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SacAlternative SEPTEMBER 2013



Making a Scene The Lowdown on the Highbrows Behind Launch and LowBrau


Launch Blasts Off!


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Marijuana Big Brother All Over the World

Out of the Cannabis Closet

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24 Making a Scene


The Wiener Dudes Behind Launch and LowBrau

Alt Arts Launch 8 Alt News Fracking 16 Marijuana-Go- Round 46 Hot Stuff 35

Editor’sNote by

R.V. Scheide

What Is Alternative? I’ve been an alternative journalist for the past

20 years, mainly out of necessity. I’m just not a mainstream kinda guy. Politically, most people CONTRIBUTORS & peg me as a progressive, which is accurate PHOTOGRAPHERS enough as far as it goes. But I prefer to think of Dr. David Allen, Dan Bacher, Josh Burke, myself as a social libertarian. In part, that means Morelle Ellison, Cathy Kleckner, Lovelle Harris, I believe government should stay out of our Skip Jones, Michael Lang, William Leung, personal lives as much as possible. Lance Mannion, Rachel Monet, Ron Mullins, You’ll find no better example of federal, Steph Rodriguez, C.D. Selene state and local government intrusion in our Published by 3 Editor’s Note personal lives than the ongoing war against marijuana, medical or otherwise. Yes, progress 4 Publisher’s Note has been made. Medicinal cannabis has been legal in California for almost two decades, Market1Media 5 RV4Vendetta 5733 Bluffs Drive and 19 other states now have similar laws. 12 Cannabis Corner Rocklin, Ca 95765 Recently, voters in Washington and Colorado (916)764-4373 approved the use of recreational marijuana. 19 Patient Profile However, marijuana use remains a federal crime, and as every dispensary owner in 21 Club of the Month Sacramento knows, the feds have no qualms SacAlternative about kicking doors in and yanking plants up 23 Alt Health (916)764-4373 on a whim, often with the assistance of state 39 Alt Book and local law enforcement. As you might have surmised from our 43 Art of Glass advertising content, SacAlternative is here to support the local medical marijuana community. 49 Addicted to Love We don’t hide our affiliation in the back of the We appreciate your feedback. Letters to the magazine with the sex ads. It’s right up front. editor may be edited for length and clarity. Our writers on the cannabis beat, Ron Mullins Email us at and Skip Jones, know the scene inside and out. Mission Statement Dr. David Allen, whose column you’ll find inside, SacAlternative is a monthly news and arts magazine with a mission to inform, report and provide quality is a nationally recognized expert on medicinal content to all individuals living in the Sacramento area. Our writers, editors and staff aim to present a variety of social and political topics, balanced with an interest to the alternative arts, grassroots movements and green cannabis. We consider ourselves a part of the lifestyles representing the region. medical marijuana community, and we’re here to tell your stories. Advertising information All advertising is subject to final approval from the advertiser. The advertiser provides SacAlternative with Of course, there’s more to life than digital files when available. The advertiser and not SacAlternative or Market 1 Media accepts all responsibility marijuana, and with that in mind, we’re keeping for the content of the advertising. The advertiser accepts responsibility for concept, design, photography layout our eyes open for stories that go against the and content of the advertisement, not SacAlternative or Market 1 Media Inc. norm. You’ll find plenty of those in this issue, Disclaimer from Dan Bacher’s investigative piece on 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 fracking in California, Lovelle Harris’ preview of the Launch festival, Stephanie Rodriguez’ Website, without SacAlternative and Market1Media’s prior written consent. The views expressed by the authors and writers in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of SacAlternative or Market1Media profile of a glassblower to Rachel Monet’s Inc. Comments on this publication are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full observations on sex and love. It’s all about the responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation those results from something written in or as a mix, and when you add it all together, that’s direct result of something written in SacAlternative. The accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, what alternative is. v factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed.


SacAlternative | September 2013


Publisher’sNote by

Jeff Lang

Staying Out of the Way Many years ago straight out of college I was lucky

enough to find a job working for a great manager. His name was Steve Fixman. Steve’s ability to work seamlessly with staff, customers and the community left me in awe. Inquisitively, as only a kid fresh out of college can be, I asked Steve how he managed to do his job with such ease. He told me, “It’s simple, really. You just hire people smarter than you that can do their job better than you, and then you let them.” Whoa. I remember thinking, do all good managers hire the best candidates? The simple answer is no. Some managers hate to relinquish control and hire employees they can easily manipulate; others hire people to insure they will never be a threat to take their job. Well, I’m certainly not on the “Steve Fixman” level of managers, but If I do one thing well it is surrounding myself with people smarter than me. The group of ladies and gentleman I work with are not afraid to voice their opinions. They do their job the right way, which often is not “my way.” They have no problem telling me to get my shit together. In fact, just last night our new Creative Director took me to task for not getting my assignments in on time. Trust me, I got the hint. Speaking of the team, this month we welcome three new members. Kelsey Falle joins SacAlternative as our new Creative Director. She is principled, organized and her creative forces will fuel this magazine for many issues to come. I’ve worked with Kelsey in the past and was always impressed by her talent and professionalism. We’re lucky to have her. Also joining the team is RV Scheide. Many of you know RV from the Sacramento News & Review but RV’s journalistic chops go far beyond that. I describe him to others as “Woodward & Bernstein meet Hunter S. Thompson.” He’s a talented writer and gifted editor. The fact that he joined the staff at SacAlternative proves that we are going places, or that I’m a supremely talented salesperson. Hopefully both. Finally, I want to introduce my friend and colleague Josh Burke. Josh is not only coming aboard, he owns the ship as a partner in the magazine. His official duty is Director of Sales and Marketing. However, Josh is our de facto music reporter; current events coordinator and official “Chill-Jeff-Out” go-to-guy. Josh is passionate, loyal, and simply one of the best advertising and marketing minds in the game today. His unique eye for a perfect ad will provide our clients with advertising packages that work. So here’s to our second issue and to a great end to a memorable summer. Oh, and one last thing. When you’re enjoying this magazine, remember it couldn’t have happened if I didn’t do a spectacular job of staying out of the way of the smarter people who did theirs. v


e e SacAlternative | September 2013

RV4Vendetta by

R.V. Scheide

Reign of Terror Remember Remember Eleven September On September 11, 2001, I was living in a decrepit fishing village in

the Sacramento delta, with an artist friend in a rickety two-story shotgun-shack. That morning we happened to turn on the TV minutes after the first airliner struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Minutes later, an enormous fireball as another airliner struck the South Tower. Black smoke billowed from the holes in the buildings. People on the upper floors leapt to their deaths rather than be burned alive. Then, one after the other, the Twin Towers collapsed into their own footprints, just like those films of controlled building demolitions you see on the Discovery Channel. We sat totally stunned in front of the tube for hours. My first thought after the shock wore off was we’re going to war. Whoever did this, we’re going to war. My second thought was sign me up. My roommate had a huge American flag and we draped it off the balcony of our second-story flat the next day. The bar was two doors down on the street level and did a brisk business that week. We drank beer on the balcony and yelled God bless America at the hillbillies, tourists, bikers and marina trash on their way into and out of the bar. Sometimes, they yelled God bless America back. We were united in agreement. Whoever attacked us was going to pay. That was 12 years ago this month, and many of the people responsible for the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3000 Americans that day, including Osama bin Laden and most of the members of Al Qaida, have For those who paid with their lives. But the War on Terror that began thought we lived on 9/11 and continues to this day has in a free country, cost the rest of the world dearly. The the implications citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan have borne the brunt of those costs, in are startling. blood and the wholesale destruction of their countries by the world’s last remaining superpower. Thousands of our soldiers have been killed; tens of thousands have been disabled. Here in the homeland, far from removed from the horror of war, we’ve paid a price too, but in a currency more abstract than blood: our liberty. As revealed this summer by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the source for Guardian reporter Glen Greenwald’s bombshell stories on the agency’s domestic spying capabilities, the cost has been steep. To keep us safe, the NSA has developed and implemented a computerized surveillance system capable of collecting and storing the data of every phone call, text message, email, Facebook post and tweet in the United States. Without a warrant, it then searches the so-called metadata—the private communication records

SacAlternative | September 2013

of potentially every citizen in the United States—for patterns indicating suspicious activity. To keep us safe, the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans from unreasonable searches without a warrant, has been reengineered in secret by the Obama administration to provide the NSA legal cover for violating our privacy. For those who thought we lived in a free country, the implications are startling. The NSA codes the algorithms that search the databases, it sets the parameters for what is considered suspicious, the repetition of names, phrases, locations and transactions along the digital trail left by the alleged evil-doers. In lieu of a search warrant issued by a judge, the NSA is the arbiter of right and wrong, whether it concerns a terrorist plot, an antiwar demonstration or a legitimate business transaction. Everyone is under suspicion. To keep us safe. How did we get here? It’s easy to forget how frightened many of us were 12 years ago after the towers came down. Exactly one week later, before we’d even had a chance to catch our breaths, someone began mailing letters laced with weaponized anthrax to politicians and media organizations in Washington and New York, killing five people and infecting 17. If anything, the anthrax attacks presented a more visceral threat to Americans across the country, who became reluctant to open their own mail and began reporting every suspicious-looking package and mysterious pile of white powdery substance to the proper authorities. The anthrax attacks went on for three weeks, the perpetrator was never caught. By the end of October, 2001, when President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act into law, most Americans were ready to feel safe again. Their political representatives in Washington assured them the Patriot Act would keep them safe. Only one senator voted


