Issuu on Google+

WHAT LAW WOULD YOU

CHANGE? see Streetalk, page 5

HOMELESS DEATHS,

VIOLENT TRUTH see News, page 9

DETROIT DEBT CITY see Opinion, page 13 see Editor’s Note, page 3

NEW COEN BROTHERS MASTERPIECE?

FOLK YEAH! see Film, page 36

SACRAMENTO’S NEWS & ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

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VOLUME 25, ISSUE 36

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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2013


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December 19, 2013 | Vol. 25, Issue 36

55

Code red ink Let’s fast-forward to 2019, when the city of Sacramento’s yearly budget deficit potentially turns bloody. For starters, that will be when the Measure U sales-tax increase expires. Sacramento will take in approximately $27 million annually over the next six years from this tax to help pay for services that were axed during the recession. As of now, there are no plans, no new monies to cover the added costs of hiring more police and funding more parks and libraries. That’s $27 million of potential red ink. Also in 2019, the city’s yearly contribution to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System goes up to $17 million. City leaders are hustling to renegotiate retirement agreements with public employees. Still, add that to the red category. And, of course, the arena. It’s true, there are no new taxes in the pipe to pay for the Sacramento Kings proposed downtown home. Yet. But in 2019, bond payments for the new arena will jump to an estimated $17 million a year. This on top of the $9 million from the general fund already going to the Kings. That makes a possible $61 million. Code red ink, anyone? This is why Cosmo Garvin’s cover story this week, a definitive cost-benefit analysis of the planned Kings arena (see page 14), matters. And no one else in the local-media world has rolled up his or her sleeves for a straightforward, exhaustive look at the project’s fiscal good and bad. And we all know city leadership prefers to crunch numbers behind closed doors. Yes, I want the arena—if built—to revitalize downtown and be a pie-inthe-sky success. It’s crucial to do the math, though. Because we don’t want Sacramento to be the next Detroit.

STREETALK

05 07 09 12 14 20 23 29 33 34 36 38 45 55

LETTERS NEWS + SCOREKEEPER OPINION FEATURE STORY ARTS&CULTURE NIGHT&DAY DISH ASK JOEY STAGE FILM MUSIC + SOUND ADVICE THE 420 15 MINUTES BITES IS ON VACATION THIS WEEK. COVER DESIGN BY HAYLEY DOSHAY COVER ILLUSTRATION BY BRIAN TAYLOR

35

37 Kate Paloy, Jessica Rine, Patti Roberts, Ann Martin Rolke, Steph Rodriguez Creative Director Priscilla Garcia Art Director Hayley Doshay Junior Art Director Brian Breneman Designers Vivian Liu, Serene Lusano, Marianne Mancina, Skyler Smith Contributing Photographers Lisa Baetz, Steven Chea, Wes Davis, Ryan Donahue, Taras Garcia, Lovelle Harris, Shoka

Our Mission To publish great newspapers that are successful and enduring. To create a quality work environment that encourages employees to grow professionally while respecting personal welfare. To have a positive impact on our communities and make them better places to live.

Director of Advertising and Sales Rick Brown Senior Advertising Consultants Rosemarie Messina, Joy Webber Advertising Consultants Meghan Bingen, Teri Gorman, Dusty Hamilton, Dave Nettles, Lee Roberts, Julie Sherry, Stephen Swanson, Mark vanHudson, Kelsi White Senior Inside Sales Consultant Olla Ubay Ad Services Specialist Melissa Bernard Director of Et Cetera Will Niespodzinski Client Publications Editor Michelle Carl Client Publications Managing Editor Shannon Springmeyer Client Publications Writer/Copy Editor Mike Blount

Co-editors Rachel Leibrock, Nick Miller Staff Writer Raheem F. Hosseini Copy Editor Shoka Shafiee Entertainment Editor Jonathan Mendick Editorial Coordinator Becca Costello Contributing Editor Cosmo Garvin Editor-at-large Melinda Welsh Contributors Ngaio Bealum, Daniel Barnes, Rob Brezsny, Joey Garcia, Blake Gillespie, Becky Grunewald, Mark Halverson, Jeff Hudson, Jim Lane, Greg Lucas, Garrett McCord, Kel Munger,

—Nick Miller

n ic kam@ n ews r ev i ew . com

45 Client Publications Staff Writer Meredith Graham Executive Coordinator Jessica Takehara Director of First Impressions Alicia Brimhall, Matt Kjar Distribution Director Greg Erwin Distribution Services Assistant Larry Schubert Distribution Drivers Mansour Aghdam, Walt Best, Daniel Bowen, Russell Brown, Nina Castro, Jack Clifford, Lydia Comer, John Cunningham, Lob Dunnica, Chris Fong, Ron Forsberg, Joanna Gonzalez-Brown, Aaron Harvey, Wayne Hopkins, Brenda Hundley, Greg Meyers, Kenneth Powell, Wendell Powell, Lloyd Rongley, Duane Secco, Lolu Sholotan, Jack Thorne President/CEO Jeff vonKaenel Chief Operations Officer Deborah Redmond Human Resources Manager Tanja Poley Nuts & Bolts Ninja Kalin Jenkins Human Resources Intern Aleasha Yates Business Manager Grant Rosenquist Accounting Specialists Renee Briscoe, Tami Sandoval Accounts Receivable Specialist Nicole Jackson Business Intern Allison Hill Systems Manager Jonathan Schultz Systems Support Specialist Joe Kakacek Web Developer/Support Specialist John Bisignano

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“Jaywalking should be legal, especially downtown.”

Asked at the MARRS building on 20th Street: 

What law would you change?

Martin Christian

Mark Schwartz

photographer

IT support

I wish it was more difficult to get initiatives on the ballot. It’s too easy to thwart the work of our city leaders. So, with this new-arena thing, whether or not you agree with the subsidy, it does seem like a small minority of people can make their voices heard, and I think it stunts the process. It stunts development.

Naida Enriquez

Dai Eby

beauty-demo rep

This will be really unpopular around here, but I would repeal “Obamacare.” I think it’s forcing people into buying insurance plans that may not necessarily meet their needs. It should be left up to the individual to say if they need a minimal plan as opposed to a 30-year-old guy who has to have maternity included in his health care.

Emily Silver

courthouse clerk

I would change the way the [U.S.] government has aligned with different tribal governments and casinos, and how that’s changed membership to [Native American] tribes. Now there’s a lot of money involved with who is a member, so certain members take others off the tribal lists.

Bart Stephens

attorney

I would like to change whatever law allows for people with mental-health issues to own a handgun. I work in criminal records, and I see a lot of these files where people do harm, and they had a mental-health issue, but they shouldn’t even be in that situation in the first place.

I would change the sex-offender registry system. There are certain offenses that I don’t believe should be registrable offenses, like peeing in public, things like that. It’s too controversial, but the law is overbroad and overinclusive. It really discriminates against people who really are not child molesters.

sales rep

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Email your letters to sactoletters@newsreview.com.

Fix Sacto public transit Re “Back on track” (SN&R Editorial, December 12): The best investment for California is indeed investment in our infrastructure, including better public transportation that really provides for LETTER OF people’s needs and THE WEEK runs to the places people need to go: retail and grocery stores, medical complexes, and frequently visited public buildings like the Department of Motor Vehicles! Here in Sacramento, the air is filthy in the summer and winter, and it’s getting worse. People need to get out of their cars, but that won’t happen until public transportation is much more userfriendly. We also need more public investment in sustainable-energy sources that provide a healthy return on investment and lower our carbon footprint. Mary Ann Martorana

S acr am en t o

Go, Maggy! Re “Law and reorder” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature Story, December 12): I found the article on Maggy Krell fascinating and full of hope, and I am a

former law-enforcement officer with four departments and agencies in Central California, but not in Sacramento County. I am now retired. I have spoken to people who have been released from prison since I moved to Sacramento, and I have come away with an extreme disdain for District Attorney Jan Scully’s motives and means to obtain her department’s high conviction rates, and the cost to those falsely convicted to long sentences, and the ways that these convictions were obtained, are in totally immoral ways of bringing pressure on defendants, in my opinion. Michael “Glenn” Parker Sacramento

No, Maggy Re “Law and reorder” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature Story, December 12): Let’s start with the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs forum. Everyone I spoke with, even strangers who I exchanged comments with that evening in passing as we were leaving, stated there were two candidates in the district-attorney debate. Todd Leras for the progressives and Anne Marie Schubert for the hard right. Both were seasoned prosecutors with real answers

and courtroom presence. Maggy Krell appeared to be a schoolgirl who showed up in her mother’s shoes and pearls without an idea of what she was getting into. I don’t believe she got applause for a single one of her answers. As a person who is deeply interested in this race, I have not only been to a few forums where Krell has taken Q-and-A, but have also asked her questions personally. In addition, I have solicited her replies to important topics from interviews she has participated in. This article is written largely by the author and the author’s views. These views hardly reflect Krell’s views, which are very close to those of Schubert’s. A clue may be her answer stating she’d be charging “more” defendants than we are now. Really? Because our justice system cannot even handle the ones we have going through it now, which definitely shows her lack of experience (about 10 years with almost no trial experience). Finally, it appears the author is blinded by her landslide of endorsements on the Democratic side of the ticket, while failing to recognize most of those came from an “anyone but ‘more of the same’ bare-bones Republican approach” when Krell got in the race early, and endorsers thought she was their only option. Nick Miller chooses not to mention the incredibly seasoned,

1338 Howe Ave, Sacramento California, 95825 (916) 927-0542 BEFORE

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A RT S & C U LT U R E

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experienced and viable other Democrat who has just entered the race in the past month, Leras, who actually does have the platform embracing community solutions and rehabilitation. Watch the sands shift and those pearls and heels get even more oversized for Krell as this campaign moves forward with Leras in the race. Christine Thomas Sacramento

Renting body not a crime Re “Desperately seeking justice” by Scott Thomas Anderson and Raheem F. Hosseini (SN&R Feature Story, December 5): The real problem is not renting one’s body, which is, after all, what every wage slave is doing, but the power difference between the parties to the transaction. Its illegal status simply magnifies the discrepancies of power in our so-called civilization. It would be nice if police, district attorneys and legislators would explain why a financial transaction between consenting adults is a worse crime than a life-threatening assault. A rational explanation, that is, of how they would like to be treated in such a situation. Muriel Strand Sacramento

@SacNewsReview

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@SacNewsReview

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Winners and losers See SCOREKEEPER

See GREENLIGHT

12

Detroit and pensions See EDITORIAL

13

Death by homelessness

PHOTO BY STEVEN CHEA

10

Stop talking about arena

New report claims  alarming rate of  homeless deaths due  to preventable—and  often violent—causes Vivian Valles feared for the life of her son, Vincent McKinney. She’d long fought to find by him stable housing, but the 51-year-old Dave Kempa McKinney, suffering from bouts of prolonged inebriation, always wound up back on the streets of Sacramento. “One of these days, you’re gonna get hurt or killed down here,” Valles, 70, would tell him. She’d watch the evening news, bracing herself when they named a homeless man struck by a train or found dead. This past Thanksgiving Day, the broadcast she’d long dreaded arrived. “That night, I saw it,” said Valles, her voice breaking in grief. “I saw it on TV. They said it was my son.” McKinney’s life ended in the park across from the Crocker Art Museum, the result of a beating he sustained early in the evening of Wednesday, November 27. While McKinney’s passing comes as a shock to family, friends and homeless advocates who’d been impressed by his recent streak of sobriety, a study to be released this Friday shows Sacramento’s homeless community endures an alarming rate of deaths throughout the year due to preventable—and often violent—causes. Sacramento County has been home to 501 homeless deaths, almost a quarter of which were a result of injury or wounds, between June 2002 and June 2013, according to a report by the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness and Sacramento Steps Forward. “It’s sobering to think that, over a 10 year period, we’re talking about almost one person a week, week in and week out,” said Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of SRCEH and author of the study. Erlenbusch was particularly shocked that 23 percent of the deaths came as a result of injuries or wounds—disproportionately from blunt-force trauma, gunshots, stabbings and hangings. “It’s very indicative of how violent it is for homeless people living in the community,” he said.

BEFORE

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Vivian Valles’ son, Vincent McKinney, died as a result of a beating while living on the streets. A new report says more than 500 homeless individuals died on the streets in the past 11 years.

Homeless advocates will release the report, titled “Sacramento Homeless Deaths Study 2002-2013,” in tandem with a memorial ceremony taking place at 10:30 a.m. in Friendship Park at Sacramento Loaves & Fishes on Friday, December 20. This will be one of numerous services across the country

Sacramento County has been home to 501 homeless deaths, almost a quarter of which were a result of injury or wounds, between June 2002 and June 2013. held in recognition of National Persons’ Homeless Memorial Day, which falls each year on the winter solstice— December 21 this year—which observers refer to as the longest, darkest night of the year. In releasing the study, which uses Sacramento County Coroner’s Office data, Steps Forward and SRCEH aim to raise awareness on the high rate of deaths in the homeless community (some two to three times more than that of housed Sacramentans, according to

STORY

the report) and stress the preventability of most homeless deaths. Ideally, the groups want to hold a homeless-deaths policy forum with the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors to make strides toward increasing the life expectancy of homeless residents which, at 47 for women and 50 for men, falls about 25 years short of the national rate. Given these figures, it is perhaps not such a surprise that McKinney’s life ended at 51, just one year after his partner, Michael Wagner, who passed last winter while sleeping next to McKinney. When a member of the homeless community dies, Loaves & Fishes holds a memorial for the deceased in Friendship Park. Birte Peebles, library director at Loaves and “keeper of the names” of departed guests, remembers Wagner’s death. “I’m not sure if they’ve ever had that many people at a service,” said Peebles, who still holds in the library archives a flyer from the memorial, which includes a photo of the mustachioed Wagner, head atilt, grinning under a baseball cap. “Vincent was genuinely devastated when Michael died,” recalled Friendship Park staffer Mark Hawkins, who conducts memorials for the dozens of guests who die each year. Last Tuesday, Hawkins stood near the

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park’s Memorial Wall, which includes engravings of the names of park guests who died in previous years. Hawkins oversaw Wagner’s memorial in March. On January 10, 2014, he’ll do the same for McKinney. “It’s a chance for people here to say goodbye,” he said, then turned his thoughts to Valles. “We’re not designed to bury our children.” Today, the county coroner and Sacramento police continue to investigate McKinney’s death, with Arthur Bird, an acquaintance of McKinney’s, currently facing murder charges. And while closure is not yet obtainable, the grieving process has long since begun. Early this month, mourners converged in the park across from the Crocker Art Museum where McKinney’s life was taken, piecing together a memorial on a nearby picnic table complete with candles, flowers and notes scrawled in chalk to the departed. It is along one of these green wood panels where, even today, you might see remnants of the white-chalk note Valles left her son. “It is us you left behind,” she wrote. “Our family who will feel the loss. Now you know how much we all love you.” Ω

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Any local-beer lover knows you can’t  buy single bottles of brew on the grid,  due to an outdated ordinance from  the 1990s. But is craft beer really a  threat to public safety? Councilman Steve Hansen apparently thinks so. He  told the Bee last week that the “good  outweighs the bad” when it comes to  banning beer, adding that he worries  eliminating the ordinance could  exacerbate certain beer-related  “nuisances.” Indeed, because $30  bottles of Cantillon tend to stir up  trouble.

What of the ugly women? And now we know why the handlers  at STOP, or Sacramento Taxpayers  Opposed to Pork, have mostly kept  ringleader Julian Camacho away from  the media. “We want to pay tribute to  the people of Sacramento,” Camacho  told Ryan Lillis of The Sacramento  Bee last week, in explaining why STOP  is fighting the arena, “especially the beautiful women of Sacramento who are  devoted to the long-term growth of  the city.” Quote of the year, anyone?

-1

Marijuana libre Uruguay became the first  nation in the world to  legalize marijuana last week.  Meanwhile, after nearly two  decades of Proposition 215,  Californians still go to  prison for nonviolent  pot crimes. ¿Como?

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10   |   SN&R   |   12.19.13

Pay to STOP

Hot stuff

Pro-arena attack dog Joshua Wood of  Region Builders demanded that the  county count each and every ballot  submitted by Sacramento Taxpayers  Opposed to Pork last week. Then, he  demanded that STOP pay the $100,000  cost to count all the ballots. Actually, we  here at Scorekeeper are fine with this— as long as Mayor Kevin Johnson pays for  next November’s “strong mayor” vote.

Scorekeeper’s holiday  libation of choice is the hot  toddy. So, we’d like to take  a moment and congratulate  bartender Carolyn Jaime of  Grange Restaurant & Bar for  winning this year’s Hot Toddy  Competition at The Golden  Bear last week. Pass by the  downtown spot and warm up.

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State panel repeals 14-year-old policy   banning sex workers from victim benefits After she was raped and nearly killed inside her apartment last September, a 36-yearold escort asked a state victims’ panel by for a few things. Raheem F. Hosseini In her application to the California Victim Compensation Program, the r aheemh@ woman requested financial assistance newsreview.c om for lost wages while she recuperated, to replace a lamp that was broken when she was slammed into a wall and to clean the semen her rapist left on the carpet. ILLUSTRATION BY JONATHAN BUCK

This very program paid out nearly $62 million to tens of thousands of crime survivors for such things last year—but not to this Oakland woman, who asked SN&R to identify her as Ms. R. In October, the state rejected Ms. R’s claim, citing rule 649.56, which disqualifies sex workers from receiving victim reimbursements, even in cases of rape. The board did the same to Savannah, a former Sacramento escort who was abducted by two men and then beaten and sexually assaulted for 10 hours this past January (read her story in “Desperately seeking justice” by Scott Thomas Anderson and Raheem F. Hosseini, SN&R News, December 5). Ms. R and Savannah (not her real name) are two of the nearly 80 women to fall victim to this littleknown policy over the past three

Since 1999, the California Victim Compensation Program has denied virtually every claim for financial assistance from a crime victim identified as a sex worker.

BEFORE

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years. According to the state, they’re ineligible for statutorily provided victim benefits because of their profession. “The regulation sends a dangerous message to victims and perpetrators that, for at least some women, ‘no’ doesn’t really mean ‘no,’ and, effectively, some women deserve to be raped,” American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California attorney Kimberly Horiuchi told the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board last week. “Regardless of how a victim got into a position to be raped, it doesn’t make her any less worthy of compensation.” Until recently, California begged to differ. The rule, which has been in the books for 14 years total, has been used to deny “almost all victims who were prostitutes or involved in prostitution,” chief counsel Wayne Strumpfer told his board last week. On December 12, feeling the full heat of a campaign that began in February, the board—during an unusually packed meeting inside the organization’s R Street conference room—finally struck down what chairwoman Marybel Batjer deemed a “repugnant” statute. “I don’t understand why it was passed in 1999, but I think it’s time that we do something about it,” she added, before calling for the unanimous vote and drawing relieved applause. Ms. R told SN&R the longanticipated vote—and the crowd’s reaction to it—left her stunned. “That’s maybe the only time we got real, sincere applause,” she said of the sex-worker community. “I thought that was so bomb.” Last Thursday’s action followed a 10-month campaign by the ACLU and groups representing sex workers and rape survivors, many of whom offered powerful, damning testimonies about the ways the criminal-justice system treated them like second-class victims. “Ayla” said she was sexually assaulted by a man her who offered her a ride to Denny’s, then accused of being “an angry prostitute” when she told police of the encounter hours later in a Bremerton, Wash., emergency room. When authorities found the man’s wife tied up in the trunk of his car months later, Ayla recalled, “Then they wanted me all of a sudden to come in and testify

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Franchising the future because he had done something to a ‘worthy, pure woman.’” Sex workers from Sacramento and the Bay Area shared similar tales. But the policy’s ripple effects don’t start or stop with the paidsex community. A computer programmer who identified herself as Jane Doe said she was raped by a home intruder in June 2011. While not a sex worker, her CalVCP application for moving costs was swatted just the same.

