Arts Devo

Two blocks, 25 years

Sweat it out.

Sweat it out.

Not cool Hey, Chico, buck up. By this time next week, the high temperatures should cool off to below 100 degrees! Of course, it will almost immediately go back up and stay up. In fact, there’s a good chance we won’t see a day that tops out below mid-90s for several weeks. And 80s? See you at the end of September!

Grab a cold one and meet me in the middle of the creek.

Tracking Arts DEVO.

Into the groove How predictable is Arts DEVO? If you were looking for me at any time over the past 25 years, and you visited a certain two-block area in downtown Chico, you had an approximately 25 percent chance of finding me. As of last month, I’ve been working here at the Chico News & Review for 14 years, having moved down the road from the Upper Crust Bakery, where I had been making pastries for the previous 11, and when I add up all the work hours during that time (52,000, a very conservative estimate), it equals six entire years—one quarter of my life over that span—spent within (approximately) one 700-by-300-foot area. That is crazy.

I’m not sure what to make of it at this point. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 17.3 percent of Americans in my age bracket have been at their current place of employment for 20 or more years. So, even though it used to be much more common, it’s still not too weird for someone to work in one spot for so long.

More than anything, I’m bowled over by the fact that so many years have passed since I started working downtown. In most ways, my life doesn’t seem that different. I’m still with Mrs. DEVO, still digging local bands, still eating burritos, still sporting the same clothes and haircut, and the CN&R and Upper Crust (not to mention 7-Eleven, Panama’s, Diamond W and the Saturday farmers’ market) are still here. Of course, a lot has changed in those two blocks in 25 years. The Bookstore and Woodstock’s Pizza each moved here from across downtown. The old Grand auto-parts store turned into Grana Wood Fired Foods. Kona’s and Pluto’s opened. The huge Main Street Music store turned into Herreid Music and Peet’s Coffee before Herreid and Lyon Books traded sides of town. Lyon Books closed, as did House of Bamboo (where Petra was reborn as Cafe Petra). The huge live-music cornerstone The Brick Works transformed into all-DJ The Beach and The University Bar turned into The University Sports Bar.

With my own eyes, I watched: a building on one side of the CN&R burn to the ground and the roundabout go in on the other; Sycamore trees come down and cum trees go up; one botched bank robbery and more than one successful copulation.

I have worn grooves in the sidewalks with thousands of excursions in search of fresh air and caffeine. In fact, I’m probably out there now, somewhere along Second Street, a fresh coffee in hand, dodging morning-after vomit piles and shooting the shit with the familiar face of one of the many friends and freaks who have become a part of my downtown family along the way.