Weird is good

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Keep Chico Real Arts DEVO wouldn’t say an experimental musician, or a painter, or a performance artist tumbling out of a giant vagina, or a drag queen, or a businesswoman who ditches her pantsuit for one night and pours herself into fishnets and a leather corset, or a pissed off artist shouting expletives across the scorched landscape of an effed-up world, or a sculptor who uses mayonnaise as a medium is weird. (Instead I’d say, “Those are my people!”) But it is true that often those who bring something new, or challenging, or appear different or as deviating from the norm are marginalized and made to feel weird at best, and are knocked down and oppressed at worst.

Obviously the point of all this Keep Chico Weird stuff is not to look at a group of people and say, “Weird!” The point is to say, “Let’s all be whoever we want!” And to nurture an environment where everyone is welcome and feels safe to be themselves. And to throw the rules out the window and embrace what would be called “weird” as the norm we are striving for, which is really what makes Chico the colorful, stimulating, rich and rewarding community that we love.

With all that said, this past week saw Chico at its most beautiful. The Keep Chico Weird Art Show at 1078 Gallery was a rich, expressive explosion of creativity. (Congratulations to Best of Show winner Victor Porter for his “So I Says to the Guy” sculpture—made from old Chico News & Review papers!) And the Keep Chico Weird Talent Show at the El Rey Theatre was a wild, sweaty, action-packed night of unbridled fun. (Congratulations to comedian/storyteller Kyle Bowen for taking first place!) The CN&R is so grateful to the artists, the fans, and everyone who helped make the shows such wild successes. It’s humbling and very inspiring. Nice work, Chico. Weird is good!

More good news Raise a glass to the 1078 Gallery (no, really, you can, it’s legal now). At its meeting on Tuesday, the Chico City Council approved 1078’s application for a permanent alcohol license! Selling beer at the gallery’s arts events equals more money for arts events at the gallery. The system works!

And City Council, Chico thanks you!

More weird art I love to be surprised, especially by art that appears when I least expect it … and by items in the grocery store that are put away in the wrong place. If you know of any surprise art installations around town (like the mysterious sculpture in the ivy pictured), send Arts DEVO an email, and if you see any surprise art in the grocery store (like this cucumber shoved into the ice of a WinCo seafood display), join my new Facebook group, “I Changed My Mind,” and share your pics.