• The Padre Hotel became a mouthpiece for Spartacus Miller's protests.

    How well do you know Bakersfield? Take our quiz and prove it

    A true, homegrown Bakersfieldian can demonstrate his or her authenticity in any number of ways. Hang around the Pyrenees Cafe and talk about Frank Gifford. Sidle up to the bar at The Padre and tell your favorite yarn about the Towne Casino’s mannequin on the flying trapeze. Give us your best Buck

  • PETE TITTL: Applebee's a decent chain that tries for local connection

    Applebee’s has remodeled both the interior of its restaurant at The Marketplace and its menu in an attempt to fight the negative economic trends facing mid-priced chain restaurants. Though I’ve never been a big fan before, I like what I see so far. First the restaurant is playing up its connection

  • Dancing penguins in Carolyn Jackson's office. We'll let you guess the Christmas theme she chose here.

    Get starstruck by "Hollywood glam" home for Chez Noel tour

    Carolyn Jackson’s elegant Bakersfield home, one of three on this year’s Chez Noel holiday tour, is more dry martini than eggnog, more ghost of Christmas future than past, more Frank Sinatra “Come Fly with Me” than Mannheim Steamroller anything. “I call it soft contemporary, not stark,” said

  • By show's end, the cast of "A Melodrama Christmas Carol" which opens Friday, will deliver holiday cheer to audiences at Gaslight Melodrama.

    Bakersfield theaters gift patrons with holiday productions

    We’re heading into what many call “the most wonderful time of the year,” and the calendar is packed with a slate of holiday shows from Stars, Gaslight Melodrama, The Empty Space — even Bakersfield College is celebrating. “Overall everybody is starting to get into the holidays,” Gaslight Melodrama

  • The leader of the Jay Smith Group is Jay Smith, front row to the left. Sitting next to him is Bob Bender, manager of the Spotlight Theater, where Smith and his group will perform Nov. 28. The members of Smith's band are, from left: Fernando Montoya James Russell, Marlon Mackey and Cesareo Garasa.

    Gig shines 'Spotlight' on Bakersfield group

    Part of a musician’s dues paying is playing gigs for exposure. Most musicians would do anything for the kind of exposure gig the Jay Smith Group is playing Saturday night at the Spotlight Theatre. The group — Smith on keyboard, Patrick Contreras on electric violin, James Russell on saxophone,

  • A Christmas tree decked out at the 2014 Enchanted Forest event.

    Enchanted Forest aiming for 'epic' this year

    Fifteen years after starting the Enchanted Forest Christmas tree event in his home, creator Tom Xavier intends to go bigger than ever in honor of the milestone: “This year, the word we’re using is ‘epic.’” In fairness, Xavier could use that word every year for the fundraiser, which showcases

  • Gustavo Arellano, consulting producer of the new Fox animated comedy "Bordertown" will host a screening of the television show at Maya Cinemas on Nov. 30.

    Animated TV comedy 'Bordertown' gets pre-screening at Maya

    Fox’s two-minute trailer for “Bordertown,” its new animated TV series finally arriving in January, has all the bathroom jokes and no-nonsense barfing you'd expect from series executive producer Seth MacFarlane of “Family Guy.” So does the series, a tale of Mexican-American relations in the

  • There's nothing like a stroll through CALM's Holiday Lights to get you in the Christmas mood. “We have been updating displays with LED lights, so they are brighter and more energy efficient,” said Stephen Sanders, chief of staff at the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, which manages CALM. “We also bring in new displays when we can.”

    Merry and (very) bright: CALM to light up night sky

    Doris Day’s “Toyland” plays over the train’s speakers as the conductor hollers, “All aboard” and rings the train’s bell before departing Central Station at CALM’s Holiday Lights attraction. The journey lasts seven minutes and covers two-thirds of a mile through “Rancho Notso Grande,” “Yellowstone

  • “Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens," will be the first movie shown in IMAX in Bakersfield, when it is released Dec. 17.

