It is May Day, and Arts DEVO is standing by the side of River Road watching a thousand or so of his fellow river visitors enjoying a day in the warm sun. A long line of cars headed in both directions sits motionless while a steady river of pink-tinged young adults variously struts, staggers and booty-dances its way unimpeded along the blacktop after emerging from the river and the first “official” tubing of the season. A blurry-eyed co-ed—her bikini askew and slipping below one hip—breaks away from the parade and sloshes her way through a sewage-saturated patch of grass and into a roadside bathroom. As she leans through the door, brown flecks of mud and more spraying across the back of her calves, it occurs to me: There are only three more weeks of school left for Chico State.
And by the time this newspaper goes to press (and the scene above has undoubtedly replayed itself in some form in downtown Chico in an appropriate celebration of Mexican culture and heritage), there will be only two weeks to go.
So, with the spirit of gratitude overtaking me, here are some really cool things I’m thankful for in Chico:
• Really cool teachers: Chico High School teacher Karol Forrest is going out with a bang. The retiring director of the Chico High Band (for the last 12 years) received the Most Outstanding Music Educator in Northern California award from the Northern California Music Educator Association last year, and on Tuesday, May 11, he will direct the high school’s Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble one last time for the Grand Finale concert in Chico State’s Laxson Auditorium.
• Really cool and hip art happenings: The newly dubbed RAYRAY gallery (530 Broadway) hosts an art party Friday, May 7, 6-9 p.m. The Future Looks Bright is a showing of new drawings and paintings by gallery co-founder Dylan Tellesen. There will also be live models, drawings, and a guest appearance by Wayne Newton.
• Really cool dudes: I love, love, love the guys in Watson 349—Nate, Chris and new bassist Ian. Looking back at my couple decades of working alongside musicians, I am hard-pressed to remember a more cool, fun, and genuinely kind crew. If you want to book a band that will come to party, cause zero drama and hang out till the sun comes up, get in touch with my new best friends today (“Watson Threefortynine” on Facebook).
• Really cool Chico icons: On Friday, April 23, Chico State philosophy professor, peace activist, arts promoter and musician Greg Tropea lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. A memorial service is scheduled for Monday, May 10, 7 p.m., at Chico State’s Bell Memorial Union.