“We need to fight the culture of victim blaming.” Jane Doe victim who was raped in her apartment in 2011 “I’m not the target population of this regulation, yet feel that this regulation created the policy of criminalizing victims, causing more harm,” she said. “I ended up homeless and the victim of two other violent crimes that could have been prevented with relocation funds. We need to fight the culture of victim blaming.” The three-member panel, which included Batjer, San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos and a stand-in for State Controller John Chiang, often listened with hands over their mouths. The board’s repeal of rule 649.56 won’t be immediate. The process, including public comment, could take up to three months. The board must also hold a procedural vote before sending the policy change to an administrative law judge for final approval. According to Jon M. Myers, the board’s deputy executive officer, the repeal wouldn’t be retroactive, meaning past denials of compensation would stand. And the panel could still mask future denials in concerns about fraud, Ms. R believed. But the rape survivor, who is still appealing the board’s denial of her application, also focused on the positives. Relatives of murdered sex workers now stand a better chance of being able to afford funeral costs, she said. “It was a great victory.” Ω

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Despite mounting concerns from public-health officials and neighboring residents, a proposal to build a 120-bed private psychiatric hospital in north Sacramento received unanimous approval from the Sacramento City Council last week. Council members took a narrow view of their role heading into the feverishly anticipated—and thrice-punted—vote on December 10: They didn’t decide whether embattled psychiatric chain Signature Healthcare Services LLC, with its lawsuits and fines and shuttered hospitals, was a good steward for this project. They decided whether a squared lot on Expo Parkway was appropriate space upon which to construct the facility. On Monday, Vice Mayor Angelique Ashby told SN&R that Signature Healthcare’s past was “not a land-use question.” State and federal health-care agencies are responsible for licensing and regulating what would be Signature’s ninth private hospital in the country, while highly sought accreditation is provided through The Joint Commission, which charges healthcare organizations for its accreditation services. Signature, which operates as Aurora Behavioral Health Care, currently has eight hospitals in four states. A decade ago, it had two more. The company closed two Detroit-area hospitals in 2000 and 2002 amid claims that they ran afoul of IRS and state healthcare regulators, among other troubles. A Detroit Metro Times investigation in 2003 documented allegations that the practices inflated Medicare payments by extending patient stays and hospitalizing those without proper documentation, which is also being argued in federal court in Southern California. Signature’s facility in Pasadena is the subject of a federal lawsuit charging fraudulent billings and poor management that contributed to the deaths of eight patients and multiple rapes. Company reps say that lawsuit has been halted, but online court records show a jury trial still possibly looms. Last year, the California Department of Public Health’s licensing and certification division issued Signature’s San Diego hospital an administrative penalty. The nature of the violation remains sealed. Concerned residents say they dug up other violations. The company’s attorney, Gregory Thatch, termed the legal issues “extremely typical” for a psychiatric hospital and “fairly minor in scope.” In a phone interview, Ashby said the applicant defended its record. “The city is not a licensing nor a health-care-providing entity, so we are not an appropriate finder of fact on the claims made,” she said. What did dominate last week’s discussion was the pronounced need for mental-health resources, illustrated by the testimonies of two local emergency-room doctors who told council members their ERs have been inundated with mental-health patients ever since the county was forced to close its 50-bed psychiatric facility in 2009. “Adding more beds into the system would relieve the strain tremendously,” said Dr. Kevin Jones, an ER physician at Sutter General and Sutter Memorial hospitals. Sacramento County has the second-highest rate of involuntary holds per capita in California, according to Jones, and one of the highest suicide rates. The Affordable Care Act is expected to expand access to both insurance and psychiatric care. Which means more paying customers for a company that’s dangling a $25 million facility, $16 million annual payroll and 210 jobs in a depressed part of Sacramento. Thatch said his clients believe an additional hundred beds might be warranted on top of the 120 already proposed, and noted that one of the area’s three other psychiatric facilities, Sierra Vista Hospital, recently applied to add 50 beds to its Bruceville Road location. (Raheem F. Hosseini)

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Let’s stop talking about the new arena Aren’t there more important  subjects to discuss? I’m glad the Sacramento Kings are staying. I’m glad that downtown will get a makeover. But I’m getting pretty tired of the seemingly endless discussions about the new arena. Enough already. We need to get some perspective on the proposed arena. It’s not that big of a deal. It will not save the city if it is built. It will not destroy the city if it is built. Both sides are making exaggerated claims. Let’s explore some of those claims. First, let’s take a look at the tricky concept of the “revenue multiplier.” Arena supporters argue that the L by JEFF VONKAENE revenue value of their project is far more than just the value of arena sales, because of the revenue multiplier j e ffv @ n ew sre vi e w . com principle. The idea is that, when an individual or a business increases its spending, it creates a ripple effect on the local economy. For instance, if I spend more money at a restaurant, then the restaurant owner and waitstaff will have more money to spend. When they spend this money at local businesses, those It’s not that big of businesses will in turn pump a deal. It will not save more money into the economy. This concept of the revenue the city if it is built. multiplier has the arena supportIt will not destroy the ers multiplying and multiplying expected sales until they city if it is built. their estimate billions of dollars in revenue coming from the arena. The problem with this argument is that it is based upon the ridiculous idea that this is all new money being spent at the new arena. This is clearly not true. I doubt that the new arena will significantly increase retail and restaurant sales in our region. There will just be more sales downtown—and less elsewhere. To look at the multiplier impact for downtown sales but not look at the reductions elsewhere is absurd. Likewise, the anti-arena folks argue that we will not be able to fund schools, preserve the safety net or ensure public safety if we pour millions of dollars into an arena. Come on. The cost of the new arena is on average about $25 million a year. For some perspective on this figure, the annual Sacramento County budget is $3.6 billion, the Sacramento city budget is around $800 million, and the entire school budget for Sacramento County elementary and high schools is close to $2 billion. The Sutter General Hospital expansion in Midtown cost $750 million. This is 50 percent more than the arena’s proposed cost. Each year, our region loses more than $100 million because Jeff vonKaenel we have not done a good job of signing people up for food is the president, stamps. This money could make a huge impact on our local CEO and economy. majority owner of If the state increases or decreases hiring, or adjusts wages the News & Review newspapers in up or down, those changes would likely have more impact on Sacramento, Chico our economy than the impact of a downtown arena. and Reno. I’d like to talk about some of these other important subjects in the year to come. Ω


This Modern World

by tom tomorrow

Pensions and Detroit For decades, California city employees and their unions have been operating under the assumption that public pensions were untouchable. No matter what budgetary problems might befall their employers, municipal workers believed their retirement benefits were protected by the state constitution and couldn’t be altered or reduced, even if the city went bankrupt. That was then. Recently, a federal judge ruled in the Detroit bankruptcy case that municipal-worker pensions were not protected under the state constitution and could be reduced during bankruptcy, like any other city contract obligation. While it’s not a given that the court would rule the same way in California, the case sends a message to public employees here and across the nation. In a state where San Bernardino, Stockton and Vallejo have declared bankruptcy and many other cities continue to struggle, that message needs to be heard and understood: Full payment of municipal pension benefits depends on the fiscal solvency of cities, and public employees and their unions need to work to ensure sound fiscal practices and negotiate sustainable benefits packages. If they fail to do that, they cannot count on the courts for protection in the event of a Detroit-style meltdown. Ω

Saving money, losing rights “Obamacare” naysayers may demonize every dotted “i” “Obamacare” is going to save me more than and crossed “t” in the Affordable Care Act, but $1,000 a year and provide better coverage than by not me. my expiring policy. Cody Drabble When I aged out of my parents’ healthBut there’s a catch: The new plan includes a insurance plan two years ago, I flirted with mandatory arbitration clause. Arbitration clauses, feelings of invincibility. (Insurance is for a jumble of legalese buried in the fine print of old people, right?) But Dad and Mom, a most consumer contracts, are a favorite cost-saver paramedic and a nurse, respectively, insisted for big businesses. Though Covered California’s that young people need health care, too, so subsidies will save me and other low-income Cody drabble families a lot on health-insurance premiums, I’m is a freelance journalist I reluctantly paid north of $150 a month for residing in sacramento. an individual policy. also giving up my Seventh Amendment right to Ouch. a jury trial. The following Why is that a big deal? Obamacare is going summer, I experienced Because arbitration an acute case of delayed to save me more clauses force consumers to parental gratitude-itis bring malpractice claims than $1,000 a year. when mononucleosis before private judges who sent me to the hospital take repeat business from for five days. My hospitals and insurance companies. Additionally, $25,000 bill—for a few tests, ice packs and your attorney has limited options in discovering strawberry Jell-O—was mostly covered by evidence, and the results are kept from public insurance. view, so future victims will never be able to hold An online version of this Last month, my insurer canceled my repeat offenders accountable. Victims of medical essay can be found at current policy. When I called Covered malpractice, the sixth leading cause of death in www.newsreview.com/ California—after not getting through the heavthe United States, also lose their right to appeal sacramento/ arbitration decisions. pageburner/blogs. ily trafficked website—the operator talked me through my options. Since freelance journalWorse yet, arbitrators are more likely to ists don’t earn a king’s ransom, I’m eligible award less money (or none at all) than trial for subsidies. Starting next month, I’ll have judges for a preventable medical injury. much better coverage—lower deductibles, I’m grateful to pay less for better health lower copays, cheaper prescriptions—for insurance, but I might change my tune if I get about $60 per month. stuck in a Kafkaesque arbitration hearing. Ω BEFORE

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Yes to phone privacy A lot of things have changed since 1986, but California’s rules regarding consumer privacy and mobile phones aren’t among them. It’s time for the California Public Utilities Commission to step in and look at how telecommunications companies are using data from our smartphones and update privacy protections. Twenty-five years ago, handheld mobile phones were shoe-box-size accessories for the rich and famous that did little more than send and receive calls. Today, they are practically a necessity for people in all walks of life, and their advanced technology allows service providers to gather massive amounts of detailed information about individual consumers. Telecommunications companies today make good money providing info on your whereabouts, searches, buying habits and data to marketers. Needless to say, the practice isn’t covered in the 1986 regulations, and Catherine Sandoval, CPUC’s commissioner, has proposed to review the situation at its meeting on January 16, 2014. Not surprisingly, telecommunications companies including AT&T and Verizon Wireless would prefer that the practice remain unregulated, and they’ve been lobbying the commissioners to forgo any reappraisal. There’s a good chance the CPUC will decide not to review the privacy guidelines—unless consumers make it clear that isn’t acceptable. A CPUC review of mobile-phone-privacy protections is long overdue. We urge concerned readers to contact commissioners Carla J. Peterman at (415) 703-1407 and Michel P. Florio a (415) 703-2440, and let them know this important issue needs to be on the CPUC’s January 16 agenda. Ω   |    A F T E R   |    12.19.13     |   SN&R    

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e t a A m N i E t l R UKINGS A R E B M U N UNCH R C by COSMO GARVIN c o smo g@ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

BILLIONS AND BILLIONS.

illustration by BRIAN TAYLOR

SN&R’s definitive, final-word breakdown of Sacramento’s plan to build the team a new downtown home 14   |   SN&R   |   12.19.13

That’s how many dollars the new Kings arena will generate for Sacramento. As in, “The entertainment and sports complex, if located downtown, is expected to bring over $7 billion of economic impact to the region over the next 30 years.” That’s the claim by the group DowntownArena.org, an extension of the developer group Region Builders, formed to promote a new publicly subsidized Sacramento Kings arena. DowntownArena.org really drives home the economic-impact message on its website, touting $100 million in revenue annually for downtown and $157 million a year in economic activity for the region. In fact, Region Builders director Joshua Wood said that “$7 billion is probably a conservative number. It will absolutely transform Sacramento.” The message seems to be getting through. When a Sacramento Bee writer recently slipped and referred to the city’s arena “subsidy,” he was corrected by a Bee letter writer: “The city will own the new arena, a very valuable asset from which the city will derive massive financial returns. The city’s monetary contribution should rightfully be called a smart investment, not a subsidy.” Another writes, “In the long run, it will provide a lot of money to the city.” Massive financial returns. Seven billion dollars, conservatively speaking. The problem is that those financial returns aren’t real.


“I’m open to some wild ideas, but that one just defies belief,” says Geoffrey Propheter, a Ph.D. candidate at George Washington University. Propheter is from Sacramento, and his research on the economic impacts of urban basketball arenas has actually been used by paid city consultants and Sacramento Bee columnists to support the city’s plan. He’s a basketball fan, and he thinks there are valid reasons for cities to help build arenas. But $7 billion in new economic activity? “A number like that gets pumped into the political system, people start parading it around as if it were gospel. Pretty soon, it’s ‘Let’s rubber stamp this sucker.’ That’s a travesty.” The consensus among economists is that arenas don’t generally produce more money for city coffers than they consume. The same economists will tell you that publicly subsidized sports arenas are not efficient job producers or the best way to redevelop blighted areas. They are but one way to do redevelopment, and they can be effective—under the right conditions, with the right safeguards.

The NBA cartel Supporters of the arena plan will tell you it’s not about basketball. It is, however, about the economics of the National Basketball Association. “What must be realized is that NBA owners have formed a cartel that operates as a near monopoly, exempt from U.S. antitrust policy,” says Rob Wassmer, who teaches economics and public policy at Sacramento State University. “It sets the price—in the form of public subsidies—that need to be paid for our city to buy their product.” Otherwise, the NBA will sell to someone else, like Seattle or Anaheim. The price to each city largely depends on how profitable the market is for the NBA. For Sacramento, the price is $258 million. That’s about 58 percent of the estimated $448 million price tag for a new arena on the site of the existing Downtown Plaza. As part of the agreement, the city promises to contribute $212 million in cash, and

It should be noted that the total cost of financing the arena, over time, is going to be closer to $770 million. But they don’t produce massive financial returns. And that’s not just the opinion of some anti-arena folks. But it is something that has to be understood in order to have any sort of honest discussion of a project like this. Also, it is not true, as is often said, that this arena plan has no effect on the city’s general fund. According to the city’s own numbers, financing the arena will divert millions of dollars every year that would otherwise be available to the general fund, or could be used to lower taxes or make other investments. More on that below. Still, there are arguments to be made for building a downtown arena with public money. It could help to revive a part of town that has been stubbornly resistant to the city’s efforts. What would it take for the Kings arena to be one of the success stories? That’s what this story aims to explore. What are the project’s likely costs and benefits, both tangible and intangible? Is it the best tool to achieve the city’s stated goal of a revitalized downtown? If Sacramento is to go ahead with the plan, is it getting the best deal it can get? And, with the possibility of a public vote on the plan in June 2014, does the city have any leverage to get a better deal?

various parcels of property last assessed at $38 million. The city is also throwing in signage rights to billboards in the area of the arena project, and giving up the 3,700 parking spaces it now owns (and collects revenue from) beneath Downtown Plaza. The Kings would contribute $189 million. Any cost overruns are to be borne by the developers.

Oh, bondage In order to get the $212 million in cash, the city will have to sell bonds. All of the money will be paid back from the revenue the city collects from its parking meters, tickets and garages. That money now is either reinvested in parking operations, or it goes into the general fund to pay for services like police and parks. The city actually needs to borrow more than $212 million in order to create a reserve, pay legal fees and other costs of borrowing, and possibly to make immediate repairs and improvements to its existing parking garages. City Treasurer Russell Fehr says that his conservative, worst-case estimate is that the city would borrow as much as $304 million in bonds. He says that number will be revised lower as he gets closer to releasing his final financing plan

in mid-February—two months before the Sacramento City Council is expected to vote to approve the deal. Part of the additional borrowing by the city will be used to help make the bond payments in the early lean years, when it estimates the parking system won’t generate enough to make the annual debt obligation. Otherwise, the city would wind up tapping its hotel tax or the general fund. The city will make “interest only” payments on its bond debt for the first eight years. After it is done paying off another set of bonds—which it’s still paying for the construction of downtown parking garages— that money, about $3 million, would be switched over to start paying principal on the arena debt. It’s also true that local governments always pay lots of interest on big public projects; that’s the nature of public financing. It’s true of home mortgages and college loans as well. To be on the safe side, Fehr’s model assumes a high interest rate of 5.75 percent on the bonds. The rate could be lower; he says it won’t be higher. It should be noted that the total cost of financing the arena, over time, is going to be closer to $770 million, once you count all of the interest the city will have to pay over the 35-year life of the bond. Again, that’s assuming high interest rates. In the city’s model, bond payments start at about $6.5 million a year in 2016, they jump to about $17 million a year in 2019, then to $19 million in 2022, topping $23 million by 2035. SN&R asked how much those estimates might reasonably be expected to change, assuming lower rates and lower borrowing costs, and Fehr said it could vary by $3 million to $4 million. So, instead of a $17 million payment, the city might make a $13 million payment. All of these numbers are suspect, according to Craig Powell, with the local government-watch group Eye on Sacramento. Powell is also one of the leaders of the effort to gather signatures and force the arena issues to a public vote. He says interest rates have been rising, and the city can’t afford to add so much debt to the $2 billion it already holds. He objects to borrowing extra money to cover the early debt payments—because it adds as much as $93 million to the total costs of financing the project over time. “This thing is put together with bubble gum and baling wire,” says Powell. And he objects to spending parking revenue that could be used for core city services on an arena. “That’s a source of revenue that the city desperately needs to get healthy.”

Backfill or bust? City officials say this plan protects the general fund, or “holds the general fund harmless.” In other words, Sacramento can build the arena, and it won’t affect the ability to provide services.

“This is wordplay. The city’s current general fund will not be hurt by this—but the city’s future general fund will be hurt,” says Wassmer. According to Fehr’s model, in 2014 the city estimates $26 million in parking revenue. About $11 million will go to pay for the operation of the parking system. Another $5 million goes to pay the existing debt on the outstanding bonds for the city’s parking garages. Almost $10 million a year would be “profit,” which goes into the general fund for services like cops, parks maintenance and keeping swimming pools open. Under the arena plan, these future profits go to pay debt on the arena bonds. The city has identified several sources that it proposes to “backfill” the general fund. But the amounts of the debt service and the amount of the backfill aren’t equal. The largest source of backfill, about $3.75 million a year, would come from a 5 percent surcharge on all tickets at the new arena. It’s worth noting that the same surcharge was in the arena deal offered to the Maloof family more than a year ago, and it was criticized by the firm Beacon Economics, who said it was based on ticket sales numbers that the current arena hasn’t seen since the economic boom times of the early 2000s. (Keep in mind, Beacon was hired by the Maloof family to assess Sacramento’s arena financing plan, and Maloof is not a name that engenders much trust around Sacramento these days.) But Beacon owner Chris Thornberg told SN&R his assessment stands. “The revenues they are predicting are not there. Simple as that.” Some of the backfill money, about $1 million a year, will come in the form of profit given to the city by the Kings. The building will generate a certain amount of tax revenues. The city estimates $300,000 a year in sales taxes, and $898,000 in property taxes. Of course, the city will own the arena, so there it is counting money that it is paying to itself. According to the term sheet approved earlier by the city council, the city will rely on a certain amount of new revenue from parking by patrons of the new downtown arena. But not very much—only about $625,000 a year. The number is low partly because the city is giving away all of its 3,700 Downtown Plaza spaces, a major chunk of its garage inventory. Finally, there’s $3 million a year in backfill coming from the extra money the city borrowed. That $3 million will be replaced after a few years by the money the city is currently using to pay off its parking garages. That’s money that could be put back into the parking system, or it could be put in to the general fund. But the arena-financing plan treats it like new money. All in all, the city’s general fund is said to be “held harmless,” because the total amount of the backfill equals the $9 million that flows from the parking operation to the general fund

“NUMBER CRUNCH” continued on page 16

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“NUMBER CRUNCH” continued from page 15

right now. But really, it’s only $6 million in new revenues. And that $6 million—the surcharges and taxes and additional parking revenue—is far less than the $13 million, or $17 million or $19 million payment that the city will need to make every year on the arena bonds. Powell says the city may have to dip into its hotel taxes to make up the difference. Fehr says that’s very unlikely to happen, because the parking system is almost certain to grow and generate more money over time.

The parking diversion And this is the part that seems to get left out of most explanations of the arena-financing plan. Even after the “backfill” is taken into account, it relies on millions in future parking revenue that could otherwise flow to the general fund. The city’s model up to this point has assumed low growth in parking revenue, accounting for inflation and small rate increases that are already planned. Nothing reflecting what Fehr calls “growing the system,” like technological improvements, additional parking meters and “dynamic pricing” (charging people more when demand is high). But, of course, the city does plan to expand and update its parking system. That’s going to happen whether or not the city builds an arena. “It’s just what cities are doing to maximize parking revenues in a way that meets market demand,” says Assistant City Manager John Dangberg. Sacramento is paying a company called Walker Consulting LLC to do a new inventory of the parking system, and give some projections about how much new revenue it can expect from improvements and a rebounding economy. It will also begin to look at how much new parking revenue might be generated because of the arena and new development associated with it. If the arena does generate some new parking revenue—because more people come downtown to park—that’s certainly going to be a help to the general fund. But the rest of the parking profits would be there in the future, anyway—with or without an arena. Committing those revenues to the arena counts as a drain on the general fund in the future. “There is a diversion of future general-fund dollars to this arena project that could be used for other city expenditures, or cuts to taxes or fees for city residents or businesses,” Wassmer says. As Propheter says, “Money is fungible. You could do anything else with that money.”

They’re multiplying! So, what does the city get back for its investment? Certainly not $7 billion in new economic activity. That number was taken from a study by a paid consultant to Mayor Kevin Johnson’s Think Big Sacramento organization. It is arrived at by measuring the current spending at the Kings arena, making some assumptions about how that spending spurs other spending (a multiplier) and projecting out 30 years. There’s nothing wrong with generating an economic impact number like this. But it’s easily misused. 16   |   SN&R   |   12.19.13


Assume that the Kings did leave town. People only have a certain amount of discretionary income to spend, and everyone who spent money on the Kings will simply shift their spending to something else, like movies or restaurants or AAA baseball. It is spending that will happen with or without the Kings. Because of this “substitution effect,” these sorts of economic-impact numbers can be quite misleading—giving the impression of hundreds of millions, or even billions, of dollars in benefits from a project that aren’t real. Similarly, the claim that the arena project will create 4,000 new jobs should also be looked at closely. Most of those jobs are temporary construction jobs. The same consultants who came up with the $7 billion number also estimated that a new downtown arena would create 375 permanent jobs, but said the number would be closer to 229 jobs once the substitution effect was taken into account.

We know the arena itself will generate some sales taxes, but only about $300,000 a year. And the Kings owners say they intend to build $500 million worth of new development—including a hotel, retail and some housing—next to the arena. Let’s assume that happens. On $500 million in assessed value, the city could expect to collect about $1 million a year in property taxes. The city says it has done no estimates of potential sales taxes that might be generated by the new development around a downtown arena. Let’s take their word for it and try to find some sort of comparison instead. Let’s assume that the promised new development will generate more in sales taxes than Downtown Plaza does—about $1.1 million in 2012, down from $1.7 million in 2000. Let’s go on and assume—completely hypothetically—the new development promised by the Kings generates as much in sales taxes every year as the city’s current biggest sales-tax

“The city’s current general fund will not be hurt by this—but the city’s future general fund will be hurt.” Rob Wassmer economics and public-policy professor Sacramento State University

Show Sacto the money Last week, Mayor Johnson formed a new political committee that he’s branded “The4000,” to counter the ballot effort by Powell and his friends. The name is a reference to the jobs the project would create, but sports-subsidy skeptic and Field of Schemes author Neil deMause quipped the mayor’s group might more appropriately be called “The229.” Sacramento-area trade unions struck a deal with the developers—called a “project labor agreement”—that requires 60 percent of the construction jobs go to workers living in the Sacramento region. So, many of the highly skilled, highly paid jobs could go to people in Roseville or Rocklin. But it’s the city of Sacramento subsidizing the arena, not these other jurisdictions. This is a key consideration: How much of the benefit flows to Sacramento residents, who are paying the bill, and how much goes to other areas? “If you’re in a suburb of Sacramento, there’s nothing better than if the city pays for your entertainment, and you’re free to spend your money on good schools and low crime,” says Victor Matheson, a professor of economics at College of the Holy Cross, who has been following the project. Stanford University economist Roger Noll says urban basketball arenas can “break even” for their host city, if they are done right. They are certainly better than football stadiums, which are dark and useless much of the time—a basketball arena can be busy with other events such as concerts and ice shows most of the year.

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generator, Arden Fair mall, which is similar in size to what is being proposed and which generated $4.3 million in sales taxes for the city last year. Take away Downtown Plaza, replace it with an Arden Fair-sized economic engine, a $3 million gain, add a million in property taxes and voilà: The city could make about $4 million a year. Not nearly enough to cover the debt service on the arena, but every little bit helps.

Best way to spend $258 million? Wassmer warns that a real estimate would take into account the impacts on other areas. “The growth of an arena entertainment district would likely slow Midtown activity of this sort, and at some of the hubs in places like Roseville, … Folsom, Granite Bay, north Natomas.” That gets at the city’s stated policy goal. “It’s to concentrate economic activity from around the region into the downtown,” says Fehr. This is doable, says Jeff Michael at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. Michael is pretty optimistic about Sacramento’s arena project, though he too says, “sports arenas, in general, have a poor record as an economic-development strategy. “If your objective is to create jobs and raise incomes, then no. A lot of the benefits are really intangible.” Among those intangible benefits are a more vibrant downtown and reuse of an obsolete urban shopping mall that will likely never perform well again. “It’s definitely an area that

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certainly needs a catalyst. And this is a chance to shape the development and the feel of the city,” says Michael. For sure, many cities have used downtown arenas as urban-revitalization tools. But are they the best tools for the job? Do they give you the most bang for your urban-revitalization buck? “It’s not necessarily what I would pull off the shelf. But within that universe, this is not bad,” says Michael. Some have suggested that the city could use that $258 million for a package of other amenities—such as housing, a streetcar, completion of the new science center north of downtown. Assistance to the Kings could be part of that package, but not all of it. “You’ve got to ask, ‘Could we do something else with that $258 million?’ Politically, that’s not a very appealing question, and no one asks it,” says Propheter. He says dollar for dollar, the city would probably be better off making investments to promote small business. “I’m a big fan of having a long, drawn-out conversation when you are making a policy choice to spend $258 million. It’s frustrating when these things get pushed through without a discussion.” The problem is it may not be possible to have a long, drawn-out conversation and still keep the Kings. “In an ideal policy world, you’d say, ‘I want to leverage this parking asset, and an arena is something I might consider.’ That’s one tool. And you’d go through a process and decide what you want to do with it,” says Michael. “And in the time it took you to have that conversation, the city would lose its team.”

If you build it, make them come Even though Propheter is skeptical about arenas as economic-development tools, his work has been used by backers of the Sacramento arena. In a 2012 Journal of Urban Affairs paper, Propheter published his finding that—holding all other factors equal—basketball-only cities that built new arenas between 1995 and 2009 experienced a $600 annual increase in per-capita income. Arena boosters have latched onto Propheter’s study to say that arenas lift the economy. But he says the relationship might actually work the other way around—maybe cities with stronger economies are more likely to build arenas. Or there could be no causal relationship at all. “The short answer is we don’t know. It’s a mess. The relationships are really difficult to untangle.” If the city’s stated policy goal is to spur development and revitalization of an area, how can it be sure that will actually happen? Noll says an arena project has to be part of much bigger economic-development plan. “You can’t plunk down a basketball arena and hope everything else comes along.” Similarly, the businesses around the new facility “can’t just be a fancy and bloated version of the concession inside the facility.” Wassmer says the arena has to be designed “to not capture every restaurant and drink dollar of a patron attending an event there. Entrepreneurs can then locate nearby and expect to get some spillover from an event.

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“But, of course, the difficulty of actually doing this is it works entirely counter to the arena owner’s desire to capture all of this revenue for themselves by providing it within the arena.” Most agreed that timing is important. “The developer really should be building the arena in conjunction with the retail and the other development,” says Matheson. Sacramento has a promise from the Kings to build around the arena site. “We believe this is a significant enough project to be a game changer on its own,” says Dangberg. But it doesn’t have any kind of guarantee that development will happen, or when it will, even though the city is giving the developers several parcels of downtown property. That could be a problem, says Mark Rosentraub, a sports economist at the University of Michigan. He says that sports facilities can help turn around downtowns, and he’s worked on projects in cities like Los Angeles and Edmonton. But he warns that the city shouldn’t rely on the developers’ good intentions. “‘If you build it, they will come’ never works,” he says. “If I were you, I would be trying to figure out the best way to make sure that real-estate development happens.” Rosentraub says the city of San Diego is the model in this regard. City voters there approved the subsidy to build Petco Park, new home to the San Diego Padres, via a 1998 ballot measure. It included a contractual guarantee that the team owners build supporting development in the rundown East Village neighborhood nearby. The measure also required guarantees that the new development would generate enough new sales and hotel taxes to offset the city’s annual bond payments. If the tax revenue came up short, the team owners would be required to make up the difference. Since construction started in 2004, more than $2 billion have been invested in the area adjacent to Petco Park, and the new tax revenues generated in the district around the arena are reported to be greater than the city’s annual debt payments—as guaranteed. It’s widely considered one of the most successful stadium-redevelopment projects in the country. Rosentraub says San Diego’s insistence in development guarantees was critical. Sacramento is getting no such guarantees in exchange for its investment.

Measuring the intangible When asked whether the tangible economic benefits of the arena project outweigh the costs to the city, Dangberg and Fehr will tell you no, they don’t. Rather, they describe it as an amenity, for which benefits can be hard to measure. That’s true of parks, clean air, museums, and also things like civic pride, regional identity and a vibrant downtown. There’s an argument that the benefits of keeping the Kings in town can’t be assigned a dollar value; the region simply

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF AECOM/CITY OF SACRAMENTO

“NUMBER CRUNCH” continued from page 17

The city recently released renderings of the proposed Kings arena. Could Sacramento get a better deal, if the project goes through?

gets a psychological boost and a lift of quality of life that can’t be easily quantified. The problem with intangible benefits is that they tend to let you off the hook when you’re trying to decide if a project is worthwhile. If you can’t measure intangible benefits, how can you do any sort of meaningful cost-benefit analysis? But, as Propheter notes, “There are definitely techniques to estimate how much people value these intangible things.” One of the most common is called “contingent valuation,” and it uses surveys to tease out what residents would be willing to pay for any amenity. Propheter says what residents are willing to pay for a sports team is typically far less than the amount of subsidy proposed. For example: In Pittsburgh, researchers measured a “willingness to pay” of $66 million, which was about 30 percent of the $180 million that was being asked for to renovate a new facility for the city’s professional hockey team, the Penguins. On the very high end, researchers found a willingness to pay in Portland, Ore., of $110 million, almost half of the $235 million that the Trail Blazers wanted to build a new arena. The city of Sacramento could pay for this sort of contingent-valuation study, to add some data to back up its point about intangible benefits. But that seems unlikely to happen.

Could Sacramento get a better deal? In the last 10 years, Los Angeles, San Diego, Pittsburgh, New York City and Atlanta have 18   |   SN&R   |   12.19.13

“If you’re in a suburb of Sacramento, there’s nothing better than if the city pays for your entertainment, and you’re free to spend your money on good schools and low crime.” Victor Matheson economics professor College of the Holy Cross

struck community benefits agreements with team owners and developers as part of their arena or stadium deals. These pacts help ensure that benefits from a new facility reach low-income communities, not just people who can afford tickets to games and concerts. In Los Angeles, the CBA for the development around the Staples Center included living wages for all jobs in the project area, money for affordable housing and investment in neighborhood parks, among other benefits. In San Diego, a CBA for the Ballpark Village development included living wages, job-training funds, affordable housing inside the project and a grocery store. In Sacramento, several groups are starting to push for more community benefits from the new arena. The Greater Sacramento Urban League is asking for 60 percent of new jobs associated with the arena to go to low-income residents. Other community groups have joined together to form the Sacramento Coalition for Shared Prosperity, to ask city council members to include a CBA in the development agreement for an arena. The groups include Sacramento Housing Alliance, local labor groups, neighborhood groups, the Environmental Council of

Sacramento and Sacramento Area Congregations Together, among others. They are asking for strong local hiring and job-training requirements, targeted toward low-income workers who live in the city. They want to “ban the box” and remove questions about criminal history from job applications at all arena-related businesses. (Employers could still ask about criminal history during interviews or later in the hiring process.) And the coalition is asking for “labor peace,” meaning employees at arena-related businesses would be allowed to join unions without interference. The coalition wants 50 percent of the housing built within five blocks of the arena to be affordable to certain income levels. They are asking that a cool $750,000 go to Sacramento Steps Forward to provide transitional housing, and it wants an additional 25 cent surcharge slapped on to every ticket sold to help fund the city’s Housing Trust Fund. The list goes on—public transit and shuttles for arena workers; extended bus service and light rail in the area; on-site child care for arena workers; bike parking; 24-seven public restrooms and drinking fountains in the three blocks around the arena; and private security patrols for adjacent

neighborhoods of Alkali Flat, Mansion Flats and Southside Park. So far, it sounds like city council members are not quite sure what to make of the coalition’s list. And it’s not clear what leverage the coalition really has. Groups pushing for CBAs in other cities were helped by the California Environmental Quality Act, and the ability of local groups to file lawsuits and demand that developers mitigate impacts in their communities. That’s hampered by legislation pushed through by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, which limits the ability of community groups to file CEQA lawsuits against the Kings arena project. But if the measure on funding the Kings arena actually makes it onto the ballot this June, that could provide some leverage. That’s no sure thing. The city recently decided to accelerate its timeline for issuing the bonds on the new arena. Assuming the city council gives its blessing to the deal in April, bonds could be issued in late May. That could effectively make moot the results of any ballot measure on June 3. And, if that’s the case, the city is asking for a lawsuit and a fight, says Powell. “The city is about to steal this election on the arena issue. It’s the most autocratic thing I’ve ever seen the city do. It’s disenfranchisement.” Not having a vote may also mean that city officials have less incentive to negotiate things like community benefits or development guarantees, or to come up with ways to lower costs for the new arena. But there will still be plenty of people talking about the billions in new revenue it will bring. Ω


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e i f l Seruction

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Shane Ryan

illustrations by

Hayley Doshay

Why the Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year is brilliant— but also signals the decline of Western civilization

Have you ever taken a selfie? Think about that question for a

moment before you answer. Think

about the word itself, which was just chosen as the international Word of

the Year by Oxford Dictionaries. Surely you’ve taken a picture of yourself

before. I have, and it’s usually because

The selfie is a raw need for some kind of validation packaged into a photograph. The image itself could be hot, or it could be funny, or it could be impressive, but beneath the surface it all reeks of desperation.

a family member wants a picture with

me and there’s no one around to help. You reach out, get close, make your

best guess at framing and click away. But that’s strictly utilitarian stuff. That’s not a word-of-the-year activity. What I’m asking is: Have you ever taken an honest-to-God selfie? Have you ever been alone, in your home or at the gym, or even the damn supermarket, and 20   |   SN&R   |   12.19.13

decided that you needed to take a picture of yourself? As an act of vanity? With the express intent to publish the photo on social media in order to present an image of yourself—attractive, cool, sophisticated—to your friends and stalkers? Answer my fucking question: Have you ever taken a selfie? I bet some people reading this have, but I bet most of you haven’t. It’s something

people do when they’re needy, and when they want other people to say they’re hot and when they completely lack the useful kind of self-consciousness that helps us preserve some dignity. And I’m not trying to be prudish here. I think more people should get naked and stage performance-art pieces that rile up the town elders. I’m all for challenging the boundaries of puritanical America. But a selfie is nothing but a declaration of our loneliness and superficiality. But it’s not a cry for help: It’s a cry for a quick fix, a little hit of dopamine for our egos. Something to keep us chugging along in our semipermanent state of sadness, a thin balm for our overriding, desperate and insanely unrealistic desire for fame. It’s a symptom of our sickness. It’s the way in which we fail to face our problems. It’s a good word of the year, though. It’d be like choosing “Jersey Shore” or “Kardashian.” It says enough, doesn’t it? I think, overall, the Internet is a bad thing. I’m personally so sick of it, though maybe it would be different if I didn’t have to be on it all the time. The sad part, too, is that I’m addicted. There’s a point late in the day when I could spend the next 15 hours off the Internet without

consequence. But I don’t. I make attempts, but even in those attempts I catch myself thinking about Twitter or email or some site that might be updated. I catch myself turning my head toward my computer, like the way an alcoholic’s eyes drift to the bartender when his beer is empty, and how he can’t focus on any conversation until the next one arrives. Always, I think, “What might I have done with my life, up to this point, if not for the Internet?” It’s hard to say. But it’s annoying that it draws me in so effectively, because I think it’s making me at least slightly unhappy. And why does it work so well? I don’t know. It’s like there’s something out there, when you peel away the Internet’s protective shell, that will shatter me. I promise there’s a point to this. We’re not going off the rails; not completely, though it’s tempting. But a lot of us have this Internet problem. Our shared Internet problems probably exacerbate our individual Internet problems, because if someone tries to beat his or her own Internet problem, that person finds his or her community is enmeshed in its own Internet problem, and there’s no support system. One can’t


A Sound of Music do-over See NIGHT&DAY

23

Goin’ back to Cali

This article originally appeared in Paste magazine at www.paste magazine.com.

