Category Archives: Arts, Culture, Entertainment

Leo Trio Sets Bar For City Of Arts, Innovation

Saturday night we attended a back yard studio tap and percussion performance by the Leo Trio. One of the members is a friend of ours, Fred Strickler. Fred is a world class tap master. Anyone in the world of tap dance knows who he is. He used to teach at UCR. He has a studio in his converted garage and it is wonderfully intimate – Only 20 seats – and some of those are tiny little “kiddie table” chairs.

Denise Donovan studied with Fred for many years and she currently teaches tap at Riverside Community College. Ray McNamara is a percussionist at UCR. They are the Leo Trio, all Leos of course.

A pre-show wine and appetizer table added to the evening’s festivities. They performed several utterly imaginative numbers utilizing voice, tap and the percussion wizardry of guest artist Butch.  What I’d say about Butch is he has not lost the ability to “play”.

They did a number using only kids toys.  That was just the start. Tongue, Tap and Tubes was a wonderful progression of voice to tap, tap to plastic tubes in a cascade of sounds way cooler than the Blue Man Group ever dreamed.

They even did a percussion number with bags of Sun Chips that turned into some on stage chip explosions  and as it was only a 20 seat venue, audience participation was unavoidable.

Five dollars of each ticket goes to our Sister City, Sendai and the earthquake recovery.

If you’d like to witness something utterly unique and only available in Riverside, City of Arts and Innovation, then buy a ticket now for the Leo Trio’s April  back yard studio performances.  Next week is already sold out. I promise you’ll never see anything like it and you’ll certainly never forget it.


Graffiti Tips Courtesy Of The Historic Wood Streets

Information sent out from the Historic Wood Streets Group.  Please share with those that do not have computer access.  Have a great weekend.  Nancy

Graffiti – Info from Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful:
Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful says this (on their website about reporting graffiti:
Report Graffiti
With all that Riverside is doing to prevent and clean up graffiti, you may be wondering, “What can I do?”  (The City of Riverside spends over $1 million annually.)
The answer is REPORT, REPORT, and REPORT.  Dial 3-1-1 from a Riverside home phone or (951) 826-5311 from cell phones to report graffiti. If you are witnessing graffiti crime in progress calls 9-1-1. For more information about graffiti and how it hurts our community please visit”
The operator at the 3-1-1 (826-5311) phone number will ask these questions:

1.    Address and where the graffiti is located on the property.2.    What kind of surface is the graffiti is painted on? (I.e. Block wall, wooden fence, stucco)3.    What color is the graffiti?4.    Is the graffiti legible?  If so, what does it say or what letters/numbers are legible?

Also, there is an “app” you can get for your I-phone, android, smart phone, etc. That will send a photo and your information to the 3-1-1 call center.  They prefer that you let city crews come photograph the graffiti, but if you take a digital photo of it you can e-mail it to the 3-1-1 call center too.
The city crews respond as quickly as they can because graffiti is not “art” it is “a crime, punishable by law.”
Nearly all information on the Internet about graffiti prevention says that the graffiti should be removed or painted-over soon, if it is left visible it may attract more graffiti.
Graffiti-Prevention information is available at Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful
If you are a victim of graffiti, please report it; if you see someone in the process of committing this crime call 9-1-1, it may be dangerous to confront the person on your own, as it is often a gang-related crime.

Blood Orange Infoshop, City Talk Arts & Innovation

It’s always a good idea to sit down and have a conversation especially when it involves art, entertainment and venues that attract a following. We can’t say Riverside is much of  a “destination” if the residents working to create the reasons behind being a “destination” don’t feel they can freely express themselves. Hats off to councilman Gardner and Lt. Manning for their willingness to be open and maybe even a little surprised.

10 PM PST on Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Press-Enterprise

Several downtown Riverside artists complained to the city that police and code-enforcement officers recently accused them of being connected with underage drinking and graffiti and questioned their political views.

After a 90-minute meeting Tuesday, both sides agree: What they had was a failure to communicate.

The conflict arose last month, when Councilman Mike Gardner heard complaints after the monthly Arts Walk. They seemed to center on a venue he’d never heard of, the Blood Orange Infoshop on University Avenue, Gardner said.

David Bauman / The Press-Enterprise
Riverside Councilman Mike Gardner, second from right, meets with Blood Orange Infoshop collective members, from left, Justin Nichol and Micah Carlson, and at right, Riverside Community Arts Association Executive Director Mark Schooley.

He asked police and code enforcement to check it out, and a cadre of officers along with a fire inspector paid the place a visit Feb. 2.

It may have been the books and pamphlets about Nietzsche, anarchism and Noam Chomsky, or memories of problems with the now-closed Pharaoh’s Den music venue down the street, but officers seemed to suspect lawbreaking, said Micah Carlson, a graphic designer, activist and member of Blood Orange Infoshop.

He describes it as an art, music and educational space run collectively by about a dozen volunteers and focused on young people.

“(The officers) came in under complaints about kids and minors hanging out on our steps,” Carlson said Wednesday. “They said there was marijuana smoking, and that there were minors drinking and that there was an increase in graffiti in the area.”

The comments surprised Carlson because, he said, the venue’s aim is to offer a drug- and alcohol-free space. He said the officers also made fun of business cards that listed painter Marian Semic as CEO of the nonprofit People’s Gallery, which is on the same floor of the building as the Infoshop.

Semic wasn’t there at the time, but she and Carlson brought the issue to the council’s attention Tuesday.

“I’m not saying that we don’t need police involved, but I just think that it should be a little bit more judicious,” Semic said by phone Wednesday.

Riverside police Lt. Chris Manning said when officers went in to inspect Blood Orange, “Initially there was some less than productive interaction between the people on site and the officers.”

City officials and the artists met and agreed to let each other know about future problems and concerns.

Carlson said, “We have direct lines of communication with each other now.”

Now that they have more information about the Blood Orange collective, Gardner and Manning said, they support what its members are doing. The venue offers free art shows, music performances, lectures, book studies, yoga and meditation, and it has a free lending library, Carlson said.

“To me this looks like it’s going to be a productive long-term relationship between the arts community and the Police Department,” Manning said.

Reach Alicia Robinson at 951-368-9461 or

Riverside Among World’s Most Livable Cities

Well no kidding! I’ve always thought so. How about you? Nice to know the rest of the world is taking notice.  Seizing Our Destiny looks a lot like a City Of Our Dreams – right now!

I do find it ironic that on the same day our livability gets proclaimed, we’re requesting a halt to medical marijuana dispensaries? I would think that the ‘holistic approach’ would include more leadership in the area of health outcomes for everyone.  Particularly in view of the statistics from our school districts. Creating the conditions for positive health impacts for our neighbors is our best shot at actually living in one of the world’s most livable cities.

Potluck In The Park

This invitation is to our first Heritage Consortium of Inland Southern California Potluck in the Park.  The event will be Sunday, April 18 from 1:00-3:00 pm at Stewarts Boathouse in Riverside’s beautiful Fairmount Park.

We are still looking for volunteers to bring entrees, side dishes, desserts, and drinks (non-alcoholic) for the potluck and small local history items (such as books) for door prizes.  A big thank you to all who have volunteered so far!  If you are interested in donating any of the above, please let me know.

If you are planning to attend, don’t forget to bring pamphlets and brochures about your organization for our information table.

One more thing…

If you are attending, we encourage you to bring a young person who is interested in history and looking for an internship opportunity, or someone working in the history field who you think would benefit from becoming involved with the consortium.

We look forward to seeing you on April 18!

All the best,

Emily McEwen
Curator of History
Mission Inn Museum