Williams and her fellow poets who bring a spoken word event, “Two Hours Inside,” to Fishlips on Thursday, September 3rd. This event had to relocate to a new venue after the Basement closure and should not be missed by lovers of the letters, emerging poets or anyone who wants to support having more really cool art events in Bakersfield. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and poetry flows at 7:00 p.m. SHARP. Admission is $10.00.

Over in the northeast corner of the world, an often-overlooked venue, Jones Gallery at Bakersfield College, will play host to its own as staff art professors put on an exhibit of their works. The opening reception is on Thursday, September 3rd from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. and the show runs through October 1st. If you happen to be up on the bluffs taking in the sunset, stop by for a great opportunity to support the BC art program.

Lastly, don’t forget the new season of Flics at the Fox starts next Friday, September 11th. Also, the 37th Annual Greek Festival will be making our mouths water with Greek delicacies, as well as entertaining us with dancing and general merry-making. This always fun event runs next weekend, Friday the 11th and Saturday the 12th. More details on these and other events next week.

That’s it for now. Stop by anytime to see what’s happening in this old town of ours and to check out event slideshows where you might just be part of the action.

Friday, August 28, 2009

New Bakersfield Area arts and culture blog

Official start date: August 31, 2009. BakoArtistConnect will be showcasing local artists & events. To have your event posted on the BACpage calendar, send an e-mail to BakoArtistConnect@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/BACpage.