David Best re-creates Che’s tank, and Chico Performances starts again

<br> Che’s tank

Che’s tank

Photo By jason cassidy

Tanks for the memories Your school year is over, Wildcats, and what do you have to show for it? Chances are, not nearly as impressive of a monument to your hard work as those industrious kids over in the art department.

It started with famed Burning Man temple sculptor/architect David Best, who visited the department during the fall semester and stuck around to help the students and faculty build a replica—not a sculptural representation or a cardboard cutout, but an actual, fully functional, 9,000-pound, could-drive-it-straight-through-your-apartment-building replica—of a tank built by Cuban sugar-mill workers for revolutionaries under the command of Che Guevara. The original tank never saw battle, but Chico State foundry technician David Barta was kind enough to give me a demo of the completed replica’s awesomeness, firing up the massive diesel tractor engine and taking the tank for a noisy spin around the Ayres Hall courtyard before re-parking it inside the shop.

The beast won’t be around long. It’s shipping out to a Houston gallery soon in anticipation of next spring’s Houston Art Car Parade, so swing by and sneak a peek through the window while you can.

Let’s push things forward With just one final performance on the schedule at the end of another kick-ass Chico Performances season, series curator Dan DeWayne stood at a podium inside Laxson Auditorium, already excited about next school year. Last Friday, in front of a smattering of sponsors and local media types, DeWayne unveiled the already-completed, packed 2009-10 schedule of performances. My first overall impression is that the big-ticket items this year are huge-ticket items: Chicago Blues Reunion with Charlie Musselwhite (Sept. 11), Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (Sept. 18), Merle Haggard (Sept. 29), Garrison Keillor (Oct. 29), John Cleese (Nov. 10), B.B. King(!) (Nov. 17), The Chieftains (Feb. 18, 2010) and Vienna Boys Choir (March 10, 2010). Other biggies include Deepak Chopra (Sept. 12), Joan Osborne with the Holmes Brothers and Paul Thorn (Oct. 15), American Troubadours: featuring Greg Brown, John Hammond and David Lindley (Nov. 13), Tommy Emmanuel (Feb. 7, 2010), Blind Boys of Alabama (Feb. 25, 2010), Ira Glass (April. 10, 2010), and Baaba Maal (April 14, 2010)

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As usual, I personally wish there were one or two acts that were a little more strange (something like S.F.’s Extra Action Marching Band … with Loyd Family Players opening, or maybe picking the brain of David Dvorin in the music department to bring some experimental electronics or multimedia craziness to town?), but there’s no denying that the schedule is impressively rich. I am looking forward to Haggard, King, the Blind Boys and Glass, as well as Gillian Welch (Oct. 10), the all-female Belizean Garifuna music collective Umalali (Feb. 16, 2010) and of course, in what will hopefully make up for the severe depression I suffered after the cancellation of Moscow Cat Theatre last year, Comedy Pet Theatre (March 11, 2010)—now with more species!

The good, the bad and the bond of love Please join me in the following: welcoming former Orion writer and Entertainment Editor Kenna Cook (née Hunt) to the CN&R as our new calendar editor; calling shenanigans on UK-based artist Andy J. Miller for horning in on Chico artist/rapper/dad Ayejay Morano’s Indie Rock Connect the Dots territory with his copycat The Indie Rock Coloring Book; and raising a glass to toast the recent nuptials of the sweetest, coolest punk-rock/pyrate/activist couple in town, Shyla Black and Sean Cummins. Huzzah!