2014 in 575 words

Final final words In case you missed any of Arts DEVO’s words last year, here are 575 from 2014’s columns that sum up one version of the year that was:

From my notes: “Good beer at 10:30 a.m. is good.”

You would be hard-pressed to find a person as universally loved in this community as Dan Tomassini. The longtime Chico musician and actor died last week (March 11), and his passing has left a serious mark on our little scene. … the most poignant moment came at the end of actor/comedian Steve Swim’s standup skit. Picking out the song on an out-of-tune acoustic guitar, Swim coughed out a short version of Pink Floyd’s gentle love note to Syd Barrett. As he went into the last chorus, the crowd very quietly joined in, sending a delicate chorus for Tomassini into the night: “How I wish, how I wish you were here.”

I don’t know, man. Most of the time, I am in favor of rock bands burning out over fading away, but if a band is actively stoking a roaring fire, I say let the mutha-fucka burn!

I know better than to take on any of our local funnymen. I am not ashamed to admit that my ego is not strong enough. Comedians have the ability to see into the dark spots we try to keep hidden and then bring that shit back into the light for us all to laugh at forever.

[Craig Blamer] is calling it The Barn, which is a nod to that famous (and likely apocryphal) line that supposedly came from one of the old Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland flicks: “Hey, my uncle has a barn. Let’s put on a show!” Whatever the quote’s origin, it’s such a romantic idea that I could almost burst.

… the discussion turned toward the age-old question of whether being a musician was an economically viable career choice in Chico. (Short answer: maybe, but probably not.)

… the consistent, and No. 1, selling point for me personally in Chico has been that I, too, have been able to take part in the show, along with most of the friends I’ve made along the way. Most every friend I’ve made and every wild character I’ve encountered has come from the constantly shifting but always interconnected network of music types, and by extension the rest of Chico’s artistic freaks—from poets and painters to thespians and hippies.

… when it comes to really experiencing noise, I look for something more—I want contrast. I want to see the spotless pane of glass, then the brick flying through it.

I know a lot of people hate mimes, but I have to admit they’ve kind of grown on me. (There are way worse ways by which to annoy your fellow humans in public—I mean, it’s not like they’re starting drum circles or anything.)

Anyone who complains about music “these days” is out of their freaking minds.

The observatory’s mission is “to provide access to our universe,” and for years, [Anita] Ingrao was the one opening the door and showing Chico in. She was our outer-space docent, inspiring kids and making kids out of adults, inviting us with her big, infectious smile to be curious about what is beyond our tiny pale-blue dot, and, as she put it in a note posted to the observatory’s Facebook page during her final days: “Keep looking up in wonder.”

Gratitude and blessings, intentional goddesses and conscious warlocks on this Thanksgiving holiday, for being just so freakin’ Chico.

Dear Chico City Council: Don’t be shortsighted jerks. Investing virtually no money in the arts is dumb.