Arts Devo

Calling all my weirdos and beardos!

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Where my weirdos at? The Chico News & Review is gearing up for its fifth annual Keep Chico Weird Talent Show (March 3, at Senator Theatre) and Art Show (March 1-4 at Museum of Northern California Art) and we are getting down to the wire for submissions. Actually, we’ve extended the deadline and you have until next Tuesday, Jan. 30, to submit. See ad on page 26, or visit (click on “about”) for info on how to enter.

Where my beardos at? A big, messy beard is a sign to me that says, “I’m working on some cool shit; too busy to worry about what’s going on with my face.”

I am drawn to people with unruly facial hair. Maybe it’s because I can hardly grow any myself—my “full beard” would be a patchy rug that looked like a cross between a diseased squirrel’s tail and Ringo Starr’s neck. More likely, though, it’s because men with wild beards often have wild ideas, like Patrick Stickles, frontman and mastermind of my favorite active band, Titus Andronicus. Stickles and company have a new album—A Productive Cough—coming out March 2, and instead of the usual mixture of punk bangers and rock anthems, the album promises to be a slower affair, with seven sprawling songs, including the just-released teaser track, the 8-plus-minute Number One (in New York).” It’s a piano-driven, key-changing, verse- and chorus-free epic with Stickles’ poetic ranting over the top about life in modern America, about the part he plays as an artist singing in a rock band, and a bunch of other stuff as well. A small sample:

Deplorable forces conspire to fire the lord and to hire a guy who will try to eat more of the portions/A guy who’s more boorish, a guy who’s more selfish, with elves as his helpers

More beard and more words, this time from one of my favorite Chico artists, Cory Hunt, aka MC Himp C:

Where bashful beat feet/The assholes eat meat/By the case load/Lotta waste yo/The mirror says graceful/As I hold a face full/Of my own distasteful/Ways you’ll/Have to deflate/any great that I might say/memories just paint/the plate we create/So present in the moment/We can share our whole flame

Catch Himp C on the bill with fellow local MC Big Slim at one of the five (!) hip-hop shows in Chico this week (see ’em all in Nightlife, pages 26-27), Friday, Jan. 26, at Naked Lounge, with headliners from Florida, Khris Audio, Ben Phrases, MC SplitSoul and Pedro Morales.

And, in closing, some righteous words from one of the most glorious beards of all time, Walt Whitman (from the preface of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass):

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men—go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers of families—re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul …