Days of Lore

A horse is not a horse I’m not the artsiest fartsiest guy in the world, but I do love saying “artsy fartsy” and I can appreciate those whose artistic endeavors take them to realms outside … well … realms beyond the realms of my understanding.

That said, Artoberfest, formerly known as “Artstoberfest” (the decision to drop the “s” was actually put to a vote. Well played!), will soon be upon us—an entire month dedicated to fine arts, music, dance and film—that looks to show the rest of this God-forsaken country why Chico was named one of the “Top 100 Small Arts Towns in America” by author John Villani in 2002.

As you probably read in last week’s Arts Diva column, Chico Palio, the kick-off event for Artoberfest, is modeled after the Siena Palio in Italy, where contrade (neighborhoods) compete in a bareback horse race in July and August every year to give thanks to the Madonna. Thousands of people gather for the event, which dates back some 500 years, and party it up in the streets as only Europeans can.

The Chico event, scheduled for Sept. 29-30, will take on a bit of a different look, however. In place of horses will be people dressed up like horses racing around the Municipal City Hall parking lot (it’ll take place in the Downtown Plaza Park in 2007 if, fingers crossed, it’s finished by then). And it’s a safe bet that there will be no carousing in the streets of Chico, what with the proverbial nail all but driven into the coffin of classic holidays like Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day.

The concept itself is asinine if you ask me. A horse race with humans. In Chico, a town known for being equestrian-friendly. Kooky.

Now I’m not going to simply offer up empty criticism here. No siree. I’ve been doing some serious thinking. Seriously. Here are three ideas I’ve assembled as alternatives to Chico Palio in no particular order. I have more, but for the sake of saving space (and face), I’ll leave it at this for now.

• You say tomato, I say La Tomatina Everyone knows how fun a food fight can be—if you haven’t been involved in one, well, then you haven’t lived. This event, modeled after the La Tomatina festival in Buñol, Spain, would not only benefit local farmers (the Spanish event uses more than 90,000 pounds of tomatoes), but the remains can be made into a giant yummy bowl of gazpacho for all to enjoy.

• Lend me your ear People of all ages and sexes can get their Van Gogh on at the Van Gogh Look-alike Contest. I’ll be the first in line. Red beard. Awkward looking. And I love tripping on bottles of absinthe. So bring it on. Remember, there are plenty of paintings to use as reference material—young Van Gogh, old Van Gogh, shaved, bearded. Of course participants willing to lop off an ear will have a slight advantage.

• Painting with your privates Block off a few streets downtown, set up a giant canvas and let’s all get a little crazy at the Nude Body Painting Contest. Of course, this event will likely draw the people who frequent those swimming holes located in the deepest bowels of Upper Bidwell Park and perhaps a few of those dudes in Cohasset who posed nude for that calendar last year, but we can all hope that more college co-eds will join in … oh, and porn stars.

The days of Dino’s Ken Ridino has got to be the most patient man on the planet. The guy has been through the ringer in trying to open up his new establishment, Dino’s (located in the old Team Players building on Main Street). I talked to Ridino this week, and it looks like the place is now ADA compliant with the recent installment of a wheelchair lift and a remodel of the bathrooms.

He said the pool hall, restaurant and bar should open its doors in the second or third week of August. More details to come.

I initially wrote about the place opening back in December of 2004 when I was filling in for former CN&R Associate Editor Devanie Angel. At the time Ridino was dealing with trying to acquire a liquor license to the protest of Chico Police Chief Bruce Hagerty.

Celebrity Status Now the managing editor for Upstate Business Journal, Devanie Angel, whom I love with all my heart, has actually been nominated for the title of “BIG Celebrity” in a fundraiser for the nonprofit (notice no hyphen in nonprofit?) Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butte County. The fundraiser pits her against two other people from local media: DJ Tim Buckmore from 107 The Point and another yet to be named. Every dollar donated is a vote. The winner will be revealed at the BIG Event Oct. 7. (There are four categories total, the other three being BIG Professional, BIG Citizen and BIG Dynamic Duo).

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