What’s 2009 gonna do for me, A.D.?

2009: In really good shape.

2009: In really good shape.

Stayin’ classy in ‘09
Hey, Butte County. When’d you get so classical? Last spring, Chico State’s theater department put on The Bacchae, a 2,400-plus-year-old mythological tragedy by Euripides, and this weekend (opens Jan. 9), Oroville’s Birdcage Theatre kicks off a new year of local arts with the Greek tragedian’s ultimate woman-scorned tale, Medea .

The Birdcage’s production, adapted by local playwright Anna DeVore (who also directs), will take place in modern times, and the traditional Greek chorus will, among other things, perform a musical commercial for golden “fleece” … as in swindle. It should be a lot of fun, until the second act that is, when the bodies start to pile up—which is still fun, in a Greek tragedy sort of way.

More arts fun I’ll be watching for in 2009:

Tender Yellow Sky at the Blue Room Jan. 8-24: The theater offers its stage to Orland High teacher Tim Milhorn and his students to perform their banned play on the subject of teen suicide. Also featured: Loki Miller’s musical satire on the events surrounding the high school play’s censorship.

Gentlemen Crawlers at Café Coda Saturday, Jan. 17: Ken Lovgren (formerly of Deathstar, Ant Farm) has a new crew feat. Jason Willmon, Dan Greenfield and former Knapsack drummer Colby Mancasola.

• Blue Room Late Nite: It’s not all Twilight Zone (Jan. 9-17) in the late-nite zone. The winter-into-spring slate of mature-audience fare will feature flesh-eating Penguins (The Deadly Penguins ), Buffy the Vampire satire (Buffy Goes to CSUC(K) ) and a contemporary take on the classic Night of the Living Dead (including an all-Spanish version once-a-week—La Noche de los Muertos Vivientes ). Check for updates.

Chico Cabaret kicks ass: An impressive couple of fresh productions kick off the 2009 schedule: Opening Jan. 15, Is He Dead? , a newly discovered play (found in 2003) by Mark Twain, followed by The Wild Party (March 3-April 4), a musical based on poet Joseph Moncure March’s risqué Jazz Age narrative poem.

Jonathan Richman, the original Modern Lover, returns to Duffy’s Tavern Saturday, Jan. 22.

• They shall be released: No less than five local CD-release shows during the first month of the year: Make it So (Jan. 24, Grilla Bites); Ben Ruttenburg (son of Chico Cabaret’s Phil and Sue, Feb. 1, at Chico Cabaret); MaMuse (Feb. 5, Café Flo); Pat Hull (Feb. 7, Chico Women’s Club); March of the Mannequins (Feb. TBA, Café Coda).

• At the 1078 Gallery: Among the many exciting happenings, visiting artist Andy Bloxham will show photographs from scenes in his dreams (Feb. 11-March 7), Rogue Theatre will kick off the year with Scottish playwright David Harrower’s dark Blackbird; and the gallery will accept entries for its first film festival (happening Aug. 14-16). For deadlines and entry info, visit

• Chico State art: The Janet Turner Print Museum christens its new location in the Meriam Library building with an exhibit (opening Jan. 26) of Winslow Homer prints plus a grand opening (Feb. 4), and Arts DEVO fave Robin Indar will show her funky tile and ceramic pieces at the Humanities Center Gallery (Feb. 3-26).

Chico Performances: With Moscow Cat Theatre having been canceled, I’ve had to ask myself, “Is life is even worth living anymore?” Well … I’m not gonna lie, the promo picture C.P. is using for its Art of Bellydance show is really making me want to show up at Laxson Auditorium on Feb. 14 and making me realize things aren’t so bad. The night before (Feb. 13), Nickel Creek mandolinist Chris Thile and his Punch Brothers bluegrass crew warm up the stage. And in the semester’s stretch run, Malian pop star Habib Koité and his group Bamada bring West African flavor to town on April 4.

School of the Arts at Chico State: The Loeffler New Music Symposium: Music and the Cutting Edge spans three days (Feb. 26-28), and the theater department continues its impressive ’08-’09 run with Molière’s In the Blood (March 4-7).