Page 1

Mandela, apartheid and davis see News, page 11 see Editor’s Note, page 3

Merry bookMas

see Arts&Culture, page 20

S a c r a men t o i s p o i s e d t o e l e c t i ts f i r s t n e w d i s tr i c t a tto r n ey i n tw o d ec a d es . Maggy Krell p r o m i s e s a n e w a p p r o a c h — n o t j u s t th r o w i n g e v er y o n e i n j a i l .

LAW&REORDER b y N ic k M i l l er | p a g e 16

Child proteCtive serviCes ride along see News, page 9

old-folks’ hoMe party! see Scene&Heard, page 21

Sacramento’S newS & entertainment weekly

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35

Mandela This past Monday night, after an evening of wintertime cheer—which included donning a Santa suit at The Golden Bear’s annual Hot Toddy Competition and canned-food drive—I did what any good holiday punchdrunk Sacramentan might: I passed out on the couch. Later, on Tuesday morning, I awoke to the TV buzzing in the dark. On it was the tribute to Nelson Mandela. Nearly 100,000 people, including everyday South Africans, a few U.S. presidents and even one South African president who served during the apartheid era, showed up to celebrate Mandela’s life. Attendees at the soccer stadium stomped their feet and embraced the rain. Quite moving, it was. I don’t recall being taught much about Mandela in K-12 school. I now know more about the man’s unconventional leadership and history. Such as: He was an atheist, he unequivocally supported unions and he was on the United States’ terrorist watch list until age 89. And he impacted change right here in the Sacramento area. For example, in this week’s News section, Davis-area resident Dave Webb looks back to 1978, when the small burg west of Sacramento passed the nation’s first divestment in apartheid South Africa (see page 11). As Webb notes, the vote was merely a gesture—but how that must have resonated thousands of miles away in Johannesburg. Had Mandela actually spent time here in the River City, he would have observed our overcrowded prisons and how nonviolent, nondangerous offenders go to jail for years, even decades. This week’s cover story explores who gets locked up and why through the lens of district attorney candidate Maggy Krell (see page 16). Krell is a promising candidate with new insight on what the city should be doing differently. Surely, Mandela would’ve had a lot to say, too.

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The guy I am seeing right now was trying to end it. We had gone to San Diego, and we were on our way back to Sacramento. I knew I wanted to be with him. The both of us started drinking, and we got kicked out of San Diego [International] Airport coming home. I wanted to impress him. I was like, “Hey, I can be bad, too!”

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I gave a [Hershey’s Kisses chocolate] to a crush of mine because I really wanted a kiss. I never did get the nerve to ask him. Years later, I was much braver, and I would ask up front what I wanted. If I wanted to go on a date, I went ahead and asked if he would meet me for breakfast.

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I stayed out with my then-boyfriend and drank with him all night long and then went to work the next day. I stayed up all night with him to show him I could keep up. Was he impressed? He is my husband now. It worked.

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building a

HealtHy S a c r a m e n t o

Girls leading the Way by a l i b r i m h a l l

C

ardboard pizza, mystery meat and questionable freshness. If you’ve had lunch from a school cafeteria, chances are that these are familiar complaints. More than just an annoyance, however, these sub-par school lunches can have a serious impact on students’ health and development. And a group of bright young women in South Sacramento plan to do something about it. Recently, eight of these girls gathered around a table, calling out suggestions for words to include in a mission statement written on a whiteboard at the end of the room. They are the first participants of Girls on the Rise, a yearlong mentorship program funded by The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities grant, in affiliation with the Center for Community Health and Well Being. Once a month, these girls have dedicated an evening after school to making their neighborhood a safer, healthier place. While mentors are always present for guidance at the meetings, adults take a backseat to the younger generation. “Girls on the Rise is focused on improving our own community, not through someone else,” says Jaelyn Singleton, a 15-year-old attending C.K. McClatchy High School. This autonomy helps the program’s young women gain self confidence and seek out solutions on their own. At the end of the year, they will use the skills they have acquired to

organize a conference for their peers, modeled after the annual Boys and Young Men of Color conference, with speakers and activities that the young women have selected. “[This group] gives them the skills and

“THErE IS nOTHIng mOrE pOwErful THan a yOung wOman’S vOICE.” Shannon read, program manager of girls on the rise

Girls on the Rise crafted a mission statement that clearly defined goals for the program: “To improve South Sacramento’s health and safety through youth engagement, volunteering and advocacy.” Their bright enthusiasm as they discussed what they had accomplished that evening made it clear that they will work hard to make this mission a reality — beginning with the food on their lunch tables, and onward to endless possibilities.

support they need to have their voices heard,” says program manager Shannon Read. “There is nothing more powerful than a young woman’s voice.”

BuIldIng HEalTHy COmmunITIES In 2010, The California Endowment launched a 10-year, $1 billion plan to improve the health of 14 challenged communities across the state. Over the 10 years, residents, community-based organizations and public institutions will work together to address the socioeconomic and environmental challenges contributing to the poor health of their communities. girls on the rise gives young women like Jaelyn Singleton (seen here with program manager Shannon read) the skills they need to make a difference in their community. photo by Tara patrick

The program kicked off in August with a two-day summit at Sacramento State, filled with group activities intended to foster a spirit of cooperation. At subsequent meetings, the girls began research into problems they had observed in their community, narrowed these issues down to three and took it to a vote. They decided to focus on improving school lunches, which the girls have observed to be unhealthy and overprocessed. They share a concern for the high number of students on the free or reduced-price lunch program, whose health may suffer due to the poor quality of food being served to them. At November’s meeting, the young women of

your ZiP code shouldn’t predict how long you’ll live – but it does. Staying healthy requires much more than doctors and diets. Every day, our surroundings and activities affect how long – and how well – we’ll live. Health Happens in neighborhoods. Health Happens in Schools. Health Happens with prevention.

paid with a grant from the california endowment 6 

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www.SacBHC.org


Email your letters to sactoletters@newsreview.com.

‘Sex work’ never black and white

Almonds, you say

Re “Desperately seeking justice” by Raheem F. Hosseini and Scott Thomas Anderson (SN&R Feature Story, December 5): I get it—ironic title, hip writing, reveal a perp, reveal a victim, make a point, feel good about your selectively moral stance, move on. On a general, generic human level, of course, compassion and justice is in order for anyone letter of getting beat up or the week raped. However, isn’t the illegality of “sex work” a valid point? What if a bookie gets assaulted trying to collect an illegal debt? What if a robber gets assaulted by his partner in crime? Do such individuals also justly lay claim to compassion and compensation for bad things that occurred to them in the carrying out of their illegal deeds? If Savannah had not been attacked, could she have ever been arrested for her “sex work”? Is it ever so black and white? Tom Rupp

v i a em ai l

BEFORE

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NEWS

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Re “25 objects that define Sacramento” (SN&R Feature Story, November 27): Shouldn’t your list include almonds, since the world’s largest almond-processing plant has been operating for over 100 years with its home office and main plant on 18th and C streets? Jay Sessions Rocklin

Stop whining about McKinley Village Re “Here comes the (newest Sacramento) neighborhood” by Nick Miller (SN&R News, November 27): Oh, come on, the neighborhood associations are sure sounding a lot like the “not in my backyard” crowd. Regardless of where in the city infill occurs, as city residents, we are all impacted by thoughtless, short-term planning. Unless we aren’t getting the full story, this sounds like a housing-only infill project. Isn’t the prevailing environmental and socially conscious stand currently pro-infill and anti-sprawl? In Curtis Park, we’ve had to swallow deforestation, traffic from hell, a city crew that deems everything “not significant,” and commercial retail

F E AT U R E

STORY

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as well as low-income housing. While I agree that we need to be active watchdogs on these infill projects in which the city puts a price tag on everything, smart infill is the way to go. H. Egan via email

McKinley Village bad Re “Here comes the (newest Sacramento) neighborhood” by Nick Miller (SN&R News, November 27): The problem with developing the McKinley Village parcel has always been poor access. It is a piece of land that was created 59 years ago, before thoughtful planners were around. It currently has only one access point, which is a utility bridge crossing Business 80. Phil Angelides’ solution is to only go with two access points, one at A Street and another at 40th Street. This project needs a third access point at Alhambra Boulevard, which is close to schools, grocery stores, businesses, freeways and other food options. If were going to do this project, let’s do it right! Michael Murphy Sacramento

A RT S & C U LT U R E

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Barnes no Pauline Kael Re “Flippin’ the bird” by Daniel Barnes and Jim Lane (SN&R Arts&Culture, November 27): As a true cinephile and Hollywood hater, I excitedly flipped to see what those big-money producers foisted on the public this past year. I scanned the titles of movies I’d rightfully never heard of, only to come upon World War Z? Really? Clearly, Daniel Barnes had his 10-gallon holier-than-thou hat on for that one. Yet his review was more threadbare than any of the plots he wrote about. His line, “Brad Pitt pouts and broods ... for unknown reasons” is a cop out. So-and-so “brooding” has become movie reviewer code for “I can’t think of anything legitimate to write.” I agree that the ending is clearly set for sequel, lending to its ambiguity and anticlimax. But, as a whole, Z is entertaining and far too fast-paced for any “brooding.” … But his strangest comment by far was “awful special effects.” No unbiased viewer would agree with that. The movie must’ve used hundreds of extras, combined with CGI, to produce the greatest mass-humanity chase scenes you’ve ever seen. In fact, it is these displays which keep Z from being just another run-of-the-mill zombie-chase flick. Z is no M, but Barnes is no Pauline Kael, either. Chris Ewing Carmichael

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@SacNewsReview

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On Mandela and Davis See NEWS

See CAPITOL LOWDOWN

12

High-speed, slow going See EDITORIAL

15

Debunking CPS

PHOTO BY LOVELLE HARRIS

11

Government’s shopping list

A ride along with Child  Protective Services  pulls the curtain back  on the Sacramento  agency with a scary  reputation In the creaky apartment of a young couple addicted to heroin, an employee of Sacramento by County’s most feared agency makes herself Raheem comfortable. F. Hosseini Christina Juarez settles into a sofa and lays out a thicket of paperwork for the r a h eemh@ newsr eview.c om two new, nervous parents to sign. The bilingual social worker is a veteran of Child Protective Services, that murky agency that rips families apart and lets abused kids die tragic, avoidable deaths—or, at least that’s the demoralizing rap CPS has wrestled with over the past five years, thanks to highprofile child-abuse homicides and resulting political scrutiny. In 2008, a spike in child deaths brought scathing reviews from the Sacramento County Grand Jury and consulting firm MGT of America Inc. As a result, the division underwent a massive overhaul and hitched itself to an improvement plan, updates of which CPS officials have presented to county supervisors since 2009. “I think it’s accurate to say that CPS is no longer an agency in crisis,” health and human-services director Sherri Heller recently told supervisors. According to the biannual progress report presented in October, 1,120 children were removed from their homes between April 2012 and March 2013. That means removals happened in 9.6 percent of the cases investigated—11,613 in total. That figure represents a steady, 50 percent decline since about 2006, and one of several areas of improvement internally, CPS officials told SN&R. “Our [removal] numbers used to be really high,” acknowledged division manager Kim Pearson. Sacramento’s foster-care system shed more than 2,600 children between 2002 and 2012, according to national data, giving it the ninth-largest reduction in the country. Rather than going straight into foster care, families are being plunged into other services that keep them intact. Which is important, said Shahera Hyatt, director of the California Homeless Youth Project, because children who remain at home do substantially better than those who don’t. CPS officials agree. BEFORE

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  NEWS

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Veteran social worker Dianne M. Roenicke runs the decision-making team at Sacramento County Child Protective Services. The agency has reduced foster-care entries by more than 50 percent since 2006.

“We do not make good parents,” Pearson said. Removing a child from home, she added, is the “most invasive thing you can do.”

with that experience were booked. She tried The Child Abuse Prevention Center kicking the habit at a methadone clinic, but president Sheila Boxley would like to see the counselors never had time for her, and more resources for the thousands of famieventually, she slipped. lies in need who don’t rise to the level of an Her insurance-lacking husband never official investigation, but will without help. Which brings us back to Fair Oaks, where got the opportunity to be turned away. The local CPS hotline averages a 2-week-old girl sleeps in a portable crib Now, CPS is in their lives, advising more than 4,200 calls a month. Hotline at the feet of her drug-addicted parents. them to get clean or risk losing their manager Wendy Christian said the three A pink headband orbiting her tiny crown, newborn. The couple is grateful for the highest risk factors for child abuse are she is blissfully unaware of the systemic intervention. domestic violence, mental-health issues and blockades that almost hijacked her entry “It’s devastating that help is just not substance abuse, and they typically overlap. into this world. available,” the woman said. Oftentimes, social workers are knocking “You almost have to be in CPS to get on doors with little to no information about access to the programs,” nodded Juarez, what they may encounter inside. And confirming the hard reality. sometimes, cops are knocking. “We do not make The agreement Juarez presents allows Law enforcement handled eight good parents.” the couple to enter what’s called Early child-welfare related investigations in Intervention Family Drug Court, an the central city and at least five more in Kim Pearson informal supervision program that provides the unincorporated county last month. division manager immediate access to drug treatment. The On November 17, five children, ages 6 Child Protective Services program is voluntary, but the courts can through 14, were removed from a hotel intervene if the results are negative. room on the 7700 block of Stockton Two weeks earlier, her mother tested Juarez predicts a minimum of six Boulevard when their parents couldn’t be positive for opiates after giving birth at a months in the program, but that could located, Sacramento Police Department nearby hospital. The newborn didn’t, but change depending on the couple’s progress. logs show. Two weeks earlier, social the situation was tenuous enough to require While the parents get treatment, their workers removed kids from a home on immediate response. At the hospital, Juarez daughter will remain in the care of her the 3000 block of Gardendale Road after found the parents amenable to treatment. maternal grandmother, who absorbed the officers arrested their 38-year-old mother More than willing, in fact—desperate. information with a concerned frown. Juarez for child endangerment and resisting a “It’s kind of sad that it got to this point, wanted to let the parents retain custody, peace officer. because we’ve been seeking help for so but a dirty drug test days ago made that But that’s not the story on this long,” the young woman said, folding her impossible. tinder-dry autumn day. As Juarez steers a legs onto a leather sofa beside her husband. “We do not want to put the baby in county-owned Prius onto a knotted North “We didn’t want to deal with CPS. I mean, custody,” she told them. “That is our last Highlands thoroughfare back toward no one does.” resort.” headquarters, she allows herself a glimmer Before CPS caught wind of the couple’s “No, you’ve been great. It’s not your of hope about one of the five cases she’ll troubles, the 24-year-old mother said she fault—obviously,” the mother consoled. handle this week. was bounced from one unwilling doctor to Not all cases are this easy. While “I believe them,” she reflected. “I may another. Even though she had health insurCPS has notched across-the-board be fooled, … [but] I think they’re an ideal ance, medical practitioners turned her away improvements over the past few years, case to give it a chance.” Ω because they lacked experience treating timely responses lag behind both state heroin addiction, she said. The few doctors and national norms.   F E A T U R E S T O R Y   |    A R T S & C U L T U R E     |    A F T E R   |    12.12.13     |   SN&R     |   9


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Barbara Collins of Placerville and some of her co-workers walked off their Wal-Mart jobs during a strike this past May. The retailer fired her and other strikers, but now they may catch by Seth a break from Uncle Sam. Sandronsky Last month, the National Labor Relations Board general counsel released a statement that Wal-Mart stores in California and a dozen other states “unlawfully threatened, disciplined, and/or terminated employees for having engaged in legally protected strikes and protests.” The general counsel did not, however, approve the “merit” of all workers’ beefs against Wal-Mart, from the 2012 Black Friday protests to this year’s most recent shopping-day actions. Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg called the statement by NLRB, an independent government agency, “one of many procedural steps in this process.” A source with the NLRB, which protects private-sector workers’ right to protest, expects the next step of issuing a complaint “soon,” if the sides can’t reach a settlement. In that event, “It is a battle, and we the NLRB would issue a complaint for an administrative-law judge to are winning. ” hear the case. In the meantime, the feds Barbara Collins movement on Wal-Mart’s alleged terminated Wal-Mart employee and activist violations has empowered Meiasha Bradley, 26, of Sacramento. “I feel more protected now,” she said, “knowing that Wal-Mart wrongfully terminated striking workers.” An hourly Wal-Mart employee, or “associate,” at the Florin Road store for two years, Bradley and three of her co-workers walked off the job in a one-day strike protesting unfair labor practices on November 23, in hopes to improve what she alleges are lousy work conditions. Bradley spoke out publicly during this year’s Black Friday protest at the Roseville Wal-Mart against its alleged “bullying tactics” of intimidating employees into silence when they question workplace policies. Collins, 37, who has been employed by Wal-Mart for eight years, was one of 15 protesters that Roseville police arrested at this year’s Black Friday, after a sit-down action in an intersection. Collins and Bradley are members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart, a group of dissident workers that formed in June 2011, with members across 46 states in 700 stores. The United Food and Commercial Workers labor union supports OUR Walmart. Why? The union has been witnessing its members at local Raley’s and Save Mart Supermarket stores facing pressure for wage and benefit concessions as the nonunion Wal-Marts grow. Meanwhile, Collins, who gets jobless benefits now, wants her full-time job back, with employer-provided health care. “It is a battle, and we are winning,” she said. “We want Wal-Mart to listen to our demands to improve the company.” Such improvement may be in the eye of the beholder. “There hasn’t been a single NLRB decision against Wal-Mart in the last five years,” Lundberg said. “That’s because we take our obligations on these matters very seriously.” “Serious” also describes Wal-Mart’s wealth. For 2013’s third quarter, the company reported profit of $3.73 billion from ongoing business, up 2.8 percent from a year earlier.Ω


The city of Davis and Nelson Mandela

BEATS

Capitol Avenue freeze-out

A writer recalls how the burg became the first   municipality in America to divest in apartheid South Africa In March 1978, by a vote of the people, the city of Davis divested its money from apartheid South Africa. It was the by very first such municipal referenDave Webb dum in the country, and it was far from the last. As remembrances of Nelson Mandela swirled last week, a vote in Davis scarcely towers: The struggle in South Africa was life and death. In Davis in 1978, Measure A was a gesture, a comment. That’s all. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVE WEBB

But it mattered. For me, it offered this: What, exactly, draws people into political activism? It’s a far-reaching question, one in which the negative— what pushes people away from politics?—has more universalities than the positive anymore. I come from a long line of Republicans, capitalists all. I was appalled by apartheid’s brutalities, the arrogance of the racism, how international investment could be laid so bare. Something must be done. This issue had it all for an

This flier, from the late 1970s, was posted around Davis to persuade voters to have the city divest in apartheid South Africa.

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uninitiated 20-something; little wonder it touched President Barack Obama as it did. I plunged in. It was intoxicating, the activist life. Political analyses that actually carried moral weight! Good guys, evil guys! Armed struggle, imprisoned leaders! Long, long meetings! Precincts that needed walking, fliers that needed distributing! New skills! No wages! The latter upset my parents as much as the left ideology. And, yeah, there was this beautiful woman in the leadership of Measure A (the political will get personal; we’ve been married 31 years). It was heady stuff, it swept me away. I nearly flunked out of college. Mandela should be loved, admired, revered, studied. He should inspire kids here and everywhere else. And, it should be noted, that he, according to ThinkProgress, “blasted the Iraq War and American imperialism”; “called freedom from poverty a ‘fundamental human right’”; “criticized the ‘War on Terror’ and the labeling of individuals as terrorists without due process,” even Osama bin Laden; “reminded a larger crowd at Yankee Stadium that racism was not exclusively a South African phenomenon”; refused to denounce Fidel Castro or Muammar Qaddafi; and was a “die-hard supporter of labor unions.” You don’t do 27 years in prison without the clearest sense of what’s what and the gumption to punch hard. Divestiture was a long road—it wasn’t until the mid-’80s when the issue drew broad support. I remember protesting at UC Davis, we with our signs and our chants. More, I remember feeling ragtag, we were so few, and political activism was so ’60s. Yet we marched and sang and walked precincts and won the vote in our little town. Ron Dellums presented a Congressional bill in 1986, calling for a full trade embargo against

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South Africa, which President Ronald Reagan vetoed and Congress overrode. When the University of California finally divested, Jerry Drawhorn, a longtime KDVS jock and activist, stopped in the street to tell me what had occurred. I felt far away all of the sudden. I said I worked on that cause back in the ’70s. Jerry smiled and said, “I know.”

Nelson Mandela should be loved, admired, revered, studied. He should inspire kids here and everywhere else. And, it should be noted, that he “blasted the Iraq War and American imperialism.” I programmed the Distinguished Speakers Series at Mondavi Center for 11 years, through 2010. More than one African speaker began his remarks complimenting Davis for being first to divest by way of Measure A. It mattered. And it matters that the divestment movement on campus has turned its attention to climate change and fossil-fuel companies. You activists, you go. Go hard. Go long. Good luck. Ω Dave Webb lives in Davis with his wife Melinda Welsh, founding editor of SN&R.

