‘Diners, Drive-Ins, Dives’ & Baconfest

Guy Fieri will be the guide.
Fieri, who taste-tests regional cooking all over the country, emcees and assists in determining who can make the most of bacon – and other complementary stuff – June 18-19 in Lathrop.
He brings his “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” skills to the first Baconfest at Dell’Osso Family Farms, home of annual multi-week festivals associated with Halloween and Christmas.
The subtitles for Baconfest are “beer” and “bands.”
The “live” amateur “mystery basket” contest is on June 18. The professionals compete on June 19.
Contestants won’t know what the ingredients are until they open their “basket.” The winner receives $3,000.
The pro winner gets dinner for two at Yountville’s French Laundry with reservations at the Villagio Inn and Spa.
There’ll be $5,000 divided between the top five fiishers in a bacon-eating contest
For information: baconfest; Baconfest on Facebook.

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Stockton trio’s debut recording has a “lossless” sound

Pine + Palm, a brother-sister duo from Stockton, has sent its digital debut recording – “The Drought Is Real” – out into the stream.
The five-song mini-album was released May 20 on the Internet.
It’s available for $7 and there’s “unlimited streaming” through Bandcamp, a no-cost app.
It also can be downloaded as an MP3 and is available on FLAC (free lossless audio codec), which allows “loss-less compression of digital audio.” Or better sound quality.
Lead guitarist Tanner Heard, sister Cheyenne – who plays rhythm guitar, percussion, sings and writes the lyrics – and drummer/bassist Sam York recorded the album at Stockton’s Studio C. York produced the five songs.

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Dirk Hamilton gets double shots of non-‘Depression’

Dirk Hamilton get two shots of non-‘Depression’
When it’s a matter of music, too many people in Stockton, don’t seem to care. Or believe.
Then they complain.
Well, rare is the non-Stocktonian who’s unable to recognize – or legitimize – the exceptional American music created by Lincoln High School graduate Dirk Hamilton during the past 4½ decades.
Put him up there with the best. Ever heard of John Hiatt? No problem. Very little (if any) disparity. Even allowing for provincialism and familiarity. There are dozens more.
Even his Wikipedia entry is written in Italian. In Italy, where tours annually, Hamilton’s considered “molto bene.”
So, just in time for his new “Touch and Go” album (No. 19 since 1976) some outside validation arrives: Two stories from No Depression, an Americana music publication named for a vintage Carter Family song.
Its Fall 2015 issue returned to an actual quarterly magazine (on paper, and only available from the nonprofit North Adams, Massachusetts, publisher) after nine years as an online “magazine”).
So, Hamilton didn’t even see the first one. For a bit of legit outside validation, check these out:



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Stockton’s Monster Treasure takes new recording to U.K.

The members of Stockton’s Monster Treasure definitely are placing a high value on this week’s trip to England.
Formed by three Lincoln High School students in 2014, the rock band with a punky influence is playing live for the first time overseas.
Rachel Orimo (bass), Briana Granados (guitar) and JR Mar (drums) have been performing a four-show mini-tour to introduce a self-titled recording. With the nine-hour time difference, they’ve played spaces in London and Norwich (East Anglia), with shows Saturday and Monday in London.
Orimo and Granados, both 28, formed the group after exchanging a series of letters in school. Its original name was Friday Night Massacre.
Orimo passed along some thoughts before departing:

“We’re extremely excited, nervous and fortunate for this opportunity to play in the UK! We’re re-releasing our first LP on the London-based Leisure+District Records and have plans to release a second LP (that we recorded last month) in the near future there as well.

“We’re definitely hoping to be well-accepted and gain more fans, as well as meet and connect with more people, musicians and bands internationally. We hope the shows will be fun and we get to learn more about the music scene and cultures in London, since most of our shows are there.

“There’s so much to learn and see! We’re all looking forward to seeing the sights as well, like going on The London Eye, checking out art museums, the David Bowie exhibit and Freddie Mercury’s house. We also hope that our U.K. tour will lead to more opportunities to travel more and play cool shows.”

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From UOP: food, war, economics, romance, racism, China

A selection of books written by authors, students and others affiliated with University of the Pacific:

Boy Soldiers of the American Revolution” by Caroline Cox. University of North Carolina Press, $29.95, 232 pages. A former Pacific history professor, Cox was completing this book when she died two years ago. Her husband and colleague finished the editing. She discovered stories of boy soldiers from long before the armed children were fighting in Africa and other regions. Boys as young as 9 fought in the American Revolutionary War.

“The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind,” co-edited by Claudia Rankine, Beth Loffreda and Max King Cap, Fence Books, $19.95, 256 pages. This collection of essays, poetry and imagery includes an introduction by Xiaojing Zhou, a professor of English at Pacific, Vignettes were written by students in her introduction-to-ethnic-studies course. When Rankine visited Zhou’s class in 2014, she challenged students to write about their encounters involving race.

