California Keyboards Music Center has sharpened the ears and tamed the wandering digits of the Southern Valley for more than 35 years. Each weekly 30-minute lesson is taught by instructors whose performance resumés include enlivening Carnegie Hall, marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and treading alongside jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald.
A local institution for more than 40 years, Bakersfield Music Theatre pulls in patrons with a schedule of major Broadway musicals and other songful spectacles. Stop by on October 8 for a one-night-only performance of Direct from Vegas: Frank Sinatra, featuring Gary Corsello crooning un-remixed versions of Sinatra classics such as “Luck Be a Lady” and “Come Fly With Me” to the orchestral accompaniment of five full-sized musicians. The hit musical Chicago (November 13, 14, and 20) follows the exploits of a pair of femme fatales driven to murder by the stiff breezes of the Windy City, while "This and That: A Night of Song and Dance" (February 26) combines the mouth-powered melodies of Bakersfield Music Theatre with the legendary leggery of the Civic Dance Center. Hairspray (April 30, May 1, and May 7) caps the season with the tuneful tale of a teenage dance queen whose fancy footwork and well-kempt coiffure help her to defeat her enemies, the Philadelphia Eagles.
At Studio 65, guests meet new friends and get into shape at the same time during classes in a wide variety of dance styles, including Latin-dance Zumba workouts. Students of all ages master dance styles from all over the globe, such as the Argentine tango, Louisiana zydeco, salsa, belly dance, lindy hop, and ballroom.
Wielding his signature harmonica, delta-blues artist James Cotton has become a legend in blues circles, having started in the Muddy Waters Blues Band and since performed with B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Santana, Led Zeppelin, and other renowned artists. Watch the mouth-harp-playing phenomenon soulfully jam to classic blues tunes, such as “Don’t Start Me Talking” and “Sweet Sixteen,” as well as material from his newest record, Giant. Local blues-rockers Deja Blues will open, playing tunes that pay tribute to every style of American blues, from Mississippi Delta to Chicago shuffle to robot blues-rock, which focuses on the loneliness of 0s and 1s.
Having grown up in the restaurant business, brothers Kyler, Kanaan, and Kavicka Marcelino followed in the footsteps of their parents to open The Lunch Box in 2009. They've amassed a loyal following of locals who frequent the high-ceilinged bistro, where the chefs send out far more than just lunch. Scrawled on a tall chalkboard behind the counter, the menu is home to familiar sandwiches and wraps, and comfort-food dishes inspired by the brothers' mother such as beef stroganoff and hearty chicken pot pie.
Inspirational public intellectual Dr. Cornel West shares his reverent and unflinching insight into matters of democracy, justice, and love in an empowering keynote speech to West Hills College Lemoore. A proponent of progressive politics and an ironclad siren for social righteousness, Dr. West has become an icon with his gift of impassioned and skillful communication, bestselling novels such as Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and countless television and radio appearances, all of which portray his quick wit and unflappable moral vision. Dr. West graduated magna cum laude from Harvard after obtaining two bachelor's degrees in three years and shaming Doogie Howser, and today tirelessly inspires audiences while maintaining his position as Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University. Grammy-winning singer Lady Tramaine Hawkins and powerhouse crooner Bob Rawleigh bring sweet and stirring gospel music to the through-provoking revival, followed by a soul-food dinner and a dance.