Put your belly into it

Chico belly dance duo sets up a studio downtown; local shops on theft alert; open mic gets the boot; and eat a sub for kids

A few years ago, as several CN&R staffers and I made the car ride back from an all-day retreat at our HQ in Sacramento, we were positively radiating with ideas. As we shared what we’d discussed in our respective breakout sessions that day, we began to brainstorm fun ways to build on our brand. We’d been successful with the Weird Chico issue. What if we built on that and held a talent show, à la America’s Got Talent, to showcase our crazy, weird, cool culture in Chico? The idea wasn’t fully fleshed out right there and then, but here we are in 2018, poised to host our fifth annual Keep Chico Weird Talent Show. (Saturday, March 3, at the Senator Theatre).

Among my favorite acts each year are the belly dancers. We’ve had several groups and individuals perform over the years, including perhaps Chico’s best-known duo, BellySutra. Turns out, that duo—Selina Lynn and Megan Love—are now sharing their love of the art of dance with anyone who’s willing to learn. Last week, they opened BellySutra’s BellyDance Fusion Studio at 220 W. Sixth St. in downtown Chico. Lynn tells me that starting this month, they’ll be offering a variety of classes and workshops, from stretching and conditioning to BellySutra-style belly dancing to sword and veil dancing (the first beginners belly dance class starts March 6!). You can also book belly and fire dancers for your private events through the studio. Go to bellysutrarocks.com for more info (and check out Lynn and Love at this Saturday’s talent show!).

Stop, thief! The Chico Chamber of Commerce and Police Department have teamed up for a new program called Retail Watch. Turns out shoplifting is a rampant problem, which is why we now have armed guards at Safeway on Mangrove. And nobody likes being eyeballed by a guard while picking out cucumbers. Retailers interested in joining the program, which will include monthly meetings and information sharing, should call the chamber at 891-5556.

No more open mic I received a phone call recently from a concerned reader who’d noticed that the monthly open mics held at Barnes & Noble had been discontinued. Brittany Tucker, who happens to be a singer and ukulele player, said she’d really come to enjoy the events, which she said were unique in that they attracted a number of younger talents, as they were all-ages and held in a family-friendly environment. A phone call to B&N confirmed that the events have been canceled. Cafe Manager Tifani Comer was nonspecific in her answer as to why, however, merely citing changes to staff scheduling. If you’re like Tucker and want to see the open mics return, make sure to let the B&N management know! Or write a letter to the editor of this paper (cnrletters@newsreview.com) to chime in publicly.

Eat up Jersey Mike’s Subs is once again holding a Month of Giving campaign during March, to benefit local nonprofits. In Chico, stop by the sandwich shop at 605 Mangrove Ave. and make a donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley. And make sure to buy a sub (or three) on March 28, when 100 percent of sales will go to the valuable local nonprofit.