There was some hope change would come with the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, and with his reelection last year. But even though the United States has withdrawn from Iraq and plans to withdraw from Afghanistan next year, we have extended the War on Terror to Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Syria and beyond. Thousands of innocent men, women and children have been killed by U.S. drones, including three American citizens. Osama bin Laden sleeps with the fishes, but everywhere we go, a new Al Qaeda affiliate rises from the desert sand, sometimes against us, sometimes with our support. The enemy of my enemy is my friend isn’t just a Middle Eastern saying. It’s our primary method of operation in the Middle East. Privacy rights in the homeland haven’t fared much better under Obama rule. After pledging to reel in domestic surveillance both times on the campaign trail, Obama has expanded it at every opportunity, including authorizing the secret provisions that permit intelligence and law enforcement agencies to monitor the private communications of any American citizen without a warrant. Attempts by the ACLU to discover the contents of those provisions have been thwarted by the courts, because the Obama administration says the contents are secret, a matter of national security. To keep us safe. After Snowden’s revelations this summer, the Obama administration first denied the government was collecting communications data on all Americans. When finally forced to admit the truth, it again cited the secret legal authority it has granted itself to conduct warrantless searches. Before 9/11, statements like that would have made the hair “Snowden,” limited edition blotter art by Ctrl Alt Dub. LSD not included. To view more blotter art, go to on any civil libertarian’s neck stand on end. Today, 12 years after the War on Terror began, they barely register. Most of the politicians and against it. Few Americans complained, realized or cared about the the pundits on the cable news shows, from FOX to CNN to MSNBC, expanded domestic surveillance powers granted to federal, state and appear to believe the president should have such authority. They view local law enforcement agencies. Besides, the U.S. military would soon Snowden, who has been granted asylum by Russia, as a disingenuous rout the Taliban, dismantle Al Qaeda and kill Osama bin Ladin. Then slacker at best and a traitor who should be shot at worst. The more everything would go back to normal. ardent defenders of the new security state offer simple counsel. If But things never did go back to normal. After bin Laden’s escape at you’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Tora Bora in December, 2001, the United States spun The most encouraging thing about the whole out of control, perhaps because Vice President Dick Snowden affair is that the American people After pledging to Cheney was at the wheel rather than the far more have taken notice. In a recent PEW poll taken genteel Bush. For Cheney and his neocon cohorts after the extent of the government’s domestic reel in domestic from the Project for the New American Century, 9/11 spying programs became public, a majority said surveillance both times the programs have gone too far and need to was the new Pearl Harbor they’d been hoping for since the 1990s, an event so horrific Americans would reigned in. In the House of Representatives, on the campaign trail, be be willing to shed both blood and liberty because Republicans and Democrats recently broke Obama has expanded they believed their security depended upon it. ranks with the leadership and voted to defund There was no conspiracy, just opportunity NSA’s collection of metadata. The bill failed, it at every opportunity the created by the inept foreign and domestic but by a small margin, putting the leadership on intelligence agencies on the Bush/Cheney watch notice that they may have something to worry that permitted 9/11 to happen in the first place. We didn’t need to about. Snowden’s fear that his revelations would not change anything monitor the communications of every American to stop 9/11, we may yet prove wrong. only needed to listen to our agents in the field, who attempted to It’s been a long time since I stood out on that balcony and yelled notify their superiors numerous times an attack was in the works, God bless America to passersby. During that first week after 9/11, only to be ignored. Not one public official has ever been fired for the as awful and frightening as it was, I think we all felt a sense of kinship failures to keep us safe on 9/11. with our fellow Americans. Together we had suffered an enormous When the attack succeeded and a new Pearl Harbor presented loss, and we vowed to do everything in our power to make it right. itself, Cheney and the neocons ran with it, conjuring up phony Twelve years is a long time. Almost all of the terrorists who planned evidence of weapons of mass destruction to justify the illegal invasion and carried out 9/11 are dead or in prison. Nothing will ever make of Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on up for the lives lost on that day, but we’ve made it as right as we 9/11, but had long been on the neocon wish list. It will go down as possibly can. Now, if we can just undo all the things we’ve done the worst strategic blunder in American military history. The problem wrong, maybe we can get back to normal.. v with the Project for the New American Century was that the plan really, really sucked. Yet we remain stuck with it.


SacAlternative | September 2013

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Dan Bacher

Oil and Water Do Mix With Twin Tunnels, Politicians and Petroleum Industry Aim to Frack California


ritics of Gov. Jerry Brown’s $54 billion plan to build two peripheral tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta say the project may lead to the increased fracking of oil and natural gas throughout California. Proponents of the project, known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), claim the two tunnels are necessary to protect the delta’s already fragile ecosystem and maintain the reliability of the state’s water supply. Currently, water is sucked through the delta by massive pumps located near Tracy, where it is then transferred to the Central Valley via the California Aqueduct. The proposed tunnels would bypass the delta. Opponents of the project, who include environmentalists, Indian tribe members, fishermen and family farmers, claim it will lead to even more water being transferred away from the delta, further endangering fish populations and putting many small delta farmers out of business. Now some of those critics are contending that much of the water that will be transferred may be sold to petroleum companies for fracking operations.


Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the controversial, environmentally destructive process of injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals underground at high pressure in order to release and extract oil or gas. The water becomes

“Most of the water will go to large agribusiness and oil companies while taxpayers will be stuck with the bill.” —Adam Scow, Food and Water Watch contaminated and can seep into aquifers, poisoning groundwater as well. A recent poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) revealed that the majority of California’s residents oppose expanded fracking in the Golden State.

“As state legislators debate stricter regulations on fracking—already under way in California—51 percent oppose increased use of the drilling method used to extract oil and natural gas (35 percent favor it, 14 percent don’t know),” according to PPIC. “Asked whether they favor or oppose stricter regulation of fracking, 50 percent say they are in favor. Among those who favor increased use of fracking, 62 percent also favor stricter regulation.” Public sentiment against fracking has been growing across the country since the full environmental and public health hazards posed by the practice were exposed in the documentaries Gasland and Gasland II. Nevertheless, petroleum companies and their politician-enablers seem determined to increase the amount of fracking in California, and are counting on increased water deliveries from the twin tunnels to do it. Burt Wilson, editor and publisher of Public Water News Service, claims the BDCP’s “hidden agenda” is to provide the petroleum industry with even more water for fracking.

SacAlternative | September 2013

“Gov. Brown wants twin tunnels in the delta,” Wilson said. “He won’t allow a public vote on a water bond, so six water agencies, headed by the Westlands Water District and the Metropolitan Water District, have formed a business consortium called the State and Federal Contractors Water Association (SFCWA). These six will be the primary funders of the $14 billion to $16 billion revenue stream needed to build and initially operate the twin tunnels.” In order to earn a return on their investment, Wilson said the SFWCA will almost undoubtedly sell water transfers from northern California reservoirs, water banks and aquifers to the highest bidders, namely oil and gas companies that will pay any price to get it for their fracking operations. Case in point? Colorado, where fracking runs rampant. “Currently in Greely, Colorado, the water agencies are selling water to farmers for $30 an acre foot while oil companies are paying $3300 an acre foot.” Wilson noted. “Given that water transfers from northern California total about 1.2 million acre feet a year, the SFCWA, at that rate, would earn almost $4 billion a year. Not a bad return on investment.” Moreover, such water transactions would be permissible under the State Water Code, which mandates that the state reduces it reliance on delta water. That’s because the pumping station for the twin tunnels will be in Hood, just south of Sacramento, and it will draw water from the Sacramento Rver before it actually gets to the delta. If a water bank above Sacramento wants to sell 500 acre feet of water to SFCWA, it can release that amount into the river. Then the pumps in Hood will kick into gear, and send 500 acre feet south, bypassing the delta completely. Adam Scow, the California campaigns director for Food and Water Watch, hasn’t missed the connection between fracking and the plan to build the tunnels. He urges Californians to speak out against what he terms a corporate water grab. “Gov. Brown has proposed building two massive $54 billion water tunnels to divert the Sacramento River to corporate interests in the Central Valley,” said Scow. “Most of the water will go to large

SacAlternative | September 2013

In the background, the massive pumps of the State Water Project suck water from the delta for transfer to the Central Valley. Photo by R.V. Scheide

agribusiness and oil companies while taxpayers will be stuck with the bill.” “The Westlands Water District and Kern County Water Agency import water for the biggest agribusinesses and oil fields in the Central Valley,” explained Scow. “Now they’ve gotten Gov. Brown to approve a massive tunnels project to bring them even more water, which they will sell for an enormous profit. Even

A recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California revealed that the majority of California’s residents oppose expanded fracking in the Golden State. worse, much of this water will go to oil companies who will pollute our groundwater with fracking.” Scow maintains that most Californians would see no benefit from the massive water project, but will be on the tab for the $54 billion price tag. Local water projects to rebuild crumbling infrastructure and expand storm water and rainwater systems would provide more local jobs and better water security for far less money, he said.

Scow and other opponents are asking for a complete ban on fracking. Unfortunately, the power of the oil industry in California was demonstrated once again on May 30 when the State Assembly voted 35-24 to kill a bill originally designed to halt fracking throughout the state. If one person symbolizes the cozy relationship the petroleum industry enjoys with the state’s politicians, it’s Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association. ReheisBoyd served as the chair of the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act initiative’s blue ribbon task force, which created so-called marine protected areas off the southern California coast. She also served on task forces to create marine reserves on the north central coast and the north coast. A coastal real estate developer, a marina corporation executive and other corporate interests also served on the task forces. The only human activities prohibited by the marine protected areas are fishing and gathering. They do not prohibit fracking, oil drilling, polluting, wind and wave energy projects or military testing. “It’s clear that government and petroleum officials want to frack in the very same areas Reheis-Boyd was appointed to oversee as a guardian of marine habitat protection for the MLPA initiative,” said


Map of proposed route for the twin tunnels project.

David Gurney, independent journalist and co-chair of the Ocean Protection Coalition, in his report on the opening of new lease sales for fracking earlier this year. “What’s becoming obvious is that Reheis-Boyd’s expedient presence on the blue ribbon task force was a ploy for the oil industry to make sure no restrictions applied against drilling or fracking in or around socalled marine protected areas,” he said. Investigative journalist Mike Ludwig has confirmed that federal regulators have approved at least two fracking operations on oil rigs in the Santa Barbara Channel since 2009, without an updated


environmental review that critics say is required by federal law. These operations were approved as corporations and state officials gushed about “Yosemites of the Sea” and “underwater parks” created in southern California waters under Reheis-Boyd’s leadership. For her part, Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association, claimed that fracking is harmless in a May 12 San Francisco Chronicle op-ed. “In truth, hydraulic fracturing has been used in California for 60-plus years, is not destructive and has never

been linked to any environmental harm here,” she said. “The process is and has been closely regulated. California’s well construction and testing regulations that protect our groundwater are the strictest in the nation.” But fracking opponents say the practice is environmentally destructive, since it uses huge volumes of water mixed with sand and dangerous chemicals to blast open rock formations and extract oil and gas. They note that although the controversial technique has been used in hundreds and perhaps thousands of California oil and gas wells, it’s currently unregulated and unmonitored by state officials. Which is exactly counter to ReheisBoyd’s claims. But while the effects of fracking may still be debated, there’s no question that the Western States Petroleum Association has become one of the most powerful corporate lobbies in California, with enormous influence over both state and federal regulators. Oil and gas companies spend more than $100 million a year to buy access to lawmakers in Washington and Sacramento, according to Stop Fooling California, an online and social media public education and awareness campaign. The Western States Petroleum Association alone has spent more than $16 million lobbying in Sacramento since 2009. As the oil industry expands its role in California politics and environmental processes, it’s a safe bet that they are going to use every avenue available to get more water for fracking, including taking delta water through the planned twin tunnels. v Dan Bacher, known as “Dangerous (don’t give a fish a chance) Dan” to fish and out-of-line government agencies, is the editor of The Fish Sniffer, the biweekly guide to California fishing. He has been investigating state water issues for more than 2 decades.

SacAlternative | September 2013


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CannabisCorner by

Ron Mullins

Coming Out of the Cannabis Closet Cannabis and the workplace|Cannabis Day|Dr. Gupta The concept “coming out of the closet” means to stop pretending

to be something you are not because you fear persecution. The phrase is of course most closely associated with the LGBT rights movement. But while some might scoff at the idea, many medicinal cannabis users are still in a similar sort of closet, compelled to hide their usage or risk reprisals. I recently surveyed some folks on Facebook, urging them to tell me their stories anonymously. Here’s what I got. Meet “Mary,” who describes herself as a closeted user. She’s a medical marijuana patient who works at a corporation where very few of her coworkers choose the same medicine. “I have to hide my medication from my employer, at the extreme end of things I’d be looking at termination and losing my benefits and pension,” she explains. “On your first offense, they will require you to enter a drug rehabilitation program in order to stay employed, but that is at the manager’s discretion. Then you would have to face the rest of your career being judged as a ‘drug user’ by all the people who can’t go 12 hours without alcohol.” “John” works in northern California for a national retail chain. In his early 50s, John was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer that required immediate surgery. His vocal chords and thyroid gland were removed. He now has to breathe through an opening in his neck called a stoma and can only speak via a voice prosthesis. After the surgery and a month of radiation treatment, John’s esophagus shrunk and


he was unable to swallow. “I started to lose a lot of weight,” he notes. “My only food was a shake that was poured down a tube into my stomach. That is when I was offered my first cannabis tincture. It made it easier to swallow and it took away the pain. Other “It’s an ironic choice medications the oncologist tried did not work as well. So he said to that I have to make continue using cannabis.” weekly: My health But two weeks before he was to return to work, John stopped with marijuana or my using medicinal cannabis out of fear. job with Vicodin.” “People were fired because they had small amounts of marijuana in their system, even when they showed the company the doctor’s recommendation for cannabis,” he says. “It didn’t matter if you had cancer, MS, arthritis, or anything else.” John now uses opiates prescribed by his doctor, but switches to marijuana when the drug makes him throw up. “Then I sweat it out, hoping and praying I do not get called in for a marijuana drug test. Twenty-five years of employment can be wiped out with one cup of pee. It’s an ironic choice that I have to make weekly: My health with marijuana or my job with Vicodin.” Mary and John’s stories are not uncommon. Despite the fact that medical marijuana has been approved by 20 states and the District of Columbia, present laws allow employers and business owners to drug test employees and discharge them if they test positive for marijuana, even if the employee has a medicinal cannabis recommendation. The best thing that those of us who are out of the cannabis closet can do is to lead by example. Once people understand that people from all walks of life use medical marijuana, including doctors, lawyers and even politicians, the laws just might change. • • • In Canada, July 1 is a holiday known as Canada Day, which is akin to our Fourth of July. On the same day, the citizens of Vancouver, British Columbia celebrate Cannabis Day, an open protest where marijuana is sold in the public square to anyone with money. No doctors, no cards, no membership forms, no cops, just complete freedom. This year I was fortunate enough to attend the event, which began modestly in the 1970s and now attracts tens of thousands of cannabis supporters worldwide. It was a great event, in part because it proved what we all know to be true: cannabis is harmless, in spite of what its harshest detractors say. Number of casualties on Cannabis Day? Zero. Number of overdoses? Zero. Number of fights? Zero. Number of thefts? Zero. Number of white women sleeping with black jazz musicians? Undetermined.

SacAlternative | September 2013

O Cannabis! Vancouver, BC takes to the streets on Cannabis Day. Photo by Ron Mullins

The event’s organizers managed to preserve a folksy, non-corporate, hippy vibe. Around 4 p.m., they quieted the crowd and began distributing free joints to every single person. Right at 4:20, everyone lit up at the same time, creating a giant column of marijuana smoke. The crowd also sang a reworking of the Canadian national anthem, “O, Cannabis!” A huge 30-foot-tall “Free Marc” banner hung above the stage. Marc Emery, AKA the Prince of Pot, is the founder of the British Columbia Marijuana Party and was an international retailer of marijuana seeds until he was arrested by Canadian authorities four years ago at the request of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Emery was extradited to the United States, convicted for selling seeds, and is now serving a prison sentence in Mississippi. The United States recently approved his transfer to a Canadian prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence. His wife Jodie gave a moving speech, saying that she hopes he will be released by Canadian officials within the year. • • • CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta is on a pro medical cannabis media blitz, totally reversing the opinion he espoused in the January, 2009 issue of Time magazine, “Why I Would Vote No On Pot.” “I’m here to tell you, as a doctor, that despite all the talk about the medical benefits of marijuana, smoking the stuff is not going to do your health any good,” Gupta stated back then. But Gupta said

he recently changed his mind about medical marijuana while working on the CNN documentary Weed, which first aired Sunday, Aug. 11. Gupta explained his change of mind on the CNN website. “I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now,” he said. “I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.” To make up for it, Gupta aims to set the record straight on cannabis, how it came to be illegal, and why that should change. Most of the information presented in the hour-long documentary is already familiar to the cannabis community from films such Weed Wars and Weed County. But for a mainstream effort, Weed is impressive. Gupta exposes the war on marijuana waged by Harry J. Anslinger, the first head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, in the 1930s, and how Anslinger’s propaganda is still used today to incite public fear. We are introduced to cannabis doctors and authors like Carl Har t, Dr. Julie Holland, Dr. Alan Shackelford. The repor t stayed balanced, discussing how cannabis effects driving and whether or not it is addictive. Overall it was a great win for the cannabis community across the United States. v

Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes medical marijuana prime time.

SacAlternative | September 2013


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Marijuana-Go-Round Medical Marijuana Patient Not Guilty

Salerno’s lawyer at the time suggested that Salerno continue to jury trial without a medical marijuana defense. Salerno refused and fired his attorney. Then he made a motion for new counsel to be appointed immediately. He explained to the court that he had hired a medical marijuana attorney, a medical marijuana by Ron Mullins expert, and all of his witnesses were medical marijuana patients. Now that his After a two-year court battle, a Yuba defense had been denied, there would be County jury found medical marijuana pa- a violation of his rights to due process. tient Eric Salerno not guilty of transportNot surprisingly, Dawson granted his ing, possessing and attempting to sale motion for new council. Salerno hired marijuana on August 9. The courtroom Allison Margolin’s office to file a writ erupted in cheers and supporters had with the 3rd district appellate court. The tears in their eyes as Salerno and defense appellate court ruled in his favor, issuing counsel Michael Levinsohn hugged each a stay and reinstating Salerno’s medical other and wept. marijuana defense. Salerno was operating a legal medical Yuba County Superior Court Judge marijuana collective delivery service for Julia Scrogin was appointed to decide the critically ill patients when he was arrest- case. During the trial, Scrogin dismissed ed in April, 2011 in a restaurant parking the two counts of attempted sales and lot in Marysville. He and the patient, An- transportation. The remaining charge, dre Devezin, where discussing medicine possession for sales, went before the jury. when police arrived at the scene. Salerno Salerno’s new defense attorney, and Devezin showed the officers their Levinsohn, was prepared to use expert medical marijuana recommendations, but witnesses Chris Conrad and Michael were nevertheless detained and searched, Hanson to present a medical marijuana along with their vehicles. defense, but after Yuba County District The police found more than an ounce Attorney John Nash presented the state’s of marijuana and $3500 cash sitting on case, it was clear the prosecution did not the bumper of one the cars. One officer have proof beyond a reasonable doubt. told Salerno to pick the money up and Levinsohn told the jury that the case put it in his pocket. After doing so, he against his client was so weak, no logiwas arrested on the spot. cal person could possibly find Salerno Salerno was charged with three feloguilty. After a one-hour deliberation nies, transporting, possessing marijuana the jury came back with a unanimous for sale and attempting to sell marijuana. decision of not guilty, and chose to fully He was facing a 7-year prison sentence. acquit him. Devezin was eventually charged as a coToday Eric Salerno is a free man. conspirator, but had his charges reduced When asked what others should do when to misdemeanor possession in exchange the weight of the law is upon them, he refor his testimony against Salerno. After plied, “Fight back and never give up, even a roller coaster ride of hearings, Yuba when you lose, and they deny your rights, County Superior Court Judge James fight back, make them realize you are the Dawson denied Salerno’s medical maririghteous one, and you cannot be denied.” juana defense.

Bogus Yuba County Trial Has Happy Ending


Viva Uruguay!

South American Country to Legalize Marijuana by Skip Jones Nestled between Argentina and Brazil, a tiny South American country is raising eyebrows. In July, Uruguay initiated legislation that could totally legalize the production and sale of cannabis, becoming the first country in New World history to do so. Uruguay has been known for its tolerance and the blind eye it turns to personal use of any illicit substance. Still, it currently bans the sale and cultivation of marijuana, which forces cannabis users to seek it from drug dealers and thugs, a fact that has not go unnoticed by President Jose Mujica. Mujica believes, rightly, that such clandestine markets cause violent crime. It is already legal to consume marijuana in Uruguay, but because it must be purchased on the black market, cannabis users run a much higher risker of encountering violence. All that’s going to change if the government approves the production, distribution and sale of marijuana, as mandated by the proposed legislation. The state will set prices and maintain quality control. Local pharmacies will follow a mandated directive. If the legislation is approved by the full congress as expected in October, large scale farms will be able to sell it to the state, once registered and approved by the quality control office. The estimated retail price for a gram of marijuana could drop to $2.5 per gram or lower. In addition, full legalization will add money to the state’s coffers. The JND (Uruguay’s equivalent of our DEA) estimates that about 20 to 22 tons of cannabis

SacAlternative | September 2013

are sold in the country every year, grossing $30 to $40 million dollars. That money currently goes to the drug cartels. If the law passes, the revenue will flow to the Uruguayan people. Not everybody is happy with developments in Uruguay. The United Nations is in an uproar over what it sees as a potential violation of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs treaty of 1961, which prohibits production and supply of “narcotics,” including marijuana. David Dadge, spokesman for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said, that any dialogue with Uruguay must be conducted in line with international law.” The International Narcotics Control Board, an allegedly independent body of “experts” contracted by the UN to monitor countries for compliance to drug treaties, has stated that legalized use of cannabis will have detrimental effects on the youth and population of Uruguay if the law passes. Interestingly, a majority of Uruguayans are opposed to the legislation, perhaps persuaded by the anti-cannabis propaganda of politicians such as Dario Perez, who claims that “marijuana with or without a law is dung and an enemy of students, workers and families.” Even some marijuana advocates are concerned, since the new law will require citizens to register with the government in order to grow, buy or sell cannabis. Nevertheless, the push to end marijuana prohibition in South America only seems to be growing among heads of state. Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina and Columbian President Juan Miguel Santos have publicly voiced their support for decriminalization. Former Mexican President Vincente Fox has long been a supporter of legalizing drugs. The common denominator is that all of them believe legalization will take the power and money away from the cartels and gangs, decreasing the amount of violence.

SacAlternative | September 2013

Seattle View

p.m. Smoking that bong hit didn’t feel all that different than the many that had come before it, other than I knew it was legal now. I had fortunately made it to age 48 without ever getting arrested for possession of marijuana. by C.D. Selene Of course, many dramatic changes did happen just days after 502 passed. As Recently, I found it beyond necessary to reported by CNN, 175 minor marijuana call the local police department and report possession charges were immediately my neighbors for domestic violence. They dropped. Since the law passed, I can drive had been going at it for nearly five hours. down the road and not worry that the dank, It was so loud I couldn’t escape it indoors thick smell of Cheese emanating from my so when I made the call, I was sitting car is going to land me in court, as long as outside in the dark, listening, shaking, ter- I carry no more than an ounce. The Seattle rified it would go too far before the police Police Department put up a webpage on arrived. I lit a joint, smoked … and waited. the new recreational cannabis law humorFinally, the police arrived, but instead ously titled, “Marijwhatnow?”, answering of going to the domicile where the abuse the public’s frequently asked questions. was taking place, they went to a house But some things can’t move fast next door. I listened as the police began enough. Washington still must determine questioning the wrong neighbors. Withhow to regulate recreational marijuana out hesitation, I walked to the edge of my for retail sale. According to Initiative yard where two police cars were parked. I 502, a plan must be in place by by Dec. 6, waited for the police to come back. which isn’t that far off. The latest proposal When they returned to their vehicles, involves the Washington State Liquor Conone officer asked if I was the person who trol Board serving as the retail outlet. Until called. I replied that I was and told them then, unless I get a medical recommendathey were at the wrong house. I began tion, I still can’t buy weed legally. Nor can pointing, with burning joint in hand, to the I legally grow it. correct house. The other officer had a light My friend Molly has a medical marion me, so I am pretty sure they could see juana card, and she can legally possess up the joint, and I know they could smell it. to 6 ounces of medicine, grow her own The cops did exactly what they were plants and visit a nice dispensary stocked supposed to do. with different grades of weed, edibles, oils, They left me alone. waxes and tons of other green products, It wasn’t until after I’d returned to all of which have been tested for mold and my yard and heard one of my neighbors hazards. The display of products is dizinvolved in the quarrel being arrested for zying and surreal and points to one of the domestic violence that I realized what had main things that hasn’t changed since the happened. I’d just gained first-hand experi- passage of 502. ence that the marijuana laws of my state, I’ll admit it: I’m jealous. Washington, really have changed. Many of my friends, like Molly, have Last November, Washington was one a medical card. Many, like myself, don’t. of the first states to legalize recreational It is probably 50/50, but 100 percent of marijuana when state Initiative 502 was us agree that it should be legal across the passed by voters 56 percent to 44 percent. board. I love my freedom here in WashingA month later, on Dec. 6, after the new law ton, but more than that, I love the inevitakicked in, I attended one of many “Initiability of your freedom, too. tive 502” parties. Our party started at 5:02

An Experience with Recreational Marijuana


Marijuana-Go-Round A Little Dab Will Do Ya

Case in point: In 2011, the High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam was shut down for a brief period by Dutch authorities for what they thought was a violation of the country’s opium act. It was just the dabbers. The cops had never seen anyone ingesting cannabis by heating up a nail with a torch. Dabbing is a highly efficient way to by Skip Jones ingest a large medical dose of cannabis. Innovations such as vaporization have taken Dabs, globs, earl, wax, silly puddy, the lead in retail sales at local head shops, amber glass, honey oil. Call it what you and dabbing is an extension of this trend. like, it’s all just hash oil. Nothing new to The medicinal effect of these oils are cutting marijuana smokers, it’s been around a long edge, without having to consume what some time. Highly potent, it used to be a rare patients consider to be “crude product,” treat to spread on your joint or top off your such as plant matter. bowl. But in the never ending search for The Bee correctly pointed out that the better medicine, butane honey oil, BHO, biggest danger presented by dabs is the has become tremendously popular in the manufacturing process. In our culture of past several years. Nowadays, it is all instant gratification, butane has stepped about the dabs. up as the most commonly used extracIn fact, “dabbing” has become so popution method, because it takes less time. lar, it was recently featured in the decidedly But it also makes the extraction process mainstream Sacramento Bee, even though extremely hazardous if not done in a wellit’s been readily available at many local ventilated, static-free environment. Butane dispensaries for the past two years or more. is a compressed gas and can explode causNo daily newspaper report on medical mari- ing grave injury. Many cities have banned juana is complete without mentioning the the production of BHO (butane honey oil), alleged dangers of abuse and addiction, and for public safety reasons. the Bee did not disappoint. However, there are other, less dangerOne former dispensary manager told ous ways to extract hash oil from cannabis. the Bee that “99 percent of the market for Some manufacturers use an isopropyl dabs is recreational.” A physician from alcohol or ethanol extraction method. I bethe California Society of Addiction Medi- lieve the best product is obtained not from a cine characterized dabs as more addictive solvent or a fuel, but from the CO2 extracthan marijuana. tion method. In addition to being far safer, it It’s easy to see why dabs might unproduces a product that in my opinion is far settle some people. BHO, which can superior in taste, presentation and effect. have as much as five times the amount of Dabs have gained social status among THC than average marijuana strains, is recreational users because of the high the medicine in its purest form. It can be price, but it is also the most efficient way ingested by smoking or eating. To smoke to ingest cannabis and achieve a medical it, a special attachment with a nail-shaped dosage short of using edibles. So, however titanium insert is placed on a water pipe. you see the evolution of cannabis playing The insert is heated up with a torch. Then out, recreationally or medically, efficiency a small amount of the waxy hash oil—a is most important. v little dab will do ya—is placed on the nail, where it instantly vaporizes and is inhaled. Have a marijuana story to tell? We’d like to To the uniformed, it looks more like doing hear it. Try to keep it at 500 words or less. If we like it, we’ll run it. Send submissions to drugs than taking medicine.

Butane Honey Oil Hits the Mainstream

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PatientProfile story & photo by

Ron Mullins

No Pain in the Brain Cannabis Helps Stroke Victim Live Normal Life On New Year’s Eve 2007, Sherry Martinez, then 25, and her boyfriend

were celebrating in San Francisco. They were strolling in the Fisherman’s Wharf district when the stroke hit her. She lost her equilibrium. Her hearing was faint. She had double vision. She slipped in an out of consciousness. Obviously concerned, but not understanding what had just happened, she and her boyfriend returned to Sacramento. She went to the emergency room the next day, January 1, where she was diagnosed with food poisoning. That turned out to be a misdiagnosis, and by the next day, her symptoms had grown more severe. “On January 2, I felt like I was dying,” she recalls. “I had major pain everywhere, dizziness, and I was completely incoherent.” After an MRI, “They admitted me to the hospital immediately. A nurse explained that I had a stroke because of a blood clot in my brain. An angiogram was performed to gain access to the clot and possibly remove it. The clot was too dense and deep in my brain to be disturbed.” It turned out to be even worse. She had actually had several small strokes and was hospitalized for 14 days. When she was released, she was prescribed Coumadin, a blood thinner her doctor hoped would break up the clot. But most of her symptoms didn’t go away. According to MRIs, her brain had been permanently damaged. “I found out I had suffered more than just one stroke,” she says. “My brain showed black spots where it died from lack of blood. My basilar artery had dissolved and was not healing. I was very weak, my stamina was low. I was unable to focus and had terrible headaches every day. I was unable to drive, I lost my job and had to go on disability.” The traditional medicine helped, but not enough. Long before her injury, Martinez had smoked marijuana, and knew that it helped relieve headaches and insomnia. She decided to give it a try again for the symptoms she was experiencing after the stroke. Within a week, she found that some short term memories were coming back to her, she was able to concentrate better, her depression lifted and the headaches went away.

SacAlternative | September 2013

“Without cannabis I feel like I wouldn’t even be able to leave the house,” she says. “I depend on it to keep the headaches at bay, and I am pretty sure it’s why I have been stroke free since I started focusing on using it medicinally. With what I know now I can do things like focus on a Cannabidiol (CBD) rich strains like Sour Tsunami. New studies are showing that CBD’s may be responsible for the stroke prevention qualities of marijuana.”

Sherry Martinez medicates.

Sherry Martinez now lives a full life. Stroke-free for over five years, she lives with her boyfriend, two pit bulls, Mary and Jane, and a Chihuahua, Cheeba. She uses cannabis daily and credits it for her functionality. She volunteers at the Front Street Animal Shelter where she cleans up and feeds the rabbits and also serves on the board of “Pit Bulls Against Misinformation” a group that fights against dog breed discrimination. “I hope to one day stop the war on cannabis and stop dog breed discrimination,” she says. v


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A Passion for Patients Everybody Knows Your Name at Cloud 9

photos by

Josh Burke

Cloud 9 5711 Florin Perkins Rd. Ste. A 916.387.8605

Cloud 9 has your perfect prescription. Whether

your medicine of choice is the body-heavy, relaxing sensations of Indica-dominant Purple Passion strain or the sweetly potent sativa-side of Jamaican Pearl, you’ll find it here. Not to mention myriad tinctures, edibles and even the CannaMin brand fruit juices. The staff of Cloud 9 pride themselves as the “Cheers” of Sacramento collectives, a friendly establishment that treats their patients as people with needs rather than just another transaction. “I know so much about [patients’] lives,” says lead budtender Kevin Holmes. “It’s not just about shopping for medical marijuana here, it’s almost like a counseling session where we sit down and talk to people with little bits of advice here and there and really connecting with them. It’s almost like having a local deli or coffee shop where someone knows your name and remembers your story versus being just a number in line.” The average price points patients can expect at Cloud 9 include $5 to $10 grams and $35 eighths, tax included. Even if the weekly budget is tight, a sawbuck is enough for two grams of medicine. For patients who prefer not to smoke, Cloud 9 offers the CannaMin brand of natural fruit juices in a variety of flavors that provide overall relief with no psychoactive feeling. The Top Shelf Brownie contains four doses per edible. Additional choices on the menu range from sativa-specific edibles,

Kevin Holmes displays CannaMin fruit juice, one of the many medicinal marijuana products at Cloud 9.

best for cleaning the house or getting creative, but in small doses, Holmes advises. On a daily basis, the staff at Cloud 9 encounter patients suffering from a wide variety of ailments, from general cases of insomnia and migraines, to arthritis patients to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Sometimes, the budtender behind the counter who displays no visible sickness is also in need of a little THC. Cloud 9’s Jonathan Solnik admits he suffers from constant stomach nausea and severe migrains. For Solnik, medical marijuana is the best cure when he feels queasy or suffers from head pains. Illness hides behind the friendliest of faces, he explains. “You see eye-to-eye with the people who really need this medicine,” he explains. “People come in for all different kinds of things, whether it’s insomnia, or appetite stimulation from going through chemo. You have to be able to gauge the severity of a patients’ condition and prescribe a medication that’s going to be able to work for them.” v

Got bud?

SacAlternative | September 2013


AltHealth by

Dr. David Allen

Doctor Knows Best The More We Study Cannabis, The Better It Gets Don’t panic, but the foods you’re eating are slowly poisoning you.

They’re poisoning you via oxygen free radicals. These atoms cause oxidative stress in the body at the cellular level, and are the ultimate cause of aging and death. Not all foods create oxygen free radicals. Some foods are considered antioxidants, such as broccoli, garlic, tomatoes and green tea, because they help limit the number of free radicals in the body.That’s why you’ve been hearing so much about them lately in health food circles. However, another plant is gaining increasing attention among scientists and researchers because of its superior ability to scavenge free radicals: cannabis. It’s no surprise, really. The body makes chemicals that are similar to the cannabis plant that help regulate homeostasis; for example, body temperature and glucose level. These chemicals are used by the body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS. Among the many jobs this system does for the body, one of the most important is scavenging oxygen free radicals. Cannabis, because of its chemical similarities to the endocannabinoid system, dramatically augments the body’s own natural defense mechanisms to scavenge the amount of free radicals. Here’s how it works. When you metabolize food, energy and exhaust are produced. That exhaust is in part comprised of free oxygen radicals, two of which are formed when O2 molecules are cleaved in half. These free floating oxygen atoms have unpaired electrons and seek to bind and oxidize anything in their path. They attack cell membranes, mitochondria and DNA. For the most part, this is the natural metabolic process. Just as iron is oxidized to rust, the body is oxidized and ages. We all get old. But when there is an overabundance of oxygen free radicals, it leads to disease and accelerates the aging process. In fact, according to some researchers, all disease may be caused by an an overabundance of oxygen free radicals and the body’s inability to buffer them. Enter cannabis. Recall that one of the primary missions of the endocannabinoid system is to limit oxygen free radicals—the exhaust from the metabolic process—from causing damage to cells. The ingestion of cannabis boosts the endocannabinoid system’s ability to scavenge free oxygen radicals in the body. How effective is cannabis? Consider this. Its antioxidant property is so powerful that the United States government has patented it. Patent No. 6,630,507, “Cannabinoids as Anti-Oxidants and Neuroprotectants,” states that the antioxidant property of cannabis is so strong it decreases the occurrence of induced stroke in lab animals by 50 percent. That’s an amazing statistic. What could happen if the federal government removed the restrictions on cannabis for medical research and treatment? As we

SacAlternative | September 2013

learn more about the function of the ECS and the effects of cannabis upon it, I predict medicine will undergo a sea change not seen since the sterile technique was established in the late 19th century. Current medical treatments may fall by the wayside. For example, doctors presently treat diabetic patients with insulin and oral diabetic agents that lower the blood sugar. However, there is already ample scientific proof that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD protect the pancreas from oxidative stress and preserve insulin production. In the future, it’s highly likely that physicians will treat diabetes by prescribing cannabinoids. At present, most medical schools in the United States are not emphasizing study of the endocannabinoid system or medicinal cannabis. That is certain to change in the near future, as the importance of tthis vital system, and the ability of cannabis to boost it, are verified by continued research. In the future, many diseases will be treated with IV doses of synthetic cannabinoids. Cannabinoids in some form will be prescribed to protect against oxidative stress from major traumas such as broken bones, major burns, spinal injuries, strokes, heart attacks and other maladies too numerous to mention. Every physician will be required to have a working knowledge of the endocannabinoid system and the means to manipulate it for physiologic effect. But these exciting medical advances may never come to pass if the federal government maintains its prohibition against cannabis. I defy anyone to give a sound reason for restricting the scientific study of cannabinoids. We should all demand scientists study this medicine. The truth won’t just set us free. It will make us well. v

Dr. David Allen is one of the nation’s leading experts on medicinal cannabis. Trained as a cardiac surgeon, he currently practices medicine in Sacramento, where he examines patients seeking medical marijuana recommendations. Email your questions for Dr. Allen to


Making a


LowBrau Owners and Launch Promoters Michael Hargis and Clay Nutting Get Busy

They had to do it.

The story was already written. It had all the elements of great drama. Our two heroes set out to open a bar and restaurant in the heart of Midtown. They have no money, no experience and face tremendous obstacles. Through sheer chutzpah, they succeed beyond their wildest expectations. LowBrau, their modern take on the German beer hall, becomes the talk of the town. Mike Hargis and Clay Nutting are touted as role models for Sacramento’s next generation of entrepreneurs. Turns out they weren’t so lowbrow, after all. Everybody lives happily ever after. But it wasn’t to be. On a bright sunny morning at LowBrau, Hargis and Nutting were discussing some of the obstacles they’d faced since opening last December. Hargis noted that there had been a lot of women at the restaurant the night before. Before it opened, doubters had questioned whether the German staples of beer and sausage would appeal to female customers. The calories alone would scare any sensible woman away, or sensible man for that matter. Hargis and Nutting exchanged knowing glances. “But everybody knows chicks dig wieners,” Nutting deadpanned. My world seemed to take a giant step backward, like I was looking down the wrong way through a very long telescope. I had tried to take the high road. They’d convinced me they were highbrow, but


R.V. Scheide photos by

William Leung

now they’d put wiener jokes on the table. The whole story had gone sideways. ••• It’s true that chicks dig wieners, if the massive crowd gathered around LowBrau on a muggy Second Saturday in July is any gauge. Although it’s part of the Marrs building, LowBrau’s concrete edifice rose out of the corner of 20th and K streets like a medieval castle under siege, alone and vulnerable against the barbarians at its gates. Turnout for the monthly arts walk event had been good, boosted by a block party thrown right in front of LowBrau. I couldn’t draw a bead on the mob, too many faces. There seemed to be no subcultures. No tribes. I’d heard hipsters might be here. I saw one. I read in the daily I would find the “bros” at “BroBrau,” but no one I questioned would admit to being a bro. There were plenty of good looking young men from the gay clubs across the street, Faces and the Depot, so it seemed clear that men dig wieners too. Inside the beer hall, customers, male and female, were packed tightly together in vaguely Cubist confines, wedged cheek-tocheek on thick white oak benches, forearms resting elbow-to-elbow on thick white oak tables; pints, steins, cocktails and sausages clutched with thirsty or rapacious grips. The interior’s smooth, sheer concrete walls, the rectangular table tops, the central bar’s massive white oak superstructure, all of these crisscrossing vertical and horizontal lines, reinforced the feeling we were on the set of The Guns of the Navarone. Christ was it packed! You couldn’t swing a sausage without hitting someone.

SacAlternative | September 2013

I walked right up to the bar like I knew what I was doing, purchased a pilsner and went outside. It was standing room only on the expansive deck. The smoking lamp was on. I lighted up, leaned back against the railing and exhaled a silver cloud of senility. How had Hargis and Nutting managed to pull this scene off? By a clever bit of subterfuge, it turns out. They had organized and paid for the Second Saturday block party thrown in front of their own shop, and plan to continue throwing the block parties from now until forever, because what that’s what they’re best at. Not creating a restaurant. Making a scene. ••• In addition to owning LowBrau, Hargis and Nutting promote Launch, Sacramento’s annual five-day art and music festival that takes off Sept. 4 with, you guessed it, a free Midtown block party on the street outside their beer hall. There’s a guide to the art, music and fashion events for this year’s Launch on page 35. It all sounds pretty highbrow to me. It’s true that Hargis had virtually no experience in the restaurant business before he and a friend came up with the LowBrau concept three years ago. This was the extent of his experience. His father had managed restaurants in Dallas, and told young Hargis that whatever he chose to do in life, “Don’t do this.” So Hargis sensibly went into the even more unstable music festival promotion business. From 1995-98, he managed Planet Rock, a San Francisco music festival that focused on digital and live music. After that, he returned to Sacramento and studied >> pg28



architecture and design. He thought he’d given up on promoting Nutting knows how to make a scene as well. He cut his promomusic and arts events until he went to his first Chocella festival tional teeth in high school promoting hardcore metal shows. Since six years ago. college, he’s run a nonprofit organization, Concerts4Charity, that “It was sad at a certain level,” he recalled. “It was exciting and sponsors art and music events, the proceeds of which have gone fun, but this was always something I wanted to do, something I to buying disadvantaged kids guitars and future prima ballerinas wanted to build in San Francisco. So I came back from that event dancing lessons. and said let’s do it here.” Three years ago, Nutting, along with Adam Saake, helped Thus Launch was born. create the Sacramento Electronic Music Festival to bring attention “We wanted to create a civic amenity,” to local artists as well as top musicians from Hargis explained. “We were looking at other across the country. The music is eclectic, cities, what’s happening in Austin and what’s sometimes cerebral, sometimes stoney, and Build an audience in happening in other metropolitan cities, and has a limited fan base. Which for Nutting is front of your modern thought why can’t we do that in Sacramento? the point. Expanding the fan base. Building take on a German beer an audience for electronic music. Making a Our young creative class are all going to these other metropolitan cities. From my background scene. hall, and the multitudes in architecture and design, what’s more of an Attendance has been good at Launch and will drink beer and eat exciting project than building culture, building the Sacramento Electronic Music Festival, but community, building this event?” these events are by no means money-makers. sausage until they’re Launch was conceived as an amalgamation After the musicians, artists and everyone ordered back to the of music, fashion, architecture, art, furniture involved in the production has been paid, Russian front. and design products that showcased the work of there’s not a lot left. a wide cross-section of local artists. That wasn’t “In a lot of ways it’s a pretty painful lost on Nutting, who joined the Launch team process financially,” Nutting explained. “But three years ago, right around the same time the LowBrau concept we believe in building an audience, so that’s an investment we’re was born. willing to tolerate for now. Hopefully it will turn around someday “When Launch began, what drew me to it was that it was very because the audience we’re developing will turn out in droves and collaborative, very celebratory of the artists,” Nutting recounted. appreciate some of the things we’re putting on.” “You’re bringing people together on the same day to shine a spotlight on them and elevate their presence in the community.” •••