    Coming attractions: IMAX theater in Bakersfield

    When the Force awakens in Bakersfield next month, it will do so in IMAX, the immersive state-of-the-art movie-viewing experience that local film fans have had to trek to Los Angeles or Fresno to enjoy until now. Reading Cinemas Valley Plaza 16 will debut its IMAX auditorium with the Dec. 17

  • Big House harmonica player Sonny California blows soulful notes at a recent rehearsal. Two decades after the formation of Big House, the band is getting together again, albeit in a slightly altered lineup, for two anniversary shows Nov. 27 and 28 at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace.

    Burnin' the Big House down! Band reunites for anniversary

    It’s not that Bakersfield enjoys breaking the rules. It’s just that some rules are made to be broken. Buck and Merle did it in the ‘60s and ‘70s -- and in the late 1990s, Bakersfield-based Big House did it again when the band exploded on the scene with a style of “soul country” that rejected the

  • Big House at a recent rehearsal for the band's two-night stand at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace on Nov. 27 and 28. From left is lead singer Monty Byrom, Tanner Byrom on drums, and Chuck Seaton on guitar. “We’re excited about what we’re hearing,” said Seaton, who played on the band’s self-titled debut album in 1997 and most of the later recordings.

    Hey, Big House: Tell us the stories behind the songs

    They grew up in Bakersfield, steeped in country music, yet heavily influenced by the greatest rock, R&B and blues performers of the 20th century. It’s why the country songs written, recorded and performed by Bakersfield’s own Big House include distant echoes of Otis Redding, Al Green, Sonny

  • The second volume of Buck Owens recordings related to the singer's 2013 autobiography, "Buck 'Em!" by Randy Poe, was released Tuesday.

    You thought you knew Buck? Rare gems offer a new take

    It’s borderline blasphemous to say so, but it turns out Merle Haggard’s recording of his oft-covered classic “Today I Started Loving You Again” isn’t the best version there is. In fact, it isn’t even the best version to come out of Bakersfield. That honor belongs to Haggard’s one-time mentor Buck

  • This Iron Giant print by artist Nate Watson will be available to the first 500 attendees of Bakersfield Comic-Con on Sunday at the Kern County Fairgrounds.

    Bakersfield Comic-Con grows by leaps and bounds

    When it seems as if the industry has upped the comic book ante with a growing slate of heroic films and TV series, it makes sense that a comic book event would also hulk out a bit after eight years. Bakersfield Comic-Con’s move to the Kern County Fairgrounds this year means more room for

  • Kelsea Ballerini performs "Love Me Like You Mean It" on Nov. 4 during the 49th annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

    Need a Swift kick? Try icon's 'little sis,' Kelsea Ballerini

    Young country music fans in search of a replacement for Taylor I’m-a-Pop-Star-Now Swift have found one: Kelsea Ballerini, whose career has gone from nothing much to Swiftian proportions in just one year. And her biggest fan may be Swift herself. The superstar, who has referred to Ballerini as

  • Bakersfield singer Ambler Appleton appears at Wine Me Up on Wednesday.

    CESAREO GARASA: Give thanks for live music on eve of turkey day

    Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving, every bar and restaurant will be at full strength to accommodate the flood of visiting family and friends looking to enjoy Bakersfield’s nightlife. For those looking for live music, I have a couple of suggestions, two of which overlap musicians like a Venn

  • Kama Maccioli, who performs as Kama Ruby, has formed a new group, Mixology. For the group’s premiere performance, in Bakersfield on Tuesday, Maccioli will serve as vocalist along with Tiffany Carmel, a mezzo and San Diego Opera choir member, and Alicia Richardson, a soprano and member of the Guild Opera Company, which promotes arts education for children. Featured musicians are Doug Davis on piano, Glen Fong on bass and Mark Meyer on horns.

    STEFANI DIAS: 'Classical to country' duo aims to mix things up

    A new musical collaboration is mixing things up in Bakersfield, starting at the Italian Heritage Dante Association on Tuesday. Mixology, a group of strong and proficient vocalists and musicians, is the brainchild of Kama Maccioli (who performs as Kama Ruby) and Alicia Richardson. The pair met as