Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time once again for Arts DEVO’s super, year-end, random, local arts-awards ceremony for all the art that tickled my art spot. The envelope, please …
Best local arts cheerleaders: Avenue 9 Gallery
The gallery; the Chico Visual Arts Alliance (ChiVAA); the Art About art walk; the creation of the Art Fiesta at The Matador arts fest; the collaborations with community events and causes—from the Snow Goose Festival to the efforts to help raise money to save Bidwell Mansion—all add up to the Avenue 9 Gallery’s arts mavens being Chico’s most spirited arts advocates.
Best revolution: The craft beer revolution
Thank you, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., for your many tasty inventions and being the catalyst for attracting countless other tasty craft beers from around the world to our little city and my grateful belly.
Best development for Chico’s global rock cred: The Troggs and MC5 moving to town
A million-kabillion cred points to the first geniuses able to bring together two of Chico’s newest residents—Michael Davis, former bassist for seminal garage-punk band MC5, and Richard Moore, former guitarist for “Wild Thing”-creators The Troggs—into one super band.
Best force in local theater: Katie Whitlock
The Chico State theater instructor is not only the adviser/director of the most challenging shows in town (most recently the most excellent fall production of the updated Jacobean revenge tragedy, Revenger’s Tragedy), she’s also a bad-ass sound designer and seems like a helluva sweet person.
Best line from the edge: Anthony’s colonic
I should do a whole column filled with my favorite lines from Anthony Peyton Porter’s back-page column, From the Edge. This year, this gem from his “Clean as a whistle” piece (Dec. 08, 2011) has stuck with me: “Every morning I got to stick a tube in my butt and poop for an hour and a half—major bliss.”
Simply the best: RayRay and 1078 galleries
With apologies to the impressive programs curated by Chico Performances and Café Culture, these two community resources, more than any other, consistently matched my personal natural frequency with their busy schedules of fun and challenging art, music and live performances.
Best local music of the year:
Clouds on Strings (band of the year); Surrogate’s Diamonds and Pearls and Thank You, Chico, Goodnight compilation (albums of the year); Shivaree (new band of the year); West by Swan’s “String Theory” (song of the year); David Love, mod-looking ringleader of Inspire/Chico High’s Enthusiasm Ensemble (performer of the year). Bonus: Magalia noise-metal duo Epitaph of Atlas, defunct indie trio The Great Good, the Butte County bandas scene, Murder Ballads cover night at RayRay, and GravyBrain’s psycho-funk freakout at The Grad.
New in 2011 Comedy From the Couch at Blue Room, Show Us Your Shorts Film Fest, Babylon Community Arts Center, Donut Rising.
Gone in 2011 The Artistry (moved from brick-and-mortar to roving/online gallery); Café Culture; Chico E-R’s weekly entertainment magazine, The Buzz.
Gone in 2011 … but returning KRBS, Radio Bird Street, powers down to transition to full power and a new spot on the dial: 91.1 FM.
Rest in peace
• Scott Teeple: Prolific Chico muralist.
• Bill Toliver: Jazz drummer.
• Rudy Giscombe: Irrepressible photographer and jazz saxophonist.
• Gina Bloxham (aka Gina Violina): Hibbity Skibbity violinist and puppeteer.
• Slam Buckra: Redding/Chico kooky, bluesy, funky, bar-rocker.
• Barney Barbour: Eclectic, eccentric bassist and community-access TV music host.