Tower District Brewfest

by Felix Muzquiz

Event photos (online & print) by JA Photography

If you’re a beer lover, the Tower District Brewfest is your chance to sample over 60 different craft beers from across California. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to see all the great changes that have been taking place in Fresno’s #1 destination for dining and entertainment – The Tower District – where you can park your car once and spend an entire day or evening visiting dozens of locally owned restaurants, bars, galleries, unique retailers and much more without ever having to get back in your car!

The Tower District Brewfest takes place on Sunday, September 18 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the parking lot behind the Tower Theatre. Five canopied pavilions will be set up throughout the parking lot to accommodate the vast number of brews represented and food and vendor booths will line the area in between. Sample lagers, ports, ales, IPAs, stouts, ciders and many other specialty brews – some that aren’t even available in our area. Each $35 ticket includes a free sampling glass to accommodate the unlimited samples offered and a meal ticket for one of four meals prepared by Tower District restaurants.

With the huge surge in popularity of craft beers, and with so many of those beers represented at the dozens of Tower District restaurants and bars, the Tower District Marketing Committee decided that hosting a Brew Festival was a perfect fit. The event is in its 7th year and attendance has grown to nearly 1,000 attendees. It’s a fun-filled, relaxing day of tasty sampling!

Fresno’s home-brew club the Worthogs, have played an integral role in the event from the beginning and again this year, several home brewers will be offering samplings of their personal craft beers. Event attendees will be able to vote for their favorite home brew and the winner will be presented with a trophy and bragging rights of being the first ever, most popular home brew at the Tower District Brewfest.

Tower Brewfest Beer Tent
Photo by: JA Photography

In addition to the brews, Bobby Salazar’s Taqueria, Zen Wok Fusion, Sequoia Brewing Company and Me-N-Ed’s Pizza will be serving up food to the crowds. Each ticket holder will receive a meal voucher for one of these offerings and additional food may be purchased as well.

 In keeping with a proper Brewfest, traditional polka and oompah music will be featured by Ed Hull’s Polkateers with Eva Scow and The Experience wrapping up the afternoon with an array of styles, ranging from R&B, to contemporary Jazz, Funk, and Pop. It will be an afternoon of tasty brews, fantastic food, great music, and lots of fun.

Tickets for the Tower District Brewfest are only $35.00 and are available at Sequoia Brewing Company, Livingstone’s, the Tower Theatre box office, Grandmarie’s Chicken Pie Shop, Irene’s Cafe, Tioga-Sequoia tasting room, or online at www.brownpapertickets.org or www.towerdistrict.org. Every ticket holder will receive a complimentary tasting glass, free tastings at every booth, and a meal ticket. $10.00 designated driver tickets will be available at the door.

The Tower District Brewfest is sponsored by Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company, Bencomo’s Home Brew Supply and the Tower District Marketing Committee. Proceeds from the event benefit Tower District projects. For more information contact the Tower District Marketing Committee at (559) 497-8362 or visit www.towerdistrict.org.

Apocalypse Fresno

Central Valley becomes the playground for Anthony Puyo’s novel, The Compelled.

By Lisa Talley

Religious groups believed it to be a mass possession; something from a dark world we can’t see with our bare eyes, hosting onto the weak in spirit. But as time passed, we saw it was none of those things. Trapped in a world where violence supersedes compassion, and death is the fruit of man’s labor; Craig Bainy desperately searches for his family.” This is only a snippet of a description for local author, Anthony Puyo’s latest work The Compelled.

It’s a story about perseverance, devastation and the incredible will of the human spirit. An apocalyptic ride that will have you wondering just what sort of person you would be if the world began to unravel, revealing the wretched undertones of what it means to truly survive. But what will make this journey especially unique for Central Valley readers is that the landscape of the story takes place right here at home, in the city of Fresno.

“I’m really proud to give Fresno its own apocalyptic story. As they say; everyone seems to like to see their cities destroyed for some reason,” says Puyo. It was a decision that kept the story breathing seamlessly, projecting it forward without stalling the momentum by getting too reliant on the accuracy of a city Puyo may not be too familiar with. The city’s landscape and scenery are as much a part of the novel as the characters are, so knowing it like the back of the proverbial hand allows for a certain fluidity during the writing process.

And for a man who seems to really understand the darker side of human nature, he’s actually not that much of a horror fan. That title belongs to his mother. “She’s been a huge horror fan since as far back as I can remember,” offers Puyo, “I think subconsciously it rubbed off when I would play with my figures while she was watching [those types of tv shows and films].”

However, The Compelled would more adequately be described as a “dramatic, sci-fi horror” novel, with drama being first and horror being last. And even the term ‘novel’ doesn’t exactly quite mean what we’ve been so accustomed to with this particular story. Novels have long been associated as being these hefty lengths of work, littered with layered context and meaning dressed in metaphorical prose. Which avid readers do enjoy, but the audience is changing, adopting a preference and favor for quick paced, action packed entertainment. Novels are usually often threaded with one too many storylines without always exploring each one to every reader’s content. The Compelled isn’t that kind of novel.

“For a 564-page novel, it reads extremely fast,” explains Puyo. The style and pace of The Compelled is largely attributed to Puyo’s screenwriting style. Often, films are adapted from books, but it’s uncommon to find that a novel has adapted a style meant for the screen. Unnecessary descriptions are removed and all that is left is a streamlined leap through the author’s vision. This particular approach to the novel will have readers, even those who aren’t avid about it, turning page after page after page without missing a single detail.

Unsurprisingly, The Compelled, can easily be likened to blockbusters such as World War Z in terms of pace and storytelling; a pandemic sweeps through the country, bringing with it a cascade of fear, torment, and confusion quickly thereafter. A story of this magnitude begs an interesting question, “what sort of research goes into this?” Anthony Puyo’s response couldn’t be more perfect. “I think it’s very important to walk the line of ‘it could happen’.” Could being the operative word. Of course, the necessary research regarding medical facts and scientific theories were done, but it doesn’t need to encompass every aspect of imagination. The mantra of ‘could happen’ grants freedom to the author so that he/she may bring closure to big questions the reader will undoubtedly ask, and Puyo leaves no loose ends. “At the very end, if the reader still has questions, I think there’s a little bit of failure on the producer’s part… I weaved all the answers in [the story]”

The Compelled is available now, locally at Hart’s Haven Bookstore in the Tower District. The book is also available online, namely Amazon.com, but Puyo encourages any potential reader to purchase the book on Amazon’s sister company’s site, Createspace.com. The link is available on Puyo’s Facebook page along with other outlets. There’s no price difference for the readers, however, it does make a difference on how much Puyo actually receives. As a self-proclaimed independent, Puyo does not have the usual support of a publishing house like some other authors and has become his own sole source for that support. Being independent does have its perks, however, and as such are the reasons why Puyo remains so. It allows him to do his own editing, without a third party interjecting themselves into his work changing around his original creation, keeping not only the integrity of his original vision but of his passion as well.

You can find Anthony Puyo on Facebook as PuyosTheCompelled. There, readers can stay in touch with his upcoming events and future works. If you’re looking to get a taste of his style before delving into the novel, check out Misery Theater, a collection of short stories available online for about the cost of a comic book. And stay tuned, Puyo is far from done and will be releasing another title, a spin-off to The Compelled titled Devin, on November 3rd.