Rowland: Writer’s back on the Scene scene

mrowland@modbee.comDecember 26, 2013 

And just like that, I’m back.

Some of you might have noticed my byline popping up again in the Scene section, and for good reason. After a four-year hiatus from the arts beat, where I wrote about everything from unemployment in Modesto to potholes in Turlock, I have returned to cover all that entertains us here in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. Those with long memories might remember that I wrote for this section for six years starting in 2003.

So now, everything old is new again – in this case, the “old” being me.

But, as with any new beginning, I hope to learn from the past and grow into the future. What I’d like to know most is what you want to hear about. Local music, local theater, local art, local crafts? TV, movies, what your niece means when she posts about this “totes amazeballs” band on Facebook? It’s all fair game, it’s all interesting.

My interests in entertainment remain as varied as ever. I love quality television – “Orange Is the New Black” and “Orphan Black” blew my mind in particular this past year. I love live music – if you happened to catch Brandi Carlile’s show in Turlock this August, you were indeed sonically blessed. I love good movies – OK, so I didn’t see that many movies this year, but I’m excited to catch Modesto native son Jeremy Renner in “American Hustle” as soon the holidays are over and I can envision going to a place filled with lots of people again. I blame you, Target parking lot, for my post-traumatic holiday stress disorder.

What I’ve become particularly interested in the four years since I’ve been covering arts here is how we interact with our entertainment. While Twitter was around while I was still writing for Scene – heck, I even wrote a column about it – it hadn’t taken off and become the truly global water cooler that it is today. Watching TV, be it live events such as the Super Bowl or weekly programming like “Scandal,” has become a worldwide event that can be instantly discussed and critiqued via social media. The second-screen phenomena of watching a show while watching another screen to see what other people are saying about the show you are watching is very real.

So then, how do you both find out about and discuss all that entertains you these days? Certainly, we want you to keep turning the actual pages of this section. Long live the dead-tree edition. But I also want to be able to interact with everyone via social media about what’s happening and hot in our region and beyond.

I am still on the Twitter machine, tweeting away for your pleasure. You can find me @marijkerowland. Tweet me and I’ll tweet you back. (Well, unless you’re a spambot, but we all know spambots don’t read the paper, anyway.) In the coming new year, I also plan to start blogging again at, so stay tuned for that.

But mostly I’m just excited to be back, covering our vibrant and exciting local arts and entertainment scene again. I believe the second time around can be just as sweet and, most important, entertaining.

Hope to see you around the scene soon.

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on Twitter @marijkerowland.

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