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A READING LIST FOR 2 019

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23 WAITRESS S ERVES SONGS, LAUGHS

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Sacramento’S newS & entertainment weekly

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Editor’s notE

january 3, 2019 | Vol. 30, issuE 38

21 18 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.

Editor Foon Rhee News Editor Raheem F. Hosseini Managing Editor Mozes Zarate Staff Reporter Scott Thomas Anderson Copy Editor Steph Rodriguez Calendar Editor Maxfield Morris Contributing Editor Rachel Leibrock Editorial Assistant Rachel Mayfield Contributors Daniel Barnes, Ngaio Bealum, Amy Bee, Rob Brezsny, Skye Cabrera, Aaron Carnes, Jim Carnes, Maia Paras Evrigenis, Joey Garcia, Kate Gonzales, Becky Grunewald, Howard Hardee, Ashley Hayes-Stone, Jim Lane, Ken Magri, James

20 Raia, Patti Roberts, Shoka, Stephanie Stiavetti, Dylan Svoboda, Bev Sykes, Graham Womack Creative Services Manager Christopher Terrazas Art Directors Maria Ratinova, Sarah Hansel Publications Designer Katelynn Mitrano Web Design & Strategist Elisabeth Bayard-Arthur Ad Designer Naisi Thomas Contributing Photographers Ashley Hayes-Stone

Advertising Manager Michael Gelbman Sales & Production Coordinator Skyler Morris Senior Advertising Consultants Rosemarie Messina, Kelsi White

Advertising Consultants Taleish Daniels, Mark Kates, Anthony Madrid, Michael Nero, Rodrigo Ramirez

Director of First Impressions/Sweetdeals Coordinator Reid Fowler Distribution Director Greg Erwin Distribution Assistant Lob Dunnica Distribution Drivers Mansour Aghdam, Beatriz

04 STREETALK 06 nEwS 09 ESSAy 11 gREEnLighT 12 fEATuRE 18 ARTS + CuLTuRE 20 diSh 22 muSiC 23 STAgE 24 fiLm 25 CALEndAR 31 CApiTAL CAnnAbiS guidE 35 ASK joEy 39 15 minuTES

22 Hopkins, Kenneth James, Julian Lang, Calvin Maxwell, Greg Meyers, John Parks, Lloyd Rongley, Lolu Sholotan, Carlton Singleton, Viv Tiqui

N&R Publications Editor Michelle Carl N&R Publications Associate Editor Laura Hillen N&R Publications Editorial Team Anne Stokes Marketing & Publications Consultants Steve Caruso, Joseph Engle, Traci Hukill, Elizabeth Morabito, Luke Roling, Celeste Worden

President/CEO Jeff vonKaenel Director of Nuts & Bolts Deborah Redmond Director of People & Culture David Stogner Nuts & Bolts Ninja Norma Huerta Director of Dollars & Sense Debbie Mantoan Payroll/AP Wizard Miranda Hansen Accounts Receivable Specialist Analie Foland Developer John Bisignano System Support Specialist Kalin Jenkins

CovER dESign by SARAh hAnSEL

1124 Del Paso Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95815 Phone (916) 498-1234 Fax (916) 498-7910 Website newsreview.com Got a News Tip? sactonewstips@newsreview.com Calendar Events newsreview.com/calendar Want to Advertise? Fax (916) 498-7910 or snradinfo@newsreview.com Classifieds (916) 498-1234, ext. 5 or classifieds@newsreview.com Job Opportunities jobs@newsreview.com Want to Subscribe to SN&R? sactosubs@newsreview.com

Editorial Policies: Opinions expressed in SN&R are those of the authors and not of Chico Community Publishing, Inc. Contact the editor for permissions to reprint articles, cartoons or other portions of the paper. SN&R is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or review materials. Email letters to snrletters@newsreview.com. 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.

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A new year’s story list I have been a journalist for so long that instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I look ahead to big news stories. A working list for 2019: 1. Trump in the crosshairs: What does the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller conclude? Will Democrats in Congress pursue impeachment?

2. 2020 presidential race: Which Democrats move to the front of the pack this year? Will any Californians—Sen. Kamala Harris, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Silicon Valley billionaire Tom Steyer—make the top tier? 3. Police accountability: Is there any chance that the police officers will be criminally charged in the killing of Stephon Clark? 4. Inclusive economy: Does Sacramento’s Measure U windfall really bring economic development in poor neighborhoods? 5. Big Sacramento projects: How much progress is made redeveloping the former Sleep Train Arena in Natomas, or remaking the riverfront? 6. California’s new governor: Which of Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom’s costly campaign promises does he keep, and which get put on the back burner? 7. Gov. Brown’s legacy: Without Jerry Brown in office, does momentum slow for his big legacy projects—Delta tunnels and high-speed rail? 8. California wildfires: How does the rebuilding of Paradise and Camp Fire recovery go? Are there changes to development rules in fire zones? There will be other big stories that we don’t see coming. That drama is what keeps news junkies like me going.

SN&R is printed at PressWorks Ink on recycled newsprint. Circulation of SN&R is verified by the Circulation Verification Council. SN&R is a member of Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, CNPA, AAN and AWN.

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What is your New Year’s resolution?

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My New Year’s resolution is to meet my three goals which are: working out, to be a project engineer at Caltrans and balance work and my personal life…. I’m already on a workout plan, and I bought a 22-pound tub of protein powder. Now, all I have to do is find a job in my field and excel in it.

I don’t like resolutions because I feel like what it does is give people an excuse to be lazy or give in to their vice longer. ... If you want to change something, you got to do it that day.

retail supervisor

My resolution is to get a job that has to do with the field that I am studying. I go to Sierra College, and I want a career in the psychology field. I currently work as a supervisor at a thrift store ... I’m going to school to help people, families and children and I want a job that reflects that.

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Throughout the year, I’m always working on something, so I never set goals at the beginning of the year because I feel like it’s a setup. I work on myself continuously throughout the year and I feel like you should do it now instead of wait to the next year.

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I’m not a huge person on resolutions, but I do take the new year as a fresh start, reflect from the last year and move forward with a positive beginning. It’s easy to be on board with a New Year’s resolution and not stick with it. I believe in creating better life choices for the long-term.

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Vote your interest Re: “A Confederacy of Grinches,” (News, December 20): I don’t know what it is with voters. We just had  protests over Stephon Clark, and then the district  attorney that refused to hold the police accountable  gets reelected. Everybody complains about the high rent,  and then the ballot measure to help with those overpriced  rents is voted down. Everyone talks about how we need a  young progressive candidate and then they vote in [Sen.  Dianne] Feinstein, who will be 91 at the end of her new term.  Are people stupid or just too lazy to do a little research  before they vote? It’s very frustrating when people vote  against their own best interests.

Janna Welk S acr a m e nt o v i a s act ol et t er s @ n ew s r ev i e w . c o m

Brown bad for California

Rising rents and homelessness

Re: “Vision and guts,” (Letters, December 20): I do not agree with everything that Jeff vonKaenel says because of Jerry Brown and his reckless spending of our hard-earned money. Do not blame President Trump for the mess Brown has made in this state. [...] Brown says we need more taxes to fix roads. If the money [had been] used for roads all these years, we would not have these tax increases ...That’s how much of our money is wasted so Brown can build his toy train while the rest of us live in poverty.

Recently, homeowners in the affluent Wilhaggin neighborhood in Arden Arcade have started raising concerns about increased homelessness. Wilhaggin is filled with single-family homes on quarter-acre lots along the American River Parkway, with prices often exceeding a million dollars. Arden Arcade is also home to some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the region, with the largest oneyear jump in poverty and highest inequality of any large place in California. A few weeks ago, Zillow released a new [study] that shows rates of homelessness are likely to increase in communities where residents spend more than one-third of their income on

DaviD Simonetti Grass valley via sactoletters@newsreview.com

rent. It is happening in Arden Arcade, Carmichael and North Highlands, where rising rents are driving people from their homes. It’s simple—as rents continue to rise in our communities, so will homelessness. I encourage you to get involved in local organizations such as the Sacramento Tenants Union and to urge county supervisors to take action to address the rising rents in our unincorporated communities.

read more letters online at newsreview .com/sacramento.

@SacNewsReview

Facebook.com/ SacNewsReview

@SacNewsReview

Shaun Dillon Ca r mic h a e l v ia e ma il

01.03.19    |   SN&R   |   5


That could be a problem for the Sacramento County district attorney’s office, which was forced to show a portion of the video during a December 6 preliminary hearing—after the prosecution’s sole witness admitted he didn’t personally see the two fights allegedly involving the defendants. If the highprofile case becomes a higher-profile trial, the video could join an emerging legal quandary: In an age where the White House used a doctored recording to falsely accuse a CNN reporter of assaulting a young aide during a Trump press conference, just how trustworthy is video?

A YouTube video titled “Nazi looking for trouble gets a beat down in Sacramento,” uploaded November 17, 2016, by user YGGDRASIL, has become a controversial piece of evidence in the prosecution of three antifa defendants.

Video stills obtained through Youtube

Exhibits, lies and videotape Nazi assault trial of the antifa three could test reliability of social media video as evidence by Raheem F. hosseini

Nigel Walker, swinging a black flag with an encircled white cross over his altright shoulder, strides past the state Capitol while explaining to an unseen videographer what it means to be a white nationalist. Decrying affirmative action, Walker says he wants “the same rights as every other race … to not be discriminated against.” Then he spots the crowd up ahead and calls for its attention: “Antifa scum!” He’s about to get it. What happens next is the subject of a charged court battle involving three anti-fascist defendants accused of 6

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beating up white supremacists during a pro-Trump rally two summers ago. A video that purports to show a piece of the action, uploaded to YouTube and cited by the prosecution, could become its own legal drama. “Nothing that’s been uploaded to a social media site like YouTube can be authenticated,” cautioned Edward Primeau, founder of Primeau Forensics, which conducts audio and video forensic investigations. “It lacks integrity and can’t be identified as representing what happened once it’s been uploaded to any social media channel.”

Primeau, who testifies as an expert witness in legal cases involving video and audio footage, said courts are still catching up to the increasing susceptibility of 21st century media. “This is all kind of new the way things are unfolding,” he told SN&R in a recent phone interview from his Michigan office. “Every court is handling the question as it comes up” based on legal precedent and arguments made by the attorneys, the certified forensic consultant added. “Courts are having to handle this on a case by case basis.” But there is a legal standard for establishing what constitutes admissible video evidence, say two Sacramento attorneys interviewed by SN&R. Former homicide prosecutor Noah Phillips and veteran civil rights attorney Stewart Katz say lawyers need one thing above all else to get video accepted by a judge: a witness who can testify that the video accurately depicts what they saw with their own eyes. “You still need someone to come in to say … ‘I was there. I saw it. That’s the way it looked,’” Phillips said. “If they don’t have that, there’s a gap.” At last month’s preliminary hearing, California Highway Patrol Officer Donovan Ayres was unable to fill that gap. The prosecution’s only witness was positioned on the roof of the Capitol building the day of the riots and testified that his view of the fighting was obscured by tree canopies and the roof he was standing on. But Ayres said that Walker told him the video accurately showed what happened to him. That should be enough to ensure the case advances, Katz said. But for the video to be admitted at trial, Walker or an eyewitness with a better vantage point than Ayres would

likely have to testify, Phillips and Katz said. As for how a jury interprets the evidence, that’s another story. “Juries have been increasingly suspicious in general to prosecution evidence,” Katz said. “It’s a sign of the times.” If that evidence is culled from social media, there’s good reason to be skeptical, Primeau said. The problem with videos uploaded to platforms such as YouTube or Instagram is that there is no chain of custody, Primeau explained. That’s because once a video is uploaded to social media, it’s stripped of the metadata that can tell someone like him if it’s been doctored. “We could deceive,” he said. By way of example, Primeau cited a high-profile case the media consulted him about a few years ago: the 2014 police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in Chicago. In October, a jury convicted former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder, basing its verdict partly on police dash-cam video showing the officer fire 16 times as the black teenager walked away. Shortly after the police department released the video in 2015, a clip of it surfaced on YouTube with doctored audio intended to further inflame the public, Primeau said. The clip attracted more than a million views, and a number of articles debunking the faked audio. Phillips has first-hand experience with citing uploaded video at trial. He said his approach was to subpoena the social media company and get a custodian of records to testify how the company receives and stores uploaded content. But he said the prosecution still needs an eyewitness to connect the dots between video and real life. “You can’t just take evidence off YouTube and expect that’s going to be competent evidence in court,” he said. “My 9-year-old can alter video now. I’m not kidding.” We don’t yet know whether the Walker video will be allowed at trial, or even if there will be a trial. The preliminary hearing was continued to January 22, when Sacramento Superior Court Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie will decide if enough probable cause exists to try Yvonne Felarca, Michael A. Williams and Porfirio Paz on felony assault and misdemeanor rioting charges. The judge is also expected to rule on a defense motion to dismiss all charges against the antifa three.


