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It’s kind of hard to believe, but the photo of me over there was 3 Editor’s Note taken 20 years ago by Noel Neuburger, 4 Publisher’s Note during my early years as a journalist. I haven’t Published by 5 RV4Vendetta changed that much since then, especially if I put 12 Cannabis Community sunglasses on. I still smoke Corner Market1Media cigarettes. I still wear black 5733 Bluffs Drive leather. Thank god I still have 19 Patient Profile Rocklin, Ca 95765 most of my fucking hair. (916)764-4373 What has changed since then 21 Alt Health www.market1media.com is journalism. In the early 1990s, 41 Alt Music Sacramento had two competing SacAlternative daily newspapers, the Bee and the Union, and 45 Alt Food (916)764-4373 at least three competing newsweeklies. Good www.SacAlt.com times, and the friendly competition inspired 51 Addicted to Love email@example.com good work all around. Back then, a freelance writer could hack out half a decent living in Sacramento. But local print media was peaking and soon to be on We appreciate your feedback. Letters to the the wane. Two major economic crashes later, editor may be edited for length and clarity. freelancers would starve to death if it wasn’t Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for food stamps. Which may have been cut by the time you read this. Mission Statement That’s why I have to give it up for our SacAlternative is a monthly news and arts magazine with a mission to inform, report and provide quality content to all individuals living in the Sacramento area. Our writers, editors and staff aim to present a variety contributors this issue. Our crew is a talented of social and political topics, balanced with an interest to the alternative arts, grassroots movements and green and diverse lot. We’ve got an African Alaskan, lifestyles representing the region. which is like 100 percent more than their Advertising information proportion in the population. We’ve got a All advertising is subject to final approval from the advertiser. The advertiser provides SacAlternative with Latina, making us on par with the state. We’ve digital files when available. The advertiser and not SacAlternative or Market 1 Media accepts all responsibility for the content of the advertising. The advertiser accepts responsibility for concept, design, photography layout got two disabled vets and a member of the LGBT community. We’re 50 percent female, 50 and content of the advertisement, not SacAlternative or Market 1 Media Inc. percent male, not that I’ve checked under the Disclaimer hood or anything. You may not use, copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit, distribute, or modify the Marks in any way, including in advertising or publicity pertaining to distribution of materials in this Magazine or on accompanying We weren’t shooting for diversity, it’s just Website, without SacAlternative and Market1Media’s prior written consent. The views expressed by the the way it shook out. Which is maybe a sign authors and writers in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of SacAlternative or Market1Media that there have been some positive changes in Inc. Comments on this publication are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full journalism. At any rate, they all do good work. responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation those results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in SacAlternative. The accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, Take ‘em out for a spin and see for yourself. v
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SacAlternative | October 2013
Shutdown Shenanigans When I was a kid I remember playing baseball in the abandoned lot a few streets behind my house. We used an old catcher’s mitt for home plate and the bases that circled the infield were worn to bare dirt. One afternoon I hit a little bloop single into left and tried to stretch a single to a double. The ball and I arrived at the same time. I was sure I was safe, as were my teammates. The other team was sure I was out. Arguments ensued, profanities spewed and opposing player’s mothers were insulted. A decision was rendered when my buddy Rich weighed in that there was no way to figure it out and the logical thing was to give me a hit but send me back to first base. Agreement was reached and peace restored (except for my buddy Kevin who was still waging a war of words with Murphy to restore his mother’s honor). Amazing things can happen when you throw out the rulebook and find a solution that is fair for everyone. I think about the lessons I learned in grade school and how they apply to the political gridlock in Washington. We live in a nation where our leaders are so completely opposed to compromise that any attempt to work together is seen as weak and pathetic. This inability to compromise has left us with a do-nothing Congress that is unlikely to accomplish anything except defunding the Affordable Care Act, shutting down the government, and plunging the country into bankruptcy. What if we applied some fifth-grade grade logic to the stalemate? We could get both sides of Congress in one room, have them insult each other’s mothers and then be forced to reach a suitable compromise or they won’t be able to play. Unfortunately, I think it’s clear to everyone but Fox News that the Republican right is as interested in doing the right thing as John Boehner is in using SPF 45 sunscreen. Being true to your convictions is one thing, but threatening a governmental shutdown is akin to being called out at second base and taking your ball home so no one else can play. As the deadline approaches Boehner and his buddies have refused to pass a “clean” spending bill to keep Uncle Sam in business. I’m sure by press time some congressional curveball will be thrown staving off a shutdown. I’m hoping that we get fed up with the game-playing, one-upmanship and proverbial pissing contest that is being waged in Congress and chuck them out of the game. Banished via the voting booth. What a sight that would be. John Boehner grabbing his ball, going home mad and forced to play with himself. On a much happier note this is our third publication of SacAlternative. You might have noticed a change in the logo. We’re going with a sleeker SacAlt version. It rolls off the tongue better and is more appealing visually. At least that’s what I’m told. I like it and I hope you do too. v
e e SacAlternative | October 2013
Keyword Cannabis no privacy for patients I don’t smoke marijuana often, but when I do … holy mother of God! My writer’s block explodes in a kaleidoscope of fresh ideas. I can play guitar like Keith Richards. I slay like Bobby Flay in the kitchen. If lack of creativity was a disease, I’d easily qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation. But then, so would 90 percent of the country. That’s why someday soon it will The fact that legal. marijuana treats be Truth be told, I have any number of medical conditions that qualify so many of me for a recommendation, and what modern life’s those conditions are is nobody else’s business. The fact that I might have a maladies has recommendation period isn’t anyone else’s worked against business. Of course that’s not the way it is, especially with today’s anti-marijuana it as far as with its student body council individual privacy crowd, morality and bureaucratic addiction to documentation. Your papers please! When they speak I hear the strains of the George Jones’ country classic, “White Lightening’” in the back of my mind: G-Men, T-Men, Revenuers too, Searching for the place where he made his brew. They were looking trying to book him, Put poppa kept a cooking … white lightening. Jones was referring to the bootleggers in the American south who started squeezing and selling their own corn liquor in the 1930s during Prohibition and didn’t see any reason to give the business up just because Prohibition ended. Nor share any of their revenue with the hated Uncle Sam. The souped up cars they used to outrun the law eventually evolved into what we know today as NASCAR. I love NASCAR, its reputation as a rednecks-only sport is undeserved. It was pretty cool this summer when the Marijuana Policy Project rans ads prior to a NASCAR race, even though the ads were pulled before race day to prevent disturbing the “family atmosphere.” Or it may have been the point MPP was trying to make with the ad that nixed it. The point being that alcohol is about a million times more dangerous to public health and safety than marijuana has ever been or ever will
SacAlternative | October 2013
be. Which didn’t go over well with some sponsors, especially the half-dozen alcohol-funded teams. It used to be just beer companies on the grid, but now even Crown Royal and Jack Daniels sponsor race teams. Nothing says says drive safely like a quart of 90 proof bourbon. Anyway, I’d prefer a high-speed car chase from out of the white lightening days to the state of affairs in California today. The fact that marijuana treats so many of modern life’s maladies has worked against it as far as individual privacy is concerned. It’s always wise to consult with a knowledgable physician before starting any new medication, especially if you’re already slamming the average American pharmaceutical cocktail on a daily basis. Yet such consultations leave the first crumbs in a trail identifying the patient as a user of a substance squareheads and schoolmarms, who hold a remarkable amount of political sway at all levels of public service, still consider a narcotic. When I was working on this month’s cover story, I was astounded by the amount of documentation required to cultivate marijuana as a nonprofit enterprise. You have to file as a nonprofit business with the state for tax purposes. You have to keep track of your own expenses. In Butte County, it’s strongly suggested that you keep track of your weed usage per day. You’ve got
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to be fucking kidding me. The point being that every form a patient fills out is one more crumb in the trail branding the patient as a felon in the eyes of a sizable minority, some of whom can see for miles. This we learned from whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations this summer that the National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation have the capability to monitor and store the data from the communications of every person in the United States and indeed countries around the globe. They are in fact storing this information in a database that can be searched with keywords, such as “medical marijuana recommendation.” State and local law enforcement agencies have access to the database. If the prohibitionists ever happened to regain the majority, how hard would it be to track down the trail of crumbs patients have left behind? For this reason, I’ve always been leery of registering for the state’s medical marijuana identification card. The popo like it because they can punch in a number online and verify your patient status. I worry about who else can punch my number. They say marijuana makes you paranoid. Is it any wonder? v
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Never Piss a Mother Off
Above: Peace. Sheehan in front of George W. Bush’s White House, 2006.
Waking Up Cindy Sheehan She Just Might Run for Governor
indy Sheehan began waking up on April 4, 2004. On that day, her son Casey was killed in action near Sadr City, Iraq. The U.S. Army specialist had volunteered for a rescue mission and was struck down by enemy fire. He was 24 years old. At first, her anguish was no different than any other mother’s. But the more she questioned President George W. Bush’s phony rationale for invading Iraq, the angrier she got. There were no weapons of mass destruction. No imminent threat to the United States. Just thousands of dead Iraqis piling up in mounds and hundreds of American soldiers being shipped home in body bags. So in August, 2005, she set up camp in a ditch outside the president’s vacation home in Crawford, Texas, vowing to stay until Bush gave her a suitable explanation for why her son had died. That answer never came, but Sheehan’s protest captivated the nation and the world. It’s fair to say that the Democratic Party, which rode a rising tide of antiwar sentiment to take control of the House and the Senate in the
2006 midterm elections, owes at least a small debt to Sheehan. That debt has never been repaid. The Democrat-controlled Congress proved just as adept at rubber stamping war appropriations as the Republicans. Dem. Sen. Barack Obama, who first gained national attention by opposing the Iraq War, immediately changed his tune upon assuming the presidency in 2008. “I realize now that I was really naïve back then,” Sheehan explained via telephone from her home in Vacaville. “I thought the people really had power and we could change things. I really thought that we could end the war and that George Bush and Dick Cheney would be held accountable. But look what happened when they [the Democrats] came back to power.” Marginalized by her own party and the mainstream media—which abhors any political figure tainted by the slightest whiff of socialism—Sheehan never stopped believing that in a democracy, people ought to have the power to change things.