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recover from an addiction when one is surrounded by other addicts. When a person criticizes the Internet, someone else inevitably lists all its great qualities. I believe them. There are a lot of good guys out there, in every category. But then again, I don’t believe them. Because in the broader sense, we know what kind of content triumphs. We know what sucks us in, and we know what feeds the bad side of our addiction. There’s no need to name names—the quality speaks for itself, and it’s inescapable. The good stuff gets swamped. And that’s if you know where to find it in the first place, which is rare enough. Most Internet users are like drivers on the interstate: fast food everywhere, until it starts looking like the only option. And it’s cheap. And it tastes good. I think our new reliance on a steady stream of stimuli has fucked our brains. There’s no focus, no patience. We’re frantic hunters for something better. I think it’s probably worse for millennials, the little junkies who have to compulsively check their phones every 10 seconds. Someone has taken a hot wire to our attention spans, burning them through. So we end up needing things that are big and overt. We need spectacular stories. How many times have you read the phrase “restore your faith in humanity” in a headline within the last month? Likewise, we need GIFs, which reduce the human (or animal?) condition down to bizarre movements we can laugh at. We need to mock, we need to snark, we need to bitch, we need to be offended and then we need to be uplifted in the most anodyne way possible. We need to feel that Batkid means something, with its reported $105,000 price tag, when kids are starving and dying every day in our cities. We need to hide behind the hopelessness. We need to fabricate depth from the shallow waters. This is the cycle of life on the Internet. (Interlude. In case you were curious, I am aware of how unfunny and angry this all sounds. I have no excuse or explanation. It’s just sort of happening.) And “selfie” is a product of that cycle. The Internet enables the selfie. It’s the drama of the Internet played out on a smaller scale, for people who lack the self-critical impulse that keeps the rest of us from devaluing ourselves. Hell, maybe the selfie people are evolved. Maybe they’ve cast off the last vestiges of shame that keep the rest of us down. But I don’t think so. I think they just represent a less refined version of what the rest of us experience. It’s a raw need for some kind of validation packaged into a photograph. The image itself could be hot, or it could be funny, or it could be impressive, but beneath the surface, it all reeks of desperation. We’re not asking, we’re begging: Keep me safe from the trouble outside the gates. Choosing “selfie” as the word of the year is such a brilliant choice because the definition is the same as the thing it symbolizes. The selfie is a snapshot of the West in 2013: melodramatic, gaudy, pitiful and lonely. Begging to be stimulated, begging to be validated, and totally, beautifully screwed.

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An emotional robbery

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Old punks never die

1d

One of these days—and it may not be that far off— Sacramento Ballet’s artistic director Ron Cunningham may be able to cast all the adult roles in The Nutcracker with dancers who started as kids in the company’s previous productions of the holiday classic. It’s been that long—two whole decades—that Cunningham’s vision of this magical tale has evolved and the dancers matured. Alexandra Cunningham (yes, Ron Cunningham and co-artistic director Carinne Binda’s daughter) is not yet 30, but she’s danced here for 21 years. She has progressed from kid parts and the role of Clara, the little girl whose dream The Nutcracker recounts, through this year’s pinnacle role—the Sugar Plum Fairy, which she danced magnificently at the show’s December 7 opening. Three other dancers rotate in the role this year, with former Sacramento Ballet star Kirsten Bloom (now a mother of two) returning to perform at the show on Sunday, December 22 . The Nutcracker is a journey into imagination, the imagination of an innocent child who dreams a magical adventure in which mice and toy soldiers do battle, and a special toy turns into a living doll who escorts her to surprising realms—the Snowflake Forest, where the King and Queen (Lauryn Winterhalder and Stefan Calka on opening night) arrive by reindeer-drawn carriage—to the Kingdom of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy resides. The Fairy presents ethnic entertainment (composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky and original choreographer Marius Petipa’s way of introducing new musical themes and balletic versions of folk-type dances) for Clara’s amusement. Spanish, Arabian, Chinese and Russian divertissements culminate in the Waltz of the Flowers, with an elegant Rose and her Cavaliers (Ava Chatterson with Mate Szentes and Dylan Keane). Finally, comes the grand pas de deux, featuring the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier (Richard Porter, showing strong partnering skills), sending Clara and the Nutcracker off, back home and back to reality. Some notes on this year’s production: The opening night, Clara was performed by Carly Stewart, and her guardian Nutcracker was danced by her older brother Alex Stewart. In some performances, Mother Ginger will be danced by another brother, Tim Stewart. All four Sugar Plum Fairies and their Cavaliers (Cunningham and Porter, Winterhalder and Richard Smith, Kaori Higashiyama and Christopher B. Nachtrab, and Bloom and Calka) are scheduled to dance on Monday, December 23, the final performance. Live music, performed by the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Henrik Jul Hansen, enhanced the opening-night performance. It will accompany the shows on Friday, December 20, at 7 p.m. and December 23, at 1 p.m.; the other performances will feature recorded music. There’s a premium admission price for the “live experience” to help defray musicians’ pay.

Alexandra Cunningham is not yet 30, but she’s danced in The Nutcracker for 21 years.

—Jim Carnes

The Nutcracker is performed at the Community Center Theater, at 1301 L Street. Tickets are $19-$90. For more information, call (916) 808-5181, or visit www.sacballet.org.

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Eac h yea r, the Wild & Sce nic Film Fes tiva l dra ws top film makers, cele brit ies, lead ing act ivis ts, soc inno vato rs and wel l-kn own wor ial ld advent ure rs to the historic dow nto wn Nev ada City. Don ’t mis s you opp ort unit y to bas k in the exc item r ent and pas sion of 117 film s, 42 pre mie res , 10 ven ues arti sts, stre et per form anc es, and , 40 visu al act ivis t wor ksh ops . Oft en call ed the ‘nex t Sun dan ce,’ the 12t h ann ual Wild & Sce nic Film Fes tiva l makes a gre at gift for any love r of art, film and fun ! Sta rts at 5 pm on Frid ay, Jan 9, 201 4 and con tinu es to 10 pm on Sun day, Jan 12, 201 4.


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For the week of December 19

wEEkLY PICkS

Colin Kane Thursday, december 19, Through saTurday, december 21 If you are in the mood for F-bombs and ol’ fashioned  dirty humor, New York comedian Colin Kane brings  COMEDY his raunchy act to town on his  national tour. First date? Maybe not  the best idea. $13-$19, 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 and   10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at Punch Line Comedy  Club, 2100 Arden Way, Suite 225; (916) 925-5500;   www.punchlinesac.com.

—Jessica Rine

Pancake breakfast with Santa saTurday, december 21 Santa Claus is a sucker for cookies, but he’s also  into pancakes and outer space, which makes sense,  considering his reindeer defy earthly gravity. Meet  St. Nick and check out the Space Quest exhibit before  it closes on January 5, 2014. $3-$5,  HOLIDAY 8 to 9:45 a.m. at The Discovery  Museum Science & Space Center, 3615 Auburn  Boulevard; (916) 808-3942; www.thediscovery.org.

—Deena Drewis

PJ Party Christmas Eve Tuesday, december 24 If someone told the childhood version of me that we  were going to hang out with lions on Christmas Eve  and that I didn’t have to put on real clothes, I would  HOLIDAY likely have thrown up in excitement—and this probably applies  to many kids from ages 1 to 92, too. Free, 10 a.m. to  1:30 p.m. at the Sacramento Zoo, 3930 W. Land Park  Drive; (916) 808-5888; www.saczoo.org.

—Deena Drewis

The Sound of Music Sing-Along Thursday, december 26

F

amily and friends are starting to have big formal  meals and parties; milk, cookies and cinnamonorange seasonal beer are all packed in the fridge;  and many people are sitting through a Christmas  movie or two. Plus, it’s literally freezing outside  for about half the day. Basically, it’s the perfect storm for putting  off exercise this holiday—that is, until now. SN&R found a few  events that will help you sweat off all those extra seasonal calories. Check out these happenings in order to keep your metabolism up, so that next month you can post an Instagram selfie  while you’re at Bacon Fest Sacramento and tag it “#cheatday”  instead of “#cheatmonth.” First, though, did you buy an ugly sweater this year, but not  get invited to any ugly-sweater parties? Fret not: Thursday,  December 19, is Ugly Sweater Day at the Downtown Sacramento 

Ice Rink. Wear that sweater and get a free skate rental. A deejay  will play music from 6 to 8 p.m. Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily  this week—with the exception of Christmas Eve (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)  and Christmas Day (closed)—the rink is a great place to burn  off (and freeze off) that extra eggnog-induced energy. General  admission is $8, and it’s $2 for a skate rental. For more information, visit www.downtownsac.org/events/ice-rink. Then there’s KDND 107.9 The End’s Jingle Ball on Saturday,  December 21. Yes, it’s a bunch of banal pop bands—Fall Out Boy,  Panic! at the Disco, Cimorelli, Emblem3, American Authors—but  Fall Out Boy’s set is still a little bit moshable, right? If not, at least  the pop-punk group’s music is easy to listen to, and certainly  its 2005 hit “Dance, Dance” is danceable. It happens at Memorial  Auditorium (1515 J Street) at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $49.90-$89.90.  Visit http://kdnd.radiotown.com/JingleBall2013 for details. 

—Jonathan Mendick

We can probably all agree that Carrie Underwood’s  acting sucked in The Sound of Music Live! broadcast  on NBC. But can many of us  SING-ALONG sing “Do-Re-Mi” any better  than she can? Probably not. We can attempt to, anyway, at this Sound of Music sing-along. $6-$12, 2 and  6 p.m. at the Crocker Art Museum, 216 O Street;   (916) 808-1182; www.crockerartmuseum.org.

—Jonathan Mendick

Midtown Sacramento Fit Club oNgoINg The holidays come with a constant barrage of delicious food and drink that are impossible to say no to,  but there are ways to stave off those extra pounds.  Every Thursday, Midtowners get together to try new  workouts to get fit and stay healthy.  FITNESS No gym membership required.   Free, Thursdays at 7 p.m. at Midtown Fit Club,   2781 24th Street; (916) 273-9833; www.facebook.com/ midtownsacramentofitclub.

—Jessica Rine BEFORE

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‘America’s Pharmacist’ Makes Memory Discovery of a Lifetime: Is It the Fountain of Youth for Aging Minds? Pharmacist of the Year, Dr. Gene Steiner, finds what he and his patients have been looking for... a real memory pill PHOENIX, ARIZONA — If Pharmacist of the Year, Dr. Gene Steiner, had a nickel for every time someone leaned over the counter and whispered, “Do you have anything that can improve my memory,” he would be a rich man today. It’s a question he’s heard countless times in his 45-year career. He has seen families torn apart by the anguish of memory loss and mental decline, a silent condition that threatens the independent lifestyle seniors hold so dearly. In his years-long search for a drug or nutrient that could slow mental decline, he finally found the answer in the pages of an obscure medical journal. “I was studying materials about memory loss and cognitive decline, and there it was, right in front of me...evidence of a real memory pill!” “At the time, I was an anchor for a medical program in Los Angeles. I was so excited that I contacted the author of the research and invited him to come on the program as a guest.” “I wanted millions of listeners to learn about this important new development!”

“Insufficient circulation,” says Steiner, “reduces oxygen to the brain, a sign of premature mental decline. This also restricts the supply of critical brain specific antioxidants and nutrients.” Reduced blood flow has another brain-numbing effect: it slashes the number of neurotransmitters in the brain, the messenger molecules used by the brain to help form thoughts, retrieve memories, and help its owner stay focused and on-task. Fewer neurotransmitters circulating in the brain translates to concentration and memory woes. So, Reynolds and a team of scientists developed a natural, drugfree compound shown in research to prompt aging brains to begin to ‘think and react,’ younger.

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“It helps tired, forgetful brains to ‘snap awake,” says Dr. Steiner. “This natural memory pill is to your aging, sluggish brain, what a breath of fresh air is to your lungs,” he says. It works so well, explains Steiner, that the participants in a peerreviewed, international research study not only saw improvements in their memory, mood and concentration, but they also regained lost brainpower equal to that of someone 15 years younger, all in a 30day time period! This made perfect sense to Dr. Steiner, who knew instincSeniors are more concerned about memory loss tively that age-related and mental decline than they are about death, memory problems itself, according to a new survey. may be correctable.

Dr. Steiner’s guest that night, US researcher, Josh Reynolds, observed a common ‘disturbance’ in aging brains, one that may be the primary cause of degrading memory and concentration powers.

Gasping for Air?

He saw evidence that older brains were ‘gasping for additional oxygen,’ a condition caused by poor blood circulation.

After the show, Dr. Steiner confided to his guest that he was fearful of not being able to recall certain subject matter for his popular radio show. “He gave me a couple of bottles and instructed me on its use,” says Dr. Steiner. “Within a few days, I can tell you without reservation that my memory became crystal clear!”

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For years, pharmacists told disappointed patients that memory loss was inevitable. A new, drug-free cognitive formula helps improve mind, mood, and memory in as little as 30 days.

Feeding an Older Brain

The formula helps oxygenate listless brain cells to revitalize and protect them from free radicals caused by stress and toxins. It also helps restore depleted neurotransmitter levels, while feeding the aging mind with brain-specific nutrients and protective antioxidants. Steiner was so impressed that he began recommending the formula to his pharmacy customers. “I had such marvelous results that I not only started recommending it to my customers, I even shared it with other physicians!”

Pharmacy Best-Seller

“It became the best-selling brain health product in my pharmacy and customers were returning to thank me for introducing them to it.” “It felt great to see so many people whose lives were enriched by taking a simple, natural formula.” “A rookie doctor right out of medical school can set a broken bone, or treat a rash or runny nose,” explains Dr. Steiner. “But he is often clueless when it comes to helping a patient who can’t remember to take his medicine, or

forgets where he’s parked his car, or even worse, foolishly leaves the oven on at night.” “With this simple, drugfree formula, we finally have something that we can recommend that is safe and effective. And you don’t need a prescription either!” Recently, Dr. Steiner relocated to another state and was apprehensive about taking the state board of pharmacy jurisprudence examination, a daunting examination that tests a candidate’s mastery of pharmacy law. “I began taking the natural memory compound for two weeks prior to the test, and I passed with flying colors!” “The recall I personally experienced was fantastic,” says Steiner. Many frontline healthcare professionals are embracing this natural remedy for three reasons. First, the formula was submitted to the rigors of a placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind clinical trial, using the same FDA-sanctioned brain testing protocols used to qualify prescription-sold cognitive medicines.

“The findings for improved brain function were shocking,” says Steiner. Then, the results were shared with the world in a well-respected, peerreviewed medical journal.

“I highly recommend it,” says Dr. Steiner. “This drugfree compound is the perfect supplement for increasing one’s brain power. If it worked for me, it can work for you!”

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Thirdly, this natural, memoryboosting wonder has passed the toughest yardstick of all – scrutiny from the US consumer. Word has spread; in a very short time, Reynolds’ memorybooster has quickly become the #1-selling brain health supplement in the United States. Dr. Steiner estimates that as much as 10 million singledoses have been used with excellent results by ‘lots of forgetful folks.’ Users like Selwyn Howell* agree. He credits the memory compound with bolstering his confidence. “It helped me speak out more than I used to. I am growing more confident every day.” Carey S.* reports, “I feel so much more focused and with the new energy I’m now ready to tackle the things I’ve been putting off for years!” Elizabeth K.* of Rochester, N e w Yo r k experienced a night-and-day difference in her mind and memory. At the age of 54, Pharmacist of the her memory was declining Year, Gene Steiner, PharmD, at an “alarmwas so impressed ing rate.” “I was about to with his newconsult a neufound memory rologist when powers that he recommended the I read a newspaper article patented, prescription-free about it.” memory formula “It took about to his pharmacy a month for the memory benpatients with efit to kick in. great success. Six months later, even my husband was impressed with my improved memory. And I am very happy with my renewed mental clarity and focus!”

Call the toll-free number below to see how you can reserve your free 30-day supply of the same, patented memory formula used by Dr. Steiner. It is the #1-selling memory formula in the US, and it is also mentioned in the medically acclaimed book, 20/20 Brainpower: 20 Days to a Quicker, Calmer, Sharper Mind!

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paid advertising

The

Greatest Gift

N

ow that Christmas is just around the corner, we should take a moment to reflect on what the holiday season is all about: the spirit of giving. It’s easy to get caught up in shopping for gifts, planning a holiday feast and making plans to be with our loved ones, but the season should also inspire each of us to give selflessly to those in need. Whether you’re

giving money to a charity, volunteering your time or donating items you no longer need, you can make a difference. There are so many nonprofits doing great philanthropic work year-round in Sacramento, you may not be familiar with all of them and what they do. This year, we’re highlighting two nonprofits and how they have impacted the lives of others.

These stories are sponsored by local businesses that support the important needs these nonprofits fulfill in our community. We at SN&R hope these stories will remind you that nonprofits depend on your charitable gifts, volunteerism and donations. Make this holiday about the true spirit of the season, and give the greatest gift today.

by Mike Blount • photos by Priscilla Garcia

C hanging a C hi l d ’ s Li f e by Mike Blount

O

dette Crawford and Jordan Haggard have a special bond that is usually reserved for mother and son. Jordan cracks jokes that cause Odette to roll her eyes and laugh, while Odette likes to brag about Jordan’s achievements. But the two might not have ever met were it not for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children, a program that recruits and trains volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children inside courtrooms. Even though they were brought together through a unique circumstance, Odette and Jordan consider each other family.

“I thank God every day for letting her into my life.” Jordan Haggard

Jordan Haggard (left) and Odette Crawford remained close after Jordan aged out of the juvenile court system when he turned 18. Jordan refers to Odette, his Court Appointed Special Advocate, as his “mom.”

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When Odette retired from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as an associate warden after 30 years, she wanted to continue to make a difference in the community. She had seen the impact incarceration could have on a family — especially children — and she wanted to find a way she could have a positive influence on a child’s life. Jordan was taken into custody by Child Protective Services when he was 16 years old. According to Jordan, his mom and stepfather struggled with issues that made it difficult to care for him. The family spent many nights on the street, sleeping wherever they could. “I wasn’t getting a lot of attention, and then Odette came into my life, and all of a sudden, I had

this real relationship,” Jordan says. “Having that attention from an older person — someone there to give me direction — it meant a lot. I wish she had been there sooner.” Odette stood by Jordan’s side at court hearings, making sure his interests were represented. At 18, he aged out of the juvenile court system. But their relationship did not end there. “I took him out to breakfast, and I told him, ‘I wish you the best,’” Odette says. “That’s when Jordan said, ‘I don’t want you out of my life.’ He began calling me ‘mom’ that day.” Today, Jordan is 22 and working toward a degree. He credits Odette for giving him the motivation to pursue his dreams. “I thank God every day for letting her into my life,” Jordan says. Odette says she feels just as thankful. “It’s been such a joy to be here for him and make a difference in his life,” Odette says. “All he needed was a little direction. I hope more people will take the initiative to become an advocate, because there are so many children that need it.”

