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Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

It’s nearly summertime, which means a whole new season of theater, music and art to enjoy, and possibly distract us from the Valley’s soon-to-be oppressive heat. Back in the studio is Donald Munro, a longtime Fresno arts reporter and creator of The Munro Review.

On this week's Valley Edition: we return to the story of Ethan Morse, the son of the former district attorney in Merced County who was gunned down in March. Some say the murder was tied to Morse’s arrest six years ago.

And how do you use science to recreate a mysterious 30-year-old invention shrouded in secrecy? Students at UC Merced throw their hats in the ring, together with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Plus child abuse is a huge problem in the Valley - we learn about the scope and take a look at some solutions.

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: A plot of land in southwest Fresno that used to be a landfill is now not just a park, but a national landmark. A historian gives us the gritty details.

Plus: How are local federal employees dealing with the shutdown?  We’ll hear from Fresno IRS workers, who say they’re watching their savings dwindle.

Later we hear from renowned folk singer John McCutcheon, who’s performing in Fresno, and we catch up with arts blogger and critic Donald Munro about the shows he’s excited to watch this winter.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The San Joaquin Valley is home to a number of renowned poets, past and present. Just yesterday, Juan Felipe Herrera, a former U.S. Poet Laureate, got a shoutout during Governor Gavin Newsom’s inauguration. Earlier this month, Fresno City College professor Lee Herrick came out with his own new book of poetry, "Scar and Flower." It's Herrick's first book since he finished his tenure as Fresno’s Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Last week, for the first time, downtown Fresno’s Saroyan Theater transformed into the Pridelands, complete with larger than life giraffes, and an iconic warthog-meerkat duo. Actors Martina Sykes and Gerald Ramsey, who play Shenzi and Mufasa, came to the station to talk about the show and how they take a well-known animated film and translate its music and themes to the stage.

You can hear listen to the interview above to hear more.

The Munro Review

Donald Munro is kind of a legend among arts lovers in Fresno. For 16 years, he covered theater, visual art, dance, classical music and more for the Fresno Bee.  Now, he’s keeping his arts reporting alive with a member-supported website called The Munro Review. It’s kind of like public radio: Anyone can access it, but he relies on donations from subscribers. He spoke with us about this project, and what shows we should look out for this Fall.

Central Valley Community Foundation

It’s that undiscovered story that begs to be told, the one that makes you see our Central Valley in a whole different light – that’s the mission of The Big Tell Showcase running on Friday October 19 at the Tower Theater in Fresno. The showcase, which selects ten filmmakers to win competitive grants, results in ten mini-documentaries about the people, culture, and issues important to the Central Valley.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

As summer winds down, and school picks back up, local theater groups are starting to plan their next seasons with which to entertain the Valley. The Selma Arts Center just announced its upcoming season, while celebrating its fifth year in action. We spoke with Nicolette C. Anderson, the Coordinator for the Center, and Juan Guzman who will be directing one of the shows, to hear what they have in store for their 2019 season.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

This past Sunday, April 22, was Earth Day. But did you know that the day before was the birthday of conservationist John Muir, or that the day after was the day widely believed to have been the birth and death of William Shakespeare? These may seem like unrelated occasions, but one special event brought all three together in Yosemite National Park.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we look ahead to what 2015 will hold for the San Joaquin Valley in a variety of areas from the oil industry to the arts. We start with a look at the political landscape in 2015 by talking with Fresno State political science professor Thomas Holyoke.

For a preview of what the local agriculture industry has in store we talk with Ryan Jacobsen of the Fresno County Farm Bureau and Tricia Stever Blattler of the Tulare County Farm Bureau.

Benjamin Boone

Fresno jazz artist, educator and composer Benjamin Boone has embarked on a fascinating new musical journey: mixing his music with the poems of former Poet Laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Levine. 

Levine, who is a longtime Fresno resident is among the nation's most revered poets. He's also a big jazz fan, dating back to his youth in Detroit. In fact, many of his poems reference jazz, including iconic stars like Clifford Brown and John Coltrane. 

I’m not talking about secession or flying Sarah Palin down from Alaska but about what may be the most important California arts event most Californians have never heard of: Fresno’s Rogue Festival. Founded more than a decade ago in the backyard of artist Marcel Nunis, the independent festival brings thousands of people from around the country and the world to Fresno the first two weekends of March for hundreds of performances in a dozen different venues.

M Street Arts Complex

Over the past decade, downtown Fresno's arts scene has blossomed with new galleries and studios, not to mention live-work lofts and an area filled with public art that's been dubbed the mural district. 

In Visalia, Pizza and Poetry Mix at Howie & Son's

Aug 23, 2013
Howie & Son's

If you want to hear poetry on a Friday night in the San Joaquin Valley, stop by Howie & Son’s Pizza Parlor in Visalia.

You’ll find us in the back room, by the video game machines.

This isn’t your standard poetry reading. It’s poetry slam, the competitive art of performance poetry. We write our own verse and then deliver it, forcefully and in our own distinctive style.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The City of Selma opens the doors of its new Arts Center Wednesday evening with a ribbon cutting ceremony. And while the building's striking architecture is creating a buzz, its mission as a cultural center has captured the community's imagination. Valley Public Radio’s Joe Moore reports.

Dozens of painters, plasterers, and electricians were hard at work today in downtown Selma, putting the finishing touches on a new jewel in the city's downtown - the $2.5 million Selma Arts Center. 

America has a new poet laureate today, as the Library of Congress names Philip Levine in the one-year position. He will succeed W.S. Merwin in the post. Born in Detroit in 1928, Levine has used his poetry to examine blue-collar life, often embroidering everyday events with a sense of myth.