2016 DEVO awards
Best use of a year’s worth of days: Sesar Sanchez’s Chico365 project. If he makes it to Dec. 31, the local heavy-music musician (guitarist for Cold Blue Mountain, Teeph, etc.) will have met his ambitious challenge of taking a portrait (mostly of Chico-area folks) for every single day of this leap year. In the process, his daily postings on Facebook and www.365chico.tumblr.com of photos with interviews turned into an online meeting place where Chicoans were introduced to one another and where a larger portrait of the community was developed.
Best emerging local scene: Public TV. Specifically, original creative programming on local stations, including Bill DeBlonk’s live-music series, Banana Grape Stomp, on PBS (KIXE), and the zany programming on Chico’s community-access station, BCAC.TV, namely the bizarre performance art of the Dream Show and the That’s That comedy/music/art/news variety show.
Best new block on the block: The Arts District. The completion of Chico’s State’s new Arts & Humanities Building has created a super-art block downtown that adds the new galleries and performance spaces with the long-established action taking place at Laxson Auditorium on one side and the school’s Performing Arts Center on the other.
Best art prompt(s): 1day Song Club, 1day Poetry Club, and 1day Art Club. Original local music, poetry and art in 24 hours or less at www.1dayclub.com.
Best historical moment: Bernie in Chico! Someday, you’ll tell your kids you were there when Bernie Sanders spoke at Chico State during the 2016 presidential primary season.
Safest space: The Maltese Bar & Tap Room. Not only is the south Chico dive bar the best live-music venue in town, but owner Angela Lombardi and her hard-working staff also have created a warm, welcoming and always fun environment where musicians, hipsters, artists, students and townies of every sex, race, faith and gender cut loose and feel safe to be exactly who they are.
Best artist: Peter Jodaitis. His Taking Stock retrospective at 1078 Gallery in February was huge, both in volume (165 paintings and drawings covering the walls) and impact, with 50 years’ worth of evocative works by the longtime local giant.
Best live theater: Under Construction, Chico State; Detroit at the Blue Room Theatre; The Butcher Shop theater fest; Ira Glass’ Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host at Laxson.
Best live music: Black Fong, halftime at Keep Chico Weird Talent Show at El Rey Theatre (Jan. 30); Uncle Dad’s Art Collective presents Queen: A Night at the Opera at Laxson Auditorium (Feb. 13); The Invincible Czars’ performance of the live soundtrack to Nosferatu at Pageant Theatre (March 10); Genders, SCOUT and Experimental Dental School at 1078 Gallery (Nov. 10).
Birthdays: Chico Area Punks shows at Monstros Pizza (10), Studio One Ballroom (10), Annie B’s Community Drive (10).
Out of here: MCM Vintage & Wax Museum Records; Canteena in Paradise; Steve Dresler, longtime headbrewer at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. retires.
New on the scene: Arts & Humanities Building at Chico State, featuring the new Paul and Yasuko Zingg Recital Hall and updated Janet Turner Museum and Jacki Headley University Art Gallery; funky disco-punk duo Experimental Dental School returns to Chico; Cousin Cephus Improv Project; Norton Buffalo Hall in Paradise; Almendra Winery & Distillery in Durham; Hooker Oak Distillery; Waganupa Brewing’s Chico taproom; the return of the Chico Heat baseball team.
Rest in peace:
• Pat Kopp: theater professor/director, founder of University Public Events, executive director of Paradise Performing Arts Center.
• Jesse Mills: actor, environmentalist, writer, musician—Chico renaissance man.
• Richard Moore: local musician, music instructor and one-time guitarist for The Troggs.
• Lisa Kelly: longtime Chico radio personality.
• Erik Pederson: Chico ex-pat and one-time local theater mainstay.
• Alan Meigs: local musician and owner of Iron Mountain Leather.
• Susan Schulz: co-owner of Kettil’s Keep.
• Donna Kellogg: Chico ex-pat who died in the Ghost Ship fire.
• Jake the lab: Northern Star Mills’ shop dog.
Parting shot: Maybe my favorite piece of art of the year. Two tiny metal sculptures glued to the side of the CN&R building in December, featuring The Donald talking shit. Brilliant!