“Building New China, Colonizing Kokonor: Resettlement to Qinghai in the 1950s” by Gregory Rohlf. Lexington Books, $95, 308 pages. An associate professor of history at Pacific, Rohlf explores China’s 1950s resettlement of100,000 people to Qinghai province (Kokonor in Mongolia), providing historic context for 21st-century China. Hsiao-ting Lin, from Stanford’s Hoover Institution, wrote: “A welcome addition to the study of modern China’s ethnic and frontier issues. …”

“At the Table: Food and Family Around the World,” edited by Ken Albala. Greenwood, $89, 342 pages. The Pacific history professor – and founding director of the Food Studies Program – provides insight into how dinner is defined in 50 countries, focusing on Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North America and South America, It covers shopping for ingredients, etiquette and gender-based roles. It also  underscores how food relates to ethnicity, family and traditions.

“Making Sense of Food: Exploring Cultural and Culinary Identities” co-edited by Sally Baho. Inter-Disciplinary Press, $21.31-$28.88, 210 pages. A graduate student in Pacific’s master-of-arts in food studies Program, Baho co-edited a book examining culture and food identities, the effects of globalization on food and the connection between food and aging.

“Why Minsky Matters: an Introduction to the Work of a Maverick Economist” by L. Randall Wray. Princeton University Press, $27.95, 288 pages. Wray, who earned his degree and teaching credential at Pacific, is a senior scholar at Levy Economics Institute at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. He examines economist Hyman P. Minsky, who warned about the global financial crisis decades before others. Wray also explains why Minsky’s ideas – such as “stability is destabilizing”- are important.

Stone Field” Christy Lenzi. Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan, $17.99, 320 pages. Lenzi, who works in Pacific’s residential life and housing office, wrote this Civil War-era love story for readers in the ninth grade and up. Her debut novel tells a tragic tale of romance between a Missouri woman and a man with amnesia. It’s torn apart amid the looming Civil War.

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‘Masters’ provide some less-thirsty options

Picking up on the state’s $2,000 lawn-to-landscape water-saving rebate program, the San Joaquin Master Gardeners are holding a “right place/right plant” forum Saturday in Manteca.
People who, maybe, can’t afford a complete overhaul as Stockton’s Frank Whitney was able to achieve, might at least learn what kinds of less-thirsty flowers, bushes and trees they can plant on their property.
The event is being held from 10:30 a.m. until noon Saturday at the Manteca Library, 320 W. Center St., Manteca.
Information: sjmastergardeners.ucanr.edu/?calitem=324052&g=3626; saveourwaterrebates.com

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‘Visiting’ Pacific vocal tutor heads back to major L.A. position

Jenny Wong keeps moving right along.
After a short stay as University of the Pacific’s visiting director of choral activities, she’s been hired as assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
The Hong Kong native is back in a familiar region, having completed her doctoral dissertation for the University of Southern California while mentoring Pacific’s vocal students since last August.
The group she’ll help guide is resident chorus at Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall, where it sings its own season. The group also performs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall and at the Hollywood Bowl.
“Jenny Wong is an exceptionally gifted artist,” says Grant Gershon, the L.A. chorale artistic director. “The … chorale will benefit greatly from her tremendous skills and keen artistic sensibilities. I look forward to working closely with her over the next two seasons.”
“It is my privilege to work with Grant and the … chorale,’ says Wong, 28, also a University of Illinois graduate. “It’s a visionary team built of formidable artists that has paved the way for how choral music today can be authentic, relevant and transformative.
“I look forward to creating life-long memories and learning so much from them and with them, as they continue to uncover new grounds and inspire many, like they have always inspired me.”
Wong’s responsibilities include conducting master chorale programs, assisting during rehearsals, helping co-ordinate the 16-member Chamber Singers and collaborating on artistic approaches with Gershon.
She’ll also fill in for Gershon during rehearsals and main-stage performances and assist with auditions. Gershon, a popular presence among her Pacific students, will help stage the High School Choir Festival, one of Southern California’s longest- running music-education programs.

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City shows fee walk-in summer films at Weber Point

Free family films will be shown again this summer at Stockton’s Weber Point Events Center.
The outdoors films – all PG-rated – are reminiscent of attending drive-in movies from another era. It’s a walk-in with better picture quality.
The series – beginning at 6:30 p.m. on the second Friday of each month – begins June 10 with “The Good Dinosaur.” There’ll be closed captioning for the hearing-impaired.
Concessions will be available, but people can bring their own picnic meals. Glass containers, bottles, alcohol and smoking aren’t allowed.
The Movies at the Point schedule:
June 10: “The Good Dinosaur”
July 8: “Pan”
Aug. 12: “Avengers: Age of the Ultron”
Sept. 9: “Zootopia”
Oct. 14: “Hotel Transylvania 2” (“Spooktacular,” with trick-or-treat parade. Open at 5:30 p.m.
Information: stocktonca.gov/recreation; facebook.com/COSRecreation.

