Arts Devo

The long summer is just getting good

Black Bart, the poet.

Black Bart, the poet.

That summer feeling Hey what's with all the whining, my Chico friends? Summer is not “almost over.” Not even close. Arts DEVO admits he's prone to freaking out over thoughts of the sands of another summer slipping through his greedy hands, but just because college students are signing leases and kindergarten teachers are hanging colored paper on their walls doesn't mean summer is over for the rest of us. According to the calendar, we're not even halfway through! And if you mark the end of summer as I do—the moment when I can wear long pants without sweating through my crotch—we have nearly three more months of good times and short pants to look forward to. The sun is still setting late, so light up the barbecue and enjoy the many long hot nights we have left.

Wanted: Black Bart Thanks to the very active members of the">Butte County Pictures & Information Facebook page (go find it and join now—it's one of the best local groups around), I got some fun new dirt on the history of our county. It turns out Charles Earl Bowles, aka the notorious highwayman Black Bart, was actually active in the Butte County area. Between 1875 and 1883, Bowles committed 28 robberies in Northern California and southern Oregon—at least two in Oroville—before being caught and serving four years in San Quentin prison. Known as a “gentleman bandit,” Black Bart supposedly never fired his gun and never cursed during his hold-ups, and since he was afraid of horses, all of his robberies were committed on foot! And even though it only happened during two of his robberies, Black Bart was perhaps most notorious for leaving behind poems at the scene of the crime—one of which was apparently left after holding up a stagecoach traveling between Quincy and Oroville:

Here I lay me down to sleep
To wait the coming morrow,
Perhaps success, perhaps defeat,
And everlasting sorrow.

Mastodon approaches.

Let come what will, I'll try it on,
My condition can't be worse;
And if there's money in that box
‘Tis munny in my purse.

—Black Bart, The PO8

Today, there's actually a road named after him in Oroville, and there's even a monument that was “erected by the Butte County Road Department” in 1935. Find it at the intersection of Sandra Lane and Black Bart Road.

Wait, what? If American fans of rad metal were excited to hear news this week that progressive-metal badasses Mastodon were teaming up with British metal legends Judas Priest for some U.S. shows this fall, how stoked do you think local headbangers were to hear that the Atlanta, Ga., four-piece would be taking a detour from the tour for a show in Chico at the Senator Theatre on Oct. 22? If you answered, “By squealing like a 10-year-old girl at a Bieber concert,” you'd be exactly right.

Theater gossip A little bird recently whispered a tantalizing bit of news into Arts DEVO's ear regarding a certain newly vacant Victorian building in downtown Chico and a trio of local theater types—Brandon Hilty, Michael Gremo and Keaton Robison—who are making big plans to transform the big, beautiful space into something theatery. Very intriguing. More news (hopefully) soon.