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Sacramento County sacramentocasa.org 916-875-6460 P.O. Box 278383 Sacramento, CA 95827-8383

How to help :

- Donate online - Volunteer to become an advocate for a child


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M a k i n g H e a lt h y Food Fun

Barrett Beecroft (left) shows off his pumpkin with Amber Stott, executive director of the California Food Literacy Center. The nonprofit aims to teach kids in Sacramento about fruits and vegetables they wouldn’t normally be exposed to and help them start healthy eating habits.

by Mike Blount

I

t’s not every day you see a 3-year-old who knows the difference between a persimmon and a tomato. A lot of adults don’t even know the difference. But Barrett Beecroft is that kid, thanks to the work of California Food Literacy Center. As founder and executive director of the nonprofit, Amber Stott hopes children like Barrett become “the norm” in Sacramento. Amber formed the nonprofit while she was working as a freelance food writer and realized there was a knowledge gap between gaining access to healthy food and knowing what to do with it. Many children Amber came into contact with were never exposed to vegetables at all in their meals. “We live in a society of processed food,” Amber says. “We know that processed food is tied to all kinds of health problems, including childhood obesity. Children who are not exposed to vegetables grow into adults who don’t eat vegetables.”

California Food Literacy began with a pilot program at Capitol Heights Academy in Oak Park, teaching the students about the impact of their eating choices and showing them new and tasty ways to prepare healthy foods. Amber hopes that by teaching kids about healthy foods and delicious ways to eat them, they will pass on those healthy habits to their families.

“One of the biggest impacts I see is kids being able to identify the foods that they see and knowing they can make something good to eat out of it.”

Currently, the nonprofit is trying to raise funds to expand its program into five more schools in Sacramento, reaching an additional 500 students. Barrett’s mother, Emilie Beecroft, says the program is imperative to the health of children in Sacramento. “Amber is a champion for kids, and she’s making the odds better for them,” Emilie says. “One of the biggest impacts I see is kids being able to identify the foods that they see and knowing they can make something good to eat out of it.”

California Food Literacy Center californiafoodliteracy.org 916-538-9828 170 Sandburg Drive Sacramento, CA 95819

How to help :

- Donate online - Volunteer to help

E m i l i e B ee c r o f t , m o t h e r

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ocean beach foods co. is a proud supporter of california food literacy center BEFORE

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jingle jam toy drive central latino all star band q-vo chicano soul oldies band Also: Authentic Mexican Cuisine & Tequilla bar Since 1983

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

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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bacon&butter

3199 Riverside Blvd • 448-0892

1119 21st street | sacramento, california 958116 mon – sun 8am to 2pm | 916.346.4445

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El Forastero Mexican Food

SACRAMENTO

5116 Fair Oaks Boulevard in Carmichael, (916) 488-1416, www.elforasteromexicanfood.com

1402 Broadway 916.930.0888

5623 Sunrise Blvd. 916.961.6888

Sun-Thurs 11am-10pm • Fri & Sat 11am-10:30pm

I’ve been eating at El Forastero Mexican Food regularly since the chain’s Carmichael location opened near my house in October 2011, replacing a by Jonathan Mendick former Taco Bell. El Forastero launched in 2007, according to its website. In addition to j o nathan m@ its Carmichael restaurant, it has four other newsreview.c om locations: two in Sacramento (850 El Camino Avenue—the original one—and 8949 Folsom Boulevard) and two in Stockton. I’ve only dined at the El Camino Avenue and Carmichael spots, but the vast majority of my visits have been to the latter location. Rating: There are four main reasons I keep coming HHH 1/2 back: It’s convenient (read: right near my Dinner for one: house, with a 24-hour drive-thru), tasty, cheap $5 - $10 and the staff is uniformly friendly. Despite being an eatery founded by three brothers from Mexico, the menu at El Forastero—which means, as they say on their website, “someone who is or come from other place”—resembles the type of Mexican food found in Southern California: a blend of American fast food, Tex-Mex and traditional Mexican dishes. There’s menudo on weekends, but also french fries hiding inside burritos and buried underneath steaming piles H of carne asada. FLAWED There are many types of prepared meat HH on the menu, such as carne asada, shredded HAS MOMENTS beef, adobada, chorizo, ground beef, carnitas, HHH chicken, fish and shrimp. For a taco or APPEALING torta filling, my favorite is adobada, a pork HHHH marinated in a red chili sauce. But overall, AUTHORITATIVE the camarones a la diabla (shrimp in red hot HHHHH sauce) and the camarones al mojo de ajo EPIC (shrimp in garlic sauce) are the most flavorful. The a la diabla strikes a nice balance between sweet and spicy, while the al mojo de ajo doesn’t have too much butter—as is common with this dish—but instead features a nice, smoky garlic flavor. The crustaceans in the shrimp burrito taste relatively bland compared to these two standout shrimp plates. This Mexican eatery also offers two of the most famous San Diego-style Mexican dishes, both delicious but full of calories: the California burrito and carne asada fries. The latter consists of a plate of fries topped with carne asada, Still hungry? Search SN&R’s cheese, sour cream and guacamole (so does an “Dining Directory” order of carne asada nachos, but with tortilla to find local chips instead of fries). A California burrito is restaurants by name basically an order of carne asada fries wrapped or by type of food. Sushi, Mexican, Indian, in a tortilla—which, surprisingly, isn’t even the Italian—discover it fattiest-sounding dish on the menu. That distincall in the “Dining” tion most likely belongs to the hangover-curing section at Super Breakfast burrito, with bacon, chorizo, www.news review.com. ham, fries, eggs and cheese—all wrapped in a tortilla. It’s incredibly rich and hearty, but I can only consume half of it in one sitting.

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PARTY ROOMS AVAILABLE • NOW SERVING BEER & WINE

El Forastero’s mini-tacos are a great bargain at $1.50 each and seem relatively healthier. Made in the “street taco” style with only three ingredients—meat, onion and cilantro—these are best consumed with salsa from the in-house salsa bar, which usually features five or six different housemade sauces, plus bottomless chips. Mini-tacos are the best way to taste all the different meats. Regular tacos (which are $2.75-$3.20 each) are about twice the size and are priced accordingly. The rolled tacos resemble taquitos, but don’t impress as much as the standard tacos. Nor do the shells of the fried tacos, which are incredibly brittle, and seem to have lost all their moisture.

China Buffet

CITRUS HEIGHTS

art for your eyes artisan-crafted coffee for your palate

There’s menudo on weekends, but also french fries hiding inside burritos and buried underneath steaming piles of carne asada.

1029 del paso blvd sacramento, ca mon-fri 7am-4pm, sat 8am-1pm

$5 OFF

El Forastero certainly lives up to its name, because its food tastes like it comes from another place—namely, Southern California. The fast-food booth seating, the prices, the 24-hour drive-thru and the cuisine all make me feel like I’ve finished a six-hour journey down Interstate 5 instead of a five-minute drive down the street. Ω

Green aliens

your order of $20 or more

Ever walk by a stand at the farmers market with a pile of gorgeous greens on it that are foreign to you? What are they called? How do they taste? How are they supposed to be prepared? Usually, vendors will provide insight to these questions, but for a more thorough compendium of such knowledge, The Complete Leafy Greens Cookbook by Susan Sampson (Robert Rose, $27.95) is a helpful guide to educate oneself for encountering edible, verdant aliens. It boasts 67 leafy greens and 250 recipes—most of which are also vegan friendly, like the intriguing Savory Peach and Scapes Soup, and the Balsamic Roasted Fiddleheads. Each green includes notes about its taste and nutritional content, storing and preparation tips, and lovely photographs. So never toss out those kohlrabi leaves again!

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—Shoka

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Downtown

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

Darna This Palestinian restaurant  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.

Where to eat?

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.

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

pare 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 

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 

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. 

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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.  Thai Basil SN&R readers consistently vote this place among  the city’s top Thai restaurants  for this paper’s annual Best of  Sacramento issue. And for good  reason. 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. Likewise, 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, cucumber  and tomatoes. Fresh mint and 

a chili-laden dressing heavy  with fish sauce and vigorous  squeezes of lime juice pull it all  together for an addictive and  satisfying lunch. One of Thai  Basil’s true highlights is its  homemade curry pastes. These  carefully balanced constructions of basil, lemongrass,  shallots, chilies, kaffir lime  leaves and other ingredients  come together to form truly  authentic pastes that, when  roasted, have been known to  drive hungry Sacramentans  into a berserk craze. Service  here is impeccable. Thai Basil  has earned its reputation and  will likely continue to keep it for  years to come. Thai. 2431 J St.,  (916) 442-7690. Dinner for one:  $10-$20. HHHH 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

North Sac 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.

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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 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.

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.

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Pizza/Barbecue. 3160 Jefferson Blvd. in West Sacramento, (916) 572-0572. Dinner for one: $5-$10. HHH AMR

Arden/ Carmichael 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.

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

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Irish whiskey and Guinness beer. Or order the house-made veggie burger—it’s one of the tastiest black-bean patties 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.

Auburn Carpe Vino This quaint wine shop 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.

Fresh meat

Two new The Fresh Market grocery stores opened in the Sacramento area in September (at 2339 Fair Oaks Boulevard and 7707 Laguna Boulevard, Suite 140 in Elk Grove), joining a Roseville location that opened in October 2012 (2030 Douglas Boulevard). And they’re pretty nice. It’s unclear to me what makes for a particularly great grocery store (I’m always picky no matter what), but there’s certainly a variety of produce, beer, wine, meat, seafood, dried goods and frozen stuff here—basically everything a human needs to survive. But with its inclusion of a salad bar, olive bar, local goods, small-brand juice drinks and local beer, it kind of reminded me of a cross between Whole Foods Market, Nugget Market and Trader Joe’s—with prices to match its upscale competitors. Plus, here are some of the stores’ impressive stats, from a recent press release: The new stores are between 21,000 and 24,000 square feet each, produce 14 varieties of pie per day, and carry more than 200 types of cheeses. Not a bad first impression. —Jonathan Mendick

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With one free Santa Claus suit given to each registered  runner, festive costumes are, obviously, encouraged  during the Sacramento Santa Run,  HOLIDAY scheduled to take place on Saturday,  December 21, at the Capitol (1315 10th Street). Not  feelin’ the jolly St. Nick garb? Don’t be a grinch. Or,  actually, go ahead and be a grinch, reindeer or elf,  as you participate in the 5k run-walk or the festively  named Merry Mile. Both are open to adults and youth,  with registration costing $40 and $30, respectively.  The event kicks off at 9 a.m., and there will be “cookies, milk, music and snow” waiting at the finish line.  All proceeds benefit the Sacramento Valley Affiliate  of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Mini Mermaid  Running Club. www.sacramentosantarun.com.  —Steph Rodriguez

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The Sacramento-based online Charming Villain  storefront sells a variety of fashion-forward goodies, including Pretty/Handsome lapels and bow ties  from artists Jairus Tonel (who also founded Charming  Villain) and Skylar Mundy. Here, the pair have crafted  accessories designed to jazz up blazers and cardigans with a little Don Draper flare. These handmade  pieces are crafted from a variety of  SHOPPING vintage threads and anchored with  antique jewelry or typewriter keys. Prices start at $20  for bow ties, $25 for lapel flowers and $30 for custom  orders. www.charmingvillain.com. —Steph Rodriguez

City of the macabre MONDO SACRAMENTO Sure, every city has its sordid past, but Sacramento  seems to be a magnet for the strange and macabre.  Desperate Visions Productions founder Jason Rudy  captures several true, bizarre tales in his latest double  DVD feature, Mondo Sacramento and Mondo  Sacramento 2, both of which are told via  highly campy reenactments in a pseudo-documentary  style. The films are available as a set for $20. There are  nine stories total, including one about Richard Chase,  the so-called “Vampire of Sacramento” for the way he  drank his victims’ blood, and the tale of Charlene and  Gerald Gallego, a serial-killer couple who kidnapped  teens and kept them as sex slaves before killing them.  Each vignette is chock-full of weird details and filmed in  a salacious, B-movie style. www.desperatevisions.com. —Aaron Carnes

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UNDERCOVER CATERER It’s the most wonderful time of the  year, right?  Not to mention the most exhaustingly social.  Be it potlucks or office parties,  holiday open houses or family gettogethers, chances are most invites  WEBSITE you receive this  season will ask for a  little somethin’ somethin’ in return. You could be a scrooge about  the whole thing and just pick up  a box of packaged cookies or a  bottle of cheap booze.  Or, better yet, you could pop  over to the Sacramento-based  Undercover Caterer food blog for  ideas. Written by Sarah Singleton,  the blog grew out of the accomplished cook’s catering work and a  desire to “to tell people the sometimes fun and sometimes ridiculous  stories that went with” the dishes  she served.  Accordingly, the tone is light and  fun—never ostentatious or overbearingly “foodie.” Which doesn’t  mean, of course, that Singleton  doesn’t highlight some impressive  recipes. Taking much inspiration  from her “Nana,” there are entries  here for the usual appetizers, entrees, soups and desserts, but also  separate sections for canning and  “extras” (sauces, snacks, etc.). A recent post for Egg Nog  Pumpkin Bread looks particularly  yummy—and an easy way to do  your part at all those holiday functions, especially since each streuseltopped batch renders two loaves. “[O]ne cannot live on cookies alone throughout the season,”  Singleton opines. “Why not make  some quickbread? … [E]at one now  and freeze the other for your next  holiday potluck if that floats your  boat. Or if your family is anything  like mine, you can just eat it all  before anyone else gets to try it.” —Rachel Leibrock


Love, loss and other crazy-makers I am going crazy trying to understand what went wrong in my relationship with my soul mate. During the first 15 years of our 25-year relationship, we were together in Utah. When I was offered a promotion and transfer to Sacramento, she assured me that we would survive. We visited eight times a year and exchanged emails twice daily. Then, on August 29, her chatty email about Labor by JOEY GA Day weekend included this: RCIA “When I was in Yellowstone in July I made a conneca skj oey @ ne wsreview.c om tion with another man. He’s coming to stay with me next week. I hope that you’ll be okay and good luck!” I was stunned. She later explained that I was a great Joey treasures the birth of guy, but her feelings had evolved light in the darkness. out of love and into fondness. She won’t respond to my emails. How can a person terminate a 25-year relationship with an email? Wouldn’t a normal person speak up about a change in feelings and try to salvage things? Is this the behavior of a person who despises their partner and wants to inflict pain? Why devastate me in this manner?

It’s not that she despises you and is trying hard to inflict pain, it’s just that she’s not thinking of you at all. A breakup can feel like a mugging— violent and unexpected—and leave a person reeling for months afterward. When the pain is deepest, we act as if we have been robbed of our loved one. That’s when the crazy behavior kicks in: Excessive weeping and binge drinking while issuing demanding emails, placing pleading phone calls, and sending inappropriate text messages to the former partner. Oh, and cornering one friend after another with the story of our broken heart. In between all of this, our mind flutters from one question to the next, reviewing every email or visit, trying to shake out clues that explain the relationship’s end. The answers are frequently not what we expect. You seem to accept that emotional distance developed in your longdistance relationship. The seed of your suffering is surprise at the finality of your partner’s decision to leave. She didn’t give you a chance to make amends and help get the relationship

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.

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back on course. She left you to be with another man. It doesn’t matter how old we are, abandonment hurts. Let yourself grieve the loss. The emotional distance that your partner felt provided her with the justification she needed to break up with you by email. Would a “normal” person handle a breakup differently? Well, she is a normal person, but her behavior seems abnormal to you, given your shared history. Either she underwent a transformation you were not aware of, or she is infatuated with her new man. Infatuation inspires a giddy self-centeredness. So, it’s not that she despises you and is trying hard to inflict pain, it’s just that she’s not thinking of you at all. It hurts to hear that, I know. But it’s not that you are easily forgotten, it’s that she is on a dopamine high. One last thing: You will get through this experience stronger and happier than you believed possible. Yes, it’s true. You will. My parents found out that I slept with my boyfriend (we used protection). My father won’t look at me or talk to me. My mother calls me a whore every chance she gets. Please help. Name-calling and the silent treatment are abusive. Your parents may not know how to handle their disappointment and anger, but they must learn. Is there a counselor or teacher at your school, or a relative you could confide in? You need a caring adult to intervene on your behalf. It’s also important to take responsibility. You didn’t “sleep” with your boyfriend, you had sex with him. Euphemisms make it too easy to avoid responsibility, like the need for gynecological appointments and other forms of self-care. You deserve better. Ω

Meditation of the Week “Grow this space tall and deep, beyond the simpleness of corners, feed it our succulentness, fatten it up juicy, it will be merrier with more,” writes Laura Martin in her poem “My Big Space.” Martin performs Moetry (“music” plus “poetry”) with the Soft Offs on Saturday, December 21, at the Sacramento Poetry Center (1719 25th Street). The event starts at 4:30 p.m., and admission is free. What beautiful potential waits for realization in your space?

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Season for stage SN&R suggests a few more shows to see before the end of the year

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12.19.13

PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRIS CENTER FOR THE ARTS

1001 1002 1003 1004 1005 1006

call night or day

Sacramento around Christmastime can often resemble a ghost town. Yes, some people are still scampering around to buy last-minute presents at the by Jonathan Mendick mall. But many other businesses shut down completely, and so do some people who prefer j o na t h a nm @ to stay home and spend low-key time with ne w s re v i e w . c o m family. Not us. For those who are restless and looking for any sort of entertainment, thankfully, several places in and around Sacramento will still be hosting stage productions this week. The following are a few happenings that will take you through Christmas and New Year’s.

You should be this excited for the rest of the stage performances in Sacramento this year.

