Arts Devo

Still loud out West

Pat Smear (from <i>Decline of Western Civilization, Part One</i>)

Pat Smear (from Decline of Western Civilization, Part One)

Dead Out West I was introduced to parts one and two of Penelope SpheerisDecline of Western Civilization documentaries at about the same time in the very-late-1980s (if memory serves), and I was entranced by both.

Part One (1981), the punk one, playing at the Pageant this Sunday night (March 26, at 11 p.m.), introduced me to a wild punk scene—L.A., 1979-1980—that I hadn’t yet explored. The X segments were far and away my favorites. But scenes of the Circle Jerks, Black Flag and the Germs and their unhinged frontman Darby Crash broadened my horizons as to the exciting possibilities of danger in a rock performance (the seeds of which had been planted a few years earlier after witnessing The Cramps in Urgh! A Music War during one of those epic Night Flight marathons on USA Network). And Part Two: The Metal Years (1988), largely focused on the then-blooming hair-metal scene of the mid-1980s, was something I was already very familiar with and had followed religiously—and laughably tried to emulate—during my early high-school years.

I’ve revisited both films many times since, and over the years, the aesthetics of the punk scene have definitely aged better than those of the vapid hair-metal dudes. Spheeris cast a wide interview net for the much more expansive metal edition, but only a handful of the artists still hold my interest—the dudes from Aerosmith and Lemmy, among a few others. It’s still a fascinating documentary with a lot of kick-ass music, but it’s hard to stomach some of frat-boy douchiness and rock-star posturing (see: Paul Stanley of KISS conducting his interview on a bed of women).

Always visible Arts DEVO identifies as a cisgender male, I think. The gender part of that label is probably something I chose based on how I imagine others see me. In truth, my ideal gender designation, if I’m choosing from the available lists, would be “agender,” although “gender queer” sounds pretty rad, too!

This week, Chico’s Stonewall Alliance kicks off Trans/GNC Week, March 25-April 7, and as you can see by the extra initials, this year the event has added “gender non-conforming” to its title. In addition to the many workshops and special events designed to “educate, celebrate, honor and bring more awareness to trans people,” Stonewall will be hosting an art show at its office (358 E. Sixth St.) throughout the event, with an opening reception this Saturday, March 25, 6-9 p.m. Visit for more info.

Chico Idol The Children’s Choir of Chico is looking for contestants for its 2017 Chico Idol singing competition. Interested singers in grades four through 12 should visit or email for info and to register. The April 1 qualifying round will take place at the choir’s arts center (2500 Floral Ave., Ste. 20), and the April 7 finals will be down the street at St. John’s Episcopal Church (2341 Floral Ave.).


ALL-CAPS CREW Two local singer/songwriters are cleaning up nice and getting their music out beyond Chico­—way beyond. John Klezmer, aka KLEZ, and Madeleine Mathews, aka MAWD, both came up through the Chico State music program and have joined the roster SoundX3 Music, a record label/promotion house based in L.A. The two acts will be embarking on a Scandinavian tour in early April, and they’ve started a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to bring their bands along with them. Visit and search “klez and mawd” to help out.