• Chubby Checker swept fans off their feet — literally — at the Classic Rock stage. The crowd at the Bakersfield Rock & Country Music & Art Festival on Saturday went crazy for the 73-year-old "Twist" performer.

    The day the music thrived: Bakersfield festival hits the right notes

    The schedule had Chubby Checker on the Legends stage at 8:40, the big finish to the inaugural Bakersfield Rock & Country Music and Art Festival at the Kern County Museum. But when Chubby Checker wants to go on at 3:40 on the Classic Rock stage, Chubby Checker goes on at 3:40 on the Classic Rock

  • Randy Fulce and Chrisy Keplinger dance together to music provided by Bakersfield's Blonde Faith at the Bakersfield rock stage.

    STEVEN MAYER: The festival from a golf cart - the only way to go

    Anyone lucky enough to have a golf cart at the Rock & Country Music & Art Festival in Bakersfield on Saturday recognized one important fact in about 39 seconds: Golf carts are GOLD. I was one of the fortunate few because, and I won’t lie, I cried to organizers days ahead of the event

  • One of several stages went up earlier in the week for Saturaday's Rock & Country Music & Art Festival at the Kern County Museum.

    Organizers place finishing touches on massive music festival

    Anyone brave enough to launch a massive outdoor festival in Bakersfield this time of year already knows the score. One could easily get burned. Literally. After all, temperatures in the high 90s are not uncommon in late May, so event organizers sometimes have to roll the dice and hope for the

  •  California Chrome on a morning run with exercise rider Alberto Delgado before the 2014 Belmont Stakes. The horse fell short of winning the Triple Crown at the race.

    HERB BENHAM: California Chrome still shining brightly

    Steve Coburn's been there and “there” is good but the backside of “there” isn’t bad either. A year ago, Foothill grad Coburn had the hottest horse on the planet. Coburn, along with Perry Martin, own California Chrome, the electrifying thoroughbred that came from nowhere (not that Coalinga is

  • THE DISH: Serve your country, get a deal at a restaurant

    Along with providing a three-day weekend, Memorial Day serves as a time to honor fallen heroes and pay respect to veterans and active military members. And what better way to say thanks for your service than with some free food? Here are a couple of deals to consider. Domino’s is offering a free

  • Anne Santer with her stallion, Dream. Santer is being inducted into the Dressage Foundation's Century Club, an honor eligible to dressage riders whose age, combined with their horse's age, totals 100. Santer and Dream will complete a test Sunday that is required for Century Club membership.

    Stallion and owner: The ride of their lives is Sunday

    Anne Santer has loved horses since she was a little girl. Though she grew up without one to call her own, she often rode her uncle’s horse, offering to clean stalls in exchange for lessons. Many of her neighbors in Fresno had horses, and she’d ride any horse she could, she said. “By the time I was

  • Herb Benham

    HERB BENHAM: Artisanal stumps have been benched

    By the back gate is a stump bench. It has sat there for 15 years. I made it myself. “Do you think we can get rid of the stump bench?” Sue said. “I think it would look better if it wasn’t there for the party.” The “party” is Dad’s 90th. We’re hosting and it appears there is no role for a stump

  • LeAnn Rimes performs at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2008. Rimes is one of several headliners at an ambitious music festival May 23 at the Kern County Museum. Tickets are on sale now.

    Music festival sounds great - but will people go?

    George Martin’s idea of a music festival sounds a lot like his idea for a business conference: Don’t just give the people what they want; give them what they don’t yet know they want, plus the USC marching band, a Ferris wheel, car show, sports village, mechanical bull, crafts, fireworks and a nap.

  • About 1,000 people attended the inaugural Bakersfield Craft Beer Festival in 2013 with about 500 more turning out last year. “The word has gotten around," said David Dobbs, co-owner of Imbibe Wine & Spirits Merchant and organizer of the event. "I had to turn breweries away; this is the first year (for that). We had 30 last year, 43 this year."