R.V. Scheide She left the Democratic Party in 2007 and challenged California Democrat Rep. Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the House, in 2008. Her quixotic campaign for justice continued in 2012, when she ran for vice president on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket with iconoclastic comedian and TV star Roseanne Barr. Now, Sheehan has her sites set on California’s gubernatorial race in 2014. Sheehan, 56, is by now wide awake. She understands she has virtually no chance of unseating Gov. Jerry Brown, who’s running for re-election next year. But if her celebrity as an antiwar activist can draw enough media attention, she will be able to introduce progressive issues that would otherwise never see the light of day. Borrowing language from the Occupy movement—she was arrested during Occupy Sacramento in 2011—she plans to highlight the growing income inequality between the top 1 percent of wage earners and the bottom 99 percent, AKA the rest of us. It’s class warfare, she insisted, noting that the mainstream media doesn’t even acknowledge class warfare exists. In her SacAlternative | October 2013
Kevin Johnson continue to chamview, the 1 percent own the pion private charter schools that media as well as the politidrastically cut teacher salaries but cians, which is why whenever perform worse than public schools the subject of class comes up, overall. Unless more money is it’s immediately dismissed. funneled to the state’s public eduNevertheless, a growing numcation system, a return to the good ber of Americans are experiold days seems unlikely. encing just how sharp the difWhere can more money be ference between rich and poor found? Prison reform is also high can be. They are beginning to on Sheehan’s list. understand there’s something “Gov. Brown was ordered wrong with a country that Orange is the new black. Sheehan had both covered earlier this year to reduce the prison population wages a new war every three leading the Tour de Peace across the country. by the federal government,” she years while its own people Photo by Dan Levy said, adding that it costs the state starve. People are waking up. $60,000 per year to house a single “I am hoping to awaken inmate. The prison system has been opthat spirit to true and relevant change,” “We have voted erating at 200 percent capacity for nearly she said. “The government gives people a decade. Brown could have reduced the the power to do it. That’s what I’m hopto make medicinal ing to do.” prison population by releasing non-violent cannabis legal. At the top of her list of issues is educadrug offenders, but has chosen to do othBut that’s been tion. erwise. “Instead, he’s appropriating more “It’s appalling that California ranks money for the Corrections Corporation of overlooked by law near the bottom in virtually every educaAmerica.” enforcement as well tion standard,” she said. Forget about those CCA is the nation’s largest private-foras employers. stories parents tell their children about profit prison corporation. According to walking to school barefoot in three-feet the National Institute on Money In State That’s not right. of snow. She notes that when she was Politics, between 2003 and 2012, CCA It needs to be growing up in the 1960s, music educadonated more than $2 million to politition, with instruments, began in the third cians across the country. With contrimore respected.” grade, at no extra cost. High schools taught butions totaling $726,000, California —Cindy Sheehan driver’s ed, not private companies paid for politicians were the largest recipient of by parents. The state community college CCA’s largesse, including $15,000 doand university system offered a quality, nated to Gov. Brown. To meet the federal almost tuition-free government’s order upper level educato reduce the prison tion. California’s population, the goveducation system was ernor plans to house considered the gold inmates in CCA’s California facilities, standard worldwide. where they will be Today, that image watched over by is tarnished, to say state prison guards. the least. The state It’s a costly meacurrently ranks 49th sure that’s expected in per pupil spendto chew up a large ing, with equally chunk of the state’s depressing test score $1 billion budget averages in English surplus. and math. Although Sheehan thinks Gov. Brown has non-violent drug succeeded in chanoffenders should be neling more tax offered treatment dollars to education, Casey Sheehan, May 29, 1979—April 4, 2004 and rehabilitation, Democrats such as Photo by R.V. Scheide not incarceration. Sacramento Mayor SacAlternative | October 2013
Furthermore, conditions for all the state’s “Fukushima is hurting the people of prisoners need to be improved, as the rethis state,” Sheehan said. “I think the cent hunger strike by prisoners in Pelican governors of California, Oregon and Bay demonstrated. Washington should be demanding [that “Why do prisoners have to go on a the plant be brought back under control].” hunger strike?” she asked. “Why aren’t Sheehan has a team developing a their concerns being listening to? They media strategy, but said, “I don’t know shouldn’t have to die to get their basic much about that. I just do what I do. What human rights. The majority shouldn’t be I really like is having contact with people, able to take away the [basic human] rights having a dialogue.” of the minority.” In order to qualify for next year’s balOn the other hand, sometimes the lot, Sheehan has to gather 10,000 signaminority usurps the will tures between Dec. 27 and of the majority. Case in Feb. 20. She’s confident She’s the Zelig point: California’s medishe’ll meet the goal and st cal marijuana statute. considers the collecof the early 21 “We have voted to tion process an excellent century, the make medicinal cancampaign tool. She plans nabis legal,” Sheehan unassuming figure to visit every county in said, referring to Prop. in the background the state at least once. The 215, passed by voters campaign will be financed who mysteriously mainly by $5 and $10 in 1996. “But that’s been overlooked by law appears near the donations because “those enforcement as well are the people who we’re center of important as employers. That’s working for.” world events. not right. It needs to be Sheehan remains a more respected.” controversial figure, and Sheehan would like no doubt many people will to see a statewide ban on all fracking, the not take her campaign seriously. Some controversial practice of injecting water will say she’s not qualified for the job, but into oil and gas wells to increase extracsince her awakening began with the death tion. California’s remaining two nuclear of her son nine years ago, she has traveled power plants should be decommissioned. around the world, hobnobbed with controTax credits should be used to support versial socialist leaders like Cuba’s Fidel clean, sustainable energy. She also has Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, thoughts on an issue few state politicians protested at President Obama’s Nobel have addressed: the ongoing catastrophe Peace Prize award ceremony in Stockat the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant holm, campaigned against Nancy Pelosi, in Japan. campaigned (with Roseanne Barr) against More than two years after an earthObama and Joe Biden, the list goes on. quake and tsunami knocked out cooling She’s the Zelig of the early 21st cenwater to several of the plant’s reactors and tury, the unassuming figure in the backfuel rod storage facilities, leading to a full ground who mysteriously appears near blown meltdown of at least one reactor the center of important world events. That core, radiation continues to spew from the seems like qualifications enough in a state site, contaminating groundwater and the where Hollywood actors routinely play ocean. Radioactive contamination from the roll of chief executive. v Fukushima has already been detected in Have a news story to tell? We’d like to hear it. bluefin tuna caught off the California Try to keep it at 500 words or less. coast, although the levels for now have If we like it, we’ll run it. been declared safe. That may be subject to Send submissions to rv@sacalt..com change if the plant can’t be brought back under control.
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They Seem Sincere Taking Justice Seriously But Do They Really Mean It? Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. Is it a historically triumphant day for marijuana activists or just more political smoke screens? That’s what many in the cannabis community are trying to figure out now. The day before, in a conference call with the governors of Washington and Colorado, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated there would be a 180 degree shift in federal policy. The Justice Department would no longer put legal pressure on states that have decriminalized marijuana, and would back off to a “trust but verify” stance. Considering the phrase “trust but verify” was popularized by President Ronald Reagan, it’s understandable why some medical marijuana advocates in California remain skeptical. The memo issued by Deputy AG James Cole the day after his boss’s conference call did nothing to dispel the skepticism. The fine print stated that the feds would continue to to prosecute in states where cannabis is legal for recreational and or medical use to prevent: • diversion to minors • funding of gangs • sales to other states • sales of other drugs • use of guns and violence in marijuana growing • drugged driving. • cultivation on public lands • marijuana use on federal property If that seems similar to the memo issued by the Justice Department in 2009 that’s because it is. Yet that order was
trumped by northern California U.S. District Attorney Melinda Haag, who unleashed what is now commonly referred to as the “Crack Down” in 2011, when hundreds of dispensaries were closed down by forfeiture threats and litigation against landlords, including an aggressive raid against Oaksterdam University, the soul of medical marijuana in northern California. And the Feds kept rolling. The IRS prohibited writing of business expenses associated with medical marijuana, causing banks to cut off services to cannabis dispensaries. Most recently, the DEA warned armored car services not to contract with marijuana companies, a measure purposely designed to put dispensaries out of business. So it’s understandable why some might be skeptical that the Ben Wagner, the latest memo will make any real federal DA for the difference. But if Holder’s latest Eastern District of pronouncement is disingenuous, California, which why did he do it? Could it possibly be the includes Sacramento, hearings pending 13 days later told the AP that over when the Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to roast half of the cases it’s him for wasting so many resources now prosecuting are on attacking medical marijuana? Meanwhile the very recipients in line with the new of the memo, law enforcement eight guidelines. officials across the country, reacted thusly: Ben Wagner, the federal DA for the Eastern District of California, which includes Sacramento, told the AP that over half of the cases it’s now prosecuting are in line with the new eight guidelines. He believes the memo is meant to encourage better coordination with Fed and state Law enforcement. “Some cities and counties are banning,” Wagner said, “while others are licensing them and encouraging them. It’s hard to see how the current system fits the description laid out in the memo.” Haag told alternative newsweekly East Bay Express that her “office is evaluating the new guidelines and for the most part it appears that the cases that have been brought in this district are already in compliance with the guidelines. Therefore, we do not expect a significant change.” So from the perspective of the federal prosecutors nothing has changed. What about the new language not seen before that is the direct opposite of what the prosecutors were stating? What about the landlord letters? Unknown. Any change in banking? Nope.