Fan of the jazz song “Linus and Lucy” from Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas album? Three different productions of A Charlie Brown Christmas happen this week: FreeFall Stage’s version at the Victory Life Church (800 Reading Street in Folsom), A Charlie Brown Christmas With Dave Benoit at the Harris Center for the Arts (10 College Parkway in Folsom) and Davis Musical Theatre Company’s adaptation at the DMTC Performing Arts Center (607 Pena Drive, Suite 10 in Davis). FreeFall Stage’s version costs $8 and is on Friday, December 20, at 7 p.m., and on Saturday, December 21, at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Call (916) 207-4420 or visit www.freefall stage.com for more details. A Charlie Brown Christmas With Dave Benoit costs $15-$59 and happens on Thursday, December 19, at 7:30 p.m.; head to www.harriscenter.net for details. The Davis Musical Theatre presents its show on Friday, December 20, at 7:15 p.m.; Saturday, December 21, and Sunday, December 22, at 4:15 p.m.; and Monday, December 23, at 4:15 and 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $12 and include refreshments. Call (530) 756-3682 or visit www.dmtc.org for more information. Also at the Harris Center for the Arts, Instituto Mazatlan Bellas Artes presents Diciembre Navideno, an end-of-the-year celebration that pays homage to both Christmas and indigenous rituals from central Mexico—all with elaborate and colorful

costumes. Catch the one-off performance for $20-$35 at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 20. If you missed the Sacramento Ballet and Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet’s versions of The Nutcracker, the Moscow Classical Ballet (pictured) will be performing it at the Harris Center from Thursday, December 26, through Sunday, December 29. Lastly, Arden Playhouse offers the final two showings for its production of Arsenic and Old Lace this weekend. The 1939 play by Joseph Kesselring—which was later adapted into a 1944 film staring Cary Grant—is a black comedy that tells the story of a theater critic who returns home to find that his family has turned into murderous eccentrics. Tickets cost $15-$18, and showings are 8 p.m. on December 20, and December 21, at 5640 Roseville Road, Suite D. More information can be found at www.ardenplayhouse.com. Ω

4 Dollhouse This smart, streamlined adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House moves the focus from the loss of identity women experience in traditional marriage to an examination of the power structures associated with economic independence, using a bit of gender-blind casting that updates the story for contemporary audiences. As Nora, Alexandria Ann Quinonez is by turns frantic and sullen; we can see her resentment growing throughout the play. She is, ultimately, another of Ibsen’s “daddy’s girls,” albeit one that survives rather than self-destructs. Her spouse, Torvald (Lauren Wolf), has the usual arrogance and self-obsession, but the patronizing attitude that makes Torvald so unlikable is—as no doubt intended by director David Blue Garrison—jarring when it comes from such a beautiful young woman. It shines a harsh light on the damage a power imbalance can wreak on a relationship, and that is exactly the point. The problem has never been merely one gender vs. another, but the reality of some people having power at the expense of others. This production has all the bells and whistles—gloomy Scandinavian lighting by Tim Galindo, an incredible set by Garrison—as well as strong performances by all the supporting players (and a wonderful turn by young Adam Vitaich as the Helmer’s son). We can only hope that—at some point— power and status become less destructive to human relationships. —Kel Munger

Dollhouse, 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday; $10-$15. The Alternative Arts Collective in the Blue Box Theatre, Lea Way and Oxford Street (off the alley behind The Greens Hotel at 1700 Del Paso Boulevard); www.taactheatre.com. Through December 21.


Encounter God & Come Alive Spiritually

NOW PLAYING

SATURDAY SERVICE: 5:10pm Casual Yet Sacred

monday

4

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. $15-$20. B Street

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

3

It’s a Wonderful Life

Sacramento Theatre Company adds a regional premier of the musical version of the Frank Capra film favorite It’s a Wonderful Life to its holiday rotation, with delightful turns by Jerry Lee (George Bailey) and Gary S. Martinez (Mr. Potter). While the songs are on the disposable side, the holiday cheer flows freely, making this Michael Laun-directed show certain to become a Christmas favorite.

W 7pm; Th 12:30 & 7pm; F 7pm; Sa 2 & 7pm; Su 2pm; $17-$37. Through 12/22. Sacramento Theatre Company, 1419 H St.; (916) 443-6722; www.sac theatre.org. K.M.

4

Not in the Stars

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; W 2 & 6:30pm;

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Th, F 8pm; Sa 5 & 9pm; Su 2pm. Through 1/5/14. $23-$35. B Street Theatre, 2711 B St.; (916) 443-5300; www.bstreettheatre.org. P.R.

open mic

Capital Stage presents the hysterical holiday show based on writer David Sedaris’ outlandish but true account of one Christmas season spent working as an elf in a Macy’s Santa Claus display. Janis Stevens directs Aaron Wilton (an absolutely perfect Sedaris surrogate, engaging, witty and sardonic) in this mercilessly funny and somewhat frightening tale of a holiday in hell. Santa, after all, is an anagram of “Satan.” W 7pm; Th, F, 8pm; Sa 2 & 8pm; Su 2 & 7pm. Through 12/29. $24-$386 Capital Stage, 2215 J St.; (916) 995-5464; www.capstage.org. J.C.

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Tommy J & Sally

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.

facebook.com/bar101roseville 101 main street, roseville • 916-774-0505

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Oh, Buddy Buddy Holly and the Crickets had a high-energy rockabilly style that energized teens across the nation to dance along to blues-inflected rock. The group also made fans out of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who covered a number of Holly’s tunes in the Beatles’ infancy. Next week, witness Holly’s life story and hear his greatest hits when California Musical Theatre’s Broadway Sacramento series brings Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story to town. The jukebox musical celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and features hits like “Peggy Sue,” “That’ll Be the Day” and “Not Fade Away”—all while charting Holly’s rise to fame and his tragic death in a plane crash, sometimes referred to as “the day the music died.” $21-$88, 8 p.m. on Friday, December 27; 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 28; 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 29; 8 p.m. on Tuesday, December 31; 8 p.m. Wednesday, January 1, 2014; and 2 and 8 p.m. Thursday, January 2, at the Community Center Theater, 1301 L Street; (916) 808-5181; www.broadwaysacramento.com.

thE place to be if you are looking for a good time! 21+ over ~ pre-sale tickets: $30 each

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Joel and Ethan Coen have made bleaker films than Inside Llewyn Davis—the god’s capricious wrath ending of A Serious Man and the viruslike venalby Daniel Barnes ity that infects No Country for Old Men certainly spring to mind. Yet they have never produced anything remotely this melancholy, and it turns out that somber is a flattering tone for them. Set in a slightly fablelike version of the 1961 Greenwich Village folk scene, Inside Llewyn Davis is inspired by early Bob Dylan (the man and the music, so to speak), while exuding the Coens’ usual oddball comedic sensibility and stylistic verve. The character of struggling folk singer Llewyn Davis is played by Oscar Isaac in a breakthrough performance, as he naturally inhabits the role in a way actors rarely do with the Coen brothers.

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When the film opens, Llewyn awakens in the spare bedroom of an above-his-station East Village apartment. We quickly understand that this peripatetic couch surfing is a defining element of Llewyn’s personality, an expression of his simultaneous yearning for and alienation from family life and creature comforts. It’s a situation that seems to have been exacerbated by the relatively recent death of his former partner Mike, which has led Llewyn to start an unsuccessful solo career. The folk and, eventually, hippie revolution that Dylan helped inspire was in part about a rejection of conformity, and often by extension a rejection of partnerships, and of the bonds of family. Early on, Llewyn has to scrape together money to fund an abortion, and for the second time, here for the wife (Carey Mulligan) of a nebbishy folk-singer colleague, played surprisingly well by Justin Timberlake. Over the course of the picture, Llewyn is shadowed by a succession of orange tabbies, and the stray cats become both a running gag and the film’s spirit animals. The rootless cockiness of the cats is an easy symbol for Llewyn’s moody narcissism, but the Coens play it with

a light enough hand. Llewyn proudly claims to the people who let him crash at their homes that music is his way “to pay the rent and put food on the table,” much in the way that lazy cats believe they own their human benefactors. More than anything, this is a gorgeous movie, and it shows that even the Coens’ ability to visualize a particular time and place as both tangible and slightly dreamlike without resorting to imitation or nostalgia has matured over the years. Compare the narrow Greenwich Village hallways and smoky nightclubs in Inside Llewyn Davis to the oppressive overdecorated and winking archness of their 1950s-set The Hudsucker Proxy. Given the abundance of T-Bone Burnett songs (the soundtrack mixes new tunes and standards in every shade of preplugged-in folk, including an Irish ballad, a Carter Family-esque Ozark gothic, and a novelty song about space travel), many will compare this to O Brother, Where Art Thou? However, Inside Llewyn Davis has none of the garish humor and shrill symbolism of that extremely unfunny and unpleasant movie. The real ancestor to Inside Llewyn Davis in the Coen catalogue is their excellent Barton Fink. That 1991 Palme d’Or winner offered one of the most damning portraits of artistic soullessness ever put on film. Their Fink is an underdeveloped and overhyped playwright brought to Hollywood by bottom-line scrapers looking for a touch of prestige, then sent to work on a brainless genre flick, as he all the while longs to tell the story of the “common man” he knows and cares nothing about.

Inside Llewyn Davis presents us the life of a yearning and defeated heart. To borrow a notable line from the film, Barton Fink showed us “the life of the mind,” but Inside Llewyn Davis presents us the life of a yearning and defeated heart. Unlike Barton, Llewyn clearly possesses some talent, as evidenced by Burnett’s excellent arrangements and Isaac’s capable vocals. In the Coens’ eyes, that makes his boorish egomania no more or less forgivable than it does with a clueless nitwit like Fink, but it does makes Llewyn an almost tragic figure of isolation and loneliness. It would appear that the Coen brothers have grown both less forgiving and more merciful with age. Ω


Every Day

by DANIEL BARNES & JIM LANE

5

The Armstrong Lie

In 2009, documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) followed embattled cyclist Lance Armstrong on his Tour de France comeback attempt, until new doping allegations halted the project. Gibney picked it back up as a very different film in early 2013, when Armstrong finally admitted that his seven Tour victories were achieved through blood doping and performance-enhancing drugs. From there, Gibney tells a more artificially outraged narrative of Armstrong’s long history of lies and extensive cover-ups, which left several ruined lives in their wake. Armstrong’s story is still a fascinating if familiar tale of dual personalities exposed on a public stage, but it is hard to take Gibney’s moral indignation seriously. The Armstrong Lie alternately paints 2009 Alex Gibney as either shrewdly aware of Armstrong’s lies or utterly duped by them, when they actually gave new life to a redundant hero-worship doc. D.B.

3

THU Dec 19 9PM $5

4

3

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 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.

Frozen

After years of lucratively reimagining 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 its own Broadwaybound cash cows. Everything in the film feels constructed with an eye toward 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,”

NEWS

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.

Dallas Buyers Club

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Thur:

American Hustle

magical trolls, a plethora of scheming royals 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.

Black Nativity

BEFORE

Drink Specials • No Cover

David O. Russell’s ecstatically cinematic American Hustle tells a hypergroovy version of the late 1970s Abscam operation, in which the FBI enlisted con artists to help them catch corrupt politicians. Right from the opening shots of Christian Bale pasting and swirling an elaborate comb-over onto his bald forehead, this is a film all about false fronts and reinvention, the latter a subject Russell knows very well. Everyone in the overwigged ensemble is good, but Bradley Cooper is a revelation as a nakedly ambitious FBI agent. Buried under a dirtbag beard and a hideous nest of curls, Cooper is deprettied enough to let us fully see what an honest and forceful actor he has become. American Hustle might have even been great had Russell not tried to pull a hustle of his own, reaching a facile conclusion that hinges on emotional relationships we never knew existed. D.B.

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

Happy Hour

Ladies, control yourselves.

When a single mother (Jennifer Hudson) and her teenage son (Jacob Latimore) face eviction, she sends him to live with her estranged parents (Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett) in New York’s Harlem, where her father is a minister. Writer-director Kasi Lemmons’ adaptation of Langston Hughes’ landmark Christmas oratorio isn’t quite the holiday classic it might have been, but it has many stirring moments, most of them expressed in song (even Whitaker and Bassett sing, and quite creditably). The movie really takes off during a dream sequence in which the teenager sees the birth of Jesus enacted in Times Square, with a homeless couple (Grace Gibson, Luke James) as Mary and Joseph. Tyrese Gibson, Vondie Curtis-Hall and Mary J. Blige round out the sterling cast, and the original songs are by Raphael Saadiq and Laura Karpman. J.L.

3

Blues

the

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.

3

We Have

12 Years a Slave

5

Narco Cultura

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,

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F E AT U R E

STORY

Daniel Castro

SaT Dec 21 9PM $8

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Walking With Dinosaurs 3D

The smart, fascinating BBC TV series comes to the big screen, dumbed down so far that even real dinosaurs would find their intelligence insulted. The TV series was modeled on Walt Disney’s True-Life Adventures documentaries (with tyrannosaurus and allosaurus dinosaurs instead of bears, beavers and seals), mixing real locations with CGI-animated beasts. The movie aims far lower, at the likes of Madagascar and Rio—that is, at some of the worst animated features of all time. The dimwitted script is by John Collee, the direction by Barry Cook and Neil Nightingale, none of whom had any connection to the BBC series (did they ever even see it?). The dialogue is a string of lame jokes, read on the soundtrack by the likes of John Leguizamo, Justin Long and Tiya Sircar, as if they were the wise-cracking robots on Mystery Science Theatre 3000. J.L.

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Chris Twomey

Sat:

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 longago 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.

2

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FRI Dec 20 9PM $8

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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.

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37


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The old guard Youth Brigade rolls into town with 33 years   of punk history—and its newest member,   Sacramento guitarist Brian Hanover

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Youth is not an age. It’s a state of mind. That’s the philosophy shared by the musicians of Youth Brigade, the mega-influential by Janelle Bitker Los Angeles punk band born in 1980. Its members aren’t exactly young in the conventional, numerical sense. Two of its founders, Shawn and Mark Stern, hover around the age of 50, and its newest member, Sacramento’s own Brian Hanover, is a dad.

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38   |   SN&R   |   12.19.13

Sacramento guitarist Brian Hanover is the newest member of the legendary punk band Youth Brigade.

See Youth Brigade on Thursday, December 19, at 7 p.m. at Midtown BarFly, located at 1119 21st Street. Tickets are $10; visit Youth Brigade’s Facebook page for more info.

But none of that matters—they’re still rocking out and trying to change the world. “Youth Brigade has always been more of an attitude thing, having that lifestyle and youthful demeanor,” Hanover says. Originally formed by three brothers, Youth Brigade has existed in various incarnations over the years. There was a breakup in 1987 and a reunion in 1991. In 1984, it was featured in what is arguably the definitive punk-rock documentary, Another State of Mind, which follows the band as well as a young Social Distortion on tour in 1982. The band has also put out five albums—the most recent in 1996—and a bunch of EPs, split singles and compilations. Then there’s BYO Records, the worldrenowned independent label owned by Shawn and Mark, which has released more than 100 albums since 1982 and also puts on the annual Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival in Las Vegas. “These kids took on an old-man’s market,” Hanover says of Youth Brigade’s legacy. “They did things that were creative, on their own, and those things still translate now.” Certainly, many bands cite Youth Brigade as an influence—Rancid, the Offspring, Pennywise, etc.—and Hanover says it’s because they made people believe in themselves. Maybe that sounds corny, but Youth Brigade proved that a band could do it all:

play their own music, promote other bands, put out records and stay independent. “They stood for taking chances. They really put their money where their mouth is, and they still do,” Hanover says. “They surprised me when they asked me to play, but that just shows they really do give people a shot.” Right. So how did Hanover—formerly of local bands Hanover Saints, Union Hearts and Whiskey Rebels—nab a spot playing guitar for Youth Brigade? Simple enough—they’re buddies of sorts. Hanover first met the band as a 21-year-old roadie for 7Seconds, and the encounters continued as he became more and more entrenched in the punk scene. Still, when the band’s drummer sent him a Facebook message a couple months ago asking if he wanted to join, Hanover says he was floored. “There’s been a lot of emotions with this,” he says. “I mean, I grew up watching Another State of Mind.” With a list of Youth Brigade songs to master, Hanover, who still lives in Sacramento, dove into “quite a bit of homework.” But now, he’s ready, and says he expects to bring a rawer energy and drive to the band’s tightly played hardcore punk. Youth Brigade hasn’t rolled through Sacramento in almost four years. As Punk Rock Bowling has gotten bigger and more demanding, the band has kept its touring down to just one or two months a year.

“Theystoodfortaking chances.Theyreally puttheirmoneywhere theirmouthis,and theystilldo.” Brian Hanover guitarist, on punk band Youth Brigade But that doesn’t mean it’s too busy for projects—there have been plenty of rumors about a new Youth Brigade album, for example. “They’ve mentioned wanting to do another record,” Hanover says. “And it seems like a good time to start writing.” Sacramento is the second stop on the band’s 14-city tour, which runs through California, Texas and parts of the East Coast. The all-ages show also features local punk bands City of Vain, Avenue Saints and Crude Studs. There’s one person in particular whose attendance will make the show all the more significant for Hanover. “The fact that my mom is gonna go is pretty trippy—she usually stays far away,” Hanover says. “But age doesn’t matter, you just go and you do it.” Ω


RESTAURANT ss BAR BAR CLUB ss RESTAURANT COMEDY COMEDY CLUB

Living-room drunks and other holiday mixes Tweedy, etc.: When Wilco played the Mondavi Center in February 2012, the gig sold out. When Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy returned to Davis on December 10, about 500 of the venue’s 1,800 seats remained empty. No big. All the better to give Tweedy’s solo show an intimate, living-room feel. That is, of course, if your living room is populated with dancing girls and drunken guys who sing and clap obnoxiously out of sync with the rest of the crowd. The Chicago-based singersongwriter opened the night with “Via Chicago,” from Wilco’s 1999 album Summerteeth, and sang it, as he often does, as a mournful lament of sorts. The drama was undercut a bit, however, by a tipsy fanboy who wanted to belt out the title refrain at least two beats behind the performer that the rest of us paid handsomely to see. It’s cool, though, we’re all friends at a Tweedy show, right? Right. Certainly Tweedy’s the guy you want as a friend. Or at least a really good frenemy. But more on that later. Tweedy loaded his set chockfull of Wilco hits, a few Uncle Tupelo gems and a handful of covers, including his rendition of the song he wrote for Mavis Staples, “You Are Not Alone” and the Handsome Family’s “So Much Wine.” Highlights included the woeful “Forget the Flowers” from Wilco’s 1996 sophomore double album Being There, and “I am Trying to Break Your Heart,” and “Jesus, Etc.” (both from the 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot). The last song, in particular, stands as one of Wilco’s best, a promise of steadfast love rendered stark and haunting by Tweedy’s voice with its perfectly imperfect booze and cigarette-cured tone that cracks and rasps in all the right places. Which just made it all the better that the guy next to me decided to sing along in his own own crackling salt lick of a voice. Out of sync, even. Genius. But this is where Tweedy the frenemy makes life just a bit more bearable. The musician does not suffer the drunken idiot gladly. Although he started the night on the quiet side—just a quick “hello” and a “thank you” here and there— Tweedy’s congenial sarcasm was let out to play after a bit of audience encouragement. “Tell us some stories!” one person yelled out hopefully. “No,” Tweedy replied sternly. And then: “I don’t know any stories.” BEFORE

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NEWS

Perhaps not, but he knows people and behavior and quirky habits and tragic tendencies—he’s made a living cataloging them in song, after all. And so it was on: Be it the lone dancing twirler, the off-key singer, or the girl who claimed she knew his dad, Tweedy spared no self-mocking one-liner or gently spiked audience jab. All in good fun, you guys, all in good fun—and by the end of the night when Tweedy took to the edge of the stage armed only with an acoustic guitar, it was OK when he commanded everyone to shut up and stop clapping already. “If you clap, they can’t hear you,” Tweedy reproached those in the front row as he gestured toward the seats into the great beyond. Everyone in the auditorium obliged as Tweedy launched into a stunning rendition of Uncle Tupelo’s “Acuff-Rose,” singing: “Early in the morning, sometimes late at night / Sometimes I get the feeling that everything’s all right.” Indeed.

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THURSDAY 12/19 - SATURDAY 12/21 FROM THE OPIE & ANTHONY SHOW!

