Fall arrives later this month but we've already got a bumper crop of activities for this First Friday. The monthly event features a variety of activities and art shows, including the final exhibit for the Younger Gallery.

Local arts champions Milt and Betty Younger opened the space in 2002, although the gallery came into its own about six years later. Numerous local artists and students have displayed in the gallery over the years, including Betty Younger, a sculptress whose larger work is also on display around town as well as outside the Bank of America building where the gallery is located. Numerous local artists and students have displayed in the gallery over the years. Some even returned to assist with curating the space.

Vicki Smart, an art teacher at Bakersfield High School, is the current curator and sad to see the space close.

She recalls an early memory of Milt coming up to her after the successful opening of an exhibit featuring artists Robert Guidace and Gilbert Gonzalez.

She wrote in her farewell letter to the gallery: "He asked me what he could do for me in return. I replied, ‘Please, just let us keep doing this. There is a niche in our community for local contemporary artist to show their work. We need a place for edgy and challenging art that makes people think.' He said, ‘You got it.’

"He kept his word. Some work was more controversial than others and he and Betty never wavered in their support."

Younger's death just over a year ago at age 86 was a great loss for the community. His wife has since stepped away from gallery operations, which have now been overseen by Smart.

The fate of the space is unknown, but the gallery remains open for the month with "The Last Picture Show," an exhibit whose theme came from the 1971 black-and-white movie of the same name.

Most of the works featured are in black and white or muted tones. Along with Younger, the exhibit features work from 21 other artists: Gina Herrera, Linda Brown, Linda Hyatt, Ryan Rickard, Robert Guidace, Iva Fendrick, Bill Ryan, Mike Barker, Louis Chavez, Norma Savage, Kris DeLano, Sara Drennan, Ross Janzen, Mary Bradford, Diego Monterrubio, Terry Tripp, James Eaton, Aaron Wherry, Nano Rubio, Alberto Herrera, Brian May and Gilbert Gonzalez.

The reception from 5-9 p.m. at the gallery, 1430 Truxtun Ave., Suite 105, will feature live music by Mauro.

Villains Art Show: Bubble Pop is a little bit wicked this month. The pop-up gallery is encouraging guests to dress as their favorite fictional bad guys while enjoying the art created around the same theme.

Thirty-four artists will display including locals such as Kei Deragon, JP Rodriguez, Giki, Adam Wentworth Patrick Spurlock, Jonny Riel, Carson Crawford, Ana Reyes/CreativeOwlStudios, Karrie Rhodes, Guilli Munster, Blanca Aldana, Jose Salas and curator Ashleymarie Sey Lively.

Turnout was so good, Lively had to expand wall space in the gallery. Artists will be on hand creating work on site, and Paleta Company will sell coconut-based vegan iced treats.

After the show's debut on Friday, all the work will move to Temblor Brewing Co. where it will remain on display through the month. Reception 5-9 p.m., Bubble Pop Gallery, Fox Theater, 2001 H St. 

"Black is Beautiful": Russian-born artist Victoria Porter is displaying her work at the BAA Art Center. Studying art as a student, she ended up working as a TV editor to pay the bills before moving to Brooklyn with her husband. There she began to paint and draw again, embracing portraiture. 

Her latest collection is a series of portraits dedicated to the beauty of black people. The BAA newsletter describes it as "a tribute to a black skin. Women, men and children, celebrities and random people — every shade of black skin is beautiful!" Opening reception, 6 p.m., Bakersfield Art Association, 1607 19th St. 869-2320.

Greg Stanley: The painter's work for this show is inspired by his mood and emotions while hiking through the Sierra Mountains in 2016 and 2017. His pieces allow the viewer to reflect on nature’s beauty and take the time to enjoy the moment as he did while hiking. 

Dagny's will also feature the ongoing group show, "Another Good Book " in its annex. Participating artists are Kelly Pankey, Norma Eaton, Patte Embrey, Gigi Murray, Iva Fendrick, Toni Lott and Charlotte White. Stanley opening reception, 6 p.m., Dagny's, 1600 20th St. 634-0806.

Take in a movie: The new season of Flix, which replaced FLICS, debuts Friday at the Fox Theater. The season opener, playing at 7 p.m., is "Loving Vincent," which tells the story of Vincent van Gogh's final days through actual oil painting on canvas. Read more about it here

Yoga time:  The Bakersfield Museum of Art, along with Samsara Wellness Center, will offer a free yoga session from Samsara Wellness Center, which has joined with BMoA to offer free community yoga sessions from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. in the sculpture garden, 1930 R St.

Those who need a helping hand (or paw) to get into position, can check out Cats and Yoga, hosted by Meow Co. at Inner Bodyworks Yoga Studio, 1919 H St. The session from 5:30 to 7 p.m. will include a beginners sessions with some furry friends, who also happen to be looking for forever homes. Complementary MEOWmosas will be served afterward.

Tickets are $25 (at meowco.org) and going fast. The event is a fundraiser for the local nonprofit that finds homes for abandoned cats and kittens from euthanasia and finds them a loving home.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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