SacAlternative | October 2013
• • • supported the cannabis community Still, on Capitol Hill, in one of in a positive way rarely seen from a those increasing signs that almost public official. everybody gets it, even lawmakers, “I am somebody who, several Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-CO, called years ago, was adamantly opposed for hearings on his proposed bill, to this,” Mack said emotionally. HR 2652, the Marijuana Businesses “It has out of the box always been Access to Banking Act, stating reform illegal, it was a bad thing. But not is needed because public safety and too long ago I ran for public office potential tax revenue are jeopardized and this community reached out in a cash-only system. to me because there were multiple No kidding. dispensaries in the district that I was Meanwhile, in the Senate, Patrick running to represent. What I found Leahy, D-VA, expressed concerns was a highly responsible community, that forcing medical marijuana a self-regulating community. A dispensaries to operate as a cash-only community that very, very much put business with no access to banks or patient care at the forefront of their credit cards might increase money interests.” laundering. She was referring to Joy Cole, the “That’s a prescription for problems late cannabis activist who had worked – tax evasion and so on,” Leahy said, hard educating new candidates for “The DEA in what seems to be a city council and passed away after significant step away from reality has a long battle with breast cancer last instructed armored car companies to year. The room was still, and Mack cease providing services to marijuana allowed some tears to escape as she dispensaries, almost as if they’re saying spoke. When the vote came around ‘yeah let’s get out there this week Mack dedicated it to Joy Cole. The late Joy Cole, with Kimberly Cargile. and have some robberies.’ It creates There’s more to come. The City Photo by Ron Mullins a problem. So what’s the department Council takes the issue up on Oct. 1. going to do to address these concerns with the guidance it’s giving The community is optimistic but it isn’t necessarily a for-sure vote, states about these banking and tax issues?” and by the time you’re reading this, it will have already occurred. U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole agreed banking is an District 3 City Councilman Steve Cohn, and recently elected District issue. You don’t want all that cash “lying around.” In fact, they’ve 2 City Councilman Steve Hansen, will be supportive. Hansen’s first already taken care of the problem. “We are talking with bank words from the dias on the topic were, “I support safe access to regulators to discuss ways that this could be dealt with in accordance medical cannabis in Sacramento.” But other members of the council with the laws we have on the books now.” view cannabis as a nuisance and don’t want it in their district no Cole explained the DEA merely questioned armed car companies matter what. and did not give warnings as reported. Will the Feds’ recent reversal sway anyone else? The rest of the hearing was a standard fair of “what about the Local dispensary owner and medical marijuana activist Lanette children” and other body man tactics. Davies is optimistic. • • • “I think the city of Sacramento should be congratulated on Though we may not see the freeing of Molly Frye, Eddie what it has accomplished by allowing dispensaries in the city of Lepp and anyone else imprisoned on federal marijuana charges Sacramento,” she said. “Not only has the community welcomed it, tomorrow, and much remains to be seen in the way of banking and and been educated by it, but the other communities around that tax reform, the Justice Department shift may already have had a have been watching are becoming comfortable allowing their cities positive impact locally. to adopt ordinances that provide safe access for patients and their Last month, the Sacramento city planners met to discuss communities.” whether or not to pass an amendment to the marijuana dispensary Don Duncan, co-founder and director for Americans for Safe ordinance that would allow dispensaries more flexibility when Access, urged patients, cultivators, industry workers and other finding a new site. stakeholders to keep supporting marijuana reform during the next year. Currently once a collective moves it has to adhere to many “Between now and January, when lawmakers introduce bills for restrictions, including limits on proximity to churches, movies the next session, I am going to be talking with ASA members and theaters and drug treatment facilities. After being told that the allies about what those new bills should look like,” he said. “Be a part Federal government does not plan to prosecute city officials for of that conversation, and be ready for a constructive and pragmatic regulating medical marijuana and will rely on local regulations conversation. We may not get everything we want, but we can from cities and states, the planning committee courageously and make progress if we unite behind a single proposal and overwhelm unanimously voted in favor of the amendment. lobbyists for law enforcement and the League of Cities with the same In addition to that victory, there was a serious and sober grassroots power that got Proposition 215 adopted in the first place.“ discussion about patients’ need for access. Kim Mack, former City You know what to do. Get busy. v Council candidate and member of the city planning committee,
SacAlternative | October 2013
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Marijuana-Go-Round Skip’s Tips
Attention all shoppers! Plastic buckets and Mason Jars on Sale on Aisle 13! The season is once more upon us, you can tell by the smell in the air as you go for a walk or a drive with the windows down. The smell of ripening cannabis fills the air as fall sets in for another year. Some of us love the smell of pot, some not so much. Some of us know that if the pot smells good, most likely it will taste good and do the job. This has been the indicator since man decided to smoke this wonderful gift of the earth. There are many ways to make your weed smell and taste good. Some growers use synthetics, some organics. Synthetics can be a powerful way to achieve what you want, but you must take time to rinse your medium and leach the salt left over by synthetic fertilizers. If this is not done the stuff that never burns white burns your throat and basically turns into a big black charred coal. When you use organics, the rinsing isn’t as crucial. The soil is alive and you must keep it alive by providing it enough beneficial microbes. Most organic fertilizers are
molasses based, providing the soil microbes a carbohydrate. This process keeps the microbes from turning into un-beneficial bacteria, which can cause bud rot and other problematic situations. Sulphur based nutrients will make your plants emit their fragrances and high potassium feeds will do that as well. When we come to this point of harvest there are two man indicators to look for. First is hardening off, when the flowers (buds) have become as hard as they can get. Some indicas will be hard as baseballs and some sativas will be more “leggy.” Second is trichrome color. They start out clear, turn milky and then begin to turn amber. When one-third have turned amber, the time is ripe for pickin.’ The only real way to check this is with a microscope, but if you don’t have one handy, some sort of high-powered magnifying device is better than nothing. Far more important than harvesting the herb at the last possible second is drying and curing. It can make or break a harvest. Here are a few proven tips I’ve learned from other growers over the years and incorporated into a basic curing regime.
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• Take the first trim, pull off all the water leaves and stalk leaves and hang the footlong trimmings on a rolling wire shelf. This allows air to flow more efficiently across the drying buds than just hanging the whole plant. • Four days later check and see if the buds are dry enough. The stalk should still bend but not break, otherwise, it’s too dry. • Trimming is next. Don’t go cheap. Buy yourself a nice pair of trimmers. Try to remove as much of the leafy material as possible while maintaining the integrity of the bud. It may take as many as three trimmings. Make sure the buds get enough air to dry between trimmings. • Transfer the final cut product to a fivegallon plastic bucket with screw-top lid. “Burp” the bucket at least twice a day by removing the lid. After two days the buds are ready to go into a mason jar. A few days later, they’re ready for consumption. This technique has served me well and of course there are many variations on it. I cannot stress enough the need for a good cure regime. There’s no point investing so much time and money in your crop and then not following through. Just do it. Till the next trip, Skip. —Skip Jones
SacAlternative | October 2013
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Forbidden From Bud Matthew Montgomery Gets Waxed A Little Dab Eases His Pain Born and raised in Sacramento, 38-year-old Matthew Montgomery caught wanderlust early in life. As a young adult, he traveled to Mexico, the lower 49 states, Amsterdam and Germany, living out of a backpack, staying in hostels, tagging along with music festivals and other traveling shows. Although he had suffered from severe migraines since he was a child and was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome at 16, he never let those conditions get in the way of his travel. Then while living in Jacksonville, Florida, Montgomery suffered a freak fall at a nightclub, winding up in the hospital with a severe head injury and a seizure. He’d continue to be dogged by seizures the rest of his life. After two weeks, he was discharged with a prescription to Depakote, which limited the seizures to one per month. His health declining, he returned to Sacramento in 2002. He qualified for SSDI and shared a home with a few friends. Montgomery had used cannabis since age 15. It relieved his migraines and increased his appetite. But he didn’t start thinking of marijuana as medicine until he returned home. ”I didn’t realize it was medicine for me until I came back from Florida with the head injury,” he said. “I found it to be more effective than the pharmaceuticals with less side effects. The Depakote made me less hungry, destroyed my sex drive and made me feel weird in my head. When I stopped it and just did cannabis, I went down to 3 to 4 seizures a year.” Unfortunately, his medical problems didn’t end there. The intestinal problems he’d had since a teenager were officially diagnosed as
SacAlternative | October 2013
Crohn’s Ulcerative Colitis. The symptoms grew worse. “I was in so much chronic pain that I was on a severe amounts of narcotics,” Montgomery recalled, adding that his prescribed “medications numbered over 30 pills and heavy narcotic patches daily.” Montgomery consulted with a cannabis physician, who informed him that medical marijuana might alleviate some of the symptoms and permit him to reduce the number of pharmaceuticals he was prescribed.The doctor was right in Montgomery’s case. “I found the heavy indica strains were best for my appetite, pain, and sleep. I was soon able to wean the narcotics down to four pills a
day. I felt better, and was able to function again.” His overall health improved. But just when he was well enough to travel again, he was diagnosed with the wasting syndrome Cachexia, which suppresses appetite. “I would throw up all the food I was given,” Montgomery recalls. “Doctors couldn’t figure out its cause. I went from 145 pounds to 93 pounds in two months. The severity of this illness prevented me from smoking cannabis flower, and that’s all I knew about.” Since he couldn’t hold anything down, edibles were out of the question. Unable to inhale burned vegetable matter, Montgomery turned to “wax,” butane honey oil, a concentrated cannabis product
so-called because of its yellow, waxy appearance containing 60 percent to 90 percent pure cannabinoids. Wax vaporizes easily, and when inhaled, a little dab placed on the head of a titanium nail packs a tremendous medicinal punch. The patient receives a higher dose of THC and/or CBD and a minimal amount of contaminates, particularly plant matter. Montgomery compares the medicinal value of one dab to a single joint. Dabbing brought him back from the brink. He was hospitalized for 3 weeks due to the wasting syndrome, which doctors presented as a permanent condition. Surgeons placed feeding tubes in his nasal cavity, and he required a wheelchair to get around. He believes that the 4 dabs he ingested daily ultimately allowed him to start eating and begin to put on weight. “I was able regain my appetite, I was able to slowly eat food and this time it stayed down and I kept it down,” he said. “Over a few months I got my weight back up to 150 and was able to support my own weight walking again.” “I couldn’t smoke the medicine I needed; I couldn’t eat any kind of edible because my stomach couldn’t keep it down. One little
draw of a concentrate is the equivalent of smoking a joint. That one little dab which I could barely do would actually make food smell good and make me want to eat. The other meds were only intermittently effective. Were it not for the wax I would be bed-ridden or dead. I would certainly still be in my wheelchair.” Now Montgomery takes smaller amounts of morphine and valium compared to what he used to take and totally relies on the wax for his nausea and to help with pain and depression. He is much more active than he has been in a long time and spends his energy participating in the cannabis community. Earlier this year, he addressed the crowd at the International Cannabis Hemp Expo and served as a judge at the San Francisco High Times Cannabis Cup. He has good days and bad days but for the most part remains optimistic. He attends rallies and fundraisers across California, and though it’s not international travel so much anymore, it’s much more than he could accomplish without cannabis. v
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SacAlternative | October 2013
Free Your Body
You’ve Got to Move The Mind Will Follow
level in the modern fitness industry. At our body has one important task. first that seemed outrageously low, but a Move. It’s a brilliantly crafted quick look around at my family, peers and organic machine with high performance neighbors confirmed that most of them potential; a machine that builds itself. haven’t embraced any sort of movement or Even the built-in software has limitless opportunities for upgrades. physical intensity into their daily rituals. Here’s the kicker. The software upAnd as I begin my 44th spin around the grades itself best when the hardware is sun, the median age of my various clans properly doing its job. And vice versa. sure isn’t getting any lower. Movement is Imagine having the artist, the artistic the essence of life, but when it becomes medium and the art itself all being one synonymous with always going to the gym, complete package. The Greeks called it always having to workout, who has the hylomorphism. Literally form-matter. time or energy for it? Figuratively soulbody. Today the fitThat’s too bad, because your body wants to move, even if ness industrial complex “It’s a tough battle your brain doesn’t see it throws around the term as an option right now. It ‘mind/body connecwe Western may not seem like it, but tion.’ Without waxing humans face, the the choice to get your body too metaphysically, we moving is yours. One thing do have actual science paradox of our to consider is that better telling us yes, movement media-driven choices now create more seems to be a pretty big society telling us choices later, no matter part of the recipe for how old you are. happiness. how many ways Movement is the acFor movement to be our machine is tual purpose of the body. transformative, there needs It is built to tolerate, in unappealing while to be the magic recipe of fact celebrate, intense also selling us the intensity and consistency. bouts with physical exerThis is often mistaken as tion as part of its building very things that get meaning monotonous and/ process, a process that or scary. We’re convinced us there.” never should end as long we either have to run until as breath flows through the lungs. our brains melt or push ourselves so hard The fitness industrial complex would everything else melts. So let’s define intenlike to sell this fact to you. They package it sity and consistency. with bright colors and pageantry that turn Although we’re fed images of heavily off a great many people. “Don’t worry,” loaded barbells or frightening displays of say the brightly colored, high volume ads, physical prowess, our creative, child-like “we’ll fix you!” spirits understand challenge can come in But statistics show that only about 15 many forms. Through play, experimentapercent of our culture participates at some tion and exploration, we can discover challenges that are, dare I say, fun. SacAlternative | October 2013
Consistency means repeat the experience with regularity. Create a habitual ritual of movement. No, it doesn’t have to be long. The body can soak up a fair amount of its passion for movement in 10 minute bursts, if the intensity and consistency quotient are met. Here’s a trick. Don’t get roped in to the categories that we’re sold. Cardio, weight training, yoga are prefabricated movement concepts. Getting a handle on some of the foundations isn’t a bad place to start. Steal from them all and create your own ritual. Learn how to sit, stand, crawl, and flow. Discover how to pick something up and put it back down properly, or maybe put it over your head. Can you get up? Can you get back down? And from there, ask yourself the magical question: Where can I go from here? v Chip Conrad is founder, owner and lead trainer for Bodytribe Fitness, located at 920 21st St. Sacramento.
Confusion Feds Back Off On Pot, Sacramento County Cracks Down on Medical Marijuana
When the U.S. Justice Department announced it would no longer sue to block laws legalizing marijuana in 20 states on Thursday, Aug. 29, the decision was immediately hailed as the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition in America. Hallelujah! Our long national nightmare has come to an end. Well, almost. Just 30 more states to go, and as the fine print made clear, the Justice Department will continue to vigorously enforce most federal marijuana laws, particular those involving interstate commerce. The Feds still classify marijuana as a narcotic. Then there’s the small matter of whether Attorney General Eric Holder will keep his word. He’s broken such promises in the past. But no matter. Here in trendsetting California, where medicinal marijuana has been legal since voters passed Prop. 215 in 1996, we’ve developed a more enlightened approach. Nowadays, anyone with a medical marijuana recommendation can visit their friendly neighborhood dispensary and purchase high-quality cannabis products right off the shelves. Patients can grow their own medicine at home, or grow medicine collectively with a group of patients. California’s citizens no longer fear demon weed, and its lawmakers recognize a solid, steady tax revenue stream when they see one. Or so the popular story goes. The reality on the ground in Sacramento County is quite a different matter entirely. It totally sucks.
Four days before the Justice Department reversed seven decades of federal anti-marijuana policy, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s annual pre-harvest medical marijuana eradication campaign kicked into high gear. The initial sweep targeted dozens of medical marijuana patients in the suburban and rural areas of the county, centering on the small village of Rio Linda, 12 miles north of Sacramento. The patients were subjected to unannounced, warrantless searches called “compliance visits” but better known as “knockand-talks.” They go like this: A uniformed, armed deputy knocks on your door without prior warning. He asks to see your garden. He doesn’t have a warrant. You have a medical marijuana recommendation, you’re a law-abiding citizen, so you let the deputy in. After a cursory inspection of the garden, the deputy orders you to destroy all of the plants or suffer financially ruinous fines. He’ll be back later to make sure you’ve complied. Have a nice day. The deputy departs and you’re left sketched out, confused, wondering what the hell just happened. Since when did cultivating medical marijuana in Sacramento County become illegal? Since now. With virtually no public warning, county officials have apparently banned outdoor medical marijuana cultivation in the county. Patients who received promised follow-up visits from the Sheriff learned the hard way. The deputies returned with county code enforcement officers, the latter of whom cited the patients for allegedly violating county nuisance codes and “prohibited cultivation, processing, and/or storage of marijuana on the property.” Patients were ordered to pull up all of their plants or face severe fines for failing to comply within five days. What about Prop. 215, the Compassionate Use Act, passed by voters in 1996, which permits qualified patients and caregivers to cultivate cannabis? What about Senate Bill 420, the Medical Marijuana Program Act, passed in 2003, which permits qualified patients and caregivers to grow up to six mature marijuana plants per year? Isn’t Sacramento County, which doesn’t have a medical marijuana ordinance, supposed to follow the state guidelines? Yes and no. The rights granted by Prop. 215 and refined by SB 420 provide medical marijuana patients with a legal defense in criminal court. For that reason, local law enforcement agencies, including the Sacramento County Sheriff, generally don’t arrest medial marijuana patients who follow the state guidelines. But state law does not necessarily trump local land use and zoning policy. Much as they did with dispensaries in 2011, Sacramento County code enforcers have declared medical marijuana cultivation a county-wide nuisance and banned it outright. You can search code enforcement’s website for “marijuana cultivation” but you won’t find anything. The zoning code cited on the violations patients have received refers back to the same county ordinance that banned dispensaries in 2011. Considering the Feds just backed off on the war against marijuana, the wording of the ordinance couldn’t be more ironic. In addition to being a nuisance, the dispensaries were banned because “any land use, activity or
establishment that contravenes either state or federal law or both is prohibited.” So now that the Feds have finally caught up with California, Sacramento County sets the clock back 30 years. It’s enough to make your head spin. Sacramento County medical marijuana patients who cultivate their own medicine find themselves in a bewildering predicament. The state says cultivation is legal. The armed deputy at the doorstep says it isn’t. Patients can stand their ground or destroy their garden. Either choice has significant downsides. For the past month, I’ve followed three Sacramento County patients who received knock-and-talks from the Sheriff and were presented with this dilemma. For them, the Golden State no longer feels so golden, and Washington and Colorado, the two states where recreational marijuana is legalized, look like better places to live with every passing day. Anywhere but here, in this state of confusion.
Blame It On Rio Linda
Elkhorn Boulevard runs west to east as straight as the crow flies, one of those narrow, two-way country corridors where drivers are advised to turn their headlights on in the daytime to prevent head-on collisions. The terrain on either side of the boulevard is impossibly flat, nearly bowed, an immense floodplain panning out across the valley floor. To the south, the far end of the massive North Natomas development is delineated by a rock wall paralleling the roadway. To the north, alfalfa fields stretch for miles. The smell of alfalfa follows you all the way into Rio Linda, reinforcing the idea that you are now in the sticks, even though you’re just 20 minutes from downtown Sacramento. John Unger, 48, has lived here most of his life. A welder by trade, he’s a throwback to the days when Rio Linda was home to a thriving working class community, comprised of employees and military personnel from nearby McClellan Air Force Base. That was before the base began closing in 1995, the decent-paying jobs went away and Rio Linda’s poorer residents became the butt of Rush Limbaugh jokes. Since then, the local economy has only gotten worse, even as Rio Linda’s population has swollen by more than half to 15,000 people. Many have only part-time jobs or are on some sort of public assistance, struggling to make ends meet. Unger is lucky. He has a well-paying job assembling sections for the Bay Bridge. Well, sort of lucky. Working around heavy machinery can be John Unger and garden in happier times.
SacAlternative | October 2013
hazardous to your health. Three months ago, he fell off the back of a truck at work, injuring his back and both knees. He’s now on Workers’ Compensation awaiting surgery on both knees. He has a long history of work-related back injuries and also suffers from chronic arthritis. He walks with a noticeable limp. Several years ago, he discovered marijuana helped alleviate his pain and relieve the nausea and loss of appetite caused by his pain medication. He got a medical marijuana recommendation and was soon able to cut out the pain killers entirely. To save money, he began growing his own weed, indoors and outdoors. On Sunday morning, Aug. 25, he was standing in his front yard, watering the lawn, when two deputies in an unmarked white Crown Victoria pulled up across the street. “Hey! Are you Mr. Unger?” barked the deputy behind the wheel. “Yeah,” Unger said, somewhat jolted by the aggression in the deputy’s voice. “Do you have a marijuana garden?” “You guys know that I do,” Unger said. “You were here last year.” A different pair of deputies had shown up last year, while Unger was at work. His wife showed them the garden of 52 plants, they commented on how well-kept it was and warned against the dangers of sleeping outside at night to guard against thieves. The deputies departed and never returned. “Can I see the garden?” this year’s deputy asked. Unger’s plan to sit down with his wife and watch the NASCAR race was put on hold. The uniformed, armed deputies didn’t say it was mandatory that he show them the garden. They didn’t give him a card and they had no paperwork. But they were big lads, armed and intimidating. Saying “no” didn’t feel like an option to Unger. It was a stressful encounter. “I’m a law abiding citizen, why should I have to go through that?” he told me several days after the visit. “I shouldn’t be put in that predicament. I shouldn’t have to let anyone in my backyard when there’s no criminal activity connected to my house.” Nevertheless, Unger ushered the deputies in and directed them to his garden, situated on a rectangular plot of earth in the corner of his large backyard. The 21 plants were enclosed in a chicken wire cage, more than a few of them cresting six feet in height. Harvest was six weeks away. He felt confident he would pass the deputies’ inspection, since he’d grown 52 plants with a single recommendation the year before and the deputies hadn’t batted an eye. Plus some of the 21 plants were for his uncle, who recently had a leg amputated after his foot got infected with William Hunt’s collective: Has it survived the sweeps?
SacAlternative | October 2013
gangrene. Laminated copies of both their recommendations were displayed prominently on the garden gate. But as the two officers stood outside his garden, one of them taking notes, Unger started feeling uneasy. After completing the inspection, they gave him the bad news. “They said I had to pull every plant out but six,” he said. Exactly how many plants a single patient can grow is still a matter of conjecture in California. The SB 420 guidelines state patients may grow up to 6 mature or 12 immature plants per year. Counties that have medical marijuana ordinances can set the plant limit higher, but not lower. Counties like Sacramento without an ordinance default to the SB 420 guidelines. But in 2011, the California Supreme Court declared the SB 420 limits were an unconstitutional addition to Prop. 215 that potentially deprived patients of medication as well as a legal defense in criminal court. Even though medical marijuana advocacy groups such as Americans for Safe Access recommend sticking to the SB 420 guidelines, there is currently no set number on how many plants a patient can grow. If a qualified physician says you require 12 plants for your medical needs, state law permits you to grow 12 plants. If you’re prosecuted for growing those 12 plants, your doctor’s recommendation provides legal cover. For the past several years, some medical marijuana doctors have been issuing dubious “grow recommendations” for an additional fee that specify the number of plants the patient can cultivate. Junger has a grow recommendation for 66 plants, another reason why he felt confident he would pass the surprise inspection. When the deputy told him he could only grow six plants, something didn’t add up. Even without the 66-plant recommendation, according to the state guidelines, he should be able to grow at least 12 plants with his and uncle’s recommendations. Not anymore in Sacramento County. “This is a new law,” the deputy said, informing Junger that he had 10 days to comply or pay a $500-per-plant fine. Like the other patients I interviewed for this story, Junger wasn’t issued a citation or given any paperwork during his initial knock-and-talk. Nor was he told what the “new law” was or where he could look it up. Sitting on his porch three days later, Unger remained irritated and confused by the Sheriff’s visit. He doesn’t deny that there are patients out there flouting the law. He’s aware of several 200-plant grows in the area that have obviously pushed way beyond the limits. But he’s not growing any more plants than he and his uncle need for medicinal purposes. His gut tells him to stand his ground, but common sense tells him to cut the plants down. “I going to have to,” he said. “I don’t know what else to do. The [state] law says its OK, but the cops coming in, that’s an intimidation factor. I can’t afford $500 a plant. There’s no law that says that right now, I looked. But in my mind, I want to take them all out, to be safe.”
Contrary to the conventional wisdom promoted by local TV news broadcasts and daily newspapers, the number of the plants in a medical marijuana grow do not necessarily indicate unlawful activity. SB 420 allows patients to form collectives and cooperatives to cultivate marijuana. While the definition of what exactly constitutes a cooperative is vague, the state regulations for collectives are pretty straight forward. Patients may form a group, purchase or rent a property with room to grow, and raise a garden capable of fulfilling the medicinal needs of all the collective’s members. The collective must register as a business with the state, pay taxes on annual revenue and document that the members of the collective have active medical marijuana recommendations and are participating in the collective, through labor or financial contributions. A collective with 20 members that adheres to the state guidelines of six mature plants per patient can grow up to 120 plants. Earlier this year, William Hunt, 29, was searching for a place to start a collective farm when he ran across a rundown horse ranch just outside the Rio Linda city limits. With almost a halfacre of arable land, the ranch was perfect. Hunt, who suffers from gout and chronic pain from a severe neck injury, assembled the eight members of the collective, and together they cleaned the property up, shooing off the homeless people squatting in the house and the barn, carting out all the refuse that had collected over the years, erecting sheets of plywood around the perimeter of the garden to ward off lookie-loos, vandals and thieves. They shipped in fresh dirt and planted 70 clones, ranging from Girl Scout cookies to sour diesel to purple kush. They filed all of the proper documentation in a loose-leaf binder. Then Hunt and several other members of the collective moved into the house to tend the garden. Twenty-two-year-old Audriana Binion, all five feet of her, was the only collective member home when the unmarked white Crown Victoria arrived at the front gate Monday morning, Aug. 26. She walked the 300 feet from the house to the gate and was a little spooked when the car turn out to be occupied by six uniformed, armed Sacramento County Sheriff deputies wearing flack jackets. The gate is plastered with “No Trespassing” signs. She let the deputies onto the property in spite of her misgivings, believing the collective was protected by state law. Only one deputy got out of the car, a big guy with a gun, a flack jacket and a bad attitude. Binion unlocked the gate to the garden, and the deputy surveyed the scene: Approximately 70 dome-shaped indica plants, bushy but not tall, spaced widely apart on a half-acre of land. “We’re legit,” Binion said, displaying the binder for the deputy’s perusal. >> pg 28 The deputy waved her off.
>> pg 25
“There’s a new law, you can’t grow in the county,” he snarled. “We’re getting rid of all the weed in Sacramento.” He ordered her to pull up all 70 plants or face the county’s wrath. All of them. Between Unger’s visit on Sunday and the Sheriff’s appearance at the collective 24 hours later, the county’s medical marijuana policy had morphed from something vaguely resembling state law into a campaign of total prohibition. The diminutive Binion stood her ground and asked the deputy what new law he was talking about. Where could she look it up? Her laptop was ready and waiting in the house. “You aren’t going to find it, it’s a fairly new law,” he smirked. “I don’t think you’re going to find it.” He then informed her that the collective would be fined $500 per plant for each day each plant was left standing. “You’re going to jail for manufacturing,” he said, indicating the binder. “Everyone on these scripts is going to jail.” Binion’s girlfriend was visiting with her toddler, and the deputy threatened to have the child carted off to CPS—a threat other patients claim to have received. The deputy spit on the plant nearest his feet. He promised they’d be back in 10 days to make sure the collective complied to the new law. Dutifully, she followed the Crown Vic to the gate and let the deputies out. “He didn’t want to give me any information,” she said. “He said that they’d hit 31 houses already. They’re hitting everyone, not just us.” I interviewed Hunt, Binion and several other collective members on the 10th day after the deputies’ visit. Hunt, who broke his leg three months ago, was using a walker to get around the farm. He said that they had contacted an attorney who told them to stand their ground if they believed they were in compliance with state law. That’s what they planned to do. Since then, he hasn’t returned my phone calls.
Happy Days are Not Here Again
You’ve never met two more enthusiastic medical marijuana cultivators than Bill and Dean. They’ve transformed Bill’s property in south Sacramento County into a tropical paradise with benefits: 80 marijuana plants in black plastic buckets placed around the swimming pool, the backyard and anywhere else there’s room to set a pot. The plants blend in nicely with the cacti and the palms and the blue bottom of the pool, like a stoner David Hockney painting. It was horrifyingly hot on the day I visited them and all I could think about was going for a swim. Bill is 68, Dean is approximately the same age, both are retired. Twenty years ago, Dean suffered a severe brain injury in an automobile accident. He has difficulty controlling his 6’6” frame
and came shambling through a side entrance just when Bill was singing his praises. “This is the best planter and cultivator around!” Bill proclaimed. “You show him a leaf, and he’ll smell it and tell you what kind it is.” “I know nothink!,” Dean said, with his best Sgt. Schultz imitation. Bill’s a disabled Vietnam vet with hardcore PTSD and depression. Half of his pancreas has been removed. After suffering cardiac arrest caused by prescription drugs, one-third of his heart no longer functions properly. Pain from the neuropathy in his legs caused by diabetes keeps him up for days at a time. At the beginning of this year, the insomnia and pain had gotten so bad, he had to hobble out to the pool with a walker. He considered suicide. Then a remarkable thing happened. Bill is a self-proclaimed alcoholic who has been clean and sober for nearly 30 years. The only drugs he took during that time period were the pain pills and other medications prescribed by various doctors at the VA. He was aware of marijuana’s medicinal properties, but had resisted trying it because of his sobriety. But those hobbles to the pool made him think again. “I got so I couldn’t walk,” he recalled. “When I started taking marijuana I could walk again. Or walk better. Marijuana allows your brain to hook up and work more efficiently. I know this for a fact in my case.” It was all the convincing he needed. On April 1, he went to the doctor and got his first medical marijuana recommendation. Dean got his first recommendation, too. So did Bill’s wife Maxine and her friend (all four asked me not to use their last names for privacy reasons). They’d done they’re homework and had it all planned out beforehand, right down to the number of plants they were going to grow. They figured they’d grow enough medication for their own needs, sell the remainder to dispensaries and at least break even. And they did it, at least the first half. They studied up on state law to make sure what they planned to do was legal. They developed a marketing strategy. They purchased 80 clones of ten different varieties, set the black plastic pots out around the property to catch the best sunlight and raised them using the latest organic gardening techniques. Bill and Dean speak medical marijuana lingo like they’ve been growing for years, not just five months. They still get excited talking about their garden, in spite of what happened. The first time the Sheriff showed up, it was by accident. Bill’s backdoor neighbor’s 91-plant grow spilled over the fence and into Bill’s backyard. According to Bill and Dean, the neighbor had been accused of allegedly stealing electricity from a nearby power line, which prompted the arrival of code enforcement officers and Sheriff deputies in early August. They spotted Bill and Dean’s garden and eight deputies walked over for a little chat.
It was a friendly chat. There was no mention of new laws recently passed by the County Supervisors. One of the deputies recommended that they consider cutting their 80 plants down to 30, which would more closely comply with the default state regulations. It was just a suggestion, the deputy said. But after they left, Bill started pondering. He has a doctor’s recommendation stating he can grow 30 plants and possess 21 pounds of medication. Dean has a similar recommendation, and combined with Maxine and her friend’s recommendation, their crop should be covered by state law. “This is a doctor who’s doing this, and now they’re the doctor?” Bill told me in early September, two days before he destroyed all of the plants in the garden. “How do they decide how much marijuana I need to use?” The second visit from the Sheriff a week later was less friendly. There were just two deputies this time but they were adamant: All the plants had to go. They cited no law, recently passed or otherwise. “It changes every time they come,” Bill said. “Every time they come, they have a different story, a different date.” On Monday, Aug. 26, the day after the Sheriff’s pre-harvest medical marijuana sweep of Rio Linda began, deputies again returned to Bill’s house for a knock-and-talk, this time with a code enforcement officer. The code enforcement officer handed Bill a standard code violation form with 17 checkboxes, mostly for the kind of code infractions common in rural areas, dumping garbage, automobiles, blighted property, etc. But at the top of the form, on the third line down, a new line has appeared, which was checked on Bill’s form: “Prohibited cultivation, processing, and/or storage of marijuana on the property.” The top two boxes of the form were also checked, declaring the garden a nuisance in violation of Sacramento zoning code. Their garden was all of these things, the deputies and the code enforcement officer informed them. Bill was given five days to remove all the plants or face stiff penalties. Like other patients who received impromptu knock-and-talks, deputies told Bill that the fines would be $500 per day per plant if he didn’t comply. Maxine did the math. Maxine, who is obviously the brains behind the operation, put her foot down. They weren’t going to lose the house over this bullshit. Two days after my visit, Bill and Dean got rid of all the plants. “We lost 90 percent of our crop,” he said. “I’m making sure I vote in the next election, so I can vote the Sheriff out.” Top: Dean, the best planter and cultivator around. Bottom: Maxine and Bill. >> pg 32
SacAlternative | October 2013
>> pg 28
Who Dunnit and What Can Be Done?
Any hopes that Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones might be influenced by the U.S. Justice Department’s reversal on marijuana policy are unfounded, according to Sheriff spokesman Sgt. Jason Ramos. “The Sheriff does not intend to change his stance or opinions regarding marijuana for recreational or medicinal use, in light of any federal laws,” Ramos said via email. “If the County of Sacramento wants to create an ordinance, he would engage in constructive dialogue with them about it.” Translation: Things will continue to suck for Sacramento County medical marijuana patients. Not that the Sheriff is too keen to take credit for it. Ramos said that deputies do check for identification and proper documentation of medical marijuana “patients” (his air quotes) to ensure patients are complying with state law, but as far as the county’s de facto ban on outdoor cultivation is concerned, “enforcement is largely left in the hands of county code enforcement, unless it is determined that the marijuana is being grown and cultivated for the purpose of selling it.” It’s a classic bait-and-switch, says medical marijuana attorney John Fuery, who lives in West Sacramento and handles cases across the western United States. State law protects medical marijuana patients from local law enforcement agencies, including the Sacramento County Sheriff, so local jurisdictions across the state have turned to zoning codes, which trump state law unless they are challenged in court. “Zoning is king, zoning is shitty,” he said. “The supervisors have made [cultivating medical marijuana] a nuisance, something that endangers the public. They don’t want to say it’s medical marijuana because they don’t want anyone to notice.” Fuery has received calls from several patients who recently received knock-and-talks who related to him the same story I’ve heard: deputies told them that a new law had been passed banning medical marijuana cultivation. There is no new law, Fuery insisted. The County Supervisors have decided that the ordinance banning dispensaries passed in 2011 now also bans cultivation. They just didn’t bother making the decision public until they started citing patients. Why now? One hint comes from a response on the county’s code enforcement policy from District 4 Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan’s office forwarded to me by Ramos. Rio Linda is in Bill’s garden two days before he pulled all the plants.
SacAlternative | October 2013
her district, and MacGlashan is perhaps the most vocal medical marijuana opponent on the board. She makes gleeful Facebook posts every time Sheriff deputies take down a grow. The response, written by a MacGlashan staff member, points to a State Supreme Court decision in May that found the city of Riverside had the right to use zoning laws to ban dispensaries. Medical marijuana advocates have been concerned the decision might encourage counties to crack down on cultivation, and that’s just what Sacramento County has done. “The enforcement process is entirely based on the County’s civil Zoning Code,” the response stated. “Prop 215 provides for a legal defense in criminal cases and does not infringe or restrict the County’s local land use authority. The State Supreme Court upheld this local authority with regard to prohibitions against commercial dispensary operations.” The MacGashan response also illustrates the negative light some lawmakers continue to shed on medical marijuana patients. Repeated reference is made to narcotics, violence and the illegal drug trade. “Code Enforcement partners with [the Sheriff] to confirm whether the alleged narcotics are present at the site, and to ensure Code Enforcement Officer safety. … We have received numerous complaints about the ancillary impacts of illegal marijuana cultivation in Rio Linda since it became part of District 4 in late 2011, including neighboring property owners who have been the victims of assault and robbery when criminals seeking cash and narcotics mistakenly forced entry into the victim’s personal residence when intending to commit a felony at the cultivation site next door.” MacGlashan had not returned my phone calls before this story went to press. “The problem is we still have a cultural deficit,” Fuery said. “Patients are still considered subhumans. They’re acting as if the law never passed. If you represent the people, which people are you representing? Certainly not the people who voted for Prop. 215.” Fuery also noted that marijuana enforcement provides significant funding for cash-strapped law enforcement agencies in the form of fines, asset forfeitures and state and federal grants. State drug enforcement grants have been declining, federal grants may soon follow and local jurisdictions are scrambling to plug the holes. “They’re in the business of forfeiture, it pays the salaries of the people on the county payroll,” Fuery said. “They’re not going to give that up.” How much fines, asset seizures and grants contribute to the Sheriff’s budget is unclear. “The Sheriff’s Department does receive grant funding to assist with efforts allocated toward the enforcement of unlawful marijuana possession,” Ramos said. “With respect to the amounts of revenue generated by way of fines and/or asset seizures, I have to ask you to submit a Public Records Act request to get that information.”
According to Ramos, the majority of complaints about medical marijuana grows come from anonymous community referrals. Any citizen who has a problem with medical marijuana cultivation, be it plant odor, alleged criminal activity or the fact that they just don’t like it, can turn in their neighbor with impunity by phoning or emailing the Sheriff or code enforcement and rest assured that the offending garden will be destroyed. What can a patient do when the deputies shows up for a compliance visit? Are they allowed to stand their ground? “They are,” said Fuery. “Your home is your castle. The only way they can come in is with a warrant.” Of course, standing your ground against men with guns isn’t the easiest thing to do. During the Sheriff’s sweep of Rio Linda in August, John Unger only heard of one patient refusing to let deputies inspect his garden. As far as Unger knows, the deputies never came back. The deputies returned to Unger’s house two weeks after the first visit, this time with a code enforcement officer. She cited him for violating the county’s nuisance code and “prohibited cultivation, processing, and/or storage of marijuana on the property.” He wouldn’t be allowed six plants, as he’d been told previously. All of the plants had to come out. They would be back to check compliance in five days, an inspection for which he would be charged $480. If he didn’t pull the plants, he’d be fined $100 per violation per day. He called just about everybody he could think of in the county to figure out what was happening to him. He called his supervisor, Roberta MacGlashan, whom he said told him a new law had been passed, she sent out fliers about it, it was in the Sacramento Bee. Unger never got a flier and he doesn’t read the Bee. I have been unable to find any mention of the county’s medical marijuana cultivation ban in the Bee, the code enforcement website or anywhere else. The first time all of the patients I interviewed for this story learned medical marijuana cultivation had been banned was when deputies without warrants showed up unannounced on their doorsteps. Rio Linda is a small town, everybody knows everybody. Members of the medical marijuana community there have been wringing their hands for the past month, wondering when the deputies will be back, whether they should pull their plants and who will be next on the list. The collective grow I visited is apparently still going, although no one comes out to the gate now and no one answers the phone. Unger held out longer than most, but on Monday, Sept. 23, he finally pulled all of his plants. According to Fuery, about the only way patients can fight back is to band together and sue Sacramento County and the Sheriff’s Department. For Unger, the fight is already over. “I’ve done all of this for nothing,” he said. “My shit’s already gone.” v
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Gold Country Creepshow Jam Out at Placerville’s Hangtown Halloween Ball
hat does a jam band from New Jersey find so appealing about little ole Placerville? After attending the first three Hangtown Halloween Balls, I’d guess it has something to with the intimate vibe found at this four-day festival of music and the macabre in gold country. Whatever it is, Railroad Earth has found something it grooves on, because the bluegrass/jam band from Stillwater, New Jersey has signed on to host the event for the next 9 years, including this year’s festival which takes place Oct. 25-27 at the Placerville County Fairgrounds.
Railroad Earth and Tahoe Media Group produce the event, which rivals northern California’s bigger and more commercial festivals. This year, they’ve assembled an amazing array of talent, ranging from Galactic to Matisyahu and Les Claypool’s latest project, Duo De Twang. Combine that with camping, a first-rate venue, the crazy costumes worn by audience members and musicians alike and the full-tilt party atmosphere, and you’ve got a hellacious Halloween shindig on your hands. Railroad Earth plays host, and will of course adhere to the band’s trademark “three show” performances. Their captivating stage presence and flawless musician-
ship will no doubt demonstrate why they’ve won so many fans from both the bluegrass and jam music scenes. If those two musical genres aren’t your bag, there’s bound to be a band in the extensive lineup that does. Did someone say eclectic? Matisyahu is a former Hasidic Jew from New York who has embraced the Reggae lifestyle and now spreads a musical message of spirituality and love. He broke onto the scene with force in 2005, and his momentum and dedication have propelled him to new musical heights and self-discoveries—as well as landing him on headlining bills across the country.
Railroad Earth discover Placerville.
SacAlternative | October 2013
stage but you won’t hear the usual record spinning, sampling and beat dropping characteristic of electronic music. Its amazing to see this type of music played by an actual band; the climaxes come at frenetic pace. There are supergroups and then there’s Super Trio, a muster of musicians that are gonna smoke eyelids and blow minds. Stanton Moore returns to the stage with keyboardist Marco Benevento and percussionist/vocalist/ bandlear Mike Dillon. Benevento has raised serious eyebrows with his high energy, noholds-barred performances. Taking grooves and twisting them into long, tight masterful jams, he has become a hot ticket wherever he plays. Dillon is involved in so many different projects, its amazing he has time to make the ball. He is a member of Critters
When most folks hear the name Les Claypool, they think of the band Primus or even the Southpark theme song. More experienced festival goers will also remember the many musical variations that have spewed from Claypool’s mind, including the Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone getting into the spirit of things. Fearless Flying Frog Photo by Rob Tobin Brigade and Col. Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains featuring Bernie Worrell, mance. Dripping with 70s-era feel and riding musical director for legendary funk group the relentless groove of Moore’s extraordiParliament/ Funkadelic. Duo de Twang is nary jazz drumming, Galactic will engulf a collaboration with compadre and fellow you, cause you to lose time and definitely bay area Band MIRV singer/guitarist, leave you wanting “Moore.” Marc “MIRV” Haggard. It’s bound to be Lotus is one of several bands on the jam weird, at the very least. scene credited with given birth to a new Galactic is joining this year’s headliners exciting genre called jamtronica, a combias well. Stanton Moore and the boys bring nation of electronic dance and jam music their New Orleans style jam/funk crossover produced by actual musicians playing their to the ball for their only west coast perforinstruments. There may be a DJ on the
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Buggin from Seattle, Les Claypool’s Fancy Band and Garage A Trois ( with Stanton Moore), and his resume includes sessions with Ani DiFranco, Galactic, Brave Combo, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and others too numerous to mention. Slide guitarist AnThe Hangtown Halloween Ball features actual ghosts. ders Osbourne is no Photo by Rob Tobin stranger to the festival scene and arrives in Placerville fresh off of being declared New Rum. That’s on top of the already heavy Orleans’ best Roots Rock artist and best by late night schedule for the weekend, with Offbeat Magazine for the second year run- sets by Galactic, Tracorum and the Calining. His hard driving slide guitar poetry fornia Honeydrops. will touch souls. The fairgrounds’ three stages will be Greensky Bluegrass will be filling the kept busy all four days. Other bands perlate night hall along with up and comforming include Arden Park Roots, BLVD, ing Americana band The Dead Winter Vokab Kompany, American Jubilee, Carpenters. In addition, a full schedule The Nibblers, Achilles Wheel , Mama’s has been added Thursday night featuring Cookin’, Allie Kral & The Morrison BrothRailroad Earth, Fruition and Hot Buttered ers, Naive Melodies, Peter Joseph Burtt &
The King Tide and 4 Piece Puzzle Round. With a extensive food court featuring 30 craft and food vendors and plenty of permanent bathrooms, the fairgrounds are the perfect facility for such an event. Watch out for the Strudel Guy, his creations are to die for! So rich and creamy. For those who haven’t attended a multi-day festival before, be sure to bring plenty of hydration, warm clothes and whatever you think you are going to need for 4 days of fun and entertainment. No fires are permitted so bring a propane heater if you tend to get chilly. Tickets are on sale now but unfortunately all RV passes are sold out. v For tickets or more information visit www.hangtownhalloween.com.
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Sacramento Three-Way Local Bands You Should Have Sex With
e’ve all heard the same sob story about the music scene in Sacto: all of the good bands have left for greener pastures like New York, Los Angeles or the Bay Area, fans don’t want to pay for shows and the scene is a watered-down shell of its former self. Well, grab some Kleenex and dry those tears because it’s time to start supporting local musicians again—there are some incredible bands starting to make their mark by serving up music that doesn’t subscribe to the trappings of the old guard. Here’s a taste of just three of some of the best new acts rocking this town.
rock group, Dead Western and avant-pop ensemble Appetite as well as his solo work under the moniker Ellie Fortune, is serving up a potion of doom-drenched tunes rivaling the likes of Chelsea Wolfe and Bauhaus. This dark, gloomy post-punk outfit belts out plodding soliloquies, sonic vocal reverberations and spacey riffs that screech out into the inky darkness of the soul. On the band’s nine-track oeuvre, released in 2012 and simply titled S/T, Phillips releases a symphonic flood of phantasmic vocals while the band unleashes wave after wave of foreboding keyboards and wavering guitars that are bone-chilling yet hauntingly beautiful. Ensnared somewhere between the gloomy grandeur of Wolfe’s Apokalypsis and the baleful undercurrent E S S, the project fronted by a doyen of the of the most recent La Sera offering, S/T is local music scene, Jesse K. Phillips, who a glorious plunge into the choral recesses has collaborated with the mutated folkof the mind. essmusic.bandcamp.com
SacAlternative | October 2013
Biosexual Enter Biosexual onto the milieu: the electro-pop, three piece unit composed of Sacto’s own Michael R.J. Saalman, Zac Nelson, the prolific auteur from Portland who nimbly integrates elements of alt-folk, scrappy noise-stomps mixed with faded synth-based ambience, and Jocelyn Noir, of the experimental Sacramento indie band ALAK, will be bringing their brand of slow, methodic, frothy baselines, combined with Nelson’s passionate, warbling vocals to Luigi’s Slice on Oct. 17 and are set to drop their new album late October. Aside from the fact that the trio’s name is downright alluring; suggesting one who is aroused sexually by nature, plant life and all things of the mother Earth, their music is an amalgamation of spacious arrangements, bold melodies, offbeat syncopation, and an unequivocal energy that harkens
back to the decadent ’80s. Yeah, they’re all that, and a bag of chips. biosexual.bandcamp.com
Ghostplay Another threesome moving up the musical ranks, Ghostplay offers an arcane, yet buoyant take on the melancholy vibe permeating Sacramento’s musical sphere. Inspired by indie rock darlings Deerhunter and Snowden, the trio of Jason Hess on vocals and guitar, badass babe Leticia Garcia on vocals and guitar and Mark Rocha pounding the skins simply rock. They’ve got a demo out and are presently in the studio laying down tracks on their first album. So, be sure to keep your ear to the ground, their first E.P. is going to be a ferocious display of lively guitar riffs, stentorian percussion work and vocal elements channeling the late, great Ian Curtis. Not to be confused with the sex act of stealthily dry humping ones partner, hooded under the cloak of a white sheet while slowing grinding back and forth until reaching the peak of orgasmic pleasure,
Ghost Play formed late 2012 but erupted onto the scene and gained some serious buzz among local musicians and musiclovers with only a few short months under their guitar straps earlier this year. Ghost Play is also proving that they’ve got real staying power; Garcia formed SacIndieMusic in 2013, a start-up booking and management company endeavoring to put out local music with the aspirational goal of helping to pave the way for other bands to break into the regional musical circuit. Oh, and the band’s already shared the stage with local musical powerhouses Sea of Bees and John Vanderslice at the third annual Davis Music Festival. Not too shabby for the new kids on the block. ghostplay.bandcamp.com So, throw away the piles of tissue that have accumulated on your bedside table over the so-called demise of the local music scene, put in your eardrum-saving earplugs and gear up for some incredible live shows, because great local music hasn’t gone the way of the dodo. v
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Stone Valley Farm pigs.
This Little Piggy …
Photo Courtesy of Stone Valley Farm
How To Handle Your Hog … Never Came Home
ith the catchphrases like “farmto-fork” and “sustainability” on the tongues of just about everyone on the planet these days, it’s no surprise that the fine art of butchery is piquing the interest of local carnivores. Luckily, for those looking for a more visceral experience with their food, an event honoring the hog, Butchering 101: The Pig with Sausage Too! lands on the cutting board on Oct. 19 at 10 a.m. with Danny Johnson of Taylor’s Market. And while you can’t go anywhere without hearing about pork in most famously hip derivative, read: bacon, this isn’t just about SacAlternative | October 2013
bacon, but rather celebrating swine in its purest form, the whole hog. “I take a whole half hog and then I break it down,” Danny Johnson says, who co-owns Taylor’s Market with his wife Kathy. “[Then I] show everybody different cuts, different retail cuts, and show what you can do with different items and then we transition into sausage. This class I’m going to make a BLT sausage that we developed earlier in the summer. We call it BLT, bacon, lettuce and tomato, but it’s bacon, sun-dried tomato and arugula. It’s been very popular.” Johnson is no slouch when it comes to slicing and dicing meat. At tender age of
three, he developed a love for butchery and in 1982 graduated from the Oregon Meat Cutting School. He honed his meat cleaving skills at Taylor’s under the tutelage of Ed Schell when he started working at the market in 1983. While the demonstration doesn’t include a trip down to the slaughterhouse or the need for a hog splitter, Johnson will be providing a tutorial on the process involved in taking down a hog and providing information on cuts, preparation, cooking techniques and sausage making. To get down on the hog, Johnson says equipment is essential: bone saws and very sharp knives.
“First we talk a little bit about knives and knife skills,” Johnson says. “It usually takes about two, two-and-a-half hours.” Providing the source material for Johnson’s demonstration is family-owned Stone Valley Farm located in Alamo, CA. The Northern Californian purveyor breeds and finishes local, antibiotic-free Berkshire pork raised in large, deeply bedded, open air barns and fed a wholly vegetarian diet. “Pig is just popular. When you say pork, cutting up a pig is like the hip thing, and making sausage is something that a lot of people can relate to,” Johnson says. “You
can make sausage at home. I think people are really interested in doing some stuff at home. You can get a chunk of pork and take care of it at home or you can at least get it ground and make your own sausage at home with a KitchenAid mixer.” For those interested in eating pork that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic and resting on a bed of Styrofoam, grab $40 and head over to Taylor’s Kitchen to get high on the hog. v Danny Johnson of Taylor’s Market. Photo Courtesy of Taylor’s Market
Taylor’s Kitchen, 2924 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95818. Tickets: http://taylorsmarket.com/ gourmet_food_wine_events.asp
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A Bird in the Hand ...
Sacto Food Dude Ducks Out Is Mighty Tasty There are plenty of quacks in this world, but none are as tasty as the succulent meat drawn from the waterfowl. Leading us on this delectable journey of the feathered variety is Hank Shaw, the James Beard award-winning author whose latest foray into the world of hunting and gathering, Duck, Duck, Goose, is nothing short of an odyssey into the wild marshes of duck country. Appealing to both home cooks and culinary wizards, Shaw’s easy to follow cookbook isn’t only a guide to preparing some of the most luscious duck and goose dishes that draw from French, German, Korean, Chinese, English and American inspiration, but a tutorial on the bird itself: from a break down of domestic and wild varieties, suppling the goods on the best preparation for each, to a vivid and beautifully illustrated purview of the techniques involved in identifying, butchering and preparing each. Shaw’s in-depth knowledge of the bird, from beak to tail-feather, covers just about everything. From carving methods
to preparing some of the most basic recipes, like how to achieve that perfectly crispy seared duck breast, to the most intricate, like the centuries-old Peking duck, Shaw struts his culinary stuff. His take on waterfowl is simple, honest and stays true to his commitment to uti-
lizing every part of the bird, yes, there’s even a section devoted entirely to the offal parts. So, sharpen your knives, grab an apron and prepare to dive into the world of the quack. —Lovelle Harris
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SacAlternative | October 2013
Respect the Dead Dia de los Muertos Sept. 24—Jan. 5 The California Museum 1020 O St., Sacramento www.californiamuseum.org Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 nationwide and The California Museum (1020 O St.) continues to celebrate through January with their nod to an old Mexican holiday in their latest exhibition, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). What started in Mexico, now reaches a variety of cultures worldwide and Disney recently tried to trademark the holiday, but to no avail. During Nov. 1 and 2 participating families pay tribute to loved ones passed with handmade altares (alters), brightly decorated sugar skulls and often times, offrendas (offerings). Offrendas can be anything from a favorite meal, to toys, or even grandpa’s favorite pack of smokes. Three artists featured at the museum include sugar skull artist Rob-O., acrylic painter John Huerta and San Jose-based David Lozeau. Huerta’s take on the holiday includes an alter that pays respect to his grandmother Carmen, but resembles Frida Kahlo to passersby. Rob-O. manipulates sugar into meticulously decorated skulls with vibrant icing colors protected by glass casing. And Lozeau incorporates his own wild west twist to the customary holiday within his paintings ranging from cowboys to Native Americans layered with acrylics, gouache and enamel. Visit www.californiamuseum.org for information on museum hours. —Steph Rodriguez
Some Scary Shit More Beer
Sacramento International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
Halloween Round Up Please! Sactoberfest Sacramento Horror Festival www.sachorrorfilmfest.com
Oct. 10—12 Crest Theatre 1013 K St., Sacramento siglff.org
Vampire Ball www.shannonmccabe.com
The Sacramento International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival celebrates its 22nd anniversary this year with dozens of short and full-length contemporary films from local and notable directors within the LGBT community. Held each year since 1992 at the Crest Theatre in early October to coincide with National Coming Out Day, this three-day festival continues to draw crowds from Southern California, the Bay Area and Nevada. General admission for each day is only $10 with doors opening at 6:45 p.m. Special VIP passes cost $40 and include complimentary wine, bubbly and hors d’ oeuvres throughout the entirety of the festival. On Oct. 12, view a special screening of the feature film, Kidnapped for Christ produced by former N’Sync band member Lance Bass, directed by Kate Logan. The movie follows a variety of controversial boarding schools and rehabilitation centers worldwide and explores the harmful and unsafe tactics toward teens dealing with their discovered homosexuality. Admission for this matinee is free and begins at 2 p.m., after the showing, Logan will use audience members in a first look focus study of her work. For more information on specific show times and to view the program, visit http://siglff.org.
