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

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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!

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