New art for the new year

Shabby Car, <i>Parlor</i>

Shabby Car, Parlor

I’m back, let’s have some fun All right, Arts DEVO, enough of your self-indulgent, year-end, holiday column shenanigans; it’s time to talk about what’s going on in the world of local art right now.

• Cheap seats: Starting tonight (Jan. 15), with the opening performance of Fat Pig, the Blue Room Theatre will be instituting its new Theatre Thursdays pay-what-you-can ticketing option. You can start lining up for the discounted tix at 6:30 p.m., and the first 80 people in line will be given tickets and asked to pay whatever they can.

Let’s get weird together.

• Shabby car: Arts DEVO BFFF Red Bluff Phil (Anker) has worn a lot of musical hats (French Reform, Solar Estates, Pan Pan), but the cozy, well-worn favorite that looks the best on his head is the long-running off-and-on solo project, Shabby Car. How the full-time teacher and married father of two adult daughters, a daughter in junior high and two grade-schoolers has time to do anything more than stagger around in a zombie-like daze is beyond me, but the fact that he wrote and recorded a whole album (Parlour) this past year is a freakin’ miracle! And it’s amazing. And I now feel lazy. The album is all over the map—from dark, electronic pop (“I Got Tired,” “Spaces 2”) to straight-up indie-rock jams (“x is bad, y is worse”) to perfect, kind of hectic, noisy pop (“Stay Weather Stay”). And in the background and in between all the little spaces it’s filled with the sounds of Anker’s life—kids playing, friends and family talking, laughter, etc. Visit and download it immediately.

• Visit the museum: Before they begin renovating the old Veterans Memorial Hall on The Esplanade to make way for MONCA, the Museum of Northern California Art, the board is inviting photographers—amateur and pro alike—to come inside. In preparation for the upcoming Valentine’s Day Falling in Love With MONCA photo exhibit/fundraiser (Feb. 14, noon-6 p.m., at Habitat Lab. 199 E. 13th St.), they’ll be opening the doors of the historic Veterans Hall on Saturday, Jan. 17, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and allowing photographers to come and “record the every nook and cranny,” and then enter their new creations in the show. Visit for more info.

• Join Chico’s never-ending jam: The Guinness World Record for Longest Concert by Multiple Artists is 372 hours and 10 minutes, at the Rí Rá Irish Pub in Las Vegas last October. That’s nonstop music, 24/7, for half a month straight! But if local musician/impresario/dreamer Julian Ruck has his way, this spring, Chico will be leaving Sin City in the dust. Ruck has convinced the Tackle Box Bar & Grill to open its doors and stage to Chico’s music community for the entire month of April in an attempt to break the current record by doubling it! If you play music and are interested in joining the fun, search #chicobreakstherecord on Facebook for a link to the entry form.

• Starting to get weird: The submission period is over and the CN&R has chosen its 21 contestants for this year’s Keep Chico Weird Talent Show on Saturday, Jan. 31, at the El Rey Theatre. It’s an eclectic collection of freaks—from dancers and comedians to musicians and filmmakers to poets and acrobats—just the sort of crowd Arts DEVO’s readers dig. We sold out last year, and I want you all there, so go to and buy your tickets right now! (Oh, and we also have 40 artists showing off their weird works at the Keep Chico Weird Art Show at the 1078 Gallery Jan. 29-31, with the opening reception Jan. 29, 6-8 p.m.)