Arts Devo

The holidays are behind us; let’s look ahead to new art!

Detail of “The Critic,” by Weegee.

Detail of “The Critic,” by Weegee.

DEVOtions: overflow edition Arts DEVO is a sponge squeezed dry. And that is a good thing. A much-needed week-and-a-half break from the keyboard has allowed my oversaturated brain to drain so that I can start squeezing a ton more stuff in there. Here’s the latest, the first trickling of art bits for 2016:


• Banana Grape Stomp is on: While I was out for the holidays, local music fanatic and video documentarian Bill DeBlonk debuted his live-music public-television series, Banana Grape Stomp, on KIXE. The Nor Cal music series will air Saturdays at 10 p.m., and episode 2 (Jan. 9) will feature performances from the For the Funk of It Festival (held in Belden last summer). If you missed episode 1—with performances by The Mother Hips, Shook Twins and Leftover Salmon, all at the Sierra Nevada Big Room—search for the “Banana Grape Stomp” page on YouTube.

• Weegee in ’17: In December, Chico State’s University Art Gallery received a $15,000 grant from the NEA’s Art Works program, which will be used to mount an upcoming exhibit (in 2017) of works by famed New York photojournalist/street photographer Arthur Felling! Felling is, of course, better known as Weegee, and his flashed-out, candid, black-and-white shots of murder, socialites, fires, wrecks and everyday New Yorkers are as kick-ass today as they were when they were taken in the 1930s and ’40s.

GuignolFest at the Blue Room.

• Scout, a revelation: It wasn’t until after my year-end local music wrap-up had been published that I was introduced to what would have definitely been one of my favorite Chico acts in 2015: Scout. The project is just one person, 22-year-old Jackie Parker, and her debut album (released July 31), Nervous, is a 13-song collection of what she describes as “emotionally exhausted songs grown from the dry, cracking soil of an abusive relationship.” The album’s chill, downbeat electro-pop/hip-hop sound is just perfect (especially on the stand-out “Unsung”). It’s fresh and smartly arranged and just the kind of new sound Chico should devour. Get it now at Also, check out her earlier acoustic catalog—under the moniker Scout the Wise—at

• Down the porthole: Wait, Chico has a sea-shanty band? Big Mable & the Portholes, a four-piece specializing in “face-melting songs of the sea” has apparently been sporadically haunting the Argus Bar & Patio for the last couple of years and will be riding a salty wave into Duffy’s Tavern later this month—Jan. 23, at 10 p.m.

• GuignolFest: Old-school Chico theater dude and flier artist Dylan Hillerman is bringing the fruits of the annual 72-hour horror filmmaking contest (held each year in Portland) to the Blue Room Theatre and hosting a screening of three hours worth of original horror shorts this Friday, Jan. 8, at 8 p.m.

• John McCutcheon cancels: The troubadour/storyteller’s annual January visit to the Big Room has been canceled due to illness. According to Sierra Nevada, online ticket purchases should be credited back within four to five business days and tickets bought at the gift shop can be returned there for a full refund.