The Ripon Almond Blossom Festival runs Saturday and Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. at Mistlin Sports Park on East River Road with carnival rides, food, games and more. The annual parade marches Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m. along Fourth Street, Vera Avenue and Main Street. A dance Saturday night is open to people age 21 and over from 8 p.m. to midnight at the community center.
The Ripon Senior Center has a craft and bake sale Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the center, 433 South Wilma Ave. There will be breakfasts Saturday from 6-11 a.m. at the Grange Hall, 827 Ripona Ave. and Sunday from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars facility, 12455 W. Ripon Road.
The popular Diaper Derby returns Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Ripon High School gym. Also on Saturday will be 1-mile and 8K runs at Mavis Stouffer Park, starting at 8:30 a.m. For more information, go to www.riponchamber.org or call (209) 599-7519.
'The Wrecking Crew'
Danny Tedesco is bringing his documentary film "The Wrecking Crew," about the studio musicians behind some of the biggest hits of the 1960s and 1970s, to Modesto's State Theatre March 1.
The film screens at 7 p.m. and is a benefit for Royal Kids Camp, which is for youth recovering from abuse and neglect. "The Wrecking Crew" was a group of studio musicians who played on such hits as "Be My Baby," "California Girls," "Strangers in the Night," "Mrs. Robinson," "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," "Up, Up and Away," "Viva Las Vegas" and "Mr. Tambourine Man."
Tedesco is the son of the late Wrecking Crew guitarist Tommy Tedesco. The film includes interviews with such celebrities as Brian Wilson (Beach Boys), Cher, Nancy Sinatra, Mickey Dolenz (Monkees) and more. The State Theatre is at 1307 J St. In Modesto. Tickets are $20; (209) 527-4697 or www.thestate.org.
Tango champs lead workshop
Marcelo Molina and Carolina Vazquez, who in won the stage category of the 2011 Argentine Tango USA competition, will lead workshops and participate in a milonga (tango party) in Modesto March 2. All the events are at Jacobs Fine Dining, 2501 McHenry Ave. Workshops are at 1 and 2:30 p.m. (cost is $25 for one or $40 for both). An introductory tango lesson is at 7:30 p.m. followed by a milonga at 8:30 p.m. (cost is $10). The programs are hosted by Modesto Tango. Call Mary Menz at (209) 522-1571.
International String Trio
The International String Trio performs Tuesday at the Gallo Center for the Arts as part of the Modesto Community Concert Association series. The program begins at 7 p.m. at the Rogers Theater.
The group is comprised of Russian guitarist and arranger Slava Tolstoy, Japanese upright bassist Ippei Ichimaru and British violinist Ben Powell.
The group performs unique arrangements of movie scores (such as "Forrest Gump," "Schindler's List" and "Eyes Wide Shut"), folk melodies, Django Reinhardt numbers and classical string pieces. The Gallo Center is at 1000 I St. in Modesto. Tickets are $15-$25; (209) 338-2100, www.galloarts.org or www.modestoconcert.org.
'True Story of Three Little Pigs'
"The True Story of the Three Little Pigs," a rock and hip musical presented Thursday at the Gallo Center. The show begins at 7 p.m. in the Foster Theater.
Based on the book, the play begins where the book leaves off. Alexander T. Wolf is on trial for the murder of two of the three little pigs. He tells his side of the story and the audience gets to determine the end of the play. The show is recommended for age 5 and up. The Gallo Center is at 1000 I St. Tickets are $12-$20; (209) 338-2100 or www.galloarts.orgDana Falconberry Off the Air
The Off the Air indie music series presents Austin, Texas folk-pop artist Dana Falconberry (pictured) Wednesday at Café Deva in Modesto. The show begins at 9 p.m. with special guest Rose Droll, formerly of Modesto and now of San Francisco, followed by Falconberry at 10 p.m. There will also be a pop-up show by Wow Era Jewelry and an appearance by guest DJ Zbroing. Café Deva is at 1202 J St. The show is open to all ages. Tickets are $5; (209) 572-3382 or visit www.offtheair.net.