TUES 12/31

The reason for the season: Listen, I realize I’m a rare, annoying breed: The type who unequivocally, unabashedly, unironically and wholeheartedly loves holiday music. Whether it’s the traditional ilk of all those “Winter Wonderland” or “White Christmas,” or the seedier aspects of “Fairytale of New York” or “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis,” I start playing holiday mixes the day after Thanksgiving and don’t tire of all those fa la la la las and ho ho hos until December 31. Perhaps this signals a need for serious psychological intervention. Whatever, the point is there are a handful of worthy holidaythemed shows on deck this season— and, thankfully, not a Tran-Siberian Orchestra in the bunch. On Thursday, December 19, check out Old Ironsides’ (1901 10th Street) Holiday Music Night! It’s billed as an open jam of sorts, so expect lots of improv and merry hilarity. It starts at 7:30 p.m. and there is no cover. Tip: The bartenders here know how to serve up a mean hot toddy. Just sayin’. Or how about A Very Heckarap XXXmas. This takes place on Monday, December 23, at The Press Club (2030 P Street). There is also no cover at this event, and it starts at 10 p.m. and features what will likely be some epically fun deejay battles between the likes of MC Ham, DJ Gourmet and Nic Offer from Chk Chk Chk (!!!). Order another round of cheer, and have yourself a very merry whatever. Peace out.

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ARTS&CULTURE

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AFTER

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39


20FRI

20FRI

20FRI

21SAT

Rock for Tots 8

The Auxiliary

The Daniel Castro Band

Wolfhouse

Assembly Music Hall, 7 p.m., $10

Shine, 8 p.m., $5

Who says rock stars are selfish? This  Friday, Sacramento rockers channel their  inner-George Harrison—whose Concert for  ROCK Bangladesh was one of the first  charity concerts featuring a bunch  of rock stars—at Rock for Tots 8. Check  out Fate Under Fire (pictured), Hero’s Last  Mission, Lonely Kings, I Wish We Were Robots,  Horseneck and Fudi, with DJ Blackheart  spinning “Xmas jamz.” All this for the price  of a mediocre beer at a nightclub. Plus,  bring a toy to receive a raffle ticket for local  prizes, and the toy goes to The Salvation  Army. As the kids say these days, “It’s gonna  be totes ma goats cray cray.” 1000 K Street,  www.assemblysacramento.com.

—Jonathan Mendick

Torch Club, 9 p.m., $8

There’s a reason ska-punk exploded in the  ’90s: It’s really fun music. Yet the best bands  from that era always tempered silly urges  with a vulnerable sweetness that nearly every  awkward teenager in America could connect  with. Sacramento group the Auxiliary—which  includes members of Haskell, the Pyronauts,  the Sublebrities and Victim Effect—access the  best of that third-wave movement (mixing in  R&B and hints of rockabilly). A prime example  is “Checkered Shoes,” a sappy love song about  a girl who wears black-and-white shoes.  SKA-PUNK The Auxiliary excels at  harmonies, which is apparent on the acoustic by-the-fireplace ballad  “Christmas Kisses”—a funny yet touching song  recently uploaded to YouTube. 1400 E Street,  www.facebook.com/theauxiliaryband.

Shine, 8 p.m., $5

The Daniel Castro Band is the real deal.  It’s three guys playing the blues. Think B.B.  King, Albert King and Albert Collins, with a  side of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Castro (pictured), who performs vocals and plays a  Fender Telecaster, discovered the blues as  BLUES a preteen. He’s backed by Johnny  Yu (bass and vocals) and David  Perper (drums and vocals), and fluffless  blues is what you get. Castro previously  backed Pee Wee Crayton, Esther Phillips  and Delmar Evans. He opened for Robert  Cray and released Desperate Rain in 2013.   Yu’s performed with Mary Wells, Eric  Burdon and Stu Blank; and Perper has  played with Jesse Colin Young, Pablo Cruise  and the Youngbloods. 904 15th Street,   www.danielcastro.com.

—Aaron Carnes

There will always be a place in music for  gritty rock trios. Sacramento threesome  Wolfhouse—even in this era of Pro Tools  and music blogs—gets down to the marrow of raw rock that is best experienced  in dingy nightclubs. The guitarist’s distortion is crunchy and meshes well with the  drummer’s classic 1970s swagger and the  singer’s gruff, raspy vocals. The band plays  around with elements of blues, funk, boogiewoogie and grunge, but it all centers around  bare-bones rock ’n’ roll. The diverging  elements combine naturally and serve to  complement rocking—like when  ROCK Led Zeppelin would mix reggae  beats into songs. 1400 E Street,   www.facebook.com/wolfhousemusic.

—Aaron Carnes

—Trina L. Drotar

2708 J Street Sacramento, CA 916.441.4693 www.harlows.com - December 26 -

DJ housE shoEs (DEtroit)

- December 19 -

thE aggroLitEs

NEw YEar’s EvE Tuesday, December 31

Dibia$e • Century Got Bars Blee • Jo Vegas $10 • 9pm

The Scratch Outs & La Noche Oskura 7pm • $15adv - December 20 -

JoY aND MaDNEss Soul Shine • The Island of Black and White $10 • 8pm

- December 21 -

soLsa

- December 27 -

forEvErLaND

NYE DaNcE PartY with LovEfooL

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Latin and R&B $12 • 9pm - December 28 -

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- December 22 -

aDriaN MarcEL

Nevada Backwards • Lino Sean Flemming $7 • 8pm

$15 • 9pm

40   |   SN&R   |   

12.19.13

DJ oasis $20 • 8pm Tickets Available at MomoSacramento.com

Coming Soon Jan 03

Rock On! Live Band Karaoke

Jan 04

Mark Curry

Jan 08

Andy McKee

Jan 09

Chop Tops

Jan 11

Carrie Hennessey

Jan 12

Jazz Night with Reggie Graham

Jan 16

Weedeater

Jan 17

Tea Leaf Green

Jan 23

Dustbowl Revival

Jan 24

Stick Men

Jan 25

Wild Cub

Feb 01

Tempest

Feb 07

Johnny Cash Tribute

Feb 08

Steelin’ Dan

Feb 09

Duncan Sheik

Feb 10

Secret Chiefs 3

Feb 14

ALO

follow us HARLOWSNiTeCLuB HARLOWSNiGHTCLuB HARLOWSNiGHTCLuB


21SAT

22SUN

22SUN

22SUN

Solsa

Andrew W.K.

Beware of Darkness

High Beamz

Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub, 10:30 p.m., $6-$12 With the tagline, “Sacramento’s Hottest  band for Latin and R&B,” expect to get down  with some funky moves, and sing along to  classic hits like “Sweet Home Alabama” and  “Brick House,” peppered with some newer  chart toppers like Katy Perry’s “California  Gurls” and Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack.”  For almost a decade, Solsa has been bringing R&B, Motown and rock music with a  Latin flair to the greater Sacramento area.  Popular at weddings and corporate events,  Solsa boasts of its ability to perform music  R&B/LATIN for any group at any  occasion. Versatility  has won this eight-person ensemble the  WeddingWire’s Bride’s Choice Award for  best wedding band in 2011. 2708 J Street,  www.solsaentertainment.com. 

Assembly Music Hall, 7 p.m., $15 Asked why he randomly guested on the  sitcom Dharma & Greg in 1999, Bob Dylan  explained that every time he’d done someROCK thing it seemed he should, it’d  turned out bad, and there was no  reason to do this, so he thought, “Why not?”  That’s essentially Andrew W.K.’s career.  Whether turning TV-pundit exchanges into  song, offering motivational speeches based  on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic,  recording an album of improvised piano  pieces or writing the dumbest hard-rock  song of the new millennium, the classically  trained pianist and music-jingle writer simply seems to do whatever he wants, and that  ruleless abandon translates into joyously  over-the-top, unaffected sonic enthusiasms.  1000 K Street, www.andrewwk.com.

—Jessica Rine

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b o x

Ace of Spades, 7 p.m., $9.85

Torch Club, 8 p.m., $5

Following the release of its debut album  Orthodox in May, Beware of Darkness  embarked on a tour, and now it’s making a  stop in Sacramento. Spanning alternative  to hard rock, the band exudes raw emotion  and tortured genius, singing heartfelt ballads  of loneliness and lost love. One such lyric,  “When you leave this life, the world will be a  darker place for all who remain,” seems to  touch the blackest depths of the soul. With  ROCK Tony Cupito’s grooving, subtle  drum beats, Daniel Curcio’s driving bass, and Kyle Nicolaides’ somber guitar  and lilting voice, this newcomer to the rock  scene is already getting rave reviews as a  band who will do great things. 1417 R Street,  www.bewareofdarknessmusic.com.

—Jessica Rine

When he’s not in the studio recording a solo  album (he’s currently at work on a followup to 2011’s Transmissions), Chris Zanardi  is working on one of many collaborations  like The Africa Project, Jamaican Haitian  BLUES/FUNK American Musicians  or Five-Eyed Hand.  He’s performed with members of the Talking  Heads, Sly & the Family Stone, Mermen, and  the Waybacks. This multigenre composer and  guitarist finds inspiration in nature, whether  he’s rock climbing in Yosemite National Park  or hiking the backwoods. His band High Beamz  features different Bay Area musicians (Erin  Cassidy and Sam Phelps for this show) and  a sound that mixes musical styles, including  world, jazz, soul, blues and a bit of funk.   904 15th Street, http://zportalmusic.com.

—Chris Parker

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—Trina L. Drotar

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tap takeover only 64 pints in the sacr amento region!

featuring 5 ninkasi taps thursday december 19th | 5pm to close $4 keep the glass | $3 refills nfl & nba

s u n day d e c e m b e r 20 at 1p m | R a i d e R s @ c h a R g e R s • m o n day d e c e m b e R 21 at 5 : 3 0 p m | fa lc o n s @ 4 9 e r s w e d n e s day d e c e m b e r 15 at 7p m | p e l i c a n s @ k i n g s

not just a sports bar BEFORE

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  NEWS

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916.441.4151 | 2110 L Street | Sacramento, CA | skyboxgrillsac.com

  F E AT U R E

STORY

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NIGHTBEAT

THURSDAY 12/19

FRIDAY 12/20

SATURDAY 12/21

SUNDAY 12/22

ASSEMBLY MUSIC HALL

K.FLAY, SIRAH, YOUNG AUNDEE; 7pm, $12

FATE UNDER FIRE, HERO’S LAST MISSION, LONELY KINGS, FUDI; 7pm, $10

The Siren Show Presents...Blue Collar Cabaret, 9pm, $15-$25

ANDREW W.K., LONELY AVENUE, MAXXX; 7pm, $5

BADLANDS

2003 K St., (916) 448-8790

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

Fabulous and Gay Fridays, 9pm, call for cover

Saturday Boom, 9pm, call for cover

Sin Sunday, 8pm, call for cover

BAR 101

Karaoke, 7:30pm, no cover

BAD BEHAVIOR BLUES BAND, 9:30pm, call for cover

THE IRON HEARTS, SWEET TALK; 9:30pm, $5

1000 K St., (916) 832-4751

List your event!

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.

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

THE DICK GAIL QUINTET, 8:30pm, $5-$10

BLUE LAMP

PETER PETTY, 9pm, call for cover

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

1400 Alhambra, (916) 455-3400

THE BOARDWALK

FORCE MULTIPLIED, BRI, TWITCH

BOWS & ARROWS

DEREK THOMAS, HUMBLE WOLF, ZANKO; 8pm, $5

9426 Greenback Ln., Orangevale; (916) 988-9247 ANGRY, S.W.I.M.; 8pm, call for cover 1815 19th St., (916) 822-5668

KOOL JOHN, 8pm, call for cover

KAYASUN, RIOTMAKER, LESDYSTICS, REBEL RADIO, ONELEGCHUCK; 7:30pm

LOVERS, ELI AND THE SOUND CULT, SISTER EXISTER, POPPET; 8pm, $5

UGLY BUNNY, THE CONTRA; 8pm, $5

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

COMPANIES, WHOLEBRIDGE SWEET; 8pm, $7

Open-mic, 7:30pm, no cover

DISTRICT 30

1016 K St., (916) 737-5770

Hey local bands!

FACES

2000 K St., (916) 448-7798

FOX & GOOSE

THE MIKE JUSTIS BAND, 8pm, no cover

G STREET WUNDERBAR

TOTAL RECALL, 9pm, no cover

1001 R St., (916) 443-8825 228 G St., Davis; (530) 756-9227

DJ Penthaus, 9pm, call for cover

PANIC CITY, 9pm, call for cover

Hip-hop and Top 40 Deejay dancing, 9pm, $5-$10

Hip-hop and Top 40 Deejay dancing, 9pm, $5-$10

KALLY O’MALLY, MIKE BLANCHARD & THE CALIFORNIOS; 9pm, $5

WOLF HAMLIN & THE FRONT PORCH DRIFTERS, DEAD HORSES; 9pm, $5

Queer Idol, 9pm M, no cover; Latin night, 9pm Tu, $5; DJ Alazzawi, 9pm W, $3

Dragalicious, 9pm, $5

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

GUERO, INFINITE VASTNESS; 9pm, no cover

HALFTIME BAR & GRILL

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

HARLOW’S

MCKENNA, 9pm-midnight, no cover

GROOVINCIBLE, 9pm-midnight, no cover SOLSA, 10pm, $6-$12

Karaoke, 8pm W, no cover

2708 J St., (916) 441-4693

THE AGGROLITES, THE SCRATCH OUTS, LA NOCHE OSKURA; 8pm, $15-$18

JOY & MADNESS, SOUL SHINE, ISLAND OF BLACK AND WHITE; 9pm, $10

LEVEL UP FOOD & LOUNGE

Karaoke, 9pm, no cover

DJ Rock Bottom and The Mookie DJ, 9pm, no cover

Hip-hop and R&B deejay dancing, 9:16pm Tu, no cover

LUNA’S CAFÉ & JUICE BAR

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

THE BAGMEN, AARON LINKIN; 8pm, $5

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

MARILYN’S ON K

Christmas Costume Party w/ DJ Oasis and DJ Highball, 9pm, $5-$10

Live band karaoke, 9pm, no cover

2431 J St., (916) 448-8768

1414 16th St., (916) 441-3931 908 K St., (916) 446-4361

ADRIAN MARCEL, 10pm, $15

THE RERUNS, 9pm, $10

Ace of SpAdeS

Karaoke, 8pm M, no cover

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

All Ages Welcome!

Wednesday, January 8

sunday, december 22

reeL bIG fISH

bewAre of dArkneSS

Suburban legendS - Mighty Mongo - the MaxieS

the hungry - tragic culture

TrIbAL SeedS

02/07 The Devil Makes Three 02/12 Breathe Carolina friday, January 17

cody cAnAdA And THe depArTed

dIrT nASTy

richard the rocKStar - naSty Martin - Penny - lil bit - taKticS

SOON

01/30 For Today

through the rootS - KayaSun

aMerican aquariuM

neW year’s eve tuesday, december 31

COMING 01/21 Hopsin

Wednesday, January 15

02/13 Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe 02/15 The English Beat 02/27 J Boog 03/01 Tierra 03/13 Umphrey’s McGee 03/15 The Expendables

sunday, January 19

pepper

03/20 The Wailers 03/26 Moonshine Bandits & The Lacs

PluS SPecial gueStS

03/30 Reverend Horton Heat monday, January 20

pHILLIp H. AnSeLMo & THe ILLeGALS author & PuniSher - hyMnS

04/04 Yonder Mountain String Band 04/21 The 1975 04/27 Julieta Venegas 05/21 Christina Perri

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

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

LORRAINE GERVAIS AND HER MOTOWN REVUE, THE EARLES OF NEWTOWN; 4pm

314 W. Main St., Grass Valley; (530) 274-8384

THE COZMIC CAFÉ

Mad Mondays, 9pm M Latin videos and Wii bowling, 7pm Tu; Trapacana, 10pm W Trivia, 6:30pm M, no cover; Open-mic, 7:30pm W, no cover

7042 Folsom Blvd., (916) 383-0133

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.

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY 12/23-12/25

12.19.13


THURSDAY 12/19

FRIDAY 12/20

SATURDAY 12/21

NAKED LOUNGE DOWNTOWN

JIM RAINES, JIM FUNK; 8pm, $5

STEPPING STONE, CAMPFIRE CROONERS; 8:30pm, $5

VINNIE GUIDERA, AJ JOHNSON; 8:30pm, $5

OLD IRONSIDES

Bluegrass jam, 7pm, no cover

DEFYANT CIRCLE, GERONIMO, THE Fascination: ’80s new-wave dancing, OTHER BRITTANY, SOUR DIESEL; 9pm, $10 9:30pm, $5

ON THE Y

Karaoke, 9pm, no cover

CRUELLA, REVOLVER, 10pm, $8

1111 H St., (916) 443-1927

1901 10th St., (916) 442-3504 670 Fulton Ave., (916) 487-3731

THE PALMS PLAYHOUSE

SUNDAY 12/22

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY 12/23-12/25 Jazz session, 8pm M, no cover Karaoke w/ Sac City Entertainment, 9pm Tu, no cpver; Open-mic, 9pm W, no cover

Karaoke, 9pm, no cover

Open-mic comedy, 9pm, no cover

Karaoke, 9pm Tu, no cover

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

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

Karaoke, 9pm-1:30am, no cover

STELLAR, 9-11pm, no cover

Open-mic, 10pm-1am Tu, no cover; Trivia, 9-10pm W, no cover

GENE TAYLOR BLUES BAND, DAVE ALVIN; 8:30pm, $20

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

THE PARK ULTRA LOUNGE 1116 15th St., (916) 442-7222

KREWELLA, CANDYLAND, DJ SN1; 9pm-2am, call for cover

PINE COVE TAVERN

Karaoke, 9pm-1:30am, no cover

502 29th St., (916) 446-3624

Karaoke, 9pm-1:30am, no cover

PINS N STRIKES

K. Flay with Sirah and Young Aundee 7pm Thursday, $12. Assembly Music Hall Hip-hop

MIDNIGHT PLAYERS, 9pm, $10

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

PJ’S ROADHOUSE

DJ Michael Johnson, 9pm, no cover

GIGANTIS, THE GOOD SAMARITIANS; 9pm, $5

ROADHOUSE RATS, 9pm, $5

POWERHOUSE PUB

CHRIS GARDNER, 10pm, call for cover

ROLLING HEADS, 10pm, call for cover

CHEESEBALLS, 10pm, call for cover

LYDIA PENSE, KEVIN RUSSELL; 3pm, call for cover

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

THE PRESS CLUB

DJ Esef, Selector KDK, 9pm, no cover before 10pm; $3 after

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

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

Sunday Soul Party, 9pm, $5; SHADOWHOUSE, DARLING CHEMICALIA; 9pm, $5

MC Ham vs DK Gourmet, Nic Offer, 9pm M, no cover

SHENANIGANS

705 J St., (916) 442-1268

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

APPLE Z, J RAS, RAS REBEL, TASK1NE, TREVOR LYON, I DREW; 8pm, no cover

STONEY INN/ROCKIN’ RODEO

THE BUCK FORD BAND, 9pm, $5

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

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

TORCH CLUB

X TRIO, 5pm, no cover; THE 213’S, FIRST TAKE FUSION; 9pm, $5

PAILER AND FRATIS, 5:30-7:30pm, no cover; DANIEL CASTRO, 9pm, $8

JOHNNY KNOX, 5pm, no cover; MR. DECEMBER, 9pm, $8

Blues jam, 4pm, no cover; HIGH BEAMZ, 8pm, $5

Acoustic open-mic, 5:30pm W, no cover

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

1320 Del Paso Blvd., (916) 927-6023 904 15th St., (916) 443-2797

All ages, all the time ACE OF SPADES

BEWARE OF DARKNESS, THE HUNGRY; 7pm, $9.85

1417 R St., (916) 448-3300

BEATNIK STUDIOS

Vivian Lee Quartet 7pm Thursday, $10. Beatnik Studios Jazz

VIVIAN LEE QUARTET, 7pm, $10

723 S St., (916) 443-5808

LUIGI’S SLICE AND FUN GARDEN

ISAAC BEAR, GLIMPSE TRIO, ADRIAN BELLUE; 8pm, $5

SHINE

THE AUXILLARY, BACK ALLEY BUZZARDS, HANDS OF HOPE; 8pm, $5

1050 20th St., (916) 552-0317 1400 E St., (916) 551-1400

WOLFHOUSE, TRAGIC CULTURE, SUNDAY SLIM; 8pm, $5

Open jazz jam, 8pm Tu; Poetry With Legs with Bill Gainer, 7pm W, call for cover

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 ThuRs dec 19

bring a Toy & receive a raFFle TicKeT For PrizeS.