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A deep dive in temperatures over the past two weeks forced open the doors of Sacramento’s only warming center for homeless residents. Meanwhile, questions about when to open it persisted like the current cold snap. At the Southside Park Pool Building, which serves as the jointly operated warming center for both the city and county of Sacramento, 32 people sought shelter under blankets in the cot-filled locker rooms over the weekend. Volunteers and Department of Human Assistance employees handed out snacks, water, and clean socks and underwear to guests. The city opens the warming center when extreme cold or freeze warnings last for three days. Area homeless advocates questioned whether consecutive days should be built into the operating criteria at all. “I think any time it falls below freezing we should try to provide space for people,” said Clent Irby, who operates the Volunteers of America warming center. “The ideal situation would be year-round shelter, instead of being weather-driven—cold or hot,” added Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness. At the Sacramento City Council meeting on December 5, local resident Jenn Rogar presented a photo of a homeless woman curled up under a mountain of blankets at 28th Street and Capitol Avenue, with the caption “You or me?” handwritten across the bottom. “This is inhumane,” Rogar said. “I’m sick of hearing about an arena for $258 million. The city’s got money for that, and we’ve got people that are freezing to death and living like this.” For now, year-round funding remains on the perpetual Christmas wish list for homeless advocates. “That’s what I’d like to see, but the funding is not available,” Irby said. (Cody Drabble)

Dispensing with the pot permits Litter and loitering were just two of the factors that convinced city planning commissioners to postpone a south Sacramento medical-marijuana dispensary’s operating permit last week. Conditional-use permits for Abatin Wellness Center and Valley Health Options, meanwhile, were approved within minutes, allowing both dispensaries to keep puffing. “We always try to have a positive influence, not only for our patients, but the surrounding community,” said Abatin Wellness Center manager Barbara Loshbaugh. “We try to set a different standard for the industry and make it so that places like us hold that flame for legalization.” The conditional-use permit allows dispensaries to exist within 1,000 feet of parks and schools, 600 feet of churches or community centers, and 300 feet of homes—or what are termed “special use” facilities. To keep operating within city limits, all 34 of Sacramento’s active dispensaries must file applications to renew these permits by March 31, 2014. While Abatin and Valley Health skated through, South Sacramento Care Center’s permit renewal rests on environmental improvements. Complaints from adjacent business owners in the Otto Circle complex claimed discarded receipts, illegal U-turns, lack of parking and the smoking of medical marijuana outside the dispensary were recurring problems. Director Albert Ish said his dispensary takes its community influence seriously. In July, the dispensary added staff security and a new video surveillance system with a 180-degree view of the entire building. Sacramento police officers at the December 5 meeting said they received zero phone calls regarding site problems. Recent zoning investigator visits also reported no violations. Even so, the dispensary will have to wait until March to convince commissioners to renew its permit. (Steph Rodriguez)

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With a few largely stress-free shopping days left, this is probably a good time to decide what gift to get for California. It’s tough. Talk about the state that has everything! Set a movie anywhere—Zanzibar or Alpha Centauri—and there’s some corner of California that fits the bill. There’s already 840 miles of coastline. Redwoods. Yosemite. Tahoe. Lassen. Shasta. Sierra Nevada. Mount Whitney. Death CAS by GREG LU Valley. San Francisco. Napa. Santa Monica. UC. CSU. High tech. caplowdown@newsreview.com Biotech. The breadbasket of the Central Valley. See? And that’s just the obvious stuff. It’s damn difficult finding something California doesn’t have already that constitutes a “real” gift. (The gifts of enforced generosity we’re required to send annually to the Franchise Tax Board don’t count.) A real gift is one that kids and oldsters and everyone in between enjoy equally. Solid. Built to last. Not some schmaltzy intangible like “tolerance”—although God knows we can all use more of that.

How about carving off a piece of this hefty budget surplus and bestowing it upon California’s 200-plus state parks?

Greg Lucas’ state-politics column Capitol Lowdown will appear every-other week in SN&R. He also blogs at www.californias capitol.com.

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There’s no reason to scrimp. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, expect budget surpluses of $5 billion and more for at least the next four years—absent some stock-market cataclysm or the feds screwing the pooch on the debt ceiling. The analyst and Gov. Jerry “They Call Me Ebenezer” Brown urge spending restraint, retiring debt and socking dough away for the inevitable future financial shitstorm. All of which is totally prudent Groovy Government 101, but slopping out the state’s fiscal pigsty doesn’t exactly ignite the imagination like spanning the Golden Gate. So, how about carving off a piece of this hefty surplus and bestowing it upon California’s 200-plus state parks? Our parks are valiant attempts to protect what is most unique—and often most fragile—in the Golden State from rapacious, fast-buck

buccaneers and shortsighted scum whose vision of the future is tilt-up, prefab and soulless. That alone deserves support. But state investment in parks isn’t increasing. Even though annual visitors now number more than 70 million. The park system’s answer to there not being enough money has been, first, to blow off already delayed maintenance and capital improvements. There’s now a $1.2 billion honey-do list. A couple years ago, the park system decided the latest round of budget cuts was too hefty and trundled out what’s known in D.C. as the “Washington Monument gambit”: Send more money or we shut down something iconic. Great strategy, except two years ago, the state was flat broke. Nevertheless, the threatened parks stayed open through various partnerships and temporary Band-Aids, and the park system keeps limping along. Does the way California operates its parks need to enter the 21st century? Totally. Like, for starters, switching from per-vehicle fees to user fees. But the vision thing aside, parks essentially operate like little cities. They need electricity, water, sewage treatment, garbage disposal. There are roads, buildings and trails to maintain. Rangers keep the peace. For the next few years, the analyst says there’s money to spend on those capital needs. So howzabout this year giving California a couple-hundred million to take care of some of that $1.2 billion in longpostponed maintenance? Take Hearst Castle, a moneymaker for the state, and arguably the park system’s crown jewel. It has an 86-year-old roof that leaks. Soon, it will cost more to store the books removed from Wild Bill’s Casa Grande library to avoid possible water damage than it would cost to retile. A new roof was supposed to happen last year. It still isn’t done. A leak in the Neptune Pool loses upwards of 5,000 gallons of water a day. What better keep-on-giving gift than to insulate, renovate and rehabilitate our state parks? Repave. Re-roof. Repaint. Solarize and weatherize. So that we might better economize in the futurewise. The only problem is figuring out which giant sequoia to leave the package under. Ω


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for health care for their employees. Schenirer was raking in $50,000 from Wal-Mart to fund special projects and his own political “brand” while leading the charge to gut the city’s bigbox ordinance. Cooper is adamantly opposed to the strong-mayor plan that Schenirer approved for the ballot. He says it will dilute the power of average citizens and favor special interests. “Strong mayor is about improving government for a small number of insiders. I’m a strong proponent for people at the neighborhood level having a direct voice in City Hall.”

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Schenirer said he was against spending public money on a new Kings arena—before he voted for it. Cooper says the deal was rushed, and needs to be rethought. “I’m not opposed to a redevelopment project that brings in an arena. My problem is the financing plan.” “Sacramento’s greatness has less to do with the Kings, and more to do with the people. What makes us a major-league city is great parks and great schools, and strong infrastructure.” And basic services, like public safety. Just before Thanksgiving, a family friend was visiting the Cooper home and decided to go on a walk with Cooper’s 7-year-old daughter. The pair were attacked at 3 in the afternoon by two young men. Cooper’s friend had her purse stolen, she was punched and kicked and called vile names while Cooper’s daughter watched. The friend was bruised up; she’s recovering. His daughter is OK, though Cooper knows the shock of something like that can linger. Several passersby by saw the incident, called 911 and offered help. But it took police 20 minutes to arrive. “It just underscores for me that we’ve got to get back to providing core services. We’ve got to support the police and get them staffed up.” No one would argue with that. Schenirer wouldn’t, certainly. But there are strong policy differences between the candidates, about where resources should go, and who should decide. And that’s good. It is refreshing to hear a candidate for city council talk clearly about progressive values and about citizens taking more power in City Hall. It’s especially refreshing to hear it from a candidate who could win. Ω   |   

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For a while, it looked like Jay Schenirer would get a free ride to re-election in Sacramento’s 5th city council district. But labor activist Ali Cooper can make it real contest. And if we’re lucky, Cooper can even start a discussion about how much power the wealthy and well-connected should have in City Hall, and how much power will be left for the rest of us. ARVIN G “I see my role as a cheerleader for O SM CO by civic engagement. There’s no shortcut for cos mog@ newsrev iew.c om building neighborhood power,” Cooper told Bites last week. He’s a union organizer and lobbyist by trade; his day job is state political director for the Service Employees International Union Local 1000, which represents state workers. To some people, that makes him the worst kind kind of special interest: a union boss. But others in District 5—which includes progressive enclaves like Curtis Park (where he and his wife and two children live), Oak Park, City Farms, Hollywood Park—will probably be receptive to his bottom-up message. “I’m ready to organize the hell out of this district,” he said. Lots of politicians have adversity stories. Cooper’s is a tough one, but it fits the guy he turned out the be. His dad was African-American, his mom Vietnamese. They met in Vietnam, where his dad was working after having served there in the war, and Cooper was born in Vietnam. Soon after, they moved to Southern California, where his father went into business running a convenience store. When Cooper was 5, his father was gunned down in a robbery at the store. He was gravely injured, and spent the next 10 years in a slow decline. He died when Cooper was just 15. Cooper says that experience—of also taking care of someone, of being really poor, of surviving—shaped his adulthood, his attitudes about politics, and even unions. “Had it not been for social workers and teachers, I would not be where I am today.” He went on to UC San Diego, then got a job working for a San Diego City Council member, working with constituents to solve problems. He got into the labor movement, was political director for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees before taking his current gig. With his experience and connections, he can mount a real campaign. He’s got a well-known political consultant waiting in the wings, and says he can raise the money he needs. He offers a distinct contrast with Schenirer. Cooper worked to pass a “Close the Walmart Loophole” bill in the Capitol, which would require big companies like Wal-Mart to pay

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Sacramento’s district attorney  race could redefine who   serves time

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You be the judge Grab a gavel, because it’s your turn to define justice. Here are the facts of the case before you: A 17-year-old Sacramento juvenile, thinking her boyfriend has cheated on her, deliberately tries to run over the “other woman.” While the car hits the victim, she is not seriously hurt. The juvenile is charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. For the charge of attempted murder, she can be tried as an adult and serve serious prison time. But she has no prior arrests. She is doing well in school. She is active in extracurricular activities. In l ne ae by Jeff VonK general, she is perceived as a good kid. The questions, dear judges, are: Should she be j e ffv @n e wsr e v ie w.c o m tried as an adult, receiving a stiffer sentence? Or should she be tried as a juvenile? Should she be charged with attempted murder or just assault? Should the lack of prior arrests influence her sentence? If she is unlikely to commit another serious crime, should that influence her Should the 17-year- sentencing? Is it fair to have penalties for kids in a old be tried as an severe difficult family situation and adult, receiving a lesser penalties for kids from more stable homes? Would stiffer sentence, or a lighter sentence encourage kids to commit crimes? should she be tried otherAnd, dear judges, your decias a juvenile? sion has costs. A long prison term for this young lady may destroy her life. She will waste many years, and she will face a hard time finding a job once she gets out. When she does get out, odds are that she might reoffend. And it’s unclear whether increased rates of incarceration have actually made the community any safer. Your decision also comes with real financial costs. The taxpayers could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the judicial process and her incarceration. This week’s cover This juvenile-assaults-the-other-woman case was actually story by Nick Miller a real Sacramento case. The girl was only tried for the lesser focuses on the count of assault with a deadly weapon. She was convicted issues in the 2014 district attorney and put on probation. She completed probation without race. Read it on problems. The system may have worked in her case. page 16. A similar issue in the upcoming district attorney race is: How should juveniles be tried when they use a firearm while committing a crime? The current Sacramento County policy calls for incarceration. This policy is supported by longtime District Attorney Jan Scully and her colleague and chosen successor Deputy District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. Scully is not running for re-election. Schubert, California Deputy Attorney General Maggy Krell and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Leras are all Jeff vonKaenel campaigning to replace her. is the president, Krell and Leras are both running on reform platforms CEO and that would encourage more flexibility in sentencing. For majority owner of less violent offenders, instead of automatic incarceration, the News & Review newspapers in they would consider the circumstances surrounding the Sacramento, crime, such as likelihood of repeat offenses, and the Chico and Reno. benefits of incarceration vs. supervised probation. Although you weren’t the actual judge today, you will be the judge of how future cases will be tried, when Sacramento elects a new district attorney. Judgment day is Tuesday, June 3, 2014: California’s primary election. Put on your robes. Ω


This Modern World

by tom tomorrow

Back on track A Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled that the state’s high-speed rail authority did not have the legal right to issue construction bonds, but it’s not the final word on the subject. In fact, nothing has come easily when it comes to California and rail in recent history. First, there’s been a struggle to convince voters that high-speed rail is both feasible and necessary, followed by an economic downturn that made funding the project even more difficult. Now, we’ve got naysayers lining up with tax watchdogs attempting to, once again, set the parking brake on the project. Critics are right in some respects. We need a sensible long-term funding plan to protect this major, transformational infrastructure from future economic vicissitudes. But the reflexive “No!” from anti-tax forces must be rejected. The one thing a state as large High-speed rail as California needs more than any other is a high-quality, envilinking the north ronmentally sound transportation with the south isn’t structure. High-speed rail linking the north with the south isn’t just just a good idea, a good idea, it’s also absolutely it’s also absolutely necessary, given the reasonable— necessary. and supported by evidence—forecasts for climate change. That doesn’t mean the California High-Speed Rail Authority or its proponents are exempt from transparency about finances, costs and planning. It simply means that we must put our civic and political will behind this project. It will only get more expensive the longer we wait. It’s time to start building. However, our support for high-speed rail doesn’t mean that we should neglect existing rail. The news that ridership is dropping on Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor train is disturbing. A suggested reason for this drop is the addition of competing bus service on the same route. That makes sense, and might mean that, in order to remain an effective use of transportation resources, Amtrak will need to adjust its timetable and prices. On the other hand, though, we’ve heard some complaints that indicate the real problem is the rearrangement of the Sacramento station. The new layout takes longer to walk, which means that the commuters from farther up the hill need to make their connection there earlier. Using transit to commute includes some sacrifices in exchange for skipping out on the stress—and environmental impact—of a driving commute, and one of those sacrifices is that time is no longer our own. Commuter rail serves every bit as valuable a purpose in keeping the state on track as high-speed rail will. We need a rail system that works, that includes several options for travelers and commuters and one that rewards those who are taking the most sustainable options. Yes, sometimes we’ll still need to drive to the Bay Area. But if we’ve got other options, we won’t drive unless we actually must. And, eventually, a flight won’t be the only choice for a trip to the southern part of the state. It makes everything easier—not to mention cleaner, healthier and less congested—for all Californians if we continue building our state’s passenger rail system. Ω

Sacramento’s little secret Whenever I say I live in Sacramento, folks from out of When asked if she would ever consider state furrow their brows and ask, “Is that on the moving to Washington, D.C., a policy-making by coast?” Meanwhile, fellow Californians smile friend of mine recently responded with an Dave Kempa condescendingly and comment on how nice emphatic “No.” The reasoning? While D.C. is it must be to live between San Francisco and replete with smart people working to fix the Lake Tahoe. For my part, I usually respond with nation’s problems, nothing ever seems to happen demure agreement. out there. (Take, for example, the most inefBut I think it’s time to share, at least ficient Congress in the history of our nation.) with my fellow residents, what I really Meanwhile, legislation passed through think about this town: Sacramento is one Sacramento last session raised the state’s of the most influential minimum wage, cracked down political epicenters on assault-rifle ownership and Sacramento on Earth—a secret reintroduced dental care to the known to virtually no state’s Medicaid program. We is one of the one outside of our city also recorded our first budget most influential limits. surplus in ages. Think about it: We And if that weren’t enough, political live in the capital of Sacramento regularly acts the most populous state as the nation’s legislative epicenters of the richest, most bellwether. After the state’s on Earth. powerful nation in the passage of the TRUST Act last world. At $2 trillion, year, the Obama administraCalifornia’s gross state tion and Congress now must An online version of this product ties with India as the 10th-largest consider immigration reform in earnest. As essay can be found at economy in the world. As I write this, my goes California, so follow these United States. www.newsreview.com/ girlfriend is sending me a text message to say I hope our city continues to be overlooked sacramento/ by our coastal neighbors and out-of-state policy pagburner/blogs. that Neel Kashkari, the “$700 billion man” famous for bailing out the banks after the workers. Which is why, any time someone asks 2008 economic crash, is hamming it up to her why I like Sacramento so much, I always point kindergarten class in preparation for a guberoutward—to the mountains and wine country natorial run. Sacramento is important. and metropolitan neighbors. Beyond that, this town actually functions. I like to keep a good secret. Ω BEFORE

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Maggy Krell, California’s current deputy attorney general, has garnered big-time Democratic support for her district-attorney run.

LAW& REORDER On why next June’s district attorney vote could be the most crucial in Sacr amento so far this millennium

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by Nick Miller nickam@ne wsre vie w.com


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ext June, Sacramento will possibly elect its first new district attorney in two decades. Choosing a DA isn’t “sexy,” like voting for a mayor. But the DA’s impact arguably can be as far-reaching. And the current DA race is about more than just deciding who’s tough enough to put the most bad guys behind bars. This is especially true today, because the world of criminal justice is experiencing a radical sea change. Riding that wave is DA candidate Maggy Krell.

Krell is a Democrat who’s corralled all the big party support while working under Kamala Harris as deputy attorney general. Her ideas speak to this shift; she says that we can’t keep incarcerating people who’d be better served in community corrections and treatment programs. “I disagree with the argument that we can’t afford rehabilitation,” says Krell. “What we can’t afford is continued mass incarceration.” After decades of drug wars and unprecedented prison empire building, leaders in Washington agree. The Supreme Court has told California that its prisons are criminally overcrowded. This fall, Attorney General Eric Holder surprised everyone by announcing that states have to stop prosecuting nondangerous drug offenders. Recent reports by Stanford University and The California Endowment show that growing prisons doesn’t make streets safer. In fact, it does the opposite. Here in Sacramento, freshly appointed crusaders such as Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Milo Fitch and Probation Chief Lee Seale are working to address the root causes of criminality and help people so that they don’t reoffend. They get that the status quo isn’t working. It’s a huge departure from the lock-’emup-throw-away-the-key ethos that’s dominated Sacramento law and order for generations. Still, there are powerful opposing forces. District Attorney Jan Scully, who’s stepping down after 20 years, and her chosen successor, candidate Anne Marie Schubert, continue to oblige hard-line, Republican policies at the DA’s office. Some local attorneys call their regime “unreasonable,” unwilling to adapt and stuck in an antiquated world of “rigid policy rules.” Twenty years is a long time for voters not to think about these issues. That’s why next June’s vote could be the most crucial in Sacramento so far this millennium.

Don’t go directly to jail? The cold of fall has arrived this Wednesday evening in November. Krell sneaks into a downtown coffeehouse, orders a cup of black (at 4 in the afternoon), then laughs about her crazy-hectic work schedule. Last night, she was at a white-collar crime event in Los Angeles. Later today, she has yet another meeting. Make that a double espresso? BEFORE

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Krell, who started as a DA in Stockton before coming to Sacramento, grew up in San Francisco, where her father was an attorney. He was also a big motorcycle fan, and she remembers parts scattered throughout the garage. Through his private practice, he even represented members of the California Highway Patrol. “He definitely instilled in me the idea of justice, of wanting everything to be fair,” she says. After undergrad at UC San Diego, Krell returned north to the UC Davis School of Law, where, according to a classmate, she cruised through the bar exam with her “photographic” memory. At this time, she also met her husband, now a Board of Equalization attorney, at a bowling alley. Coincidentally, his parents also met while bowling. “So, I know where my kids are going on Friday nights,” she jokes of her young children. It was at this time she figured out what she wanted to do. “I think at that point I was pretty sure I wanted to be a prosecutor,” she recalls. “To be the person who stands up in court for victims, who seeks justice for the community.” But, not unlike how President Barack Obama inherited former President George W. Bush’s two wars and crappy economy, if elected as DA, Krell will have to do more than stand tall—she’ll have to deal with an unprecedented, sometimes confusing and always ever-evolving inheritance: realignment. A quick primer: Because of the Supreme Court ruling, thousands of offenders have been moved from state oversight to the county; by next year, almost 100,000 prisoners will have been transferred. “And that population is difficult,” Krell explains. “Right now, we’re releasing people from prisons and county jails and we’re not supervising them, and they haven’t achieved anything during their period of incarceration.” That’s not a good thing, but it doesn’t mean that realignment is a failure. Some say moving prisoners and focusing on rehabilitation will save the state billions of dollars. Others, such as Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones,

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contend that not locking people up is a huge threat to California’s public safety. A study released last month by Stanford University professor Joan Petersilia says that both sides are “talking past each other.” We don’t know, for instance, if realignment worked, because there hasn’t been any study to evaluate it. And the report says powerful stakeholders with “a skin in the game”—such as the corrections unions—often won’t relinquish funds to invest in rehabilitative efforts (as has been the case in Sacramento County). And there’s “huge discretion among counties, and counties face different realities,” the report states. This means that what happens in the Sacramento County DA’s office will be a lot different than, say, in Alameda. Scully and Schubert’s embrace of realignment has been lukewarm. This past year, the DA partnered with Rancho Cordova-based Assemblyman Ken Cooley on a bill to move more nonviolent drug offenders into prisons. Their argument was that the local jails are too overcrowded for these criminals, many of whom are serving sentences of five years or more. Critics say these offenders need help, but won’t get the rehabilitative treatment available at county jails, such as the mental-health services at Sacramento County’s Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center near in Elk Grove, in state prisons.

of Sacramento for nearly three decades, has endorsed Krell. “She has energy, a different viewpoint and smart priorities,” he said. When asked of the biggest challenges facing the DA’s office in this post-realignment world, the retired justice didn’t hesitate: “The greatest realignment that has to take place is to lay off the prosecution of certain drug offenses, particularly marijuana,” he told SN&R. Sims recounted his 28-year experience as a judge. “I would see these cases come through … with three-strikes law in effect. And I would sit there on cases, and the third strike would be a possession of a small amount of cocaine, in their shirt. And they would get 25 to life.” Proposition 36—opposed by the California District Attorneys Association, of which both Scully and Schubert are board members—was passed by voters last year, and in theory, it, along with realignment, should have changed things in Sacramento. To put someone away for life, the final strike must now be serious and violent. More than 50 offenders have been resentenced since its passage. Yet this county’s DA office continues to go after nonviolent drug offenses, sometimes with the full force of the law. Local defense attorney John Duree has worked on drug cases and with addicts since 1981. He says that most people who experiment with drugs don’t keep it up. “Lots of people

“ I dIsagree wIth the argumeNt that we caN’t afford rehabIlItatIoN. what we caN’t afford Is coNtINued mass INcarceratIoN.” Maggy Krell sacramento district attorney candidate

The law died in committee this past May, but the battle continues. Krell says we can’t waste more time looking at prison-based solutions. “It’s time to pay the piper for all the incarceration-based approaches different counties have had over the past decades.”

Doubling down on a failed drug war But still, to this day, Scully’s regime and DA candidate Schubert continue with policies that critics say aggressively incarcerate nonserious, nonthreatening offenders. Former Justice Rick Sims, who sat on the 3rd District Court of Appeals based out

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play around with drugs and leave them,” he observed. “Drugs aren’t that much fun for a long period of time, and a lot of people quickly figure that out.” Law enforcement’s tentacles, however, often capture large swaths of users. But do all these offenders deserve jail time? Consider Duree’s client Robert Malone. In 2009, the same year Obama’s Department of Justice stated that prosecutors should no longer target individuals complying with state medical-marijuana laws, local law enforcement pulled Malone’s van over and cited him for possession of marijuana plants.

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PHOTO BY NICK MILLER

During a debate last month, Krell laid out her vision for reform when it comes to DA priorities.

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Turns out, Malone—a 65-year-old retiree with zero prior convictions—was cultivating “clones,” a term for baby cannabis plants, in the Bay Area and selling them to Sacramento marijuana dispensaries, of which there were more than 100 at the time. These plants were extremely popular at pot clubs, and they would sell out in a matter of days. As Duree explained, in the criminal-justice world, most cases are negotiated. “And in negotiations, the DA carries much more weight than the judge.” For Malone and his cannabis plants, Duree tried to work with the Sacramento DA’s office, explaining that his client was a nonviolent man who was only trying to sell medical-grade cannabis by the word of the law to legitimate dispensaries. “I was personally convinced that this guy was a bona fide medical producer,” Duree said. “He tried to follow every rule he could follow,” based on the state attorney general’s guidelines. 18   |   SN&R   |   12.12.13

In most counties, these types of cases are dropped, he said. But negotiations with Scully’s regime failed. Instead, her office offered up a seven-year incarceration sentence. Duree rejected, of course—but then the deputy DA threatened to take the case to the feds, which would mean certain conviction and a guaranteed multiyear sentence. “I didn’t have any other option other than to resolve it,” said Duree, who pleaded his client earlier this year. Malone ended up receiving a two-year sentence, including a full year in jail, this past May—all for a nonviolent marijuana offender in his mid-60s with no priors. “It’s just a waste of law-enforcement and prosecutorial resources to continue to make this a priority,” Sims said. He says with Krell, “There would be a difference in drug prosecutions and the way drug offenders are treated in the system.” Krell says there’s a lot of “confusion” surrounding the state’s marijuana laws, but that prosecuting nonviolent, low-level cannabis offenders isn’t the answer. Schubert, meanwhile, recently referred to the state’s laws an “excuse for individuals to get the drug.”

A different way Imagine a 24-year-old with a wife and young child is arrested for stealing a thousand-dollar car stereo. Let’s pretend this young man is a first-timer. If he goes to jail, he potentially loses his job, his family forfeits income and the offender will have a hard time finding employment upon release. If he spends enough time in jail, odds are that he reoffends. Or commits an even worse crime.

Now, an alternative: The DA sends him to a community corrections program under the probation department’s supervision. Maybe he has a drug problem, so he gets treatment there. Or perhaps he stole the car stereo to pay for a hospital bill—so, at probation, an eligibility specialist signs him up for expanded Medi-Cal under Obama’s Affordable Care Act reform law, and his family now has health care. Which outcome do you prefer? “We have a tremendous opportunity to make a person’s first crime their last crime,” Krell

“ The greaTesT realignmenT ThaT has To Take place is To lay off The prosecuTion of cerTain drug offenses, parTicularly marijuana.” retired

3 rd d istrict c ourt

Rick Sims

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A ppeAls

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Every living sheriff, who tend to endorse Republicans with knee-jerk aplomb, has backed candidate Schubert. That’s why, during a debate this past November at the sheriff’s community service center in south Sacramento, it feels like she definitely has home-court advantage. It also doesn’t hurt that the county’s top law man Jones is the evening’s opening speaker. A 23-year veteran of the Sacramento DA’s office, Schubert describes herself as an “in the trenches” prosecutor who’s notched more than 100 jury trials. She says she “knows how to put people behind bars.” A third candidate, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Leras, who only recently entered the race, is also a Democrat

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The big debate

like Krell—although she’s gathered all the major endorsements, such as Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, and to that end, all the big party donors. Still, Leras (read SN&R’s recent interview with him, “Word of the law” by Jeff vonKaenel, SN&R News, November 21 at http://tiny url.com/ToddLeras) has a similar take on the Scully administration, for whom he actually used to work before leaving in frustration. “The listening stopped,” he said of his experience with Scully brass, “and criticism was somehow viewed as disloyalty.” At the debate, the panel and audience questions have very little to do with issues mentioned in this story. They focus on human trafficking, gangs and even National Security Agency spying. Realignment gets but little air time, even though all three candidates agree that there will be no greater challenge. That said, the night is not devoid of a fireworks. For months, Schubert was the lone candidate in the race and, by turn, essentially Scully’s heir apparent. But when Krell announced her candidacy late last spring, there were suddenly two viable candidates with healthy campaign coffers. Schubert went into attack mode. At the debate, she accuses Krell of “prosecutorial misconduct,” arguing that she made an error during a 2007 trial that caused an appeals court to overturn her conviction. Krell has denied this, but Schubert does not relent. “Was a case not thrown out, yes or no?” Schubert demands. Prosecutorial misconduct implies an ethical lapse, such as knowingly hiding information from the defense. In Krell’s case, she mistakenly referred to a defendant, who refused to testify, by name. In a recent story, Sacramento Bee courts reporter Andy Furillo asked local judges if they felt Krell’s error qualified as misconduct or just a mistake. The verdict was mixed. Former Justice Sims called it “a small error,” not an ethical hiccup. What is clear is that next year’s race will be contentious, fiery and unrelentingly political. “I know this is supposed to be a nonpartisan race,” Sims told SN&R. “But [Krell] is a Democrat, and her principal opponent is a Republican.” There are going to be partisan attacks. Krell’s no stealth candidate. It’s the issues that matter, and she drives them home to the debate’s crowd of nearly 100: Sacramento can’t continue filling up jails and prisons with low-level, nonviolent, firsttime offenders. The recidivism rate is embarrassingly high. Increased drug rehab, mental-health treatment, and community and workforce programs are woefully needed. And taxpayers literally can’t afford more of Scully and Schubert. After, she tells SN&R a story about when she was DA, and how she “saw the same criminals recycling through the system, the same criminals repeating the same crimes again and again.” She says she also saw families and family names that were familiar, because it would be the uncle, then the nephew, then the son who was in trouble. “We used to kind of say, ‘Well, today’s witness is tomorrow’s defendant.’” After 20 years, she says, this has to change. “We need to be sort of dramatic, and drastic, to break that cycle.” Ω

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says of this different way. It’s a philosophy that’s taking root nationally—and even a little bit here in Sacramento. Two weeks ago in Washington, D.C., the attorney general brought the former head of the East Palo Alto Police Department, Ron Davis, on board to lead up a new community-policing office. The attorney general argued that because prison populations have grown by more than 800 percent since the 1990s and consume more than 25 percent of the DOJ’s budget, the status quo isn’t an option. Davis tried new approaches in the Bay Area. He reduced the homicide rate there by 50 percent during his tenure by getting to kids while they’re young, before they offend. Krell aims to do the same. “My biggest priority is really focusing on the front end, on new people that commit crimes, especially juveniles,” she says. She insists that this isn’t giving criminals a free pass. “I think under my watch, more cases will be filed, frankly,” she argues. How’s that possible? As it stands, the Sacramento DA’s office won’t file a case if they don’t deem it serious enough. That means, basically, there’s no repercussion for a boatload of offenders. Krell says she’ll have deputies go after these small offenses. “Because, if you don’t, you’re sending the wrong message. You’re saying that you can get away with it.” Instead, they’re going to have to earn it. New Sacramento Probation Chief Lee Seale will help dangle a carrot. Probation is no longer just about guns, badges and making sure people aren’t hiding drugs in their apartments. That’s a part of it, for sure, but there are also Adult Day Reporting Centers that, recently, started helping probationers with anger management, job applications, even clothes for interviews. They hold graduation programs every other month. “It’s really promising,” Seale said, “because you see stories of success. “And this is actually going to lead to better recidivism outcomes than banging on doors,” he added. Krell believes in this approach, and says she would put on her advocacy hat to ensure further investment. “Our recidivism rates are very high. They’re definitely above 50 percent, and there’s an argument that they’re above 70 percent,” Krell says. She sees this as “a failure rate.” “We can go around and be proud that we have a very high conviction rate. We prosecute people. They’re guilty. We can prove it. We get a conviction. That’s great. “But the question I want to ask is, ‘What is the impact of those convictions?’”

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the gIft of (wriTTen)

gab by KEl mungEr

Sacramento authors share the books  they’ll give this holiday season

It’s no secret that books make good gIfts. but whIch ones should you gIve? Forget the usual critic recommendations. We decided to ask the real experts instead: Sacramentoarea authors who know a thing or two about what’s worth reading, having done some heavy lifting in the literary field themselves. Whether it’s history or topical nonfiction, literary grit or just plain fun, there’s something for everyone.

Edgy, possibly inappropriatE (but still totally oK) gifts

Snap, Stolen, et al.), says she’s giving Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened (Touchstone, $28). Brennan and her kids have been fans of Brosh’s blog of the same name for years, so this book was an easy choice, she says. “[It’s] laugh-out-loud funny, both cute and highly inappropriate at times. It’s the perfect present for a friend or family member with a quirky sense of humor,” Brennan says. Similarly, Sacramento horror maven and editor of The Horror Zine (www.thehorrorzine.com) Jeani Rector recommends The Thicket by Joe R. Lansdale (Mulholland Books, $26). It’s “a darker, yet humorous” novel about a 16-year-old orphaned by smallpox in search of his kidnapped sister, which Rector says has an Adventures of Huckleberry Finn feel.

Allison Brennan, a Sacramento writer of romantic thrillers (Cold 20   |   SN&R   |   12.12.13

“ For many people, holidays are

really hard. This is whaT books are For. They are a place To go wiTh The complexiTies oF being alive.” Lucy Corin Sacramento author

on history, classics and human aspirations Horror’s not your thing (or your giftee’s)? UC Davis history professor—and Pulitzer Prize-winning author—Alan Taylor recommends a book by his colleague Ari Kelman, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek (Harvard University Press, $35). He calls it “beautifully written and very accessible.” “It’s about the intersection of history with public memory around a painful event—a massacre of

Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples on November 29, 1864, by Colorado volunteers—and of the efforts to create a National Historical Monument on the site,” Taylor says. Or, if you’re looking for something more topical, Sasha Abramsky, an SN&R contributor and author of The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives (Nation Books, $26.99), says he’s putting nonfiction on the holiday list. Specifically, David Laskin’s The Family: Three Journeys Into the Heart of the Twentieth Century (Viking Adult, $32), which he calls “moving and thought-provoking.”

He’s also looking forward to reading—and so recommends—Richard Holmes’ Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air (Pantheon, $35). “It fascinates me, as a portrayal of some of the loftiest, and ostensibly implausible, of human aspirations,” says Abramsky. Not sure about new titles? Classics can make for a, well, classy choice. Fiction writer Lucy Corin, author of One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses (McSweeney’s, $22) is giving Matt Kish’s illustrated rendition of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (Tin House Books, $24.95). “Holidays are all about packages,” Corin says. “When you are buying something as personal as a book for someone, it should at least look stunning in the home, and a person should not have to read it to get pleasure from it.” Kish’s take on Conrad’s 1899 book is gorgeous with detailed and colorful illustrations that don’t, according to Corin, “distract from the darkness.”


Muses, music and messy perfection See SECOND SATURDAY

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Photo courtesy of AlAn tAylor

Best Thai in Sac? See DISH

UC Davis history professor Alan Taylor (top) recommends the “beautifully written” book by his colleague Ari Kelman, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek. Author Jodi Angel (below), whose shortstory collection You Only Get Letters From Jail is sure to make it under a few holiday trees this year, suggests Rachel Kushner’s “gritty” novel The Flamethrowers.

it “impossible to tell if the cities actually exist or if they were created from Polo’s imagination.”

Just some damn good books Christian Kiefer, a musician, novelist and professor of English at American River College, suggests fiction by two Sacramento writers: Jodi Angel’s collection of short stories, You Only Get Letters From Jail (Tin House Books, $14.95) and Michael Spurgeon’s novel, Let the Water Hold Me Down (Ad Lumen Press, $17). But, he adds, his top pick for gift-giving is anything by 916 Ink, a Sacramento nonprofit dedicated to using creative writing to promote literacy among young people in the region. Kiefer, the author of the acclaimed novel The Infinite Tides (Bloomsbury USA, $26), specifically recommends two 916 Ink publications: Paper Wings ($15) written by high-school age students at Visions in Education, and Bibble! Bombastic! Dirge! ($7), by South Sacramento teens who write through the Valley Hi-North Laguna branch of the Sacramento Public Library (http://916inksacramento.wordpress.com). Paper Wings “starts with a brilliant ‘advice for writers’ section penned by ninth through 11th graders which is better than any advice I could ever think of,” Kiefer explains, while Bibble! Bombastic! Dirge! features “unpretentious and amazing

Photo by Kevin f. McKennA

Of course, a good reason to give Heart of Darkness is “[t]he horror.” “For many people, holidays are really hard,” Corin says. “This is what books are for. They are a place to go with the complexities of being alive.” Also on the topic of classics, Sacramento poet Indigo Moor (Through the Stonecutter’s Window, Northwestern University Press, $16.95), has a few choices: Jean Toomer’s Cane (Liveright, $13.95) and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, $14). Moor praises Toomer’s 1923 novel, “structured as a series of vignettes of narrative prose, poetry and playlike passages of dialogue,” for its sweeping themes, while Calvino’s portrayal of Kublai Khan entranced by the stories of distant cities spun by Marco Polo makes BEFORE

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writing, some of which verges on the surreal.” Meanwhile, Kiefer’s friend Angel says her recommendations tend to fall into three categories: indie press, hometown and “just a damn good book.” The indie list this year includes two Tin House Books novels, Cari Luna’s The Revolution of Every Day and Pamela Erens’ The Virgins (both $15.95). “Because Tin House is such a small press and publish so few books a year, they pick the best of the best,” says Angel. Her local suggestions include both Kiefer’s and Spurgeon’s novels, as well as Sacramento writer and teacher Valerie Fioravanti’s Garbage Night at the Opera (BkMk Press, $15.95). And on the “just a damn good book” list? Angel suggests Rachel Kushner’s novel, The Flamethrowers (Scribner, $26.99), a finalist for the National Book Award. “It’s gritty and rock ’n’ roll, features a strong female protagonist, and is set in the 1970s,” says Angel. “Don’t make the mistake of picking it up while you’re wrapping it and carefully reading the first few pages without cracking the spine—you’ll end up keeping the book for yourself.” Finally, Pam Houston, the author of Contents May Have Shifted: A Novel (W. W. Norton & Company, $25.95) and the director of the creative-writing program at UC Davis, includes Angel’s book on her list. She also recommends Stay Up With Me (Ecco, $22.99) by Tom Barbash, a Bay Area writer. Houston describes Barbash’s book as “brilliant stories [that] will make you laugh and cringe and vow to hold those you love a little closer.” That’s a very good thing to do this time of year—and any time. Ω A RT S & C U LT U R E

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The Mexican Elvis See EIGHT GIGS

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SCENE& HEARD Reunited and it feels so old General discourtesy and unearned cover charges are both pet peeves of mine, so it’s a bit of a wonder that I spent a recent Saturday night at Reunion Nightclub, El Dorado Hills’ bid for a place at the club kids’ table. Well, “kids” might be pushing it. Opened smack-dab in the middle of the affluent suburb’s shopping hub approximately a year ago, Reunion has already garnered a reputation for drawing the 30-and(much)-older demo. The nightclub’s name invites associations with quarter-century high-school reunions, while an ongoing promotion swaps day-care discounts for club receipts. All of this explains why I was there, actually. For the past several weeks, some friends and I have gathered the courage to escape our tired, “old” 20-something scene and experience how the other half parties. After all, the three of us at the center of this gambit are now in our early 30s and rapidly losing friends to marriage and children; might as well prepare for that long day’s journey into creepy bachelorhood. Admission to this “Christmas yet to come” cost $5 each that particular night. As a deejay hopscotched from safe Top 40 plays to droning EDM squiggles, I felt for some cash (or, more accurately, waited for my brother to produce his). I held open the door for a stream of cowboy hats, big hairdos and Relaxed Fit Dockers, not one of whose wearers actually acknowledged my existence. “You’re welcome!” I huffed like a crotchety lunch lady. Once inside, it was tough to tell the partiers from the chaperones. I flashed back to my very first middle-school dance, standing awkwardly on the outskirts while teachers tried to get it going with swiveling hips. Shudder. Some of my disorientation may have been due to Reunion’s interior design—a generously portioned lounge area was swathed like a honey-hued opium den, while the spacious dance floor masked itself in strip-club blues. But it also had to do with By the time I the crowd itself. Most were spotted a baldin their 40s. Many were in their 50s. Two ex-U.S. Coast accountant type in Guards, clearly older than 29 a full-length black(but sticking to that figure, anyway), claimed they saw leather duster dancers dragging oxygen tanks. sipping a drink too And the bathroom smelled like someone’s Lipitor didn’t strong for his face, agree with the egg salad I knew the future they ate for lunch. This might all sound like would be OK. complaining, but it’s not. By the time I spotted a bald-accountant type in a full-length black-leather duster sipping a drink too strong for his face, I knew the future would be OK. Yes, we all get older. We lose hair, gain wrinkles, slow down and eventually die. I’ll die. Drag. But that doesn’t mean any of us really grow up. As one of the former Coast Guards and I joined the rest of the hopeless dancers, I thought about how our tastes in fashion and music arrest at some point. Someday, I’ll have the haircut I’m always going to have. Shit, I already do. It’s like being frozen in a sort of cultural amber. At best, we can come to a place like Reunion and shake it badly in a futile attempt to catch up to the strange new beat. And thank the gods of Lipitor for that. Trying to be cool is exhausting. I’m glad I’m finally old enough to just dance. —Raheem F. Hosseini

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December picks by Shoka

Lucky 13 Odd Numbers is Axis Gallery’s annual members’  exhibition, and it consists of artwork from all 13 of  GROUp SHOW the collective’s members.  Since it’s all new work, it’s  kind of like getting a sneak peek at the Axis’ 2014  shows. Standouts include Chuck Seerey’s Opened  Maze series, which will challenge Gen Xers not to be  reminded of Pac-Man or Tetris.  Where: Axis Gallery, 1517 19th Street; (916) 443-9900; www.axisgallery.org. Second Saturday reception: December 14, 6 to 9 p.m. Through January 26, 2014. Hours: Saturday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; or by appointment.

“The Song Begins” by Laura Caron, oil and acrylic.

““Opened Maze 3” by Chuck Seerey, oil on canvas, 2013.

Music as muse

Messy perfection

Visual art goes hand in hand with  music. The physical representation of  sonic artistry often rounds out a music-listening experience, such as with  album art. And the reverse is true, too.  Music is frequent companion or muse  to painters and  GROUp SHOW sculptors, and the  Sacramento Temporary Contemporary’s December exhibition showcases work that has been inspired by  or carries the theme of music by an  extensive roster of artists—more than  35—in Make Your Own Kind of Music,  featuring Dawn Blanchfield, Laura  Caron, Margarita Chaplinska, Laurelin  Gilmore, Maureen Hood, David Mayhew  and a few dozen more.

Feeling limber? Then take this simile  stretch: Artist David Lobenberg’s portraits are like Lucian Freud’s visceral,  fleshy paintings made  pAINTING with Gary Pruner’s  rainbow-tastic palette. Lobenberg, who  has been slinging paintbrushes around  for more than 30 years, painting local  landmarks, such as the Tower Theatre  and the Capitol, has an exhibition this  month at Blue Moon Gallery, titled One  Man Show. During the Second Saturday  reception, he will be doing a live demo.  See his vibrant depictions of people with  choppy, impressionistic watercolor  strokes that are messy and imperfect,  giving the illusion of light moving across  their weathered faces, and the bright  yellows and deep purples in their complexion make them feel more alive than  a photo-realistic painting ever could. Where: Blue Moon Gallery, 2353 Albatross Way; (916) 920-2444; www.bluemoongallerysacto.com. Second Saturday reception: December 14, 6 to 9 p.m. Through January 4, 2014. Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

BEFORE

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  NEWS

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Where: Sacramento Temporary Contemporary, 1616 Del Paso Boulevard; (916) 921-1224; www.stcgallery.webs.com. Second Saturday reception: December 14, 6 to 9 p.m. Through December 22. Hours: Thursday through Saturday, 4 to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 3 p.m.; or by appointment.

“Attitude” by David Lobenberg, watercolor.

  F E AT U R E

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SN&R ReadeRS Get Up to 50% off

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13 GALLERY 21TEN 2110 K St., (916) 476-5500, www.gallery2110.com

14 INTEGRATE SACRAMENTO 2220 J St., (916) 541-4294, http://integrateservices sacramento.blogspot.com 716-7050, www.kennedygallerysac.com (916) 716-2319, www.littlerelics.com

17 MIDTOWN FRAMING & GALLERY 1005 22nd St., (916) 447-7558, www.midtownframing.com

Midtown 1 ALEX BULT GALLERY 1114 21st St., (916) 476-5540, www.alexbultgallery.com

2 ART OF TOYS 1126 18th St., (916) 446-0673, www.artoftoys.com

3 ART STUDIOS 1727 I St., behind Michaelangelo’s; (916) 444-2233

4 ARTFOX GALLERY 2213 N St., Ste. B; (916) 835-1718; www.artfox.us

5 AXIS GALLERY 1517 19th St.,

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19TH ST.

16TH ST.

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10TH ST.

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16 LITTLE RELICS 908 21st St.,

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15 KENNEDY GALLERY 1931 L St., (916)

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New shows added weekly for ace of Spades & assembly, be sure to check the sweetdeals website for show dates!

www.newsreview.com

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4

NINTH ST.

Nov 22 - Dec 21 Arden Playhouse presents “Arsenic and Old Lace”: $18 tix for $9 Nov 24 - Jan 05 B Street Theatre presents “Not In The Stars”: $35 tix for $14 Dec 20 Joy and Madness at Harlow’s: $10 tix for $5 Dec 21 Solsa at Harlow’s: $12 tix for $6 Dec 22 Adrian Marcel at Harlow’s: $15 tix for $7.50 Dec 27 Foreverland: A Michael Jackson Tribute: $15 tix for $7.50 Dec 31 A New Year’s Dance Party with Lovefool at Harlow’s: $25 tix for $12.50 Jan 03 - Jan 26 Davis Musical Theatre presents “Cabaret”: $18 tix for $9 Jan 09 - Jan 12 Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, CA: $125 weekend pass for $62.50 Jan 08 Andy McKee at Harlow’s: $25 tix for $12.50 Jan 09 Chop Tops at Harlow’s: $10 tix for $5 Jan 14 Chef Robert Irvine at The Crest Theatre: $40 tix for $20

13TH ST.

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check out sweetdeals for great gift ideas!

tICKetS

12TH ST.

11TH ST.

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(916) 443-9900, www.axisgallery.org

6 B. SAKATA GARO 923 20th St., (916) 447-4276, www.bsakatagaro.com

7 BLUE LAMP 1400 Alhambra Blvd., (916) 455-3400, www.bluelamp.com

8 BOWS & ARROWS 1815 19th St., (916) 822-5668, www.bowscollective.com

9 CAPITAL ARTWORKS 1215 21st St., Ste. B; (916) 207-3787; www.capital-artworks.com

10 CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ART, SACRAMENTO 1519 19th St., (916) 498-9811, www.ccasac.org

11 CUFFS 2523 J St., (916) 443-2881, www.shopcuffs.com

12 ELLIOTT FOUTS GALLERY 1831 P St., (916) 446-1786, www.efgallery.com

18 OLD SOUL CO. 1716 L St., (916) 443-7685, www.oldsoulco.com

19 RED DOT GALLERY 2231 J St., Ste. 101; www.reddotgalleryonj.com

20 SACRAMENTO ART COMPLEX 2110 K St., Ste. 4; (916) 476-5500; www.sacramentoartcomplex.com

21 SACRAMENTO GAY & LESBIAN CENTER 1927 L St., (916) 442-0185, http://saccenter.org

22 SHIMO CENTER FOR THE ARTS 2117 28th St., (916) 706-1162, www.shimogallery.com

23 TIM COLLOM GALLERY 915 20th St., (916) 247-8048, www.timcollomgallery.com


NEED ATTENTION?

Don’t miss E ST.

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24 UNION HALL GALLERY 2126 K St.,

35 LA RAZA GALERíA POSADA

II BLUE MOON GALLERY 2353 Albatross Way,

2700 Front St., (916) 446-5133, www.larazagaleriaposada.org

(916) 448-2452

25 UNIVERSITY ART 2601 J St., (916) 443-5721, www.universityart.com

26 THE URBAN HIVE 1931 H St., (916) 585-4483, www.theurbanhive.com

27 VIEWPOINT PHOTOGRAPHIC ART CENTER 2015 J St., (916) 441-2341, www.viewpointgallery.org

(916) 920-2444, www.bluemoongallery sacto.com

36 SMITH GALLERY 1020 11th St.,

III THE BRICKHOUSE ART GALLERY

Ste. 100; (916) 446-4444; www.smithgallery.com

2837 36th St., (916) 457-1240, www.thebrickhousegalleryoakpark.com

37 TEMPLE COFFEE 1010 Ninth St.,

IV DEL PASO WORKS BUILDING GALLERIES

(916) 443-4960, www.templecoffee.com

38 VOx SACRAMENTO 1818 11th St.,

455-1125, www.deltaworkshopsac.com

VI EVOLVE THE GALLERY 3428 Third Ave.,

(916) 443-5601, www.zanzibartrading.com

Downtown/olD Sac EaSt Sac 29 ADAMSON GALLERY 1021 R St., (916) 492-2207, www.theadamsongallery.com

30 ARTHOUSE UPSTAIRS 1021 R St., second floor; (916) 672-1098; www.arthouse-sacramento.com

31 ARTISTS’ COLLABORATIVE GALLERY 129 K St., (916) 444-7125, www.artcollab.com

32 CROCKER ART MUSEUM 216 O St., (916) 808-7000, www.crockerartmuseum.org

33 E STREET GALLERY AND STUDIOS 1115 E St., (916) 505-7264

34 ExHIBIT S 547 L St., (203) 500-8679, www.exhibitsstudios.com

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nEWs

1001 Del Paso Blvd.

V DELTA WORKSHOP 2598 21st St., (916)

www.voxsac.com

28 ZANZIBAR GALLERY 1731 L St.,

BEFoRE

Amazing Gifts, Amazing Framing, Amazing Holiday Sale!

(916) 572-5123, www.evolvethegallery.com

VII GALLERY 1855 820 Pole Line Rd. in Davis,

39 ARCHIVAL FRAMING 3223 Folsom Blvd., (916) 923-6204, www.archivalframe.com

40 FE GALLERY & IRON ART STUDIO 1100 65th St., (916) 456-4455, www.fegallery.com

(530) 756-7807, www.daviscemetery.org

VIII KNOWLTON GALLERY 115 S. School St., Ste. 14 in Lodi; (209) 368-5123; www.knowltongallery.com

University Art

Ix PATRIS STUDIO AND ART GALLERY

41 GALLERY 14 3960 60th St.,

3460 Second Ave., (916) 397-8958, http://artist-patris.com

(916) 456-1058, www.gallery14.net

42 JAYJAY 5520 Elvas Ave.,

(916) 453-2999, www.jayjayart.com

off map

x RECLAMARE GALLERY & CUSTOM TATTOO 2737 Riverside Blvd., (916) 760-7461, www.reclamareart.com

xI SACRAMENTO TEMPORARY CONTEMPORARY 1616 Del Paso Blvd., (916) 921-1224, www.tempartgallery.com

I BLUE LINE GALLERY 405 Vernon St., Ste. 100 in Roseville; (916) 783-4117; http://bluelinegallery.blogspot.com

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F E At U R E

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Palo Alto |

A Rt s & C U Lt U R E

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AFtER

San Jose |

Visit UniversityArt.com

12.12.13

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SN&R

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25


happy holidays

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to join us & try our newest holiday beer “Mystery Airship” plus: » Buffalo craft lager » thunderBeaSt IPa » rough & ready red IPa » homeland Stout » SaISon Solon » molly amerIcan red ale

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26 

| 

SN&R   |  12.12.13

Comedy Show Fireworks Show Dinner Deluxe Room

- Bottle of Champagne - Party Favor - Breakfast in the morning

PACKAGES START AT $289 PER COUPLE Preffered seating available with package Show tickets, dancing and champagne toast at Midnight ONLY $75 PER PERSON Reservations required

500 Leisure Lane | Sacramento, CA 916.922.2020


For the week of December 12

It’s 

official: Jewish Christmas traditions  have gone corporate. The secret is out,  and everyone’s eating Chinese food and  watching movies on Christmas Day. I’ve been  following this tradition for many years, and  here’s my prediction for this year: Everyone  in Sacramento will have a hard time finding a  seat in a movie theater. Perhaps it’s due to big  movie studios putting out films with Christmas  release dates. This year is no exception, with  The Wolf of Wall Street, 47 Ronin, Grudge Match  and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opening on  December 25. I’ll probably still end up going to  see one of these films (it’s a family tradition,  after all), but the following are a pair of good  alternatives happening this week for those who  want to avoid the crowds. Trash Film Orgy presents a trashy  Christmas at the Crest Theatre (1013 K Street)  on Saturday, December 14. The event features  the 1984 film Silent Night, Deadly Night, plus a 

bloody stage show, other trashy Christmas  film trailers, games, beer and sexy elves. Doors  open at 8:15 p.m., and the entertainment begins  at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door, or $9 in  advance and for people who show up in Santa  Claus costumes. Visit www.trashfilmorgy.com  for more information. Did you miss the Wild & Scenic Film Festival  last winter? No big deal. A special encore presentation of film selections will happen on Saturday,  December 14, in Nevada City—just about a  month before the 2014 edition of the festival  goes down. In the schedule is the feature-length  documentary Not Yet Begun to Fight, plus  shorter films Dancing Salmon Home, The Summit  and Moonwalk. Doors open at 6:15 p.m., and  the films will be shown from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets  are $6-$15. It happens at the North Columbia  Schoolhouse Cultural Center, 17894 Tyler Foote  Crossing Road in Nevada City. For more information, visit www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org.

—Jonathan Mendick

weekLY PIckS

Barks for Art

Ray Eames’ 101st Birthday Celebration & Historic Holidays on K Street Workshop

Thursday, december 12, Through January 4, 2014 Jack Donaghy, a character from   30 Rock, once declared the only  subjects suitable to be painted  are horses, ships with  ART sails and men holding up  swords, staring off into the distance.  For those with less Waspy tastes, the  Barks for Art art show benefits the  Front Street Animal Shelter, helping  lost, stray and abandoned animals.  Free; Second Saturday reception  on December 14, from 6 to 9 p.m. at  The Adamson Gallery, 1021 R Street,  Suite 15; (916) 492-2207;  www.theadamsongallery.com.

saTurday, december 14 Celebrate the 101st birthday of  Sacramento’s first lady of design  while learning about the important  commercial history of K Street  (remember  HISTORY Weinstock’s?)  from local authors William Burg and  Annette Kassis. Free for the first 101  to register in advance, $6.50-$9;   11 a.m. at The California Museum,   1020 O Street; (916) 653-7524;   www.californiamuseum.org.

—Deena Drewis BEFORE

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  NEWS

Santa Parade

UFC on Fox 9

saTurday, december 14

saTurday, december 14

When I lived downtown, I once  made the mistake of not being  prepared for a Santa Parade, and  the crash cymbals of a marching  band down the street made for a  rude awakenHOLIDAY ing. Behold (or  beware): The 31st Sacramento  Santa Parade, which starts at  Capitol Park and ends at Fourth  and L streets. It features Santa  Claus, marching bands, horses  and more. Free, 10 a.m. at 14th and  N streets, www.sacholidays.com.

A bunch of Sacramento-based Team  Alpha Male fighters will be on mixed  martial arts fight cards at UFC on  Fox 9 at Sleep Train  SPORTS Arena: Joseph  Benavidez challenges Demetrious  Johnson for the Ultimate Fighting  Championship’s flyweight title, Urijah  Faber fights Michael McDonald, Chad  Mendes takes on Nik Lentz, and  Danny Castillo goes against Edson  Barboza. $65.40-$259.65, 12:30 p.m. at  Sleep Train Arena, 1 Sports Parkway;  www.ufc.com/event/fox9.

—Jonathan Mendick

—Jonathan Mendick

26th Annual Gingerbread Holiday: Gingerbread Houses Through saTurday, december 21 I’m Jewish, but making gingerbread  houses with my Christian friends  was one Christmas tradition I  always enjoyed. View gingerbread  houses made  HOLIDAY by children and  adults, including bakery-academy  students. Alas, no tasting allowed.  Free, 1 to 4 p.m. daily at the Old  Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum,  1200 Front Street; www.scoe.net/ oldsacschoolhouse.

—Jonathan Mendick

—Deena Drewis

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happy holidays

feeling chile?

drink. dine. relax.

Happy Holidays

dinner for

FREE chile bomb

daily Happy Hour 3pm – 7pm

$4.95!

With the purchase of an entree. Dine in only. Expires 12/31/13.

Buy 1 reg. price dinner entree, get the 2nd of equal or lesser value for $4.95. Mon-Sat. 5pm-close with this ad. Expires 12/31/13.

Authentic Mexican cuisine & Tequilla bar Since 1983

1900 4th Street • 916.443.8488 • 1100 O ST • 916.498.1744

1501 L S t r e e t Sacramento, ca ( 916) 267-6823

S T R E S S E D HOLIDAY For over 65 years Sacramento has been preparing for all occasions with this handmade delight. So scoot on over for the delicious flavors of the season. Made-to-order sandwiches, ice-cream cakes and pies are always available at Burr’s and Vic’s.

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Preorder your holiday desserts & breads today... Sweets make the perfect gift!

Estelle’s Patisserie is a charming, warmly lit French-style bakery and espresso bar in the heart of Sacramento, dedicated to quality and our community. Using fresh, local ingredients to make our pastries and desserts from scratch every day, Estelle’s also offers breakfast and lunch items.

Located on the corner of 9th & K in downtown Sacramento

Open 7 days a week: M-F 7-6 | Sat 8-6 | Sun 8-4 Wi-fi available

#estellespatisserie Contact us at 551-5100 or via email at info@estellespatisserie.com 28 

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SN&R   |  12.12.13

3199 Riverside Blvd • 448-0892 Also available at Burr’s Fountain 4920 Folsom Blvd • 452-5516


The Thai standard ART FOR YOUR EYES ARTISAN-CRAFTED COFFEE FOR YOUR PALATE

Thai Basil 2431 J Street, (916) 442-7690, www.thaibasilrestaurant.com It’s been nearly 10 years since this paper first reviewed Thai Basil, lavishing it with astounding praise, and in the years since, SN&R readers have by Garrett McCord consistently voted it to be among the city’s top Thai restaurants for this paper’s annual Best of Sacramento issue. Indeed, the region’s three Thai Basil locations, a miniature matriarchal restaurant empire founded by Prayoon Sununsangthong, have set the standard for authentic Thai home cooking. Still, there’s little question that after being open for more than a decade, any restaurant rating: could begin to decline in quality. Could Thai HHHH Basil be any different? I decided to visit its dinner for one: Midtown location to find out. $10 - $20 The restaurant’s tom yum soup may be one of the best foods served in the City of Trees. It features an incredibly savory broth with layers of flavor that go deeper than a Thomas Pynchon novel and should be studied by grad students. The tom kha gai—a coconut-broth soup—is a veritable panacea against Delta winds and the morose rains that follow them. Salads make up a large part of Thai cuisine and should not be overlooked. Larb gai consists of simple shredded chicken over mixed greens, H cucumber and tomatoes. Fresh mint and a chiliflawed laden dressing heavy with fish sauce and vigorHH ous squeezes of lime juice pull it all together for haS momentS an addictive and satisfying lunch. HHH A crispy catfish salad called yum pla grob appealing sounds appealing but is drab, despite being HHHH served with cilantro, mint and pineapple. If you authoritative haven’t had crispy, minced catfish, then I guess HHHHH after ordering it, you can check that off your list. epic Pad Thai, on the other hand, is like meatloaf: Every single family has a recipe, and their recipe is the right one. That being the case, it’s hard to ever make an impersonal opinion. You like how a place does it, or you don’t. I can assure that pad Thai purists will be satiated here—it’s sweet, peanutty and filled with flavor. The thin noodles can get a bit gummy, but some prefer them over the fat, wide noodles. Que sera. Of course, one of the true highlights of Thai Basil is its homemade curry pastes. These carefully balanced constructions of basil, lemonStill hungry? Search Sn&r’s grass, shallots, chilis, kaffir lime leaves and “dining directory” numerous other ingredients come together to to find local form truly authentic pastes that, when roasted, restaurants by name have been known to drive hungry Sacramentans or by type of food. Sushi, mexican, indian, into a berserk craze. (Very tragic. People have italian—discover it died from this, or so I hear.) all in the “dining” On that note, the green and red curries section at should not be missed. Both are achingly sweet www.news review.com. and savory on numerous levels: Herbal, grassy, toasty and tossed with chicken or shrimp and served over jasmine rice, there can be no better way to enjoy lunch on a chilly December day. A seasonal special, the massaman here is astounding. Massaman is a coconut-based

1029 DEL PASO BLVD SACRAMENTO, CA MON-FRI 7AM-4PM, SAT 8AM-1PM

curry with ground peanuts, red curry paste, and a number of additional spices, such as cardamom and nutmeg. The result is a sweet and decadent sauce perfect for braising short ribs until they simply faint off the bone from sheer joy. Served with potatoes, carrots, peanuts and wafer-thin crisps of yam, diners may never want to go back to the standard red, green or yellow curry again.

RIBBON CUTTING SATURDAY 12/14 AT 10AM!

let it snow!

Pad Thai is like meatloaf: Every single family has a recipe, and their recipe is the right one.

unique shaved snow desserts of all flavors

Mouthwatering fluffy snowballs infused with flavor & topped with fresh fruits, jellies & candy

The spicy eggplant needed salt and significant amounts of more spice. True, one can alter spice with the varying types of pepper at the table (sauced, pickled, dried, etc.), but spicy eggplant needs to have more than a barely perceptible tingle. The Thai ice tea tasted achingly sweet. Sweeter than any I have ever had. Then again, it’s Thai ice tea. What the hell does anyone expect except sugar and caffeine in quantities high enough to kill a racehorse? Service here is impeccable. Present without being overbearing, helpful with recommendations, and able to accurately describe the seasonal specials. All and all, Thai Basil has earned its reputation and will likely continue to keep it for years to come. Ω

6821 stockton Blvd #110

Follow Vampire Penguin’s story at Facebook.com/VampirePenguin916

$5 OFF

Generous animals

Gift-giving this time of year shouldn’t be

your order of $20 or more

a tedious and stressful task. Feel good, instead, by forgoing gifting a frumpy T-shirt from Old Navy for the elegantly graphic designed “Cultivate Kindness” shirt from Mercy for Animals ($25 at http://store.mercy foranimals.org). Or give the hipsterworthy, turntable-cum-scratcher DJ Cat Scratching Pad from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ($39.99 at www.aspcaonlinestore.com). There are also model horse sets of the reallife wild horse Cloud and his herd for equine enthusiasts from The Cloud Foundation ($40 at www.thecloudfoundation.org), plus loads of books, videos, calendars, greeting cards, jewelry, hoodies and travel mugs at your (or your giftee’s) favorite animaladvocacy nonprofit. Be a generous animal by putting your money where your heart is!

’13

(on food & Beverage

s)

exp 12/31/13 ’13

08

09

’10

’10

’10

’13

5644 J Street

08

07

Phone’1orders welcome!: 0 916. 451.4000

07

’10

Sun-Wed 10:30am - 9:30pm Thurs - Sat 10:30am -10:00pm *Tax not included. Please present coupon. Not valid with any other offers. Not valid with variety platter.

—Shoka

BEFORE

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NEWS

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F E AT U R E

STORY

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A RT S & C U LT U R E

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AFTER

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Darna This Palestinian restaurant 

Where to eat?

serves an excellent baba ghanoush that, instead of being  blended into a smooth paste,  is served chunky and studded  with eggplant seeds. Its smoky,  deep flavor is balanced out by  a lemony brightness, and it’s  good on the somewhat flabby  pita bread with which it’s  served, but it’s even better on  the house-made za’atar bread.  Chicken-breast kebabs are  not particularly flavorful but  have some char from the grill,  while the falafel and chicken  shawarma are underwhelming.  Do order a side of tabbouleh  salad, however. It’s pretty   to look at—bright-green  chopped parsley studded with  white grains of bulgur—and  tastes refreshing. Palestinian.  925 K St., (916) 447-7500. Dinner  for one: $15-$25. HHH B.G.

Here are a few recent reviews and regional recommendations by Becky Grunewald, Ann Martin Rolke, Garrett McCord and Jonathan Mendick, updated regularly. Downtown & Vine This tasting room  and wine bar spotlights the local  Check out farm-to-glass movement. Here,  www.newsreview.com diners can order 2-ounce tastfor more dining advice. ing flights of wine. Choose three 

from the same vintner to compare styles, or mix and match  to contrast similar wines from  regional wineries. Wines are also  available in larger pours and by  the bottle. Wine is meant to be  enjoyed with food, of course:  The menu offers a wide selection of tidbits and hearty dishes.  Worth sampling: the goatcheese stuffed peppers, chilled  Spanish-spiced shrimp, and a  cheddar-and-apple melt. Or  try the ambrosial Wine Country  sandwich, with salty prosciutto,  sweet fig jam, oozy mozzarella 

and peppery arugula on grilled  bread. There are also a variety  of flatbreads loaded with  topping combos like capicola,  three cheeses, piquillo peppers  and green onions. The bread for  these is nicely crunchy but not  too chewy and comes across   as more than a pizza trying to  be fancy. American. 1200 K St.,  Ste. 8; (916) 228-4518. Dinner for  one: $10-$15. HHHH AMR

Zia’s Delicatessen Zia’s Delicatessen isn’t really about trying  every sandwich: It’s about finding your sandwich. In addition  to a large selection of salumi,  there’s the worthy eponymous  offering, served with a wedge  of zucchini frittata, a slice of  provolone, romaine lettuce,  grainy tomato, and a simple  dash of vinegar and oil that  adds tang. Order it hot, so that  the provolone melts into the  bread. Also tasty: the hot meatball sub with small-grained,  tender meatballs bathed in a  thin, oregano-flecked tomato  sauce that soaks into the bread.  A tuna sandwich is sturdy, if not  exciting. It is just mayonnaisey  enough, with tiny, diced bits  of celery. A rosemary panino  cotto with mozzarella could  benefit from a more flavorful  cheese. For a meatier option,  try the Milano: mortadella,  salami, Muenster; all three  flavors in balance. The turkey  Viareggio has a thin spread of  pesto mayo, and the smoked  mozzarella accents rather than  overpowers. American. 1401 O St.,  Ste. A; (916) 441-3354. Meal   for one: $5-$10. HHHH B.G.

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Midtown Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co. The restaurant, by the same  owners as Midtown’s The Golden  Bear, sports a firefighting  theme (a ladder on the ceiling  duct work, shiny silver wallpaper with a rat-and-hydrant  motif, et al) and a bar setup  that encourages patrons to talk  to each other. An interesting  wine list includes entries from  Spain and Israel; there are also  draft cocktails and numerous  beers on tap. The brunch menu  is heavy on the eggs, prepared  in lots of ways. One option is  the Croque Madame, a hamand-Gruyere sandwich usually  battered with egg. This one had  a fried egg and béchamel, with  a generous smear of mustard  inside. The mountain of potato  hash alongside tasted flavorful  and not too greasy. The menu  also features pizzas and housemade pastas, but one of its  highlights includes an excellent  smoked-eggplant baba ganoush,  which is smoky and garlicky and  served with warm flatbread  wedges and oil-cured olives. The  bananas foster bread pudding  is equally transcendent, accompanied by very salty caramel  gelato, pecans and slivers of  brûléed bananas. American. 1630 S St., (916) 442-4885. Dinner  for one: $20-$40. HHH1/2 AMR 

Starlite Lounge Kitsched up with  midcentury modern details  such as a giant metal starburst  sculpture and a jukebox stocked  with the likes of Frank Sinatra  and Lady Gaga, the Starlite features food made by chefs from  the Papa Dale’s Drivin’ Diner 

food truck. Almost everything  here is either fried or accompanied by a creamy sauce,  which makes for a heavy meal,  but perfect bar food. Try the  What a Pickle appetizer: crisply  fried cornmeal-dusted pickle  chips served with a garlic-dill  dip. The Tara-Dactyl Wings are  three chicken drumsticks that  have been slow-cooked and  brick-seared. This translates to  moist, flavorful meat, with not  a hint of grease. There are also  onion rings, two kinds of french  fries and fried mac-and-cheese  balls. Brave diners should  order the Oh! That’s a Burger, a  half-pound of juicy beef, served  with cheddar cheese, thick-cut  bacon, barbecue sauce and an  onion ring. It’s a Dagwood-style  sandwich that’s hard to get  your mouth around—but do  your best. American. 1517 21st St.,   (916) 706-0052. Dinner for one:  $10-$15. HHH AMR

Tank House BBQ and Bar The décor  here is “suspenders and suede  oxfords”—both homey and  eclectic with old wood, new  wood and wallpaper that is to  die for. A large patio is welcoming and allows diners to bathe in  the haze from the drum smoker.  You’ll leave perfumed in whiteoak and almond-wood smoke; a  good thing if your date digs the  smell of meat and wood, bad if  you have a meeting after lunch.  Recommendations include the  ribs, which are astounding in  texture. The meat falls off the  bone with confidence that your  mouth will catch it. A lack of salt  or spice on the ribs, however,  robs them of the chance of  being truly astonishing. (An 

easy fix.) The brisket is also  fantastic—as tender as the  first time you held hands with a  high-school crush, with a sweet,  smoky flavor that’s just as  memorable. Loaded onto   the sandwich and served with  white American cheese, it makes  for an epic meal. Barbecue.   1925 J St., (916) 431-7199. Dinner  for one: $10-$20. HHH G.M.

East Sac Istanbul Bistro Turkish chef  Murat Bozkurt and brother  Ekrem co-own this paean to  their homeland, with Ekrem  usually at the front of the  house, infusing the space with  cheer. Turkish cuisine features  aspects of Greek, Moroccan  and Middle Eastern flavors.  The appetizer combo plate  offers an impressive sampling.  Acili ezme is a chopped, slightly  spicy mixture of tomatoes,  cucumber and walnuts that’s  delicious paired with accompanying flatbread wedges. For  entrees, try the borani, a lamb  stew with garbanzos, carrots,  potatoes and currants. The  meat is very tender, while  the veggies arrived nicely al  dente. Also good is the chicken  shish plate (souvlaki), which  features two skewers of marinated grilled chicken that’s  moist and succulent. There  are also quite a few choices  for vegetarians, including flatbread topped like pizza, with  spinach and feta or mozzarella  and egg. Turkish. 3260-B J St.,   (916) 449-8810. Dinner for one:  $15-$20. HHH1/2 AMR

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Asian Café Asian Café serves  both Thai and Lao food, but go  for the Lao specialties, which  rely on flavoring staples  such as fish sauce, lime juice,  galangal and lemongrass,  lots of herbs, and chilies. One  of the most common dishes  in Lao cuisine is larb, a dish  of chopped meat laced with  herbs, chilies and lime. At  Asian Café, it adds optional  offal add-ons—various organ  meats, entrails, et al—to  three versions of the dish:  beef with tripe, chicken with  gizzards, or pork with pork  skin. The beef salad offers a  gentle respite from aggressive flavors, consisting of  medium-thick chewy slices  of eye of round with red bell  pepper, chopped iceberg and  hot raw jalapeño. The single  best dish here is the nam  kao tod, a crispy entree with  ground pork that’s baked on  the bottom of the pan with  rice, then stirred and fried up  fresh the next day with dried  Thai chilies and scallions.  Thai and Lao. 2827 Norwood Ave.,  (916) 641-5890. Dinner for one:  $10-$15. HHHH B.G.

South Sac A&A Tasty Restaurant and Bar This  Little Saigon eatery boasts  such an extensive menu of  Chinese and Vietnamese dishes  that it’s hard to pinpoint its  crown jewel. Notable options  include a salty fish and  chicken-fried rice entree with  stir-fried vegetables. The fried 

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Yang’s Noodles Chinese food is endlessly complex and diverse with “Eight Schools,” or regional styles, including Taiwanese cuisine, which is served at Yang’s Noodles. Except this isn’t really traditional Taiwanese food (you won’t find dishes such as glutinous pancakes served with oysters and egg, or mushrooms steamed in hollow bamboo stalks, for example). This is, however, perhaps the only place in town that serves niu rou jian bing (sliced beef rolls)—a specialty of northern China—and the ones at Yang’s hit the spot. This is basically the Chinese version of a burrito: meat (thinly sliced beef marinated in soy sauce) plus veggies (diced green onion, cucumber and cilantro) wrapped in a large, flat and circular carbohydrate crepe (a thin Chinese pancake made out of flour, water and green onion). Elsewhere on the menu, Yang’s eponymous noodles,

featured in various dishes, are homemade, alkaline and chewy. Chinese. 5860 Stockton Blvd., (916) 392-9988. Dinner for one: $10-$15. HHHH J.M.

Arden/ Carmichael

West Sacramento Wicked West Pizza & BBQ This popular destination for kids’ sports teams and birthday parties also caters to adult diners with good food and healthy options, such as organic whole-wheat crusts. Gluten-free and vegan choices are also available. With a texture closer to Chicago style than New York style, the pizzas are tasty but quite filling. Choose from house-made sauces and fresh toppings, or pick from one of the inventively named presets. The Old Lady is especially good, with pesto, potatoes, spinach, lots of veggies and a zingy balsamic drizzle. The biggest secret here, though, is the barbecue. Wicked West delivers with shredded, tender meat that’s lightly smoky and tossed with a vinegar-based sauce. The pork ribs are dryrubbed and toothsome, while the tri-tip is well cooked but leans toward a dry texture. A bit of sauce on the side would fix that right up. The chicken is rubbed with olive oil and herbs and rotisserie-smoked to produce a moist and juicy result. Pizza/Barbecue. 3160 Jefferson Blvd. in West Sacramento, (916) 572-0572. Dinner for one: $5-$10. HHH AMR

around. The most unusual dish on the menu is the Scottish Mafia Pizza. Topped with turkey pastrami, potatoes, cabbage and Swiss cheese, it falls short with its too many flat flavors to actually benefit from their unusual pairing. Thankfully, there’s Tabasco sauce on the table. Pub. 5220 Manzanita Ave. in Carmichael, (916) 331-2337. Dinner for one: $10-$20. HHH1/2 J.M.

Ramen & Rice At Ramen & Rice, a ramen restaurant that also makes Korean dishes, it’s best to stick to the latter. Order the bibimbap with the brown rice—it imparts a delightful nutty flavor. The sliced mushrooms add to the umami of this dish, and the shoyu, mustard and spicy sauces that come on the side should all be used liberally. Meat is very easily avoided here: The restaurant emphasizes the healthful aspect of its dishes, and tofu can be substituted for any meat, as can vegetarian broth in most of the soups. On the Japanese side of the menu, the ramen broth lacked a much-needed, salinated quality, the chashu lacked succulence and the hardboiled egg was served overcooked with an ugly green yolk. A steaming bowl of Japanese curry, however, boasted a comforting flavor, and, unusually, a bit of spice. Japanese and Korean. 807 Howe Ave., (916) 922-6227. Dinner for one: $10-$15. HHH1/2 B.G.

ILLUSTRATION BY MARK STIVERS

rice offers copious pieces of the diced salty fish. This may seem a bit weird to the uninitiated, but the reward is a unique, jolting pungent flavor that spruces up an otherwise boring chicken-fried rice. Elsewhere on the menu, the Vietnamese pork-chop rice plate, served with a small bowl of fish sauce, surprisingly stacks up to similar dishes from other strictly Vietnamese restaurants in the area. The pork is thinly sliced and tender, easily cut with a simple butter knife. Chinese and Vietnamese. 6601 Florin Rd., (916) 379-0309. Dinner for one: $10-$20. HHH1/2 J.M.

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Stirling Bridges Restaurant and Pub This British- and Scottishthemed gastropub offers an adequate beer selection and an extensive menu that goes beyond standard deep-fried pub fare. Try the Irish onion soup, a French onion-styled soup kicked up with Irish whiskey and Guinness beer. Or order the house-made veggie burger—it’s one of the tastiest black-bean patties

and restaurant boasts excellent service and food. Try the musque de Provence pumpkin soup—it’s lighter than your wallet will be when you leave, but one bite and wallet be damned. The flavor is exquisite with whispers of vanilla and pops of pumpkin seed. A cider-brined pork chop, bejeweled in bacon and prune and sitting atop a bed of savoy cabbage, defies expectations. A quartet of lamb meatballs corseted in harissa, mint sauce and yogurt is surely the dish to convert anyone who (confusedly) refuses lamb. The eclectic dessert menu covers all the bases: fruit, cake, custard and chocolate. The restaurant— being primarily a wine bar—does not serve anyone under the age of 21. Those of a legal drinking age, rejoice, for there will be no parent cooing to a child to settle down. American. 1568 Lincoln Way in Auburn, (530) 823-0320. Dinner for one: $50-$75. HHHHH G.M.

Back pho more

I was pretty sad to discover in early January that Saigon Bay Restaurant on Howe Avenue had closed. It was the only place near the SN&R office to grab decent pho (it had adequate bun, rice plates, egg rolls, sweet-and-sour fish soup, and catfish claypot, too). I searched Yelp for more clues, and Yelpers pointed out a “coming soon” sign for Pho Saigon Bay a block away. After months of driving by and checking out the building progress (I could see workers inside doing interior remodeling), I’m happy to report that Pho Saigon Bay is now open at 1537 Howe Avenue. It’s part of a local chain that includes a Little Saigon location (6458 Stockton Boulevard), a Saigon Bay Express restaurant on the Sacramento State University campus (6000 J Street), and eateries in Stockton and Tracy. While it may not be the finest pho in all of Sacramento, it’s still the best within a few minutes of SN&R’s headquarters. Visit www.phosaigonbay.com for more information. —Jonathan Mendick

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shop local this holiday season andsave! p urchasegiftcards forupto60%off

Sacramento Pipeworks: $100 gift card for $40 Harv’s Car Wash: $26 gift card for $13 Paws and The Pallette: $20 gift card for $10 Freestyle Clothing Exchange: $50 gift card for $25 eMotorsWest: $129 gift card for $64.50 The Yoga Seed Collective: $108 gift card for $54

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FIND OF THE WEEK

Buy. Eat. Drink.

Hipster holiday haven

WAE LIMITED & CO. POP UP SHOP

BUY OLYMPIA OK, it’s not exactly going to help keep your dollars in the local community here, but the Portland,  SHOP Oregon-based Buy Olympia collective  is still a great indie resource. The site,  founded in 1999 in Olympia, Washington, sells a vast  array of goods from independent merchants including crafters, artists, clothing makers, musicians  and more. There are vegan cookbook zines and cute,  inexpensive socks imprinted with bicycles, birds or,  of course, hipster mustaches. There are bold Nikki  McClure prints and wall calendars, vinyl messenger  bags, and handcrafted soaps scented with raw honey  and cocoa. Best yet, it’s all pretty dang affordable,  so don’t forget the most important person on that  holiday shopping list: you. www.buyolympia.com. —Rachel Leibrock

Radio sweethearts POP! AND CIRCUMSTANCE Radio deejay Miss Marnie Hotpants is back on the air  with co-host Miss JuJu for the weekly 90.3 FM KDVS  broadcast Pop! & Circumstance. The Wednesdaymorning show, described as “like waking up to your  very own KTEL record collection,” covers much  ground, playing artists such as the ever-popular  Kinks, vocalist Rosemary Clooney, ’90s-era Japanese  alt-pop duo Cibo Matto and even Charlie Brown TV  LOCAL specials composer Vince Guaraldi. The  radio show is broadcast from 6 to 8 a.m.  Too early? Don’t fret: It’s also available to stream  whenever online. www.popandcircumstance.com. —Rachel Leibrock

From pagan to saint HILD

www.newsreview.com 32   |   SN&R   |   12.12.13

British author Nicola Griffith is best known for science  fiction and crime writing, but she takes a detour with  Hild: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; $27). It’s a  coming-of-age story set in seventhBOOK century Britain, where Hild, a pagan child,  goes to the court of her uncle, King Edwin of Northumbria. Hild grows into the king’s main adviser during the  time when Christianity was making inroads in Britain,  and the twist is that the novel’s heroine will become   St. Hilda of Whitby. What might be just a feminist take  on an ancient Christian saint becomes an adventure  story about a young woman who was very much a  product of her time, with lush description of life in the  early Middle Ages. —Kel Munger

This Second Saturday, step inside  the handicraft haven of the Delta  Workshop for a holiday party   pop-up presented by WAE Limited  & Co., a design collective created by  SHOP local artisans Elizabeth  Mahoney of Wald Wolken,  Amanda Carroll of Duso, and  Whittney Kebschull of Witt and Lore.  The workshop, which takes  place from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 14, will focus on  jewelry, fashion and textiles, with  the groups taking the “exquisite  corpse” method of creative addition, passing a project from one  artist to the next to create unique  one-off products that combine the  sensibilities of all the participating  creators. Their first collaboration  will comprise ornament sets conveniently timed for the holidays.  Bonus: Flash them this writeup for $5 off any WAE goods. Sylvanna Mislang, formerly of  Blackbird Kitchen & Bar, will be  on hand with free hors d’oeuvres  via her roving vegan pop-up The  Roaming Spoon. The Spoon is one  of a handful of local pop-up dining  ventures that have been adding flavor and dimension to many  events, and Mislang’s received  much-deserved kudos for her effort to provide organic, sustainably  resourced ingredients.  Also for your palate’s pleasure, the folk of Placerville’s  Zeal Kombucha will be pouring  samples of their small-batch  brew, made with botanicals such  as pine needles, dried lemons and  vanilla. Zeal can be found on tap  at local eateries including Bows  & Arrows (1815 19th Street) and  Magpie Cafe (1409 R Street,   No. 102), but holiday shoppers   can pick up a growler of their own  at the event. 2598 21st Street,  www.waelimited.com. —Julianna Boggs


Healing arrives when you accept that the connection with him is dead. The two of you hung out, had sex and he withdrew from the relationship. Game over. Suppress the urge to plant yourself on his doorstep. Hide your car keys, if you must. Do anything to avoid confronting this man until you have soaked your brain in truth serum. That might be the only way to discover why you have given him so much power over your autonomy and self-worth. If you cannot move forward in your life without an explanation, apology or reconnection with him, your emotional center is off-kilter. Healing arrives when you accept that the connection with him is dead. The two of you hung out, had sex and he withdrew from the relationship. Game over. If you and this man had shared a mutually satisfying, long-term committed relationship in which honest communication was the norm, and then he disappeared, your continued attempts to reach him would be more understandable. But when a man you barely know leaves you, why have tantrums? (Yes, you knew him

Got a problem?

Write, email or leave a message for Joey at the News & Review. Give your name, telephone number (for verification purposes only) and question—all correspondence will be kept strictly confidential. Write Joey, 1124 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95815; call (916) 498-1234, ext. 3206; or email askjoey@ newsreview.com.

BEFORE

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  NEWS

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when he was a teenage boy, but you don’t really know him as an adult.) Clinging to what you imagine the relationship should be, or what you believe it once was, is not an act of love, not for yourself and not for him. You are correct that respect is an essential ingredient in relationships. A couple’s staying power is measured by their shared respect—an attitude of valuing the self and the other. Any expression of contempt (eye rolling, sneering, dismissive remarks, etc.) reveals the limited shelf life of a relationship. Respect is rooted in an innate sense of equality, so giving respect generates respect while strengthening trust. That’s not the kind of relationship you had with this man. It could be the kind of relationship you have with yourself if you choose to pull your focus away from him and to you. I really liked your “Don’t be a stalker” column [SN&R Ask Joey, November 7]. I have long thought that dating is a lost art. It seems people don’t value it and don’t know how to do it. Our culture insists that couples be instantly joined at the hip and exclude all others of the opposite sex. When a couple breaks up, each person must immediately attach his or herself to someone else. The result is tension, possessiveness, insecurity and highly controlling behavior made worse by instant communication. It’s a disaster that cuts people off from getting to know themselves. We are such a sweet species, aren’t we? Each of us moving awkwardly toward the relationship we hope will transform us from who we are to who we yearn to become. The problem is, as my friend Byron Katie says, “Egos don’t love, they want something.” But in that desire, there is always opportunity to gain self-awareness. For that, I am grateful. Ω

Meditation of the Week “It seems to me that we’ve gotten  away from this notion that the  imagination can do wondrous  things,” said novelist Edward   P. Jones. Do you allow yourself to  daydream without concern for how  much time is ticking by?

  F E AT U R E

STORY

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I went out once with a high-school friend I hadn’t seen in 20 years. I also went to his house twice, and we had sex. He insulted me during our next visit but was incredibly nice before I left. He wanted to see me in two weeks but then decided he wanted time alone instead. I said I looked forward to getting together when he felt better. Two months passed. He never answered my texts. by Joey ga Three months later, I left a rcia voice mail saying he owes me a reply out of respect. a s kj oey @ ne wsreview.c om No response. Another old high-school friend agreed he was disrespectful for not replying. She emailed him on my behalf, Joey and he told her I knew he was picked her grapefruit just in time. busy. She said I must have done something wrong. My counselor says I deserve respect and closure from this man to move on. She also thought I was his high-school fantasy. She thinks I should drive to his house and speak to him. What’s your advice?

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Spectacular New Year’s Eve

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SN&R   |  12.12.13

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Crumpet and tee-hee-hee

NOW PLAYING

3

After Hours

The Santaland Diaries David Sedaris is a wickedly funny writer, and The Santaland Diaries—a play based on his essay about a Christmas season spent workby ing as an elf at Macy’s Herald Square—is Jim Carnes devilishly dishy, dizzying and ultimately unsettling. As stories of holiday hells go, it is hilarious. Janis Stevens directs the satiric comedy which was adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello and stars Aaron Wilton as Crumpet the elf.

humor of Sedaris’ piece, but she makes room, too, for his cogent commentary on the insanity and incivility humans and corporations can inflict on otherwise innocent targets. Even in this Season of Peace. Ω

5

4It’s a Wonderful Life PHOTO BY KEVIN ADAMSKI

The Santaland Diaries, 7 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday; $24-$36. Capital Stage, 2215 J Street; (916) 995-5464; www.capstage.org. Through December 29.

BEFORE

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F E AT U R E

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Beauty and the Beast

Playwright Dave Pierini has customized B Street Theatre’s Family Series version of Beauty and the Beast with a few Christmas and New Year’s references. It’s this year’s “holiday surprise.” It’s a charming show—geared to enchant kids, but sohisticated enough to keep adults happily onboard. This 90-minute production also has possibilities as a teen-date opportunity, as well as a show for grandparents and kids to see together. It’s a love fable, well told. Sa, Su 1 & 4pm, and special

holiday shows 12/26 & 12/27 1 & 4pm, 12/24 11am & 1pm. Through 12/29.

A RT S & C U LT U R E

FOUL

2 FAIR

3 GOOD

W 2 & 6:30pm; Th, F 8pm; Sa 5 & 9pm; Su 2pm. Through 1/5/14. $23-$35.

4

B Street Theatre, 2711 B St.; (916) 443-5300; www.bstreet theatre.org. P.R.

WELL-DONE

4

Tommy J & Sally

5

Celebration Arts’ production of this play by Mark Medoff is an intense, tightly paced journey through privilege and bias, as T.J. (Anthony Person) and Sally Hemmings (Nicole DeCroix) navigate contemporary American racial relations by way of re-examining their personal pasts—which may or may not have actually happened. Directed by James Wheatley. Th, F, Sa 8pm; Su 2pm. Through 12/22. $8-$15. Celebration Arts, 4469 D St.; (916) 455-2787; www.celebration arts.net. K.M.

SUBLIME–DON’T MISS

Short reviews by Jeff Hudson, Kel Munger and Patti Roberts.

Things are just starting to get off the ground for Twopoint4 Dance Theater.

Dancing debut A new dance-based theater group makes its debut this Saturday, December 14: Twopoint4 Dance Theater, consisting of Diego Campos, Emilee Chew, Christine Crooks-Nguyen and Tony Nguyen—two of whom are Sacramento State University alums and one a current student—will perform Trio of Showings: No. 1, featuring elements of “poetry and theater combined with dynamic dance movements,” according to the group. Currently, the group rehearses weekly at a 24 Hour Fitness gym in Sacramento, but it’s already been asked to perform a variety of shows in the Sacramento and Folsom areas next year. In preparation, it’s currently asking for community feedback to help hone its routine, a work in progress that will be finalized after this first trio of showings. After the performance this Saturday, audience members can meet the crew, chat and provide feedback. $5, 2 and 7 p.m. at Bows & Arrows, 1815 19th Street; www.facebook.com/twopoint4.

It’s a Wonderful Life, 7 p.m. Wednesday; 12:30 and 7 p.m. Thursday; 7 p.m. Friday; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday; $17-$37. Sacramento Theatre Company, 1419 H Street; (916) 443-6722; www.sactheatre.org. Through |

1

$15-$20. B Street Theatre B3, 2727 B St.; (916) 443-5300; www.bstreettheatre.org. J.H.

—Kel Munger

STORY

In Buck Busfield’s 16th original holiday offering, Not in the Stars, he gives us two separate one act plays in which he creatively casts three B Street Theatre regulars in repertoire: Kurt Johnson, Elisabeth Nunziato and David Pierini. By putting two one-acts in repertory, Busfield allows the audience to savor the talented acting skills of this tried-and-true trio, who have acted in productions at B Street for the last two decades. And Not in the Stars also lets the audience appreciate Busfield’s subtle and poignant characters as they try and navigate through life’s big and small moments. Tu 6:30pm;

PHOTO BY TONY NGUYEN

In New York for only three weeks but unemployed since his dream of waltzing into a role on his favorite television soap opera (One Life to Live) was not to be realized, Sedaris was reduced to applying for a job as one of Santa’s elves in the Macy’s Christmas display. At first, the experience was merely humbling and humiliating, and he could grin and bear it. But the holiday crunch soon began to crush his spirit, and he sometimes took out his frustrations on the children and parents who poured through Santaland. It wasn’t long before Crumpet realized that “Santa” is an anagram of “Satan” and imagined a Satanland where “visitors would wade through steaming pools of human blood and feces before arriving at the Gates of Hell.” Sometimes, his days at Santaland resembled Satanland, with children urinating on potted plants rather than losing their place in line, and parents changing diapers there and tossing soiled Pampers into the “forest.” No wonder he might tell a tantrumthrowing child that not only would Santa not bring him the toys he requested, but “If you’re bad, he comes to your house and steals things.” All this outrageousness (with plenty of mature language and themes) is delivered by Wilton as the best surrogate Sedaris one can imagine. He convinces that this is all based on actual experience, which it is. Director Stevens rightly accentuates the outlandish

Tinsel, teddy bears and ... tequila?

It’s a pretty darn good life. How hard it can be not to recite one’s favorite lines, especially when good ol’ George Bailey is giving what for to that warped, frustrated old man, Mr. Potter. And yet, we urge you to refrain, if only because two of the best things about Sacramento Theatre Company’s regional premiere of the musical version of holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life are the new twists that Jerry Lee (George) and Gary S. Martinez (Mr. Potter) give to those familiar characters. Lee’s George has an edge of frustration and despair that comes late to the Jimmy Stewart version of the character and adds texture to his meltdown; when he prays for a way out, we believe he’s really going to jump. And Martinez’s interpretation of Potter is, well, nothing short of maniacally evil. What comes through is plainold human badassery rather than the excesses of industrial capitalism we know from the film. That said, the play does its best work when sticking to the story of communal good over rugged individualism, Frank Capra’s kinder, gentler American socialism. The songs are, unfortunately, not terribly memorable—other than Potter’s infernal “Tell Me What You Want,” and Uncle Billy’s (Michael R.J. Campbell) delightful—if ultimately unfortunate—“You Can’t Keep Those Bailey Brothers Down.” Even Clarence’s (Jim Lane—full disclosure: SN&R’s film critic) turn in “Second Class Angel” doesn’t hold up, although, at least it’s honest about singing in one key. That grand voices, like Lee’s and Jackie Vanderbeck’s (Mary), are given so little to work with is certainly a missed opportunity, but Jarrod Bodensteiner’s fantastic set design keeps things moving along with just a suggestion of our favorite scenes (don’t expect a dunking in the swimming pool), and there are some delightful mid-20th-century costumes from Jessica Minnihan. Die-hard holiday fans will certainly enjoy this Christmas- and Christianity-enhanced stage version of our favorite show, and even those of us who remain pagan but enamored of class politics will find a great deal to love in this well-done production, directed by STC executive producing director Michael Laun. Just don’t recite the lines, or you won’t get your wings.

4

Not in the Stars

An original play written and directed by E.M. Hodge, the principal at EMH Productions, After Hours offers insight into the process of dying from and living with cancer. The action takes place in the eponymous bar, located right next door to a cancer center, where everybody knows your name and your experience with grief and “the big C.” Not as relentlessly depressing as it might sound, Hodge wisely concentrates on the process of grieving and its unique attributes for each of us. Still, the play’s a bit too earnest and often comes close to predictable—but it’s saved by a dynamite lead performance by Atim Udoffia and strong supporting performances from Graham Drake-Maurer as her boy-toy and Deborah Shalhoub as her friend, the bar’s owner. F, Sa 8pm; Su 2pm. Through 12/15. $17-$20. EMH Productions at the Geery Theatre, 2130 L St.; www.emhpros.weebly.com. K.M.

—Jonathan Mendick |

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Harlem nocturne Black Nativity

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Since I previously listed writer-director Kasi Lemmons’ Black Nativity among my most-lookedforward-to movies of the season, I suppose by Jim Lane I should say right up front that I was a little disappointed. But that’s only because Black Nativity isn’t quite the knockout holiday classic I hoped (and more than half expected) it would be. Still, never mind that: It’s good— sweet, sincere, tuneful and lovingly presented.

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36   |   SN&R   |   12.12.13

EXCELLENT

Black Nativity (originally titled Wasn’t It a Mighty Day) began as an off-Broadway musical written by the great poet Langston Hughes. As the title suggests, it told the story of the birth of Jesus in an African-American vernacular, incorporating traditional Christmas carols, gospel spirituals and original songs. A presentation of Hughes’ oratorio at a Harlem church is the focus of Lemmons’ movie, for which she provides a framing story that all but elbows Hughes entirely off the screen. The movie centers on 15-year-old Langston Cobbs, named for the poet (and played by newcomer Jacob Latimore), who lives in Baltimore with his single mother Naima (Jennifer Hudson). When Naima loses her job and the two of them face eviction, in desperation she sends Langston to Harlem in New York City to spend the holidays with her estranged parents: the Rev. Cornell Cobbs (Forest Whitaker) and his wife Aretha (Angela Bassett), who haven’t seen their daughter since before Langston was born. Sullen and moody to begin with—early on, we see him stalking past a wall with the graffiti tag “Xmas sux,” and we half-suspect he spray-painted it there himself—Langston is resentful at being sent away when he believes his mother most needs his love and support. It doesn’t help that no sooner does the bus drop him off in Times Square than someone swipes his backpack with all his money and belongings in it. When he tries to use the public phone in a nearby hotel, a misunderstanding over a wallet lands him in jail, where he broods under the gaze of another inmate

named Loot (an excellent Tyrese Gibson), who disdainfully names him “Lunch Money.” Finally, he is able to contact his grandfather, who comes to bail him out. When Langston arrives at the comfortable Harlem brownstone where the senior Cobbs live, even as Grandma Aretha leaps to nurture and comfort him, his resentment smolders anew at the thought of how he and his mother have had to struggle in Baltimore all his life with no help from them. “What kind of parents are you?” he barks at Grandpa Cornell. “The brokenhearted kind,” the old man replies. With that, Langston gets an inkling of how much he doesn’t know about the history between his mother and his grandparents. The movie culminates in that Christmas Eve service with Hughes’ oratorio sung by the Rev. Cobbs’ church choir (including Bassett and Whitaker themselves, quite creditably). Langston, in reluctant attendance, dozes off and dreams of the story set in Times Square (“Bank of Judea” and “Visit Gomorrah!” proclaim billboards). In his dream, a local homeless couple, Jo-Jo (Luke James) and the pregnant Maria (Grace Gibson) become the Joseph and Mary of the Nativity, with Mary J. Blige as the angel proclaiming the birth of their child.

When Black Nativity flies, it flies high. It’s in this scene that Black Nativity really takes flight, and hints at the classic we might have had if Kasi Lemmons had been a little bolder. As it is, her boldness in this sequence suggests a sort of riff on Jesus Christ Superstar, only with soul—and, of course, telling the other end of Jesus’ life. Too soon, we are brought back to that Harlem church for a too-pat resolution of the Cobbs family’s problems. I admit, I wish Black Nativity had been better, with more moments like Latimore’s rendition of “Motherless Child” on the bus to New York, or Hudson every time she sings, and with original songs less bland and generic than those supplied by Raphael Saadiq and Laura Karpman. But it’s more than good enough. When it flies, it flies high, and when it doesn’t, it has newbie Latimore and old pros Whitaker and Bassett (plus Tyrese Gibson and Vondie Curtis-Hall as a wise pawnbroker) to keep us engaged. An African-American Christmas movie this good is overdue; it’s been a long time since Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston gave us The Preacher’s Wife. Ω


by DANIEL BARNES & JIM LANE

5

12 Years a Slave

2508 LAND PARK DRIVE LAND PARK & BROADWAY FREE PARKING ADJACENT TO THEATRE

Director Steve McQueen and writer John Ridley tell the true story of Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free man of color in 1841 New York who was kidnapped into slavery, finally freed in 1853, and wrote a book about his years of bondage. Ridley and McQueen take only minor dramatic license with Northrup’s extraordinary narrative—such abductions were all too common in pre-Civil War America; what’s extraordinary is that Northrup got free again—and the movie is searing and indelible. Even the most despicable characters are given their full dimension with no trace of 21st-century hindsight. The movie’s centerpiece is Ejiofor’s remarkable performance, giving it a core of unquenchable humanity. Newcomer Lupita Nyong’o shines as a tormented slave woman, as does Alfre Woodard in a striking cameo. J.L.

2

The Best Man Holiday

The circle of friends from writerdirector Malcolm D. Lee’s 1999 The Best Man get together for Christmas, where their suitcases aren’t the only baggage that gets unpacked and aired out. The result is much like the first movie: a glossy beautifulpeople soap opera (with the shadow of death adding extra suds) leavened with occasionally awkward comedy, too long by at least half an hour and instantly forgettable (although Lee seems to believe we’ve had the DVD of the original flick sitting on our TVs and have watched it every week since 1999). Like the first movie, there’s a plus side: Lee stocks his cast with some of the best (and in some cases most underrated) African-American actors around: Morris Chestnut, Terrence Howard, Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Regina Hall, Sanaa Lathan. Another plus: their clear pleasure in working together. J.L.

2

“BRILLIANTLY EXECUTED.”

5

ENDS THUR., 12/12

WED/THUR: 11:00AM, 1:40, 4:20, 9:45PM

LES VEPRES 12/11 @ 7PM • MADOKA MAGIC 3 12/12 @ 7PM & 12/14 @ 2PM RICHARD II 12/14 @ 2PM & 12/17 @ 7PM • IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE 12/15 @ 2PM

Narco Cultura

“SCARY, SUSPENSEFUL AND SHOCKINGLY INTENSE. IT’S QUITE A SPECTACLE, WATCHING LANCE ARMSTRONG LIE HIS ASS OFF.” -Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE

THE ARMSTRONG LIE WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY ALEX GIBNEY

WWW.SONYCLASSICS.COM

STARTS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13

TOWER THEATRE 2508 Land Park Dr, Sacramento (916) 442-4700

VIEW THE TRAILER AT WWW.THEARMSTRONGLIEFILM.COM and a wisecracking snowman, but never quite figures out how to fit them together. Much like recent Disney princess adventures Tangled and Brave, the limber visuals and appealing heroines can’t hide the smear of on-the-fly rewrites, as the film frequently loses track of its own moving pieces. D.B.

3

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Good news—there are more beheadings and fewer half-hour-long dinner parties in this second installment of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy. However, while it offers some technically impressive set pieces, the cartoonish visuals and watery characters don’t improve from last year’s An Unexpected Journey. Jackson is filming J.R.R. Tolkien’s book at a rate of two to three minutes per page (on pace with Erich von Stroheim’s long-lost eight-hour cut of Greed), and here he pads the running time by tying this prequel’s storyline into his own Lord of the Rings films. He even gets Gandalf to play Middle Earth detective, the same tactic George Lucas used to occupy Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episode II of the Star Wars prequels. Most of The Desolation of Smaug is unembarrassing entertainment, but unlike with The Lord of the Rings, we never fully identify with the magical critters skittering through the special effects. D.B.

1

Homefront

Homefront is everything you would expect from a movie written by but not starring Sylvester Stallone. We get fetishized violence, sociopathic behavior, fascist politics, a sick propensity to put children in jeopardy and some very disturbing issues with women— and that’s just from the hero of the piece. Stallone’s screenwriting credit is only one of many fascinating career crossroads onscreen in this trash pile, to the point that it becomes difficult deciding whose presence is the most upsetting. Star Jason Statham offers the same Eastwood-on-steroids shtick, all monotonous growl and superhuman invincibility, only this time, hilariously miscast as a grizzled Midwestern Drug Enforcement Administration agent. Meanwhile, former ingenues Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth slum their brains out as onedimensional junkie sluts. But worst of all has to be James Franco, for some reason subtly underplaying the part of an insidious meth dealer named Morgan “Gator” Bodine. D.B.

Frozen

After years of lucratively re-imagining old properties like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast as live theatrical spectacles, Frozen is a blatant attempt by Disney to reverse engineer their own Broadwaybound cash cows. Everything in the film feels constructed with an eye towards the inevitable splashy stage adaptation, right down to the big opening number, a sweeping ode to the awesome power of large blocks of ice (no, seriously). Frozen empties a promising box of mismatched characters, tones and plot strings on to the screen, including a genetic “curse,” magical trolls, a plethora of scheming royals

NEWS

“OSCAR®-WORTHY PERFORMANCES.”

WED/THUR: 11:15AM, 2:00, 4:35, 7:15, 9:50PM FRI-TUES: 11:15AM, 2:00, 4:35, 7:10, 9:40PM

Shaul Schwarz’s Narco Cultura is a smart and shattering examination of the ties between Mexican drug cartels and the narcocorrido musicians who lionize them in song. The film opens in Juarez, an industrial border town that in recent years has become the front line of the Mexican drug war, with the annual murder rate reaching into the several thousands. Schwarz unflinchingly depicts a world where life itself has become a worthless commodity, while a terrified police force struggles to process an ever-growing mountain of corpses. Out of this unspeakable carnage, Schwarz produces some of the most unsettling and eerily beautiful images in any film this year, yet resists the urge to get preachy or heavy-handed. Narco Cultura adroitly cuts between a defeated forensic investigator in Juarez and a blustery narcocorrido musician from Southern California who produces popular ballads glorifying Mexican cartel violence. D.B.

Dallas Buyers Club

|

“MASTERPIECE!” - Richard Roeper, RICHARD ROEPER.COM

FOR ADVANCE TICKETS CALL FANDANGO @ 1-800-FANDANGO #2721

The Book Thief

BEFORE

WED: 10:45AM, 1:00, 3:15, 5:30, 7:45PM THUR: 10:45AM, 1:00, 3:15, 9:55PM FRI-TUES: 10:55AM, 1:00, 3:15, 5:30, 7:45, 9:50PM NO SAT/SUN 1:00, 3:15PM NO TUES 5:30, 7:45, 9:50PM

NEBRASKA DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

Because every drug-cartel movie should have trumpets.

The true story of Texas good old boy Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), who was diagnosed with AIDS in the mid-1980s and, after a period of I-ain’t-nohomo denial, embarked on a resourceful enterprise to treat himself and other AIDS sufferers, skirting—and sometimes running afoul of—the sluggish FDA bureaucracy and its pharmaceutical business cronies. Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack’s script is plodding and episodic, and director Jean-Marc Valée doesn’t build much dramatic momentum. But it hardly matters; the story is dramatic enough. The movie is sparked by its two central performances: McConaughey, whose Woodroof grows from a careless, promiscuous bigot to someone almost noble; and (even more) Jared Leto, electrifying as a transgendered AIDS patient who becomes Woodroof’s business partner. J.L.

3

STARTS FRI., 12/13 FRI-TUES: 11:00AM, 1:35, 4:15, 7:00, 9:35PM NO SAT 1:35PM

- Betsy Sharkey, LOS ANGELES TIMES

It is tempting to dismiss Brian Percival’s The Book Thief on the grounds that “we don’t need another Holocaust movie.” Besides being glib, this attitude presumes that there’s a limit on the number of cinematic stories that can be harvested from any one subject or setting, and wrongly values content over substance. In regard to The Book Thief specifically, it suffices to say that we don’t need another insipid, honey-glazed, grossly self-important awards grubber about any subject at all. Sophie Nélisse plays Liesel, an illiterate but plucky blond girl adopted by a couple of working-class Germans (including Geoffrey Rush, acting on auto-twinkle) at the dawn of World War II. The cutesy framing device of Death narrating his affection for Liesel while the Holocaust discreetly occurs off-screen leaves a bilious taste. Too often, The Book Thief feels like Hallmark Presents: Kristallnacht, A Coming-of-Age Story. D.B.

3

“ELOQUENT, POWERFUL AND PERFECT.” - Rex Reed, NEW YORK OBSERVER

THE ARMSTRONG LIE PHILOMENA - Chuck Wilson, VILLAGE VOICE

2

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Who the hell is Katniss Everdeen? This uninitiated-to-the-novels critic is two plodding films into the cinematic saga of the fascistic future world of Panem, and Katniss still feels devoid of personality. It’s safe to

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assume that star Jennifer Lawrence is too smart for these one-dimensional dramatics, and the result is an indifferent performance. But then, every actor is constrained by the cluttered script by Simon Beaufoy and Michael deBruyn. Catching Fire crams in a lot of stuff that’s seemingly unnecessary to the film story, presumably as a sop to fans clamoring for a more literal adaptation. As a result, we learn more about Panem politics and less about the people we’re supposed to care about. The violent and eerie unpredictability of the Games makes for a decent third act, but without a strong investment in the characters, the PG-13 slaughter is just a distraction. D.B.

4

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Nebraska

When a booze-addled old man (Bruce Dern) gets the idea in his head that he’s won one of those million-dollar publisher’s sweepstakes, his estranged son (Will Forte) humors him, hoping they can reconnect on a road trip to Lincoln, Nebraska, to claim the old boy’s prize. Bob Nelson’s script is a mine of mordant humor and wry insight, and director Alexander Payne carefully brings out the best in the script and his actors, including Bob Odenkirk as Forte’s brother, Stacy Keach as Dern’s lifelong frenemy, Angela McEwan as a long-ago sweetheart Dern barely remembers, and (most especially) June Squibb as Dern’s cantankerous wife (Oscar, are you watching?). The movie’s only drawback is Phedon Papamichael’s black-and-white cinematography, a pretentious artsy-fartsy touch that is flat, textureless and distracting. J.L.

3

EVERY THURSDAY.

For ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES prizes, send an email with your news anchor sign-off to ParamountNorthernCal @gmail.com with Subject: ANCHORING SACRAMENTO NEWS & REVIEW.

Out of the Furnace

In the opening scene of Out of the Furnace, Woody Harrelson’s slimy backwoods crime boss shoves a hot-dog wiener down his date’s throat, and then savagely beats the man who comes to her aid. The movie doesn’t get any more lighthearted from there, endlessly wallowing in cruelty and stylized suffering. There are powerful moments, but just as often, the film feels exploitative and false. An unimpressive Christian Bale stars as Russell Baze, a blue-collar worker in a burnedout husk of a Pennsylvania mining town. When Russell’s shifty younger brother Rodney turns up missing after a backcountry boxing match, the increasingly disconnected Russell defies the law to find him. While director Scott Cooper may court comparisons to The Deer Hunter, he can’t match that movie’s gritty mythological mystique. Out of the Furnace tries to stand on the shoulders of giants, and settles for a piggyback ride. D.B.

For passes, log on to GoFoBo.com/RSVP and enter the code: SNRY999 Passes are in limited supply. Each pass admits two people.

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IN THEATERS

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 18 AnchormanMovie.com

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THURS 12/12

JO ELLES // GWEN MCMILLIN BETHANY COWAN INDIE // SINGER SONGWRITER // 8PM//$5 FRI 12/13

ELI AND THE SOUND CULT BELLYGUNNER ANCIENT ASTRONAUT INDIE POP // 9PM // $5

Orange Shandy is here.

Gut instincts Gabe Nelson follows his passion to   (temporarily) trade in his Cake bass lines for   a singer-songwriter gig fronting Bellygunner

SAT 12/14

JOHNNY FAVORITE

When Gabe Nelson founded Bellygunner earlier this year, he wasn’t in need of just any old band. He already had a band, of course: Cake, by Aaron Carnes arguably one of the best groups to ever come out of Sacramento. Yet, as Cake’s bassist, Nelson still felt there was something lacking—he wanted to do more than just lay down rhythm: He wanted to be the songwriter.

CLASSIC ROCK // POP COVERS // 9PM // $5

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THE OLD SCREEN DOOR HANS AND THE HOT MESS MAC RUSS 8PM // $5

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Gabe Nelson (center) hopes people will be able to separate his new band, Bellygunner, from his other gig playing bass in Cake.

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One friend liked them so much, in fact, that he asked Nelson to put together a band for a show he was booking. Nelson agreed, and Bellygunner was born in March. Fast-forward several months and Bellygunner, also featuring Peggy Lanza (keyboards, vocals), Thomson Monson (drums, vocals) and Shawn Hale (bass, vocals), is now putting the finishing touches on an album, Machinegun Built for Two, set for a 2014 release. In the band’s early incarnation, it mixed acoustic and electric guitars into a catchy combination of psychedelic sounds, garage rock and sunny surf pop. Now, the cuts on the record retain those elements, but are further refined, even taking some influence from Cake in how the songs seamlessly mix laid-back rock ’n’ roll riffs and dance beats. Understandably, Nelson is a bit hesitant to discuss the connection to Cake. Ultimately, he says, he hopes others will be able to separate the two bands. “The power of the familiar is quite significant. I have had people walk up to me while onstage and ask me to play Cake songs, which, of course, I can’t do, and it’s just a bit disheartening,” Nelson says. “That’s just the price of being a member of that band.”

Join us out here Please drink responsibly.

Catch Bellygunner on Friday, December 13, at Marilyn’s on K, located at 908 K Street. The cover is $5; see Bellygunner’s Facebook page for more information.

“I don’t really write in Cake. I write bass lines and horn lines sometimes, [but] John [McCrea] writes all the songs,” Nelson says. Nelson joined Cake in the early ’90s, but quit shortly before the release of the band’s 1994 debut album Motorcade of Generosity. He rejoined in 1997 at McCrea’s urging; by then, the single “The Distance” had been released, and Cake was all over radio and MTV, and touring consistently. In the time between, however, Nelson had spent time in other bands, not just playing bass, but also trying his hand at songwriting, often hitting up local open-mics, acoustic guitar in tow. It was fun, he says now, but still left him wanting. “I wasn’t satisfied. I don’t know if you’re ever satisfied,” Nelson says. “I don’t think I was good enough at the time to actually have been successful in any kind of professional way, [but] I’ve always wanted to write music. I kind of needed to learn how.” Nelson back-burnered songwriting when he rejoined Cake. Still, the musician, who’s also played bass for bands such as Caboose and Jacuzzi, managed to work on his own songs here and there. And that’s probably how it would have continued, but then, Nelson played some of the recordings he’d made over the years to a handful of friends. The reactions were positive.

“I’vealwayswantedto writemusic.Ikindof neededtolearnhow.” Gabe Nelson Bellygunner

Still, he’s not complaining. Nelson says he has a blast with Cake and has learned a lot about songwriting from McCrea—evident in the subtly complex arrangements that make up Bellygunner’s songs. Nelson’s clearly honed his songwriting skills over the years, yet he says he still remains nervous about putting them front and center. “It hard for me to say, ‘I write music—I write songs.’ I feel like I’m automatically compared to so many people I’ve worked with, like, ‘You must think you’re really good if you can stand beside these guys,’” Nelson says. “I’m not sure. I don’t feel so confident about that. All I know is that I try really hard.” Ω


CIGARETTES © SFNTC 4 2013

From Boys to beleaguered has-beens

BEFORE

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NEWS

the evening would have been naive, but the shortcoming would have been forgivable if there’d been any sense of humor about the past offered from the stage or the crowd. Instead, a sloppy sadness pervaded the closing numbers, and the idea of paying a further $20 for the BSB “after-party” at Assembly seemed the pinnacle of money grubbing. The Backstreet Boys got what they came for. Whether anybody else did is the question. —Julianna Boggs

Classic but not nostalgic: I’ve attended many empty-room hip-hop shows at the Blue Lamp, but Masta Ace on Monday night defied the odds. As the clock struck 1 a.m., Masta Ace closed with “Beautiful,” and the still-full room made it clear that no one turned in early nor lost the energy to shout with their hands in the air. Then again, when performers are billed as “legendary,” these are the results you expect. There were three opening acts and each built momentum for the headliner, though the opening sets were not without a few deflating moments. Artists who share stage banter along the lines of “I remember the golden era,” and “This is real, true school hip-hop” sound like tea party Republicans with their fabrications of a formerly ideal America ruined by current trends. Masta Ace, on the other hand, took the crowd back in time, but not because he refuses to accept changing times, but rather because his classic material hearkens back to the ’80s and ’90s, while his last celebrated release was 2004’s A Long Hot Summer. The set ran the gamut of his discography with a three-song emphasis on his 1995 record Sittin’ on Chrome. Throughout, Masta Ace never looked short on breath or on energy. When you think of the greats, the term “performer” makes for an appropriate description rather than “rapper.” At age 47, Masta Ace is considered a living legend, yet he still takes the stage without expectation of respect. On this night in particular, he gave his energy to the room first and used it to fuel the audience until close.

THINK FREE.

Money-grubbing and the art of nostalgia: Ticket holders had been lined up for hours outside of Ace of Spades in a queue that wrapped around the block and out of sight, and despite our certain innumerable differences, we all had one thing in common: At one point, we were all 12-year-old girls. The sold-out crowd that assembled to see if the Backstreet Boys were indeed back (“all right!”) was made up of near entirely 30-year-old women dressed as their preteen selves imagined they would when this day finally came. It’s all fun and games in pink, plaid schoolgirl skirts until someone starts sending Snapchats. A squad of porno-chic, flavoredvodka promoters handed out free samples of their lemon-drop elixir near the bar, eliciting howls and coos from the already deeply inebriated patrons. “Somebody’s giving booze to these goddamn things!” I wrote in my notebook, albeit in bubble letters and with hearts over the i’s. After an opening set by the Fray, roadies cleared the stage of the band’s equipment, but did not return to load anything in for the Backstreet Boys, a group who made their fortune as strictly song-and-dance men. Taking the stage in a din of conniption, BSB launched their set with one of their familiar mid-’90s hits, spreading across the stage with high kicks and jazz hands, but the energy was lacking. The Boys, now men, showed all the signs of beleaguered has-beens, their attitudes speaking volumes more to “Let’s get this over with” than “I’m deeply at peace with my life right now.” A.J. McLean emerged as the personable ringleader, speaking to the crowd on behalf of the band who stood nodding mechanically behind him. In a gesture of recognition that the song-and-dance approach was less suited to the now near-middleage men, each member propped themselves on a stool, acoustic guitar in hand. While the band struck up the C-G-D chord progression from songs off its latest album, a woman near me sped toward the dismal event horizon where disappointment and black-out drunk join their undignified forces. “What is this?!” she yelled at the stage, dropping her head on my shoulder. “We came here for the hits!” It was the disintegration of the Backstreet Boys persona in the flesh. To expect anything else from

For more information on our organic growing programs, visit www.sfntc.com

—Blake Gillespie

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11/13/13 9:13 AM


12THURS

13FRI

14SAT

14SAT

Flow

Eli and the Sound Cult

The Denver J Band

Sacramento Master Singers

Assembly, 8 p.m., $10

Marilyn’s on K, 9 p.m., $5

If you ever doubted the innately natural  pairing of hip-hop and jazz, just listen to old  albums by A Tribe Called Quest, the Roots or  HIP-HOP/JAZZ Nas. Or just head to  Flow, a monthly night  of music that celebrates the deep-rooted  connection between the two quintessential  American musical genres. The recurring  event (every second Thursday of the month)  happens at Assembly, and features Element  Brass Band (pictured) as the house band,  and hosts Jay Siren (of The Sizzling Sirens  Burlesque Experience), and rapper and  writer Andru Defeye. This month’s show   will feature guest emcees performing as  duos: Kahali Oden (a.k.a. Doey Rock) with  Century Got Bars, and Cali O with Skurge.  1000 K Street, www.flowsacramento.com.

Pop-rock duo Eli and the Sound Cult  released its debut album Best of Pop in  October and recently finished a minitour  of California. The two bandmates, Elijah  Jenkins and Jason Bove, hint that their last  couple of shows in December may be the  final time lighting effects will shine as an  element during live performances. Still, the  music remains, and both Jenkins and Bove  continue to flex their creative muscles.  Bove, an artist who recently painted murals  on K Street and currently is exhibiting work  POP-ROCK in Berkeley, looks forward  to the new year, while  Jenkins says he’s locked away in his home  studio recording a new indie-folk EP.   908 K Street, www.eliandthesoundcult.com. 

—Steph Rodriguez

—Jonathan Mendick

Shine, 8 p.m., $5

St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 8 p.m., $20

There was a time back in the 1990s when hearton-the-sleeve singer-songwriters flourished  like baggy flannel shirts, but those days have  passed—for the most part, anyway. Local  musician Denver Saunders is keeping passionate acoustic rock alive and well with his group  ACOUSTIC ROCK the Denver J Band.  Its songs are raw,  honest and—with Saunders’ soulful voice— chilling. He doesn’t operate exclusively on an  emotional level, either: Song topics include the  intellectual, the spiritual and the metaphysical—all with equal passion and love dripping  out of every corner. Even though bare-bones  acoustic rock is the foundation for all of his  songs, he sprinkles a little bit of reggae, pop,  folk and rock in them, too. 1400 E Street,   www.facebook.com/thedenverjband.

Travel the world with the Sacramento Master  Singers, with stops in Armenia, Canada,  France, Spain, England and beyond in The  World for Christmas, directed and conducted  by Ralph Hughes. Philip Lawson’s “Evermore”  makes its regional premiere as Sacramento  Master Singers opens its 2013-2014 season.  With a candlelight procession, updated  arrangements of “We Three Kings” and   Robert Applebaum’s “Funky Dreidl,”  Sacramento Master Singers’ show is geared  toward all ages on December 14, 15, 19 and 22.  For the younger set, a participatory program  where children are encouraged to sing,   happens at 2 p.m. on Saturday,   WORLD December 14, with tickets   costing $3-$5. 1066 26th Street,   www.mastersingers.org. 

—Aaron Carnes

—Trina L. Drotar

1000 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

FOR TICKETS TO ALL SHOWS VISIT AssemblySacramento.com

For Rentals or Private Parties please contact AssemblyMusicHall@gmail.com FRI DEC 20

ROCK FOR TOTS 8 FATE UNDER FIRE HERO’S LAST MISSION LONELY KINGS IWISHWEWEREROBOTS HORSENECK FRI DEC 13

THURS DEC 19

BRING A TOY & RECEIVE A RAFFLE TICKET FOR PRIZES.

A-1 - NIMA FADAVI – CATACLYSM - PRO MANON 7PM | ALL AGES

SIRAH 7PM | ALL AGES

ALL TOYS WILL BE DONATED TO THE SACRAMENTO SALVATION ARMY 7PM | ALL AGES

LOS RAKAS

K. FLAY

TUESDAY DECEMBER 31

NEW YEAR’S EVE

FRI DEC 27

THE MOTHER HIPS 9PM | 21 AND OVER

40   |   SN&R   |   

12.12.13

UTZ! & THE SHUTTLECOCKS 8PM 21 AND OVER

SUN DEC 22

ANDREW W.K. LONELY AVENUE, MAXXX 7PM

UPCOMING SHOWS DEC 12 DEC 21 DEC 28 JAN 04 JAN 09 JAN 10 JAN 17 JAN 24 JAN 25 JAN 26 JAN 30 FEB 07 FEB 09 FEB 12 FEB 22

FLOW THE SIREN SHOW DJ QUIK KAREGA BAILEY NIPSEY HUSSLE FAIR STRUGGLE MERCHANTS !!! (CHK CHK CHK) LOS RABANES EMERY ZION I ST LUCIA THIS OR THE APOCALYPSE BETTYE LAVETTE SOME FEAR NONE


14SAT

15SUN

18WED

18WED

Two Gallants

French Horn Rebellion

El Vez

The Christmas Jug Band

Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub, 10 p.m., $15 “We’ve been drifting way too long,” Two  Gallants singer and guitarist Adam Stephens  sang on the opening track of 2007’s self-titled  album. The wiry, smart San Francisco indie  folk-rock duo indeed drifted apart for several years as Stephens and drummer Tyson  Vogel released solo albums. They reunited  last year for The Bloom and the Blight, showcasing a richer, more muscular, impassioned  sound. Their prior three LPs’ brightness and  finesse turns darker and moribund, shadowed by Stephens’ recovery from a serious  FOLK-ROCK van accident in 2010. It’s  not necessarily louder,  though there is more electric guitar. Quieter  moments are just pulled taut—sonically and  emotionally—and threaded with urgency.  2708 J Street, www.twogallants.com.

LowBrau, 9 p.m., $10

Blue Lamp, 7 p.m., call for cover

Brothers Robert and David Perlick-Molinari  make up this experimental duo that blends  indie rock, electro-pop and dance music  DANCE POP to produce a veritable  smorgasbord of musical  awesomeness. Its 2011 record, The Infinite  Music of French Horn Rebellion, was an interstellar-saga concept album (think of Homer’s  The Odyssey set in space), and the pair  hasn’t stopped pushing musical boundaries  since. The down-tempo rock of “The Cantor  Meets the Alien” and disco pop of “Brasilia  Girl” typifies its devil-may-care approach to  music, something which is further enhanced  by a penchant for doing deejay work. FHR  released three EPs in the past year, including  the Dancing Out EP in June. 1050 20th Street,  www.frenchhornrebellion.com.

—Chris Parker

Hands down the best Elvis Presley impersonator ever is El Vez (a.k.a. the Mexican  Elvis). He takes the King’s classics and,  with a little humor, theatrics and Mexican  references, makes them amazing. “In the  Ghetto” becomes “En el Barrio,” “It’s Alright  Mama” becomes “Esta Bien Mamacita” and  “Mystery Train” becomes “Misery Tren.”  He’s hilarious, and, like the King, has Vegaslike showmanship. He’s even added other  TRIBUTE artists’ songs to his set,  including David Bowie, James  Brown and Bob Dylan. Live, El Vez is also a bit  punk rock, which makes sense, considering  that Robert Lopez—the man behind El Vez— was the guitarist for late 1970s punk rock  band, the Zeros. 1400 Alhambra Boulevard,  (916) 455-3400, www.elvez.net.

—Brian Palmer

All Ages Welcome!

COMING

jack russell’s reel big fish great white

SOON

suburban legends - Mighty Mongo - the Maxies

rue the night - force of habit - south of sanity

Wednesday, January 15

tribal seeds

sunday, december 22

beware of darkness

through the roots - Kayasun

sunday, January 19

pepper

Plus sPecial guests

monday, January 20

phillip h. anselMo & the illegals author & Punisher - hyMns

neW year’s eve Tuesday, december 31

dirt nasty

richard the rocKstar - nasty Martin - Penny

—Rachel Leibrock

1417 R Street, Sacramento, 95814 www.aceofspadessac.com

Wednesday, January 8

the hungry - tragic culture

Maybe you’re one of those holiday-music  haters—cursing every “fa la la la la” and all  that “Deck the Halls” dreck. Cool, whatever.  Or maybe you just need something a little  more irreverent than the latest pop tart  HOLIDAY singing “Santa Baby”? If so,  check out the Christmas  Jug Band, a Bay Area outfit featuring Paul  Rogers from Those Darn Accordions. OK,  sure, CJB’s set includes seasonal classics  such as “Winter Wonderland,” but it’s also  got washtub basses, harmonicas, jugs and  kazoos to pull them off. Songs like “Daddy’s  Drinkin’ Up Our Christmas” and “Somebody  Stole My Santa Claus Suit” should melt even  the iciest of grinch hearts. 13 Main Street in  Winters, www.christmasjugband.com.

—Aaron Carnes

ace of spades friday, december 13

The Palms Playhouse, 7:30 p.m., $20

Tuesday, January 21

hopsin

Plus sPecial guests

01/30 For Today 02/07 The Devil Makes Three 02/12 Breathe Carolina 02/13 Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe 02/15 The English Beat 02/27 J Boog 03/13 Umphrey’s McGee 03/15 The Expendables 03/20 The Wailers 03/26 Moonshine Bandits & The Lacs 03/30 Reverend Horton Heat 05/21 Christina Perri

Tickets available at all Dimple Records Locations, The Beat Records, and Armadillo Records, or purchase by phone @ 916.443.9202

BEFORE

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  NEWS

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  F E AT U R E

STORY

  |    A R T S & C U L T U R E    

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  |    12.12.13    

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  SN&R    

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  41


NIGHTBEAT

THURSDAY 12/12

Post your free online listing (up to 15 months early), and our editors will consider your submission for the printed calendar as well. Print listings are also free, but subject to space limitations. Online, you can include a full description of your event, a photo, and a link to your website. Go to www.newsreview.com/calendar and start posting events. Deadline for print listings is 10 days prior to the issue in which you wish the listing to appear.

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY 12/16-12/18

Fabulous and Gay Fridays, 9pm, call for cover

Saturday Boom, 9pm, call for cover

Sin Sunday, 8pm, call for cover

Mad Mondays, 9pm M; Latin videos and Wii bowling, 7pm Tu; Trapacana, 10pm W

SPIRAL ELECTRIC, IN LETTER FORM; 9pm, $5 cover at the door

DREAD LULLABIES, THE PROHIBITION; 9:30pm, $5

2003 K St., (916) 448-8790

Tipsy Thursdays, Top 40 deejay dancing, 9pm, call for cover

BAR 101

Karaoke, 7:30pm, no cover

101 Main St., Roseville; (916) 774-0505

BISLA’S SPORTS BAR

Friday Night Hype w/ DJs Evolve and My Cousin Vinny and MC Skurge, 10pm

BLUE LAMP

HANS EBERBACH, THE CARLY DUHAIN BAND, THE TIPSY HUSTLERS; 9pm, $7

7042 Folsom Blvd., (916) 383-0133 1400 Alhambra Blvd., (916) 455-3400

THE BOARDWALK

SMILE EMPTY SOUL, FIRST DECREE,

BOWS & ARROWS

CLASSICAL REVOLUTION, 8pm, no cover

9426 Greenback Ln., Orangevale; (916) 988-9247 ACIDIC, A MILE TILL DAWN; 7:30pm 1815 19th St., (916) 822-5668 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley; (530) 274-8384

THE COZMIC CAFÉ DISTRICT 30

Twopoint4 Dance Theatre, 2pm and 7pm, $5

WinterDance community concert, 7:30pm, $12-$15

WinterDance community concert, 2pm and 7:30pm, $12-$15

ALLEGAEON, SILENCE THE MESSENGER, COUNTER CULTURE, FILTHPIT; 8pm, $12

LIZ STORY, BARBARA HIGBIE, LISA LISA, ARYEH FRANKFURTER; 7:30pm, $22-$25

MELISSA LINGO, 6pm, $5 DJ Louie Giovanni, 9pm, call for cover

DJ Billy Lane, 8pm, call for cover

Trap City deejay dancing, 10pm W, call for cover

FOX & GOOSE

STEVE MCLANE, 8pm, no cover

KITTENHEAD, SLY PARK, THE BATHTUB GINS; 9pm, $5

MICAH SCHNABEL, 50-WATT HEAVY, RICHFIELD; 9pm, $5

Open-mic, 7:30pm M; Pub Quiz, 7pm Tu; Northern Soul, 8pm W, no cover

TOTAL RECALL, 9pm-midnight, no cover

RIFF RAFF, SKID ROSES; 9pm-midnight, no cover

Trivia night, 7:30-9pm Tu, no cover; Karaoke, 8pm W, no cover

DEAD WINTER CARPENTERS, MERRYGOLD; 9pm, $12-$14

TWO GALLANTS, 10pm, $15

JOSEPH IN THE WELL, JAMES CAVERN, HANS AND THE HOT MESS; 7pm, $7-$10

CHARLIE HUNTER, 8pm Tu, $18-$20; THE DENVER J BAND, 7:30pm W, $5-$8

Wunderbar w/ Adam J., Shaun Slaughter, 10pm, no cover

FRENCH HORN REBELLION, Adam J and Shaun Slaughter; 9pm, call for cover

Roger Carpio spinning vinyl, 5pm W, no cover

1001 R St., (916) 443-8825

HALFTIME BAR & GRILL

5681 Lonetree Blvd., Rocklin; (916) 626-6366

HARLOW’S

2708 J St., (916) 441-4693

LOWBRAU

LUNA’S CAFÉ & JUICE BAR

Joe Montoya’s Poetry Unplugged, 8pm, $2

THE SIGNIFIERS, SALT WIZARD, RYAN TASK; 8pm, $6

THE SCARVES, 8pm, $5

Nebraska Mondays, 7:30pm M, $5-$20; Comedy night, 8pm W, $6

MARILYN’S ON K

GWEN MCMILLIN, BETHANY COWAN, JO ELLESS; 8pm, $5

ANCIENT ASTRONAUT, BELLYGUNNER, ELI AND THE SOUND CULT; 9pm, $5

JOHNNY FAVORITE, 9pm, call for cover

Karaoke, M; Greatest Stories Ever Told, Tu; HANS AND THE HOT MESS, 9pm W, $5

Get Down to the Champion Sound, reggae and dancehall deejays, 10pm, $5

The Drop: House music and ‘90s hip-hop Gothic, Industrial, Darkwave, EBM, w/ DJ Jonathan, Funktion, 9pm, $3-$5 Retro, 9:30pm-2am, $5

Swing or Lindy Hop, 8pm Tu, $6-$10

CARLY DUHAIN, JUSTIN FARREN, BE BRAVE BOLD ROBOT; 8:30pm, $5

Jazz session, 8pm M; CHELSEA HUGHES, AMBER DELAROSA; 8:30pm W, $5

MIDTOWN BARFLY

1119 21st St., (916) 549-2779

NAKED LOUNGE DOWNTOWN

CHERIBELLUM, HANS EBERBACH, TAO JIRIKI; 8:30pm, $5

1111 H St., (916) 443-1927

2708 J Street Sacramento, CA 916.441.4693 www.harlows.com *All times listed below Are door times* - December 17 -

Charlie hunter SCott amendola

- December 13 -

dead Winter CarpenterS MerryGold

7pm • $18adv

8pm • $12adv

- December 18 -

denver J Band

- December 14 -

tWo gallantS

breakaway Patriot, the royal Jelly, sea legs 7pm • $5adv

G. Green

9:30pm • $15

Coming Soon dec 20 dec 21 dec 22 dec 27 dec 31 Jan 04 Jan 08 Jan 09 Jan 24 Jan 08 Jan 11 Jan 11 Jan 17 Jan 25 Jan 31 Feb 01 Feb 01 Feb 07 Feb 09 Feb 10 Feb 14 Feb 16 Feb 21-22 Feb 28 mar 15 mar 18

Joy and madness solso Adrian marcel Foreverland (mJ tribute) lovefool mark Curry/ 58 Fury Andy mcKee Chop tops stick men steelin’ dan Carrie Hennessey sir mix-A-lot tea leaf Green wild Cub moonshiner Collective tempest Cheeseballs Cash tribute duncan sheik secret Chiefs 3 Alo the duhks tainted love diego’s Umbrella the tubes Galactic

follow us - December 15 -

- December 19 -

JoSeph in the Well the aggroliteS James Cavern, Hans! & the Hot mess 6pm • $7adv • all ages |

Get Down to the Champion Sound reggae night, 9pm-2am, $3

DJs Ben Tionson & Selly, Teapotica and Gentleman’s Club, 9pm, call for cover

908 K St., (916) 446-4361

SN&R

College Night deejay dancing, 9:30pm Tu; Country Night deejay dancing, 9:30pm W

1016 K St., (916) 737-5770

1414 16th St., (916) 441-3931

|

Record Club Presents: Radio Radio Dance Club, 9pm, call for cover

PLOTS, APRICOT, VINNIE GUIDERA; 8pm, $5

1050 20th St., (916) 706-2636

42

Trivia, 6:30pm M, no cover; Open-mic, 7:30pm W, no cover THE DICK GAIL QUINTET, 8:30pm, $5-$10

SOME FEAR NONE, NYCERIA, CYLINDER, M.I.C., STATUS GOES; 8pm, IN THE SILENCE, OVERWATCH; 7pm, $12 call for cover

Open-mic, 7:30pm, no cover

594 Main St., Placerville; (530) 642-8481

Hey local bands!

