Poodle butts and those busy, busy Chico artists

Copasetic Soul

Copasetic Soul

Poodle butt
My dog weighs seven pounds, and right now she has a rubber drainage tube sewn into her tiny right butt cheek. It’s the second surgery she’s had in two months to remove an abscess from the butt. She’s bummed that I won’t let her chew the tube out, and I’m bummed that I have to deny her the pleasure (and our new kitten is bummed that she’s temporarily being denied the fun of enthusiastically rabbit-kicking the dog’s pink underside).

What’s this have to do with Chico’s greater arts scene? Nothing. But it’s what’s on my mind as I try to get this column finished while working from home during my dog’s recovery.

So it’s with a very warm lap that I type out a somewhat scattered rundown of stuff that some locals are up to:

• Advocates for free expression: Twenty-two years—that’s like almost two centuries in poetry years, isn’t it? Entering the new year, the weekly Open Mikefull at Has Beans (and before that, at Humboldt Studios) and Taz Yamaguchi’s Chico Poetry Slam series are celebrating their ninth and 13th anniversaries, respectively. Tonight, Thursday, Feb. 5, at 8 p.m., the Has Beans mic will again be open. And, next Thursday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m., at the new Café Culture (Fifth Street at the railroad tracks), the 14th season of slamming will kick off.

The first slam of the new year will feature a set by St. Louis wordsmith Copasetic Soul. Plus, in addition to the regular two-round slam there will be a head-to-head haiku competition and a freestyle rap battle.

• Nick Lee: In the mini commercial complex at 932 W. Eighth Ave., two of the suites are rented out by Chico newcomer Nick Lee. Suite E is his hole-in-the-wall Joseph Conrad-referencing bookstore, Under Western Eyes, and at the back of the parking lot in the Suite O warehouse is his Half-Ass Art Gallery. This weekend is your chance to take in the whole funky complex: On Friday, Feb. 6, at 6 p.m., there will be an art show and concert, featuring a few hundred paintings by Lee and music by The Shimmies, North Cedar and Tom Cat Surprise (feat. Tino Marrufo). The Half-Ass also will be open the following day during the Art First Saturday art walk.

Adilah Barnes

• Adilah Barnes: It began when she was a teenager in Chico State’s Project Upward Bound. Since getting bitten by the acting bug during that program, Oroville native Adilah Barnes has carved out a respectable career in the field, appearing in films (Erin Brockovich , Murder by Numbers ), on TV (Cold Case , Mad About You , Roseanne ), as well as in her own one-woman show paying homage to important black women in history, I Am That I Am: Woman Black (which she performed at Chico State in 2006).

Now she’s added author to her résumé. This Friday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m., as part of Oroville’s State Theater’s celebration of Black History Month, Barnes will read from her recently released On My Own Terms: One Actor’s Journey , a chronicle of her life as a professional actor.

• Pat Hull: The 2009 Chico band CDs are coming fast and furious now (La Fin du Monde is also on the horizon, and rumor has it that West By Swan is wrapping up recording No. 2 as well), and this weekend the anticipated release of Pat Hull’s full-band recording Forever’s Night happens Saturday, Feb. 7, at 8 p.m., at the Chico Women’s Club. Joybook and Candy Apple open.

Blood brothers

• Blood of Cain: The Chico metal heavyweights (2008 CAMMIES Best Metal Band champs) have revamped their roster with a new guitarist and bassist and are getting to work starting now. Two epic local shows—Wednesday, Feb. 11, at LaSalles with Armed for Apocalypse and Eyes of Ruin, and Friday, Feb. 20, at Paradise Lost with Tornado Wolves, Are We Dead Yet? and many more—are followed by killer gigs at the Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood (March 5) and at the California Metal Fest in Anaheim (March 28). Tear it up, guys!