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It’s sunset for Maxwell’s jazz on the roof

The Hotel Stockton rooftop setting has been maximized by music during summer’s sunset days on numerous occasions.
The most recent attempt ends with the closing of French 25, the Louisiana-styles restaurant that’s the second to fail in that downtown Stockton location – once the broadcast studio of KJOY radio.
Wendi Maxwell had announced she’d be singing jazz there on Wednesdays. She will this week and June 1. That’s it.
Here’s what she says:
If you want to experience another of those glorious Delta sunsets from the roof (with some jazz), you need to do it now.
We’ll play two “farewell” shows up on the roof. One is our regular Wednesday night gig this week, The other is added June 1as a farewell extra. Reservations are recommended for either, but especially for June 1.
As always, there’ll be drinks and dinner with no cover charge. As always, there’ll be gorgeous views and fabulous swinging bluesy jazz.
I’m especially saddened by this closure. The restaurant combines some of my favorite food and drink with full-throated support for downtown Stockton.
I’ve had the opportunity to play jazz on the rooftop for three summer seasons, as well as several special events in the downstairs lounge. They’ve been some of our best casual gigs. We’ve also developed friendships with the staff and will miss them.
We all live through many losses. Some big. Some small. I’ve learned to cherish my memories, and most importantly, to celebrate what they have meant in my life.
Now it’s time to celebrate French 25. Join me … for our farewell gigs “up on the roof.” We can have a great dinner, one last Sazerac and raise a toast to Stockton’s finest downtown restaurant. Hhope to see you there.

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Trayvon Martins helps inspire a peaceful CD concept

Trayvon Martin’s tragedy continues to resonate.
The unarmed 17-year-old was shot and killed by a self-appointed security guard on Feb. 26, 2012, in a Sanford, Fla., neighborhood.1
The shooter was acquitted under the state’s so-called “stand-your-ground” law. Outrage, disgust and Jim Crow memories were typical reactions nationwide.
The topic was discussed intensely during Apollo Night rehearsals, planting a seed that germinated into a new, empathetic recording. Trayvon’s photograph (hoodie and all) is part of the cover art.
“We spent a lot of audition time talking about watching people (of color) being killed and bullied,” Washington said. “And, we know, being perpetrators themselves. We thought, ‘We know of a way to express concern and passion by paying attention to anti-bullying and stopping the violence.’
“It (a CD) would just be a bigger impact. Not a one-hour show. This is done forever.”
Copies of the CD are being sent to the Trayvon Martin Foundation in Miami Gardens, Florida.
“We hope this project will inspire others to report bullying and violence whenever they see it,” Washington said, “and remember we do have a choice of what kind of world we want this to be.”
That’s how Washington, long an aspiring soul/R&B singer and TV personality, describes “Artists United Against Violence, Bullying & Hate,” a 21-track CD being released Thursday in the name of Apollo Night, a Stockton talent show he founded 17 years ago.
The stage auditions and performances won’t be held this year.
Washington received 68 CD submissions between January and March 12. The 21 chosen, fully produced tracks include: hip-hop; poetry; rap; jazz; gospel; pop/alternative; reggae, R&B/soul and techno-club.
An initial 2,000 copies will be “distributed free to San Joaquin County-area youth organizations, schools and libraries.”
In addition to Trayvon Martin’s foundation, copies are being sent to the Boys &Girls Clubs of Los Angeles, Ferguson, Missouri; Oakland; and Chicago, where deadly violence – particularly police-on-black males, similar to Martin’s tragedy – occurred, prompting public protests.
Washington “executive” producer of the album, whose tracks were “tweaked” atMatt Young’s downtown Stockton Recording Studio.
With their submissions having been produced by Saul W. Camacho and Chris Ojeda, the contributors are: Joeson Apex (Brandie Owusu-Spencer) ; Betrayel; the Fams;Tony (Washington) & Rudy (Tinocco); Cali Boy Cash; Chris Mouchette; Malcolm Gibson; Andrew Lynn; Mackalot (Johnathan (Davis); Dewayne Zachary; Raul G; Esther Deneau; 3Charlie Brim; Chico Billions; Payton Dabionessc; Young James; Abel Margo; Andre D. Hillery; The Advocate; Ojeda; and Washington, a pop-soul singer who is executive producer of the album.

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