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Make a scene, and they will come. Build an audience in front “Most of my projects, people will come to me with a concept, of your modern take on a German beer hall, and the multitudes and be like, ‘Hey I’ve got an idea,’ and maybe not know exactly will drink beer and eat sausage until they’re ordered back to the how to carry it out,” Nutting said. “When I heard the name LowRussian front. Brau, I said this is just too good for us to not make it happen.” Is it any wonder Hargis couldn’t let go of the LowBrau name They didn’t have the $400,000 necessary to make it happen, so and concept since coming up with it three years ago? they worked on the LowBrau concept, consulting with a network “The name LowBrau was specific in that we were looking of friends that included Olivia Coelho and Trisha Rhomberg of across the landscape in Sacramento and saw that there were these Bows & Arrows, and Jason Boggs, co-owner of the Shady Lady. highbrow places that were opening up,” Hargis said. “So we deEvery last design detail was worked out, from the beer and the cided what Sacramento needs is a new ‘lowbrow’ establishment.” sausage that would be served to the thick white oak tables to He felt like he had a winner on his hands. He needed a winner LowBrau’s logo, an illustration of a giant hog wearing a crown, like Anthony Weiner needs a new name. the King of the Wurst. “I was kind of in a desperate place in my life,” When the highbrow cocktail bar Lounge on he said. “I was in the architecture and building 20 fizzled out last year and the premium anchor world and the housing market had dried up. I was spot in the Marrs Building opened up, it was as He felt like he had a quickly reaching my 40th birthday, and I thought, prophecy had been fulfilled. Highbrow gowinner on his hands. ifinga LowBrau, OK what am I going to do with myself?” anyone? The prophecy demanded He needed a winner While we talked on a pleasant Friday afterHargis and Nutting to beg and borrow $400,000 noon at LowBrau, Hargis’ fiance and their kids from friends, family, friends of family, and at like Anthony Weiner shared the backroom with us, munching on some point, even strangers. Who oddly enough needs a new name. salads and hopefully vegan sausages. I was eatcoughed up the dough. So here we are, with a ing pork and veal bockwurst with sauerkraut and genuine phenomenon on our hands. bier sauce. There were a couple of families in the When I first heard this so-called modern take main dining room, kids climbing all over the white oak benches, a on a German beer hall had opened in Midtown last year, I was foursome of businessmen in freshly pressed suits out on the deck, skeptical. Are you even allowed to use “German” and “beer hall” two of them smoking, and tattooed folks at the bar who looked in the same phrase? Would German tourists in skimpy bathing like they knew their way around it. suits be given free reign over Midtown?Would the Sacramento When Hargis presented Nutting with the LowBrau concept, he PD starting issuing DWGs, “Driving While German?” immediately fell for it. Mostly, though, meat was on my mind when I walked into LowBrau the first time a couple of months ago during happy hour.



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The German in me has an innate need to be stuffed with fine, quality sausage. The King of the Wurst is painted on the walls, silkscreened on the black t-shirts worn by the staff, printed on the menus, and I thought to myself, give me the best of your wurst. Specifically, bockwurst. I like them long, thick and white. LowBrau did not disappoint. This beauty came snug in the moist crevice of a warm sweet bun, its pale, exquisitely grilled skin peaking through a veil of sauerkraut and preternaturally orange bier cheese sauce. My hands trembled as I wrapped my lips around its warm circumference. I closed my eyes and stepped into the abyss. Bliss. The finely ground pork and veal was delicate, almost silky in texture, yet firm. The tangy bier sauce evoked images of romance novel covers; the sauerkraut, bitter tresses of a pagan blonde goddess, tasted of my German roots. I couldn’t leave the great white wiener alone for quite some time, but eventually you go out on a limb or wind up losing one. My first Polish sausage came as a Best of the Wurst special, what the kids these days call an “artisanal hot dog,” a tube of seasoned red pig meat stuffed in a sweet roll and enshrined with bacon cream cheese, shredded red romaine, sliced heirloom tomatoes, radish roots and house made pickles. It was impossible to eat without getting some on your face. A Sargasso Sea of fresh-herbed onions and hot peppers could not tame the wild boar sausage, nor could the wiener’s co-ingredients, sherry and sage. The very soul of this dearly departed hog seemed to squeal out to me from a chapter of Lord of the Flies. Just a hint of gamey. Defiant. Chewy till the end. King of the Wurst. ••• As any of LowBrau’s employees and even its owners can tell you, it’s not always easy being the king. It was astonishingly busy at LowBrau after the Second Saturday block party. Sausage, bacon and french fries popped, sizzled and spit in the cramped stainless steel kitchen. The outnumbered wait staff fearlessly held off the beer-swilling, sausage-gobbling horde that had descended upon them. For the men and women who work the meat behind the castle walls, it’s no wiener joke. LowBrau Sausage Meister Marshall Masa feels that pressure every day. Sacramento’s burgeoning demand for wieners shows no signs of waning. It’s his charge to keep the sausage pouring. Bratwurst is the most popular variety served at LowBrau, followed by wild boar. He’s got a lot of balls to juggle, and Masa has coped by reaching out to as many local purveyors as possible. But he’s frustrated, itching for Low-


SacAlternative | September 2013

Brau’s butcher block to open next door to the restaurant in the coming months. Then he’ll be able to make sausage out of anything he desires. Rabbits. Rattlesnakes. Roadkill. The butcher block will be right next door and open to the public. Masa and his fellow butchers, perhaps donning chains and studded black leather lederhosen, will demonstrate their unique meat-handling skills in front of a live audience. The entertainment options are limitless. Masa may be itching a little bit too much. “We’ve seen the sexy side of LowBrau,” Masa said. “It’s time to see the dark, seedy side. Big burly men with knives.” The real lowbrow. Before I had to massage the story and put all the wiener jokes back in, this is where the happy ending was. We know whose fault that is, and while we can still celebrate their success, we’d be remiss not to note that Hargis and Nutting have been placed in a purgatory of sorts. I’ve yet to meet either one of them when their cellies weren’t blowing up with calls, Facebook messages and emails. Or one or the other was pretending to understand the document the delivery guy was jamming in his face and asking him to sign. Who wants to live like that? Nutting does get to test and select the array of adult beverages on the LowBrau menu, a significant perk, as long as you’re high up on the liver transplant list. They don’t make any money off the shows. They probably don’t make any money off the restaurant. Is that highbrow or lowbrow? I don’t know. I just go for the wieners. v

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SacAlternative | September 2013


Launch Hits Sacramento


Lovelle Harris

Blast Off!


repare for an onslaught of music junkies, hipsters and bearded scenesters to descend upon Sacramento. The city is on the verge of joining the ranks of festival heavyweights like Coachella, South by Southwest and Lollapalooza, luring musicians and music-lovers from around the nation when Launch, the ultimate, live mixtape takes off Sept. 4. Back for its fifth annual celebration of all things creative in Sacramento, Launch has evolved from a one-day affair at the Greens Hotel in Del Paso Heights to a heady, five-day long celebration of the intersection of music, design and fashion. This year offers a stellar lineup of major acts, including indie/math rock darlings Minus the Bear, arena rock powerhouse Imagine Dragons, underground rap outfit Doomtree and the ever-evolving Blonde Redhead. Launch has also assembled a slew of local artists to participate in the five-day jamboree: Exquisite Corps, Paper Pistols, a reunited Mister Metaphor, Survival Guide; Shaun Lopez, Tera Melos, Frank Jordan, DLRN, Life in 24 Frames, Syncro, Doom-

SacAlternative | September 2013

bird and Shaun Slaughter will round out the Sacramento contingent. Representing the Bay Area are 8th Grader, Geographer, Wallpaper and Dredg. There will be plenty of music to go around. Venues like Marilyn’s on K, Ace of Spades, Assembly and Dive Bar will allow patrons rocking Launch wristbands free entry into events coinciding with the five-day festival. In addition, a half-dozen or so Midtown and Downtown restaurants are preparing special Launch menu items. To purchase tickets for any or all of the Launch events, visit their website at Music fans coming from the Bay Area can take the Launch party bus from San Francisco to Sacramento for $139. The Citizen Hotel is also offering a one-night stay for $249.

Girl Talk does a mean Iggy Pop imitation. Photo by Dove Shore

orbit with deejay sets by local mixmaster Shaun Slaughter and Penguin Prison. Live performances include San Francisco singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist 8th Grader, who infuses his distinct take on R&B with fresh elements birthed in the neo-soul movement, sybaritic vocals, AfroCuban polyrhythms, Rhodes piano, effects processing, synthed-out loops and samples. Minimalist indie-pop duo Emily Whitehurst and Jaycen Mckissick, otherwise known as Survival Guide, will unleash their lo-fi, basement-rock on the crowd while shoegazy-electro rockers The New Division are poised to send the audience into a music-induced swoon.

Reunited and it Feels

Dancing in the Streets So Good Wed. Sept. 4: Marrs Block Party, Marrs Retail Complex, 1050 20th St.

The multi-day production takes off with a free block party on the street lining the MARRS complex, rocketing into

Thurs. Sept. 5: Launch Party, Ace of Spades, 1417 R Street Ace of Spades hosts the Launch Party, and for those looking to recall the Sacramento alternative music scene of yore,


the gig features the reunion of two bands that, for many, left the scene far too soon. An Angle, which bid the scene adieu in 2008, will take the stage with their eclectic mix of classic rock, alternative, alt country and folk rock. Experimental rockers Mister Metaphor, hailed as one of the best technical bands in the area, join in the nostalgic stroll down music memory lane, resurrecting their brand of haunting lyricism, soaring vocals, jangling guitar riffs and relentless drum beats. Wallpaper, the art rock project out of Oakland fronted by producer and songwriter Ricky Reed—the alter-ego of self-proclaimed music fanatic Eric Frederic—will round out the night with scintillating, basethumping techno beats and a cheeky sense of humor. Those sporting Launch weekend passes get hooked up with the show for $10, while holdouts will have to shell out $20 to take in the ear-rattling occasion that kicks off at 7 p.m.

Rock the Runway

Friday Sept. 6: Launch Fashion Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I Street

FROCK LA makes sustainable fashion look great. Photo courtesy of FROCK LA


Friday at 7 p.m., the worlds of fashion and music collide as Launch Fashion hits the runway at Tsakopoulos Library Galleria. This year’s fashion show features a quartet of Los Angeles-based designers. They include NBC “Fashion Star” alums Ronnie Escalante and Johana Hernandez, the latter of whom will show her latest avant-garde stylings. Victoria Tik’s FROCK LA will display a line of luxurious, sustainable jerseys imbued with hues extracted from vivid vegetable dyes, as far removed from the eco-clothing cliché as you can get. Designer Adolfo Sanchez, who launched his eponymous ready-towear line for women in 2006 after cutting his design teeth with luminaries like Carolina Herrera, Versace and Gucci, will share the dais with San Francisco-based accessory designer Kate Knuvelder.


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The team in charge of glamming-up the models behind the scenes is Sacto-centric, with a crew of stylists and makeup artists from Spanish Fly Hair Garage. Since last year’s show sold out, fashionistas are warned to scoop up tickets early through the Launch website at launchsacramento. com. Ticket prices are $55 for general admission, $75 for VIP balcony access and $95 for VIP front-row seating.

In a widely anticipated performance, seminal San Diego punk-alternative legends Rocket From the Crypt, which disbanded in 2005, will reunite on the main stage. Capping off the night will be mashup/ digital sampling mastermind, Gregg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk. His electronic sounds, samples and often controversial mashup-style remixes are sure to trigger a frenzied dance party. Also be on look out for Syncro, Paper Pistols, Doombird, Exquisite Corps, Frank Jordan, Turquoise Jeep, Lemuria, Tera MeSaturday, Sept. 7, Launch Music los, Dredg, Grieves and DJ Greg J. Cesar Chavez Plaza, 910 I Street Single day tickets for $55 and full On Saturday night, Launch brings the weekend passes for $75 can be purchased at thunder from down under as newbie Austra- lian rockers Gold Fields hit the stage with a nebulous sound dripping with syncopated tempos, snappy hooks and funky grooves. Sunday, Sept. 8, Launch Music They are joined by fellow Aussies Van Cesar Chavez Plaza, 910 I Street She, a celebrated electro-pop quartet that draws inspiration from 70s krautrock, 80s On the final day of the festival there will post punk and 90s grunge. be blood. Surfer Blood, that is. This quartet Keeping with the mixtape vibe, singer, from West Palm Beach, FL are riding a rapper and spoken word artist Dessa will surging wave of success after their debut rebring her amalgamation of hushed vocals, as- lease and will help close out the party with a tute lyrics and formidable beats to the stage. sunny blend of surf rock and a dash of indie.

We Have Ignition

Out With a Bang

Drawing on their sect-inspired moniker, Cults blasted onto the music scene with their infamous Jonestown-inspired video, “Go Outside” in 2011. The duo’s blend of dream pop haze and ’60s-era inspired harmonies is bound to create a long line at the Kool-Aid stand. The Sacramento synth-fueled hip-hop act duo Sean LaMarr and Jon Reyes, also known as DLRN, have gained a loyal following with their lyrical prowess, melodic beats and synth undertones, and have been rewarded with a spot on the Launch main stage. Rounding out the must-see bands, Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino and twin brothers Amedeo and Simone Pace have generated a substantial buzz. Also setting off musical fireworks on stage are The Bell Boys, Life in 24 Frames, No, Geographer, P.O.S., Family of the Year, St, Lucia, Doomtree, Washed Out, Shaun Lopez, Minus the Bear and Imagine Dragons. Single day tickets for $55 and full weekend passes for $75 can be purchased at v


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Lost in Space Local Author Brings Astronaut Back to Earth The Infinite Tides

By Christian Kiefer (Paperback edition, Bloomsbury USA, $13.48)


his review proves that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, especially if it’s posted on Facebook. I don’t personally know local author Christian Kiefer, whose debut novel, The Infinite Tides, has received stellar reviews from national authors and critics. But I’ve been hearing his name around Sacramento for a long time. Former music critic for the Sacramento News & Review. Respected local singer/songwriter. An active poet. Writer, musician poet. Three genres that bring out the worst in our local armchair critics. He’s pretentious said one Facebook post. I tried to read it, said another post. Knowing the source of the comments, I took them for what they were, sour grapes, and made Facebook friends with Kiefer, who was happy to send me the recently released paperback edition of the novel. I’m glad he did, because The Infinite Tides is one of the most endearing books I’ve read in quite some time. The main character is Keith Corcoran, a math prodigy who since grade school has been pursuing a singular goal: to become an astronaut. The novel begins with Corcoran achieving that goal as he arrives via

SacAlternative | September 2013

the space shuttle at the International Space Station, orbiting 230 miles above the earth’s surface. His mission is to install a new robotic arm on the space station, which requires extravehicular activity, a spacewalk. While installing the new arm, he marvels at the math equations that have created the ISS, right down to every rivet. Corcoran is a man who is literally riveted together by the numbers, and as he attaches the new robotic arm, he feels that he is fulfilling the destiny the numbers have plotted for him. But then something quite extraordinary happens. While testing the new robotic arm, he is carried above the station, so that the only thing in his field of vision is the infinite blackness of of outer space. As he stares into the void, the numbers that have held his own universe together for his entire adult life melt away. It’s only for a moment, but during that moment, he brushes up against the nothingness of existence. As philosopher Jean Paul Sartre once noted, nothingness lies coiled within being like a worm. Corcoran is in no need of such metaphors. He has touched nothingness himself, and it will forever change him.

As soon as Corcoran returns to the ISS, he learns from ground control that his family is falling apart. During all his years of preparation, he has believed that his wife and daughter have supported his mission in life, to become an astronaut. He doesn’t understand that during that time, they’ve followed their own individual equations, becoming planets in themselves, the orbits of which have rarely intersected with his own, by his own design. Worst of all, the mathematical genius cannot fathom their equations. Kiefer sets all of this up within the first 100 pages of the novel, which is set in an unnamed suburban sprawl that sounds a lot like Sacramento. As a critic, it’s impossible to give any more details away without issuing a spoiler alert, other than to say the author meets the goals established by John Gardener in On Moral Fiction. Gardener and his most famous Chico State University student, Raymond Carver, are perhaps the two most important literary figures to come out of northern California. With The Infinite Tides, a rare novel of ideas, Christian Kiefer promises to become the third. v


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Art of Glass


Steph Rodriguez

Welcome to the Molten Hot World of Sacramento Glassblower René Steinke


hot-orange glow emanates from the depths of a 2,100 degree furnace. A man reaches into the forge with a long metal rod called a blow pipe and carefully gathers up what looks like a glob of molten lava. He manipulates the ball of liquified glass on the end of the tool, then walks the piece over to a second sweltering furnace. He inserts it into the forge’s opening, known as a glory hole. The glass is now ready to be blown into a one-of-a-kind vase. René Steinke has a way with glass. He first became interested in the medium on a trip to the fair with his folks as a child. He apprenticed under a local glassblower at the age of 17, and went on to study at the Corning School of Glass, in Corning, N.Y., where he learned from masters of glass such as William Gudenrath, a renown scholar of historical hot glassworking techniques. Today, Steinke morphs glass pieces into works of art at Sacramento Art Glass, a large warehouse space located on Sutterville Road. It’s his ultimate glass-blowing safe haven. He spent months customizing

SacAlternative | September 2013

“Fire Rainbow,” public installation by Mark

the studio space into an ideal work environ- Abildgaard and René Steinke, on display at the ment he often occupies well into the night. Mary L. Stephens Branch Library in Davis. Photo by Mark Abildgaard “I have ADD pretty bad and it’s hard to get me to focus on a single activity for more the dogs announces the arrival of Scotty than 20 minutes at a time,” Steinke says. Bender, a friend and tattoo artist at Back“Glass blowing seems to be challenging door Tattoo Studio. He greets Joyce and the enough and channeling enough that it’s acnow-awakened Max. tually the one thing I get to focus all of my Bender sees Steinke slowly rotating the energy and all my mind on. It’s a form of meditation for me and it’s also a very physi- blow pipe inside the glory hole, and jumps in to assist. It’s obviously not his first time. cal activity so I’m able to stay in shape.” He grabs a punty, a solid rod used to add In the lobby, dozens of Steinke’s oblong-shaped pieces sit on display behind additional glass to working pieces, and adds glass; a short hallway’s walls are garnished a foot to the vase, now freckled with color. with dozens of paintings and wooden piec- Later in the process Bender flattens the base es of art crafted by various creative friends. with a dampened, wooden paddle while Steinke holds the vase attached to the pipe. Near a corrugated rollup door three shop “We rely on friends a lot; they get paid in dogs lie about lazily on the cool cement. smiles and beer,” says Joyce, watching the The buzz from several fans necessary to keep the warehouse habitable are drowned two men walk from furnace to furnace. “It’s a skilled dance they do to keep everything out by a mix of ’90s hip-hop and rock ’n’ roll booming from a pair of shop speakers. one temperature so [the glass] doesn’t crack.” All the tools and machinery Rene Neelie Joyce, his partner of seven years, uses to create his glass pieces were built and their 8-month-old son Max, have at the Horse Cow, a collective art space joined him at work today. Joyce quietly that ultimately shut down in 2009. A paints wooden signs at a table while Max weathered-looking hood hangs over his sleeps in a playpen. The light barking of


work area, crafted with recycled metals and eccentric, rusted décor found lying around the now vacant location. The words “Horse Cow” fabricated in metal brand this piece of memorabilia at its center. Heat waves emit from the vase as colors are added. Speckled yellows, oranges and reds blend into cold blues and eventually morph into deep purples. The colors are added layer by layer from material called frit, small pieces of glass ranging in size from tiny pebbles to granulated dust. Several trays rest on a stainless steel table separated by color: deep red and white bits, a pile of clear and lightyellow specs. Then there’s the finer, rust-colored dust. A white banner screams “Now Firing” in bold, red letters from one René Steinke at work. wall of the hot studio space. Steinke Photo by Mark Abildgaard now sits at a bench exhaling into the heated pipe as if he’s inflating a balloon. Gradually, the vase’s shape expands vase is placed in a special refrigerator for as he smooths it out with a thick, wet cloth. up to 14 hours. “Glass blowing is a wonderful activity Eventually, he’s satisfied with it, and the and it’s incredibly challenging every day,”

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Steinke says after completing the vase. “It’s been 16 years now that I’ve been blowing glass and every day is a new challenge and a new adrenaline rush to figure out what that glass is doing and how I’m supposed to make it into what I want it to be.” Steinke and fellow glass artist Blaine Vargo are set to display their work at the Crocker Art Museum in February 2014. Well-known glasscasting artist Mark Abildgaard tapped Steinke to help with “Fire Rainbow,” a public art installation comprised of 35 tear-dropped-shaped objects descending from the ceiling of the Mary L. Stephens Branch Library in Davis. In September, Steinke will begin holding monthly glass blowing demonstrations during Second Saturday events. He also teaches classes that are open to the public. In Steinke’s world, “Everyone can blow glass.” v Sacramento Art Glass 2500 Sutterville Rd. 916.216.9817

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Aug. 24, Doors 6:30 pm Show 7:30 pm Red Lion Woodlake Inn 500 Leisure Lane Sacramento Tickets: $35.00-$79.00 at or at door.

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It’s back to the future night as Buddy Guy, 77, and his wunderkind protégé 14-year-old Quinn Sullivan play the cozy Red Lion Woodlake Inn. Along with B.B. King one of the last surviving Chicago Blues legends, Guy mades his bones as a session player in the recording studio, backing up the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Little Walter in the 1950s. On stage and in his solo career, Guy is known for a dynamic style of playing that travels well outside the bounds of the Chicago sound. He is perhaps more popular now than he was in the 1960s, and Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck have cited him as one of their biggest influences. With multiple Grammys, countless hours of studio work and 67 album releases this bluesman is still far from hanging it up. Sullivan, an amazingly talented young slinger Guy has taken under wing the past several years, has the chops of a young Joe Bonamassa. We’ll see if the little whippersnapper can keep up with the old man.

—Skip Jones

When it comes to heavy metal music, no band has its talons sunk deeper than Black Sabbath. When they debuted in 1970, Sabbath wasn’t all happy and shit, finding inspiration in the horrors of war, death and duplicitous government propaganda. Natives of Birmingham, England, an industrial wasteland filled with downtrodden, overworked citizens beaten down by WWII, Sabbath were an instantly controversial, combining pagan and medieval symbolism, sinister lyrics and eerie minor chords to forge the sound that defines heavy metal to this day. Now the boys are back, or at least three out of four of them: bassist Geezer Butler, guitarist Tony Iommi and Osbourne. The release of “13” marks the original lineup’s first album together since 1978’s “Never Say Die” and the first No. 1 debut in the band’s 45-year history. Original drummer Bill Ward is missing in action, but Ozzy solo band drummer Tommy Clufetos is more than up to the task.

—Skip Jones

Sept. 13-15 David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Hot Buttered Rum and more | Camping Lotus, outside Placerville Info:www.american If you’re into folk, bluegrass, jam, or Americana, then the 7th annual American River Music Festival has something for you. This year’s festival is ramping up to be a stringedinstrument lover’s delight, with performances by the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Hot Buttered Rum, New Monsoon, Paul Thorn, Sean Hayes, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Poor man’s Poison, Dead winter Carpenters, Trevor Green, Nell Robinson and Jim Nunally, The Evie Ladin Band, Willie Ames, Melody Walker w/ Jacob Groopman, Andra Suchy, Achilles Wheel Duo, Poor Old Shine, The McCoy Tyler Band and the Rayburn Brothers. Lotus is a river town nestled in the shallow foothills outside of Placerville, about 46 miles east from Sacramento. The south fork of the American River runs right through the area and offers some of the best camping you’ll ever see at a festival. RV spots and tent cabins are all full at this time, but tent camping spots are still available. Tickets for performances on Saturday, Sunday or both are also available.

Check your local listings The summer’s biggest blockbuster? Superman? World War Z? The Lone Ranger? Wrong, Kemosabe. It’s Sharknado, which may have supplanted Plan 9 From Outer Space as the worst film ever made. SyFy created this made-for-cable catastrophe which critics immediately hailed as a repudiation of the Hollywood aesthetic. Of any aesthetic, in fact. No film in history has required so much suspension of disbelief, the major one being sharks can’t breathe air. Well, maybe they can if they’ve been sucked up out of the sea by a hurricane off the Los Angeles coast and deposited on Venice Beach in all their gnashing fury. Tension in the film builds as one wonders, “This is called Sharknado, where’s the god damned tornado?” You’ll be sorry you asked. Featuring a cast of virtual unknowns, CGI created by unpaid interns and more severed limbs than Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its many sequels combined, Sharknado reminds us all that SyFy, even after flops like Ghost Shark and Sharktopus, still hasn’t learned its lesson. The best news? Sharknado is an internet sensation, and SyFy is rerunning it in high rotation. Don’t miss it.

—R.V. Scheide

—Skip Jones


SacAlternative | August 2013

Hyphy Night IAMSU! Sept. 21, 7 pm Ace of Spades 1417 R Street, Sacramento Tickets $21.95 available at Ace of Spades, Dimple Records and Armadillo Music When MTV dropped its annual list of the rap scene’s 10 hottest MCs (yes, apparently the network still promotes music amid its grating lineup of troubled teen mothers and spoiled sweet sixteen brats), SPIN magazine countered with its own list of the “real” 10 hottest MCs in the game, perhaps to help keep the network on its toes. Rounding out the top 10 was Richmond’s own IAMSU!, born Sudan Ahmeer Williams, whose effortless flow and trunk-bumping beats have a vibe that draws heavily from the Bay Area’s hyphy movement. Stylistically, he embraces mellifluous elements and even sings on several tracks, but much of his music, which he produces with his crew, The Invasion, follows a simple arrangement—austere yet adrenalized lyricism. The California State, East Bay communications major brings his lyrical prowess to Ace of Spades with Kool John, Jay Ant and Playah K. Handpicked by Bay Area rap legend E-40 to appear on the track “Function,” IAMSU! has the lyrical chops to ascend from the ranks of indie rap darling to legitimate rap star.

—Lovelle Harris

Grab Your Hoes Lights, Camera, Action! Grow Your Own Groceries

Sept. 7, 11 am - 1 pm Sept. 11, 6 pm - 8 pm Soil Born Farms American River Ranch 2140 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova (916)252-6695 It’s never too late to dig up your overalls, dust off that vintage copy of the Old Farmer’s Almanac and plow into the world’s second oldest profession, farming. To that end, Soil Born Farms is helping budding urban growers cultivate their inner agrarian by hosting an open house with an introduction to its Grow Your Own Groceries program. The free event will showcase the passion and talents of the Soil Born American River Ranch staff and current student farmers with a tour of the farm, an introductory class on soil science with founder and director Shawn Harrison and tasty dishes made from farm fresh ingredients. The Grow Your Own Groceries program, which costs $40, leads blossoming farmers through a hands-on agricultural experience via workshops on horticultural sustainability, maximizing vegetation output in modest growing spaces, pest control, plant cultivation, irrigation tactics and more. Training is provided on-site training from experienced instructors well-versed in the language of organic agriculture and farm management. So, grab your hoes and dig in.

—Lovelle Harris

Sacramento Film & Music Festival Sept. 11-15 The Crest Theatre 1013 K Street, Sacramento Ticket prices TBA, The Sacramento Film & Music Festival returns to the historic Crest Theatre for its 14th year. The curtain parts Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. with an opening night reception, presentation of the Film Arts Service Award and a showing of Stolen Moments, a narrative feature by Elizabeth Nunziato. Thursday and Friday’s programs begin at 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday begin at 11:30 a.m. A wide variety of independent documentary and narrative films will be shown, including the work of many local filmmakers. For future movie moguls the festival features contests including the Sac Music Seen, where student filmmakers shoot, edit and submit original music videos highlighting various musicians in town. Another staple is the 10x10 Filmmaker Challenge, a limited-time guerilla-style filmmaking program where filmmakers receive 10 days to create a 10-minute film with specific required elements like props, lines of dialogue, film production and styles. The Capitol Indie Collective Fashion Challenge takes place Friday night. This challenge gives local designers and students a limited time to create garments under a secret, specific theme. For more information, go to the website.

HotStuff Fork to Face Farm to Fork Restaurant Week Sept. 21-29 Various Sacramento restaurants Sacramento isn’t deemed the Farm to Fork capital for no reason, and, tis the season once again to encourage everyone to eat local, as local chefs showcase our region’s vast agricultural bounty during Farm to Fork Restaurant Week. Participating restaurants include Sienna, Broderick Restaurant & Bar, Lucca Restaurant & Bar, Roxy Restaurant & Bar, Grange Restaurant & Bar, Chops Seafood & Bar, Magpie Cafe, Papa Dales, Dos Coyotes, Fat’s Family of Restaurants, Il Fornaio, Chicago Fire, Seasons 52, de Vere’s Irish Pub, Thunder Valley Casino Resort, High Steaks and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Offerings include everything from ingredient-focused specials, local wine-pairings with tasty bites, three-course farm-inspired prix fixe menus, and a variety of drink and food promotions throughout the week. Local wines from Yolo to Amador County will be highlighted. An activity highly encouraged by chefs and organizers alike is to visit any of the Fork to Farm participating farms for a tour of the grounds. Find out first-hand where your vegetables are coming from. For more information on tours, events and specials visit

—Steph Rodriguez

—Steph Rodriguez

SacAlternative | August 2013


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Rachel Monet

Someone Needs a Hug over-sexed & under-touched Sex. It’s everywhere! Apparently everyone is getting some … except

maybe you. Perhaps that new sexy body spray is in order. If only you purchased the right beer. Or automobile. Sex sells, especially if you’re a man. That’s why adult entertainment is the internet’s most lucrative industry. Sex, sex, sex. Put all that sex on top of raging hormones that afflict men from ages 16 to 35 and then plunk them down in front of a computer screen and voila.You have just created an over-sexed and most likely under-touched young man (unless, Want to hook of course, he’s touching himself). Humans have an overwhelming need to up with a hot touch others and be touched. From babies babe or guy in the neonatal care unit to the elderly, we and have some all need touch to thrive. There is an energy exchange that happens in that microsex, knock out moment of connection that is absolutely an orgasm, no essential for our growth and health. That connection includes eye contact and any strings attached? other casual physical contact. Whether it’s a No problem. handshake, a hug, simply touching legs sitting next to each other or a palm on the back, it’s all the same as long as it’s done with kind intentions. It’s the positivity of that touch that influences our emotions and gives us that momentary happy feeling. That’s the true definition of love according to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Fredrickson, who conducts research in emotions and positive psychology, is a Kenan Distinguished professor at UNC. Need to know more? She discusses her latest book, LOVE 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotions Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do and Become on YouTube. It’s a short video and worth exploring. Casual physical exchanges were more prevalent four decades ago. Back in the day, I think we did get more touching in the way of affection and being in close proximity to others. Causal touching and contact with our peers and family members in daily life was normal, and as it turns out, healthy and necessary for emotional growth. But since then, much of the opportunity for casual touch has been lost due to modern

SacAlternative | September 2013

technology. We’re virtually connected to more people than any time in our history. At the same time, we’re more physically isolated than ever before. We can communicate with friends halfway around the world, but we can’t touch them. Our attitudes about sex are informed by a constant barrage of sexualized media content. The song is not the same. When The Door’s Jim Morrison crooned “Touch Me” in 1969, he was speaking as much to the soul as the body: “Come on, come on, come on, come on/ Now touch me, baby/ Can’t you see I am not afraid?” Compare that to Flo Rida’s original version “Touch Me” released in 2009 and featuring lyrics influenced by today’s over-sexualized culture including, “She’s a dog so I let her be Snoopy/ Round of applause let it drop like a oozie.” When we think our need to be touched isn’t being met, it’s easy to sexualize those thoughts. Today, it’s even easier to act on those thoughts. Want to hook up with a hot babe or guy and have some sex, knock out an orgasm, no strings attached? No problem. Craigslist makes finding a hookup rather easy if one is so inclined to take those kinds of risks. For those flying solo, the Internet provides unlimited, free access to view sex acts and feed our fantasies. Pleasuring one’s self has its virtues, in moderation. But seeking orgasm to meet our need to be touched is ultimately unsatisfying. Our emotional need to physically connect with people isn’t met. In fact, casual sex with multiple partners can lead to empty, lonely feelings after each tryst since the need for genuine touch isn’t satisfied. The behavior may be repeated and can lead to sex addiction. My advice? Step away from the computer and put the phone down. Learn how to connect in real time with real people. Reach out and touch someone. It costs nothing to talk, smile, and exchange a hug. The payback will be greater than you expected. v










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