2012 DEVO Awards

The DEVO for Best at Winning Presidential Elections goes to …

The DEVO for Best at Winning Presidential Elections goes to …

2012 DEVO Awards Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time once again for Arts DEVO’s super, year-end, somewhat random, local arts-awards ceremony for all the art and fun that tickled my art-and-fun spot. The envelope, please …

Best arts patron: Reed Applegate

Donating roughly 400 world-class pieces of art by Northern California artists to help start monCA, the Museum of Northern California Art? This award is no contest.

Best local culinary development: Food trucks/street food

Holy empanadas, Leonardo’s! There is so much carne asada, Mexican ice cream, lumpias, tamales, cupcakes and corn on the cob to be had on Chico’s streets. Nom, nom, nom.

Best thing about downtown Chico: Books

The Bookstore is in the middle of trying to transfer into the very capable hands of possibly the sweetest badass couple in town—Josh Mills and Muir Hughes—but they need your help. Go to and get in on the campaign! And go downtown and buy books from a local bookstore, any local bookstore—The Bookstore, Lyon Books, even 100th Monkey Café & Books!

Best ambassadors for Chico: (tie) Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. & MaMuse

Sierra Nevada breaks ground on its new North Carolina digs and will soon be carrying the Chico flavor to the right coast, and MaMuse goes national, hitting the public-radio airwaves and winning top prize in A Prairie Home Companion’s Duets contest. Yeah, Chico!

Boss of Chico: Scott Barwick

The Origami Recording Lounge owner and kick-ass musician already brings the sunshine and colors our rainbows with his nifty studio/live-music venue, and now he’s added the slick, collaborative Room 708 live-music video-recording project/site to his impresario repertoire.

Best renaissance: ukuleles

Dick and Jane may be off the radar, but in the wake of Chico’s beloved OG uke duo comes a parade of plinking goodness—Mandalyn May, Chico Children’s Ukulele Group, the We Heart Ukulele festival and CN&R’s own uke master Ken Smith bringing the sunshine to Michelin Embers, Hallelujah Junction and anyone else who’ll play with him!

Best art happenings: MANAS Art Space

We have no shortage of fun (Avenue 9 Gallery) and funky (1078 Gallery) galleries in Chico, but the newest kid on the arts block is having the most funky fun of all with its always-packed open-entry group shows.

Best local music of the year:

Surrogate, Teeph, MaMuse, Fera, Lish Bills, Michelin Embers, White Russian, Voltare, Miracle Mile, West by Swan, Clouds on Strings, Bran Crown, the exploding metal scene, albums by Clouds on Strings (Pomology), Fera (Sobriquets), Envelope Peasant & The Scientific Orchestra (Make a Home) and Christian Lady Killer (You Were Born From a Hole in the Floor), and a plethora of intriguing new bands: Bunnymilk, French Reform, Hallelujah Junction, Pageant Dads, Los Caballitos de la Cancion and Frankie Doppler’s Nuclear Sunrise.

Simply the best: Local theater

The Chico theater scene changed a lot in 2012. Chico Cabaret vacated its Almond Orchard digs after 11 years; the Blue Room Theatre hired new Artistic Director Fred Stuart; Rogue Theatre stopped showing at the 1078 Gallery and moved into its new Southside Playhouse; the brand new California Regional Theater started producing huge musicals at CUSD’s Center for the Arts; Jerry Miller stepped down from directing the Summer Theatre Festival; and we lost two huge personalities in the community—Brad Moniz and Quentin Colgan. And yet, in the midst of all the turmoil, the community theaters and colleges staged one of the best year’s worth of shows in recent memory, capped by the incredible Rogue production of August: Osage County. Also of note, in no particular order: Rogue’s Arcadia; the Blue Room’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Hank Williams: Lost Highway and The Little Prince; Theatre on the Ridge’s The Diviners; Chico State’s Oklahoma! and Rashomon; California Regional Theater’s Oliver! The Musical; and Butte College’s The Imaginary Invalid. Whew!

Next week: More 2012.