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handling the truth Walker, one of the purported victims, stars in one of the prosecution’s best pieces of evidence thus far: the 6-and-a-halfminute video uploaded to YouTube. But the video could also be an Achilles’ heel. After Deputy District Attorney Paris Coleman acknowledged he couldn’t authenticate the video, Felarca’s attorney, Shanta Driver, objected to it being shown, telling the judge she had no way of knowing whether it had been manipulated or not. Coleman said that was an issue to settle at trial, an answer the judge seemed to accept. Boulware Eurie overruled the objection and let a portion of the video play. The issue is particularly important for Felarca, leader of the leftist group By Any Means Necessary. The felony assault charge that Felarca faces is for attacking Walker, which the video allegedly depicts. Coleman identified the video as “Nazi looking for trouble.” A YouTube video titled “Nazi looking for trouble gets a beat down in Sacramento,” uploaded November 17, 2016, by user YGGDRASIL, has nearly 6,000 views and depicts the same events as Coleman’s clip. Played in its entirety with audio, it shows the events leading up to the confrontation: Walker reluctantly answers the questions of the unseen videographer as he walks alongside the Capitol. He

wears a green cap, black T-shirt and demonstrators. “You see what they do? red-streaked backpack, and hoists a And they call me a Nazi!” flag with a white nationalist symbol. He catches his breath and calms his Summoning protesters with shouts of voice. “Sir, do you see this?” he asks one “antifa scum,” Walker waves the flag of the stone-faced officers. “Is there no and back pedals. action that’s gonna be taken?” A woman, her lower face covered, He raises his voice and points. “These grabs Walker’s flag. Someone else violent anti-fascists, they’re not gonna sprays Walker in the face with have anything done to them, are an unidentified substance. they?” Walker swings his pole at Felarca enters the frame someone or something holding a poster and the camera doesn’t shouting, “Nazi scum, show, making audiget the fuck off our ble contact. A man streets!” She hipconcealing his checks him. “Get lower face comes the fuck off our up behind Walker streets!” She pelts and hits him in his midsection the head with an with small fists. Edward Primeau object. Walker cuts She and others then founder, Primeau Forensics across the lawn and yank Walker to the jogs the length of the ground by his backpack sidewalk as someone and flag-stripped pole. shouts “let’s get him.” A group starts kicking him. “One person against a thouThat’s when officers reenter the sand,” Walker says. frame and pry people off Walker. “Fuck you Nazi,” someone shouts. Along with felony assault, Felarca is Walker cuts over to 10th Street, dodgcharged with two riot-related misdemeaning a couple of hand-pitched projectiles ors, including one that alleges she was along the way. He approaches officers a ringleader. Katz said the video might with his hands up, then points at the actually help Felarca if it doesn’t show her participating in the more serious stomping. “If you’re trying to avoid a felony, maybe that’s the best evidence she has,” he posited. Before screening an abridged version of the video, Coleman downplayed the issue of its authenticity. “It does not matter who took the picture, who took the video,” he said, as long as his witness could corroborate its content. That was a problem for defense counsel, since Ayres, the witness, admitted he couldn’t identify combatants from his position atop the Capitol’s roof. Having Ayres narrate events he didn’t himself witness in a video that Coleman couldn’t source seemed unusual to Primeau, the video expert. “I’m surprised that a judge let that play,” he said. “It’s kind of a mess is what it is.” It’s the kind of mess that could grow if the public ever realizes just how fragile perceived reality is. For instance, Katz said, he knows an expert who trusts video evidence even less than eyewitness testimony, which is notoriously unreliable, “because he knew how malleable it was.” Ω

“Courts are having to handle this on a case by case basis.”

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones let federal immigration agents interview 51 people in his jails last year. All but two of those interviews took place at the main jail downtown, where a majority of the inmates face charges for which they have not been convicted. That was one of the self-reported findings Jones presented to the county Board of Supervisors on December 17, as part of a staterequired accounting under the truth act, California’s 2016 rebuke to the president’s ramped-up deportation agenda. Fully titled Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds, the TRUTH Act also requires local law enforcement agencies to notify inmates in writing whenever U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, wants to interview them. The law says the individuals should know their right to refuse such interviews by agents trying to deport them. Jones’ presentation covered the final year of the department’s lucrative contract to sublet part of its Elk Grove jail to the Department of Homeland Security, or what Jones described as “an ICE jail within our Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center.” RCCC incarcerated 1,303 ice detainees in 2017—all men, Jones said, except for “one lonely female in ICE custody.” According to a department breakdown, more than 83 percent of detainees were Hispanic. Asian detainees made up the next largest demographic—at less than 7 percent. Reflecting the charged political moment, county supervisors earlier this year denied Jones’ request to indefinitely extend the detention contract, which began in 2000. The last ICE detainees left RCCC toward the end of June, Jones said. Jones said ICE personnel has full access to his jails, which allows federal immigration authorities to cross-reference inmate population records against their own database. As for his own officers, Jones said they play no role in enforcing federal immigration laws. Sean Riordan, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney in Sacramento, was one of roughly a dozen speakers who expressed skepticism in Jones’ presentation and described the sheriff’s department as obstinate when it comes to releasing public records. (Raheem F. Hosseini)

regional hookup By 2020, it won’t just be bikes sailing freely through the city of Davis. In early December, Davis officials learned that their grant application for three key traffic improvement projects received approval from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, or sacog. That’s a regional planning body made of up area politicians—one that has access to a bankroll. As part of its Green Region Plan, SACOG will award davis $8.1 million to improve traffic safety and circulation at some of its busiest intersections. The additions include providing a bike tunnel under the westbound on-ramp to the Richards Boulevard interchange, as well as adding a signal to ease congestion at the Olive Avenue and Richards Boulevard intersection. Engineers will also reconfigure the on-ramps to the interstate. The grant will allow Davis to close its existing Olive Avenue exit from Interstate 80, which is an antiquated route that currently pours traffic directly into a residential area. “These projects represent some of the best thinking by transportation planners across the entire greater Sacramento area,” said SACOG Chairman Jay Schenirer, a Sacramento City Council member. For Davis, that work also includes money to support electric vehicle rapid charging stations. (Mark Heckey)

01.03.19    |   sN&R   |   7


Kachet Jackson-Henderson leads a meeting of The Blog Bloc, a membership club she founded in April 2017 to bring together bloggers, freelancers and small business owners who want to learn about topics such as developing a personal brand. Photo courtesy of the Blog Bloc

Falling into freelance Have generations of economic discrimination conditioned women to survive the gig economy? by Kate Gonzales

Kachet Jackson-Henderson didn’t choose to ditch the 9-to-5 for an independent career. A former corporate marketing specialist with an emerging side gig as a stylist, Jackson-Henderson was laid off in 2015. That was the day her hustle began. She sent LinkedIn emails and set coffee dates. She monetized her fashion blog—formerly The Lipstick Giraffe, now The Kachet Life (like cachet). And she gave herself two months to land at least one solid contract. She met that self-imposed deadline with two weeks to spare. 8

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“There’s some people who jump two feet into freelance,” Jackson-Henderson said, “and there’s some who just fall into it and figure it out.” The percentage of contingent workers in the labor market—made up of independent contractors, freelancers, the writer of this article, your Airbnb hosts and Lyft drivers—has been difficult to measure. In June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that contingent workers made up approximately 3.8 percent of the workforce in May 2017. Based on a self-reported survey that distinguished

between contingent and “alternative arrangement” workers, the report stated the percentage of contingent workers had fallen slightly from February 2005 and May 2017. Those inexact figures are likely to be further affected by a recent court ruling that could impact a range of industries. In April, the California Supreme Court limited the definition for what constitutes an independent contractor. “There’s little known about selfemployed professionals in the U.S.,” said Carly Moulton, data insights and communications manager with FreshBooks, an accounting software company. A FreshBooks study released in spring 2018 estimated that 13 million women could leave their traditional jobs for self-employment in the next five years. The research team wanted to examine why women were leaving traditional work, what they expected out of self-employment and the reality. “There’s a lot of research about the … challenges women in corporate offices and traditional workplaces face—the glass ceiling, imposter syndrome,” Moulton said. “Nobody ever asked self-employed women those kinds of questions. That’s what we’re trying to get to at the heart of this research.” Some of the women surveyed reported facing similar challenges in the freelance world as they did as employees. Just more than a third of women reported experiencing gender discrimination, 30 percent believed they’re not taken as seriously as their male peers and gender pay disparity persists. Katherine Chalmers, an associate professor of economics at Sacramento State University, said that economic models tend to lump many individuals onto a level playing field and disregard the social aspects of work. “When [economists] talk about rational economic actors, they tend to assume away a lot of the real-world stuff,” said Chalmers, who teaches a course on women and the economy. “Because our economy is a socially institute process, it’s highly gendered because it reflects … the different expectations that our society places on men and women.” In her academic career, Chalmers has witnessed and adapted to unfair professional treatment. While working at Bowling Green State University in her late 20s, she said she was waved quiet by the new dean as she discussed her

research at his welcome lunch. The only other woman at the table, a professor with tenure, later approached Chalmers with advice: “Start keeping notes. Every time that happens to you. Every time they call you a wrong name, every time they skip over you in meetings. … Just keep track of it.” Those dismissive moments, “barbed comments or the veiled criticisms,” can be blind spots for men, Chalmers said. Lux Alptraum, a New York-based freelance writer who formerly owned and ran the sex blog Fleshbot, said that gender bias in various work environments is often unintentional. “It’s really unfortunate that bias is so knee-jerk and unconscious,” Alptraum said. Maybe major publications don’t pay men more per word, but the representation of women, people of color or gendervariant writers may be lacking, she added. “If those people are forced to go to lower-paying publications, then that in and of itself is a kind of pay disparity,” she said. Alptraum co-founded Out of the Binders, a nonprofit that aims to advance the careers of women and gender-variant writers. The organization runs the secret Facebook group “Binders,” (inspired by Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment in a 2012 presidential debate), a support network that runs tens of thousands deep. Binders, Alptraum said, benefits anyone who doesn’t benefit from cisgender male privilege. Alptraum said a major challenge for freelancers is wage transparency, which is why she doesn’t shy away from telling fellow writers what she gets paid. As confident as Jackson-Henderson is, getting over the discomfort of talking price with her colleagues wasn’t easy. “But when you’re freelance, you have to tell people what you make or you’re going to get freakin’ peanuts,” she said. “It becomes a lot easier and we can all rise together.” According to Freshbooks’ survey, 78 percent of women are happier working for themselves than they were as employees and 96 percent do not want to return to traditional employment. Sometimes people ask Jackson-Henderson if she’d like to go back to working for someone else. “If the right opportunity came around, I would jump on it,” she said. “But so far, I’ve been able to make a really sustainable living on my own, so I’m going to do it as long as I can.” Ω


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Sacramento City Unified School District must  do better by special education students by Joseph Barry

of such a huge budget crisis? Nonetheless, I About a year ago, the Sacramento City Unified continued my work. School District came under scrutiny for vast But after watching the district board meetshortcomings in its special education program, ing on December 13, I felt even more uneasy. mainly for African-American students and SCUSD warned that it will go bankrupt in English learners. 2019 without cuts to employee health benefits. A 2017 audit by The Council of the Great But the Sacramento City City Schools found that Teachers Association is African-American students proposing cuts to adminiswere nearly four times more tration instead. The district likely to be given an outis in jeopardy of a state of-school suspension, and takeover. that English learners were I am a father of two receiving only about half of SCUSD students, as the required special educawell as an activist and tion services. The audit a doctoral student. I also concluded that both feel the same unease as African-American students other parents about what and English learners were budget cuts may mean for being diagnosed to need students. Unfortunately, I special education services see a very unhealthy narraat a far higher rate than tive developing that seems other students, and that the to pit teachers and unions district’s rate for separating against special education students with disabilities students. was higher than both state Joseph Barry is a disability rights activist in Of the district’s total and national averages. sacramento who ran for City Council in 2018. enrollment of 40,617, there In response, the district are 6,718 special education and its new Superintendent students, according to SCUSD. It spends about Jorge Aguilar made public claims that it was comprehensively adopting the council’s recom- $121 million on special education services, including about $84 million in local money. mendations and was committed to improving When cuts must occur, no one wants to be these shortcomings. immediately affected. However, the problem As a longtime advocate for persons with with such a battle for resources is that it exacdisabilities, these issues are what caused me erbates long-held prejudices that are unhealthy to begin studying the district as part of my for students and society in general. doctoral work at Sacramento State. By the When I expressed my concerns to SCUSD summer of 2018, I had worked extensively administrators, they assured me that this to understand SCUSD’s special education narrative would not be tolerated. For the sake shortcomings. Then news began to emerge about the extent of Sacramento’s history of diversity, I hope the superintendent and board members provide the of the district’s budget deficit. In September, leadership that is necessary. This crisis may the Sacramento County Office of Education create an opportunity to create a long-needed rejected SCUSD’s budget for the first time and win for teachers and special education students warned that $28 million in cuts were needed. alike. Ω The district board talked about closing schools and laying off teachers. I was devastated. How can the district afford to improve any outcomes in the face

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01.03.19    |   SN&R   |   9


building a

HealtHy

Sacramento

Program gives minority entrepreneurs tools to start a cannabis business by Edgar SanchEz As 2018 began to fade, one Sacramentan was looking forward not so much to New Year’s Day — but to 2019’s final days.

separated families, unfairly depriving them of home ownership, college education and stable neighborhoods, he said.

“By the end of 2019, I believe we’ll see several entrepreneurs of color legally operating cannabis enterprises in Sacramento,” said Malaki Seku Amen, CEO of the California Urban Partnership (CUP), an economic justice organization supported by The California Endowment. “And, absolutely, I am looking forward to that.”

After managing to push the City to complete a study of marijuana arrests, the CUP coalition was able to make a case for legally removing obstacles that hinder minority cannabis entrepreneurs in Sacramento.

Over an 18 month period, the CUP led a community organizing campaign and successfully negotiated with the Sacramento City Council on the terms of the Cannabis Opportunity, Reinvestment and Equity (CORE) program. CORE is now the gateway for people of color to enter the lucrative marijuana business in California’s capital. The program was approved in August, seven months after recreational marijuana joined medical pot as a coveted product at licensed cannabis dispensaries statewide. In the Sacramento region alone, legal cannabis is expected to become a $4 billion-a-year industry. The CUP is working to make sure that people disproportionately hurt by America’s war on drugs have an opportunity to participate in the new legal market, as well as directly benefit from marijuana tax revenue reinvestment at the local and state level. “People of color, particularly African Americans, paid a heavy price,” Seku Amen said a year ago, referring to the inordinate numbers of blacks incarcerated for marijuana. The jail sentences traumatized children and

The Council agreed to provide $1 million in funding for technical assistance and training,

“by ThE End OF 2019, I bELIEVE WE’LL SEE SEVEraL EnTrEPrEnEUrS OF cOLOr LEgaLLy OPEraTIng cannabIS EnTErPrISES In Sacr aMEnTO.” Malaki Seku amen cEO, EO, california alifornia Urban Partnership

which can be costly barriers for minority startup businesses. The free assistance — ranging from business plan writing and attorney support with the nuts and bolts of the permit process, to advice on how to approach private investors — will be administered by a soon-to-be-named CORE program facilitator. Fees for a city permit to operate a cannabis business will be waived for program graduates. Normally, such permits cost thousands of dollars; graduates would still pay

Malaki Seku Amen, president and CEO of the California Urban Partnership, says more than 160 individuals are eligible for the Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity program, which helps minority entrepreneurs to enter the legal cannabis industry.Photo by Edgar Sanchez

for a state permit. Low-income people arrested for nonviolent marijuana crimes between 1980 and 2011 are eligible for the program. So are those who between 1980 and 2011 lived five consecutive years in low-income households in ZIP codes that include Oak Park and South Sacramento. More than 160 CORE-eligible people have been identified, said Seku Amen, a Harvard-educated economic justice advocate. It’s not known when the city will begin accepting applications for the CORE program.

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.

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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, communitybased organizations and public institutions will work together to address the socioeconomic and environmental challenges contributing to the poor health of their communities.

For more information, visit californiaUP.org and click on Marijuana Policy

www.SacBHC.org


Kevin McCarty, poster boy for adult education by jeff vonkaenel

California Assemblyman Kevin McCarty is not only a leading legislative advocate for adult education. He is also a poster boy for its importance. I recently met with McCarty and his educational policy team, and he told me how adult school enabled him to receive his El Camino High School diploma. Because he had focused more on playing baseball than on academics, McCarty dropped out of high school during his senior year. He soon realized his mistake. Like hundreds of thousands of other Californians, adult schools gave McCarty a second chance. And McCarty has put that high school diploma to good use, attending American River College and then CSU Long Beach, and finally earning his master’s degree in public policy and administration from Sacramento State. Elected to the Sacramento City Council in 2004 and to the state Assembly in 2014, McCarty is the Democratic coach for the annual legislative softball game. He also serves as chairman of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance. His Assembly Bill 2098, which recently passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, recognized the role that adult schools can have in helping immigrants learn English and the basic rules of citizenship, which will help them support their children’s education, and improve their chances of employment. As a result of this new law, future assessments of adult schools will look at how well they serve the immigrant population. But the big issue for adult schools is funding. For more than a century, California led the U.S. in providing adult education. In 2008, adult schools had a $750 million state budget and served more than 1.2 million students. But during the 2008 recession, Gov. Jerry Brown pushed through a proposal

j e ffv @ne w s re v i e w . c o m

that removed mandatory funding for many programs such as adult schools and gave school districts more local control to allocate funds. Given a choice of funding adult schools or K-12, most districts dropped their adult school programs. As a result, in 2009, the number of adult school programs plummeted from 535 to 223, serving 800,000 fewer students. Some of the funding was restored in 2013 when the state approved the Adult Education Planning Grant, which called for the creation of 70 community college and regional consortia for planning and coordinating adult education. Last year, McCarty helped California adult schools receive a 4.1 percent cost-of-living adjustment. But funding is still not anywhere near 2008 levels. And with California’s population growth, the need is greater. We have hundreds of thousands of Californians who want to learn English, who want to get their high school diploma, who want to take parenting classes and who want to develop job skills, but who are being turned away because of lack of funding. Adult schools also benefit local employers and the community at large. It would be a much better investment than bribing a large corporation to move to a city. I asked McCarty if he was going to sponsor legislation calling for another $250 million for adult schools to help get back to 2008 levels. He wasn’t sure he had the votes. He told me that while most legislators support adult education, it’s just not a high priority for them. Let’s make it a higher priority. More funding for adult education would be a home run for California. Ω

Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review.

01.03.19    |   SN&R   |   11


Can Steve Ly move Elk Grove forward after his entire council turned against him?

Mayor on an

by Scott thoMAS AnderSon sco t t a @n ews r evi ew.com

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A

t the recent swearing-in ceremony decked in tinsel and lined with cakes, Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly and City Council members Stephanie Nguyen and Pat Hume briefly posed for a photograph together. Just months before, Nguyen and Hume had raised their voices at Ly on the dais, openly challenging his leadership in the heat of a bitter election in which all three fought for their political lives. As the trio stopped for the grip-and-grin in City Hall, one man was obviously missing from the picture: Elk Grove Vice Mayor Darren Suen, the exciting young policy wiz who tried to unseat Ly and seize the mayoral crown. It didn’t work. The crown stayed where it was. As smiling residents packed the council chambers on December 12 to snap photos and selfies, Suen lingered on the edges with little to celebrate. Elk Grove political observers agree on two things: The council is still fractured by anger and resentment—and Steve Ly knows how to win elections.

island


Stephanie Nguyen, Steve Ly (center) and Pat Hume break away from taking a photo together at City Hall at their swearing-in ceremony on December 12. photo by Ashley hAyes-stone

Indeed, the mutiny that Suen, Hume and Nguyen led against Ly in 2018 seemed like an overwhelming one, attracting councilman Steve Detrick, the school board president, a planning commissioner, the chamber of commerce and the police and firefighters unions. Even soccer clubs and swimming teams backed Suen. So did a lot of corporate and development cash. Kevin Johnson never faced such a wide-scale revolt during his worst moments as Sacramento’s mayor. But on November 6, fighting back with small-dollar donations, an ambitious campaign platform and an inspiring back story, Ly scored an election victory that seriously questioned whether

political endorsements have any value in Elk Grove. “The election is over,” Ly reminded the crowd at his swearing-in ceremony, Suen sitting silently at his side. The mayor then offered some words about working together for the people. Yet Ly is unapologetically promising to support any public ballot initiative that would circumvent his own council and bring district elections to Elk Grove—and maybe even additional council seats. Ly says he’s confident that elected officials have enough “common sense” issues on the horizon to unite them. Five days before Christmas, Ly tested that theory in a major way, announcing that

one of his biggest campaign promises looks like it’s coming to fruition—the creation of Elk Grove’s first hospital and emergency room. As news reached government officials and media agencies across the region, questions remained: Will Suen, Hume, Nguyen and Detrick work with Ly on supporting the project? Or will Elk Grove’s five council members keep acting out an episode of South Sacramento County’s version of House of Cards?

A yeAr to remember Steve Ly stepped under a disco ball spinning luminous flakes over pearl

tablecloths. Behind him, jazz instruments glowed in gem lights. To his front, men in tuxedos and women in evening gowns drifted by the gala decorations. Businessmen chatted over wine glasses, while doctors and pharmacists hovered by the cheese trays. The city’s nonprofit leaders strolled under black and white balloons The mayor’s inaugural ball on Dec. 4 was a triumph in turnout, but four faces were noticeably missing: Ly’s fellow council members. That didn’t seem to bother the people lining up to shake Ly’s hand. His political rise has inspired many. His father was a veteran of the Hmong “secret army” that fought alongside U.S. forces during the Vietnam War. Like many of America’s allies, Ly’s parents were forced to flee a deadly communist vendetta that swept across Laos after 1975. Ly was born in a Thai refugee camp and arrived in the United States. when he was only four. He moved to the region for college, then got involved in community organizing and civil rights activism as a volunteer for Sacramento Area Congregations Together. Ly says the lessons from those days— learning to listen, fighting through obstacles—were the groundwork for his later success at the polls. He was elected to the board of trustees for the Elk Grove Unified School District in 2012 and then the City Council in 2014. In 2016, Ly made history by becoming the first Hmong-American mayor in the United States. And it’s not just that achievement that galvanizes his supporters. Ly openly uses his own refugee tale as a platform for speaking out on issues including scapegoating of immigrants to flare-ups of racism in Elk Grove. Ly says he’s a strong believer in common values that residents of his city can rally behind. He told SN&R that’s why he conceived of the mayor’s ball as a nonpartisan way of supporting Elk Grove’s nonprofits. While there wasn’t anything controversial about the organizations that benefited—Elk Grove Community Council, TOFA Inc. and the Elk Grove Western Festival—it was scheduled just six days after the election.

“mAyor on An islAnd” continued on page 14

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“mayor on an island” continued from page 13

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When asked to address the crowd, Norm DeYoung, chairman of the Elk Grove Western Festival, stumbled on the tail of the elephant in the room. “Some nonprofits aren’t here tonight because they’re worried this is a political event,” DeYoung said. “Help us get the word out,” he added with a hard, staccato emphasis. “This, is, not, a, political event.” Though big, the crowd size couldn’t hide the fact that Suen, Nguyen, Hume and Detrick were no-shows. Suen told SN&R that he had to work out of town that night. Nguyen and Hume couldn’t be reached for comment. Asked about the council ghosting him, Ly just shrugged.

Will Elk Grove’s five council members keep acting out an episode of South Sacramento County’s version of House of Cards? “It’s a positive thing that’s going to benefit the community.” he said. “It would be great if you came with me, but you don’t, I’m OK with that as well. I’ve always operated that way.” But some observers weren’t surprised that the other council members didn’t show. When Suen announced his campaign for mayor in April, it came with the revelation that nearly every political hardhitter in the city was backing him. During a council meeting the following week, while Ly was discussing the possibility of

switching to district elections, Hume blew up at him. “There isn’t that interest, though!” Hume huffed. “What part of the people we’re speaking to, who say they don’t want it, are you not hearing?” Tensions only grew from there. Ly was soon at odds with the council members over their determination to oust longtime, highly praised City Manager Laura Gill. Ly publicly blasted Gill’s firing as an illogical decision and a waste of a $300,000 payout. Then, during a Suen campaign event in August, Detrick—the sole council member not up for reelection—called Ly “a show horse” obsessed with photo ops and his public image. Meanwhile, Nguyen published an op-ed in the Elk Grove Citizen accusing Ly of being a fountain of “inflationary and self-promoting statements.” Two weeks later, Ly was discussing a potential workforce development agreement modeled on a Sacramento program, when he took incoming fire from every angle of the dais. “We’re Elk Grove, we’re not Sacramento,” Nguyen challenged. “We need to do our due diligence and make sure we flesh this out fully before we start discussing things like this.” Remaining calm, Ly noted he wanted to get a road map to Sacramento’s model done quickly. The vice mayor turned to Ly. “You think it’s a road map, but I don’t even think you’ve read the document,” Suen said. “That kind of statement is out of line,” Ly replied. Ly and Suen started talking over each other until a woman in the audience shouted, “Keep the politicking for the campaign!” Yeah, that made YouTube. “It doesn’t bother me,” Ly told SN&R of the flare-ups. “Sometimes politicians will do things to grandstand or make a point.” That’s a double-edged sentiment in City Hall. “My colleagues encouraged me to run because they’d all had similar experiences with the current mayor and we’re feeling the same frustrations,” Suen told SN&R. “For me, it wasn’t personal, it was more like, ‘You like the title, Mr. Mayor, but you don’t like the work.’”

“mayor on an island” continued on page 17

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Steve Ly discusses challenges with racism in Elk Grove

New Year, New You Now is the time to take the next step toward sobriety

something that’s felt the same way …  In June, Elk Grove held an emergency  I sat down with [those who funded the  meeting about racist incidents that  flier] and said, “For you guys to do this,  were disturbing the community. The  it’s beneath you.” event came on the heels of the Elk Grove  Unified School District reportedly ignoring concerns brought forward  Does the election prove that by African-American  kind of stunt doesn’t work? students—concerns  “I’ve Ly: I think the election  later brought to a head  challenged sent a clear message  when a high schooler  the politicians about the negative and  posted a shocking,  racist campaigning  hate-filled tirade on  and City Council that took place. It  Snapchat. Elk Grove  to consistently call was an opportunity to  also recently dealt  racism for what it is, stare it in its face and  with one of its beauty  in all its forms.” say, “In Elk Grove, we  salons being targeted  have no place for this.”  S t e v e Ly for a hate crime.  Mayor Steve Ly says  he understands the need to  In 2016, the City of Sacramento confront these issues head-on.  created an official mandate for its When he first ran for mayor in 2016,  leadership to do a better job recruiting someone sent him a message saying,  police and firefighters who better “Go home, refugee.” During an interview  reflect the overall community. Is that with SN&R, Ly talked about the ongoing  happening in Elk Grove? concerns in his city.  Ly: It’s less formal here, but we’ve  always made it a priority to recruit  What do Elk Grove’s leaders need to do to a diverse set of candidates. But it’s  make residents feel they’re taking this important to me that we don’t create  issue seriously? a situation where we’re bringing in  unqualified candidates, either … If  Ly: First, you have to acknowledge it  we’re not finding people [from different  and accept that it’s happening … Elk  backgrounds], then we need to create  Grove is struggling with things like the  a program in which we can sponsor  hate note that was left at the beauty  salon. It was signed as KKK, aimed at the  candidates to go through the academy.  African-Americans working at the salon.  It becomes a question of how do we build  a recruiting strategy where we teach  Everyone did rally around them, but, of  these young people, out of high school,  course, it’s convenient for politicians to  and show that there’s a career in law  do that. I’ve challenged the politicians  enforcement that’s very beneficial to  and City Council to consistently call  our community. racism for what it is, in all its forms.  It doesn’t matter who the victim is,  politics need to be set aside.

That’s a reference to a campaign flier that was put out against you in this last election? Ly: Some of the people who funded  the independent expenditures, they  sent mailers out with [me]—eyes all  closed, slanted eyes—and I said, “That’s  racist.” I called it for what it is. They  told me that it’s not. I said, “That’s your  perception. My perception, as someone  who came to the United States, who had  to fight through grade school because  people kept calling me, “gook,” “chink,”  “Chinaman,” these are things which  caused trauma through my developing years.” And when I see that—for  every Asian person who sees that—it’s

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Ly: I think so; but you’ve got to present  it to young people properly. If you have  kids like the ones I deal with [for my day  job] in juvenile hall, they have a negative  view of law enforcement. The last thing  they’d want to do is become a cop. But  if you present it in the right way, and  create community policing programs  that engage the young people, now they  can look at a cop and say, “He’s out here  playing basketball with us, or helping us  do our homework.” That changes their  perspective completely. It’s not quick,  but it needs to be a concerted effort  across the board.

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Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly is sworn in by his wife, Cua, and their two sons for a second term.

photo by Ashley hAyes-stone

“mayor on an islanD” continued from page 14

Doctoring wounDs Ly stood near the entrance of California Northstate University, surrounded by television cameras and physicians in white coats. The mayor was about to announce that one of his biggest campaign promises—bringing a hospital and emergency room to Elk Grove—was on track to become a reality. Though Elk Grove is the second most populous city in Sacramento County with 172,000 residents, first responders have to rush patients miles away to emergency rooms at UC Davis Medical Center in Oak Park or Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento. Ly’s team managed to leverage a good relationship with Northstate, a small private medical school in the city, to unveil a 250-bed teaching hospital with a Level 2 trauma center. “It will provide comprehensive medical services and reduce emergency room response time, which can mean the difference between life and death,” Ly told the crowd on December 20. With Suen, Nguyen, Detrick and Hume standing by his side, Ly added with a smile, “By the way, I see we have a quorum, so if you want business done today, we can get business done right away.” After the laughs died down, Suen approached the microphone. The civil engineer with a professional background in major infrastructure projects struck a balanced note. Alluding to the extensive permitting, environmental review and neighborhood input that still needs to happen, Suen told the gathering, “I realize there is much to consider, but conceptually, I’m excited for what this project offers.” It was a study in contrasts between Ly, the fast-moving figurehead who likes to quickly deliver results, and Suen, the business-minded planner who understands the difficulties in navigating bureaucratic waters. Now, the question is: Can the two merge their strengths together after everything that’s happened? “I reached out to the mayor a couple of days after the election and asked if he wanted to bury the hatchet,” Suen told SN&R. “The signs were that he wanted to, but I haven’t heard anything since. When he’s ready to sit down, I’m ready to.” For Dan Gougherty, founder and head writer of ElkGroveNews.net, a true

“It would be great if you came with me, but you don’t, I’m OK with that as well. I’ve always operated that way.” steve ly reconciliation between Ly and Suen—or between Ly and any of the council members— would have to include some realigning of personal agendas. Given how hostile the exchanges have been, he’s skeptical that will happen. “The council members need to realize most constituents could care less about their personal animosities when their house is vandalized or there are unrepaired potholes on their street,” Gougherty said. “Until there is that recognition, the dynamics are not going to change.” There is some evidence Ly can set aside personal feelings. Between 2007 and 2010, he was engaged in an ugly wrongful termination suit against his former employer, Asian Resources Inc., a nonprofit refugee assistance program. It claimed it fired Ly as executive director for

mismanagement. Ly countered that he was fired for taking action against harassment on the job site, which involved him terminating a board member’s friend. Ly also said that he faced retaliation from the board for refusing to endorse Jimmie Yee’s campaign for county supervisor. The judge didn’t find enough evidence to sustain Ly’s allegations, but one thing’s for certain: When the smoke cleared, Stephanie Nguyen ended up with Ly’s job. Ironically, when Ly was elected mayor in 2016, the person the rest of the council wanted to appoint to his former seat was —again— Nguyen. At first, Ly advocated for holding a special election. After the cost involved with an unplanned vote was revealed, Ly decided to support Nguyen. “I felt that she could do the job,” Ly said. Amar Shergill, an executive board

member of the California Democratic Party, says he knows from first-hand experience that Ly is open-minded and able to view political clashes as water under the bridge. Two years ago, Shergill and Ly had a very public dispute about who should serve as Elk Grove’s delegates to the state Democratic party. “Some tough words were spoken on both sides,” Shergill recalled. “We started talking again after that election, and I think what is important about Steve Ly is that he’s able to realize his mistakes, express regrets and figure out a way to move forward. That’s why I ended up endorsing him.” For his part, Ly says that while he and the council will almost certainly remain deadlocked on moving to district elections, they will likely see eye to eye on the completion of a new aquatics center, a new senior center and the possibility of the new hospital. Suen cautiously agrees. While he stresses he doesn’t think that he or Ly should be taking much credit for projects such as the aquatics center and senior center that were years in the making, he says they can work together to get those amenities over the finish line. “Everything takes time to heal,” Suen said. “I’m going to try to be hopeful. But at the end of the day, politics is about a business of people and relationships, and, right now, he and I just don’t have a relationship.” Ω

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By RachEL LEiBRock rachell@newsreview.com

ThE

New Year

N

ew year, new you, new resolutions? Even if selfimprovement promises aren’t your thing (let’s be honest, most of us will ditch them by February anyway), reading is one resolution we can enthusiastically get behind. Books (hard copy, e-books, audiobooks, whatever) work on so many levels, including education, enlightenment and entertainment. Whether you prefer fiction over non-fiction, or serious topics over escapism, SN&R compiled a list of some of 2019’s most anticipated titles. Read on, in order of release date, to discover some of the year’s most promising picks for practical politics and social anthropology, dystopian horrors and demons, comics and cultural commentary.

Handbook for a PostRoe America—Robin Marty This isn’t The Handmaid’s Tale, this is real life. In Handbook for a Post-Roe America ($14.95, Seven Stories Press, January 22), Robin Marty outlines the grim possibilities of President Trump’s conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court, positing, “When we say abortion will be illegal in half the states in the nation, we are no longer talking about some hypothetical future—we are talking about just years down the road.” In chapters such as “Planning For Your Own Emergencies” and “So, You Want to be the Next ‘Jane’,” Handbook is a clear-eyed guide to protecting access and providing support—with or without the government’s consent.

Maid—Stephanie Land

Ten books to pick up in 2019

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“I’d become a nameless ghost”—so writes Stephanie Land of her experiences in Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive (Hachette Books, January 22). Land’s book is categorized on Amazon in its “survival biographies” memoir sub-genre, and the placement fits. She chronicles how an unplanned pregnancy unmoored her university plans and set her adrift, putting her on a quest to make ends meet as she juggled online classes with a series of grueling domestic jobs. Land’s book is an unflinching examination of class, poverty and what it means to work among people who hardly realize you’re even there.


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a muSIcal bakeD well See Stage

Deep Creek—Pam Houston UC Davis English professor Pam Houston’s new book Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country ($25.95, W.W. Norton & Co., January 29) has the writer exploring life on her Colorado mountain homestead—and beyond. Though much of the book is grounded in the care for Houston’s century-old barn, she also documents her travels between the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, connecting every mile with meditations on nature versus nurture. There are dogs, horses, elk, birds and, as always, Houston’s clear, unsentimental writing.

King of Scars— Leigh Bardugo It’s not a reading list without some good old-fashioned escapism. Young adult fantasy author Leigh Bardugo is sure to deliver in King of Scars ($19.99, Imprint, January 29), which places Bardugo’s popular Nikolai Lantsov (from the Grisha trilogy) in his own series of adventures. The first of a new duology, there are secrets and lies, alliances and warfare, demons and dark magic. For fans of the Grishaverse—but new readers can easily immerse themselves as well.

In the first of a new duology, there are secrets and lies, alliances and warfare, demons and dark magic.

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fInD a tHerapISt more eaSIly See 15 mInuteS

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Bottle Grove— Daniel Handler Reclaiming Our Space—Feminista Jones Feminista Jones (aka Michelle Taylor) is an unparalleled voice of Black Twitter—the social media platform’s virtual community of politically and culturally minded activists. In Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World from the Tweets to the Streets ($14.95, Beacon Press, January 29), Jones writes about the ways black women build digital communities to both protect one another and dismantle white patriarchal oppression. Jones, perhaps mostly widely known for her #YouOKSis campaign to call out street harassment, lifts up other prolific “movement-building” hashtags including #BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName, and #BlackGirlMagic, then connects them to the history of modern activism.

The Nickel Boys— Colson Whitehead Colson Whitehead follows up his Pulitzer Prizewinning The Underground Railroad with this story of two boys sentenced to a horrifically abusive reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. The Nickel Boys ($24.95, Doubleday, July 16) traces the lives of these friends—one naive, the other cynical—and is based on the true story of a Southern reform school that operated for more than 100 years.

The World Doesn’t Require You— Rion Amilcar Scott Rion Amilcar Scott’s first collection of stories, Insurrection, received the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for debut fiction. In The World Doesn’t Require You ($27.95, Liveright, August 20), Scott uses linked short stories to craft the fictional Cross River, Maryland, and tell the story of this country’s only successful slave revolt. There’s a struggling musician, an academic and a ... robot. Scott uses wit, magical realism and skilled storytelling to measure out weighty themes of religion and oppression.

Daniel Handler’s latest novel, Bottle Grove ($26, Bloomsbury Publishing, August 27), is a darkly comic commentary on modern mores and manners. Set in San Francisco at the dawn of the tech era, it examines two marriages and the impact that wealth—or the lack of it—has upon them. Best-known for his Lemony Snicket children’s series, Handler is also adept at writing about adult fears and anxieties.

The Testaments— Margaret Atwood Thirty-four years after its release, Canadian author Margaret Atwood will finally publish a sequel to her enduringly—and frighteningly—relevant novel The Handmaid’s Tale. The story continues to build in Atwood’s patriarch-centered society where women possess few rights and zero bodily autonomy. The Testaments (Nan A. Talese, September 10) tells its story through three female narrators, and it picks up 15 years after Offred got into that mysterious van. There were, seemingly, hints to all this in the epilogue to Atwood’s original book; super-fans will be intrigued to see how those align with this new offering.

The Banks— Roxane Gay Later this year, novelist, essayist and fiercely astute cultural surveyor Roxane Gay will unveil her muchanticipated six-part comic series. The Banks ($17.99, TKO Studios, date TBA). Gay has teased the series on Instagram, describing it as “three generations of Black women, all master thieves living in Chicago. ‘Their mantra: steal smart, right a wrong.’” Gay, revered for her “Bad Feminist” essay collection and the starkly honest memoir Hunger, has done comics before; she’s penned several World of Wakanda stories for the Black Panther series. This one, with art by Ming Doyle, promises to be as smart, funny and thrilling as its author. Ω

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illustration by maria ratinova

Pozole for the soul Pozole, alonzo’s coffee shoP

Oh yes, these buttery panettones are calling your name. Photo courtesy of Zoë françois

Panettone, pronto

Menudo and pozole are two soups special to Mexican culture. But, if you’re not a fan of tripe’s chewy, slimy texture, then try pozole. At Alonzo’s, pozole ($9.25 for a large) is made from scratch daily and it’s served with all the traditional accompaniments to garnish as needed: diced onions, shredded cabbage, radishes and lemon wedges. The deep red broth is made from guajillo and ancho chiles, garlic and spices with chunks of tender pork and a generous ratio of hominy. This comforting bowl is also served with corn or flour tortillas for table-side taco-making. Be sure to squeeze those lemon wedges into the pozole, the acidity cuts through the saltiness and gives it a welcome brightness. 5649 Stockton Boulevard, facebook.com/ alonzos1969. —stePh rodriguez

Ward off the winter chill Mulled wine, KarMa brew by Stephanie Stiavetti

Panettone—the soft, fragrant Italian bread studded with candied fruit—is a holiday or celebratory tradition in many homes, but a proper panettone costs as much as $50 from artisan bakers or can take up to two days to make. This is why my family rarely ate it while I was growing up. It was too much of a time or money investment for a workingclass family. So I was grateful to find the quick baking method developed by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg in their book Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I’ve followed the authors’ “bread in 5 minutes” brand for more than a decade now, so I was super excited when their holiday book was released this fall. This panettone recipe requires only minutes of actual work plus a few passive hours of rising, chilling and baking. The result is not a traditionally pillow-y panettone, which requires a lot of baking acrobatics, but rather something closer to a slightly denser quickbrioche. Despite its slightly non-traditional texture, this recipe creates a wonderful stand-in that everyday home bakers can make, even with minimal skills. Eccezionale! 20

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No-knead panettone

Steps

(Makes three loaves)

1. Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the water, yeast, salt, honey, eggs, melted butter, extracts and lemon zest in a 6-quart bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container. 2. Mix in the dried fruit and flour without kneading, using a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle), a Danish dough whisk or a spoon. If you’re not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour. The dough will be loose but will firm up when chilled (don’t try to use it without chilling). 3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises for 2 hours. 4. The dough can be used as soon as it’s chilled after the initial rise. Refrigerate the container and use over the next five days. 5. On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1½-pound (small cantaloupe-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Place the ball in a paper panettone mold, seam side down. 6. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 90 minutes. 7. Preheat the oven to 350 F, with a rack placed in the center of the oven. 8. Brush the panettone with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with pearl sugar. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown and hollowsounding when tapped. Internal temperature should be 200 F. Cool on rack before serving. Ω

Ingredients • 1 ½ cups lukewarm water (100 F or below) • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast • 1 tablespoon kosher salt • ½ cup honey • 8 large eggs, lightly beaten • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled • 1 teaspoon lemon extract • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract • 2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated • 2 cups mixed dried and/or candied fruit* • 7 ½ cups all-purpose flour • Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water) • Pearl sugar, for sprinkling (optional) • Special equipment: three 5¼or 6-inch paper panettone molds • Golden raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries and candied citrus peel individually or in a blend are all great options.

01.03.19

from holiday and celebration bread in five minutes a Day. copyright © 2018 by Zoë françois and Jeff hertzberg, m.D. and reprinted with permission from st. martin’s Press.

There are times when layering just isn’t enough to combat the unrelenting winter chill. When that happens, there’s only one surefire solution: No, not another layer. Hot wine! Karma Brew has a spicy mulled red wine ($7) with a delightful cider-y flavor. Stirred in with more than a few shakes of cinnamon, as well as blended apples that gave it a thick, smoothie-like texture, one sip of this warm, frothy beverage quelled my shivers from head to toe. While I came to escape the biting frost, I stayed for the fruity, full-bodied sweetness. 1530 16th Street, karmabrews.com. —rachel Mayfield

The V Word

Inclusivity gumbo Celestin’s has been around forever—off and on, anyway— and it’s vegetarian gumbo was famous in the vegan community. Originally opened in 1983, it reopened last spring at 3610 McKinley Boulevard after a seven-year hiatus so owners Phoebe and Patrick Celestin could care for their grandkids. Phoebe said the vegetarian gumbo has been on the menu since 1985, and they sell five to 10 daily. However, when ordering one recently, the waiter said it wasn’t vegan. Wait, what? Could all of those vegans have been eating something with animal products all these years? Celestin suspects the waiter may have confused the flour in the gumbo’s roux to be the nonvegan ingredient, which it isn’t, because wheat is a plant. She assured it is vegan, as are other items on the menu that aren’t marked as vegan, including sweet potato fries, corn cakes, Cuban black beans and tomato avocado salad. “We believe in inclusivity,” she said, and in 2019, look out for vegan chiquetailles and cookies added to the menu. —shoKa


illustration by mark stivers

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What’s brewing in the New Year by Daniel Barnes

The December openings of Palm Tree Brewing Company in Orangevale and 1849 Brewing in Grass Valley closed out a wild year for new local breweries. By SN&R’s count, 14 production breweries opened in the greater Sacramento area in 2018 (Oak Park Brewing was the only one to close), including Urban Roots Brewing and Smokehouse and Moksa Brewing Co. That number doesn’t include new taproom locations for Device Ice Blocks or brewery-run restaurants such as The Other Side by Track 7. Sacramento craft beer enthusiasts should start catching up now, as more local breweries are slated to open in early 2019.

DarkHeart Brewing 4339 Auburn Boulevard, Sacramento Projected opening: January

After spending a year trying to find a space that worked in McClellan Park, DarkHeart owners Cynthia Lee, Rick Lee and Robert Porter are ready to debut their pirate-themed brewery 10 minutes away on Auburn Boulevard. The 2,500 square-foot taproom will be filled with repurposed (i.e., plundered) items, and the beers will be more focused on malts than hops. “Everything that we do is a little bit more robust, a little bit richer flavors, a little bit more malt-forward than some of the other beers,” Cynthia says.

At Ease Brewing Co.

1825 I Street, Sacramento Projected opening: February/March

The military-themed At Ease is the brainchild of Mike Conrad, a retired Army colonel with 27 years of active duty. A longtime homebrewer, Conrad started entering competitions over the last five years, finally gaining enough confidence to turn pro. At Ease shares

a building with The Mill, and the cozy Midtown space will offer enough seating for about 40 people inside and another 30 on the back patio. “Our intent was to have sort of a neighborhood pub type of feel,” says Conrad. Expect beers for all tastes, including IPAs, lagers, Belgians and dark ales, but don’t expect too many sours. “I make what I like, and I just haven’t really acquired a taste for those.”

Touchstone Brewing Company 116 N. 16th Street, Sacramento Projected opening: First quarter of 2019

This 7-barrel brewpub and beer garden was supposed to open more than a year ago inside Sacramento Pipeworks, a climbing gym just east of the Sacramento Railyards. However, with development slowed down by Sacramento’s denied bid for a MLS franchise, parent company Touchstone has taken its time getting the brewery ready. “We are almost all wrapped up with the site improvements, but we are still waiting on one more permit to get rolling inside the brewery,” says brewmaster Ryan Campagna. “I have all of the equipment on-site now, so I think it’ll be a pretty quick build, but I don’t think we will have that permit before 2019 starts.” When it opens, expect a variety of rotating beers as well as a small kitchen with a pizza oven.

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Hooby’s Brewing 9 E. Main St., Winters Projected opening: 2019

Berryessa Brewing has been operating in Winters since 2012, but the city will get a second brewery when Hooby’s opens later this year. The downtown taproom will be in the building that used to house Main Street Cellars. Ω

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wanting to get the hell out of the house and drive your parent’s car. Band members say they’ll continue to expand their sound with the new untitled LP, slated for February or March. Carman wrote most of the old songs in high school, so the themes are appropriately adolescent. With the new album, recorded and produced by bassist Carlos Andres Sanchez, Flight Mongoose wades into mature territory without abandoning the enter Flight Mongoose: Parker Hill (guitar), trevor Carman parade. (guitar & vocals), Leo Calderon (drums) and Carlos andres The band recorded the EP at J sanchez (bass). Street Recorders, owned by Brian Wheat of Tesla, and the result was a well-produced set of songs that cost a lot of money. With the LP, the band is hoping to make a record on a shoestring Inside a practice room, the markings of an budget that propels them out of Sacramento. ambitious rock band hang near a shirtless portrait of “We’re trying to make the best DIY album that Bruce Lee in sunglasses. On the white board: Get we can without having to pay so much for studio a van. Finish the debut album. Film a music video. time,” Carman says. “Maybe get some attention Release the holiday song. “Only play dope shows.” from a label that doesn’t screw us over.” The Sounds of Sacramento rehearsal space is Flight Mongoose has come a long way since where Flight Mongoose pushes its music career Lincoln High School, where the four met in music forward. Vying for spots in local and Bay Area classes and were the campus jammers. They music festivals, and recording a promising DIY stayed in touch after graduation, and LP, the four Lincoln rockers want 2019 to the stars aligned when they discovcount. “People ered they were all still seriously “This is gonna be the year where tell us, ‘Man, making music. we really start trying to get out “Everybody’s story just there,” says guitarist Parker Hill. you guys remind us lined up,” Sanchez says. First order of business: Noise of some 40-year-old Since then, they performed Pop. As of December 28, Flight men in younger bodies.’” a televised gig on ABC 10, at Mongoose stood neck-and-neck the local arts weekend First for first place by popular vote for Leo Calderon Festival this year and won a a slot during the week-long Bay drummer, 2018 SAMMIE, SN&R’s annual Area indie music fest. Should the Flight Mongoose music award, in the indie rock band win, it will share the stage with category. rising artists Beirut, Bob Mould and That’s just the prologue for these Princess Nokia in February. Voting ends on would-be pro-rockers, who work full-time but January 14 at dothebay.com. want to play music for a living. If all of their appliBut if Flight Mongoose misses out on Noise cations go well, 2019 could be a year of only dope Pop, it’s safe to say Noise Pop would also miss out shows: South By Southwest in March, Picnic Day in on Flight Mongoose. Check out its 2017 EP, Peach April, Concerts in the Park over summer and City of Fuzz, and bask in youthful, uplifting pop-rock, a Trees in September. classic sound pushed forward by 20-somethings “It’s full force: band, band, band. Straight up,” who grew up on AC/DC, ’90s grunge, ’80s thrash Hill says. Ω metal and analog music. “People tell us, ‘Man, you guys remind us of some 40-year-old men in younger bodies,’” drummer Leo Calderon says. Vote Flight Mongoose into the noise Pop indie music festival at dothebay.com. Vocalist Trevor Carman sports slick rock ’n’ Voting ends January 14. roll pipes in “I Wanna Know,” a recent single about Photo by Ashley hAyes-stone

coconut

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Year of the mongoose


Reviews

Formal fare

A matter of crust by Rachel Mayfield

Photo courtesy of Philicia endelman

ra c h e l m @ne w s re v i e w . c o m

4

While this isn’t the most hygienic way to bake pies, it sure is the most photogenic!

Waitress

4

thu 2pm & 8pm, fri 8pm, sat 2pm & 8pm. through 1/5; $26-$90; Broadway on tour, community center theater, 1301 l street, (916) 557-1999; broadwaysacramento.com.

Baking pies has never seemed more fun. All you need is sugar, butter, flour, plus a little song and dance. Waitress, brought to town by Broadway On Tour, makes it all look easy, even if its story is slightly more complex. Jenna Hunterson (Christine Dwyer) is a smalltown waitress trapped in a marriage with her abusive husband. Her life soon becomes even more complicated when she learns she’s pregnant. She’s not exactly ecstatic. Though she faces a future full of uncertainty, Jenna remains grounded by her friends/fellow waitresses Becky (Maiesha McQueen) and Dawn (Jessie Shelton), and finds solace in baking a new type of pie each day, with unique ingredients and names that reflect her emotional state. (As soon as she discovers she’s pregnant, she conjures up a recipe for “Betrayed by my Eggs Pie.”) Looking for a fresh start, Jenna sets her sights on an upcoming pie-baking contest, intent on winning the prize money and leaving town for good. Based on the 2007 movie written and directed by Adrienne Shelley, Waitress the musical was written by Jessie Nelson with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles. The show debuted on Broadway in 2016, and now the national tour stops at Community Center Theater. The production takes everything that was great about its cinematic predecessor and serves it up in larger-thanlife portions made for the stage. Set primarily in a diner, the act of waiting tables and baking goodies naturally lends itself to the show’s rapid, kinetic choreography and set transitions. Spoon-slapping, trolley-twirling and flour-tossing are just a few of the heightened dramatic elements that make this production a delight to witness, all of which

wouldn’t exist without Bareilles’ solid soundtrack. Early numbers such as “The Negative” and “Never Ever Getting Rid of Me” play up the comedy and leave a lasting impression. Act two gets a little more serious, culminating with “She Used to Be Mine,” an intense ballad of reflection and self-discovery that deals some major tear duct damage. The cast is solid, too. Dwyer expertly balances wry humor with emotional vulnerability, while McQueen and Shelton bring their own comedic antics to the table. Matt DeAngelis plays the most incredible douchebag in Jenna’s husband, Earl; Steven Good takes the opposing role of sweet, neurotic “nice guy” Dr. Pomatter, Jenna’s OB-GYN. The real scene-stealer, however, is Jeremy Morse as Ogie, Dawn’s love interest and a Revolutionary War fetishist. Already, that reveals too much—so let’s just say you’ll never think of the phrase “The British are coming” the same way ever again. Really, what’s most striking about Waitress is how it portrays pregnancy and female sexuality. Disillusioned with married life and reluctant to embrace motherhood, Jenna’s feelings and actions largely transgress cultural expectations surrounding womanhood, making her even more compelling. Not every woman is enthralled with the prospect of becoming a mother—that doesn’t make them a bad person. Waitress gives all its women room to explore their feelings and work through their fears without condemning them. It’s a rare kind of story that isn’t always told onstage, and that alone makes it worth seeing. The singing and dancing is just a nice extra layer of sugar and spice. Ω

Black Tie is another of the late playwright A. R. Gurney’s comic dissections of the WASP way of life. First performed in 2011, it comes from a place of warmth and appreciation for that culture. Its satiric depiction of upper class mores— its traditions, snobbery and pretensions—is tempered by an acceptance of family, a sense of duty and at least small openness to change and “diversity.” Gurney’s plays (Sylvia, The Dining Room and Love Letters, among them) have been deeper and darker than this one, but the gentle humor and quirky plot twists make it a thoroughly enjoyable comedy. At a resort in the Adirondack Mountains, Curtis (Walt Thompson), his wife Mimi (Julie Thompson) and Curtis’ late father (Paul Fearn) prepare for the rehearsal dinner for the marriage of their son Teddy (Marley Bauer) to the unseen but ever-present, multicultural fiancée Maya. Daughter Elsie (Kaitlin Richards), whom Teddy inexplicably calls “Little Hitler,” plays messenger between the bride-to-be and the parents. A dream cast conveys a naturalness that is rarely seen. It begins with father and son reminiscing about the son’s own rehearsal dinner. Fearn and Walt immediately establish a comfortable rapport. Likewise, Julie and Walt, as onstage husband and wife, bicker and joke in an easy emotional attachment that is, no doubt, aided by the actors’ 10 years together. Bauer, as the jittery husband-to-be, and Richards, as the beleaguered daughter, are equally natural and believable. —Jim Carnes

Black tie: fri 8pm, sat 8pm, sun 2pm; through 1/13; $19-$21; chautauqua Playhouse, la sierra community center, 5325 engle road in carmichael; (916) 489-7529; cplayhouse.org.

1 2 3 4 5 foul

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Good

Well-done

suBlime don’t miss

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fiLm CLiPS

Judge Dreadful

On the Basis of Sex Felicity Jones stands tall in a room full of mediocre white men.

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by Daniel BarneS

1 2 3 4 5 Good

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Aquaman

3

Bumblebee

3

If Beale Street Could Talk

DC Comics rummages among its second rank of superheroes for Aquaman (Jason Momoa), who has been living in the back pages of bigger stars since the 1940s. The hodgepodge script by five writers (including director James Wan) makes him the offspring of a princess of Atlantis (Nicole Kidman, CGI’d back into her teens) and a lighthouse keeper (Temuera Morrison), becoming a hero-hybrid of King Arthur and Romulus, pulling the Trident from the Stone and vying with his evil half-brother (Patrick Wilson) for their undersea kingdom. Momoa makes a scruffy, sexy hero (he looks like he should be standing on a road divider with a “Will Swim For Food” sign), and the visual effects crew has a waterlogged field day. It’s campy and miles over the top, but fun in its loopy wouldn’t-it-be-coolto-breathe-under-water way J.L.

movie that plays like a history lesson blocked by a velvet rope. Even Kathy Bates fails to provide any spark in a small role as civil rights lawyer Dorothy Kenyon. Imagine being one of the towering judicial figures of The film opens in 1956, the year when Ruth your generation and having two dull, wimpy, entered Harvard Law School, where she was blandly respectful, painfully unimaginative films one of nine women in her class. At a faculty made about you in the same year. Right on the dinner, jerkwad dean Erwin Griswold (Sam dragging heels of Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s Waterston) forces each female student to superficial and sycophantic documentary RBG stand up and explain why she is occupying a comes On the Basis of Sex, a bleary-eyed book place that “could have gone to a man.” Ruth report of a biopic about the early years of powers through the institutionalized Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader sexism to reach the top of her class, Ginsburg. even sitting in on Martin’s classes The flavorless, barely tolerable while he recovers from testicular Artistic non-drama of On the Basis of Sex cancer, but she still can’t find was probably intended as good movie cowardice is a work at a law firm. medicine, but if this is the cure, I’ll Every time it feels like the sorry honor for take my chances with the disease. film is starting to gain some such a brave Granted, any great judge probdramatic steam, it flashes ably lives a generally undramatic woman. ahead to the next bullet point life, but that only means that in Ruth’s early life, and all the crafting great drama from that life momentum is lost. Just as we’re requires filmmaking with the guts and getting invested in her struggle, the fearlessness of a Ginsburg. Instead, TV veteran film flashes ahead to 1970, which leads to an Mimi Leder (Pay It Forward) and first-time obligatory needle drop on “Time Has Come screenwriter Daniel Stiepleman deliver a panderToday” by The Chambers Brothers, rather ing and simpering take. It will probably be given a than anything pertinent to the protagonist. The pass by the people who can’t differentiate between film is depersonalized enough without such the quality of a film and the quality of the people nostalgic abstractions. depicted in that film, but artistic cowardice is a As in RBG, the real-life Ruth’s participation sorry honor for such a brave woman. in On the Basis of Sex amounts to a grimly dutiBritish actress Felicity Jones stars as Brooklyn ful cameo. Yet she still exudes more dignity in native Ruth, while Armie Hammer does thankless her few seconds of screen time than any of the work as Martin Ginsburg, her husband and fellow actors do over the course of two-plus hours. Ω lawyer. They banter like a married couple in a poorly written facsimile of a studio-era comedy, yet they never generate anything resembling screen chemistry. Both actors behave as though giving personality to their characters would be disrespectful, resulting in an anti-immersive Poor Fair Good Very excellent

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The prospect of a sixth film in the live-action Transformers franchise seemed unappealing enough without it being fashioned as a sidekick origin story, but Travis Knight’s Bumblebee is by far the best entry to date. To the surprise of no one, the removal of Michael Bay from the creative driver’s seat results in a sharp rise in visual coherence and a sharp dip in toxic masculinity. In his place, Knight—CEO of Laika and director of Kubo and the Two Strings—consciously evokes the wonderstruck, warmhearted, family-oriented fantasy films of the 1980s, most notably E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Hailee Steinfeld stars as Charlie, a gearhead outcast whose car transforms into the Autobot known as Bumblebee, an alien fugitive hunted by both evil Decepticons and the U.S. military. If anything, the film veers too hard towards sentimentality, but any random five minutes of Bumblebee contains more humanity than the previous five Transformers movies combined. D.B.

Two years ago, with only a 2008 nobudget feature and a few short films to his credit, writer-director Barry Jenkins shepherded a cast of unknowns, a rookie editor and a cinematographer best known for shooting Kevin Smith movies to Oscar glory with Moonlight. A film that was both grounded and mythic, realistic and dreamlike, Moonlight took generalities about the African-American experience involving identity and injustice and made them deeply personal, cathartic and transcendent. In adapting James Baldwin’s 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk, Jenkins pulls the reverse trick, turning the specifics of early 1970s Harlem back into free-floating generalities about the African-American experience. The lyrical tone and aesthetics remain, but you can feel the weight of expectations pushing down on If Beale Street Could Talk. The crushing need for this follow-up to be on that same level of “significance” as its award-winning forebear seems to constantly breathe down the film’s neck. D.B.

5

Mary Poppins Returns

The magical nanny (Emily Blunt, superb) returns to 17 Cherry Tree Lane, where Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw), now grown and widowed with kids of his own (Pixie Davis, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson), is about to lose the family home to foreclosure. Directed by Rob Marshall, who co-wrote with David Magee and John DeLuca (inspired by P.L. Travers’ stories), this sequel has been 54 years coming—and it’s worth every day of the wait. Marshall hews close to the original in style and structure, and the charming songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman almost match the brilliance of Robert and Richard Sherman’s original score. Emily Mortimer co-stars as sister Jane, with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury in loving support. Sure to charm all but the most churlish cynic, it is, like Mary Poppins herself, practically perfect in every way. J.L.

by Daniel BarneS & JiM lane

3

The Mule

2

Vice

An octogenarian cultivator of daylilies (Clint Eastwood, who also directed) bails out his floundering flower business by running drugs for the Sinaloa Cartel from Mexico to Chicago. Nick Schenk’s script fictionalizes the true story of Leo Sharp, changing his name and adding an estranged ex-wife (Dianne Wiest) and daughter (Eastwood’s real daughter, Alison) to dramatize our hero’s regrets for bridges burned over his long life. As we might expect from an 88-year-old superstar filmmaker with nothing left to prove, the movie has an elegiac, farewell quality to it, and Eastwood moves gingerly through it with an air of leathery frailty. It’s as if Sergio Leone’s Man with No Name has evolved into a sort of tight-lipped, soft-hearted Archie Bunker. And somehow, there’s something strangely comforting in that. J.L.

Another smugly contemptuous, aesthetically atrocious, vaguely comedic screed from The Big Short writerdirector Adam McKay, this time a tragically overreaching attempt to capture the complexities of snarling Republican supervillain Dick Cheney. The film covers Cheney’s life from his pre-political years as a deadbeat drunk through his 2012 heart transplant, jumping around not just in time but in genres, tones and points of view. McKay wants to demonize and humanize Cheney at the same time, and the effect is like simultaneously watching ten different Dick Cheney biopics, all of them tedious. Abetted by stellar makeup, prosthetics and wig work, Christian Bale does a solid impression of Cheney, and the film gets good supporting work from Amy Adams, Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell, but it mostly feels like a 132-minute sketch. For Cheney-related comedy that more adroitly blends anger, absurdity and intelligence, see almost any random Bush II-era episode of The Daily Show. D.B.

3

Vox Lux

Brady Corbet writes and directs this intriguing but overreaching amalgam of showbiz satire, faux-documentary, epic soap opera and beard-stroking commentary about 21st century American society. The story opens in 1999, with Willem Dafoe narrating a documentary about Celeste Montgomery (Raffey Cassidy), a teenage girl who survives a Columbineesque student massacre. Celeste and her sister Eleanor write and perform a song about the tragedy at a televised memorial, bringing them overnight fame and catapulting them into the arms of a music industry sleazebag played by Jude Law. The second half of the film is set in 2017, with an adult Celeste (Natalie Portman, going for it, unfortunately) now a shaky superstar with a teenage daughter (Cassidy again) and a new unspeakable tragedy to deal with. Vox Lux does not lack for complex ideas and lofty aspirations, but the human drama is muddled and the observations on contemporary culture are obvious and exploitative. D.B.

3

Welcome to Marwen

Beaten nearly to death by bar thugs, an artist (Steve Carell) finds therapy in a miniature World War II village he builds in his yard, staging combat fantasies with action-figures, himself as a fly-boy G.I. Joe, his assailants as Nazi soldiers and women in his life as gun-toting Barbie dolls—all of which he carefully photographs. Director Robert Zemeckis (co-writing with Caroline Thompson) turns the true story of Mark Hogancamp (told in the 2010 documentary Marwencol) into a psychodrama caroming from war-movie fantasies where “Cap’n Hogie” exerts cool command, to a cringing reality where Hogancamp struggles to cope. It’s technically brilliant and very well-acted— especially by Leslie Mann as Hogancamp’s new neighbor and latest crush—but it never quite attains the emotional punch it’s aiming for. J.L.


for the week of January 03

by maxfield morris

online listings will be considered for print. Print listings are edited for space and accuracy. Deadline for print listings is 5 p.m. Wednesday. Deadline for nightlife listings is midnight Sunday. Send photos and reference materials to calendar editor Maxfield Morris at snrcalendar@newsreview.com.

POst events Online FOR FRee at newsreview.com/sacramento

MuSIc

this septet is guaranteed to bring a whole new angle to the traditional deadhead experience. 7pm, $35. Sofia Tsakopoulos Center for the Arts, 2700 Capitol Ave.

thuRSDay, 1/3

tueSDay, 1/8

DOMinO: Domino will be sharing Bored Games, an album of hip-hop music, with additional music by the Gentle Ladies, Robbie, Nate Curry, Basi Vibe, Testagrossa, Lefty and Ryan Vettel. 7pm, $15. Holy Diver, 1517 21st St.

sun

Gavin’s gatherings

YOunG DOlPH: Touring his Role Model album, the talented, earnest, independent rapper will be playing with Kap G. 7pm, $35-$99. Ace of Spades, 1417 R St.

i’M GlaD it’s YOu: The indie band from

WeDneSDay, 1/9

Redlands will be playing with No Better and Mildura. 7pm, $8-$12. Momo, 2708 J St.

MiCK JenKins: The Pieces of a Man tour is why

FRIDay, 1/4 aDaM BlOCK: Not the former president of Legacy Recordings at Sony Music—it’s Adam Block, the Sacramento guitarist playing with another noted Sacramento guitarist, Ross Hammond. 7pm, $10-$15. Momo, 2708 J St.

FeStIvalS

of guitars, see what’s cooking with Muriel Anderson and alumni of the Guitars in the Classroom. Bring a donation for this performance to support the bringing of music to local students’ lives. 7pm, by donation. The Sunshine Event Center, 9021 Polhemus Drive in Elk Grove.

thuRSDay, 1/3 GlOBal WinteR WOnDeRlanD 2018: It’s your

neF tHe PHaRaOH: Nef, the Vallejo-based

JessiCa MalOne: Jessica Malone, winner of the

only children. Treats. More. Register in advance. What’s the second event? One shrouded in mystery—a benefit concert for victims of recent California fires, purportedly featuring Pitbull, Common, X Ambassadors and other musicians and speakers. It will be at Golden 1 Center—but stay on the lookout for updates on time, price and lineup. 125 I Street, eventbrite. com/o/unseen-heroes-2172619619.

prestigious 2018 SAMMIES Award for artist of the year, will be playing a venue with wine, pizza and charcuterie. 7pm, $5. Feist Wines, 15 Eureka St. in Sutter Creek.

CaliFORnia state HOMe & GaRDen sHOW: If your idea of an ideal weekend includes seeing the very best in home improvement options, good. Come out and see what craftspeople are putting forward in the world of homes and gardens. Not a big enough draw? How’s this for encouragement: Joey Green will be there—yes, the Joey Green of home improvement and authorly fame. This runs through Sunday, and Green will be appearing daily at 1pm. 10am, $6. McClellan Conference Center, 5411 Luce Ave.

tHe seeDs: The seminal 1960s garage punk band is, of course, still performing, so come catch them performing with Mondo Deco, who mix some glam into the garage vibe. 9pm, $20-$25. Harlow’s, 2708 J St.

stORYtelleRs: Making the Holy Diver holy, Storytellers are based around the simple idea that it’d be cool to sing songs about Jesus in Sacramento venues. 7pm, $10$12. Holy Diver, 1517 21st St.

saCaniMe WinteR 2019: All things anime-

KISS Noted tongue enthusiast and horror/ glamor rock mixer Gene Simmons is coming to Sacramento. 2/9, 7:30pm, $74.50-$350, on sale now. Golden 1 Center, ticketmaster.com.

KInKy BootS Catch the Cyndi Lauper

musical on tour, inexplicably drawing you in to the world of shoes and dancing. 2/15-

2/17, various times, $50-$90, on sale now.

Harris Center in Folsom, harriscenter.net.

PanIc! at the DISco Devotees

to the SN&R calendar will know that the calendar editor is just another Urie devotee. 2/20, 7pm, $45-$300, on sale now. Golden 1 Center, ticketmaster.com.

RuBen StuDDaRD Bringing the

music of Luther Vandross to life, the second-ever winner of American Idol

and vocal superstar Studdard is the attraction of this star-Studdard evening. 3/5, 7:30pm, $35-$55, on sale now. Crest Theatre, ticketfly.com.

MuSe Is this world all just a simulation?

We may never know—but there’s a chance you’ll find out at the British band’s Simulation tour. 3/7, 7:30pm, $39.50$400, on sale now. Golden 1 Center, ticketmaster.com.

chRIS toMlIn You

liked Katy Perry’s “Roar,” but was it not worshipcentric enough for you? Tomlin’s got you covered, bringing you Holy Roar—and it hasn’t sold out yet! 3/15, 7pm,

related under the sun come to the convention center for three packed days of activities. If you’re a fan of Voltron, Cowboy Bebop, Pokemon, Overwatch or pretty much anything you can think of, you might want to spend a little time at SacAnime—winter edition. 12:30pm, $31-$50. Sacramento Convention Center Complex, 1400 J St.

DaRK siGnal eP Release sHOW: I’ll let Dark

there’s no time for a good quip, just write your own here:

$28.50-$89.50, on sale now. Golden 1 Center, ticketmaster.com.

cIRque Du SoleIl The circus of

the sun will be performing an ice-centric show, with all the usual theatrics and acrobatics you know and love. 3/27-3/31, various times, $58-$155, on sale now. Golden 1 Center, ticketmaster.com.

colIn hay If you liked Men

at Work, you’re going to love Colin Hay, the frontman of the band. 5/17, 7:30pm, $35-$55, on sale now. Crest Theatre, ticketfly.com.

Get croonin’, Ruben.

Signal’s bio speak for itself: “Dark Signal is elegant, and destructive. The best of us, at the worst of times. Dark Signal is everything we wanted it to be, and nothing we imagined. In the end we’re all looking for a story, something to connect to. Dark Signal is a choice.” 7pm, $15-$20. Harlow’s, 2708 J St.

SunDay, 1/6 Gavin neWsOM inauGuRatiOn FaMilY CeleBRatiOn: Check out the inaugural

HaRP/GuitaRist MuRiel anDeRsOn: For those days when a six-string guitar just doesn’t do it, and you don’t feel like hauling out the harp: Check out Muriel Anderson’s work on the harp guitar, along with a visual experience of the solar eclipse. 7:30pm, $24-$26. Auburn State Theatre, 985 Lincoln Way in Auburn.

event highlight of the century, on this page, featuring DJ Eve and more. 12pm, no cover. California State Railroad Museum, 111 I St.

GReat tRain sHOW: How many model train shows have you been to this year? If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t gone to one in the past five days, so come get your fix. There are all manner of miniature

HOODs: Get a dose of hardcore music to kick off your new year with Hoods, along with Giving the Devil his Due, Smack’d Up and Farooq. 7pm, $12. Holy Diver, 1517 21st St.

WaKe tHe DeaD: Described as “the world’s only Celtic all-star Grateful Dead Jam Band,”

last week to get some Global Winter Wonderland-style fun. Get a final taste of the holiday season, riding amusement rides and gawking at raw lights. New this year: a laser tag experience and the Circus of Light. My friend and former employer proposed to his now-wife here—maybe the same thing will happen to you! The Wonderland runs through Sunday. 5pm, $12-$49. Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd.

FRIDay, 1/4

SatuRDay, 1/5

tiCKet WinDOW

Mick Jenkins in visiting this venue. Expect slick verse, internal rhyme, assonance, sweet beats and some heart. Also expect Kari Faux, a rapper from Little Rock. 7:30pm, $22-$25. Harlow’s, 2708 J St.

GuitaRs in tHe ClassROOM COnCeRt: Speaking

rapper will be performing with OMB Peezy—who’s from a little town called Sacramento. 7pm, $25-$100. Ace Of Spades, 1417 R St.

California State railroad MuSeuM, noon, no Cover Well, Gavin Newsom went and got himself elected governor of California—but now he’s putting himself Festivals through another gauntlet: event planning. There are two Newsomsponsored events in one day, starting off with a free, family-themed get-together at the Railroad Museum. The gist of the event? Children are our future. The offerings? A beach dance party. A DJ lineup featuring

Photo couRteSy oF the oFFIce oF the lIeutenant GoveRnoR

06

Gavin’s got fundraising on the brain.

snr c a le nd a r @ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

CalenDaR listinGs COntinueD On PaGe 26

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see More eVenTs And subMiT your own AT newSreview.com/SacramenTo/calendar

Friday, 1/4

on STage

waitress Master dance Class Sierra 2 center, 10am, $25-$35

blue PrynT resTuArAnT: The Dinner Detective

Waitress, the Sara Bareilles/ Jessie Nelson musical about a waitress in ClAsses an abusive relationship, is PhoTo courTeSy oF Philicia endelman winding down. There are only a few more local shows with the traveling Broadway troupe, but there’s an opportunity to get a very hands-on theatrical experience at this class for ages 12 and up. A cast member of Waitress will lead a 90-minute dance lesson in the style of the musical, set to its music. After the lesson, there will be a Q&A session to answer all your questions about the world of Broadway. 2791 24th Street, broadwaysacramento.com/academy_classes/ waitress-master-dance-class/com.

CAlendAr lisTinGs ConTinued FroM PAGe 25

TueSday, 1/8 THe nuTCrACKer bolsHoi bAlleT: Witness the magic of the Bolshoi Ballet performing The Nutcracker. The raw talent of the dancers mixed with the classic story and unbeatable music means that you will have countless opportunities to watch this performance. Will it ever lose its popularity? Only once you write the next great holiday music spectacular. Get working. 7pm, $20. The Tower Theatre, 2508 Land Park Drive.

trains for your viewing pleasure, as well as miniature train accessories, tracks and more. Come spend some locomotive time with like-minded enthusiasts—and kids under the age of 11 get in free! 10am, $6$12. Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd.

Film

Murder Mystery. Perhaps you’d like some dinner? Well, hopefully you’re aware that you signed up for a murder mystery, otherwise this evening will be a surprise to you. Figure out who the criminal is, channeling your inner Sherlock Holmes (or John Watson, if you’re more of a follower) and winning the evening. Dates will be impressed by your talent for deduction. saturday 1/5, 6pm. $59.95. 815 11th St.

MidTown bArFly: Midtown Moxies Burlesque. Join in the fun for the first burlesque of the new year. If you want “a sort of vaudeville characterized by low comedy, striptease acts etc.,” then you want the Webster’s dictionary definition of burlesque. Come down for laughter and the above mentioned definition. saturday 1/5, 7:30pm. $10-$20. 1119 21st St.

PAMelA TroKAnsKi PerForMinG ArTs CenTer: The Triangle Factory Fire Project. We’ve all heard the story of the Triangle Waist Factory fire—now it’s time to see it acted out in devastating live performance. Nearly 150 people died, and this dramatic recreation of the events that rocked New York City seeks to bring them to life. Through 1/19. no cover-$13. 2720 Del Rio Place in Davis.

PATTi bAKer THeATer: Battle Cry. This story follows the story of Evangeline and Oliver, and it tells “a story that is common to all of us who seek meaning and significance in our relationships and our lives.” If that sounds like you (which, by the way, it’s designed to), then come out and take in this performance of multiple forms of media, featuring dance, music, film, photography and more. Through 1/5. no cover-$60. 1 Tiger Way in Roseville.

rAnCHo CordoVA librAry: Frosty’s Magic Hat.

comedy

ThurSday, 1/3 MoVie niGHT AT beers booKs!: Exploring the ever-growing list of similarities between books and films, Beers Books hosts this movie night showing of Branded to Kill. It’s a violent, 1967 flick from Seijun Suzuki, exploring the exploits of an assassin in this bizarre, low-budget story. 8pm, no cover. Beers Books, 915 S St.

Pioneer underGround: Comedian DJ Sandhu. The Sacramento comedian spreads comedic joy in Reno, so go on a road trip to support local comedians—or stick around and support other ones. Through 1/5. $15-$18. 100 S St. in Reno.

PunCH line: Ari Shaffir. The sort of funny, anecdote-sharing Shaffir is performing for your amusement, multiple times. Am I the biggest fan? That doesn’t matter—it only matters if you are. Through 1/5. $28. 2100 Arden Way, Suite 225.

norMA rAe: Sally Field’s 1979 Oscar-winning role as the title character in Norma Rae explores themes that, on the face of them, don’t seem compelling: working in textiles, labor unions. That said, this true story hit the mark. Spend some time in the film presence of Field at the Crocker. 6:30pm, $8-$24. Crocker Art Museum, 216 O St.

sACrAMenTo CoMMuniTy CenTer THeATer: Waitress. Broadway Sacramento brings you the musical featuring music by Sara Bareilles. If you like musicals, waitresses and pie-making, this show is a can’t-miss. Check out the review on page 23, and check out the show while you can. Through 1/5. $26$85. 1400 J St.

Shen Yun 2019 World Tour. Take in the critically acclaimed and ancient cultural dance phenomenon that is Shen Yun. You’ve seen the billboards, you’ve seen the PBS pledge week special—now it’s time to see the unbelievable dance phenomenon. Through 1/12. $80-$200. 1400 J St.

arT PubliC lAnd: Greg Ito’s Time Traveler. This exhibit of Greg Ito’s work is both poignant and stylized. Spanning multiple mediums, the Los Angeles-based artist’s paintings and physical objects are gritty, provocative, small and worth your time. Through 1/14. no cover. 2598 21st St.

VerGe CenTer For THe ArTs: Home and Away 2018. Two exhibitions make up this show, featuring All is Well in My World by Jennifer Lugris and Brown Body, Body Hair by Chaitra Bangalore. It’s the final show and the first show of the year, putting two Sacramento artists together for a show that features impressionistic paintings as well as more photorealistic ones exploring body hair. Through 1/20. no cover. 625 S St.

muSeumS PowerHouse sCienCe CenTer: Travel Through Time Mega Future. It’s a new year—and that means it’s time to predict the future. Powerhouse Science Center leads kids on this interactive guessing game, in which you can design animal habitats, make a stop-motion movie, make an astronaut suit. Are you prepared for the future? Find out. Through 1/6. $7-$8. 3615 Auburn Blvd.

sierrA ColleGe: First Saturday at the Museum—Creatures of the Deep. Join in and learn about the animals hiding at the bottom of the sea. Well, they’re not really hiding, in the way that humans on the top of the land aren’t hiding from deep-sea animals. This two-hour event brings a unique look at the bioluminescent algae, a squid dissection, an anglerfish arts and crafts session—it is aimed at children ages 5 and up. saturday 1/5, 10am. no cover. 5100 Sierra College Blvd. in Rocklin.

uC dAVis: Animals in the Archives. Time to

generally, it’s an animal/UC Davis crossover event that will leave you wanting more, located in the lobby of the library. Through 3/29. no cover. 1 Shields Ave in Davis.

SPorTS & ouTdoorS SaTurday, 1/5 5K resoluTion run: The new year is here; there are more than 360 days left for you to do the things you need to do. If you’ve got fitness goals, consider joining this run at Crocker Park, brought to you by the Renaissance Group International. It’s a swell way to run 5 kilometers and start 2019 off on the right foot. Or the left foot, whichever you start running with. Also, there’s yoga in the park at 10:15 a.m. 9am, $15-$45. Crocker Park, 211 O St.

sACrAMenTo KinGs Vs. Golden sTATe wArriors: The Sacramento Kings recently ousted the Los Angeles Lakers in their home territory—now it’s time for us to get matched up against the most dominant West Coast team—the Golden State Warriors. Could be exhilarating, could be heartbreaking and disappointing—only a ticket will tell. 7pm, $63-$400. Golden 1 Center, 500 David J. Stern Walk.

CrowninG MoMenT liVe Pro wresTlinG: Virgil Flynn III Productions shares this live, local wrestling event. There’s Brutal Rob Hands, Funnybone, Big Ugly, Matt Carlous, Joe DeSoul and more. With names like those, how can you resist? 6:30pm, $10-$0. 5731 Watt Ave. in North Highlands.

Sunday, 1/6 FAlun dAFA MediTATion: Free meditation in the park could be just the thing to help calm you down—as long as you go. All experience levels welcome, and consider bringing a mat, or your friend Matt. Have him bring a mat, too, if he decides to show up—for once. 9am, no cover. McKinley Park, 601 Alhambra Blvd.

FoX wHole FoundATion bowlinG ClAssiC: It’s the sold-out, bowling, De’Aaron Fox-hosted charity event of the celebrity pin knocking down season. 3pm, $40-$750. Strikes Unlimited, 5681 Lonetree Blvd. in Rocklin.

break out the best the archives at UC Davis have to offer. You’ll see the role animals play in faculty research, fantasy animals and

sACrAMenTo CoMedy sPoT: Marcus Mangham Presents Diversity. This show puts diversity in the foreground, featuring comedians from a broad array of ethnic backgrounds and cultures. Much like the people who go to comedy shows, all the performers have something in common: They all are into comedy. There’s Huey Li, Aurora Singh, Josh Means, Lance Woods and host Marcus Mangham. Friday 1/4, 8pm. $8. 1050 20th St., Suite 130.

Friday, 1/4 THe niGHTMAre beFore CHrisTMAs: Relive the Tim Burton-produced classic stop-motion animation work, directed by Henry Selick, with such iconic characters as Jack Skellington and Santa Claus. Even though the Christmas season is officially over, you can still watch some of the season’s movies. 7pm, $7.50-$9.50. Crest Theatre, 1013 K St.

You know the snowman—now it’s time to check out the puppet/magic show version based on that magical hat. Tony Borders will be sharing puppetry with the audience, so come enjoy the show. Friday 1/4, 4pm. no cover. 9845 Folsom Blvd.

sACrAMenTo ConVenTion CenTer CoMPleX:

sTAb CoMedy THeATer: Comedians with

monday, 1/7 edwArd sCissorHAnds: Speaking of Tim Burton, relive the bizarre kind of magic worked between the scissor-handed man, played by Johnny Depp, as he navigates the social mores of living in suburbia. 7pm, $9. The Tower Theatre, 2508 Land Park Drive.

Names. Finally, a comedy show that lampoons the ridiculousness of comedy show marketing: It’s a show that features only comedians with names. That’s right, come to this show and you’re guaranteed to hear comedic stylings from people with actual, factual designations. Friday 1/4, 8pm, $7. 1710 Broadway.

Through SaTurday, 1/12

Tibetan Monk Visit Burke Junction in cameron Park, 10am-6Pm, By donation

Tibetan monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery began the painstaking process of crafting the Avalokiteshvara sand mandala on New Year’s Day. You can stop by and witness their continued work on the mandala daily, as well as participate in some special events along the way, including a Tibetan story hour on Thursday at 10:30 a.m., a ArT calligraphy workshop on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and more, all detailed on their website. