Page 1

The anTiOscars see Arts&Culture, page 18

BAttle over the BAttle to

legalize

weed see News, page 9

Stop being So irrational! see Streetalk, page 4

K.J.’s pep rAlly see Bites, page 11 see Greenlight, page 12 see editorial, page 13

the Quentin tarantino of selfies see 15 Minutes, page 47

Sacramento’S newS & entertainment weekly

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Volume 25, iSSue 45

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thurSday, february 20, 2014


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34

City of fees In 2003, Sacramento adopted a new entertainment-permit policy. This made it illegal for businesses to, for example, host bands or deejays unless they received an entertainment permit. Individuals couldn’t put on one-time-only events without approval, either. Hello, fees! It now costs a few thousand bucks, renewable every two years, for an entertainment permit. Plus, up to $300 a night for security. And there are all sorts of other fees and rules. Smaller venues, such as coffeehouses, net zero dollars on events. Certain music scenes get priced out. Over the years, I’ve put on a few events. It’s a frustrating experience. I’m not blaming city employees. Here’s the issue: Events cost a ton, and most people don’t make money. For instance, last summer, I put on a block party near Franklin Boulevard. A free event. Thousands attended. Even the mayor and his wife. I didn’t make a dime. Yet I somehow had to come up with permit and application fees, hundreds for roadclosure costs and police presence, more than $800 for a fire-department inspection (that took less than eight minutes!), event insurance, county health-department fees, and on and on. Thankfully, citizens stepped up to help. But imagine all the people who want to put on events and don’t because the costs are too daunting. At one point, Mayor Kevin Johnson declared Sacramento a “City of Festivals.” What a joke. If anything, we’re the City of Fees. The City of Red Tape. Yes, there need to be rules, things need to be safe. But when the city council updates its events-permit policy this spring, it should make life easier for the everyday Sacramentan who wants to celebrate and make a difference.

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18

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Client Publications Writer/Copy Editor Mike Blount Client Publications Staff Writer Meredith Graham Executive Coordinator Jessica Takehara Directors of First Impressions Alicia Brimhall, Matt Kjar Distribution Director Greg Erwin Distribution Services Assistant Larry Schubert Distribution Drivers Mansour Aghdam, 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

Kel Munger, 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. Co-editors Rachel Leibrock, Nick Miller Staff Writers Janelle Bitker, 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, Cody Drabble, Joey Garcia, Blake Gillespie, Becky Grunewald, Mark Halverson, Jeff Hudson, Jim Lane, Greg Lucas, Garrett McCord,

—Nick Miller

Director of Advertising and Sales Rick Brown Senior Advertising Consultants Rosemarie Messina, Joy Webber Advertising Consultants Joseph Barcelon, 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

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Developer John Bisignano System Support Specialist Kalin Jenkins 1124 Del Paso Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95815 Phone (916) 498-1234 Sales Fax (916) 498-7910 Editorial Fax (916) 498-7920 Website www.newsreview.com SN&R is printed by The Paradise Post using recycled newsprint whenever available. Editorial Policies Opinions expressed in SN&R are those of the authors and not of Chico Community Publishing, Inc. Contact the editor for permission to reprint articles, cartoons or other portions of the paper. SN&R is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts. All letters received become the property of the publisher. We reserve the right to print letters in condensed form and to edit them for libel. Advertising Policies All advertising is subject to the newspaper’s Standards of Acceptance. The advertiser and not the newspaper assumes full responsibility for the truthful content of their advertising message.

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“Weird creatures will get me.”

Asked at Riverside Avenue and Cirby Way in Roseville:

What is your irrational fear?

Sami Doner

Konstantin Krasnov

store worker

Erika Chester

general contractor

Birds! My co-worker was laughing at me the other day because we had a customer come in with a bird on her shoulder. I panicked. I had to run to the back of the store to calm myself down. I was shaking. I could not catch my breath. It is not that bad unless they are really close to me.

The one thing [for me] is public speaking. I tried to do it a couple of times. It is a big issue. I tried taking classes, but I ended up canceling, because I had too much fear of being in front of the class.

student

I don’t like things like Y2K. I don’t like thinking that we could lose all of our modern conveniences. I end up having a lot of dry, stored food. … [I] could probably hole up in my house for four weeks. I wouldn’t have to go shopping. Isn’t that going overboard?

Dimitri Marr

Clarisa Veras

sandwich artist

I have always had this fear of really large bodies of water. Pools are fine, but there is something about the ocean and how mysterious it is. The thought of how massive it is makes me almost dizzy. I imagine I will just keep sinking, and weird creatures will get me.

Spanish-language professor

I think about it every day. I am afraid that people are not going to be in control of their vehicles. I think I am going have to swerve and hit something and be in a very serious accident. It may be irrational because not everyone is driving in a very careless way.

Jamie Brown cashier

Bugs! Any kind of bug. I used to eat bugs. Isn’t that disgusting? I would eat snails. [I was] a baby. I have boys, and they bring all kinds of things. … My youngest one thought it was funny to jump in my car and put worms in my face. I freak out, start crying. I laugh at the same time.

Ari Shaffir

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02.20.14


Email your letters to sactoletters@newsreview.com.

Oak Park and gentrification

Caring for Oak Park

Re “Oak Park’s new kicks” by Lovelle Harris  (SN&R Feature Story, February 13): This was an interesting article. I lived  in Oak Park for nearly 19 years, and I saw  a lot of positive changes throughout. But I  never considered Oak Park to be a ghetto.  Maybe the perception is that it’s occupied  by mostly people of color, particularly black  people, and that tag seems to be fitting for  most people who live outside of the area.  The latest demographic census shows that  whites have migrated  letteR of to this neighborhood  the week in droves, and black  dwellers actually decreased. There is also  a moderate percentage of Hispanics and  Asians who occupy Oak Park. I do believe  that Oak Park is heading in the direction of  gentrification, because you see new homes  being built, renovation of older homes, and  a few influx of businesses. Gentrification  would’ve came much sooner if it wasn’t for  the recession that hit in 2007. There is still  some crime, but its seems to be branching  out in all areas of Sacramento. But I love the  diversity of Oak Park, and I hope it continues to be revitalized. Anthony Jordan

S acr am en t o

Re “Oak Park’s new kicks” by Lovelle Harris (SN&R Feature Story, February 13): In 2012, I relocated my studio and gallery into Oak Park right beside The Broadway Triangle, the Patris Studio and Art Gallery. I am so excited to be part of my community here in Oak Park as a resident and business owner: It’s a great place to live, work, and play with so many wonderful and interesting people. I have seen a lot of changes since I first moved in, but the one constant factor through all of this change has been the strong core of community-minded residents who are passionate about Oak Park and work together to create a better place. Patris via email

A bridge to Costco Re “No passage” by Nick Miller (SN&R News, February 13): Let me say, first off, I’m not in favor of this project. But if it is built, what is needed is not a third access route from Midtown or East Sacramento, but rather a bridge across the American River to the area of Costco. Not only would this channel some of the traffic away from the residential neighborhoods on the south side of the river, but

it would also have the secondary advantage of providing a nonfreeway route for East Sacramento residents to the Royal Oaks area. Sure, this traffic would be passing through the new neighborhood, but isn’t that a fair trade for the additional traffic in the McKinley Park area? Steve Miller East Sacramento

4,000 bad jobs? Re “Conflicts of interest” by Nick Miller (SN&R Editor’s Note, February 13): Please explain to me why we should be going after all these low-pay, no-benefit, no-future jobs that are part and parcel of the arena, hotels, shops and restaurants?They are called “service sector” jobs for a reason: They service the powers that be. Karen Solberg Sacramento

Nuclear energy solves drought? Re “Beyond a reasonable drought” by Alastair Bland (SN&R Feature Story, February 6): We are in a severe drought, and the longest drought in our history lasted 300

years. During that drought, people were born, lived and died without ever having seen rain. California currently consumes 40 million acre-feet of fresh water per year. Nuclear reactors, powering modern reverse-osmosis desalination plants, could provide us with this amount of fresh water at $400 per acre-foot. That is what the rest of the world is doing. We would never fear drought again. But wait! Nuclear reactors are illegal in California! Deuteronomy advises us not to drink sand when thirsty! Let our politicians pass a law, which allows us to drink sand when thirsty! This would be the most innovative thing they could do! Arthur Collins Rio Linda

Corrections SN&R neglected to identify Dave Estis as co-founder of Oak Park Brewing Company in last week’s cover story (“Oak Park’s new kicks” by Lovelle Harris). In last week’s News story on McKinley Village (“No passage” by Nick Miller), the writer incorrectly reported the number of vehicle trips the project would generate each day, according to the city environmental report. The correct number is 3,500.

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2/14/14 3:39 PM


building a

HealtHy S a c r a m e n t o

Handing Down Health by S h a n n o n S p r i n g m e y e r

I

t started around the kitchen table over a bowl of homemade soup. Three friends, who were all educators, African American women and mothers, discovered they had something else in common: each had seen the effects of diabetes impact her own family. “We discovered because of the experiences our families were having that there was really a serious problem,” says Sharon Chandler, whose table served as that initial forum. “And we just took on the charge of doing something about it in whatever capacity we could.” Toni Perry-Colley, a retired parent educator from the Sacramento City Unified School District, explains that type 2 diabetes is sometimes perceived as an inevitable rite of passage in the African American community, despite the fact that it is preventable. According to the American Diabetes Association, African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes and are almost twice as likely to develop the disease as compared to non-Hispanic whites. This, however, was not the legacy these mothers wanted to leave for the next generation. So Chandler, Perry-Colley, and their friend Cloteal Herron launched the African American Women’s Health Legacy (AAWHL) as a program of the nonprofit Yes2Kollege Education Resources, Inc., headed by Chandler. Their goal is to empower African American women of all ages in the Oak Park and South Sacramento areas to leave a lasting legacy of healthy habits to their families. “We first looked at where the problem really stems, and it stems from our eating habits and our lifestyle. And then we looked at who has control

of that in the family, and it’s usually the female,” explains Chandler. “So that’s why we said we should work with women and empower them to make good and better decisions about what we were going to feed our families, from the very beginning.”

“we discovered because of the experiences our families were having that there was really a serious problem.” Sharon Chandler, executive director of the african american Women’s Health legacy

more than 150 who have participated in its health education and advocacy programs, expanding through its participants’ family and friend relationships. Participants have gone on to become advocates for health within their communities, engaging in Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s Indivisible meetings, an assembly of African Americans who gather monthly to discuss issues facing the community. Colley-Perry says this is exactly the goal of AAWHL. “The legacy is that they start owning their own community and participating and developing advocacy and leadership opportunities for themselves, not just through us,” she says.

BuIldIng HEalTHy COmmunITIES In 2010, The California Endowment launched a 10-year, $1 billion plan to improve the health of 14 challenged communities across the state. Over the 10 years, residents, community-based organizations and public institutions will work together to address the socioeconomic and environmental challenges contributing to the poor health of their communities. Toni Colley-Perry, left, and Sharon Chandler, center, co-founders of the african american Women’s Health legacy, discuss future events to be held at The Brickhouse gallery in Oak Park with the gallery’s director, Barbara Range, right. Photo by Louise Mitchell

AAWHL, which is supported by a grant from The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative, has partnered with local groups to provide a variety of programs to educate women on preventing and managing diabetes, hypertension and obesity. The group has joined with Dignity Health to offer a sixweek diabetes management class, linked up with UC Davis School of Medicine to provide free medical care to uninsured women, invited a podiatrist to speak about diabetic foot care, and even visited a local farm to learn about buying and preparing healthy, local fruits and vegetables. Recently, AAWHL has partnered with The Brickhouse Gallery in Oak Park to host Covered California health care outreach events. In the little more than a year since its inception, AAWHL has grown from three women to

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

paid with a grant from the california endowment 6 

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www.SacBHC.org


Legalize it now or later? See NEWS

See GREENLIGHT

12

Atheists’ dilemma See ESSAY

13

photo by lovelle hairs

9

K.J.’s big pep rally

Watch your Step Can Sacramento’s  main homelessness  organization succeed  without increased  political support? One floor above a bookstore, Shamus Roller hits a switch and watches the flat surface by of his standing desk hum up to meet Raheem him. He acquired the trendy office tech F. Hosseini after herniating a disc in his lanky back. Understandable, considering the youthful ra h eemh@ newsr eview.c om 36-year-old spent the past four months carrying Sacramento Steps Forward. Formed less than three years ago to brainstorm solutions to end homelessness and dispense federal housing grants, Steps Forward nearly lost a war of attrition this past fall. Financial issues forced it to lay off six staffers. Around the same time, its executive director abruptly resigned amid rumors of misspent funds. And a combination of shallow pockets and delayed federal checks meant Steps Forward couldn’t do its job of fronting payments to service providers like Volunteers of America. While that last issue hasn’t been resolved, Roller has done what he can to pull Steps Forward from the brink. He’s secured funding that will put the streamlined outfit “back in black,” and just in time for a new director to take over in March. But questions about the future remain. Critics argue that Sacramento County, which previously administrated homelessness grants, never fully committed to a transition of authority that would mean firmer financial footing for Steps Forward. A promised “joint-powers” alignment of the region’s housing policies never materialized. And even a surprise $1 million funding commitment from the city of Sacramento last week may come with businessappeasing strings. As Sacramento County enters the final two years of its “10-year plan to end homelessness,” the public-private centerpiece created to resolve this very humanitarian crisis is still learning to walk. One night before Mayor Kevin Johnson pumped an adoring State of the City crowd with arena bluster, his Sacramento City Council colleagues made a less-heralded announcement. During a sparsely attended midyear budget hearing on February 11, Councilmen Jay Schenirer, Steve Hansen and Steve Cohn revealed they had been quietly meeting with Roller to brainstorm ways to get homeless residents more help. BEFORE

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Shamus Roller, who runs the statewide nonprofit Housing California, has been filling in as Sacramento Steps Forward’s caretaker director since October 2013. Last week, the public-private partnership announced it has selected a new permanent director.

“For a number of years, this city has kind of punted to the county to deal with this issue,” said Schenirer, who called the $100,000 spent annually on motel vouchers “a Band-Aid.” By the end of the night, the council— minus K.J., who was dining at the White House—agreed to steer $1 million in general-fund savings to Steps Forward for unspecified programs envisioned to benefit the city’s chronically homeless. The “chronic” tag is used to describe single, adult men who have been homeless for more than a year or for multiple periods of time. The category also accounts for the smallest share of Sacramento’s homeless residents, according to point-in-time figures and homeless experts. Before the vote, Hansen tried to explain why the city favored spending money on this population. “They’re not only a danger to themselves, they really impact everyone around them,” he reasoned. “They defecate on themselves, they leave things for everyone else, they’re screaming on the corner.” He added that they often present significant physical and mental-health issues, and are more likely to tax emergency rooms, shelters and jails. They’re also more likely to piss off the local business community, a desired partner in the new, unfolding effort. Which may be one reason why Steps Forward last week named Ryan Loofbourrow its incoming executive director. Loofbourrow spent the past 20 years running homeless-outreach teams for downtown business partnerships in San Diego and Sacramento, and said he has an “eye toward the impacts the homeless population can have on the business district.” STORY

As the dominoes align for a publicly financed sports arena, local elected officials are paying more attention to those who rack up public-nuisance complaints, not the families who quietly stock church shelters or double- and triple-up in motels. Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, said this division comes at a potential cost. According to Erlenbusch, the number of homeless families and chronically homeless adults in Sacramento County and around the region is increasing. He said a conservative estimate for Sacramento County is between 2,500 to 7,500 homeless individuals at any given time, though school districts say Sacramento County is home to nearly 12,000 school-age homeless children. “The flawed thinking is … after five or 10 years [of prioritizing programs for the chronically homeless] then that frees up resources to address families and blah, blah, blah,” Erlenbusch said. Hospitals and law-enforcement agencies are more likely to keep any savings they realize than invest them in affordablehousing trust funds, he added. A request from Councilwoman Angelique Ashby may lead to some of the money being set aside for families. Yet low-cost housing for the working poor remains a critical need, Roller said. One of the biggest causes of homelessness is when someone “can’t afford where they’re living, and they don’t have another thing lined up,” he explained. “Having affordable housing in our community is a really essential prevention program.” But there hasn’t been much political appetite for such policies. Sacramento County recently scrapped its pioneering

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inclusionary-housing ordinance in the hopes of spurring residential development. Sacramento city officials are considering doing the same. As nice a surprise at it was, the city’s $1 million investment won’t address Steps Forward’s biggest financial challenge. The county used to facilitate federal grants to homeless service providers. When it backed out of that role, Steps Forward went from being a policy initiative to a full-on grant-juggling operation. Albeit one with much shallower pockets. The county could pay service providers with its own money when federal reimbursements were slow to trickle in. Steps Forward can’t. Housing advocates believe the county should do what it did when it privatized Meals on Wheels, and provide Steps Forward a zero-interest “float” so that it can pay providers until checks from the Department of Housing and Urban Development arrive. The county would be fully reimbursed and providers wouldn’t risk closing programs or laying off staff, they say. “It’s the responsibility of the county, because they’re the ones who created it,” Erlenbusch remarked. “And then they bailed.” Roller said the current setup forces service providers to take out interestbearing lines of credit. Talks between the county Department of Health and Human Services and Steps Forward are occurring, but it remains to be seen whether a fix is at hand. “From my perspective, the county ought to play a role in making sure the providers aren’t out-of-pocket for months on end,” he said. “And Sacramento Steps Forward should play a role, too.” Ω

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“The senses are said to be superior to the body. The mind is superior to the senses and the intellect is superior to the mind. That which is superior to the intellect is He, Atman, Self.” – Bhagavad Gita (Song of the Lord) Chap 3.42 8   |   SN&R   |   02.20.14

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Sacramento Kings minority owner  Shaquille O’Neal and rookie Ben McLemore  teamed up for a Kings-themed dunk last  weekend at the 2014 NBA All-Star party.  McLemore came out in a lavish robe, and  proceeded to jump over Shaq—seated in a  gold throne—on his way to a dunk (which  he finally made on the second try). Then,  Shaq crowned him with a rhinestoneencrusted piece of victory headgear. It  looked good for the young King—until  John Wall of the Washington Wizards  slammed down a two-handed reverse jam  and won the contest.

- 504

Fight at the museum Paul and Renee Snider, whose  Elk Grove home boasts a  treasure trove of trophyhunt taxidermic animals,  last year planned to buy  the California Automobile  Museum and turn it into a  “natural history museum” of  their hunting prizes. But this  week, the couple scrapped the plan. Scorekeeper is relieved:  We don’t like to see wild and  threatened species hunted,  and we don’t want to see them  on public display in the city.

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Pliny, whiny Yes, Scorekeeper likes beer. But we  don’t know yet who will have Pliny the  Younger during Sacramento Beer Week.  Stop asking. Go pound a Schlitz. illUsTrATiOn by briAn breneMAn And MelissA ArendT

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- 11

Gossip grill

IRS vs. 420

Bad rumor mill, bad. Twitter  and the Internets—and even  one media outlet—buzzed  on Monday that Tuli Bistro,  the cool Midtown eatery with  a neighborhood feel, was  closing. That turned out to  be true, but minus points to  Sacto’s eager-beaver, sewingcircle, chit-chatter contingent  and the ravenous way it  churns out restaurant-scene  gossip. Tsk, tsk. 

North Sacramento pot dispensary  Canna Care is challenging the IRS,  which is demanding a back-pay tax  penalty of $873,167, according to Peter  Hecht of The Sacramento Bee. The IRS  won’t let Canna Care write off basic  business expenses, like employee  salaries—which basically amounts to  IRS harassment. But the coolest thing:  Canna Care was offered a $100,000  settlement fine by the IRS, but the  owners told the them no way. “To me,  that’s buying protection money,” one  owner told the Bee. Scorekeeper says,  “Hell yeah!” Way to tell the man to  smoke it.

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2014 vs. 2016

BEATS

Local marijuana advocates debate   when to shoot for cannabis legalization

Safe house and sound In the end, they’ll say it was love that saved the Sacramento Senior Safe House from a feared Valentine’s Day closure.

say more research and education is needed in order to ensure marijuana prohibition ends in California the right way—in 2016. In fact, Newsom just launched a two-year research plan focusing on how to best legalize recreational marijuana. He will lead a panel of 16 experts that include professors and medical professionals to study legal and policy issues. Lanette Davies, who owns local dispensary Canna Care, warns that waiting for 2016 is a mistake. “Keep it in the hands of the people. We need to take control. Relying on our politicians and the

CCHI’s Buddy Duzy says now is the time for legalization. “I think California wants to legalize marijuana,” he told SN&R. “General thinking says the 2016 election brings out more, and younger, voters. But we believe that 2014 will bring out the same demographics that others seek in 2016.” In order to qualify, each measure needs to collect more than 500,000 signatures from registered voters within a 150-day period. CCHI’s signature deadline is this week, February 24. According to Duzy, volunteers have gathered more than 200,000 signatures so far. MCLR began gathering its first round of signatures at the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup on February 8, in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Drug Policy Alliance and also Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, with the support of the American Civil Liberties Union, oppose putting a measure on the 2014 ballot. Instead, these advocates

federal government to approve it for us has not gotten us anywhere,” she said. Davies has collected “thousands of signatures for both initiatives,” she said, but supports MCLR because “activists across the entire state” gave input on that legalization effort.

ILLUSTRATION BY BRIAN BRENEMAN

Many advocates for the legalization of marijuana have focused on this November’s ballot, but a greater by debate also has sparked: whether or Steph Rodriguez not proponents instead should zero in on the 2016 presidential election, when some say legalization has a stronger shot. Two initiatives already approved by the secretary of state’s office for signature-gathering—the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative and the recent Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act—aim to land on the 2014 ballot. If passed by voters, they would legalize the plant in many forms.

Marijuana activists mostly agree that the plant should be legalized—but there’s an ongoing debate over whether to target the 2014 or 2016 ballot.

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“But we believe that 2014 will bring out the same demographics that others seek in 2016.” Buddy Duzy marijuana-legalization advocate Both may have a good shot at becoming law, if they get enough signatures. In December 2013, a Field Poll showed that 56 percent of Californians favored the adoption of

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the proposed CCHI measure, also known among advocates as the Jack Herer Initiative, while only 39 percent would vote “no,” and a mere 5 percent had no opinion on the matter. With Colorado and Washington’s support in the legalization of cannabis, backers of the proposed bill, like Americans for Safe Access’ Sacramento chapter’s president Richard Miller, hope for success. “This is the first initiative that has come forward that addresses the needs of patients and the public,” he said. “I’m hoping that [it] goes through, because we need something for the patients and the public. Times have changed.” Miller, an advocate for the medical-cannabis movement since the early ’90s, openly admits to his opposition of Proposition 19 in 2010, but says he fully supports this new initiative because it reflects a need for direct legislation at the Capitol, and ultimately forces state government to address the issue of cannabis for personal and medical use head-on. Yet he also voiced concerns. Specifically, he worries legalization will impact medical-cannabis research and access for legitimate patients. “I’m worried ... that patients may get dropped off,” he said, adding, “there’s going to be a lot of work involved ... but I think it does give legitimacy to medical patients, and hopefully, it also gets the ball rolling for additional research.” According to Americans for Policy Reform member and Sacramento NORML executive director Bob Bowerman, the MCLR Act would give the cannabis industry muchneeded statewide regulation. “We’re not saying just legalize it. Legalize it, and do it right,” Bowerman said. “To create an initiative and leave it up to the Legislature to regulate is pretty scary. If they haven’t been able to do it with medical [cannabis], how do you think they are going to do it with recreational?” Although Bowerman is a co-author of the MCLR measure, he says he is a man of unity within the cannabis movement and supports both initiatives. “For Sac NORML, we’re behind everyone that’s trying to make a positive difference in cannabis,” he explained. “We don’t look at either initiative as competition. We’re all going for the same basic thing.” Ω

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Due to a publicity push that included coverage by SN&R, the community-funded safe house raised nearly $200,000 in less than a month to cover losses, mostly from a long-term donor who died last year. The shelter, which takes in approximately 50 abused and neglected seniors a month, will now remain open through June, when additional funding commitments are set to ensure the program’s fate well into 2015. Christie J. Holderegger, chief development officer for Volunteers of America Northern California & Northern Nevada, which runs the program, credited “donors from every walk of life” with saving the one-of-a-kind program. “Our organization and the seniors we serve are overcome with gratitude,” she said in a February 11 release. The seniors that are brought to the home—a one-story estate in a quiet neighborhood—often have been abused or taken advantage of by family members and caregivers. Most need relocation services. Some need their banking information changed. Others are in a state of self-neglect: They haven’t paid their utility bills or bought food, and no one’s checked on them in weeks. The homeless seniors the safe house serves aren’t typically the chronically homeless, but may have surrendered their homes to reverse-mortgage schemes or lost jobs. Program director Juanita Daniel could count three different cases where a client’s Social Security insurance was hacked and drained. Sacramento County’s Adult Protective Services unit, which refers clients to the safe house, conducted 3,219 senior abuse investigations last year, slightly less than the previous year, even though it received a thousand more calls than in 2012. The unit confirmed roughly 35 percent of the allegations in 2013, while about 30 percent were inconclusive. APS program manager Ruth MacKenzie said financial abuse has overtaken health and wellness complaints as the primary crime against seniors. Though the shelter opened at the height of the recession in 2009, Holderegger said it took about a year to see its ripples at the shelter, which has taken in approximately 245 people. One of those individuals is named John. The 70-year-old muddled through a frosty winter, one in which he spent a couple of the coldest nights indoors at the Union Gospel Mission, where he made due with the lockdown conditions and 4 a.m. wake-up calls. “Not like here,” John smiled during a recent interview. John spends his days walking the spacious grounds, chatting with a fellow client and watching television. He hopes that, when he leaves, he’ll have someplace to go. APS and the volunteers at the safe house are both trying to make that happen. They now have the time to do so. (Raheem F. Hosseini)

Hipster heaven Ah, the eternal question: Who’s more tolerable, hipster or drug dealer? Oak Park resident Kimberley Moen considered the options while speaking of absentee landlords and crime during a Sacramento City Council meeting last Tuesday night. In reference to her group’s efforts to increase home ownership and drive out “our absent, greedy and thoughtless landlords,” Moen, co-chair of the Oak Park Neighborhood Association’s volunteer committee, cited a recent Sacramento Business Journal article that suggested Oak Park might be a desirable neighborhood for home-shopping hipsters. “I don’t know if that’s the best thing, for hipsters to be moving into, but it’s better than pushers and dealers,” she told council members. There you have it: Hipsters are slightly more welcome in Oak Park than drug dealers. (RFH)

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The name game Want a bridge or freeway named   after you? Here’s the skinny. Bummer for James “Sunny Jim� Rolph. The charismatic mayor of San Francisco from 1912 to 1931, who died in office broke as California’s 27th governor, got his bridge taken away again. Just the other day, Sunny Jim’s bridge—at least the western half of it—got renamed for another flamboyant San Francisco mayor: Willie Lewis Brown Jr. At a ceremony Brown hosted on Treasure Island, he was S A C U by GREG L asked if the Rolph family had called. Brown curtly replied, caplowdown@newsreview.com “No.� Apparently, jokes about the lineage of a man’s bridge are as off-limits as ones about its length. In 1936, the state Toll Bridge Authority wanted to name the bridge after Rolph, as tribute to the dead governor’s efforts in getting the structure built. Joeseph R. Knowland, a Republican kingmaker and publisher of the Oakland Tribune, shit-canned the idea—perhaps thinking that his successful lobbying of Congress and president for $62 million to begin construction, warranted his name on the world’s longest bridge. In 1986, at the bridge’s golden anniversary, a plaque finally recognized the bridge as Sunny Jim’s.

Apparently, jokes about the lineage of a man’s bridge are as off-limits as ones about its length.

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10   |   SN&R   |   02.20.14

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

Of course, everyone still calls it the “Bay Bridge� and still will despite the Legislature bogarting Sunny Jim with a 2013 resolution in favor of Brown. According to Brown, doing so has bipartisan appeal. Brown recounts that a “tea-bag guy� (presumably “tea party� guy) accosted him and said he looked forward to “rolling over� Brown daily. By any yardstick, Brown is a pioneering politician: First AfricanAmerican Assembly speaker, longest tenure as same, first AfricanAmerican mayor of San Francisco and so on. Having half of the secondmost-trafficked bridge in the country named after him is a terrific tribute. But when does the name game end? Gov. Jerry Brown opposes naming any of California’s public works after people, although the state’s

north-south aqueduct is named after his father, the champion of its creation. But governors have no authority to block the Legislature’s naming efforts, and so events like the following will happen more and more often: A while back, lawmakers were going to name part of the East Bay’s Interstate 680 after a former colleague who had represented the area. One elderly Californian named Donald D. Doyle opposed the move, because the section of highway was already named after him in recognition of his securing the funding to build it back in the 1950s. Doyle won, but who knows what happens now that he’s dead. Caltrans’ most recent tally of namings was in 2011. There are more than 700 individuals or entities whose name graces a few miles of highway, an overpass, an interchange, a tunnel, a bridge, a rest area or a memorial plaque. Far more parts of the highway system are named after places and persons—often killed-inthe-line-of-duty peace officers—than former lawmakers. Drive an hour or two in any direction on any major thoroughfare for proof the name game is escalating. The state Senate called for a Caltrans study of this proliferation— in 1962. The report led lawmakers to place a moratorium on new namings. Caltrans updated the report in 1967. It recommended future names embrace geographic and historical features, not be memorials. The Legislature thanked Caltrans and, more than 45 years later, continues to ignore their recommendations. The Legislature does claim, however, that its rules demand a person be seriously dead before part of the transportation system can be named after them. As in Brown’s case, exceptions are routinely made. One rule that actually is ironclad requires the person or entity honored to spring for the “vanity� signs on either side of the highway—about $800 to $1,200 a pop. Brown’s signs were being installed as the naming ceremony took place. So, other than clutter, for now, no Californian is really harmed by these shenanigans. But soon some ex-elected official will be quoted saying: “My bridge is bigger than yours,� or, “You want to talk big, check out my interchange.� It’s only a matter of time—and highway miles. Ί


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The mayor continues to use his public office to   raise money for his private groups Mayor Kevin Johnson was fined, again, this month for legal violations involving his network of nonprofit organizations. The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission dinged him for not reporting travel expenses paid for by The Walton Family Foundation, heirs of the Wal-Mart fortune. The travel was to promote Johnson’s education-reform agenda, a personal project which has become increasvIN Ar G ingly tangled up with his public office. o SM by Co Johnson was fined $37,500 in 2012 cosmog@ newsrev iew.c om when he failed to report dozens of “behested payments” to his organizations from various interests like the Walton foundation and Sacramento Kings. Some of that money was used by Johnson’s Think Big Sacramento arena booster group to cook up the phony economic-impact reports that are still being waved around by arena proponents today. The fine this time was a slap on the wrist, just $1,000. This gives the mistaken impression that the problem with Johnson’s network of nonprofits is merely sloppy paperwork. It’s not. The problem is that Johnson has turned the office of the mayor into a fundraising tool for his own pet projects. These behests are blurring the line between the public office and Johnson’s personal business. Just this month, he behested $400,000 from Kaiser Permanente to fund a college-readiness program at his Sacramento Charter High School. The FPPC’s minimal fine just confirms that the mayor’s cost-benefit analysis was right: There are no real consequences for bending and breaking the rules, so let the money flow, and let the slush fund grow. Speaking of K.J. Inc.: The mayor’s State of the City address happened. Bites didn’t go. It was, according to all reports, more of an arena pep rally than an actual report on the state of the city. You know, that territory outside the bubble of Arenaland where the rest of us live? Where the neighborhoods have too many vacant lots and boarded-up storefronts, and where people have serious doubts about the direction the city is headed in. In 2008, candidate Johnson promised a “city that works for everyone.” In 2014, the city only works for those folks on the right team. As for the rest, let them eat nachos. The mayor reportedly promised that unused food from the new arena would go to local food banks. Awfully generous. But hot dogs for homeless people is a long, long way from a solid community-benefits agreement. That’s what cities like Los Angeles and San Diego and others get when they help subsidize sports facilities: written agreements that guarantee tangible benefits in exchange for the considerable costs to the public. In Los Angeles, the community-benefits agreement, or CBA, for the development around the Staples Center included living wages for all jobs in the project area, money for affordable BEFORE

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Call: Fertility Connections 415.383.2553

housing, and investment in neighborhood parks, among other benefits. In San Diego, the Ballpark Village deal included living wages, job-training funds, affordable housing inside the project and a grocery store. That was on top of agreements that not only guaranteed certain types of ancillary development around the stadium site, but also required that the surrounding development generate enough new tax revenue to pay back the city’s bonds. Sacramento is nowhere near getting those sorts of protections.

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That’s from a statement put out by the Sacramento Coalition for Shared Prosperity, after

the mayor’s State of the City address. The coalition of neighborhood, housing, labor and environmental groups has presented the Kings and the city with a list of items that might be in a CBA. But they’ve mostly been blown off. “We have not received a counter-proposal of any kind, and there has been virtually no discussion of the benefits that should be included in the commercial development.” Instead, the Kings are trying the divide-andconquer approach. For example, they bought off Sacramento Area Congregations Together— which had earlier joined the Coalition in pushing for a CBA—by promising 20 to 70 union apprenticeships to be drawn from low-income ZIP codes. In exchange, ACT agreed to file an amicus brief in support of the city’s decision to block a proposed ballot measure on public funding of the arena. The Greater Sacramento Urban League was part of the deal, too. As Bites wrote this column, the fate of the arena ballot measure was still undecided in court. But clearly, the ballot measure was one of the few pieces of leverage that community groups have as they push for a better arena deal. ACT’s somewhat mercenary decision undermines that leverage a little bit more. ACT’s executive director, Ashlin Malouf Splinden said her group wasn’t trying to take sides in the legal fight. “We just support the building of the arena because we think it will bring good jobs,” she explained. It doesn’t take many. Ω

STORY

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State of the City goes pep rally The mayor’s annual speech   was not his finest moment

e

Mayor Kevin Johnson’s State of the City address at Memorial Auditorium last week was one hell of a pep rally. The sound system boomed. The Sacramento Kings announcer emceed the event sounding like, well, the voice of “your Sacramento Kings.” An R&B band opened with a level of professionalism and a shortness of miniskirts rarely found at political events. Then came the national anthem, performed by a church youth choir and the band. They knocked it out of the park. Finally, we were ready for the main attraction, our mayor, Kevin Johnson, who the day before had l ne ae nK Vo by Jeff dined at the White House. It was a great opening. j e ffv @ne wsr e v ie w.c o m Johnson was the humble boy from Oak Park, unable to read the French menu items at the White House. It was a beautiful American story, truly. After some talk about city projects in each of the council districts, it was time for the Kings pep rally. Do not get me wrong, I like pep rallies. They are generally much more enjoyable and entertaining than long, boring political talks. But then, many things are more enjoyable than political talks. Mud wrestling, for instance. A pep rally is designed to inspire the committed and intimidate the uncommitted. Their goal is to convince normally rational athletes to risk bodily harm by throwing themselves in the way of a heavy moving force. And Can you really to do this with vigor and determination. see the arena as But read Johnson’s speech on paper, and it sounds silly. Sacramento’s His overblown rhetoric about Golden Gate Bridge? the arena saving Sacramento— that we should ask no questions about its financing, and that the Arena would define Sacramento—was so over-the-top that it was embarrassing. I mean, can you really see the arena as Sacramento’s Golden Gate Bridge? I support the arena. And I like Mayor Johnson. He has brought new energy to the city. He has a vision. His experience growing up in Oak Park has helped him understand the lives of some of our less powerful citizens. And, unlike many others, he has learned on the job. His understanding of city issues and of the political process is light-years ahead of when he first ran for mayor. And I am impressed that he married someone who clearly has the smarts to challenge him. Jeff vonKaenel There is a lot to like. Only Johnson could have saved is the president, the Kings. But others are accomplishing much without all CEO and majorthe fanfare—Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, ity owner of the News & Review Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Sacramento County newspapers in Supervisor Phil Serna and Sacramento City Councilman Jay Sacramento, Chico Schenirer, to name a few. and Reno. Seeing Johnson at the State of City event, I felt that we needed a little less pep rally and a little more time spent addressing the major issues facing the city. The State of the City may have been the mayor’s finest pep rally. But it was not his finest moment. Ω


This Modern World

by tom tomorrow

The stigma of being an American atheist All of my friends know I’m an atheist. Few SN&R readers Catholic genuflect carried out entirely in probably do. Latin—in which I agreed to go up during by Which, at face value, isn’t surprising. Communion and receive a blessing from the Dave Kempa Life is a lot easier for nonbelievers who keep priest (who, for the record, would not feed their mouths shut in the United States, where me a Jesus wafer). 50 percent of the population find atheism At my grandma’s funeral a few years “threatening,” seven states have laws against later, the priest spent more of his sermon atheists holding office, and a 2003 American warning my sisters and me that we were in Mosaic Project survey determined they danger of spending an eternity in hell than he were the least desirable group for a son- or did honoring my busia’s memory. That one daughter-in-law to has always impressed me: The belong to. audacity of believers to sell If you’re a journalist membership at funerals. However, I can’t say I’m afraid to admit I was talking to my mom and you’re not to it. In fact, if you’re the other day about how, even at the very least a journalist and you’re at services for the irreligious, agnostic, then I’m not at the very least things always devolve into agnostic, then I’m going going to seriously proselytization. She explained to seriously question that funerals aren’t really for question your your ability to question. the departed, but for those left But in that, I think, behind. In that case, I said, ability to question. I’m an outlier. Most what if I opened my speech at nonbelievers avoid her memorial with, “There is An online version of this no God. My mother is no more. Gone.” essay can be found at religious discussion. They distance them“What do you think I’ll care?” she said. www.newsreview.com/ selves from the term “atheist.” They quietly sacramento/ endure while others speak to them with the “I’ll be dead.” pageburner/blogs. assumption that everyone present believes in Then, I ventured, maybe that means I the same deity. Hell, even I’ll hold my tongue don’t have to abide to her wish that we play when the moment calls for it. “Boom Boom, Ain’t it Great to Be Crazy?” I still remember my best friend’s during her viewing? wedding—a three-hour, stand-up-sit-down Turns out some things aren’t negotiable. Ω BEFORE

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Arena addiction Readers sometimes ding this paper for focusing too much on the Sacramento Kings arena. Our response: You obviously didn’t attend the mayor’s State of the City event last week. Kevin Johnson spent nearly three-fourths of his 50-minute speech shilling for the Kings. At one point—and as SN&R publisher Jeff vonKaenel points out in his column this week (see “State of the City goes pep rally” SN&R Greenlight, page 12)—he touted the arena as Sacramento’s version of the Golden Gate Bridge or Guggenheim Museum. It didn’t end there. Inside the Memorial Auditorium last Wednesday evening, Scott Moak, the Kings in-game announcer, emceed the State of the City. His final words of the night—after all the speeches, songs, fanfare—were actually “Go Kings!” The team paid a big chunk to make the event happen, sure, so little wonder it more resembled a halftime show or highschool pep rally than a SOTU-style affair. But even policy matters, such as food access and homelessness, were linked to the arena. The mayor said the arena’s food will be “farm to fork,” and leftovers will be divvied out to local food banks. Let’s hope he means more than nachos and corn dogs. And, of course, there were arena falsehoods, such as when Johnson said it will have no impact on the general fund. Or that $800 million of private investment will be going to downtown—even though more than $600 million is not guaranteed. His speech was eight pages, and more than five of them focused on the arena. We get it. The mayor and city leadership are arena addicted. Let’s hope that, in the coming years, other issues will matter, too. Ω

Deny Keystone President Barack Obama has said many times he understands the threat climate change poses to the United States and the world, and the need for U.S. leadership in addressing the issue. Now, he needs to stand behind those words and reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Building the 875-mile conduit from Canada’s Alberta tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast would fast-track the exploitation of a potential 1.7 trillion barrels of some of the world’s dirtiest oil. The resulting emissions would mean “game over” for the fight against climate change, as NASA climate scientist James E. Hansen has warned. Proponents argue that the pipeline will produce jobs, but in reality, it would create fewer than 50 permanent positions. They claim it will provide the nation with energy security, but most of the oil would be exported. Most discouragingly, they hold that the oil will be sold regardless of whether the pipeline is approved, essentially conceding that catastrophic climate change is inevitable. There is still time to avoid the worst potential impacts of global warming. By denying approval for the pipeline, Obama can delay and perhaps prevent development of the tar sands oil, reject continued dependence on fossil fuels, and show the world America is committed to developing energy alternatives. That’s the decision we should expect from a president who promised hope and change. Ω | 

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THE HUSTLER

James Cavern, who lands on The Voice this week, suCCeeds in musiC by really, really trying

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by RacHEL LEibRock RacHELL@nEwSREviEw.com


It’s a drIzzly thursday nIght In February as James Cavern works the room at Pour house. as host of the midtown bar’s weekly open jam, he’s trying to coordinate musicians who’ve shown up to play, assorted instruments in hand. “It’s like herding wild cats,” Cavern says. he makes it look easy, deftly navigating the crowd, stopping to shake a hand here and hug an old friend there. always on the hustle. Cavern doesn’t carry a clipboard to keep track of performers. “It’s all in my head,” he says, adding that before the start of each jam, he interviews hopefuls, mentally ordering them by talent and appeal. “I have to keep the momentum going; this is a business, this is my job. I can’t have three shitty bands [play] in a row,” he explains. “It’s the only job I have, but this one night a week is stressful.” That’s not quite true, that thing about the job. James Cavern is in the business of being James Cavern, a full-time gig that includes an upcoming solo tour and taking a shot at fame on The Voice, the smash NBC singing competition. It’s not a shot without risk. His mother wishes he’d go back to school. And money is tight—he recently gave up his apartment and now crashes on a mat in a friend’s living room. Cavern’s also a relative newcomer on the scene, and that, coupled with the juggle to walk the line between art and fame, means any success is sure to breed at least a little resentment. “A lot of people will see [The Voice] and think, ‘Oh, you’re selling out—you don’t need to go on a show like that,’” Cavern says. “I used to think the same way, but it wasn’t until I was on the show that I realized everyone on it had been grinding for years. I respect that.” Later, Cavern kicks off the jam with a mini-set tailored to the evening’s Beatles theme, including a soulful rendition of the Fab Four’s “I’m Only Sleeping.” The band performs from a tiny corner stage, but Cavern easily commands the room, his rich, throaty voice flexing naturally around the song’s melody. Many of the bands that follow don’t nearly hold quite the same sway, aren’t quite as polished. Cavern’s unarguably the star here, but whether that will translate to a national stage remains a question. Will Cavern be taken under the wing of Adam Levine, Shakira, Blake Shelton or Usher? Will The Voice make him rich and famous? Will success spoil him yet? “There’s the business side of me that wants to do well, and there’s the musician side of me that wants to make sure I’m staying as artistic as possible,” Cavern says. “The compromise is forward movement.”

A Hollywood contender photo by kyle monk

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he acknowledges, what it’s like to sing for your supper in front of Adam, Blake, Shakira and Usher. Some things, however, are already clear. The show, which launches its sixth season this week on Monday, February 24, will give Cavern his largest audience to date. The show’s season-five premiere garnered 14.9 million viewers, after all, and its finale netted 14.01 million, according to the Nielsen Company. Unlike many hopefuls, Cavern didn’t attend an open call. Rather, he was recruited for a private audition in San Francisco last summer. He’s not sure how the show’s producers heard about him, but the resulting experience—months traveling back and forth between Los Angeles, time spent with celebrity coaches, the lawyers and the professional mentoring—has been nothing short of “invaluable.” “I soaked it up,” he says, his voice a hybrid of British precision and California chill. “I could have moved to L.A. and got the same experience in three years. Instead I was lucky enough to get a crash course.” Cavern, dressed today in a black sweatshirt, hood pulled up over his head and wearing his trademark thick-black-frame eyeglasses, isn’t one to wait around. In fact, it’s a bit startling how fast this trajectory from bedroom guitar strummer to Hollywood contender has been.

hip-hop, and Cavern listened to the likes of Nelly and Ludacris and other artists who heavily utilized classic R&B hooks. From there, Cavern says, he went further down the rabbit hole of discovery. This would be key to shaping his own music when, the summer after high school, Cavern walked into into a music store and walked out with a Fender acoustic and an instructional DVD. “I watched to learn basic chords, and from there, I went to figure out tablature,” he says. “I would teach myself very basic stuff like Oasis songs, and then through discovering different music, I got to listening to Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles. I really started enjoying it.” Cavern dedicated himself to learning, almost obsessively. “My whole mind frame was: ‘Oh shit, I’m starting to learn at 18 ... so I need to catch up with other players,” he recalls. “I need to play every day. … For a minute there, the guitar was the first thing I touched every day and the last thing I touched every day.”

BirtH of A sAlesmAn As parents often do, Cavern’s pushed him to pursue medicine or law. A high-school summer spent interning at a doctor’s office, however, put him down a different path, as he observed visits from pharmaceutical sales

“A lot of p e op le wi ll se e [ the Voice ] An d th i n k , ‘ o h , you’re se lli n g ou t.’ … i u se d to thi n k th e sAm e wA y .” James Cavern Born James Nguyen in 1987, Cavern is the son of Vietnamese parents who fled by boat with his older sisters. The family was picked up by a British ship, which transported them to Singapore. From there, they moved to Manchester, England, where Cavern was born, before eventually settling in London. But his parents dreamed of emigrating to the United States. Sponsorship, however, took years, and Cavern would be 14 by the time his family relocated to Roseville. He found the transition easy. He made friends, played soccer and was even crowned king at a class dance. Along the way, he also discovered a deep love for music. In the U.K., Cavern had listened to a lot of drum ’n’ bass and U.K. garage, the latter a genre heavily influenced by hip-hop and electronica. When his family moved to the States, Cavern shared a bedroom wall with his sister, and through it he heard Britpop bands such as Radiohead, Oasis and Blur. Nirvana was also a favorite. At school, everyone liked

“tHe HUstler”

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reps, who used freebies to close a deal. Watching them work, he says, sparked inspiration. Eventually, Cavern took a job selling memberships at a local gym. He loved the work and the money. “I was making 100 percent commission,” he says. “I feel like if you work hard and put in your time, you should be paid what you’re worth.” College, as it turned out, couldn’t really compete with that philosophy. He enrolled in business classes at Sierra College, but felt bored, unchallenged. One day, Cavern found himself sitting in an accounting class, laboring over a final, wondering if school would ever pay off. The answer, he concluded, was no. “I was making $80,000 a year [doing sales], and the average college graduate makes $60,000-$70,000,” he reasons. And so, Cavern put down his pencil and walked out of the classroom. “It was just a very logical decision.” It’s a logic he also applies to his music.

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photos courtesy of james cavern

photo by lovelle harris

“tHe Hustler”

Top: A young Cavern, flanked by his sisters Yung (left) and Ly. It’s only been three years since James Cavern took his guitar out of the bedroom and onto the stage.

“I realized I have a knack for business, I love every part of it, from starting up a thought or an idea,” Cavern says. “I believe that’s why my music has been doing very well, because I pride myself on being a businessman before an artist,” he adds. “As musicians, we’re very emotional. But sometimes that can hinder us from doing bigger and better things.” Cavern knows that viewpoint may not exactly win him fans in certain circles. If big success or fame isn’t your goal, fine, he says. But he’s dreaming big, and that means thinking business first. “A lot of foundation for my music business comes from ... understanding that a sale is a sale,” he says. “At the end of a show, the close [is someone] either buying a CD or signing up the email list. It’s about spreading my name and sharing my brand.” Of course, brand identity and business aren’t typical topics for most amateur musicians. It’s this, says Zack Kampf, that sets his former bandmate and current roommate apart. “James is really levelheaded and, in a lot of ways, not your typical artist,” Kampf says. “He’s smart with business. A lot of artists take whatever shows they can get because they’re so eager to do what they love. Not James.” Cavern, in fact, has set strict ground rules for playing live. In 2013, for example, he purposefully only scheduled a handful of local shows. 16   |   SN&R   |   02.20.14

He promises his regional 2014 gigs will be equally scant. “As an artist, you want to play in front of not just people, but new people, and as a business person, you want to make money,” he says. And you can’t do that by playing what is essentially the same gig night after night. “You are, in a sense, asking your friends and family—and friends and family aren’t fans—to pay an average of $20 a month to come see you play the same thing,” he says. “That’s not cool. That’s not showing respect for your scene.” Cavern’s approach is thoughtful and considered. But, the self-described “mama’s boy” acknowledges, many of his choices have been hard on his family. His parents divorced shortly after he graduated high school. Divorce is a cultural taboo in his parents’ native Vietnam and, coupled with his decision to drop out of college, made for a difficult time. “My mum took it kind of hard when I told her I’m going to quit my job and play music full-time. It was intense,” Cavern says. Huong Nguyen admits her son’s decisions worried her. They still do. But now she says she recognizes her son’s ambition and strategic nature. He’s always been that way, actually. “His entire life he’s thrown himself into things 100 percent,” Nguyen says. “He’s very talented, and I’m very proud of him.”

Still, she wishes he’d reconsider college. You know, in case this music thing doesn’t work out. “I tell him he should still go to college and get a music degree,” she says. Cavern is used to the motherly advice. Mostly, he takes it in stride. “It’s been a frustrating, tough three years of pursuing what I do and at the same time keeping the faith within the family,” he says. “In the last year, [my mother’s] come around because of The Voice. Is it unfortunate that it took something like that? Yeah, but it … does validate that what I’m doing is serious.”

Numbers, plaNs, patterNs aNd treNds It’s just past 10 on a Sunday night when Cavern takes the stage at Dive Bar with his new band, the Council, to play one of 2014’s allotted shows. On this night, the bar’s famous mermaid tank is vacant but lit up, casting a watery glow across the room. Back by the bathrooms, a couple shares a stool, lips locked in a sloppy, wet kiss. Elsewhere, several people stare intently at their iPhone screens, while close to the stage a lone girl, hair bouncing in corkscrew curls, catches a groove as the band plays an R&B song. Cavern’s voice floats, buttery smooth as it expertly climbs notes and cuts through with a smoky rasp that gives it edge, saving it from

Bottom: Cavern (bottom center) moved from London to Roseville when he was 14 and says he found the transition easy.

being too pedestrian, too John Mayer, if you will. Nearby, a guy starts dancing and then stops to pull out his phone and record the band. The chatter never fully quiets, but it’s clear the audience has become more invested in what Cavern’s selling tonight. “This song goes out to the guys from Pour House,” he says before launching into a pitchperfect rendition of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Tonight, he’s playing mostly adultcontemporary covers, but Cavern’s own songs better exemplify his complex range. In 2013, he released The Pilot EP, a sophisticated collection of gritty and spare R&B shot through with noisy guitar riffs. Although the tracks feature Andrew Barnhart on bass and Kampf on drums, it’s clearly billed as a solo project. These days, however, Cavern is backed by the Council, a full band that includes bassist Quentin Garcia, guitarist Richie Smith and drummer Dave Jensen. Cavern says he liked the change. “We sound good together,” he says happily. “I [want] to share that with whole country and the world.” Lofty ambitions? Perhaps. After all, it’s only been a few years since Cavern took his guitar out of the bedroom. But he doesn’t think small. He decided to start playing publicly after seeing that a friend was making money at it and performed his first gig in 2010. Some guys from the band


why my musIc has been doIng very well, because I prIde myself on beIng a busInessman before an artIst.� Or, think of it this way: “So far, I’ve shot 30 different episodes, so if you look at it schematically, that’s 30 different fan bases that are now exposed to me. And, on top of that, the artist those fans support is now pushing my name, because I did something for them. I didn’t start out [with that intent], but then I sat down and thought about it.� Talking to Cavern is a bit like talking to your stocks-obsessed brother-in-law. He’s always thinking numbers and plans and patterns and trends. “I owe that to my fans, to be able to look at the music scene and survey it like a spreadsheet—whose stocks are going up and whose stocks are going down,� he explains. “Who’s doing well and why and studying it.� He applies that ethos to every part of his career. “I analyze everything,� he says. “That’s how you stay ahead of the game.� Cavern applies a similar philosophy to the pair of Sammies he won in 2013, one for R&B/ Soul and another for Artist of the Year. Cavern says he’s grateful for the recognition, but also realistic.

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Almost fAmous If it isn’t already obvious, Cavern isn’t particularly interested what others think of him or his viewpoint. “I’ve already lost friends,� he says. “I think people feel like I’m such big shot now, which makes me laugh, because I feel like a drop in the ocean.� Cavern’s friend and fellow singersongwriter Autumn Sky disagrees. “James is one of the more important people when it comes to scene,� says Sky, who filmed a Porch video in 2012. “He’s a very active member of the community, and he’s very supportive of projects and goes above and beyond.� Cavern’s appearance on The Voice, she added, will benefit everyone. “Any success for a musician from Sacramento is a success for everyone,� she says. “We’re a city that doesn’t have a lot of [record] labels or all-ages venues, so when you do get a success, it shines a light on everyone.� As for those who might say, as Cavern has predicted, that appearing on such a show makes him a sellout? “That’s ridiculous,� she says. “There’s no such thing as overnight success, and no one’s worked harder than James.� Now, whatever the outcome—regardless of what happens in front of Adam, Blake, Shakira and Usher—Cavern remains pragmatic. “In the end, the [show’s] lawyers tell you, ‘Just know that even when you are the shit, it don’t mean shit,’� he says. “They asked me to name three [Voice] winners, and I couldn’t. It just goes to show you that for the people who compete on the show, it’s just a platform, it’s what you do with it.� More than anything, he added, the experience not only gave him a deeper appreciation for those who submit to the Hollywood fray, it also gave him clarity about what needs to do to succeed—with or without the aid of a TV singing competition. “People who think small will always just think within their community,� Cavern explains. “But people who aspire beyond that [community] and want to be a bigger presence will always think beyond that box and, in a sense, not care what anyone else thinks.� For Cavern, such progress means a new album, and more immediately, that national solo tour supporting Arden Park Roots. Eventually, he’d like to be able to afford to travel with a full band—that would be progress. Here, Cavern allows for a moment of reflection. “I’ve had to make some crazy changes to pursue what I’m doing. Sometimes I wake up and think, ‘This is kind of surreal. Just a year ago, I was sleeping in my own bed in my own apartment.’ But it’s not crazy, because through these changes I’ve gained a currency of time.� And so, for now, it’s business as usual. Ί

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“If I took that award to L.A., nobody would give a shit—they wouldn’t care, they’d be like, ‘What the hell is a Sammie?’� Rather, Cavern says he remains focused on tangible progress. “The key is not to stay stagnant,� he says. “That’s the problem with this town—a lot of musicians get really content being popular within Sacramento.� Titan Insurance Tit n Sales, supe perhero ro bobbleh b ead and desi sign gn aree sservi ervice marks ar of THI Hooldings (Delawa ela re), Inc. Naation tionwide de Ins Insuran urance ce is is a serv s ice ce mark of Nationwi n de Mutual Insurance Company. Price based on March 20 2010 10 analysis of available national data for liability-only policies. e Subject to underwriting guidelines, review and approval. We are licensed W s to provide de vehicle hic regis eg tration service ce to the public, but oour companyy is not a branch nch of o the Department ment of Moto Mot r Vehic icles.

Walking Spanish were there, so was Jackie Greene. Cavern remembers feeling awed but also gratified. “They’re all good friends now, but to have that respect from the music community—a lot of people saw me [evolve] from being a googly eyed musician to whatever I am now,� he says. For the next couple of years, Cavern hit up every open-mic in town, joined a band, quit the band, and just kept playing. Then, in 2012, he launched The Porch Sessions, videos filmed on his Midtown front stoop with acoustic performances from local artists including the rapper Century Got Bars, the bluesy Carly DuHain Band and Lindsey Pavao, a season-two contestant on The Voice. He posted the clips, all shot on his smartphone, to YouTube where they’ve logged, depending on the artist, anywhere from 200 to more than a 1,000 views. His motives for the series weren’t entirely altruistic. “It came off as ‘Here’s this guy being really charitable to the community,’� he says. “Instead of me putting videos of myself up on YouTube, I’m putting up videos of other people—but my name is still attached to it.�

107 S. Harding Blvd., Suite 1, Roseville 3475 Sunset Blvd, Rocklin 7300 Fair Oaks Blvd, Carmichael 2701 East Hammer Lane, Stockton 5591 Sky Parkway #405, Sacramento 3DFLĂ€F$YH6XLWH%6WRFNWRQ 3645 Northgate Blvd, Suite D-1, Sacramento 5411 Florin Road, Sacramento 825 East Street, Sacramento CALL TO REACH YOUR LOCAL OFFICE

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BOMBS

BY DANIEL BARNES

AWAY

Forget the Oscars: Our film critic detonates the biggest box-office bombs of the last five years

“You are just gonna have to learn to sit on your regret and pain until it turns into a dull, persistent ache.” —Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges), R.I.P.D. The movie R.I.P.D. screened for critics on a hot Thursday

evening at the Century Downtown Plaza 7 in Sacramento. The screening took place a day before the film’s July 19, 2013, worldwide opening, a likely sign that Universal Studios expected R.I.P.D. to take a critical lambasting, since the timing guaranteed most reviewers wouldn’t be able to make a Friday publishing deadline. Of course, all that really mattered to the studio was the opinion of the public, and with a production budget of close to $130 million, the sci-fi comedy starring Ryan Reynolds needed a broad appeal in order to become a hit. That’s why it must have been disconcerting for Universal when it couldn’t secure a full house for the free Sacramento screening, especially since such events are strategically overbooked, with late-arriving ticketholders usually turned away in droves. In the case of the R.I.P.D. preview, studio reps were actually seen in the lobby accosting moviegoers leaving other films that had just ended, and for the most part, unsuccessfully attempting to convince them to stick around for a complimentary screening. Not only was R.I.P.D. a $130 million movie that the public wouldn’t pay to see, it was a $130 million movie that most people did not want to watch for free. As expected, R.I.P.D. was, well, ripped by the critics (netting a mere 13 percent approval on Rotten Tomatoes), and took a bath

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at the box office as well, earning $79 million worldwide against that overblown budget (which doesn’t necessarily account for the film’s marketing or other costs). By some estimates, that makes R.I.P.D. the fourth-biggest money loser in American film history, and yet, it’s not even one of the two biggest bombs from this decade. It’s been three-and-a-half years since I wrote a piece about five of the biggest box-office bombs from the previous decade, including legendary money losers like The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Gigli (see “Turkey Time”; SN&R Arts&Culture; August 12, 2010). Since then, five of the seven biggest box-office bombs in the history of American cinema have been released: Mars Needs Moms,


Wanna chana masala? See DISH

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Shakespearean insults See COOLHUNTING

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The Lone Ranger, John Carter, Jack the Giant Slayer and R.I.P.D.—with other notable failures from this decade like Green Lantern and The Nutcracker in 3D not far behind. Why have such an unprecedented number of box-office bombs been detonated in the last three years alone? The answers are predictable: Production budgets have continued to rise as special effects have become omnipresent; marketing campaigns are more expansive and expensive, generally eating one-third of a film’s budget; and the studios’ obsession with creating sequel-bearing franchises has led them to green-light nine-figure budgets for every vaguely recognizable property they can find. There is a more pertinent critical question, though: Does the fact that these films bombed with the same ticket-buying public that possesses a seemingly bottomless appetite for Pirates of the Caribbean sequels mean that there is something secretly special about them? Many forward-thinking films considered flops in their time are now considered pantheonworthy, such as The Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, Blade Runner, Fight Club and even Heaven’s Gate. So, are any of these recent boxoffice bombs a future classic just waiting to be rescued? Short answer: no.

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A lack of charisma in the lead roles proves too much for both films to overcome. In The Lone Ranger, Johnny Depp has better conversations with his hat than with the nebbishy, borderline Judge Reinhold-ian Armie Hammer, and their excruciating banter negates the film’s occasional weirdo charm. Taylor Kitsch plays a Civil War veteran turned Martianwarrior-prince in John Carter, but he might as well have worn a Panthers uniform the entire time. He fails to bring any personality to the role, which sucks, because he’s pretty much the only character in the movie that isn’t a 15-foot-tall, four-armed, green thing with tusks. There are a few lessons that Hollywood can learn from this recent glut of box office failures: 1. Above-the-line talent matters.What do Taylor Kitsch, Armie Hammer, Seth Green, Ryan Reynolds and Nicholas Hoult have in common? You wouldn’t want to watch them guest star in a basic-cable sitcom about a family of 1980s nerds whose youngest child grows up to be a cool 1950s greaser (CEO of basic cable, call me!), much less play the lead in a feature-length film intended to spawn endless sequels, prequels, reboots, preboots, remakes, premakes and make-boots. At the same time, actual stars have become so valuable that they can do whatever the hell they want, yet another reason why Johnny Depp

Mars Needs Moms is a $150 million motioncapture Walt Disney Studios’ feature-length that depicts male Martians as dreadlocked minstrels, and offers a gender-role discourse that can be summarized as “feminism destroys babies.” Long answer: Noooooooo, dear God, no! Mars Needs Moms, Green Lantern, R.I.P.D. and Jack the Giant Slayer are all flat-out ugly and unpleasant films to look at, listen to and think about. Each one is fatally marred by eye-numbing special effects, unappealing lead actors and insipid, often nonsensical patchwork narratives. John Carter and The Lone Ranger are the most artistically ambitious of the group, and they also come closest to actually working. There are moments of beauty and brilliance in each film, and with less mercenary decision-making and better leads, they might have even been good. Both are oddball, borderline auteurist efforts whose need to appeal to every demographic possible ultimately leaves them tone deaf. BEFORE

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spends much of The Lone Ranger interacting with his own hat. 2. Better dead than Red. I don’t know what it is about the Red Planet, but audiences flat-out do not want to watch movies set there. John Carter and Mars Needs Moms are the most egregious failures, but the recent Total Recall remake also flopped, and the era was littered with boxoffice bombs featuring Mars and Martians, including Mission to Mars, Red Planet and Mars Attacks! Hollywood, leave Mars to the Martians already! 3. Blacklist Ryan Reynolds. I’m not historically a supporter of Hollywood blacklists, but I’m prepared to work outside the box here. R.I.P.D. and Green Lantern failed miserably at the box office, and even though a few Reynolds films (The Proposal, Safe House) have been quite

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profitable, some dividends just aren’t worth their moral price. 4. Avoid offending everyone. Mars Needs Moms is a $150 million motion-capture feature-length by the Walt Disney Studios that depicts male Martians as dreadlocked minstrels and offers a gender-role discourse that can be summarized as “feminism destroys babies.” Disney’s John Carter merely portrays its Martians as an Avataresque tribal “other.” Meanwhile, the effects wizards behind The Lone Ranger spent countless man-hours trying to make Indian genocide look totally awesome. That’s dicey stuff for nine-figure budgeted movies that need to appeal to literally everyone. 5. Don’t make a $90 million version of The Nutcracker. The Nutcracker in 3D (the

2-D version was retitled The Nutcracker: The Untold Story), is easily the worst of this bunch, quite possibly the worst movie ever made, and yet it’s too deranged to be ignored. I’m not joking—I watched all 108 minutes of this film, and while I typically scoff at things like witches and ghosts and hot-air balloons, I’m 85-90 percent sure that this Nutcracker will somehow enter our dreams and attempt to murder us in our sleep if we don’t pay attention to it right now. It’s credited as “A UK/Hungary Co-Production,” making it easily their most disastrous co-production since World War I. Nathan Lane co-stars as the creepy “uncle” (i.e., the part he was born to play), who talks straight to the camera, blabbers about Freud, sings of lost pebbles, and tells a small child, “If I seem far away … just think of me, and I’ll be close.” Good luck ever sleeping through the night again, kid! John Turturro plays the Rat King as a machine-gun-wielding Nazi who kills a shark, sings hot jazz numbers and burns toys in front of children dressed like World War II refugees. At one point, Turturro snarls, “You ever wonder what happens to a doll’s soul when it burns?” Personally, I had never wondered that before watching the film, but now it’s the main subject in every one of my nightmares. This is where I should reiterate that The Nutcracker is a $90 million film intended almost solely for children. 6. Never learn lessons. It may be that it’s impossible for a big Hollywood movie, especially an animated film that’s easily translated across different cultures, or a special-effects-heavy release, to lose money these days. Beyond the usual studio shellgame economics and presold licensing and distribution deals, American films continue to dominate the foreign markets, especially in the Third World. That means the last, best hope for a new morning in American cinema is that moviegoers in developing nations will get just as sick of crap like R.I.P.D. as we already have. Ω

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For the week of February 20

wEEkLY PICkS

Dov Davidoff Thursday, February 20, Through saTurday, February 22 Dov Davidoff draws his comedy largely from   personal experiences and societal observations and puts it all out there.  COMEDY The New Jersey native, with  appearances on Chelsea Lately under his belt,  is a natural at just keepin’ it real on the stage.  $13-$19, 8 p.m. on Thursday, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.  on Friday, 10 p.m. on Saturday at Punch Line  Comedy Club, 2100 Arden Way, Suite 225;   (916) 925-5500; http://punchlinesac.com.

—Jessica Rine

McConnell’s Stogie Night Friday, February 21 Food, wine and cigars: McConnell Estates  Winery’s doing it all in one night. It’s hosting a  night of wine and barrel tasting, appetizers and  cigars by Briar Patch cigar shop. Those who  attend also get a souvenir wine  CIGARS glass! $30, 6 p.m. at McConnell  Estates Winery, 10686 West Stockton Boulevard  in Elk Grove; (916) 685-5368; www.briarpatch.biz.

—Jessica Rine

Paula Poundstone Friday, February 21 For NPR-listening citizens across the country,  the name Paula Poundstone likely conjures up  Saturday mornings listening to Wait Wait...Don’t  Tell Me! while strolling the  COMEDY farmers market in search of  kale. This is a chance for Sacramentans to see  the comic’s live stand-up, which she promises is  never the same city to city. $27.50-$48, 7:30 p.m.  at the Crest Theatre, 1013 K Street, (800) 225-2277;  www.paulapoundstone.com.

L

—Deena Drewis

PHOTO BY SIMON DEINER

ooking around on the street these  days, it seems like Sacramento is  stuck in a fashion vortex. It seems  as if the spirit of the ’90s never left:  There’s a lot of muted flannel, oversized ragged jeans and T-shirts, and  unkempt facial hair. I’m certainly a part of the  problem here, with a wardrobe featuring plenty  of clothes that I bought more than 10 years  ago. Luckily, Sacramento has a chance  to make itself over with Sacramento Fashion Week, which kicked off on  February 16, and culminates this weekend  with the following events. Thursday night’s Boutique Shop & Showcase  event at the California Automobile Museum   (2200 Front Street) is a good way to boost a wardrobe. Presale tickets are sold out, but you can get  in for $30 at the door to see and purchase items  from Trumpette, Krazy Mary’s Boutique and  Legacy Boutique. It starts at 7 p.m. Friday night is the Spring/Summer Showcase, also at the California Automobile  Museum. It takes place at 7 p.m. as well (there’s  a 6 p.m. VIP reception) and features the work  of designers Neide Hall, Rebecca Chua and Ryan  Douglas. General admission is $50 in advance, and $60  at the door, and VIP tickets are $60-$125. 

BEFORE

Carnaval 2014 saTurday, February 22 Two events  close out Fashion Week  this Saturday, February 22:  Trendology and the Fall/Winter Showcase.  Trendology, happening at the Art Institute  of California (2850 Gateway Oaks Drive,  Suite 100), will feature vendor booths and the  work of fashion students. It starts at 3 p.m.  and is free to attend. Fall and winter fashion  will close out the whole shebang starting at 7 p.m.  back at the California Automobile Museum— there’s another 6 p.m. VIP reception, too. On  display are collections from Sacramentoarea designers such as Anastasia  Kryukova, Jason Powers and Maisha  Bahati. Tickets for this festival-closing event cost  $50 in advance and $60 at the door, and VIP tickets range  from $60 to $100. Get presale tickets and more information at  www.sacfashionweek.com.

—Jonathan Mendick

Brush up on that Portuguese, grab a samba  partner and get in the mood early for World Cup  2014 in June with the Brazilian  FESTIVAL Center for Cultural Exchange  of Sacramento’s Carnaval celebration. It’ll have  dancers, capoeira demonstrations and Brazilian  food and drink. $15 in advance, $20 at the door;   7 p.m. at YWCA, 1122 17th Street; (916) 387-7344;  www.braziliancentersac.org.

—Jonathan Mendick

Steampunk Emporium and Bazaar saTurday, February 22 Buff those binoculars and polish that monocle—  the Sacramento Steampunk Society is hosting a  gathering of area steampunks and more than 40  vendors of retro-future, Victorian-inspired bits  and baubles. Pirates, old-timey sailors and adventurers of all ages are welcome.  BAZAAR Free, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Great  Escape Games, 1250 Howe Avenue, Suite 3A;   (916) 927-0810; www.greatescapegames.com.

—Deena Drewis

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Not just for vegan college students Raja’s Tandoor 207 Third Street in Davis, (530) 753-9664, www.rajastandoor.com Even food reviewers have favorite joints that we hit up time and again. Yes, the food might be better elsewhere, the beer selection wider, etc., but it’s by Garrett McCord hard for any chef or heirloom lettuce to beat out nostalgia or personal taste. That’s why I decided it was time to review Raja’s Tandoor in Davis. A place where as a student I spent many a lunch inhaling the buffet in a scene that could only be properly recounted in either a short story by Kafka or Lovecraft. Raja’s is located upstairs in a crotchety wooden building that was built to withstand a rating: nuclear bomb. Having been around for years, HHH 1/2 Raja’s enamored itself forever with the area’s ever-present student population with two simple Dinner for one: words: lunch buffet. $7 - $10 Part of what also set Raja’s Tandoor apart was its early offerings of multiple vegan and vegetarian options far before such diets were more commonplace. Rather than a few simple sides, Raja’s ensures that most of its entrees are vegan, though you will find chicken and the occasional tikka masala dishes as well. Aside from the fluffy on the inside, slightly singed on H flaweD the outside, terribly addictive naan, the bulk of the selections are also gluten-free. HH haS momenTS The potato-and-pea samosas are a meal in and of themselves. It is highly recommended HHH that you slather these with spicy chutney and appealing seasoned raita for an elegant hot-cold dish that HHHH can only be achieved in Indian cuisine. A tamaauThoriTaTive rind sauce is also available, but an overdose of HHHHH sugar brutalizes the fruit’s natural tart flavor, epic making it taste like an infused simple syrup. On a recent visit, the dal tasted heavy with turmeric, but lacking in mustard or cumin seed, leaving it somewhat bland. An egg curry with onion, cilantro and enough turmeric to dye a bolt of fabric was certainly yolky in flavor. The chicken coconut curry is served with the bones still in, which encourages either deft utensil skills or a simple acceptance that more napkins will be required. Regardless, it is achingly creamy with a hint of heat. The chana masala here is one of the best Still hungry? dishes by far. It usually tends to feature a Search Sn&r’s “Dining Directory” strong butter taste but is actually cooked with to find local canola oil here—you’d be surprised to learn restaurants by name it’s vegan. However, the tenderness of the or by type of food. chickpeas as well as the punch of the ginger Sushi, mexican, indian, italian—discover it and coriander makes it a dish worth returning all in the “Dining” for. The saag—spinach cooked down with section at coconut milk, ginger and chilies, and served www.news with paneer—has a perky heat and is earthier review.com. than a Steinbeck novel. A pudding of jasmine rice, whole milk and sugar is glorious in its simplicity. You would be remiss not to save room. The mango lassi is a bright and refreshing palate cleanser—a way to move from tikka masala to chana masala, from bhindi to tandoori BEFORE

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chicken. At $2 a glass, pick one up and spoil yourself. An anemic chai tea is also available, but instead of it being served as spices with tea and milk, this is more of a weak tea and milk with few spices. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Dinner at Raja’s won’t disappoint. The menu has set standard options, but lunch is where you’ll find unique dishes made on the fly by the kitchen, and everything is cooked with skill. However, Raja’s is a place for lunch where you race to snag a table before another group of students can and eat expertly crafted Indian food until you know that dinner won’t be a concern for the rest of the day.

The saag is earthier than a Steinbeck novel. There is better Indian food in the Sacramento region, yet Raja’s Tandoor offers flavorful Indian food—most of it vegan and vegetarian—in a slamming lunch buffet for $5.95. And you can also get it to go. Plus, Taranbir Chowdhury, the owner, is charming and knows his customers by name. When he asks you how you’re doing, he genuinely wants to know. There isn’t a question as to why Raja’s has such a following. It is the very definition of the favorite neighborhood restaurant. Ω

Healthy, happy blog

Since I loaned my vegan cookbooks to my cousin eight months ago—who has yet to crack one open (ahem, ahem)—I’ve had to turn elsewhere for recipe inspiration. SoCal-based Kathy Patalsky’s veganrecipe blog offers plenty of reasons to put the brakes on that guilt trip. Well, for now (I got my eye on you, kid!). Patalsky began blogging in 2006, and her crown jewel is her Healthy. Happy. Life. site (www.healthyhappy-life.com), where she posts appetizing concoctions with elegantly styled photos, which she shoots herself. She is obsessed with maple, so expect to see it frequently, especially in savory dishes, like the Maple-Pumpkin White Bean Quesadilla. And her cache of sweet-treat instructions will cause an exciting sugar—make that an agave high. I mean, Cake Batter Truffles, anyone? She published 365 Vegan Smoothies (Avery Trade, $20) last year, and will release a new cookbook in 2015.

STORY

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on the inner light and the inner sound Free introductory class given by a regional speaker followed by optional free vegetarian lunch and discussion Sunday, March 2nd, 12 noon Sierra 2 Center, Curtis Hall 2791 - 24th St. Sacramento Know

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A RT S & C U LT U R E

Sant Baljit Singh

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Copyright © 2013 Know Thyself as Soul Foundation, International |

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Downtown 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?

Here are a few recent reviews and regional recommendations by Becky Grunewald, Ann Martin Rolke, Garrett McCord and Jonathan Mendick, updated regularly. Check out www.newsreview.com for more dining advice.

Downtown & Vine This tasting room and wine bar spotlights the local farm-to-glass movement. Here, diners can order 2-ounce tasting flights of wine. Choose three from the same vintner to compare styles, or mix and match to contrast similar wines from regional wineries. Wines are also available in larger pours and by the bottle. Wine is meant to be enjoyed with food, of course: The menu offers a wide selection of tidbits and hearty dishes. Worth sampling: the goat-cheese stuffed peppers, chilled Spanish-spiced shrimp, and a cheddar-andapple melt. Or try the ambrosial Wine Country sandwich, with salty prosciutto, sweet fig jam, oozy mozzarella and peppery

arugula on grilled bread. There are also a variety of flatbreads loaded with topping combos like capicola, three cheeses, piquillo peppers and green onions. The bread for these comes across as more than a pizza trying to be fancy. American. 1200 K St., Ste. 8; (916) 228-4518. Dinner for one: $10-$15. HHHH AMR

Zia’s Delicatessen Zia’s Delicatessen isn’t really about trying every sandwich: It’s about finding your sandwich. In addition to a large selection of salumi, there’s the worthy eponymous offering, served with a wedge of zucchini frittata, a slice of provolone, romaine lettuce, grainy tomato, and a simple dash of vinegar and oil that adds tang. Order it hot, so that the provolone melts into the bread. Also tasty: the hot meatball sub with small-grained, tender meatballs bathed in a thin, oregano-flecked tomato sauce that soaks into the bread. A tuna sandwich is sturdy, if not exciting. 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. American. 1401 O St., Ste. A; (916) 441-3354. Meal for one: $5-$10. HHHH B.G.

Midtown The Coconut Midtown The food here travels a path between standard and inventive. Creamcheese wontons, for example, aren’t the epitome of culinary Southeast Asian traditions, but

Happy Hour

damn it if they aren’t delightful. Soft cream cheese and chives in a crispy wrapper and served with a sweet chili sauce? Nothing wrong with that. The chicken larb—a spicy mincedmeat salad—is fragrant and intense. Mint, chilies, basil and iceberg lettuce are drenched in a spicy lime dressing punctuated with a heavy hand of fish sauce. The Coconut has warnings in its menu about which dishes are spicy, but unless you’re a newborn kitten, trembling and mewling, you might not even be aware of the chilies in your food. Thai. 2502 J St., (916) 447-1855. Dinner for one: $10-$15. HHH1/2 G.M.

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-andhydrant motif) 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 house-made pastas, but one of its highlights includes an excellent smoked-eggplant baba

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ghanoush, which is smoky and garlicky. The bananas foster bread pudding is equally transcendent. American. 1630 S St., (916) 442-4885. Dinner for one: $20-$40. HHH1/2 AMR

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. 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 balanced constructions of basil, lemongrass, shallots, chilies, kaffir lime leaves and other ingredients, when roasted, have been known to drive hungry Sacramentans into a berserk craze. Service here is impeccable. Thai Basil has earned its reputation. Thai. 2431 J St., (916) 442-7690. Dinner for one: $10-$20. HHHH G.M.

Spice Kitchen The menu here has a few tangential dishes like pad thai, but it’s mostly focused on Japanese cuisine, with a side menu of Chinese-American favorites. Tasty options include the vegetable tempura, lightly fried with slices of Japanese sweet potato and yams. If you want ramen, the hot soup dish these days, try the red tonkotsu version: It’s served with lots of nicely chewy noodles, spinach and the requisite soft-boiled egg. Spice Kitchen also serves bento boxes in lunch and dinner portions for a good price. Here, diners get soup, rice, salad and tempura, as well as a meat of choice. Japanese. 1724 Broadway, (916) 492-2250. Dinner for one: $10-$15. HHH AMR

East Sac Cielito Lindo Mexican Gastronomy Instead of cheese-blanketed entrees, diners here can order upscale dishes such as enchiladas de mole: tortillas wrapped around amazingly moist, flavorful chicken, bathed in a housemade mole poblano. The sauce has a million wonderful flavors. The portions here are quite generous. A green salad with fruits and nuts was big enough for a meal, even without the optional meat or seafood topping. The restaurant’s empanaditas de salpicon con papas are little

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turnovers standing up amid a drizzle of ancho sauce. The crust features a bit of leavening that makes it both crunchy and fluffy. The filling of beef, potatoes and vegetables tastes wellflavored and a bit spicy. Or try the tacos de arrachera—three soft tortillas enclose marinated strips of meltingly good steak, topped with roasted poblano chilies, lots of fresh cilantro and crema. They’re drippy, but worth every napkin. The menu is meatcentric, but the kitchen is vegetarian friendly as well. The crema de rajas poblanas, fully vegan and similar to a Mexican minestrone, is full of chickpeas, poblanos and onions in a rich broth uniquely flavored with vanilla and epazote. Mexican. 3672 J St., (916) 736-2506. Dinner for one: $20-$25. HHHH AMR

South Sac Yang’s Noodles This is 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 carbohydrate crepe (a thin pancake made out of flour, water and green onion). Elsewhere on the menu, Yang’s eponymous noodles are homemade, alkaline and chewy. Chinese. 5860 Stockton Blvd., (916) 392-9988. Dinner for one: $10-$15. HHHH J.M.

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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. The chicken is rubbed with olive oil and herbs and rotisserie-smoked to produce a moist and juicy result. Pizza/Barbecue. 3160 Jefferson Blvd. in West Sacramento, (916) 572-0572. Dinner for one: $5-$10. HHH AMR

Arden/ Carmichael El Forastero Mexican Food The menu here 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 of carne asada. For a taco or torta filling, try the adobada, a pork marinated in a red chili sauce. Or, try 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, cheese, sour cream and guacamole. A California burrito is basically an order of carne asada fries wrapped in a tortilla— which, surprisingly, isn’t even the fattiest-sounding dish on the menu. That distinction most likely belongs to the hangovercuring Super Breakfast burrito, with bacon, chorizo, ham, fries, eggs and cheese—all wrapped in a tortilla. It’s incredibly hearty. Mexican. 5116 Fair Oaks Blvd. in Carmichael, (916) 488-1416. Dinner for one: $5-$10. HHH1/2 J.M.

heavily on flavor and innovation. The paninis are standouts: The bread is sweet, thicker than one might expect, and pressed nicely on a grill, with char marks on both sides. Mediterranean. 1120 Fulton Ave., Ste. I; (916) 486-1140. Dinner for one: $10-$20. HHH1/2 J.M.

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

FreshMed Mediterranean Cuisine This restaurant broadens the definition of “Mediterranean.” In addition to the usual options— gyros, hummus, falafel, etc.—it also serves dishes from a wide range of cultures. For example, FreshMed offers a $6 Indian and Pakistani lunch buffet. Selections include stir-fried eggplant; curried chickpeas, lentils; and a creamy, spicy and hearty chicken tikka masala. Regular menu items include baba ghanoush, which tasted a bit bitter, and chicken kebab. The Mediterranean Nacho and chicken panini are examples of what the restaurant does well: culinary mashups that aren’t derivative, but instead rely

North Highlands Kim Son Mongolian BBQ Vietnamese & Chinese Food It’s difficult to rate Mongolian barbecue by regular reviewing standards, because it’s the diner who chooses the ingredients and seasoning and then gives them to the chef to prepare. But here’s what Kim Son does well: It stocks plenty of fresh veggies; thin

IllustratIon by Mark stIvers

West Sacramento

slices of meat; thick, chewy chow mein noodles; about a dozen sauces (including cooking wine, ginger, teriyaki, and Sriracha sauces); and additional toppings (sesame seeds, minced garlic). Want to stick to the menu? Try the Kim Son Spicy Beef, seasoned with sha cha jiang, a sauce composed of minced garlic, chili, shrimp and other seasonings: It’s the best dish from an otherwise lackluster menu of Chinese food. Chinese. 4980 Watt Ave. in North Highlands, (916) 331-8188. Dinner for one: $10-$15. 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 ciderbrined 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 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.

Almost fancy

There are a few fancy things in Sacramento I’ve always wanted to do. Two of them entail taking in a view of the Sacramento skyline from the Elks Tower Sacramento’s penthouse, and eating at The Kitchen restaurant. OK, this week’s 2014 Lunch Break for a Cause with Selland’s doesn’t quite fulfill either of those wishes, but it’s really not that far off: It’ll feature catered appetizers from The Kitchen, Ella Dining Room & Bar, and Selland’s Market-Cafe—and it all takes place in the Elks Tower’s ballroom, located on the second floor at 921 11th Street. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door, and the event includes a chef’s competition (Team Selland’s vs. Team Ella vs. Team Kitchen), a waiter competition and art by Sharon Gerber. Plus, the whole thing benefits Youth Development Network, a nonprofit dedicated to helping young people “achieve personal and academic success.” It happens on Wednesday, February 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Visit www.ydnetwork.org/sellands2014 for more information. —Jonathan Mendick

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FIND OF THE WEEK

Can’t stop, won’t stop

Jack GallaGher’s The Joke’s on Me

#Movesac hip-hop showcase The organizers of #MoveSac are banking on   Sacramento handling—and embracing—major hiphop events downtown. And  LIVE HIP-HOP that the hip-hop community  will unite to make it all happen. We’ll find out if that  occurs on Thursday, February 20, at the very first  #MoveSac showcase. On that night, Shenanigans  will morph from a sports bar into a classy club—no  hats, no T-shirts and no tennis shoes allowed. Local  rappers Dezit Eaze, Clyde Moore, Nash Boogie, Birdie  LZ and Task1ne are on the bill, while DJ Cazillac and  DJ Mighty Mike spin throughout the night. Doors  open at 9 p.m., and $12 gets you in. Shenanigans,   705 J Street; http://tinyurl.com/lydgoxy. —Janelle Bitker

A better sizzurp wired wyaTT’s caffeinaTed Maple syrup The makers of Wired Wyatt’s caffeinated maple syrup  have invented a very specific solution for people  with a unique problem. If you are the type of person  who loves waffles or pancakes and hates coffee, but  still needs a morning caffeine fix, then this product’s  got you (and your breakfast) covered. Pour some of  this sweet syrup, and you’re good to go—no pesky  coffee-bean grinding required. The syrup is sold in a  FOOD flask, and looks kind of like a really potent  whiskey. But fear not, water, sugar, caffeine  and natural maple flavors are the ingredients here.  Each bottle costs a whopping $22.74, but shipping is  free. www.wiredwaffles.com. —Aaron Carnes

Elevate your argument shakespeare insulT GeneraTor America, it’s time to take our unfriendly discourse to  the next level. No more cliché F-bombs or redundant  reality-show retorts (see: “No, you’re the  BOOK bitch, bitch!”). The 162 vocabulary flashcards featured in the spiral-bound Shakespeare Insult  Generator (Chronicle Books, $12.95) by Barry Kraft will  help you create more than 150,000 staggeringly specific  insults. Tell those sneaping rug-headed pig-nuts  exactly what you think of them, especially when they  act like pestiferous mushrumps. They’ll be so confused  or amused that your conflict will disappear. Peace  through literature, you white-livered scuts!   www.chroniclebooks.com/shakespeare-insult-  generator.html. —Becca Costello

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Jack of all trades You may recognize Jack Gallagher  from your television set. He’s  the co-host of MoneyTrack, the  nationally syndicated publictelevision show about personal  finance. And there was his own  ABC sitcom Bringing Up Jack, and  his many appearances on Curb  Your Enthusiasm, The Tonight  COMEDY Show With Jay Leno and Late Night With  Conan O’Brien. If you religiously  track the Emmy Awards, you’ll  know he’s won three.  Or maybe you’ve just seen him  strolling around town near his  Land Park home. Fans of Gallagher’s comedic  work and critically acclaimed oneman shows—Letters to Declan,  Just the Guy, What He Left and   A Different Kind of Cool—might be  surprised to learn that he’s also  musically inclined. He’s performed  in concert with big names such as  Tony Bennett, the Four Tops and  Dolly Parton. His talents come together  in a rock ’n’ roll-comedy show,  The Joke’s on Me, on Saturday,  February 22, at the 24th Street  Theatre. The show’s in its fourth  year, and each time it’s a little  different, and each time it has  sold out. Gallagher will perform hits by  the likes of the Rascals, Warren  Zevon and Marshall Crenshaw,  and then he’ll share their backstories. It’s part rock show, part  history lesson, part memoir. Dick  Bright (maestro, violin), Tommy  Dunbar (guitar), Al Chan (bass),  Allen Leong (keyboard), Kevin  Hayes (drums) and Dean Chance  (harp) will join Gallagher as his  backing band. 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.,  $25 in advance, 24th Street   Theatre, 2791 24th Street;   www.swell-productions.com. —Janelle Bitker


Your Downtown Service Shop

The girlfriend checklist I rolled out of bed after great sex with this girl I like and asked what she was doing later. She said she was having lunch with her ex-boyfriend. She had told me before that their relationship was mostly workrelated, plus hookups. I got this sick feeling in my stomach. I asked her if she planned to hookup with him. She said, “I don’t know, maybe, if he by Joey ga wants to.” I lost it. I thought rcia we were headed somewhere good. I thought of her as a skj o ey @ n ewsreview.c om my girlfriend. I even called her that to my friends. She didn’t understand why I Joey was so upset because we’re not jumps in exclusive. I never actually told her with both feet. I thought of her as my girlfriend. We’re still talking, but it’s completely weird now. Is there a way to save this thing? Salvage your relationship by facing facts. You didn’t trust this woman with your feelings. The nausea in your belly reveals what your mind denied: Something is seriously wrong between you. Luckily, you have good friends to confide in. But why categorize a relationship as committed when talking to friends, but fail to ask

Put your heart on the line. Yes, you might get kicked to the curb. If you do, so what? this woman to be exclusive? Either you bragged because you wanted to be cool, or you were testing the idea of having a girlfriend. Of course, those issues are symptoms. The real problem is that your relationship with this woman doesn’t meet basic commitment standards. Here’s a checklist of what’s missing: honesty, trust, shared values and the level of communication skill necessary to resolve disagreements. The good news is that you both can mature in these qualities, if you care enough about each other. It’s time to talk to her about your feelings and hopes for the future. Put your heart on the line. Yes, you might get kicked to the curb. If you do,

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.

so what? That’s not a big deal. It only means she isn’t the one for you. My parents are always pressuring me to spend time with my cousin because they think she will be a good influence on me. We attend the same high school but are in different friend groups. She is popular and gets really good grades, but she also does drugs and hooks up with random guys at school. When I do hang out with her, she makes fun of me and my friends for not doing the stuff she does. I don’t know how to get my parents to leave me alone about hanging out with her without telling them what she is really like. The pressure to appear successful according to socially approved status symbols (high GPA, sleek car, a high-end ZIP code, the right outfit, an acceptance letter from your dream school) drives some people to live split lives. One part of their existence is glossy and accomplished, but everything else dances between compulsion and addiction. Parents who criticize, cajole and threaten their teens to submit to social ideals are often blinded to the harm they inspire. That parental denial remains thick, at least until a teen’s secret life surfaces. What is your responsibility in this situation? Remember that we are all accountable to, and for, one another. If your cousin’s behavior places her, or others around her, at risk, you must intervene. And, it does seem from your email that you think she is making poor choices. Yes, she will be angry if she finds out that you clued adults in about her underground life. But her anger is temporary. It’s a small price to pay to ensure her safety. If you can’t muster up the courage to talk to your parents or hers, confide in another adult relative that you trust. He or she can talk to your cousin without mentioning you. Ω

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Meditation of the Week “Don’t waste your time with  explanations: people only hear what  they want to hear,” said author  Paulo Coelho. Are your ears tuned to  reality or denial? 

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Gee’s Bend Gee’s Bend, now at Celebration Arts, pieces together small vignettes to create a larger tapestry of a family’s life—fitting for a play about patchby Patti Roberts work quilts. Playwright Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder was commissioned to write about the isolated African-American community of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, when its vibrant and intricate quilts were discovered and now are exhibited in museums around the world. The play presents three stages in the life of Sadie, the central character in this story of family, community, history, land and pride. We meet Sadie as a teenager in 1939, follow her through marriage and motherhood in 1965, and finally, see her as a proud elder sage in 2002.

4

UPCOMING FEB 26

Paradise Fears / Assembly: $25 tix for $12.50

FEB 28MAR 23

“South Pacific” / Davis Musical Theatre: $18 tix for $9

MAR 1 & 2 Amador Vintners Behind the Cellar Door Festival / Plymouth, CA: $50 tix for $30 MAR 7APR 12

“One Boss Too Many”/ Arden Playhouse: $18 tix for $9

MAR 13

Infected Mushroom / Assembly: $20 tix for $10

MAR 23

Weekend / Harlow’s: $10 tix for $5

APR 11

Bombay Bicycle Club / Assembly: $20 tix for $10

APR 12

Hip Service / Harlow’s: $12 tix for $6

MAY 25

Metalachi / Assembly: $12 tix for $6

“Quit hogging the quilt, sis!”

AND MORE... Concert listings for Ace of Spades are only available for review on our Sweetdeals website.

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The scene changes need to be tightened up a bit so momentum isn’t lost, and more Gospel singers onstage would be great, but overall, this production warms like a well-worn quilt. Ω

Boosting the Bard The Davis Shakespeare Ensemble is expanding into a larger venue and a longer summer season, which will feature two productions. The new summer series, dubbed the Davis Shakespeare Festival, will run from June 26, to August 3, with performances at the Veterans Memorial Theatre (203 E. 14th Street in Davis). The shows will be the Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing—with its verbal jousting between the witty, determinednot-to-wed Beatrice and Benedick—and She Loves Me, a 1963 musical with a score by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick (they wrote Fiddler on the Roof the following year). For four summers, the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble has camped out in the UC Davis Arboretum’s gazebo, which has been a cozy (if mosquito-prone) venue for staging small shows in the round. The Veterans Memorial Theatre, with 325 seats, offers room to grow, and a stage where the ensemble’s designers can build real sets and rig for much more ambitious lighting. “We had reached our capacity artistically in the gazebo,” said co-artistic director Gia Battista. To which co-artistic director Rob Salas added, “[The Veterans Memorial Theatre] is more accessible to the community, with better parking.” And you can leave your insect repellant at home. Salas saw a student production of She Loves Me when he was a Harvard University undergrad a few years back and has long wanted to work it into Davis Shakespeare Ensemble’s plans. “The two shows really pair together and mirror each other,” Salas said. “Both feature a couple that initially detest each other and, ultimately, fall in love.” Auditions will be held soon. A two-show ticket deal is planned. There will be related summer programs for kids and teens. Find out more at www.shakespearedavis.com. PhoTo CourTeSy oF CeleBrATion ArTS

SN&R READERS SAVE ON TICKETS

My life has been a tapestry

Gee’s Bend, 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; $8-$15. Celebration Arts, 4469 D Street; (916) 455-2787; www.celebration arts.net. Through March 1.

Gee’s Bend is told delicately and subtlety in small scenes that capture not only the maturation of a matriarch, but also touch on moments in history. Wilder is extremely careful to let the characters tell the story rather than have it driven by events, so we see how the history of slavery, the lack of choices for women and men of color, the fight for equality, and the satisfaction of a life well-lived affect those who lived it. But the real pleasure of this play is the skill and chemistry between cast members— all of whom are making their Celebration Arts debut in this production. Director James Wheatley has assembled a talented group of actors who not only capture the essence of each of their characters throughout their lifetimes, but also work as a seamless blend. Eliza Hendrix as Sadie is a joy to watch as she captures the spirit of a woman struggling to find herself, and in the roles she lives as a sister to Nella (Jamie Jackson, who lights up the stage), a wife to Macon (Noah Hayes, in a wonderfully layered performance), and as a daughter and a mother (Bridget Brooks-Mack, lovely playing both parts).

—Jeff Hudson


15290-02 SRPAA14 SNR 3.9x11.5.pdf

The Conductor: Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad

This B Street Theatre Family Series play about slavery is geared toward kids, but doesn’t ignore the reality that black children were sold and parted from their parents, or the considerable risks that abolitionists faced when helping escaped slaves find their way north. Lanky actress Atim Udoffia shines as Tubman: cool under pressure, determined to bring her “passengers” to freedom. Sa, Su 1 & 4pm. Through 2/23. $15-$20. B Street Theatre, 2711 B St.; (916) 443-5300; www.bstreettheatre.org. J.H.

4

Elemeno Pea

In playwright Molly Smith Metzler’s Elemeno Pea, the help is busy keeping an expansive Martha’s Vineyard family compound neat, tidy and ready for whoever or whatever may drop on by. The grounds and buildings are so sprawling that when the sister of the family’s personal assistant comes to visit, she gets to stay in the family’s huge beachside guesthouse that she mistakes for the family’s main mansion. It’s not exactly an East Coast-modern Downton Abbey, but Elemeno Pea does explore the discrepancies of family fortunes vs. working for a living, new money vs. old, and the attitudes and expectations that come with both. For a good part

of the story, it plays out like a sitcom, with funny, snarky dialogue; a comedic storyline; and somewhat contrived characters. Th, F 8pm; Sa 5 & 9pm; Su 2pm. Through 2/23. $23-$25. B Street Theatre, 2711 B St.; (916) 443-5300; www.bstreettheatre.org. P.R.

5

The Real Thing

Capital Stage’s production of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing is a perfect pairing of an engaging play with top-notch performances. The talented cast members, who seamlessly work together as a cohesive and tight unit, include newcomers to the company: John Pasha and Jamie Kale, along with returnees Megan Pearl Smith and Michael Wiles. Director Janis Stevens not only keeps the action flowing, she keeps the timing on mark, a challenge in a play full of fast-paced repartees and subtle interactions. The clever set that the enables quick scene changes and the soundtrack, with songs that sync with underlining messages, add to the overall experience. W 7pm; Th, F, Sa, 8pm; Su 2pm. Through 2/23. $22-$45. Capital Stage, 2215 J St.; (916) 995-5464; www.capstage.org. P.R.

2/13/14

2:36 PM

Where Music meets Passion.

Now playiNg

4

1

1 FOUL

2 FAIR

3 GOOD

4 WELL-DONE

5 SUBLIME–DON’T MISS

Short reviews by Jeff Hudson and Patti Roberts.

Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore A curse, a duel, a passionate duet…and that’s just the first act! Don’t miss this stirring performance of Verdi’s II Trovatore, an unforgettable tale of love and vengeance featuring the world-famous Anvil Chorus.

PHOTO cOURTESy OF STEPHEN DUNN

Orange Shandy is here.

Friday, Feb. 28 at 8:00 pm Sunday, Mar. 2 at 2:00 pm Community Center Theater 1301 L Street, Sacramento

Stephen Dunn looks like a poet, even if you didn’t know it.

Reading and rocking in the library The Sacramento Poetry Center and the Sacramento Public Library will team up to bring Stephen Dunn—winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for his collection Different Hours—to the Tsakopolous Library Galleria this weekend. Dunn will read from his newest book, Lines of Defense, his 17th collection of poetry published in January. Born in New York City in 1939, the poet’s work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker and the New Republic, and he now teaches creative writing at Richard Stockton College in New Jersey. This event will also feature essayist and poet Barbara Hurd, as well as the musical and poetic sounds of Take Jack, Sonoma County’s “eclectic vocal folk-rockclassical ensemble,” according to 2012 Sacramento poet laureate Bob Stanley. Sunday, February 23, at 2 p.m.; $15. Tsakopolous Library Galleria, 828 I Street; (916) 240-1897; www.sacramentopoetrycenter.com.

Visit 2inTUNE.org or call 916.808.5181 for tickets.

Join us out here

—Jonathan Mendick

Please drink responsibly.

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Stay Warm this Winter

There’s no gentle way to say it. The movie version of Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale is spectacularly lousy. When it came out in 1983, Helprin’s novel by Jim Lane was widely admired among American literati. Personally, I gave it up after a few pages as a hugger-mugger of indigestible gobbledygook, “literary” in the most pretentious sense of the word. Perhaps I didn’t give the book a fair chance, but life is short. I don’t know how well writer-director Akiva Goldsman has served author Helprin; I can only speak to what he has put on the screen, and I saw every minute of that. It’s a mess.

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Ride away as fast as you can from this flick.

1 Poor

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5 excellent

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The movie opens in New York, 2014. Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) walks the snowy streets looking lost. Almost immediately, the scene shifts to the 1880s, as a young immigrant couple wait with their baby at Ellis Island. Denied entrance to America for medical reasons, they return to their ship. In the salon, the father smashes a glass case containing a model ship called, with clanging symbolism, the City of Justice. The couple place their baby in the model and lower it over the side into New York Harbor. In the real world, this would be a death sentence, but in the magical (un)realism of Winter’s Tale, it’s the entrance to a charmed, if troubled, life. Next, it’s 1916, and the baby has grown into Peter, on the run from a gang of toughs led by Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe, growling and mumbling in a halfhearted Irish accent). Just as the gang corners Peter, a white horse rescues him, galloping off with him and leaping a 15-foot fence. (The jump is child’s play: This horse can sprout wings and fly when it needs to, an equine guardian angel.) The horse leads Peter to a stately brownstone mansion. Peter breaks in to rob the place, but it’s not deserted. Left behind by her vacationing family is Beverly Penn, daughter of a wealthy newspaper editor (William Hurt). Beverly is played by Jessica

Brown Findlay, who was killed off on Downton Abbey. As it happens, she’s not long for this world either. Beverly is dying of consumption, as tuberculosis was called in those days. She eases her fever by walking barefoot in the snow and sleeping in a snowbound tent on the roof. This treatment for TB was new to me. Apparently, it’s unique to the kind of universe where parents fling their children into the Atlantic Ocean to give them a better life in America. One look at Beverly, and Peter decides to leave the jewels and silver and steal her heart instead, like Woody Allen in Take the Money and Run (“After 15 minutes I wanted to marry her, and after half an hour I completely gave up the idea of stealing her purse.”). He wonders if its possible to love someone “so completely that they cannot die.” Beverly, for her part, laments, “I’m 21, and I’ve never been kissed on the mouth.” Peter sees to that kiss (and more), but the answer to his question is “No.” After one night of bliss, Beverly dies in ecstasy. Peter grieves himself into amnesia, and thus we find him again in 2014— unchanged, but not knowing who he is. It’s here that he meets single mom Virginia Gamely (Jennifer Connelly). She will help him find his destiny and deal with Pearly Soames, who has followed him (also unchanged) down the years, with the help of a mysterious satanic character called the Judge (Will Smith). Peter also reunites with Beverly’s kid sister Willa. We last saw Willa as a solemn 9-year-old in 1916 (Mckayla Twiggs). Now she’s older (Eva Marie Saint) and is running the newspaper she inherited from her father. This probably worked in 1983 when the novel came out; updating to 2014 makes Willa about 107 and raises doubts about how well Goldsman thought through his adaptation. (Ms. Saint, for the record, is only 89, and a youthful 89 at that.)

The movie is so deliriously lost in itself that nothing rings true. I have barely scratched the surface of the limp, dimwit whimsy that burbles through Winter’s Tale. The movie is so deliriously lost in itself that nothing rings true. Its sentiments sound high-flown and poetic, but they’re sheer gibberish that say nothing. Its characters are one-dimensional stereotypes rather than archetypes, its unspeakable dialogue impervious to the efforts of a talented cast. The term “epic fail” was coined to describe calamities like this. Ω


by daniel barnes & JiM lane About Last Night

Two attractive singles (Michael Ealy, Joy Bryant) get fixed up by their best friends (Kevin Hart, Regina Hall), and a onenight stand turns serious: love, move in, crisis, break up. Meanwhile, each huddles up periodically with his or her pal to puzzle over dealing with the opposite sex. Directed by Steve Pink and written by Leslye Headland, this remake of the 1986 Demi Moore and Rob Lowe movie (both loosely based on David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago) is a rueful Valentine candy box, blithely profane, but essentially sweet and very funny. Ealy and Bryant are appealing, though they mainly play straight-man to Hart and Hall. Hart’s staccato schtick plays much better in a supporting role, and Hall matches him line for yammering line. They’re hilarious: This could be the beginning of a great rom-com team. J.L.

A pregnant teen (an earnest Vanessa Hudgens) runs away from her abusive druggie mother (Rosario Dawson, a bit over the top); she seeks help first from the biological father she’s never known (Brendan Fraser, equally earnest), then tries her luck on the street before finally landing at a shelter run by a compassionate housemother (Ann Dowd). Good intentions abound in this melodrama, and sincerity makes it watchable, but director Ron Krauss’ script drips with loose ends and seems to be missing major scenes in its dramatic arc (after early setbacks, Hudgens’ character cleans up her act with unconvincing ease), and his uncertain direction moves the action along in lurching fits and starts. James Earl Jones lends grave support as a kindly old priest, but other characters are too sketchy to stay in the memory. J.L.

3

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OR ELSE.

A 50-ish divorced woman (Paulina García) precariously navigates the pitfalls of life alone: dealing with landlord and neighbors, keeping in touch with her adult children without hovering—and, most precarious of all, adjusting to a new lover (Sergio Hernández) too recently divorced and still tied to ex-wife and family. Written by Gonzalo Maza and director Sebastián Lelio, the plot of this Chilean-Spanish co-production isn’t particularly thick, but it’s savory. The spice is provided largely by García’s performance: She’s not only the center of the movie, she’s literally never off camera, and she holds our attention effortlessly. It’s a winning, immensely sympathetic performance without fireworks, but with a steady fire. The rest of the cast—especially the mopey Hernández— complements her nicely. J.L.

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I, Frankenstein

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Given the many cinematic atrocities that have been produced by Hasbro in recent years, it is completely understandable to approach The Lego Movie with a certain amount of suspicion and dread. However, this is as wildly imaginative and fun as any film you’re likely to see this year, even if it is based entirely on corporate synergy. Written and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs), The Lego Movie concerns a lonely conformist (Chris Pratt, extremely personable) mistaken for a prophecy-fulfilling rebel savior. The film never takes its mumbo-jumbo seriously, opting instead to focus on giddily anarchic comedy, a childlike sense of visual invention, and a copyright-protected wet dream of supporting players. The only missteps are made in the third act, as that childlike wonder is literalized, and madness is sacrificed at the altar of lesson-learning. D.B.

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NEWS

The Monuments Men

The U.S. Army’s Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Section, tasked during World War II with preserving culture and retrieving millions of artworks stolen by the Nazis, is somehow turned into a movie in praise of stars Matt Damon and George Clooney (the latter also directed and co-wrote with Grant Heslov, from Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter’s book), making the section’s fine work look like a 1940s prequel to Ocean’s 11. It also reduces the 400 workers from 13 nations to a handful of Americans (John Goodman, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban) with a few token Europeans (Cate Blanchett, Hugh Bonneville, Jean Dujardin). False notes abound— words to a song that weren’t written until 1954, music that sounds like the theme from The Andy Griffith Show—and, as usual, Clooney’s preening vanity gives him all the best lines. J.L.

The Lego Movie

BEFORE

Lone Survivor

In 2005, a team of Navy SEALs (Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster) drops into the Afghan mountains to ambush a high-level Taliban warlord—but are ambushed themselves, unable to call in air support or rescue. Based on a real operation, the movie has grueling scenes of combat, some of the most realistic and harrowing ever seen. But writer-director Peter Berg and writer Patrick Robinson (adapting the memoir by Marcus Luttrell, the “lone survivor” of the title) never get around to establishing the characters as individuals. This makes the closing array of names rather confusing. Besides, the title is the ultimate spoiler, so there’s little suspense. We know only one will survive, and since only Wahlberg is billed above the title … J.L.

The premise of director Stuart Beattie and Kevin Grevioux’s script is dopey enough to send the comic-book crowd over the moon: Frankenstein’s creature (Aaron Eckhart) is enlisted in a war between good gargoyles (led by Miranda Otto) and evil demons (under Bill Nighy). The creature (now named Adam) refuses and goes his own way for 200 years. Then he gets involved again when the battle breaks out in the 21st century—chief demon Nighy wants Frankenstein’s secret of creating life so he can bring his demon soldiers back from hell—and, of course, he tricks a sexy female scientist (Yvonne Strahovski) into helping him. What can you say about a movie where gargoyles are the good guys? It’s the usual storm of CGI fire and brimstone; if it had been called I, Fred no studio would have given it a second glance. J.L.

4

LIKE

Endless Love

Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 Endless Love, an overheated teen soaper starring Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt, is easily the least regarded of the three 1980s movies whose remakes were released into theaters last weekend. Directed by Shana Feste (Country Strong), Endless Love feels like a better-thanaverage episode of a CW drama that should have been canceled years ago, but it’s also watchable page-turning trash with a few solid performances. British actors Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde play the stereotypical “sweet bad boy” and “rich good girl,” and while both performers come off as callow and unworldly, with the coltishly beautiful Wilde it feels more like an actor’s choice. The reliably awful Pettyfer just lacks charisma and screen presence, and he practically distills into vapor any time he is forced to share the screen with a crafty veteran like Bruce Greenwood or Robert Patrick. D.B.

Gloria

4

The Past

Although The Past is set in France instead of his native Iran, writerdirector Asghar Farhadi’s follow-up to his 2011 film A Separation deals with many of the same themes, most notably the seismic ripple effects of a dissolved marriage. The Past is an even slower starter and maintains a lower flame than A Separation, and the film is so unfocused on narrative immediacy that it evolves into an existential mystery before the viewer even comprehends it. Therefore, the impact of The Past may not be immediate as with its predecessor, but it could prove to have the longer emotional reach. Something chains each one of Farhadi’s characters to a past they regret but can never reclaim, even as they appeal to bureaucratic systems to redefine their existences. It all develops into a moral whodunit, with everyone obsessively circling around a tragic event that Farhadi never shows us. D.B.

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Two single dudes (Zac Efron, Miles Teller) and their divorce-bound pal (Michael B. Jordan) swear off serious relationships with women—but each of them quickly backslides into what might develop into a real romance. This flimsy update of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost was written and directed by Tom Gormican, whose experience consists of only two pictures, including this one. Gormican shows aptitude, but apparently it’s more from paying attention in screenwriting class than from observing people in real life: His script is so arch and self-consciously clever that the jokes sound stale even as we hear them for the first time. Efron and Teller do what they can (Jordan is underused), but the women make a stronger impression: Imogen Poots as Efron’s match and (especially) Mackenzie Davis as Teller’s. J.L.

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US.

It does not seem possible that a PG-13 remake of Paul Verhoeven’s ultraviolent 1987 sci-fi action masterpiece RoboCop could retain any of the original’s mordant multimedia satire, much less its gleefully bleak vision of a near-future urban hell. So, perhaps this shiny new RoboCop is the best RoboCop we could possibly expect at this moment. Director José Padilha’s gift for stylizing boot-level action scenes; a game, supporting cast; and an updated special-effects shimmer are almost enough to forgive that the film crumbles in the second half. The most disappointing aspect is the cleanliness of Padilha’s moral lines, nothing like the schizophrenic satire of Verhoeven’s film, which blurred the boundary between decrying sadism and psychotically reveling in it. This RoboCop spends so much time exploring the sensitive-dad side of its cyborg-peacekeeper protagonist that we’re practically into the third act before the story starts. D.B.

2

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A motor-mouthed security guard and cop wannabe (Kevin Hart) wants to prove to his girlfriend’s cop brother (Ice Cube) that he’s worthy of both the girl and the force, so he rides along with him on patrol. Your reaction to this semilame action comedy will depend on your tolerance for Hart’s line of profanely caffeinated patter; for some of us, a little goes a long way. When the story is as predictable as this one with nothing to take your mind of Hart’s constant yapping, it’s enough to set your teeth on edge. Ice Cube’s character strikes an attitude of angry exasperation toward his unwanted partner, leading one to wonder if the actor may have felt the same way on the set. It would be hard to blame him if he did. J.L.

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31


Cat powered Sacramento singer-songwriter Sherman Baker  talks felines, feelings and music

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For more on Sherman Baker, including show dates and information on his new self-titled album, visit www.shermanbaker music.com.

32   |   SN&R   |   02.20.14

Though the record’s sound isn’t dramatically different from his 2012 album Seventeenth Street, Baker’s style has evolved quite a bit from when he first moved to Sacramento and took on a music career 12 years ago. “I was like a different person,” he says. “I went through a really Bob Dylan-rootsAmericana thing for a few years, and then I thought, ‘I don’t want to play three-chord songs anymore, and I want to sing the way that I speak. I don’t want to be a country boy.’” So he slowly moved more and more toward the music he loves—the Smiths, Joy Division, Radiohead, Leonard Cohen and, yes, still Bob Dylan. As such, a new track about his beloved cats didn’t make it on the record. Baker said it was too folky, but curious listeners can find it on YouTube by searching his name and “Tony and Boots.” Baker met Tiny Boots and Tony Bologna three years ago, right after he got out of rehab for a heroin addiction. “They just showed up,” he says. “I started feeding them, and they never left. They slept with me every night and changed my life. They became so good to me in a way that people have never been.” He relished caring for them, and he became so ideologically attached that he turned to vegetarianism. Seven years ago, Baker said he felt completely indifferent to cats, and now he can go on and on about their habits, diets and souls. He’ll bring them up in a tangent about the meaning of a song, and again in a tangent about the meaning of life. photo By jeSSe vaSquez

that

There is one major common feature in Sherman Baker’s latest music videos. Cats. Three of them. In “Ducks in a Row,” his own young felines by Janelle Bitker Tiny Boots and Tony Bologna make an appearance. And at the end of a soothing lullaby called j a ne l l e b @ “Oregon to Washington,” local celebrity fatty ne w s re v i e w . c o m Norm Lopez purrs softly in dreamland. “They’re lazy and vain, and I think that’s why we like them so much as a society,” Baker says.

“They’re very focused on their appearance, sleeping and eating. We can all relate to those three things.” Indeed, Baker almost plastered his cat’s face on his new album cover. But then he realized Blink-182’s second album also wore a cat’s face, and Baker could not stand for such unfortunate, accidental parallels. Instead, the musician’s self-titled third album displays two shadowy figures—perhaps more appropriate, considering the singersongwriter’s penchant for somber themes. There are songs about death, songs about his ex, songs devoid of sentimentality. “It’s dark, but it’s real life,” Baker says. “Most pop music is escapist. They don’t want to talk about how people are really living today.” The new album, released on February 11, comprises nine songs that form a lovely, flowing collection of melodious indie rock with elements of folk and orchestral pop. His lyrics are emotional, yet accessible. Think Elliott Smith or Nick Drake. Baker went up to Seattle to record with Robert Cheek—the same producer he worked with on his previous two albums—for a couple of weeks this past summer. He performed most of the instrumentation himself—guitar, piano, bass—and is joined by multi-instrumentalist Joseph Davancens and drummer Sam Coe.

“Theysleptwithmeevery nightandchangedmylife. Theybecamesogoodto meinawaythatpeople haveneverbeen.” Sherman Baker on the importance of his cats “I look at my cats, and they do three things: They eat, lie around and clean themselves,” he says. “I think we humans are different, but essentially, we are trying to mate, make money, maybe express ourselves and try to be happy. There are various ways of going about that, but that’s what people do all day. I feel programmed—it’s like the story has been written for us.” Ω


Hello, goodbye: To some, the True Love Coffeehouse is a bittersweet memory. To new Sacramento residents such as myself, it’s a mystical wonder—an all-ages, what-couldhave-been venue courtesy of Kevin and Allyson Seconds. When True Love closed a few years back, one of its casualties was a weekly singer-songwriter showcase. Good news: The Tune-Up Songwriter’s Showcase revived the tradition at Colonial Cafe (3520 Stockton Boulevard) back in December 2013, with co-hosts Kevin Seconds and David Houston. Bad news: Last Wednesday marked the series’ final edition for a couple of months, while Seconds goes on tour for his recent solo album, Off Stockton, and later with his longstanding punk band 7Seconds. But it will be back, eventually. And it goes something like this: Seconds and Houston sandwich a special guest on Colonial Cafe’s makeshift stage, and they play songs down the line, one by one. Meanwhile, audience members are asked to engage with the performers. In other words, it’s an ideal opportunity for fans to raise their hands and beg for secrets. As the featured songwriter last week, Damon Wyckoff, frontman for Forever Goldrush, shared old stories of his “discovery” by music execs and days spent touring with major artists—like Lucinda Williams, who immediately proved to be a popular topic. Wyckoff’s folk-rock sound—an ideal accompaniment to those of Seconds and Houston—included some fingerpicking and mountain flair. Seconds shared a few of the powerful folk songs from his new record, and the audience maintained complete silence for Houston’s soft crooning. Admittedly, the audience was small—maybe about 10 people. Of course its members were attentive. But you’d think a bigger crowd would form. Perhaps it’s the venue’s obscure location, but Seconds and Houston are two of Sacramento’s foremost singer-songwriters, and to see them with another huge talent, for free, in an intimate, casual setting makes for an entirely pleasant and rewarding weeknight evening. And it will again, in a couple of months.

From the cutting-room floor: The Lgndvry & Mixtape Mobb Presents Hometown Heroes series celebrates the diversity of the Sacramento rap scene. While club-pandering, twerk anthems clutter up the mixtape’s first side, the flip side focuses on rap traditionalists who prefer soul-tinged and grimier production with no interest in radio play. For the clubbier offerings, it raises the question: Is it possible to hear Lil Darrion’s “Twerk Dat Shit” or Magik & DP’s “On the Low” at Nex Downtown? Do these songs have a fighting chance for deejay spins, be it club or radio? Or will they only exist strictly on a digital mixtape on www.live mixtapes.com, rap’s equivalent to a trash island in the Pacific Ocean? Among the trend-hoppers, there exist a few beacons deserving of the “hero” title. Dizzy earns his keep on “SacTown,” which features a sample of 2Pac shouting the city out on “California Love.” His raspy delivery is unique to him, with no trace of Bay Area piggybacking. Dizzy’s “SacTown” might be the closest a Sacramento rapper has gotten to writing a fitting anthem for this town. On “Blood Diamonds” D-Rek’s lineage can be traced to Black Market Records heyday and legends such as Brotha Lynch Hung and X-Raided. Doey Rock, a.k.a. Mean Doe Green, has changed his moniker again. Now known as Kahali Oden, his “Wild” track is ripe with intricate stylings that are best unpacked upon repeated listens. While Lil Darrion will settle for any female willing to twerk for him, Kahali Oden levels a higher standard of appreciation, strictly to “Young birds with a sponsor / with donkey asses / bouncing in Bahamas waters.” Unfortunately, the mixtape feels as though even its more widely celebrated heroes like C Plus, Blee, Peso Harlem and Chuuwee contributed cutting-room floor tracks, coveting their better material for upcoming projects, Oden’s “Wild” being the exception. With no production credits cited, I can’t help but wonder how much of the record was produced in the 916 since it sounds as though it’s largely lacking Hippie Sabotage and Tynethys. —Blake Gillespie

—Janelle Bitker

jan elleb@ n ew s r ev i ew . com

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  SN&R    

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  33


21FRI

22SAT

23SUN

23SUN

The Spring Quartet

Kris Kristofferson

Don McLean

Man Man

Mondavi Center, 8 p.m., $25-$59

Crest Theatre, 8 p.m., $40-$50

This quartet is a supergroup that features a  bunch of jazz prodigies spanning a few generations. Jack DeJohnette, 71, is a drummer  who’s recorded 10 albums as a sideman for  Miles Davis, but also plenty more with legends  like Bill Evans and Sonny Rollins. Sixty-oneyear-old Joe Lovano’s probably best known  for his saxophone work with Paul Motian  and John Scofield but has plenty of chops  as a solo artist as well. Bassist and singer,  Esperanza Spalding (pictured)—29, the  youngest of the group—beat Justin Bieber,  JaZZ Drake, Florence + the Machine, and  Mumford & Sons for the 2010 Best  New Artist Grammy. Comparatively, pianist  Leo Genovese, who is in his mid-30s, is relatively unknown. 9399 Old Davis Road in Davis,  www.mondaviarts.org.

Crest Theatre, 7:30 p.m., $45-$65

Grammy Award winner and Country Music  Hall of Fame inductee Kris Kristofferson has  led a prolific and illustrious career, penning  hits such as “Me and Bobby McGee” and  “For the Good Times,” and playing in the  Highwaymen alongside Johnny Cash, Waylon  COUNtRY Jennings and Willie Nelson. In  case you missed it, he also  appeared in 2012’s Joyful Noise alongside  Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton, and more  recently, he’s adding “industrial hemp activist” to his résumé. Put on by the California  State Grange and Hempstead Project Heart,  this show aims to raise awareness about the  cultivation of industrial hemp. 1013 K Street,  www.kriskristofferson.com.

If all Don McLean had ever given us was  “American Pie,” that would be enough. But  add to that his paean to the painter Vincent  van Gogh (“Vincent”) and his remarkable  cover of Roy Orbison’s classic “Crying,” and  you’ve got a significant pop footprint—and  that’s before you consider how many others  have recorded songs he wrote. Most of his  work now leans toward folk and country,  and his shows are noted for containing a  variety of songs, including pop standards  and covers of Buddy Holly—and, of course,  FOlK/ROCK McLean’s own ode to the  kid from Lubbock, Texas,  and the day the music died. 1013 K Street,  www.don-mclean.com.

—Deena Drewis

—Kel Munger

—Jonathan Mendick

Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub, 8 p.m., $16-$18 This experimental Philly band brings its  multiple instruments and a new album, last  fall’s On Oni Pond, which includes the popflavored “Head on (Hold on to Your Heart)”  to Sacramento. Lead singer Honus Honus can  sound like a rock star, a pop crooner and— on the ukulele-based “Deep Cover”—  a Don Ho wannabe. In addition to new songs,  expect old favorites like “10lb Moustache,”  and, if we’re lucky, the cover of “Little  Boxes” (written by Malvina Reynolds and  made famous by the late Pete Seeger) that  expeRimeNtal the band did for  the Showtime  series Weeds. Also performing is Xenia  Rubinos, a punk, beatbox and soul artist that  you’ve got to hear to believe. 2708 J Street,  www.manmanbandband.com.

—Kel Munger

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1949 Zinfandel Dr Rancho Cordova, CA 916.468.8189 | 4pm-1am every day 34   |   SN&R   |   

02.20.14

2019 O street | sacramentO | 916.442.2682


23SUN

24MON

26WED

26WED

Nevada Backwards

TobyMac

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra

Dead Dads

UC Davis Pavilion, 7:30 p.m., $25-$55

Nevada Backwards has been kickin’ up  dust in Sacramento since 2001. Formed by  singer-songwriter Brian Ballentine—known  AMERICANA for his time spent as  guitarist and vocalist  for Blvd Park—the group creates bluegrassheavy country music with a loud rock ’n’ roll  delivery. N.B.’s also known for its Rolodex of  friends that gathers for live performances  when Ballentine visits town from his newfound home in Seattle. Nevada Backwards’  intricate banjo and mandolin elements come  thanks to Mick Stevenson, co-owner of Dad’s  Sandwiches downtown. As for the band’s clever name, well, that’s either credited to a ghost  town in Nevada called Adaven, Ballentine’s  first dog, or the anti-anxiety medication,  Ativan. 904 15th Street, www.torchclub.net.

Arguably the biggest name in the   contemporary Christian music world,  TobyMac’s legacy will be forever attached  to his time with DC Talk, which disbanded  about 15 years ago. But he has made just  as big of a name for himself as a solo artist,  racking up multiple Grammy and Billboard  Music Awards, along with more than a dozen  Dove Awards (CCM’s version of the Grammy  Awards). Hip-hop, rock, pop and dance  CHRISTIAN music have been his forte,  with songs like “Love is in  the House,” “Ignition” and “The Slam” featuring prominently in Monday Night Football,  NASCAR and film promos. 1 Shields Avenue in  Davis, www.tobymac.com.

—Brian Palmer

Ella Fitzgerald is probably the most influential  jazz singer of all time. She won 13 Grammy  JAZZ Awards, and her 60-year career  not only outlasted those of her  contemporaries Sarah Vaughan and Billie  Holiday, but also seemed to get stronger over  time. In a performance titled A Tribute to Ella  Fitzgerald, the Smithsonian Jazz Master Works  Orchestra will perform many of same the bigband arrangements the “Queen of Jazz” once  performed with the likes of Duke Ellington and  Count Basie. Grammy Award-winning vocalist  (as part of New York Voices) Kim Nazarian will  bring her own dynamic singing range into her  rendition of Lady Ella’s vocal parts. 10 College  Parkway in Folsom, www.smithsonianjazz.org. 

thu 02/20

monday

dance beats

trivia @ 6:30pm

Fri 02/21

you front the band

taco tues

9pm // Free

the rumblerz$6

wednesday

60’s-90’s covers // 9pm //

open mic

sun 02/23

sign-ups at 7:30pm

showcase sunday open mic 9-12am // Free

thursday

comedy 7-9pm // talent

KaraoKe @ 7:30pm

mon 02/24

open for lunch & dinner 7 days a weeK

karaoke 8pm // Free tues 02/25

doors open at 11:30

greatest stories d dead // garcia ever tol // 8pm // Free

feb 21 bp & praduh cd release wasted talent feb 22 j ras & irie fuse feb 23 vagabond brothers unplugged 2pm-5pm feb 28 stellar a tribute to incubus & thunder cover mar 01 humble wolf mar 07 big sticky mess mar 08 ideateam

wed 02/26

wild wednesday hosted by dj katz featuring:

s band element bras / 9pm // $5 dj // band mix show

UPcOMING sHOWs:

2/28 the darling clementines burlesque show

908 K Street • sac 916.446.4361 wwwMarilynsOnK.com |

  NEWS

—Aaron Carnes

AWARD WINNING LOCAL CRAFT BEERS ON TAP

events calendar thursday febuary 2 0 Dj bryan hawk

friday febuary 2 1

Dj shawn slaughter “surprise party”

saturday febuary 2 2

joe friDay - 80’s cover banD

plus

happy hour monDay-friDay 5pm-7pm

live music

dylan revue

www.startlightlounge.net

$1 tacos, $2 coronas, 2–8pm

sat 02/22

BEFORE

BEER AFICIONADOS

tuesday

live karaoke

Pop-punk for a lot of people seems to mean  a style that is, well, a whole lot of pop and  not much punk. But that’s not how the genre  started. The Descendents ripped through some  aggressive skate-punk riffs, but attached  POP-PUNK some catchy vocal lines to it  (albeit screaming melodies).  Dead Dads approach pop-punk with the same  fervor. They play fast, thick and bright rock ’n’  roll chords, and the drummer builds incredible  dynamics with a creative use of toms, while  the guitarist chugs along with muted chords,  and then the band explodes into punk-rock  mayhem with the lead singer belting out some  infectious Jawbreaker-esque scream-singing.  2030 P Street, www.deaddads.bandcamp.com. 

—Jonathan Mendick

—Steph Rodriguez

dj oasis, inkdup life leon // 9pm // $5

The Press Club, 8 p.m., $5

Harris Center for the Arts, 7 p.m., $12-$45

1 517 21 st stre e t | 916 .7 04 . 0711

Torch Club, 8 p.m., $5

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

|

  F E AT U R E

STORY

SIERRA COLLEGE EXIT OFF 80 4007 TAYLOR RD www.COUNTRYCLUBSALOON.net COUNTRYCLUBSALOON.net

  |    A R T S & C U L T U R E    

| 

  AFTER

  |    02.20.14    

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  SN&R    

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  35


NIGHTBEAT

THURSDAY 2/20

FRIDAY 2/21

SATURDAY 2/22

ASSEMBLY MUSIC HALL

REHAB, ANGEL’S CUT, KRYPTIC MEMORIES, THEY WENT GHOST; 7pm, $15

DEVIN WRIGHT, WRINGS, ZANKO, JULIET COMPANY; 7pm, $10

SOME FEAR NONE, LONELY KINGS, NUMBER STATION, KELPS; 6:30pm, $10

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

BAR 101

Karaoke, 7:30pm, no cover

BP AND PRADUH, 9:30pm, $5

IRIE FUSE, J RAS; 9:30pm, $5

BLUE LAMP

Blues jam session, 4pm, no cover

SWIM, SUN VALLEY GUN CLUB, DER SPAZM; 8pm, $6

FAYUCA, STORYTELLERS, 1ST PLACE, CORDUROY JIM; 8pm, $10

THE BOARDWALK

THE OSTRICH THEORY, PAPER GHOST,

LYNCH MOB, RESTRAYNED, FAIR STRUGGLE, SJ SINDICATE; 8pm

DOSE OF ADOLESCENCE, CROMWELL, ASSUMING WE SURVIVE; 8pm

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 1400 Alhambra, (916) 455-3400

9426 Greenback Ln., Orangevale; (916) 988-9247 MANOS HAND OF FATE; 8pm

CENTER FOR THE ARTS

GEORGE KUO, MARTIN PAHINUI, AARON MAHI; 8pm, $22-$25

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

THE COZMIC CAFÉ

Open-mic, 7:30pm, no cover

DISTRICT 30

PARIS & SIMO, 9pm, call for cover

594 Main St., Placerville; (530) 642-8481 1016 K St., (916) 737-5770

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

Hey local bands!

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.

228 G St., Davis; (530) 756-9227

HALFTIME BAR & GRILL HARLOW’S

DJs Audio1 and Billy Lane, 9pm, call for cover

DJ Miles Medina, 9pm, call for cover

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

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

KEVIN SECONDS, WEST NILE RAMBLERS; 9pm, $5

THE SESHEN, FELSEN, BELLYGUNNER; 9pm, $5

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

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

Naughty Trivia, 8pm W, no cover

ALASDAIR FRASER & NATALIE HAAS, 7pm, $22

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

Trivia night, 7:30-9pm Tu, no cover MAN MAN, XENIA RUBINO; 8pm, $16-$18

THE THERMALS, COLLEEN GREEN; 8pm M, $12.50-$15

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

SLY PARK, MOMOMYNOUS, MOMO JONES; 8pm, $5

DAVID HOUSTON & STRING THEORY, JONAH MATRANGA; 8pm, $6

MARILYN’S ON K

Dance beats w/ DJs Oasis, Inkdup and Life Leon, 9pm, $5

You Front The Band Live Karaoke, 9pm, no cover

THE RUMBLERZ, 9pm, call for cover

Comedy and talent showcase, 7pm, no cover

Greatful Dead, Bob Dylan revue, Tu; ELEMENT BRASS BAND, DJ Katz; 9pm W, $5

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

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

NAKED LOUNGE DOWNTOWN 1111 H St., (916) 443-1927

Trivia, 6:30pm M, no cover; Open-mic, 7:30pm W, no cover

ROSS HAMMOND, JUSTIN FARREN, THE KELPS; 7pm W, call for cover

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

MIDTOWN BARFLY

Mad Mondays, 9pm M; Latin video flair and Wii bowling, 7pm Tu

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

LUNA’S CAFE & JUICÉ BAR 908 K St., (916) 446-4361

Sin Sunday, 8pm, call for cover

POP FICTION, 9pm-midnight, $5 TAINTED LOVE, 10pm, $15

LOWBRAU

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

PARADISE FEARS, 6pm W, $25

GROOVIN’ HIGH, 9pm, no cover

THE THREE WAY, BUCKLE RASH, MISS TAINTED LOVE, 10pm, $15 MADDY’S F STREET STOMPERS; 9pm, $8

2708 J St., (916) 441-4693

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY 2/24-2/26

SINEW, LOTUS EATER, SOVIET SUMMER; 8pm, $5

UNLICENSED THERAPY, 9pm-midnight, $5

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

SUNDAY 2/23

TAJLYN, THE IRON HEARTS, STEP JAYNE, THE SAD JUICEES; 8:30pm, $5

BLOOD OF KVASIR, BATTLE HAG, LASHER KEEN; 8:30pm, $5

FEATHERWEIGHT, BRAVE SEASON, NUDE AND TRUE; 8:30pm, $5

Jazz session, 8pm M; OCCUPY THE TREES, GO TEAM, PLOTS; 8:30pm W, $5

1000 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

fOr TiCKeTs TO aLL sHOWs VisiT assemblyMusicHall.com

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

wed feb 26 @ 6pm

thu feb 20 @ 7pm

fri feb 21 @ 7pm wrings - zanko - juliet company

sat feb 22 @ 6:30pm

paradise fears sunderland - battle scars

Upcoming ShowS

sat march 1 @ 7pm

36

|

fri feb 28 @ 6:30pm SN&R | 02.20.14

baeza

reign - statusgoes - playah k

sun march 2 @ 6pm

lions lions - honour crest - the illiad and the odyssey

mar 05 mar 06 mar 08 mar 10 mar 11 mar 13 mar 14 mar 15 mar 17 mar 21 mar 22 mar 23 mar 24 mar 25 mar 26 mar 27 mar 29 apr 04 apr 05 apr 06

sunny ledfurd posterchild ghost of the robot cultura profetica we are the in crowd infected mushroom rachel barton pine the siren show protest the hero the Kin Kumande’s live experience alesana being as an ocean blacK lips carnifex animals as leaders autumn sKy / life in 24 frames barcelona headbang for the hwy cunninlynguists


THURSDAY 2/20

FRIDAY 2/21

SATURDAY 2/22

OLD IRONSIDES

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

MUSICAL CHARIS, SEA LEGS; 9pm, call for cover

DARKLINE, BLOOD PARTY, ONCE AN EMPIRE, ZERO CLIENT; 8:30pm, $6

WHOVILLE, THE JEON GENIES, UCE JUICE; 9pm, $7

ON THE Y

Karaoke, 9pm, no cover

CHOP SHOPPE, 9pm, $6

Karaoke, 9pm, no cover

THE PALMS PLAYHOUSE

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

SYLVIA TYSON, CINDY CASHDOLLAR, SCARLET RIVERA; 8pm, $25

SKYNNYN LYNNRD, 7:30pm and 9:30pm, $20

THE PARK ULTRA LOUNGE

DJ E-Rock, 9pm-2am, $15

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

PINS N STRIKES

DJ Supe, 9pm, call for cover

MIDNIGHT PLAYERS, 9pm, $10

670 Fulton Ave., (916) 487-3731

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

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

SUNDAY 2/23

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY 2/24-2/26 Karaoke w/ Sac City Entertainment, 9pm Tu; Open-mic, 9pm W, no cover

Open-mic comedy, 9pm, no cover

Karaoke, 9pm Tu, no cover ADRIAN LEGG, 7:30pm W, $20

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

BP and Praduh 9:30pm Friday, $5. Bar 101 Hip-hop

PJ’S ROADHOUSE

DJ Old Griff, 9pm, no cover

GRAVESHADOW, 9pm, $5

ADONIS DNA, 9pm, $5

POWERHOUSE PUB

FRED EAGLESMITH, 10pm, call for cover

FOREVERLAND, 10pm, call for cover

SUPERLICIOUS, 10pm, call for cover

MAXX CABELLO JR., 3pm, call for cover

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

THE PRESS CLUB

POWER, SOLANUM, MDL; 9pm, $5

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

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

Sunday Night Soul Party, 9pm, $5

POTENTIAL THREAT, ART OF CHAOS; M, $8; DEAD DADS, MEDODORA; 9pm W, $5

SHADY LADY SALOON

ROSS HAMMOND, 9pm, no cover

LITTLE MUDDY, 9pm, no cover

ZORELLI, 9pm, no cover

DOUBLE P REVIEW, 9pm, no cover

SHAUN SLAUGHTER, 9pm Tu, no cover; ALEX JENKINS, 9pm W, no cover

5461 Mother Lode, Placerville; (530) 626-0336 614 Sutter St., Folsom; (916) 355-8586 2030 P St., (916) 444-7914 1409 R St., (916) 231-9121

SOL COLLECTIVE

Growing Fairness screening, 6-8:30pm W; Microphone Mondays, 6pm M, $1-$2

TAKTICZ, LUKE TAILOR, CAM, JASMINE NICHOL, SWAIN TURRAY; 7pm, $10

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

STONEY INN/ROCKIN’ RODEO

BUCK FORD PURE COUNTRY BAND, 9pm, $5

THE STATION

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

TORCH CLUB

X TRIO, 5pm, no cover; RED’S BLUES, 9pm, $5

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

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

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

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

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

Country dance party, 8pm, no cover

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

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

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

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

JOHNNY KNOX, 5:30pm, no cover; AC MYLES, 9pm, $7

Blues jam, 4pm, no cover; NEVADA BACKWARDS, 8pm, $5

ISLAND OF BLACK & WHITE, 9pm Tu, $5; HOWELL DEVINE, 9pm W, $5

All ages, all the time ACE OF SPADES

1417 R St., (916) 448-3300

BEATNIK STUDIOS

BACOLONE, 7pm, $10

LUIGI’S SLICE AND FUN GARDEN

COVE, SAMA DAMS, DYNAMIC FUZZBOMB; 8pm, call for cover

SHINE

PREGNANT, GRAPH RABBIT, CHOPSTICK; 8pm, $5

723 S St., (916) 443-5808 1050 20th St., (916) 552-0317 1400 E St., (916) 551-1400

PHANTOGRAM, WHITE SEA; 8pm, $25

THE GROUCH & ELIGH, PIGEON JOHN, IANC; 7pm, $22

DOM KENNEDY, SKEME; 7pm W, $25

SPANGLER, ORANGE MORNING, WES URBANIAK; 8pm, $5

SAMANTHA CAYLOR, BAD CONNECTION, JORDAN & RACHEL; 8pm, $5

Jazz jam w/ Jason Galbraith & Friends, 8pm Tu; Poetry with Bill Gainer, 7pm W

ace of SPadeS

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

All Ages Welcome!

COMING

thursday, march 6

Friday, February 21

t-Pain

PHantoGRaM white sea

priceless da roc - diamond dez - biaje & smoke dj kentot - keyringz - mic taylor - young duse

saturday, February 22

thursday, march 13

tHe GRoUcH & eliGH

03/22 Eoto

UMPHReY’S McGee

03/24 Bun B & Kirko Bangz 03/26 Moonshine Bandits & The Lacs 03/30 Reverend Horton Heat 03/31 Blue October

saturday, march 15

Wednesday, February 26

tHe exPendableS

doM KennedY skeme

SOON

03/21 Memphis May Fire

an evening with

pigeon john - dj fresh - ianc

Sylvia Tyson with Cindy Cashdollar and Scarlet Rivera 8pm Friday, $25. The Palms Playhouse Folk and country

stick figure - seedless

04/02 Beats Antique 04/04 Yonder Mountain String Band 04/09 Schoolboy Q 04/15 All Time Low 04/16 Sevendust

thursday, February 27

Wednesday, march 19

jbooG

04/17 Mogwai

bReaK Science

las rakas - simple creation squarefield massive

04/21 The 1975 04/24 The Dandy Warhols 04/25 Drive-By Truckers 04/27 Julieta Venegas 05/11 Twenty One Pilots

thursday, march 20

saturday, march 1

tHe waileRS performing “legend” in its entirety

tieRRa inner soul

05/16 “One” Metallica Tribute Band 05/21 Christina Perri 05/31 Tech N9ne

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

BEFORE

|

NEWS

|

FEATURE STORY

|

A RT S & C U LT U R E

|

AFTER

|

02.20.14

|

SN&R

|

37


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How does one get involved in the legalization lobby? Are Marijuana Policy Project and National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws the only options, or are there groups? —T.H. Cee I applaud you for wanting to get involved. There are so many organizations working for weed that it’s almost funny. Sometimes I think it’s like the scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian: There’s the Judean People’s Front, The People’s Front of Judea, and on and on. EALUM B IO You named the two biggies first. The MPP A G N by (www.mpp.org) is a national group that focuses mostly on direct lobbying and legal efforts to decriminalize and relegalize marijuana.’13NORML a s k420 @ ne wsreview.c om (www.norml.org) is probably the oldest marijuanalaw-reform group in the country. It is involved in all sorts of events, protests and court-support-type things. NORML has a national office, and it is also has many smaller local chapters. Check out www.canorml.org. There is a Sacramento branch, but it is kind of small and a little unorganized. Perhaps you can help out. And I am going to give a shout-out to Americans for Safe Access (www.safeaccessnow.org). It doesn’t deal directly with cannabis legalization, but it has been crazy effective in ensuring that patients are allowed to use cannabis without going to jail. You could also look into the Drug Policy Alliance (www.drugpolicy.org) and also Students for Sensible Drug Policy (www.ssdp.org). All are worthy. Can a cannabis club have a bank account? —Lon Durer Apparently, now it can. The Department of Justice has just announced that state-recognized businesses doing legal marijuana trade can now use banking services. Previously, banks had been warned away from doing business with cannabis clubs, because cannabis is a Schedule I narcotic (I know, right?), and anyone accepting money from a cannabis club could be seen as a money launderer. There are a few catches: The banks are supposed to gather information on how the cannabis business works and report any shadiness to the DOJ. For some, it may be a small price to pay. Others may try to keep their business cash-only, but having a bunch of cash around all the time makes businesses a target for thieves and whatnot. Still, this is another step in the right direction. Oh, and: This new policy doesn’t apply to California! California still has no comprehensive statewide policy, and so no clubs are state recognized, and once again, California canna-businesses are left in the dust. Sigh. Updates: Last week, I talked a bit about other countries’ drug policies (see “Dominoes falling,” SN&R The 420, February 13). Italy has just changed its drug laws about pot (Italy was equating marijuana with heroin, and up to 40 percent of Italy’s prisoners are there on drug-related charges); the country expects to release about 10,000 prisoners. And, after my column about pot etiquette (see “Tips for good stoner etiquette,” The 420, January 16), more than a few women commented that people should be sure to remove their lipstick before they hit the pipe or the blunt. Good advice. 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   |    A R T S & C U L T U R E    

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THC

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ARTS&CULTURE 

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ARTS&CULTURE 

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by Janelle bitkeR

ARIES (March 21-April 19): A woman

from New Mexico wrote to tell me that after reading my horoscopes for three years in the Santa Fe Reporter, she had decided to stop. “I changed my beliefs,” she said. “I no longer resonate with your philosophy.” On the one hand, I was sad that I had lost a reader. On the other hand, I admired her for being able to transform her beliefs, and also for taking practical action to enforce her shift in perspective. That’s the kind of purposeful metamorphosis I recommend for you, Aries. What ideas are you ready to shed? What theories no longer explain the nature of life to your satisfaction? Be ruthless in cutting away the thoughts that no longer work for you.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In

Arthurian legend, Camelot was the castle where King Arthur held court and ruled his kingdom. It housed the Round Table, where Arthur’s knights congregated for important events. Until recently, I had always imagined that the table was relatively small, and the number of knights few. But then, I discovered that several old stories say there was enough room for 150 knights. It wasn’t an exclusive, elitist group. I suspect you will experience a similar evolution, Taurus. You may be wishing you could become part of a certain circle but assume it’s too exclusive or selective to welcome you as a member. I suspect it’s more receptive and inclusive than you think. renowned Lakota medicine man Sitting Bull (1831-1890) wasn’t born with that name. For the first years of his life, he was known as Jumping Badger. His father renamed him when he was a teenager after he demonstrated exceptional courage in battle. I’d like to see you consider a similar transition in the coming months, Gemini. You’re due to add some gravitas to your approach. The tides of destiny are calling you to move more deliberately and take greater care with the details. Are you willing to experiment with being solid and stable? The more willing you are to assume added responsibility, the more interesting that responsibility is likely to be.

savannas of Africa, water holes are crucial for life. During the rainy season, there are enough to go around for every animal species to drink and bathe in comfortably. But the dry season shrinks the size and number of the water holes. The impala may have to share with the hippopotamus, the giraffe with the warthog. Let’s use this as a metaphor to speculate about your future. I’m guessing that the dry season will soon be arriving in your part of the world. The water holes may dwindle. But that could ultimately prove to be a lucky development, because it will bring you into contact with interesting life-forms you might not have otherwise met. Unexpected new alliances could emerge.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In his book The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, literary scholar Jonathan Gottschall muses on the crucial role that imagination plays in our lives. “[The] average daydream is about fourteen seconds long and [we] have about two thousand of them per day,” he says. “In other words, we spend about half of our waking hours—one-third of our lives on earth—spinning fantasies.” I bring this to your attention, Scorpio, because you are entering a phase when your daydreams can serve you well. They’re more likely than usual to be creative, productive and useful. Monitor them closely.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):

The Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his Eighth Symphony in a mere two months during the summer of 1943. He worked on it in an old henhouse on a former chicken farm. The location helped relax him, allowing him to work with extra intensity. I wish you could find a retreat like that for yourself sometime soon, Sagittarius. I think you would benefit from going off by yourself to a sanctuary and having some nice long talks with your ancestors, the spirits of nature and your deepest self. If that’s not practical right now, what would be the next best thing you could do?

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Is

there one simple thing you could do to bring a bit more freedom into your life? An elegant rebellion against an oppressive circumstance? A compassionate breakaway from a poignant encumbrance? A flash of unpredictable behavior that would help you escape a puzzling compromise? I’m not talking about a huge, dramatic move that would completely sever you from all of your burdens and limitations. I’m imagining a small step you could take to get a taste of spaciousness and a hint of greater fluidity. That’s your assignment in the coming week.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): The English

noun “offing” refers to the farthest reach of the ocean that is still visible as you stand on the beach. It’s a good symbol for something that is at a distance from you and yet still within view. I suggest that you take a long thoughtful look at the metaphorical offing that’s visible from where you stand. You’ll be wise to identify what’s looming for you in the future so you can start working to ensure you will get the best possible version of it.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): There

are 15,074 lakes in Wisconsin, but more than 9,000 of them have never been officially named. That’s strange to me. In my view, everything is worthy of the love that is bestowed by giving it a name. I have named every tree and bush in my yard, as well as each egret that frequents the creek flowing by my house. I understand that in the Findhorn community in northern Scotland, people even give names to their cars and toasters and washing machines. According to researchers in the U.K., cows that have names are happier: They produce more milk. Your assignment, Aquarius, is to name at least some of the unnamed things in your world. It’s an excellent time to cultivate a closer, warmer personal relationship with absolutely everything.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): A large plaster

Buddha statue was housed at a modest temple in Bangkok, Thailand, from 1935 to 1955. No one knew its age or origins. In May of 1955, workers were struggling to move the heavy 10-foot icon to a new building on the temple grounds when it accidentally broke free of the ropes that secured it. As it hit the ground, a chunk of plaster fell off, revealing a sheen of gold beneath. Religious leaders authorized the removal of the remaining plaster surface. Hidden inside was a solid-gold Buddha that is today worth $250 million. Research later revealed that the plaster had been applied by 18th-century monks to prevent the statue from being looted. I foresee a comparable sequence unfolding in the coming weeks for you, Leo. What will it take to free a valuable resource that’s concealed within a cheap veneer?

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): From 2010

to 2012, Eric Garcetti worked as an actor on the TV cop shows The Closer and its spin-off series Major Crimes. He played the mayor of Los Angeles. Then, in 2013, he ran for the office of L.A.’s mayor in real life and won. It was a spectacular example of Kurt Vonnegut’s suggestion that we tend to become what we pretend to be. Your assignment, Pisces, is to make good use of this principle. I invite you to experiment with pretending to be the person you would like to turn into.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):

Holistic-health teacher Deepak Chopra suggests that we all periodically make this statement: “Every decision I make is a choice between a grievance and a miracle. I relinquish all regrets, grievances, and resentments, and choose the miracle.” Is that too New Age for you, Virgo? I hope you can drop any prejudices you might have about it and simply make it your own. It’s the precise formula you need to spin this week’s events in the right direction—working for you rather than against you.

BEFORE

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NEWS

bRezsny

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In the

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The

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

phoTo By lisa BaeTz

by ROb

For the week of February 20, 2014

STORY

Art, not suicide Tom Botchii has a problem with Michael Bay. Botchii believes filmmakers should personally connect to their work, and let’s face it, Bay probably doesn’t know how it feels to be a Transformer. So the News10 promotions producer and filmmaker decided to put his money where his mouth is and embark on his first serious short film, 11 Minutes, which will actually clock in at less than 11 minutes. It centers around a workplace shooting, using, as part of its framework, a suicide note that Botchii wrote when he was 15. He filmed the whole thing one weekend earlier this month with its stars Kevin Gill, co-host of the Fuse network’s Insane Clown Posse Theater, and local wrestler Gabe Jimenez, also known as “Big Ugly.” Botchii aims to have the film streaming online by March 3. Then, it’s on to film festivals. Botchii recently talked to SN&R about filmmaking, Facebook and weird music.

Tell me about your start in filmmaking. My first movie was called $4, and it was made for $4. I was 16, and I worked at this grocery store, and they let me shoot there after-hours. It was a silly little story about a phone call I got that made me really angry, so I started breaking things around the house and around the grocery store. One of the things I broke and had to pay for was a gallon of milk, and it was $4. That was my first little dorky movie I did on my own—other than the films I did on ninja turtles, which I’m not gonna tell you about.

Really? Really.

Fine. Have you done any proper short films before? No. I’ve directed a few music videos, and I had a pro-wrestling TV show for a while and a documentary series on unconventional touring acts. I used to be in a band, and we would always tour with really weird bands.

What kind of weird? We played with band called Captured! by Robots, and it was one guy who played guitar and he built all of his other band members—they were just robots. There’s a band called Uberkunst, and they’re super weird. They’re like this 11-piece noise crew that gets naked and beats on trash cans and lights everything on fire. But we were just a two-man band, and half our shows were like stand-up— not because we had a routine, but because we were just so terrible.

Sounds cool. So what’s the concept for your new project? It’s a short mind bender, where you’re wondering if what’s happening is really happening. Imagine a Quentin |

A RT S & C U LT U R E

Tarantino-style film about a workplace shooting without guns. No guns, no blood.

That’s an intense topic. I feel like a lot of people are afraid to touch on workplace shootings, especially with the whole Facebook age we’re living in. Everyone has something to say about everything, and maybe people are afraid to get scolded for talking about it. I don’t care if my film is controversial or makes people mad. I’m not making any money on it. I’m paying the actors in high fives, big hugs and thank-you cards. I’m really just trying to make a project I’m proud of. I kinda feel like right now, the way films are made is one person with an idea that’ll make some money. I feel like a director should be the main actor—not star in it, but they should personalize the film and really understand it. That’s why I used my own suicide note. You should truly be part of your project, or else why are you doing it?

We should address this suicide note. I don’t think I ever thought I was going to do it, but I wanted to get my emotions out, so I’d write little notes. And one day, I wrote a suicide note. I always kept ... it and would look back at it whenever I got depressed, and I’d think, “I’ll probably never be that bad again. It’ll never be as bad as the day I wrote this note.” [Ages] 15 to 16 were really bad years. So, a couple years later when [the Columbine High School shootings] happened, I remember thinking that I was so depressed before, I could have done the same thing—if i knew how to operate a gun and wasn’t too afraid.

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AFTER

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I thought it would be interesting to tell the story of how those two things relate to each other. I wanted to take a really controversial topic and personalize it. ... Now, it’s like, when I think about projects I want to see, I think, “Why does no one tell real stories anymore? Why is no one talking about anything?”

And it all comes back to Facebook. Why haven’t you deleted your account? I use it to network. Every now and then I’ll post a joke like other people, but then I’ll delete it, because I feel like jokes evaporate. They’re funny for what they are at the moment, but I won’t want to look back on it later. I use it to network—I’ve met a lot of filmmakers that I work with now through Facebook.

Instagram? Yeah. I usually try to post embarrassing photos of myself.

Oh, wow. You take selfies? On Facebook I actually have an album that makes fun of selfies. Like, what’s more hipster, right? On Instagram I’ll post those pictures with cutouts—like there’s a dolphin, and you put your head in there. I have a whole collection of those. I’ve been Dorothy in Wizard of Oz. I’m super serious about my Instagram account. Ω For more on Tom Botchii’s work, visit www.youtube.com/botchiireels.

02.20.14

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SN&R

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