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Next week, the Arts Council of Kern will kick off the third annual Kern County Plein Air Festival. Seventeen artists will take part, including returning painter and Bakersfield native Keith Wicks. In advance of the festival, Wicks will be in town this weekend conducting a two-day oil/acrylic…

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Stars Theatre Restaurant, which has struggled with debt and uncertainty for some time, has a new lease on life — in the form of a new lease — at the Chester Avenue venue it has occupied for nearly two decades.

Each month Ron Saylor brings magic to Bakersfield with his Celebrities of Magic series. But the veteran magician has another trick up his sleeve, helping conjure some big-screen magic with the upcoming film "Sleight" on which he served as consultant.

For the opening show of a season under development, Stars Theatre Restaurant was looking for a sure-fire hit. Enter "Always ... Patsy Cline," a rollicking honky-tonk of a musical that had a sold-out run in 2015 and returns to Stars this weekend.

Spring starts later this month, but downtown is already blooming with a fresh crop of art and activities for First Friday. Here's a look at what's popping up.

Liberty High's theater department invites you to experience an unflinching look at the peculiarly American obsession with health, wealth and the commercialization of science in "Radium Girls."

Bakersfield has a robust theater scene, even when attendance doesn't always match the enthusiasm behind the scenes. And as Stars Dinner Theatre considers its next step, the theater community will welcome a new player to the local stage: Ovation Repertory Theatre.

Community is a place that has a feeling of fellowship, a place with people who have the same goals, interests and attitudes. That sense of community is evident at East Bakersfield High School and, more specifically, the East High theater department, which presents its production of "In the H…

Bakersfield College is leading the charge to shine a light for challenging times ahead. Thursday night it will present its own Ghost Light event, asking participants to bring a light source to shine in a show of inclusion.

Bakersfield's creativity will be on full display March 2 when ARTMIX returns to the Bakersfield Museum of Art. The annual spring event brings together the work of local mixologists, restaurants and artists for a night of fun and fundraising.

While a lot of discussion has taken place concerning Stars Theatre on Chester Avenue, the smaller rehearsal and performance space on Mosasco Street has been on the back burner. That's all about to change this weekend as the newly branded Stars West Comedy Theatre debuts its first show.

For Chris Lopez, "Women Rule Magic" came about the same way many fun events do: finding an excuse to hang out with friends. And its scheduling — Feb. 10 at Elements Venue — was inspired by feedback the magician received about being able to provide a date-night experience.

In speaking of his own work, photographer Bob Kolbrener conveyed a sentiment shared by all three artists featured in the winter exhibitions at the Bakersfield Museum of Art.

For audiences who like a bit of illegality mixed into their theater, the late January offerings are right up your alley. Whether it's a bumbling family aiming to steal back the farm they've worked on for years or a pair of cool old ladies serving up a fatal cocktail to aged bachelors, crime …

You better get moving: This is the last week to catch a glimpse of "Driven by Art," the public art project from the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Designed by local artists, 33 painted fiberglass trucks have been on display mostly in downtown Bakersfield (one is at The Marketplace) since September.

Let no one say the beginning of the new year lacked flair. With the holidays behind us, we can focus on getting back into the swing of things, namely enjoying the art, music and fun of First Friday. Here's a look on what's happening this week.

June Gaede tried her hand at many professions — short-order cook, private investigator, radio announcer, factory worker — but her joy and triumph was as an educator. Gaede, who died Saturday at age 86 due to complications from pneumonia, had a nearly 60-year career teaching in Kern County, i…

This year's production of "The Nutcracker" will again have a live orchestra, but a smaller one, in what could be standard operating procedure from now on.

To keep it "fresh," many choreographers have updated Tchaikovsky's immortal "The Nutcracker" ballet. There's a hip-hop version, a 1950s update using modern dance choreography, a London production that resets the Christmas party into an orphanage straight out of Charles Dickens. 

Thursday, artist David Vanderpool debuts his second solo exhibit in as many years at the Arts Council of Kern. You may have seen his art displayed at the Kern County Fair, where his drawings have won many awards over the years, but it was his work at Kern Valley and Corcoran state prisons th…

High schools bring their fall productions to the stage in advance of winter break. Here is a look at two shows debuting this week: "The 1942 Holiday Radio Murder Mystery" at South High and Liberty High's "The Game's Afoot."

Holiday travel takes people all over the globe, so it's no surprise that the local theater community is taking audiences on an adventure for the holidays. From Depression-era West Texas to the North Pole and somewhere between here and heaven, this quartet of holiday productions are on the move.

Along with the closing weekends of "The 39 Steps" at Stars and "Rock of Ages" at The Empty Space, theater-goers have a chance to check out two limited-engagement shows offered at Bakersfield College and Cal State Bakersfield.

Bakersfield loves its veterans, and the mural at the southeast corner of 20th and Eye streets is proof of that. But the painting, including the Statue of Liberty, Rosie the Riveter and soldiers at Iwo Jima, tells only part of the story. By the end of the year, the mural will pick up the rest…

This First Friday, prepare to put on your walking (or dancing) shoes and go east. With the Arts Council of Kern art walk and existing art spaces in full swing in the downtown arts district, the event spreads further east with two new ventures — a block party on 19th at K and L and a new gall…

When asked to describe the style of "The 39 Steps," which opens Friday at Stars, director Joe Lowry labels it a tramedy. The play — based on the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film, which was adapted from John Buchan's 1915 novel — mixes tragedy and comedy elements into a engaging production.

It's been at least a decade since a major local theater has brought "Fiddler on the Roof" to the stage. And like the members of the Russian village who band together in the show, so, too, have actors from a variety of local theaters for this special engagement coming to Temple Beth El next week.

Bakersfield College just wrapped up its production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” but Shakespeare fans need not fret as Cal State Bakersfield’s theater department will continue the comedies this week with a run of “Love’s Labour’s Lost.”

Bakersfield might not have the colorful changing of seasons that other towns can boast, but with an annual sidewalk art festival it has its own way of ringing in autumn with a spectrum brighter than those red and orange leaves.

While many Bakersfield theater-goers love a repeat — “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” anyone? — local groups still like to keep things fresh, from all-new productions to shows that haven’t had a chance to really rock the town. Along with Stars’ local debut of “Catch Me If You Can…

Following on the wheels of its massive Driven by Art public art project, the Bakersfield Museum of Art is again bringing art out into the community. This weekend, more than 200 artists will hit the pavement for the annual Via Arte Italian Street Painting Festival, creating elaborate chalk ma…

When it came time to find a setting for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the show that opens the 32nd Kern Shakespeare Festival at Bakersfield College Thursday, director Brian Sivesind knew there would be no blast from the past.

Different art forms all have the same general purpose: for an artist to express oneself and connect with others who have felt the same way. A painting, a photograph, a poem or a song can all express the same sentiment in a variety of ways.

How do you avoid the pressure of directing a musical based on a popular 2002 Oscar-nominated film? For Bruce Saathoff, who’s directed “Catch Me If You Can” opening Friday at Stars, you don’t worry about the movie.