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Getting to know...you
All the cool people are on Famous. We know this. But maybe we don't know them. So, Famous introduces some of its favorite users (we'll do more, so don't feel left out). This week we start with Jefferson Beavers.
Name, occupation, and how long you've lived in Fresno.
I'm Jefferson Beavers. I just finished my Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at Fresno State, where I was a graduate student for the last four years. I'm a part-time faculty now in both the English and the Mass Communication and Journalism departments. In the fall, I'll become the adviser to the campus newspaper, The Collegian.
I grew up in Dinuba and have lived most of my life in the central San Joaquin Valley. I got my BA degree in journalism from Fresno State and then had newspaper jobs in the Bay Area and Modesto. I moved to Fresno in July 2001 for a copy editor job at The Fresno Bee, where I was the front-page news designer for two years before going to grad school.
How long have you been a FF user? What's your first FF memory/experience?
I don't remember how I first heard about Famous, but I do remember loving it immediately. I think it was early 2005, not too long after the site started. I was a big fan of Famous 1.0, mostly because of the attitude. I had no idea who was writing it, so following the daily exploits of The Editor, the Assistant Editor/Sports, and Kumar the vegan chef pretty much became my favorite thing to do. It was mysterious, it was snarky, but most of all, I thought it was really smart.
This was about the same time I was getting more involved in the MFA program at Fresno State. I wrote to The Editor about wanting to contribute articles because I really believed in what the site was doing for the arts in Fresno. Jarah introduced herself and I've been a site user ever since.
How do you use the site?
Mostly, I've posted literary events on the calendar and articles on writers coming through town. When I first started, I wrote a lot of Q&A style interview articles with other writers. Fresno has a ton of literary and spoken-word events for a city this size. So I thought Famous would give me the perfect excuse to meet some writers and tell other people about them at the same time. Also, like most newspapers across the country, The Bee doesn't have much of a books page anymore. So that gave me another good reason to write that kind of stuff myself.
It's been about a year now since I've written an article for the site. Mostly, I've been coaching my peers and friends in the MFA program to do the Q&A articles, so they can get the experience of interviewing other writers and also make their own contacts. Some of my Fresno State journalism students post on the site, too. This past spring, I sent all of my cub reporters to go to the Rogue Festival to find a story and post it live to the site within 24 hours. Most of them had never even been to the Tower District before, and every single student couldn't believe how amazing the Rogue was. They got hooked on Famous and the arts scene quick.
I blogged on Famous 2.0 for a while, too. But I had like four blogs going at the same time at one point and I got blog fatigue. I was totally honored, though, to fill in for Jarah on Sour Grapes one week, when she went to Europe. She brought me back a bottle of Irish whiskey, in gratitude.
Favorite Fresno haunts? Where are you when you're not at home/work/etc.?
Like my good friend Mike Oz, I have a soft spot for the taco, so I spend a lot of time taqueria hopping. I love Guadalajara at First and Bullard and Tacos Marquitos at Cedar and Barstow the best. An old favorite is El Toro at Cedar and Shields.
I know it's not very creative or unusual, but I'd have to say that the Tower Theatre is pretty central to my life in Fresno. I'm very loyal to Fresno Filmworks and Reel Pride, and I make it a point to catch as many of their films as I can. I've seen some plays and concerts at the Tower Theatre, too.
Trivia: One thing people wouldn't guess about you.
You can't tell by my light skin or my surname, but I'm Chicano. For most of my life, I never really thought much about how I saw myself. When people asked, I usually said I was Mexican, even though that surprised a lot of people. My mother is second-generation Mexican American, and raised my sister and me pretty much as American kids. It's only been the last year or so that I've claimed the label Chicano and have started figuring out what that means to me. I think I'll be working on it for a long time.
Anything else people should know about you or your affiliation with Fresno or Fresno Famous?
I really admire what Jarah, Suzi, Mike, Niilo, and especially everybody at the beginning created here. It completely changed my life in Fresno. I mean that. Anytime people ask me about my affiliation with Famous, I'm always very happy to give credit where credit is due.
I'm like a lot of people here, I spent a lot of time figuring out how to get out of the Valley, while I was growing up. When I came back, as an adult, I started to see Fresno for the possibilities, as corny as that might sound. So Famous, for me, was a big part of making Fresno a place I wanted to live, and I'll always be grateful for that. I'd throw myself in front of a moving bus if Jarah Euston asked me to.