    Lots of beer up in here: Festival on tap

    Since the first Bakersfield Craft Beer Festival in 2013, a number of events have flowed through town touting smaller-batch brews. But proving the tap has not run dry, the festival returns for its third year Saturday at the Cal State Bakersfield Amphitheater. In fact, according to David Dobbs, co-

  • Johnny Mojave (Jay Stodder) aims to save his reputation in "The Life & Times Of Johnny Mojave," playing now at Gaslight Melodrama.

    Melodrama heads to 'Mojave'

    Bringing theatrical adventure to spots throughout Kern County, the Gaslight Melodrama turns its attention to the Mojave Desert this month for a brand-new western. Of course, “The Life and Times of Johnny Mojave,” which opens Friday, is no average tale. Combining wicked villains and wacky townfolk,

  • Eddie Money, center, with his children, who also play in his band. From left: Julian, Jesse and Desmond. Money will play Saturday at the Bakersfield Rock & Country Music & Art Festival.

    CESAREO GARASA: Music capital Saturday? Bakersfield

    The word that comes to mind to describe Saturday’s Bakersfield Rock & Country, Music & Arts Festival at Pioneer Village is “huge.” With dozens of acts, both national and local, the festival’s promoters have created an entertainment super-mall, where there will be something new

  • Real-life couple Ken and Jill Burdick play Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett, the murderous duo in "Sweeney Todd," opening Friday at Stars Theatre Restaurant.

    Stars show sharp as a razor

    The streets of London will run red with blood this weekend as the demon barber of Fleet Street takes over Stars Theatre Restaurant in “Sweeney Todd.” Director Brian Sivesind describes the Stephen Sondheim musical as an “impressive spectacle” that is operatic, beautiful and cathartic. “‘Sweeney

  • Bob Bender and Joe Brown in the mixing room of the newly opened Underground Production Studio, which is already renting time and space to aspiring podcasters, and to orchestras and bands that need to rehearse. The studio is underneath the Spotlight Theatre on 19th Street.

    New recording studio in Spotlight

    Being convincing is part of his job, of course, but Underground Production Studios president Bob Bender, a Bakersfield native and former tour manager and Nashville record company exec, leaves the distinct impression he’d work for free. “What I love is the art of the deal, putting the deal together,

  • Mason Garcia reaches for an American flag while parents Lucas and Sarah, along with baby Matthew, stroll through the Park at River Walk admiring the 2014 flag observance.

    Bakersfield observances honor the fallen this weekend

    Kern County rarely needs reminding when it comes to honoring fallen American heroes, but with Memorial Day coming up, there are several observances planned in the coming days, including the three listed here. For up-to-the-minute additions, consult The Californian’s calendar section throughout the

  • Begona Echeverria is the author of “The Hammer of Witches,” a historical novel about the Basque witch trials of the 17th century. She will talk about the trials and read from her book at CSUB on Friday afternoon.

    Author blends fact, fiction in story of Basque witch trials

    Combining fact and fiction in her historical novel “The Hammer of Witches,” Begona Echeverria tells the story of the Basque witch trials of the 17th century through the eyes of a peasant girl trying to improve her life by learning to read, a struggling priest who used to be in love with her mother,

  • Former Arvin resident Shannon Parker was injured nearly 11 years ago by a mountain lion. Her story will be told at 8 p.m. Thursday on the Animal Planet show "Mauled."

    HERB BENHAM: Survivor's mauling by mountain lion hits TV

    In June, it will be 11 years since Arvin’s Shannon Parker was mauled by a mountain lion in Sequoia National Forest. It’s one of those stories that has legs and a long tail, not only because of the injuries Parker suffered (she lost her right eye, had 312 lacerations and 11 operations) but in the

  • Richard Garibay and Cristina Goyeneche star in "The Gamester" at Cal State Bakersfield.

    CSUB gets French - and farcical - this weekend

    The curtain goes up Thursday on the final production of the year by Cal State Bakersfield theater students, and it’s a doozy: a contemporary take on a French farce written 300 years ago, featuring rhyming couplets and a liberal sprinkling of Shakespeare references. “The original was written by