Arts Devo

Weird music in Chico’s future



Dam straight As Arts DEVO writes this, residents of Oroville are making their way back home from two tense days of waiting after mandatory evacuation due to damage to the emergency spillway at Lake Oroville. With more rainy weather on the way, followed by months of snow melt, and a still-busted spillway, the City of Gold isn’t out of the woods by a long shot. But it appears that catastrophic danger has been averted, and that for the time being, home is safe again.

Over this past week, as I made the rounds online searching for updates and background info on Lake Oroville, I came across old news footage from the dedication ceremony of the dam on May 4, 1968. Then-Gov. Ronald Reagan and Chief Justice Earl Warren were there, as were thousands of onlookers. It was a kick to hear how the reporter for the Bay Area’s KPIX TV introduced the momentous story:

All roads in and around Oroville led to but one location today, that great gray mass of earth behind me, soaring up from the valley floor nearly 800 feet, sitting across the Feather River like a mountain someone had tipped over on its side.

Giacamo Fiore

Winter gets weird Looking ahead to the last month of the season, I am so stoked to see a streak of weirdness running through the Chico State arts calendar:

• Feb. 17: Birdman Live: Chico Performances presents jazz drummer Antonio Sanchez playing his Oscar-winning Birdman score live alongside a screening of the film. 7:30 p.m., in Laxson Auditorium.

• Feb. 22: “A sound sculptor, composer, engineer and inventor, Trimpin has been called one of the most awesome geniuses of the 21st century.” And he’s coming to Chico next week! I just found out about this under-the-radar event—5:30 p.m., in Ayres 201 at Chico State—and it promises to be one of the more interesting of the year. The Seattle-based/German-born artist has built trippy sound installations around the world—including the huge “IF VI WAS IX” tornado of guitars and other instruments at his Experience Music Project in Seattle—and worked with everyone from the Kronos Quartet to Samuel Beckett. For his Chico appearance, Trimpin will present “New Musical Resources: Exploring Acoustic/Kinetic Objects” as part of the Department of Art and Art History’s Visting Artists & Scholars series. The event is free and open to the public.

• Feb. 26: Chico Performances is killing it this month with left-of-field offerings, especially with Poemjazz and its intriguing setup of one-time U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-nominee Robert Pinsky using spoken word as an instrument in collaboration with Grammy-winning jazz pianist/composer/arranger Laurence Hobgood. “A little musical robot dreamed up by the mind” (“Last Robot Song”). 7:30 p.m., Laxson Auditorium.

• March 8-9: The university’s annual two-day New Music Symposium features a showcase of original creations by Chico State music composition students on one day (March 9, 7:30 p.m., Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall) as well as a performance by a visiting contemporary music artist. This year, the featured performer will be eclectic Italian guitarist Giacomo Fiore, who plays a range of classical, just intonation, and electric guitar works (March 8, 7:30 p.m., Zingg Recital Hall). Both New Music performances are free and open to the public.