Sirah - young aundee 7Pm | all ageS

all ToyS will be donaTed To The SacramenTo SalvaTion army 7Pm | all ageS

k. FLaY

FRi dec 27

sun dec 22

THe mOTHer HipS

andrew w.k.

midnighT norTh 9Pm | 21 and over

lonely avenue, maxxx 7Pm

Upcoming ShowS

TueSday december 31

dec 21 jan 04 jan 09 jan 10 jan 11 jan 17 jan 24 jan 25 jan 26 jan 30 jan 31 feb 07 feb 09 feb 12 feb 20 feb 22 feb 27 feb 28 mar 02 mar 05 mar 11 mar 13 mar 21 jun 15

neW YeAR’s eVe

sAT dec 28

dj qUik

the beatknocks - cali bear gang - lil bit - quette daddie 7Pm BEFORE

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NEWS

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UTZ! & THe SHUTTLeCOCkS 8Pm 21 and over

FEATURE STORY

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A RT S & C U LT U R E

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AFTER

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The Siren Show Karega bailey niPSey huSSle Fair STruggle anThony b merchanTS !!! (chK chK chK) loS rabaneS emery zion i abbey road band ST lucia ThiS or The aPocalyPSe beTTye laveTTe rehab Some Fear none Scale The SummiT incredible’ me we buTTer The bread wiTh buTTer Sunny ledFurd we are The in crowd inFecTed muShroom Tommy caSTro & The PainKillerS average whiTe band

12.19.13

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SN&R

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43


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When do you see more dispensaries opening in the Sacramento area, if ever? Are they going to come back at all, even if we as a state get it legalized? I live in Rocklin, and it’s hard to get my meds, except for going underground to get it. —Rocklin roll Good luck. Not only does the city of Rocklin have a zoning ban on medical-marijuana dispensaries (Rocklin Municipal Code 17.64.030 states, “The following uses are prohibited in all zones, and no conditional BEALUM use permit shall be issued therefor: A. Kennel; B. by NGAIO Junkyard; C. Refuse disposal site; D. Medical marijuana dispensary”), Rocklin also has a ban on outdoor growing. Its indoor rules aren’t bad, so’13 maybe you could set up a grow room if you have the time and a s k420 @ n ewsreview.c om the money. Your best bet is to find a good delivery service. And to vote for new lawmakers that will allow medical marijuana in your town. Are we still winning? —Up-to-date Ursula Yes. We are still winning. Wait. Let me change that. We are still winning, except in California. I don’t get it. Uruguay has legalized weed. Not just legalized it, but nationalized the production and sale of weed. Colorado has legal weed. In fact, you can grow up to 12 plants for your own personal use if you like in Denver. Washington state has legal weed. Oregon has a statewide plan for medical-marijuana dispensaries and is looking to have legal marijuana by 2014. Hell, a legislator in New York just introduced a bill to legalize weed. New York is ahead of us? New York, home of the stop-and-frisk? Let me use a popular online meme: see photo. Not just illegal. The pushback against medical marijuana and medicalmarijuana growing shows no sign of stopping. Fresno County is working on an ordinance that would ban all outdoor growing. Sacramento County has a ban. The city of Concord has a ban. Roseville has a ban. The California Supreme Court recently ruled that cities may ban medical-cannabis dispensaries. Come on! How are we losing? California passed its medical-marijuana bill in 1996. We should be far ahead of everyone else. There are a few reasons. California is much more conservative than people like to admit. Not libertarian conservative, but conservative conservative. Once you get outside the Bay Area (I am including Santa Cruz as “the Bay Area”), it gets hella Republican. In 2010, Proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana, lost in all but 12 counties. Mono and Alpine were the only two noncoastal counties to pass the initiative. This was three years ago, and a lot has changed, but not really. California is still full of people that think weed is a crime and that prohibition works. And we are letting them get away with it. We need to step our game up. Ω

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

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www.Sac420Doc.com BEFORE

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  NEWS

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  F E AT U R E

STORY

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  45


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Sproule Ave expires 12/31/13

expires 12/31/13

1506 Sproule Ave, Sacto, CA 95811 46 

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BEFORE

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Doctor’s oCO-OPrDers

winter special

35 top shelf 1/8ths

$

Orange Shandy is here.

10 top shelf grams

$

new pATIenTs ReceIve THRee

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new patients receive a free half gram of hash or pre–roll with min donation

w/ mention of snr

expires 01/15/14. one per patient, per day

exIsTIng pATIenT specIAls AT

sunday special: 4g 1/8ths (one per patient)

doctorsordersrx.com

new premium top shelf edibles of all kinds 25 1/8ths select strains meds for every budget

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tinctures, hash, capsules, kief, edibles mention this ad & receive $5 off any of our wax concentrates

donate 3 canned food items, get a free gift

1704 Main avenue SacraMento, ca 95838 916.564.2112

closed cHRIsTMAs dAY

48 

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SN&R   |  12.19.13

916.646.6340

monday–saturday 10am–7pm sunday 10am–6pm closed cHristMas daY

Arden Way Arden Mall

Dr

Donate 3 canned food items, get a free gift

me nfe ld

Mon-Sat 10aM to 9pM Sun 10aM to 6pM

1030 Joellis way, sac

Joellis Way 160

Blu

For complete menu & more specials visit DoctorSorDerSrX.coM

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Join us out here Please drink responsibly.


N e w PAt I e N t s w e l C O m e

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free 1/2 gram

*

pre-rOll & hash

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IC N A G R O 100% Text RHOUSE to 71441 to receive a coupon for a house warming gift!

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House of organics 8848 Fruitridge Rd. Sacramento Open 7 days a week 9am-7p 916-381-3769

closed cHristmas day

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shingle springs’

get a FRee hOTTesT eighth With any $40 COlleCTiVe

min donation

cANNoT bE combINEd WITh oThEr offErS. STrAIN dETErmINEd by hhWc. offEr good oN 12/24 & 12/25 oNly.

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donate 3 canned food items and get a free gift! n oW acc e P ti n g n e W Pati e nts!

50

10 grams | cbd products available

gle

| 5

Rd

Rd ck o r Next to Du T-Bonez Cycle

5711 flo ri n perki ns rd | sacram ento, 95828 | 916. 387.8605 | o pen 10am – 8pm 7 days a w eek BEFORE

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  FEATURE

STORY

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ARTS&CULTURE 

hin

35 cap on 1/8

SS

$

medical cannabis collective $ $ ths & w i d e v a r i e t y o f e d i b l e s

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AFTER

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oPEN moNdAy – SATurdAy 10Am To 8Pm, SuNdAy 10Am To 6Pm oPEN chrISTmAS EvE 10Am To 4Pm, chrISTmAS dAy 11Am-3Pm

12.19.13  

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Simply the BeSt Winner 3 years in a row! ’13

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All massage advertisers are required to provide News & Review a current valid business license or somatic establishment permit issued by either the city or county in which they are operating in in order to run a printed advertisement.

1 HOUR

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  NEWS

OPEN MON–SAT 10-9 • SUN 1-8

8075 GREENBACK LANE 916.726.0451

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h st

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BEFORE

SWEDISH • DEEP TISSUE REFLEXOLOGY • SHOWERS STEAM ROOM • GIFT CERTIFICATES WALK-INS WELCOME

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  FEATURE

STORY

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MARYAL DR

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EASTERN AVE

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ARTS&CULTURE 

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Massage Therapy

BH SPA

Massage

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SN&R   |  12.19.13

Sacramento 95823

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*Nominal fee for adult entertainment. All advertising is subject to the newspaper’s Standards of Acceptance. Further, the News & Review specifically reserves the right to edit, decline or properly classify any ad. Errors will be rectified by re-publication upon notification. The N&R is not responsible for error after the first publication. The N&R assumes no financial liability for errors or omission of copy. In any event, liability shall not exceed the cost of the space occupied by such an error or omission. The advertiser and not the newspaper assumes full responsibility for the truthful content of their advertising message.

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916.681.5573 BEFORE

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facebook.com/citylimitsshowgirls

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STORY

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Give in to yours! wildest fantasie

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54 

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by LOVELLE HARRIS

BREZSNY

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Life is best

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The Italian

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Here’s a

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Between

organized as a series of daring ventures from a secure base,” wrote psychologist John Bowlby. Some of you Aries enjoy the “daring venture” part of that formula, but neglect the “secure base” aspect. That’s why your daring ventures may on occasion go awry. If you are that type of ram, the first half of 2014 will be an excellent time to correct your bad habit. Life will be offering you considerable help and inspiration in building a strong foundation. And if you already appreciate how important it is for your pursuit of excitement to be rooted in well-crafted stability, the coming months will be golden.

tale of three renowned Taurus brainiacs: Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill and Bertrand Russell. They all had IQs over 175 and all made major contributions to philosophy. Yet all three were physically inept. Kant had trouble keeping a sharp point on his writing instrument, the quill, because he was clumsy using a knife. Mill was so undexterous he found it a chore to tie a knot. Russell’s physical prowess was so limited he was incapable of brewing a pot of tea. Chances are that you are neither as brilliant nor as uncoordinated as these three men. And yet, like them, there is a disconnect between your mind and body—some glitch in the way the two of them communicate with each other. The coming year will be an excellent time to heal the disconnect and fix the glitch.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): A

horticultural company in the United Kingdom is selling TomTato plants to home gardeners. Each bush grows both cherry tomatoes and white potatoes. The magic was accomplished through handcrafted hybridization, not genetic engineering. I foresee a comparable marvel in your long-term future, Gemini. I’m not sure about the exact form it will take. Maybe you will create a product or situation that allows you to satisfy two different needs simultaneously. It’s possible you will find a way to express two of your talents in a single mode. Or perhaps you will be able to unite two sides of you that have previously been disbanded. Congratulations in advance!

CANCER (June 21-July 22): “To

destroy is always the first step in any creation,” said the poet E.E. Cummings. Do you buy that idea, Cancerian? I hope so, because the cosmos has scheduled you to instigate some major creative action in 2014. In order to fulfill that potential, you will have to metaphorically smash, burn and dissolve any old structures that have been standing in the way of the future. You will have to eliminate as many of the “yes, buts” and “I can’ts” and “not nows” as you possibly can.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): When did you first

fall from grace? Do you remember? It has happened to most of us. We spend time being privileged or cared about or respected, and then, suddenly, we no longer are. We lose our innocence. Love disappears. Our status as a favorite comes to an end. That’s the bad news, Leo. The good news is that I think the months ahead may be time for you to climb back up to one of those high states of grace that you fell from once upon a time. The omens suggest that even now you’re making yourself ready to rise back up—and sooner than you think, there will be an invitation to do so.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Leonardo da

Vinci created the painting “St. Jerome in the Wilderness” around 1480. It now hangs in the Vatican Pinacoteca, a museum in Vatican City. For several centuries, though, the treasured work of art was missing. Legend tells us that in the early 19th century, Napoleon’s uncle found the lower half of the painting in a junk shop in Rome. Years later, he stumbled upon the top half in another back alley, where it was being used as a wedge in a shoemaker’s bench. I foresee the possibility of a comparable sequence unfolding for you in 2014, Virgo. You just may manage to restore a lost beauty to its proper place of honor, one step at a time.

BEFORE

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NEWS

PHOTO BY LOVELLE HARRIS

by ROB

For the week of December 19, 2013

painter Tintoretto (1518-1594) was a Libra. He worked with such vigor and passion that he was nicknamed Il Furioso—The Furious. One of his crowning achievements was his painting “Paradise,” which is 74 feet long and 30 feet tall—about the size of a tennis court. It adorns a huge wall in the Doge’s Palace, a landmark in Venice. I propose that Tintoretto serve as one of your inspirational role models in 2014. The coming months will be an excellent time for you to work hard at crafting your own personal version of paradise on Earth. You may not be so wildly robust to deserve the title “Il Furioso.” But then again, you might. 2002 and 2009, Buddhist monk Endo Mitsunaga spent 1,000 days meditating as he did a ceremonial walk around Mount Hiei in Japan. In 2006, English writer Dave Cornthwaite took 90 days to skateboard across the entire length of Australia, a distance of 3,618 miles. The first man’s intentions were spiritual, the second man’s adventurous. The coming months will be prime time for you to contemplate both kinds of journeys, Scorpio. The astrological omens suggest that you will generate extra good fortune for yourself by seeking out unfamiliar experiences on the open road. To get yourself in the mood, ruminate on the theme of pilgrimage.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):

Many farms in California’s Tulare County grow produce for supermarket chains. Here’s the problem: Those big stores only want fruits and vegetable that look perfect. So if there are brown spots on the apples or if the zucchinis grow crooked or if the carrots get too big, they are rejected. As a result, 30 percent of the crops go unharvested. That’s sad because a lot of poor people who live in Tulare don’t have enough to eat. Fortunately, some enterprising food activists have begun to work out arrangements with farmers to collect the wasted produce and distribute it to the hungry folks. I gather there’s a comparable situation in your life, Sagittarius: unplucked resources and ignored treasures. In 2014, I hope you take dramatic action to harvest and use them.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):

Derrick Brown has a poem titled “Pussycat Interstellar Naked Hotrod Mofo Ladybug Lustblaster!” I hope that at least once in 2014 you will get up the nerve to call someone you love by that name. Even if you can’t quite bring yourself to utter those actual words, it will be healing for you to get to the point where you feel wild enough to say them. Here’s what I’m driving at, Capricorn: In the coming months, you will be wise to shed any inhibitions that have interfered with you getting all of the freeflowing intimacy you’d love to have.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): “Artists who are content merely to hone their gifts eventually come to little,” said the Belgian writer Simon Leys. “The ones who truly leave their mark have the strength and the courage to explore and exploit their shortcomings.” I’d like to borrow that wisdom and provide it for you to use in 2014, Aquarius. Even if you’re not an artist, you will be able to achieve an interesting kind of success if you’re willing to make use of the raw materials and untapped potential of your so-called flaws and weaknesses. Whatever is unripe in you will be the key to your creativity.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In 2014, you

will have the mojo to escape a frustration that has drained you and pained you for a long time. I mean you can end its hold on you for good. The coming months will also provide you with the chance to activate and cultivate a labor of love that will last as long as you live. While this project may not bloom overnight, it will reveal its staying power in dramatic fashion. And you will be able to draw on the staunch faith you’ll need to devote yourself to it until its full blessings ripen.

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. |

F E AT U R E

STORY

Spirit animal: dragon If you’ve ever wanted an opportunity to go toe to toe with Guy Kemp after seeing him toss out a rowdy partier at Ace of Spades, the Monte Carlo Club or Pour House, then sign up for a class at his Moore’s Martial Arts of Citrus Heights studio (6917 Greenback Lane). Just keep in mind, Kemp isn’t just a bouncer: He also has a black belt, specializing in shou shu, an ancient sevensystem, weapons-free style of combat that reportedly harnesses the power of different animals to develop one’s fighting skills. Each system is based on the movements of a particular animal: bear, tiger, mongoose, white crane, praying mantis, cobra and imperial dragon. SN&R chatted with Kemp to learn more about the art of shou shu and brick-breaking videos and, most importantly, to debate the importance of Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris.

What inspired you to get into martial arts? I grew up in the Bay Area where there’s a lot of ... Asian culture. [I was also inspired by] watching kung fu movies. Growing up playing baseball and always being an athlete, I wanted to jump into something that was new. A friend of mine told me to look at a [shou shu] school in Hayward, and I fell in love with it. From there, I traveled from Tracy to Stockton to Modesto, Turlock and so on, and it just grew into this huge thing [for me], and it became a career.

Speaking of martialarts movies, what’s your favorite?

the fight [scenes], the story, everything about it.

Describe shou shu. It’s an unarmed combat system [used] to achieve physical fitness, and it builds confidence in oneself. It’s a system of self-defense which combines a vast array of pressure points and joint-locking techniques, [such as] chin na, with kicking, punching, throwing and falling, which is shuai-chiao, and fighting techniques into a dynamic “soft-style,” emphasizing speed, fluidity and power. It’s a form of kung fu—it’s a Chinese system.

How long have you been practicing? Since I was 23. I am 35 [now].

Why did you open your own studio? I just absolutely love teaching, I love helping people. No matter what your age—if you’re a kid, you’re an open book. Little kids just want to be the ninja, Spider-Man, Batman, you know, and they don’t have all the years of experience to cloud their mind. They’re just an open book. Then you have those who just want to set a new goal. You have ladies out there who have been attacked. You have young kids who need that confidence [and] adults as well. You have people in their 60s and [older] who just want to do something new and work out. Martial arts just isn’t about learning how to fight, it’s developing confidence, it’s setting new goals and achieving new things in your life.

I like Fist of Legend with Jet Li. It’s a really good movie, the choreography [is incredible], and I just love the movie—the action,

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A RT S & C U LT U R E

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AFTER

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The videos out there showing people breaking bricks with their heads, is that for real? Some people can make it a trick, and some people can really do it, and if you’re going to learn that, learn how to really do it. To learn that focus takes a lot of discipline. We don’t really break bricks at this school. I don’t teach you how to break bricks.

What do you say to someone who walks through your studio door for the first time? It comes down to, “Let me show you what our art is about.” So, I will give you a free lesson or I will give you a week of free lessons to see if you’re going to like it or not. Some people are going to love it, and some people are going to say, “Hey, it’s not for me.” OK, no problem. … But the major thing is I’m going to teach you lessons to see if you’re going to like it or not. You’re going to learn how to throw me around, and I’m [6-foot-4] and almost 300 pounds, and I’m going to teach you how to throw me over your shoulder. Once you’ve walked through that door, you’re going to understand that you’re becoming a part of a family. You’re going to work out, you’re going to sweat. You’re going to learn how to defend yourself.

Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris? Wow, that’s a good question because I grew up watching both of them. Bruce Lee was that first guy on the film screen that everybody idolized, but Chuck Norris was that guy who could kick butt, you know? And he had the Delta Force movies. I’ll say Bruce Lee because of how cool he was, but I do like Chuck Norris. Ω

12.19.13

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