Comedy, CAMMIES and learning how to rock ’n’ roll

Mark Joseph Leathers

Mark Joseph Leathers

Something funny goes here C’mon! Chico. If you like to laugh as much as you say you do (and I’m guessing that’s the kind of thing you’re always saying), then do your part to help set the stage for a regular venue for fresh, original comedy in Chico. This Friday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m., is Comedy Night at the Crystal Room (968 East Ave.—the large special events room attached to Quackers Lounge), and it will be a test show for what organizers hope will be a new series of shows featuring local and visiting comedians.

The debut will feature four of the best comedians from our fairly underground local scene—host Mark Joseph Leathers, opener Yusef Swaff, and featured acts Kyle Bowen and Phil From Chico. If this first show is off the hook, then Bowen and promoter Brandon Jager will be able to start inviting out-of-town comedians to the swanky venue (with full bar service!) and Chico will be a much more fun place to be. Buy your $10 tickets today at Winchester Goose, The Dungeon or The Maltese.

Frankie Doppler’s Nuclear Sunrise

Comings and goings As many folks in the arts community already know, MANAS Artspace is no longer in a space. Owner/operator David “Dragonboy” Sutherland’s lease ran out at the end of February, and after two years of operating one of the most open and exciting spots for local art and artists, he decided it was time to move on to a new adventure and says that he is now “regrouping the inner forces and will re-emerge in the near future as an even more creative, larger beast.” Stay tuned.

And, as is often the case in Chico, when one art space closes, another one opens. Chico Rockstars, a new all-ages music-instruction school, just opened its doors (at 932 W. Eighth Ave.) this week and will be holding its Grand Opening Celebration this Saturday, April 5, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

The business is located in the same space that housed the former Chico School of Rock, the music school founded by longtime Chico musician Sid Lewis, who was charged with molestation of a minor on March 12.

New owners Michael Poropat and his wife, Jessica Braun Poropat, who moved to Chico from New York City two years ago, bought Lewis’ business, renamed it and have built up their own stable of instructors, including local multi-instrumentalists Ben Jaks (the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Express at Chico State) and longtime local musician Mark Zempel (Fang of Gore, Living Karaoke Band), as well as the owners themselves. Michael will teach piano, and Jessica will give voice and guitar lessons. She received vocal training from the Manhattan School of Music and performed around New York City before moving to Chico, where she’s been playing solo sets under the stage name Jess Braun. The school’s emphasis will be on catering lessons to the students’ musical tastes to make the learning more fun. The grand opening will feature live music, giveaways, instruments to play and more. Call 809-4932 or visit for more info.

Music season The only way for me to possibly top such a perfect (and I mean perfect) weekend of music—the noisy, fun, hyper, inspiring Sun Club at The Maltese and the visceral, rockin’ Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Blue Room—is to watch a marathon of several dozen local bands over three crazy nights, and starting tonight, the CAMMIES will oblige. See you out there! And speaking of CAMMIES, we just solidified our lineup for the Finale & Awards Show (Sunday, April 13, 2-7 p.m., at Chico Women’s Club): Aubrey Debauchery & The Broken Bones, Michelin Embers, Alli Battaglia & The Musical Brewing Co., Sapphire Soul, Los Papi Chulos, Frankie Doppler’s Nuclear Sunrise, the Pageant Dads, Kyle Williams, Butte Area Cypher Crew, Bran Crown, Fera, Electric Canyon Convergence and Lisa Valentine.