Obsessed with summer
Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.
—John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra
At the speed of summer Arts DEVO took a few days off from work last week for the express purpose of having time to sink into some of the “true freedom” of Chico’s long summer days, spending the hours with Mrs. D and the Honey dog, enjoying time outside and plenty of day beers. Anyone who knows me or reads this column knows I am pretty obsessed with summer, and I could go on for days waxing poetically about how much I love the season, but I may already have said all there is to say in these pages over the years:
The view outside my office window is the entrance to Bidwell Park. The forecast for the next few days is 90-plus degrees. … I can smell the chicken fat blistering on the grill.
And since I’m already in the habit of greeting the dawn and staying awake at least until midnight, the … long summer days offer many opportunities for leisure, romance, adventure, camaraderie, dog walks and playing music. Summer makes me feel younger, like I’m tapping into the cool well of those never-ending Redding summers of my youth, hopping from one body of water to the next—Whiskeytown Lake, Lake Shasta, Dave’s pool, the Sacramento River, “The Plunge” in Caldwell Park. It’s the time I feel the most free and the most in love.
But these days, the real truth is that my personal default playlist for summer doings is the “Hip-Hop BBQ” station on Pandora (now with 100 percent less R. Kelly). Even scrubbing a toilet is a party when “This Is How We Do It” comes on.
Arts DEVO has said it before … I love the heat. Being raised in the hot crotch of the North Valley—aka Redding—I’ve been precalibrated to tolerate the 100-plus days. When a heat wave hits, I’m always taken back to those long summer days traipsing across Diestelhorst Bridge with my crew, and I am more than happy to give into being a little extra moist for a few days. I would love nothing more than to be out cruising around right now with the windows down in my Volvo with the busted A/C, stopping for lunch at a taco wagon in a parking lot, and washing down a plate of carnitas and pickled jalapeños with an ice-chilled bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola.
The sun is still setting late, so light up the barbecue and enjoy the many long, hot nights we have left.
• Congrats to Slow Theatre! The local theater company was just awarded $12,200 by the California Arts Council. The grant will support the theater group’s arts workshops with incarcerated youth at Table Mountain School in partnership with the Butte County Office of Education.
• Adventures on the fringe: Inspire School of Arts & Sciences theater students are heading to Scotland this summer to take part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and this weekend the school will raise some dough for the trip with a preview of the work they’ll be performing, Witches?! In Salem!? The play is billed as “Monty Python meets Mel Brooks meets mass hysteria” (which sounds very promising) and shows twice this Saturday, June 22, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. blueroomtheatre.com