Marijke Rowland

MAMA time of year returns

The Modesto Area Music Awards (MAMAs) return Oct. 20 to the State Theatre to spotlight the best in local entertainment.
The Modesto Area Music Awards (MAMAs) return Oct. 20 to the State Theatre to spotlight the best in local entertainment. Modesto Bee file

It’s that time of year again when all your musician friends won’t stop talking about their MAMA.

Yes, the Modesto Area Music Association Awards (the MAMAs for short) returns Tuesday, Oct. 20, to the State Theatre to spotlight the best in local entertainment. This year the event turns sweet 16 and will honor local talent in 22 categories from best rock to restaurant, pop to promoter. More than 200 bands, comedians, promoters, venues, events and have been nominated – hence all the lobbying about MAMA on your Facebook feed of late.

The brainchild of the Modesto Chrises – Chris Murphy and Chris Ricci – the MAMA Awards have become a staple in area entertainment and guaranteed bragging rights for local artists. Since its inception as a small gathering at the now-defunct Club Maxx in the DoubleTree Club, the awards have grown in stature and size. Then there were only six music categories; now there are 16. New this year is the Latin rock category, a sign of the area’s continually growing and diversifying music scene.

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award will go to the band The Ratz. The group came up in the 1960s in Modesto. One of the band’s members, Gary Grubb (who later went by the stage name Gary Duncan), went on to join the influential psychedelic rock group Quicksilver Messenger Service. Area music veteran Patrick Durr, a founding member of the popular trio Home Grown, was also a member of The Ratz and will reunite with former bandmates Ray Rector, Daniel Johnson and Rick Edmond for the show.

Voting is live now, all online at One vote per person, so no ballot stuffing, folks. The polls will close at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18. As always, the MAMA award show will be invite-only, and no doubt packed with musicians and their families. All of the awards will be announced at that time, and there will be a dozen live performances by nominees. The public can watch the show live starting at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at

The sooner you vote, the sooner your musician friends will stop bugging you to do so on social media.

Elsewhere around the Scene:

If you binge-watched the new Netflix series “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,” you might have noticed a local actor in the mix.

California State University, Stanislaus, alum Christopher Liscomb had a featured role in the summer camp satire, which also stars Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd and more. Liscomb appears in the sixth episode of first season, which is based on the 2001 cult film by the same name. Liscomb plays a news reporter opposite “Arrested Development” actor Michael Cera in the episode.

Since graduating from Stanislaus State, Liscomb moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. He worked in the music industry first, and then pursued acting. He also recently finished filming a role in the yet-to-be released “The Lonely Island” movie starring Andy Samberg.

And finally, Modesto writer Ken White took home the best screenplay award at the California Independent Film Festival earlier this month.

White was honored for his screenplay, “Lions of Florence.” The 18th annual indie film festival honored the best in statewide films, shorts, acting and more. White is also a published author whose new book is called “Getaway Day.”