With Chico State’s galleries shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly everyone has been deprived of experiencing student works in person this school year. In response, the university’s Art Department has taken the show to social media. Throughout spring, the department’s Facebook and Instagram pages have become a virtual group art show, with BFA students sharing galleries of current works and graduate candidates hosting online culminating exhibits. There’s some rad stuff to see—I’m really digging the prints by Rae Helms—perhaps more of a range of impressive creations than those outside the campus community might have otherwise been aware of.
There’s a ton online right now and even more to come, with culminating exhibits Liminal, featuring dark and engaging regular and digital drawings by Cassandra Sturdevant (April 26), and Dream State, by Valeria Moreno (April 29).
I have actual goosebumps while typing this: Chico Theater Company just announced … its 2021 season! This is not to say that Butte County’s number of positive COVID-19 cases has gotten low enough for performance spaces to be able to return to shows as normal. In fact, none of the four tiers in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy allows for indoor shows with audiences, and there hasn’t yet been an announcement about what will and won’t be allowed at such venues when the state potentially reopens more broadly on June 15. So, until new guidance is released, whatever CTC produces will be outside (for drive-in style theater in the parking lot out back). Still, it’s a glimmer of hope. Making plans for live performances, no matter how tentative, brings a little light into the arts darkness of COVID.
There are five shows on the schedule, taking CTC through the end of the year. The season opener will be The Ladies Foursome, a heartwarming comedy about four women sharing a round of golf in honor of their recently departed mutual friend.
Visit chicotheatercompany.com for details.
More local “pandemusic”
Last December, I declared that my favorite local album of 2020 was the excellent Aurelia by Fera, released last April. It had been about eight years between albums for the longtime Chico singer/songwriter, but now, just one year later, comes another: Locus Limen. There’s always been a thread of experimentation running through Fera’s self-recorded albums, but on this latest, that adventurous spirit is the star—resulting in 15 tracks of stay-at-home tinkering that is unpredictable. There are weird and meditative loops all over the place, some with distorted spoken word—as on the appropriately titled “Sometimes My Brain is Melting”—and at least one with sweet wordless humming harmonies (“Head Spinning Next to Each Other”).
Locus Limen and other recordings by Fera are available for streaming and downloading at fera.bandcamp.com.
Who else has been making music during pandemic times? Big Mo! Butte County’s favorite adopted musical son has written an uplifting song for the times, a song he says is “about how strong we all are and have to be … generations before us also went through hard times and came out strong and built a great Country. I know we all can do this together.”
Hear “Roll With the Punches” and watch the accompanying video below and on YouTube, and find Big Mo & The Full Moon Band on Facebook.
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