Four guys and a memorial

Detail from Sal Casa’s “The Women”

Detail from Sal Casa’s “The Women”

Congratulazioni Salvatore “The art, if it exists in whatever we’re doing, is not in what we put in but what we leave out.” The notion from that line, a quote by Sal Casa from the opening of a video vignette on the beloved Chico painter at the Artoberfest website, bears itself out in one of his latest caesin paintings, “The Women,” which was just accepted into the annual Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors in Old Forge, N.Y. (opening in August). The spirited Casa stopped by CN&R H.Q. this week to give us a peek at the painting and explained that the inspiration to do a piece on “the women” came out of a desire to honor his friend and local painter Lois Cohen (who died Feb. 19). After compiling a list of the 50 or 60 prominent female artists from the 1940s and ’50s (both local and international), he realized he’d never fit them all on one painting. So, after picking Cohen, he threw the rest in a bowl and just drew enough to fill the canvas, with local printmaker Janet Turner winding up alongside the likes of Frida Kahlo and Helen Frankenthaler.

Watch out for Aughblood!

Right there in black and white It took only 16 weeks for me to recognize Muddle Town. The novel’s cryptic ads—featuring different dramatic-looking characters by Chico artist/author Christian Lovgren with the web address: beneath them—ran in the CN&R for three months, and I kept saying, “I probably should go check that out.” Well, I finally did, and if the ads weren’t enough to get you to visit, here’s another reminder to check out Lovgren’s novel “set in a world on the brink of societal collapse [where] Asher Radezlav, a mentally ill, drug addict punk-rocker believes he is witnessing events in the media and his dreams that will culminate in the end of the world.” You can read chapter one online, and pick up the book itself at Lyon Books.

Latest issue of the FN&R Faithful readers have probably noticed that CN&R friend and former managing editor Meredith J. Graham, while living the good life in the South of France (go to and keep up with her adventures on her blog, La vie, l’amour et la pâtisserie), is still staying digitally connected to the paper with the occasional contribution (see this week’s Healthlines, p. 12). But Graham is not our only Euro connection. Frequent contributor Alastair Bland is on a the mother-frickin’ dream assignment, biking, eating and drinking his way around the continent and writing about it all at for the Smithsonian Magazine blog, Off the Road: The Travel Adventures of a Nomad on the Cheap (go to and follow along vicariously).

Alastair outside a cave in France.

So far, he’s made his way from Toulouse, France to Andorra (apparently the ugly stepchild of Europe, with outlet stores and McDonald’s dotting the craggy landscape), and his fun, informed and insightful missives—on tasting cheese in the Pyrenees, buying wine by the jug and going on a hike in search of a cave where the French hid from Nazis—are enough to give you a painful case of wanderlust.

Memorial for Ed This Saturday, June 23, the family of Ed McLaughlin invites friends to remember the local bicycling advocate, who died last month (May 24), by joining them for an open bike ride starting at One-Mile in Bidwell Park at 8 a.m., and later that afternoon with a celebration/memorial at the Sierra Nevada Big Room, from 3-6 p.m.