Summertime musings

Cat days of summer.

Cat days of summer.

One hundred and seventeen! During this week in 1972, Chicoans experienced their hottest recorded temperature ever: 117, on July 15, 1972.

The forecasted high for the day this paper comes out is a mere 102, and though we might be whining right now about this …

At least we’re not Cleveland or New York: Last week, the Rock ’n’ Roll Capital not only had to endure Lebron James kicking Cleveland Cavaliers fans straight in the crotch in front of the entire world when he decided to make an hour-long, live TV spectacle out of his announcement to leave the team (“I will take my talents to South Beach”), the city also lost an even greater all-star: Harvey Pekar, who died at the age of 70. Beginning in the mid-’70s, the native son and graphic novelist teamed up with notable underground artists like R. Crumb to create his American Splendor comic series about his everyday life as a cranky, observant, sad and soulful regular guy living in Cleveland, providing a glimpse into the heart of a city that was broken during much of his life.

Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor

And, amid a very humid and dramatically more uncomfortable heat wave than ours last week (100-plus temps and 90-plus humidity, compared to our below-30 humidity), New York City’s sports and arts communities suffered as well when two New York Yankee mainstays—Bob Sheppard, the Yankees P.A. announcer for more than 50 years, and team owner George Steinbrenner—and musician, artist and counterculture icon Tuli Kupferberg all died within three days of one another. In addition to publishing beat poets (in his magazine Birth) and his own protest books—notably 1967’s 1,001 Ways to Beat the Draft (No. 1: “Grope J. Edgar Hoover in the silent halls of Congress),” Kupferberg was a founder of ’60s art/garage band The Fugs and notoriously jumped off a bridge in Allen Ginsberg’s epic poem Howl (which he apparently actually did in real life).

who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alleyways & firetrucks, not even one free beer …

Speaking of reality What do one strikeout by S.F. Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum, one completed pass by NY Giants quarterback Eli Manning, and two made baskets by Lebron James have in common? Each is the amount of work put in by those three pro athletes in order to earn what I make in one entire year. Even Barack Obama’s $569,000 annual presidential salary (including expense, travel and entertainment accounts) is less than what Lebron will make in three games’ time.

Input your earnings in the Salary Crunch calculator at to better understand why your game-day beer budget is more than your weekly grocery allowance.

The Fugs


• Shakespeare by any other name: Shakespeare in the Park … in the Plaza … in the Chico Women’s Club has a new name! Chico Summer Theatre Festival will be putting on two productions at the Chico Women’s Club this summer: Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale (Aug. 5-8) and Go-Go, “an unplugged British Invasion musical” by Marcel Daguerre and Jerry Miller (Aug. 12-15). There will be a benefit for the summer shows this Sunday, July 18, at the Women’s Club, featuring live music from Go-Go, plus live/silent auctions and food.

• This just in: Got a last-minute press release from Chico’s Not Quite Hollywood film production/photo studio announcing the screening of a collection of local short films this Saturday, July 17, 3:30 p.m., at the Pageant Theatre. There are four films on the program, including the latest from Chico filmmaker Shawn Dyer, the locally cast and shot psychological thriller Fray. Visit for more info.

Correction: Previously in this space, I gave the incorrect date on which individual tix for the 2010-11 Chico Performances season would go on sale. The correct start date is Aug. 2. Visit for more info. This has been corrected on the web site.