Arts Devo

New Zealand’s The Beths in Chico!!! And some rad plays coming to Chico State for 2019-20 school year

The Beths

The Beths

The Beths, then beer Arts DEVO loves his beer, and the offerings of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. have a special place in his liver … er, heart. But I love music even more, and when I saw the online advertisements for this Saturday’s Summertime Brews event at the brewery’s Hop Yard (July 27), I did a double-take when I read the musical billing below the featured warm-weather brews: The Beths, from New Zealand! If you’re anything like this columnist and you’re a fan of tuneful guitar bands of the noisy variety, the music on the Beths’ 2018 album, Future Me Hates Me, is near-perfect. And the vocals of bandleader Elizabeth Stokes are effortless and wide-ranging as she sings dynamic and engaging power-pop tunes full of humor, self-doubt and energetic joy. Highly recommended! Brave the heat, embrace the sweat, don’t miss.

Of the arts Chico State’s annual arts publication—Arts + Ideas—is out now and it’s packed as ever, with eight months’ worth of music, theater and exhibits presented by the various university arts groups: Chico Performances, School of the Arts, North State Symphony and most of the campus art galleries and museums. Two weeks ago (July 11), I previewed Chico Performances’ upcoming season, so today I’ll highlight the others. This school year, it’s three of the School of the Arts theater productions that have me most excited.

She Kills Monsters

First up is The Rocky Horror Show. The cult-classic musical tribute to B-movies will show Oct. 17-20, in Harlen Adams Theatre, and the school’s production will feature musical accompaniment from a live band. It’s been a while since the annual Rocky parties of the long-lost Chico Cabaret theater, and I bet locals will be frothing to answer the void as it calls for us to “do the time warp again.” My advice: Add an extra weekend to the run.

Later in the fall semester—Nov. 14-17 in the black box Wismer Theatre—the students will tackle She Kills Monsters, a contemporary work written by Qui Nguyen that “aims to bring the game Dungeons and Dragons to life.” The story follows a young woman who, after the death of her teenage sister, takes up her sibling’s unfinished D&D quest and encounters an “action-packed adventure filled with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres and ’90s pop culture.”

Most exciting of all (for fans of Hamilton especially), is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway show, In the Heights, which will be the Department of Music and Theatre’s spring musical (in Laxson Auditorium April 30-May 3). The hip-hop musical revolving around the Hispanic community in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood debuted on Broadway in 2008 and won four Tony Awards and a Grammy and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Besides the theater offerings, the School of the Arts shows that have piqued my curiosity are the visiting Splinter Reeds quintet, an adventurous all-reed group coming to Zingg Recital Hall on Feb. 28 as part of the annual New Music Symposium, and the The Smell of Jazz, an all-Frank Zappa program presented by the Jazz X-Press ensemble in Harlen Adams Theatre on April 4.

As for other university offerings on the calendar, the Jacki Headley University Art Gallery’s opening exhibit (Aug. 29-Oct. 12), featuring the interactive sculptural installations of San Francisco artist Bernie Lubell, looks fascinating. And the North State Symphony will conclude its season in style on May 9 by celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday with Ode to Joy, a collaborative performance of Symphony No. 9 with the choirs from Shasta College and Simpson University.