Let’s get freaky, Chico

Weird art: “Fire Dog (don’t touch),” NFS.

Weird art: “Fire Dog (don’t touch),” NFS.

Good, dirty fun Arts DEVO is a pretty vanilla looking guy. I’m not talking about me being whiter than Ryan Seacrest (my poodle + my Volvo wagon + my dance moves falling somewhere between the Macarena and the Carlton = your clear picture). I’m just saying that there isn’t a whole lot of extra flavor added to my outward style. And that’s by design. As a teen, I tried a lot of different looks on for size (remind me to show you the school picture of me in a Ratt T-shirt while sporting a rat tail), but somewhere on the way to adulthood I decided to just stop and go neutral. In fact, if I wasn’t married I’d definitely wear a uniform—chinos, solid T-shirt, Converse—every single day.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in the full spectrum of life’s colors. I just don’t spend much time projecting them myself. I prefer to stay unencumbered and open and ready to engage/receive.

Amid all the insecurities and anxieties that otherwise inform my personality and decision-making, one thing I do proudly own is the fact that I am always open to new experiences, and I especially love the strange, the different, and yes, the weird. I am equally drawn to art that leans toward either the sunny or the dark sides of the human experience. At restaurants, I don’t order my favorites, I ask the chef to recommend something new. Given the choice between a main-stage rocker and a street-corner freak, I’ll put my money in the hat on the sidewalk nearly every time. So, as you might imagine, as the CN&R gears up to showcase a full complement of local weirdoes on the El Rey Theatre stage for the second annual Keep Chico Weird Talent Show (Saturday, Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m.), I’m getting pretty stoked! And you should be, too! (If you weren’t there last year, ask someone who was.)

“Please Smile,” by Hye Yeon Nam.

The CN&R is also teaming up with the 1078 Gallery next week to put on the Keep Chico Weird Art Show, Jan. 29-31. There will be a reception Thursday, Jan. 29, 6-8 p.m., and trust me, Chico’s artists have stepped up! Nearly 50 pieces of weirdness of all media will fill up the gallery.

And finally, as an addendum to our calendar of other upcoming weird fun, here are a few more unique events:

• Slow Theatre at The Bookstore: The deliberate folks of Chico’s Slow Theatre will be reading a play at The Bookstore! On Monday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m., Rob Davidson, Hilary Tellesen, Ashley Garlick and Matt Hammons will read British comedian/playwright Patrick Marber’s comedy/drama After Miss Julie. For free!

• Art plus technology: The University Art Gallery at Chico State has curated an amazing-looking exhibit—Art + Tech—featuring the technology-based works of four visiting artists: Derek Larson (digital media with painting, lights, motors, and projected animations on freestanding screens); Hye Yeon Nam (robotic installations); and Stephen Lawrence Clark and Sonya Belakhlef (a rhythm/music-based three-player interactive racing game installation). Show opens Thursday, Jan. 29, with artist talk 4-5 p.m. (Colusa Hall, 100B) and reception at 5 p.m. (UAG).

• You and me go drinkin’ in the dark: Now, for something completely different, and rad. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is hosting Tasting in the Dark, Friday, Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m., wherein visitors will taste Sierra Nevada beers while blindfolded! A guided sensory experience/training that will include the introduction of ingredients (fruits, herbs, hops) to smell and consider alongside the beer/cheese pairings enjoyed in the dark (followed by hors d’oeuvres and conversation … in the light). Tickets are $40.