Arts Devo

A sneak peek at the 2019-20 Chico Performances calendar

Kat Edmonson

Kat Edmonson

Something’s happening at Chico State Arts DEVO has been hearing voices coming from the university. Wait, don’t turn the page! I’m not asking you to think about school right now. Summer is just three weeks old, and I swear the last thing I want to put in any student or instructor’s head are scary thoughts of syllabi or lesson plans.

I’m just saying that it’s pretty quiet around Chico State, and at night, well, you can hear things coming from some of the darkened buildings, especially the abandoned Laxson Auditorium. According to campus legend, there’s a ghost—an apparition of a white-haired woman—who haunts the cavernous theater. Some say it’s Annie Bidwell. But I don’t think so. The temperance advocate wouldn’t be caught alive or dead in a place that now serves beer and wine!

The spirit has been whispering to me, and I’m starting to think she might be a long-departed arts critic who has been waiting impatiently in her balcony seat since last season for Chico Performances to unveil its new calendar of music, theater and other special events. The official public announcement of the 2019-20 season won’t be made until July 18, but my spirit guide has already seen things, and these are some of the hightlights of what she has foretold:

Tig Notaro (Sept. 28): Notaro is the master of uncomfortable comedy. This might be the live performance of the year in Chico.

Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite (Oct. 6): One night, two Blues Hall of Fame inductees.

Momix (Oct. 11); Body Traffic (Feb. 29): Two nights, two world-class dance troupes.

Jake Shimabukuro (Oct. 19): Uke stud returns.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Nov. 13): The definitive New Orleans jazz band has been performing at its French Quarter namesake for more than 50 years. This is the real deal.

Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin (Dec. 13): The multi-Grammy-Award-winning singer/songwriters swap songs and stories for a “living room”-style intimate performance.

Pink Martini (Dec. 19): The super-fun Portland-born big band returns to Laxson with a program titled “Joy to the World” that promises to be a kick-ass holiday party.

Kat Edmonson (March 1): Edmonson is bona fide. The title of her 2018 album, Old Fashioned Gal, gives away the fact that she’s concerned with the traditional (think Billie Holiday, Cole Porter), but put aside any notions of dusty nostalgia. She earned her chops in Texas nightclubs, and adds emotional depth to breathtaking vocal control on original pop/jazz tunes that just might become standards for future generations.

The Second City (March 28): The comedy institution where Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Amy Poehler and Stephen Colbert got their starts brings the next generation of comedians to town for the Laughing for All the Wrong Reasons tour.

The 2019-20 Chico Performances season begins Sept. 13. Tickets for members and donors will be available July 29; general series tickets sales begin Aug. 3, and single-ticket sales start Aug. 12. Also, any renewing or new members/donors can buy presale tickets now for two shows: Notaro (Sept. 28) and/or Chapin Carpenter and Colvin (Dec. 18). Visit or call 898-6333 for more info.