Movie News & Reviews

Valley moments: Decade in review

Doesn't it seem like yesterday that everyone was talking about Y2K?

Ten years have passed, and we're about to embark on another decade. We can't move into the 2010s without a look back at the entertainment and cultural events that touched the people of the central San Joaquin Valley the past 10 years.

From the opening of the Save Mart Center, to reality stars aplenty and a certain Clovis backup dancer marrying a certain pop princess -- it's been an eventful decade.


May 7: Raymond Harvey conducts his last performance as music director of the Fresno Philharmonic, leaving hard feelings among his supporters over his ouster.

Aug. 12: Dr. Dre, Eminem and Snoop Dogg perform at Selland Arena.

Aug. 22: Actress Anne Heche is found confused and disoriented on a remote road in rural western Fresno County.

Sept. 29: Reedley High School graduate Josh Souza finishes second on the CBS television game show "Big Brother."

Oct. 27: Pearl Jam rocks Selland Arena.

Nov. 7: Actor Alan Autry is elected mayor of Fresno.


March 1: The first Rogue Festival is held in downtown Fresno.

July 31: People camp out for the grand opening of Fresno's first Krispy Kreme doughnut shop. (It eventually closed in 2007.)

Oct. 12: Evangelist Billy Graham starts a four-night crusade at Bulldog Stadium, drawing more than 200,000 people.

Dec. 7: Elton John plays a sold-out concert at Selland Arena.


Feb. 28: The William Saroyan Festival opens with a program that includes performances, exhibitions, readings and group discussions dedicated to Fresno's famous man of letters.

May 1: The first baseball game was played at Grizzlies Stadium (now Chukchansi Park) in downtown Fresno. (Fresno won 4-1.)

Sept. 21: Theodore Kuchar conducts his first concert as the new music director of the Fresno Philharmonic, beginning a new era for the orchestra.


Jan. 3: Fresno's Audra McDonald is in the cast of the new NBC political drama "Mister Sterling."

Feb. 2: Malachi Harland, executive chef of XYZ restaurant in San Francisco, is named a Rising Star by the San Francisco Chronicle. (Harland, the son of longtime Fresno chef Roy Harland, returns to the Valley the following year.)

May 19: Clovis real-estate investor Will Dyck is the last masked-man standing when 26-year-old Hayley Arp makes her selection on the Fox reality show "Mr. Personality."

June 25: Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino opens its doors in Coarsegold.

Nov. 7: Save Mart Center holds its inaugural concert with opera superstar Andrea Bocelli. (Elton John follows with another sold-out show the next night.)


Feb. 23: Hundreds of moviegoers see Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" at private showings in Fresno, two days before the film's release.

March 5: Britney Spears draws almost 13,000 people to Save Mart Center.

March 11: Esquire magazine names Fresno one of its six "Cities That Rock," a nod to our local music scene.

April 11: More than 8,000 people join Lee Greenwood singing "God Bless the USA" at an Easter service at the Save Mart Center.

June 6: Fresno native Audra McDonald wins her fourth Tony in 10 years, this time for her role as the hardworking wife in the revival of "A Raisin in the Sun."

Sept. 4: Prince comes to Fresno and sets an attendance record at Save Mart Center with close to 15,000 people.

Sept. 9: Fresno's Christopher Gorham stars in NBC drama "Medical Investigation."

Sept. 18: Local boy Kevin Federline, a backup dancer, marries Britney Spears. (The couple had two kids and a reality show before divorcing in 2006.)

Oct. 22: "Georgia O'Keeffe: Visions of the Sublime" opens at the Fresno Metropolitan Museum.


Jan. 1: Fresno State Winery makes Saveur magazine's Top 100 list for its "wild, lively primitivo; a spicy, minty petite sirah; and an extraordinary orange muscat that tastes like almonds and peaches and goes down like a dream."

Jan. 4: Amber Frey's book, "Witness For the Prosecution of Scott Peterson," about her affair with convicted killer Peterson, is released. (It becomes a best-seller and inspires a made-for-TV movie.)

Jan. 30: World Wrestling Entertainment's Royal Rumble is broadcast live worldwide on pay-per-view from Fresno.

March 20: Good Company Players ends its run of "Beauty and the Beast."(The show is so successful that the company brings it back the next year.)

April 2: Rapper Kanye West attracts thousands to an autograph signing at Fresno hip-hop shop FTK.

April 15: Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, draws 26,000 people to the two-day Just Give Me Jesus revival at the Save Mart Center.

May 21: After 25 years, the Daily Planet closes its Tower District doors.

May 21: Fresno's long-running Theatre 3 plays its last show when artistic director Gordon Goede retires.