SUNDAY 12/15

BADLANDS

CENTER FOR THE ARTS

Want to be a hot show? Mail photos to Calendar Editor, SN&R, 1124 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95815 or email it to sactocalendar@ newsreview.com. Be sure to include date, time, location and cost of upcoming shows.

SATURDAY 12/14

ELEMENT BRASS BAND, CENTURY GOT LOS RAKAS, A-1, NIMA FADAVI; 7pm, $10 BARS, KAHALI ODEN, CALI O; 8pm, $5-$10

1000 K St., (916) 832-4751

List your event!

FRIDAY 12/13

ASSEMBLY

12.12.13

scratch outs & la Noche oskura 7pm • $15adv

HArlowsNiteClUb HArlowsNiGHtClUb HArlowsNiGHtClUb

Orange Shandy is here. monday

trivia @ 6:30pm tuesday

taco tues $1 tacos, $2 coronas, 2–8pm wednesday

open mic

sign-ups at 7:30pm thursday

KaraoKe @ 7:30pm open for lunch & dinner 7 days a weeK doors open at 11:30

live music dec 13 in letter form spiral electric

dec 14 dread lullabies the prohibition dec 20 bad behavior blues band dec 21 iron hearts sweet talk facebook.com/bar101roseville 101 main street, roseville • 916-774-0505

Join us out here Please drink responsibly.


THURSDAY 12/12

FRIDAY 12/13

SATURDAY 12/14

1901 10th St., (916) 442-3504

KEVIN SECONDS, BOBBY JORDAN; 9pm, no cover

THE DENVER J BAND, BLAQUELISTED, STELLAR, ANALOG DIALOGUE; 9pm, $5

SKIN OF SAINTS, DECIPHER, A MILE TILL DAWN, GHOST ELEMENT; 9pm, $10

ON THE Y

Karaoke, 9pm, no cover

BLOODY ROOTS, HELL BOUND, SWEET LEAF; 8pm, call for cover

Karaoke, 9pm, no cover

OLD IRONSIDES

670 Fulton Ave., (916) 487-3731

THE PALMS PLAYHOUSE

SUNDAY 12/15

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY 12/16-12/18 Karaoke w/ Sac City Entertainment, 9pm Tu, no cover; Open-mic, 9pm W, no cover

Open-mic comedy, 9pm, no cover

DIRK POWELL, CEDRIC WATSON; 8pm, $20

13 Main St., Winters; (530) 795-1825

THE PARK ULTRA LOUNGE

DJ Shift, 9pm, call for cover

PINS N STRIKES

JONN HART, TIA FERERRA, THAI NICOLE, LOCOMOTION, 9pm, $10 YOUNG DIZZY; 9pm, call for cover

1116 15th St., (916) 442-7222

3443 Laguna Blvd., Elk Grove; (916) 226-2625

DJ Peeti V, 9pm-2am, $15

Karaoke, 9pm Tu, no cover; KILLGASM, MINENWERFER, VESTERIAN; 8pm M, $5 CHRISTMAS JUG BAND, 7:30pm W, $20

Asylum Downtown: Gothic, industrial, EBM dancing, 9pm, call for cover

Los Rakas with A-1 and Nima Fadavi 7pm Friday, $10. Assembly Hip-hop

PJ’S ROADHOUSE

DJ Michael Johnson, 9pm, no cover

ICE HOUSE BLUES BAND, 8pm, $5

UNLICENSED THERAPY, 9pm, $5

POWERHOUSE PUB

TOM DRINNON, 10pm, call for cover

ONCE AN EMPIRE, 10pm, call for cover

SUPERLICIOUS, 10pm, call for cover

DENNIS JONES, 3pm, call for cover

Country Karaoke, 9pm M, call for cover; DJ Alazzawi, DJ Rigatony, 10pm Tu, $3

THE PRESS CLUB

RAT DAMAGE, VIBRATING ANTENNAS, ALARMS, SO STRESSED; 8pm, $6

Top 40 w/ DJ Rue, 9pm, $5

Top 40 Night w/ DJ Larry Rodriguez, 9pm, $5

Sunday Night Soul Party, 9pm, $5

YELLOW JACKET MOTEL, THE WESTERN STATES, SIX BEERS DEEP; 8pm W, $5

SHENANIGANS

Comedy Night and DJ Selekta Lou, 9pm, $5

DJ Rufio, 9pm, call for cover

5461 Mother Lode, Placerville; (530) 626-0336 614 Sutter St., Folsom; (916) 355-8586 2030 P St., (916) 444-7914 705 J St., (916) 442-1268

SOL COLLECTIVE

HEAVY COLOR, RU, BINE, ILLACITA; 7pm, $3

2574 21st St., (916) 832-0916

STONEY INN/ROCKIN’ RODEO

THE TERRY SHEETS BAND, 9pm, $5

THE STATION TORCH CLUB

1320 Del Paso Blvd., (916) 927-6023

1100 Orlando Ave., Roseville; (916) 728-1166 904 15th St., (916) 443-2797

Country dancing, 7:30pm, no cover; $5 after 8pm

Microphone Mondays, 6pm M, $1-$2

Country dancing, 7:30pm, no cover; $5 after 8pm

Country dance party, 8pm, no cover

Comedy open-mic, 8pm M; Bluebird Lounge open-mic, 5pm Tu, no cover

Salsa w/ Mike Del Campo and Mr. DJ GEORGIA RAIN, 9pm, $10 Omar, 8:30pm, no cover; $5 after 9:30pm

Salsa with Mike Del Campo, 8:30pm, no cover; $5 after 9:30pm

Domingos Latinos with Mr. DJ Omar, 9pm, $5-$10

Blues jam session, 8:30pm Tu, no cover

X TRIO, 5pm, no cover; MARK SEXTON BAND, 9pm, $5

JOHNNY KNOX, 5pm, no cover; RUDY PARRIS, 9pm, $8

Blues jam, 4pm, no cover; THE GOLDEN CADILLACS, 8pm, $5

Acoustic open-mic, 5:30pm W, no cover; PETER PETTY BAND, 9pm W, $5

PAILER AND FRATIS, 5:30-7:30pm; AFRO FUNK EXPERIENCE, 9pm, $8

All ages, all the time ACE OF SPADES

JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE, RUE THE NIGHT, FORCE OF HABIT; 7pm, $20

1417 R St., (916) 448-3300

CLUB RETRO

1529 Eureka Rd., Roseville; (916) 988-6606

LUIGI’S FUN GARDEN

DEAD WESTERN, MEDICINE MOON, AMERICAN CREAM; 8pm, $5

1050 20th St., (916) 552-0317

Melissa Lingo 8pm Saturday, $5. Cozmic Café Acoustic rock

Sing Inc. presents Let It Snow, 5:30pm, call for cover

SHINE

THE CLUTTER FAMILY SINGERS, CAPTAIN BILLY’S WHIZ BANG, 2013; 8pm THE ENLOWS, JILT VS JONAH, PILGRIM; 8pm, $5

1400 E St., (916) 551-1400

ISLAND OF BLACK & WHITE, DENVER J. BAND, RABBI AKIDO; 8pm, $5

Open jazz jam w/ Jason Galbraith & Friends, 8pm Tu, no cover

MICRO-BREWERY ENTHUSIASTS LARGEST SELECTION OF PLACER COUNTY MICROBREWS L I V E M U S I C T H U R S D A Y T H R U S AT U R D A Y • N E V E R A C O V E R PLEASE CALL 916-652- 4007

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NEWS

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4007 TAYLOR RD ≈ HWY 40 IN LOOMIS www.COUNTRYCLUBSALOON.net FEATURE STORY

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A RT S & C U LT U R E

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AFTER

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12.12.13

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SN&R

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43


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I heard something the other day about marijuana and strokes. Can you enlighten me? —Jack Eh. We know that marijuana can cause an increase in blood pressure. There are a few studies that claim that this increase can lead to a stroke. I found one from 1991, but the researcher clearly had a bias against cannabis. The most recent study from early 2013 may show an increased risk of stroke, but all of the stroke victims with cannabis in their systems were ’13 EALUM also cigarette users, and we all know that tobacco B IO A G N by definitely increases the chances of stroke. There is an even more recent study from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom a sk420@ ne wsreview.c om showing that cannabinoids can help with recovery of brain function after a stroke (The Huffington Post reported on it at http://tinyurl.com/weed stroke). This isn’t the first study showing cannabis to be an effective neuroprotectant. The researchers did the study on animals (hush), so it will probably be a few years before they begin testing on people. The late cannabis crusader Jack Herer had a stroke in July 2000. He credited his continued use of marijuana for helping him regain the ability to speak. Of course, Herer gave marijuana credit for just about everything good in the world, but still. I hope you can help me here. Wife has stage 4 cancer and bad nausea and lack of appetite. I’ve been told that you must get a medical-marijuana card from the county you reside in, and being in West Sacramento, we are a part of Yolo County. I can find no place in Yolo to do this. Is it OK to just go in to Sacramento? Will the card still be valid? —K.W. Sorry to hear about your wife. You could probably get a letter of recommendation from your wife’s oncologist. If not, then you can visit any of the “pot doctors” in the Sacramento area. They will write her a recommendation, no problem, and then you can visit any of the fine medical-marijuana dispensaries in the Sacramento area. You only need a card from the county if you really want the extra-super-duper-no-hassle-cops-won’t-mess-withyou card. It costs extra, and you have to go to the county building to get it. It really is a shame that Yolo County, in general, and West Sacramento, in particular, won’t allow medical-cannabis dispensaries. There is no Earthly reason to ban cannabis clubs. They help communities and make neighborhoods better. Good luck.

—Kron S. Ewer Right now? Nothing. I’m at work. Psych! I’m still on some Purple Haze Diesel from this year’s harvest, and I have been sampling a few of the entries to the Patients’ Choice San Francisco seventh annual Cannabis Cup held in late November. I have no idea what they are called because all the samples are numbered and not named, but No. 111 and No. 205 are delicious. Speaking of competitions, the Emerald Cup Organic Cannabis Competition in Santa Rosa is on Saturday, December 14, through Sunday, December 15, (www.the emeraldcup.com). I’m the emcee. Come say “high.” Ω

is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at ask420@ newsreview.com.

BEFORE

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  F E AT U R E

’13

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by Jessica Rine

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Franklin

D. Roosevelt was elected president of the United States four times, more often than any other president. We can conclude that he was one of the most popular American leaders ever. And yet he never won a majority of the votes cast by the citizens of his home county in New York. I foresee the possibility of a comparable development in your life. You may be more successful working on the big picture than you are in your immediate situation. It could be easier for you to maneuver when you’re not dealing with familiar, up-close matters. What’s outside your circle might be more attracted to your influence than what’s nearer to home.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In 2009,

actress Sandra Bullock starred in three films, two of which earned her major recognition. For her performance in All About Steve, she was given a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress. Her work in The Blind Side, on the other hand, won her an Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role. I’m thinking that you may experience a similar paradox in the coming days, Taurus. Some of your efforts might be denigrated, while others are praised. It may even be the case that you’re criticized and applauded for the same damn thing. How to respond? Learn from Bullock’s example. She gave gracious acceptance speeches at the award ceremonies for both the Golden Raspberry and the Oscar.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Almost

2,000 years ago, a Roman doctor named Scribonius Largus developed recipes for three different kinds of toothpaste. One contained the ashes of burned-up deer antler, aromatic resin from an evergreen shrub known as mastic and a rare mineral called sal ammoniac. His second toothpaste was a mix of barley flour, vinegar, honey and rock salt. Then, there was the third: sun-dried radish blended with finely ground glass. Let’s get a bit rowdy here and propose that these three toothpastes have metaphorical resemblances to the life choices in front of you right now. I’m going to suggest you go with the second option. At the very least, avoid the third.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Are you

feeling a bit pinched, parched and prickly? Given the limitations you’ve had to wrestle with lately, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were. Even though you have passed some of the sneaky tests and solved some of the itchy riddles you’ve been compelled to deal with, they have no doubt contributed to the pinched, parched prickliness. Now what can be done to help you recover your verve? I’m thinking that all you will have to do is respond smartly to the succulent temptations that life will bring your way in the coming weeks.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Have you ever

situated yourself between two big bonfires on a beach and basked in the primal power? Was there a special moment in your past when you found yourself sitting between two charismatic people you loved and admired, soaking up the life-giving radiance they exuded? Did you ever read a book that filled you with exaltation as you listened to music that thrilled your soul? These are the kinds of experiences I hope you seek out in the coming week. I’d love to see you get nourished stereophonically by rich sources of excitement.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Mythically

speaking, this would be a propitious time for you to make an offering to the sea goddess. In dreams or meditations or fantasies, I suggest you dive down into the depths, find the supreme feminine power in her natural habitat, and give her a special gift. Show her how smart you are in the way you express love, or tell her exactly how you will honor her wisdom in the future. If she is receptive, you may even ask her for a favor. Maybe she’ll be willing to assist you in accessing the deep feelings that haven’t been fully available to you. Or perhaps she will teach you how to make conscious the secrets you have been keeping from yourself.

bRezsny

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Don’t linger

in a doorway, Libra. Don’t camp out in a threshold or get stuck in the middle of anything. I understand your caution, considering the fact that life is presenting you with such paradoxical clues. But if you remain ambivalent too much longer, you may obstruct the influx of more definitive information. The best way to generate the clarity and attract the help you need will be to make a decisive move—either in or out, either forward or backward, either up or down.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): “It’s a

rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear,” said TV talk-show host Dick Cavett. I will love it if you make yourself one of those rare types in the coming week, Scorpio. Can you bring yourself to be receptive to truths that might be disruptive? Are you willing to send out an invitation to the world, asking to be shown revelations that contradict your fixed theories and foregone conclusions? If you do this hard work, I promise that you will be granted a brainstorm and a breakthrough. You might also be given a new reason to brag.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):

There are pregnant truths I could reveal to you right now that I’ve decided not to disclose. I don’t think you’re prepared to hear them yet. If I told you what they are, you wouldn’t be receptive or able to register their full meaning; you might even misinterpret them. It is possible, however, that you could evolve rather quickly in the next two weeks. So let’s see if I can nudge you in the direction of getting the experiences necessary to become ready. Meditate on what parts of you are immature or underdeveloped—aspects that may one day be skilled and gracious but are not yet. I bet that once you identify what needs ripening, you will expedite the ripening. And then you will become ready to welcome the pregnant truths.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):

“Finifugal” is a rarely used English adjective that I need to invoke in order to provide you with the proper horoscope. It refers to someone who avoids or dislikes endings—like a child who doesn’t want a bedtime story to conclude, or an adult who’s in denial about how it’s finally time to wrap up long-unfinished business. You can’t afford to be finifugal in the coming days, Capricorn. This is the tail end of your cycle. It won’t be healthy for you to shun climaxes and denouements. Neither will it be wise to merely tolerate them. Somehow, you’ve got to find a way to love and embrace them. (P.S. That’s the best strategy for ensuring the slow-motion eruption of vibrant beginnings after your birthday.)

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):

According to 20th-century British author John Cowper Powys, “A bookshop is a dynamite-shed, a drugstore of poisons, a bar of intoxicants, a den of opiates, an island of sirens.” He didn’t mean that literally, of course. He was referring to the fact that the words contained in books can inflame and enthrall the imagination. I think you will be wise to seek out that level of arousal in the coming weeks, Aquarius. Your thoughts need to be aired out and rearranged. Your feelings are crying out for strenuous exercise, including some pure, primal catharses. Do whatever it takes to make sure that happens.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “I am not

fearless,” said Mexican journalist and women’s rights advocate Lydia Cacho, “but I’m not overtaken by fear. Fear is quite an interesting animal. It’s like a pet. If you mistreat it, it will bite, but if you understand it and accept it in your house, it might protect you.” This is an excellent time to work on transforming your fright reflexes, Pisces. You have just the right kind of power over them: strong and crafty and dynamic, but not grandiose or cocky or delusional. You’re ready to make your fears serve you, not drain you.

you can call Rob brezsny for your expanded Weekly horoscope: (900) 950-7700. $1.99 per minute. Must be 18+. touchtone phone required. customer service (612) 373-9785. and don’t forget to check out Rob’s website at www.realastrology.com.

BEFORE

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photo by steve chea

by ROb

For the week of December 12, 2013

STORY

The social networker Between the rolling hills of Facebook and the amber waves of Twitter reside a lot of kids who have no idea how to navigate their way. Socialmedia producer Thomas Dodson says he’s recognized the escalating issues stemming from children’s unguarded use of social media and has decided to do something about it. Alongside the launch of his social-networkingstrategy business, Selvage Media, Dodson is also heading a crowdfunding campaign to support Above the Fray, a program aimed to help teens steer their use of social media. Dodson, a former TV news producer, stopped posting on Twitter long enough to talk to SN&R about today’s youth, the power of social media and his ability to write a sentence.

You just launched Selvage Media— how does that feel? Nerve-racking. I’ve felt like an expectant parent for the past few weeks, you know, just getting ready for the baby. The nursery’s painted, the crib’s in, the sheets are done, now we just gotta wait for the baby.

How did you get into working in social media? I was working at a [public-relations] firm back in 2011, and I started to see the need for businesses, nonprofits, political candidates … [that] were all kind of missing the mark when it came to social media. My approach to all of this is that I treat social media like it’s a media. I concentrate on ongoing, engaging content.

Has your journalistic background influenced your approach to social media? First of all, I feel like I can write a sentence. There are far too many marketers I see and they just can’t even write. If you can’t write a sentence, how can you engage? It’s the power of the written word. I sit down with my clients ... and we create the social-media strategy together. We talk about tone and voice and tenor and content and schedules, and when we are done with that, we have a blueprint to follow. You gotta have that plan in order to be effective. I know this because I’ve done it and failed. You can’t just run in and start posting shit. You’re not going to be effective that way.

Who was one of your favorite clients? I really enjoyed Steve Hansen’s Sacramento City Council campaign. I believe in Steve and what he brings to city council and his vision for Sacramento. Getting to create and execute a social-media strategy … no one had done anything like this prior to Steve’s campaign. It was exciting for me, because it was a new time in my business.

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A RT S & C U LT U R E

Let’s talk about Above the Fray. Above the Fray is something I am very passionate about. It’s [about] creating open and honest dialogue about what’s really going on on social media for our youth. I’m a social-media professional; I’m on social media all day … and it scares the shit out of me what’s going on out there. The programs I have seen to date, you read a lot of the anti-cyberbullying stuff. That’s pretty much all that’s out there right now. That stuff to me is very reactionary. It’s the “stop, drop and roll” of the new era. Let’s prevent the kids from catching on fire in the first place, so we don’t have to get to that “stop, drop and roll” mentality.

So, what’s the first step? We have a focus group of local teens that we’re going to be getting real with. I have my own preconceived notions of what it’s like [for teens], but the majority of my time on social media is spent on Facebook and Twitter. They are using Snapchat and Instagram and Tumblr and other platforms as well, so while I think I have a good understanding of a lot of the issues, I know I have a lot to learn, as well. The conversation starts by listening to them, getting as much information as we can from them, and then turning it into a curriculum we can share.

What do you hope this will become? I want to pair it with an in-person and an online curriculum. I want to have something that’s Web-based, that’s maybe an app, the parents, teachers and kids can go on and use, study the curriculum, maybe |

AFTER

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take tests, get a certificate that says they passed the Above the Fray social-media [test]. Part of that, too, [are] social-media contracts between parents and students. I have seen them be very effective. The issues are only getting worse, and there is no real solution right now.

How did Above the Fray come about? I started thinking about what would it have been like if there had been social media when I was in high school. That is almost enough to make me sick to my stomach. I barely survived the tumultuous trials and tribulations of teenage angst. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like had there been Snapchat and Facebook and Twitter. I look at these kids and think, “I’m so sorry you have to go through this.” The analogy I keep using is, in essence, we have given the kids the keys to the cars without having made these kids take driver’s ed. We have given them these incredibly powerful tools, and no one has taught them how to use them.

What’s been the reaction so far? Every parent that I’ve talked to, every teacher that I’ve talked to about Above the Fray has said, “Yes, there is a need for this, for dialogue.” Not one person has said, “Oh, you’re stupid. That’s not going to work.” I’ve had very few moments of clarity in my life—very few. This is one of them. Ω

to learn more about selvage Media, visit www.facebook.com/selvagemedia. the Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign for above the Fray runs through Wednesday, December 25. visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/above-the-fray for more information.

12.12.13

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SN&R

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©2013 Latrobe Brewing Co., Rolling Rock® Beer, St. Louis, MO

Brand:Rolling Rock Item #:PRR20137250 Job/Order #: 255333

Closing Date: 10/3/13 QC: CS

Trim: 10 x 11.5 Bleed: none Publication: Sacramento News Live: 9.5 x 11


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