Being scene

Or, how to reinvent Chico in your image and have as much fun as a house full of frat boys and porn stars

PARTY ON, MORTALS <br>Detail of “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” by Heironymous Bosch.

Detail of “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” by Heironymous Bosch.

Welcome to Chico.

Local Bastard here, welcoming all newcomers and returning students to the middle of nowhere. If you’ve made it this far into the CN&R, then you’re probably trying to figure out what the hell there is to do in this overheated town, and as the one person you can trust for such advice in Chico [look for Local Bastard’s hideout toward the end of our calendar each week—see p. 46], allow L.B. to break down how Chico rules the Earth and how, if you want, you can have the time of your life while you’re here.

The sucky part first: It’s too easy to take it easy. Nobody in this town needs a back-to-school guide to map out the booze landscape (Step outside your apartment, walk 10 paces. Grab a plastic cup. Say, “Wooooh!” loudly). Likewise, makin’ a run for the border, and killing at Halo games and filling the pie hole with a big pizza—admittedly all essential to one’s survival—are all pursuits that require zero hand holding.

“What’s your problem, Bastard,” you ask? “Those are good times!”

You’re right. Taco Bell, pizza, Xbox, the drinky-drinky and all the beautiful party people are all cool (don’t say crunk—just control yourself, please), but despite the headlines, none of that is unique to Chico. Whether it’s for diversion or for addiction, this is all available everywhere. The problem in laid-back Chico is that, between school and “the college lifestyle” (ugh), it’s more than too easy to get stuck on that limited track and just roll right through, all the way back to Martinez or Monrovia, never having actually lived in Chico at all.

“So, what then, Bastard?”

Well, L.B. should probably go off here about all the Chico essentials: Bidwell Park, Sierra Nevada Brewery and the Big Room, the Pageant Theatre, local music (especially Aubrey Debauchery, The Makai, The Americas, Abominable Iron Sloth, West by Swan and Squirrel vs. Bear), the Senator, small rock shows (Fulcrum Records, Off Limits, LaSalles, Tower Records, DevilKat Rock Productions), Chico Peace and Justice Center, the Blue Room Theatre, cafe fare (poetry, jazz, acoustic music), Crux Arts Collective, Chico State entertainment (A.S. Presents, Chico Performances, School of the Arts), Farmers’ Market, Chico Outlaws baseball and Wildcat sports … but that’s not where this is going. Make no mistake, you have to try out every item listed above to catch a whiff of what Chico’s cooking and to avoid being ridiculed each week in Local Bastard’s column, but the real college-years nourishment comes from you.

Last Saturday, L.B. overheard an excited young woman on the sidewalk exclaim to her friend, “Can you believe our parents are gone?!”

Yes. Believe it. Believe anything you want. It’s your turn to define the world and add your voice to the noise. If that’s not why you’re here, that’s why you should be here. And for those seeking to make their own mark, Chico is a great place to test out your dreams. Most of the cool things in the previously mentioned to-do list were birthed by Chico State students who acted on some small or crazy big idea. It’s easier than you think. In fact, there are only three steps:

One, say idea out loud to your friends: “Shadow-puppet theater!” Two, go to local café, bar, record store and say, “I want to present the Flaming Jesus Monkeyship Shadow Puppet Nightmare at your hole-in-the-wall establishment.” Three, tell the local media about your special event. Take it from a guy at a local paper—all the local papers want to write about the cool, fun, new, wacky stuff y’all are up to, so take advantage of that. Also take advantage of the fact that there are likely at least a few dozen of the thousands of Butte College and Chico State students in town who might want to pay 2 bucks to see you get your artistic expression on.

Plus, if you’re a student, you can go the campus-organization-sponsored-function route. Maybe hook up with the College Republicans and do a reading of the Vagina Monologues as a fund-raiser?

It’s pretty simple. You can have plenty of fun just sticking with the party that goes down in every college town, or you can also pour your own concoction, drink in something new and find out what Chico really has to offer. Turn to these pages and see what the Scene is up to.