Arts Devo

2018 DEVO awards

2018 DEVO Awards: The envelope, please …

Best local art news of the year: 1078 Gallery is back! Chico’s 37-year-old arts cornerstone is officially open at location No. 4 (1710 Park Ave.) with an already packed calendar of radical art, theater, music and more.

Best art: “Peace” mural. The giant piece (on the side of the Chico Peace & Justice Center) designed by world-class street artist Shepard Fairey = cred for days.

Best musical infection: Valley Fever. The two-day, three-venue, springtime garage-rock fest was a blast (highlights included sets by Playboy Manbaby, Kelley Stoltz and Chico’s own Sex Hogs II). Best of all, it’ll be back in 2019.

Best musical injection: All-age music venues. It’s spreading fast—a raw and beautiful outbreak of nondiscriminatory stages across Butte County: The Spirit Venue in Oroville, plus Ike’s Place, Tender Loving Coffee and the reopened 1078 Gallery in Chico.

Soul of the city award: Blackbird. Where activism, art, music, literature and community are welcomed with warmth and enthusiasm … and coffee.

Best art show (tie): What, Us Worry? (Feb. 1-March 31) and Beyond the Frame (July 19-Sept. 2), both at MONCA. The Museum of Northern California Art covered it all during its first calendar year. The first was a three-person group show highlighting three accomplished contemporary sculptors (Tony Natsoulas, Paul DiPasqua and Michael Stevens), and the second was a celebration of street art via an interactive community-driven exhibit with live art-making, hands-on activities and even a street party out front.

Best artist (tie): Molly Amick and Hilary Tellesen. The former left this mortal coil on an arts-making tear, creating wild collages for a final exhibit at Beatniks Coffee House and Breakfast Joint in March that sold out of its 21 pieces; and the latter roared into her 40th year with a life-spanning examination of womanhood in her original wrestling-themed play, PUMA: Pussies Under Massive Attack, that sold out a three-show run at the Blue Room Theatre in September.

Best live theater/performance art: The Blue Room Theatre always gets notice in these year-end awards for bringing new art to town, but even by its standards, this year’s programming at the downtown venue was exceptional. There was Joyce Henderson’s masterful performance as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie; a couple of challenging contemporary plays (The Village Bike, Bug); Erika Soerensen and Martin Chavira’s enthralling all-female adaptation of Lord of the Flies; and perhaps best of all, the star-studded and depressingly relevant showing of David Mamet’s classic Glengarry Glen Ross.

It was actually a banner local theater year all around, with other highlights including Slow Theatre’s intense yet tender Wolves at 1078 Gallery; Chico State’s excellent A Midsummer Night’s Dream; a wonderfully weird edition of the Butcher Shop theater fest; and an emotionally charged weekend of post-fire performances of TOTR’s High Noon on Wall Street, relocated from the evacuated Paradise theater to Chico Theater Company.

Best live music: Rebirth Brass Band and Rigmarole at Lost on Main (April 17); Valley Fever music festival (April 26-27); Mdou Moctar, XDS and Donald Beaman at Naked Lounge (May 23); Big Business at Chico Women’s Club (June 7); A Band Called Love, XDS and Night Heron at Duffy’s Tavern (June 17); Joan of Arc and The Americas at Duffy’s Tavern (July 14); Lou Barlow house show (Nov. 27); Pinback and Morricone Youth at the Sierra Nevada Big Room (Nov. 30); Neko Case and Destroyer at the Big Room (Dec. 4).

Best local albums: Through Wyoming, West by Swan; Pariah Days, Severance Package; Devoured, Amarok; Hells, The Creator.

Best local songs:Last Night,” Mr. Malibu; “Green Rambler,” West by Swan; “Rain,” Surrogate.

Rest in peace:

• Moriss Taylor, Chico’s singing cowboy, TV and radio personality and the king of bad jokes.

• Garrison Blackwell (aka Garr1son), Concow singer/songwriter.

• Molly Amick, local collage artist, activist and health practitioner.

• Mike Murray, local bassist (Spy Picnic, WhiteWater).

• Stanley Ross, local blues guitarist (Next Door Blues Band, Boneyard Blues).

• Lazy Lester, harmonica-player, Blues Hall of Famer and Paradise resident.

• Kyle Bowen, local writer, comedian, poet, storyteller and mortician.

• Jon Warner, longtime local keyboardist (Jeff Pershing Band, Second Hand Smoke, The Kind).