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2011 redux: Five things that made Fresno awesome
I’m no good with dates. The years all run together for me (the months too), so I don’t ever quite know when things happened. It makes doing these end-of-the-year recap stories tough. But, as someone who comments on the goings-on around Fresno, it’s my blogger duty to at least try. So, here are five things made Fresno a bit awesomer (that’s a word now) in 2011 (or there abouts).
The things Bryan Harley and Roque Rodriguez do with cardboard should embarrass some real deal filmmakers (looking at you Uwe Boll). The duo, who also started the Swede Fest, recently gained national attention with their uber low-budget versions of the new Batman and Avengers trailers. They went viral, with mentions on websites like Buzzfeed, CNN’s Geek Out and Slash Films. And with good cause. The crew has taken do-it-yourself film parody and elevated it to its own art form.
Hide and Seek Galley
Hide and Seek Gallery has no formal home. Who needs that? Instead, the gallery does one-off pop-up shows. Members of the collaborative just find a suitable venue (a dive bar, a fashion boutique, an empty office space) throw their stuff on the walls, host a one- or two-day show and then disappear back into the art-world ether. It’s a totally underground feel. Like, if you’re there, it’s because you’re in the know. Which wouldn’t matter if the gallery didn’t have a slew of killer artists and musicians on its roster.
This year there was lot of talk about the mall. The city is working through the Fulton Corridor Specific Plan, which will guide downtown development including what happens on the mall. That could included tearing up portions of the mall and opening it back up to traffic (at least partially). The Mayor supports that plan as the mall’s best chance at economic viability and revitalization. Others aren’t so sure. We still don’t know what the ultimate fate of the Fulton Mall is going to be. Probably won’t for another few years. But as progress goes, this is the most we’ve seen in decades.
It sure felt like this was a boon year for local music, with releases from just about every band that’s playing the scene. We even saw an upstart label joining the fray — Coattrack Records, which out out cassette releases from Fay Wrays, Quiet American and Niilo Smeds (it even got some mentionon NPR). The Fresno Urban Sound Experience had its fourth year with a two-day festival downtown and just about weekend there was at least one not-to-miss show. Several weekends you were left to choose. Indeed, the boys (and girls) in the band were kept busy.
I don’t know how Granville did in other parts of town, but the home builder made a big move and embedded itself as an integral part of the Mural/Cultural Arts District in 2011. The company spent a lot of time and money in the area and we’re finally seeing the fruits with the Fulton Village, Biz-Werks and Van Ness Cottages.