Arts Devo

Brought to you by the numbers 500, 100, 25 and 10

One … ah ah ah …

One … ah ah ah …

Brought to you by … The number 500: If you take the short-lived run of half-baked Local Bastard columns (37 of them) that I wrote way back in the day, add them to the 462 Arts DEVOs that followed, plus this most fresh installment in front of you, you have 500 arts/culture columns that I’ve written for the Chico News & Review. Thinking back to the previous 499 times I sat at this keyboard struggling to shove local arts topics and my random thoughts together into digestible thematic wads gives me heart palpitations. It’s a mild anxiety, but it’s enough that every week at this time I feel like I’m holding my breath for four hours as I try to bring it all together somewhere near deadline. If you’re seeing this right now, rest assured that I found my thread (thank you, cosmic forces of coincidental number alignment) and have finally exhaled.

The number 100: This month marks not only the 100th birthday of Lassen Volcanic National Park (Aug. 9, happy belated!), but also the centennial of the entire National Park Service. On Aug. 16, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act, creating the agency that would manage Lassen, as well as Yellowstone, Yosemite and other already established national parks and monuments. The act was one of America’s smartest moves, with its mandate to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Mrs. DEVO and I certainly have enjoyed our time stomping around Lassen and Yosemite parks this summer, and we hope to do more exploring of unimpaired lands (now totaling more than 84 million acres over 410 sites) in the weeks to come. One particularly attractive possibility is this weekend’s Dark Sky Festival at Lassen Park, featuring a packed schedule of activities, Aug. 12-14, focused on the light-pollution-free skies above the park’s peaks. Visit for more info.

The number 25: On July 21, 1991, the Stonewall Alliance of Chico held its first Pride event, Freedom Fest, at Chico’s State. Now, 25 years later, Chico Pride is stronger and more popular than ever, and next week, Aug. 19-21, Stonewall’s packed a ton—a variety show, City Plaza fest, etc.—into one three-day weekend under the community-unifying theme of “Let’s Go Together.” Visit for more info.

The number 10: This year is the 10th edition of the Annie B’s Community Drive, the North Valley Community Foundation-administered fundraising campaign during which donations to more than 250 local nonprofits—from arts organizations to educational programs—are partially matched over an eight-week period. In nine years, more than $11 million has been raised for local charities through Annie B’s. The 2016 drive is already under way, and you have until Sept. 30 to visit to make your donation count.

RIP Leatherman On Friday, Aug. 5, Alan Meigs, local musician and owner of Iron Mountain Leather, was killed in an accident on Highway 32. He was 72. According to Facebook posts by family members and fellow musicians, he was on his way to Lake Almanor for a gig when a truck veered into his lane and crashed into his van head-on.

Meigs was the one-man show at his leather shop on Broadway, where he sold his custom-made creations for the past 46 years. And for just as long, he held down the beat as a drummer in local country and rock bands, from The Allen Brothers and The Marauders to his most recent crews, The Stillwater Savage Band and The Retrotones.

Meigs’ family will open Iron Mountain Leather Aug. 20, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. & Aug. 21, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for an open house and final memorial sale.