Gather ’round groovy ghoulies, here’s your guide to some of the most spooktacular Halloween events this year. Start your hauntingly awesome holiday off early with a zombie beauty pageant and goosebumps-inducing flicks at the seventh annual Sacramento Horror Festival on Oct. 11. For $30, horror buffs can score a three-day pass or $40 for the three-day VIP pass. On Oct. 26 sink your teeth into the Vampire Ball at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville. This year’s 21 and over event draws its inspiration from the film “Dark Shadows” and for $17 you’ll gain entrance to an extravaganza of vampirism, burlesque performances and live deejays. If you’re more of the adventurous type, saunter up the hill to Virginia City, NV where for $80 you can enjoy a ghoulish feast at the Miner’s Dinner at The Silver Queen Hotel, then join in the VIP Ghost Tour which includes the walking ghost tour, a creepy excursion into St. Mary Louise Hospital, an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) symposium and a short disquisition on ghost-hunting equipment. There are two tours a night on Friday, Oct. 29, Saturday, Oct. 30 and Sunday, Oct 31.
VIP Ghost Tour www.virginiacityghosttours.com
Oct. 19, noon—faceplant West Sac Bridge District 21 & Over Tickets: $25, $40, $75 sactoberfest.com Why spring for an expensive plane ticket to Munich when all the authenticity of Oktoberfest is recreated in nearby West Sacramento? Arrive among the first 1000 entrants and you get a big-ass souvenir stein. That way, once inside this outdoor event (go figure), you can guzzle German beers like Erdinger and Hacker-Pschorrand to your liver’s content, washing it down with tasty wursts and soft brezels from LowBrau. Or is that the other way around? Those are just a few of the belly-bloating items available at this year’s event. Upscale eatery Sienna restaurant of El Dorado Hills will also be throwing a schnitzel into the works. Besides clinking steins heard under the huge, Munich-style bier tent, gaze lustily at beer maidens, marvel at traditional German dance troupe The Schuhplatter Dancers and reminisce about the Rheinland to the stirring sounds of the 21-piece Chico Bavarian Orchestra. Kegs will roll (yes, literally) at 951 Garden St. during the annual keg rolling contest. Other activities include stein holding, beer pong, yodeling, dance contests and an award for best dirndl and lederhosen. —Steph Rodriguez
Monsters in Midtown
Rock on a Hard Place
Treasure Island Music Festival
Oct. 19 Ace of Spades 1417 R St., Sacramento All ages welcome Tickets: $22.50 + $3.95 fee aceofspadessac.com Determined to destroy humanity once and for all, intergalactic exterminators Gwar warp into the Ace of Spades leaving behind a trail of hacked up political, religious and celebrity douchebags in their wake. Actually the douchebags are effigies, not that there’s too much difference to you, puny human filth, who should be on your knees worshipping Oderus Urungus’ return to Sacramento. Urungus, AKA David Brockie, formed Gwar in Richmond, Virginia in 1984, and the costumed heavy metal invaders have stood the test of time, even though the band has seen its share of lineup changes over the years. Armed to the teeth and dressed for battle, these murderous, cannabilistic mutants take no prisoners. The current arrangement consists of Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus) on lead vocals, Mike Derks (Balsac the Jaws of Death) on rhythm guitar, Brad Roberts (Jizmak Da Gusha) on drums, Jamison Land (Beefcake the Mighty) on bass and Brent Purgason (Pustulus Maximus) on lead guitar. Slave! You will be covered in slime and blood of zealots! Bring an extra shirt if you plan on getting close enough to see some real theatrics. —Skip Jones
Oct. 19—20 Treasure Island, SF Tickets: $85, $150 www.treasureislandfestival.com Just because the sun is setting on summer doesn’t mean that your opportunity to revel in some righteous tunes under the sky is sailing off into the gloaming with it. Another booty-shaking inspiring outdoor party is on the horizon when Outside Lands’ little sister, Treasure Island Music Festival, docks onto the shores of the San Francisco bay. This year’s festival on the island is boasting a hoard of drool-worthy acts, like Little Dragon, Phantogram, Sleigh Bells James Blake and rock supergroup Atoms for Peace made up of members from a few bands you may have heard of: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, R.E.M., anyone? The two-day soiree under the bridge kicks off on Oct. 19 and promises a multifarious amalgamation of music and interactive art installations. Two-day passes are still available for $150 and single day tickets will cost you $85. Saturday, Oct. 19 Atoms for Peace, Major Lazer, Little Dragon, Phantogram, Disclosure, Holy Ghost!, Tricky, DJ Falcon, Poolside, Adult., Robert DeLong, Giraffage and Antwon. Sunday, Oct. 20 Beck, Animal Collective, James Blake, Sleigh Bells, Strfkr, Japandroids, Real Estate, Lord Huron, Haim, Palma Violets, Cayucas, Io Echo and Deep Sea Diver. —Lovelle Harris
Horn Blower Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe Oct. 20, 7 pm Harlow’s 2708 J St., Sacramento 21 & over, $20 www.harlows.com If you are into funk, fueled by saxophone explosions and super tight compositions reminiscent of Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk, then you’ll be in the audience at Harlow’s for The Soul Spectacular Tour: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe present a Ray Charles Boogaloo Dance Party. That’s a really long show title, so you know it has to be good. And it will be. Considered one of the top jazz and funk saxophonists of his generation, Denson made his bones co-founding The Greyboy Allstars and playing with Lenny Kravitz’ band. KDTU features D.J Williams on guitar, Chris Stillwell on bass, Brian Jordan on guitar, David Veith on keys and John Staten on drums. Multi-instrumentalist Zach Deputy guest stars. It may be a Tiny Universe, but thanks to an eclectic, high-energy mix of jazz, funk, R&B and practically every riff known to mankind, the sound constantly expands, whether plying a slow blues groove or an uptempo Broadway boogaloo. Being since Ray Charles Boogaloo Dance Party is in the title, dress sharp, bring slippery shoes and stand by to have your mind blown. —Skip Jones
HotStuff The Hardest Working Guitar Player in Show Biz: Gov’t Mule Nov. 2, 7:30 pm Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Stateline, NV Tickets: $41.80 ticketmaster.com Warren Haynes isn’t quite a household name, but some of the bands he plays in are. David Allen Coe, The Dickey Betts Band, The Allman Brothers Band, The Dead, Phil and Friends, Gov’t Mule and his own Warren Haynes Band. Few guitarists in the classic/southern rock vein today have a more extensive resume, which to my mind makes Mr. Haynes one of the hardest working musicians in showbiz. Haynes recently joined a handful of musicians who were given a hack at one of Jerry Garcia’s guitars. He chose Wolf, Garcia’s first custom Irwin guitar, given to him by Doug Irwin in 1973, and played a tribute to the late Grateful Dead guitarist’s music with full philharmonic orchestra accompaniment. The music will have decidedly more grunt when Hayes’ main band Gov’t Mule plays the intimate 800-seat South Shore Room. Mule co-founder and drummer Matt Abts, multi-instrumentalist Danny Louis and bassist Jorgen Carlsson will all be on hand to rock live versions off Shout! their first release in four years. The experimental double-album drops Sept. 24. For Mule fans, it promises to be a bluesy, brawny, psychedelic hootenanny. —Skip Jones
Get Lost in a Masquerade Cosplay Can Spice Up Your Sex Life
Let’s face it, life can become unbearably routine. you can’t surprise your partner by After a while, don’t you just wish you could escape into a fantasy greeting them at the door once in world? One where you even have superpowers or perhaps your a while in costume when they get partner is a superhero? Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to home. Get your alter let your naughty inner child out for some adult fun. ego on. Who hasn’t If you haven’t already crossed paths, please let me Got little kids running introduce you to the world of adult cosplay. Specifically, fantasized about around? Put them in sexy adult cosplay. What is cosplay? Costume + Play superhero capes and screwing the = Cosplay. And, it’s not just for those who grew up make it a fun thing gaming so don’t think you’re too old. Heck, it’s not even maid, teacher, for everyone. Not a new idea. Who hasn’t fantasized about screwing the to be “X” nurse or student saying maid, teacher, nurse or student instead of their lifelong rated around the (possibly boring) partner? instead of their kiddos but there’s Yeah. That’s what I thought. need to hide lifelong (possibly no But you know what? While those traditional roles the fact that never lose their sex appeal, they can be limiting and boring) partner? mommy and maybe they don’t really resonate with you. What if you daddy have fun want to be Lara Croft, or maybe some other fantasy creature. Check too. It’s healthy to laugh, flirt, out www.nudecosplayers.tumblr.com or www.cosplaydeviants.com be loving and have a good for inspiration. (Adults only!) time. They don’t need to Where do you get costumes? My first stop would be at know what those “I’m gonna Evangelines in Old Sacramento if you want something ready to go Superhero on your ass wear off the shelf. There are a number of other costume shops in later” looks mean as you Sacramento such as Cheap Thrills on L flirt across the dinner Street or Broadway Costume and table and run a foot up Theatrical Supply on Franklin Blvd. someone’s thigh under the Side note: Broadway Costume only table. If anything, you owe it rents costumes which can actually to them to teach what it looks like to be a fun loving couple instead of be a good thing because you those stressed out people they are used to hanging out with. can change it up often. Plus, they The number one complaint I get from couples is that the thrill have a staff member who is gone. They love each other and wish the sparks were still there. I knows what cosplay is all see it in their eyes when they talk about it. The longing to have the about. sex drive and desire return is huge, but they are overwhelmed and The exciting and safe don’t know where to start to get it back. The typical scenario is there thing is that this is doesn’t seem to be enough energy at the end of the day after all the something you and job stress, family obligations, chores, and other time demands. your partner can have Sex gets put at the bottom of the list when it really needs to be fun doing together closer to the top. It’s a matter of shifting priorities and focus. If you to “spice things up” want to resurrect or spice up your love life, don’t just talk about with your intimate it, do it. Have fun! Forget about the angry words and all the other relationship. This isn’t problems that aren’t going anywhere. Just commit to each other something you save just again and commit to making it fun. You can’t go back and re-create for Halloween. There is the feelings you had before but you can definitely write a new absolutely no reason why chapter. Who will you be? Use your imagination then go for it. v Surprise!
SacAlternative | October 2013