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

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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.