Donald Munro

May 31, 2014

Munro: Getting frisky with Shel Silverstein and other notes from the arts beat

It's a day for "this and that" from the arts beat. To kick things off, here are two promising events I think deserve special attention in the upcoming week:

It's a day for "this and that" from the arts beat. To kick things off, here are two promising events I think deserve special attention in the upcoming week:

Juan L. Guzmán, an English professor at Fresno City College, knows there's another side to Shel Silverstein, the author of such beloved children's books as "The Giving Tree" and "Where the Sidewalk Ends." And that side is very funny — and not appropriate for children.

Which is why Guzmán is staging "An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein" at the Selma Arts Center, opening Thursday for a three-night run. The show consists of 10 comedic sketches "that reveal the darker and hilarious side of adulthood," Guzmán says. Scenarios include grisly birthday gifts for teenagers, talking dogs and the evolution of a bag lady.

Silverstein, who died in 1999, was an amazingly versatile artist. He was one of the leading cartoonists for Playboy in the 1950s. He wrote the poem "A Boy Named Sue," which Johnny Cash turned into a best-selling song. He was nominated for an Oscar for his song "I'm Checkin' Out" from the movie "Postcards from the Edge."

And, of course, he achieved fame for his children's books.

In 2001, New York's Atlantic Theater Company produced "An Adult Evening" by compiling Silverstein sketches.

Guzmán is a member of the Selma Arts Council and a past performer with the venue's resident theater company, the Raisin Cain Players. Because of the play's adult subject matter, the show is being done as a stand-alone production instead of under the Raisin Cain imprint. Audience members must be 18 and older to attend. A beer and wine garden will be open on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, June 5-7, Selma Arts Center, 1935 High St., Selma. (559) 891-2238,, $15.

Fresno-area piano fans have had fun watching the early and continued successes of Madera Ranchos resident Michael Delfin, who performs in a solo concert Saturday at the Fresno State Concert Hall. His talents as a musician first were noted in the pages of The Bee in 2005. In that first mention, the 14-year-old was a winner in the piano division at the fourth annual Junior Bach Festival.

Delfin, who was taught locally by Carol Oaks, has gone on to earn many other honors. In 2008, he was one of only a handful of students to capture the top awards in composition and performance in the 100-year history of the Young Artists Guild of the Music Teachers Association of California.

He's captured prizes in more than a dozen international, national and state competitions and has soloed for the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. And he found the time to complete his undergraduate studies in piano at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and in history at Johns Hopkins University. He begins graduate studies in piano this fall at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Who knows how far he will go?

The 23-year-old Delfin has remained true to his Fresno-area roots, including giving a solo recital here three years ago. (He has performed three times on KVPR's "Young Artists Spotlight" and recently won the Fresno Musical Club's Susan Torres Award for pianists.)

His Saturday concert will include music by Beethoven, Chopin and Prokofiev and an original composition.

Details: 3 p.m. Saturday, June 7, Fresno State Concert Hall. (559) 977-7321. Free.

In brief

I featured Coarsegold artists Kerby Smith and Lura Schwarz Smith last year in a cover story in The Bee's 7 section for a dynamic quilt exhibition at 1821 Gallery & Studios. They were two of 41 artists accepted into the 16th Artist as Quiltmaker biannual exhibition in Oberlin, Ohio. The show opened May 11 and continues through July 27. Details:

Roosevelt High School student Sabrina Lopez is one of 65 students selected for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2014 Summer Seminar for High School Juniors in Ashland, Ore. She will attend a rigorous two-week program that includes forums and workshops on such topics as stage management, costume construction, scenic painting and Renaissance dance, along with the chance to see nine festival productions.

Aaron Grisez, a senior at Buchanan High School, is one of 120 outstanding musicians named to the roster of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, a program of Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute. He will attend a two-week training residency this summer with leading professional orchestra musicians. The orchestra will play at Carnegie Hall and go on a select national tour.

Grisez is a percussionist who specializes in marimba.


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About Don Munro

Don Munro


The leading authority of theater, performing and fine arts in the central San Joaquin Valley. Everything you need to know about new shows, exhibitions and cultural events, plus insights into Fresno's cultural scene. Phone: 559-441-6373. Twitter: @DonaldBeeArts. Email:

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