2015 DEVO Awards

Arts DEVO hands out his 2015 awards to the Chico scene

There she is …

There she is …

2015 DEVO Awards Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time once again for Arts DEVO’s super, somewhat random, local arts-and-culture awards ceremony. The envelope, please …

Best next-level crew: Uncle Dad’s Art Collective. This was the year that the busy troupe of wacky arts-and music-makers stepped up to the big time—namely the big stages of the Sierra Nevada Big Room and Laxson Auditorium at Chico State. On July 12, a big band of Uncle Dad’s ringers presented reimagined versions of songs by local songwriters at the Big Room for its grand Small Town, Big Sound showcase; and when the Chico Performances 2015-16 calendar came out this past summer, it featured a very intriguing listing—Queen: A Night at the Opera. On Feb. 13, Uncle Dad’s, with the help of a massive cast of musicians, dancers and multimedia artists, will perform the classic Queen album from start to finish. Now, that’s some next-level shit.

Best belly: Pork Belly, as in the insanely good pork-belly bao at the new Momona ramen-noodle and bao restaurant.

Best week: Chico Beer Week. Not to be a total homer but … c’mon.

Best movement: Dance Chico! Chico Performance introduced this ambitious, lively new annual event, featuring an epic multiday series that showcases and celebrates the art of dance—from visiting contemporary ballet and modern dance troupes to local dancer/choreographer spotlights to a free community dance in the middle of the street in downtown Chico.

Best artist: Ender Mills. The 15-year-old son of The Bookstore owners, Josh Mills and Muir Hughes, collected piles of owl pellets, dried them, dissected them and meticulously reassembled the undigested skeletal bits into tiny frameworks of new, invented creatures—easily the coolest art I saw all year. Most were sold off during Chikoko’s Bizarre Bazaar, but there are a few still under glass at his parents’ store (118 Main St.).

Best happening(s): Late Nites at the Pageant Theatre. Cult films, live music and beer!

Best live theater: True West and The Other Place at Blue Room Theatre; Peter & Alice at Theatre on the Ridge; The Rover, presented by Chico State Theatre Department at Harlen Adams Theatre.

Best live music: Tri-Lateral Dirts Commission at Monstros (twice—April 11 and June 18); She Fetus at 1078 Gallery (July 23); Chico Breaks the Record at Tackle Box Bar & Grill (April 1-May 5); Hallelujah Junction at Winchester Goose (Oct. 17); Brian Wilson at Laxson Auditorium (Nov. 29).

Owl-pellet art by Ender Mills.

Local song of the year: “Walk, Walk, Walk!” by The Vesuvians.

Best local albums: Universe Sandwich by Touch Fuzzy Get Dizzy and Donald Beaman by Donald Beaman (and the Spirit Molecules).

Best local bands: See Music.

2015 milestones:

Birthdays: Scotty’s Boat Landing turned 60; Theatre on the Ridge turned 40; KZFR turned 25; CAMMIES, the Chico Area Music Awards, turned 10.

Out of here: The Synthesis weekly entertainment rag shut down after 21 years; Avenue 9 Gallery closed after more than a decade; LaSalles Bar and The Graduate, two local institutions, closed after serving Chico for 40 and 41 years, respectively; Aubrey Debauchery, longtime local singer/songwriter, moved to Portland; “Woody and Friends,” David Guzzetti’s popular KZFR radio show, was retired after 22 years; Los Caballitos de la Canción folded, as bandleader Jo Chavez moved to New Mexico; Great State Coffee Co. (the greatest coffee in town!) went out of business; and so, too, did Pepper Grand Coulee’s Funky Trunk vintage clothing shop.

New on the scene: Scott Seaton, North State Symphony’s musical director and conductor; Ha! Fest comedy film festival; Animation Chico animated short-film festival; Chico Comedy Festival; late shows at the Pageant; Ninth Avenue Gallery & Studio (next door to the former Avenue 9 Gallery); Brewfork craft-brew and food-truck festival.

Rest in peace:

• Richard Gibson: longtime local jazz and rock drummer.

• Jim “The Rev. Junkyard Moondog” Dwyer: local poet, author, joker, activist, spontaneous dancer, environmentalist, freak, clown, Chico State librarian, notorious hippie, bon vivant.

• Ronald Palmer: aka Roundhouse Ronny the Clown, children’s entertainer and street performer.

• Katie Whitlock: Chico State theater professor and director.