Fresno, CA

Respite by the River Monthly Summer Series Announced

J.M. Lesinski
Photo by J.M. Lesinski

As summer begins to flourish across the Central Valley, those looking for a night out once a month with live music and entertainment in Fresno, California need look no further.

The San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust will be hosting Respite by the River 2021 once a month for the summer of 2021. The monthly Central Valley event invites anyone who enjoys live music and readings to bring a picnic dinner, blanket, and/or chairs to the River Center, located at 11605 Old Friant Road in Fresno, for a night of local music and a reading by a talented author or authors.

Though the schedule may be subject to change, the general schedule for the evenings begins at six in the evening with live dinner music by the musician slated, running until seven in the evening. Beginning at seven in the evening and running until eight in the evening will be the reading portion of the event. At eight in the evening will be book sales and a book signing by the author or authors.

The first Respite by the River will take place on Thursday, June 24, featuring music by Happenstance and a live reading from native Fresno writer Ife-Chudeni Oputa. Happenstance is a local Fresno band specializing in an eclectic mix of blues, pop, rock, and some original tunes.

Ife-Chudeni Oputa is a local Fresno poet, artist, and screenwriter. The author of “Rummage,” winner of the 2015 Little A Poetry Contest and the 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist, Oputa is a Cave, Canem, Callaloo, and Lambda Literary fellow. Oputa’s poetry and prose alike have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Some Call it Ballin’, Gabby, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere.

The second Respite by the River will take place on Thursday, July 8, featuring music by Glen Delpit and live readings by Tanya Nichols and Bill McEwen. Local Fresno musician Glen Delpit covers a vast stretch of genres in his live performances, described as multitalented and prolific in his output. He is also a talented poet, painter, and videographer.

Tanya Nichols is the author of three fiction works: “Stinger,” co-written with Bill McEwen, “The Circle Game,” and “The Barber’s Wife.” Nichols received her MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction from Fresno State, where she now teaches writing and literature courses. Nichols also serves as the coordinator of the Young Writer’s Conference at Fresno State, a creative writing conference for high school students in the Central Valley of California. Her work has appeared in North Carolina Literary Review, Sycamore Review, In the Grove, and the San Joaquin Review.

Bill McEwen is a journalist from Fresno with nearly forty-five years of experience under his belt. During that time, his byline became one of the most recognize in California, birthing “It’s a Dry Heat,” a collection of columns from local newspaper, The Fresno Bee, that become a local best-seller. McEwen is also the co-author of “Stinger” with Nichols.

The third Respite by the River will take place on Thursday, August 12, featuring music by Rob Hodges and a live reading by Catherine Abbey Hodges.

Catherine Abbey Hodges is the author of three poetry collections, “In a Rind of Light,” “Raft of Days,” and “Instead of Sadness.” Her first collection, “Instead of Sadness,” won the 2015 Barry Spacks Poetry Prize from Gunpowder Press, while her poems have also been nominated for both the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. Hodges’ poems have also been anthologized and featured on The Writer’s Almanac and Verse Daily. She teaches English at Porterville College, where she often collaborates with local musician Rob Hodges.

The final Respite by the River 2021 event will take place on Thursday, September 16, featuring the music of Los Peripherals and a live reading by Sam Pereia. Los Peripherals, the duo of Marc Poschman and Mikal Sandoval, perform a range of folk music including Latin hits, Americana, and classic country to name a few genres.

Sam Pereira has published seven books over the past few decades, the most recent ones being “True North and Untrue You,” “Bad Angels,” “Dusting on Sunday,” and “The Marriage of the Portuguese – Expanded Edition.” Pereira received his BA from California State University, Fresno and his MFA from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. After teaching for twenty-one years, Pereira retired in 2019 to Los Banos, California.

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Professional journalist for over five years, covering topics all up and down both coasts of the United States, including arts, music, food, politics, and culture. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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