June 9: Controversial DVD "Fresno Uncensored" shows gangs, drugs and street life in Fresno -- and spurs a police investigation.

July 14: The Woodward Shakespeare Festival is born with its inaugural production of "Much Ado About Nothing."

Sept. 19: "Out of Practice," the new CBS comedy starring Fresno's Christopher Gorham, debuts.

Oct. 20: Violinist Itzhak Perlman performs with the Fresno Philharmonic.

Oct. 23: Portions of Adam Sandler's "Click" are filmed at Shaver Lake.

Nov. 20: Timeless rockers The Rolling Stones play Fresno for the first time in 40 years. (It is still the highest grossing concert at Save Mart Center.)


Feb. 18: Imperial Dynasty in Hanford's Chinatown closes, ending the Wing family's tenure as restaurateurs for more than 120 years.

April 7: Famed Armenian modern artist Arshile Gorky gets an exhibition at the Fresno Art Museum that includes works from major museums.

April 12: The Di Cicco family celebrates 50 years as restaurateurs by slashing prices to $1 at the Di Cicco's on Blackstone Avenue near Barstow Avenue.

June 5-6: Madonna performs back-to-back nights at Save Mart Center, drawing more than 20,000 people.

Oct. 8: Tower Records, including its longtime Fresno location, decides to close.


Feb. 2: The Old Fresno Hofbrau, a downtown Fresno institution since the 1960s, shuts down.

Feb. 21: Anthony Bourdain, star of the Travel Channel's "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations," packs the Saroyan Theatre for the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall Lecture Series.

May 25: Donald Trump comes to Fresno to tour the Running Horse site, starting an on-again, off-again flirting session with the Fresno development. (The Donald never worked it out.)

June 9: Fresno gets an Apple Store! Fresno gets an Apple Store! Fresno gets an Apple Store!

Aug. 24: Promise Keepers returns to Fresno for the first time since 1998.

Sept. 15: The newly restored Severance Building in the Tower District is unveiled by owners Chris Campbell and Julie Ann Keller, providing a home for Artists' Repertory Theatre.

Oct. 11: Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf film pieces of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" at Chandler Airport.

Nov. 5: A tween's dream comes true -- Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers perform in Fresno. At the same concert.

Nov. 9: A Prius ad calls Fresno a "ghost town." (Toyota later apologizes and edits the ad.)

Dec. 17: Opera star Renee Fleming performs with the Fresno Grand Opera.


March 7: Comic George Lopez's show draws 15,266 people to the Save Mart Center.

March 12: Ryan Scott, a Los Banos High School graduate, competes on Season 4 of Bravo's "Top Chef." (He's booted after six episodes for serving California cuisine at a Chicago Bears tailgate party.)

July 7: Gatorade's "ball girl" ad, filmed at Chukchansi Park, becomes one of the biggest viral videos of the year.

Aug. 8: Mariachi Mujer 2000, led by Fresno's Marisa Orduno, performs during the Summer Olympics opening ceremonies in Beijing.

Sept. 6: A local story about a Fresno County man beating another man with an 8-inch sausage, rubbing spice rub in his face and running off with $900 goes viral on the Internet.

Sept. 26-28: Ahwahnee executive chef Percy Whatley competes in the Bocuse D'Or USA -- the American semifinals for the Bocuse D'Or, known as the international Olympics of the culinary world. (Whatley ends up losing and will get another shot in 2010.)

Oct. 29: Sammy Hagar plays a free concert at Fresno's Cabo Wabo nightclub. (The club closes in December.)

Nov. 13: After a three-year renovation, the Fresno Metropolitan Museum reopens to fanfare and thousands of visitors but faces drastic fiscal challenges.


Jan. 8: ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" starts a weeklong local stint to make over a Fresno home.

Jan. 20: Fresno woman Bernice Gallego, who found (and later sold) a 139-year-old baseball card, makes an appearance on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.

April 9: Fresno's Christopher Gorham stars in whodunit CBS show "Harper's Island." (It turns out that Gorham's character is the killer.)

May 19: Clovis East graduate Cris Colfer's Fox series "Glee" debuts.

June 12: Local TV stations switch from analog to digital.

July 12: Beloved Fresno retailer Gottschalks closes.

Nov. 17: Fresno's Jason Glover, who made the Top 10 of "So You Think You Can Dance," makes a triumphant live tour stop at the Save Mart Center.

Nov. 21: After nearly 30 years in business, Pacific Seafood closes.

Dec. 4: Appellation: California, a visitor center for Valley wines, opens in Madera.

Dec. 21: After a USA Today story on a marketing campaign to revamp Fresno's image, Jay Leno cracks a joke about the slogan "Be World-Class. Be Fresno" on his show.