Culture vulture

Danny Cohen and Jasper rehearse for an upcoming performance at Café Flo.

Danny Cohen and Jasper rehearse for an upcoming performance at Café Flo.

The nature of things
When not locked in a symbiotic embrace with a keyboard and computer screen or wedged behind a drum kit in a rehearsal studio, there are few things Culture Vulture enjoys more in this life than an autumn excursion to Bidwell Park. Even more than in springtime, the autumn park draws us to its gentle pathways, graceful trees and murmuring creek.

The Culture Vulture World Headquarters guard dogs, Sam and Stella, couldn’t agree more. The mere jingling of their leashes’ choke chains sends them into a frenzy of ecstatic anticipation of walking to the park for another round of shrubbery sniffing, wallowing in the creek and crossing paths with their fellow canines.

The park, rising as it does from the center of downtown Chico to the rugged, picturesque bluffs of Upper Bidwell, provides a literal link of the natural and artificial environments that sustain our human endeavor, and one of the best places to examine and learn about that link is at the Chico Creek Nature Center. The center is unobtrusively located next to the creek on the edge of Lower Bidwell at 1968 East Eighth St., and houses living exhibits of local fauna and flora that can be found in the park. The animals and birds housed at the center are classified as nonreleasable, having been rescued and rehabilitated from injury or sickness, and their display units are comfortable and well-kept mini-environments that allow close-up viewing.

Our favorite is Gruck the crow, who has an opening in his cage that allows visitors the opportunity to stroke his head when he extends it for them, providing they are willing to brave the sign warning that he could decide to take a peck at a finger. In several visits Culture Vulture has never been pecked, but if I ever am, no grudge will be held.

For those curious about, or desiring to help maintain the center—which is on the verge of expanding its facilities with a new building housing educational programs about the natural and cultural history of the park—an opportunity is available Sat., Oct. 21. On that day the center will host a fundraising program that will include lectures, guided walks, a presentation commemorating the contributions of educator Wes Dempsey and a buffet lunch, all for a donation of $25. That’s a deal.

For more info, contact the center at 891-4671 or

Little utopias
Parties are microcosmic idealizations of society. Food, music, drink, the celebratory interaction of congenial companions—it’s what life should be like all the time, when one isn’t engaged in the work that makes the party possible. A couple of weeks back Culture Vulture attended and played music at a block party on Fairway Alley that illuminated this truth with a gathering that illustrated that people of diverse generations, cultural traditions and socio-economic backgrounds can unite and share the products of our labors in a celebration of diversity that far surpasses any differences in our backgrounds.

We’re all neighbors in this global village. Let’s have a party instead of a brawl.