'Elvis Lives' coming to Gallo
"Elvis Lives" is a multimedia and live musical journey across Elvis Presley's life. The touring show runs at 8 p.m. March 1-2 at the Rogers Theater in Modesto's Gallo Center for the Arts. The show features finalists from Elvis Presley Enterprises' Worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. The show also includes a tribute to Ann-Margret. The Gallo Center is at 1000 I St., Modesto. Tickets are $19-$79; (209) 338-2100 or www.galloarts.org.
Kristina Townsend Vocal Competition
Townsend Opera's Kristina Townsend Memorial Vocal Competition will be March 16 at Snider Hall at California State University, Stanislaus. Cash prizes will be awarded in four age categories $500 for age 22-25, $300 for age 20-21, $200 for age 18-19 and $100 for age 15-17. Winners will be required to sing at the Townsend Opera League luncheon March 17 at noon. Contestants must sing three selections in contrasting styles and in two languages. An accompanist will be provided. Download application forms on www.townsendoperaplayers.com. Call (209) 523-6426.
At the Mistlin Gallery
"Plate, Cup and Vase Beyond Function," a ceramic show, will be displayed through March 21 at the Mistlin Gallery in downtown Modesto. Featured artists include Don Hall, Pam Ackels and Denny Lorang. The goal was to use functional objects as a take-off to develop fine art expressions. Central California Art Association members are also displaying handmade art of nuno felting, baskets and jewelry and Dan Petersen is showing his photography, paintings and prints.
The Mistlin Gallery is at 1015 J St. Hours are 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Friday and noon-4 p.m. Saturday. Call (209) 529-3369.
Modesto music compilation CD
Fifteen Modesto-area song-writers and 24 musicians are recording the compilation CD "My Friends and I" and are asking for donations on kickstarter.com to pay for expenses. As of earlier this week, the musicians had received $681 in pledges toward their $1,500 goal. The group must raise the entire amount of its goal by its March 14 deadline or it will not get any of the money. If they get the money, it will be used to pay for recording, mixing, mastering, cover art and replication.
Participating musicians are: Bethany Joseph, Chadwicke Adams, Christine Meredith, the Poorhouse Millionaires, Sommer Cooks, Ryan Russell, the House of Orange, Patty Castillo Davis, Nathan Ignacio, Heaven Lindsay Burtch, Cole Thomason, Francesca Bavaaro, Lovecore Singing Telegrams, Rob Hill and Chandler Pratt.
Mic Thompson update
Choreographer Mic Thompson, a 1982 Beyer High School graduate, has been busy with work all over the world.
Thompson, who was a principal dancer for Michael Jackson for eight years, recently helped choreograph "The Ultimate Thriller Michael Jackson Tribute" touring show and choreographed the show "Fantasy," which is due to open later this year at the World Joyland amusement park in China. He also choreographed the original musical "Beautiful," about the "sexy, often twisted and always seductive lives of men and women of the dance stage," which is due to open in April at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.
Modestans can catch up with him in late March when he leads workshops in Michael Jackson funk, musical theater, Latin jazz and Disney pop at Modesto's Dance Factory. Call the Dance Factory for details at (209) 523-1032.
A group of Modesto friends has raised money to help San Francisco's New Conservatory Theatre Center's Pride-on-Tour program present the play "The Bus" May 3 at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto. "The Bus" is the story of two boys who regularly rendezvous to explore their sexual feelings in a parked bus that belongs to Golden Rule Church, the most powerful congregation in their small town. All proceeds from tickets, which are $10 youth and $20 adults, will go to grants to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Modesto area youth and their allies, said R.J. Moriconi, a retired education professor from California State University, Stanislaus, who spearheaded the fund-raising drive for the play.
New Conservatory Theatre Center is in the second year of a three-year grant it won from the James Irvine Foundation to perform its plays in Central and Northern California. Last year, the group presented "The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later" at the Gallo Center. The Irvine grant pays for production expenses while local communities must pay for non-production costs like venue rental and advertising expenses.
Moriconi and his friends raised about $4,000 for the non-production expenses of bringing the play to Modesto. Moriconi said he used to be a season ticket subscriber to NCTC's plays in SF and appreciated their "cutting edge LGBT dramas." Moriconi is a big arts supporter and has previously served on the boards of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, Central West Ballet, Prospect Theater Project and the Central California Art Association. For more information, visit www.galloarts.org or call (209) 338-2100.