Give it up for local badasses

Every 15 Minutes

Every 15 Minutes

And the Emmy goes to … Chico! Even though the Welcome to Chico sign south of town has room for only one green-and-yellow subhead: “Home of Aaron Rodgers # 12,” there are some other locals, and former locals, who deserve to be recognized for their badassness—starting with Chris Smith, or Christopher Allan Smith as he was known when he wrote film reviews for the CN&R nearly a decade ago. Since he left the paper’s stable of writers, Smith has been busy with his Chico-based video company (formerly Musselman Pictures), specializing in “video on the web, product demos, business promos, training videos, online series, TV commercials, live broadcasts on the web, etc.” (You might remember his award-winning Snowmen Hunters YouTube video series, which featured him and his cousin/creative partner Ryan Neisz wiping out snowmen with shotguns and machetes in the Lassen wilderness.)

Well, last week Smith and Neiz were nominated for an Emmy Award for their video “Every 15 Minutes: Castro Valley High School” in the Informational/Instructional Program/Special category for the Northern California region.

“We entered the Emmys as a lark,” Smith said in an e-mail. “We researched the rules, got the video played on Channel 11 here in Butte County, submitted the video and the forms, and got very lucky.”

The video is one of many the duo has created for the Every 15 Minutes no-drinking/texting while driving initiative. The Castro Valley High version ( is a graphic re-creation of an accident caused by drunken driving using real high-school students as actors and showing the aftermath and real-world consequences. Smith says that it’s the most-watched Every 15 Minutes entry online, garnering 380,000 views to date.

We know how her story ends Speaking of people in Chico working in film: I got word from CN&R contributor Steve Metzger that his brother-in-law Gregory Bernstein was living in Chico when he co-wrote (with James D. Solomon) The Conspirator, which tells the story of the trial of Mary Surratt, one of the people charged in the conspiracy plot to assassinate President Lincoln. The film was directed by Robert Redford and it’s playing for the first time locally at Paradise Cinema 7 starting this Friday.

And, also from the Metzger tip wire (I gotta get that guy a beer, or maybe something nicer, like a 2007 Australian Shiraz?): Turns out young fiddle master Alex Hargreaves used to live in Chico as a kid when his dad, David Hargreaves, was teaching in the English Department at Chico State. The champion player released his debut album (Prelude, featuring appearances by Béla Fleck, among others) last year, and will be coming to Chico next month as part of new-acoustic sensation Sarah Jarosz’s group performing at the Big Room June 8.

Featuring trombone While we’re passing around the accolades, let’s give it up for Chico’s busiest trombonist Alden Denny. You might know Denny better as an energetic member of any number of local bands (Eye-Que & Live Assist, Brass Hysteria!, etc.), but he’s also a music major at Chico State, and today, at 5 p.m., in Harlen Adams Theatre is his senior recital, A Bone to Pick: Alden’s Senior Recital. It’s free, and it’s open to the public.

Programming note: Rain or shine, the CAMMIES Music Festival will happen this Sunday, May 15, 2-7 p.m., at Manzanita Place. If it’s sunny, we’ll shine on as planned, skipping away the day on the big lawn. If it rains, the whole big party goes into the ballroom, the acoustic bands serenade the folks on the covered patio, and all the trains in CAMMIES Land continue to run on schedule.