Days of Lore
A big step “I feel very good, very elated. I feel like we’ve entered the 21st century,” said Joe Person Sr. during the recent dedication of the monument of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Community Park.
I couldn’t agree more. After three years of effort that was met with resistance almost every step of the way, Person and the Chico Community Coalition finally had reason to celebrate. It was refreshing to see such a large, diverse crowd of people together clapping their hands to the Chico State Gospel Choir (which, I might add, is one of the smokin’-est bands in town).
It may not seem like a lot, but the monument, and the renaming of Whitman Avenue to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway just made Chico a much better place.
All that jazz As part of Black History Month (only one month? How about adding another 11?), the kids down at A.S. Presents are bringing the Langston Hughes Project to Chico State Wed., Feb. 28.
Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz, written by poet, novelist and playwright Langston Hughes in the early ’60s, is a 12-part epic poem that was set to a variety of musical styles. The project was left unperformed at the time of his death in 1967.
The upcoming multimedia production will be presented by Ron McCurdy, a professor of music and chair of the Jazz Studies Department at the University of Southern California, and will include spoken word and live musical performances. At the same time, there will also be a slide presentation with images from the Harlem Renaissance, a movement of prominent black artists, musicians and writers in the early 20th century.
What more could you ask for? Music? Poetry? History? Beautiful. For more info go to www.ronmccurdy.com.
Something different There are a few other interesting performances coming to our cozy little town this weekend. The always kooky Cruxters are bringing in Uni and Her Ukulele, the one-woman act from S.F. who also spends time as a professional mannequin … that’s what she says on her MySpace page, anyway. Uni also says she draws influence from everyone from the New York Dolls and Miss Piggy to Willie Nelson and Bernadette Peters.
Uni and Her Ukulele’s new album, My Favorite Letter Is U, is available on cdbaby.com. The show goes down at the Crux Artist Collective Sat., Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. Also performing is Mr. I from NorCal acoustic duo Dick and Jane, Goldmine’s John Paul Gutierrez, and Christine “Sea Monster” Fulton will perform a live puppet show.
And from the East Bay comes The Loyd Family Players, a 10- to 20-person percussion troupe influenced by Brazilian samba, punk rock and hip hop. The troupe will perform twice this weekend, Fri., Feb. 23, at Lost On Main, and Sat., Feb. 24, at the Velour Lounge on the back patio of Panama’s. Check them out at www.myspace.com/theloydfamilyplayers.
Fish & Chips A couple of years ago in one of our Best Of issues, I wrote that my desk was the best place to see a car accident. Well, those days are over, dammit! The city and the Chico Police Department have recently upped the number of officers on motorcycles with the sole purpose of handing out traffic citations. So there’s a fleet of Jon Baker and Frank Poncherello types cleaning up our streets. One guy likes hanging out at the corner of East First Street and Vallombrosa that used to be the hot spot for fender benders. He sits largely unnoticed, aims his mighty radar and, minutes later, on go the lights. God knows that stretch needs it, but now I’m going to be bored out of my mind.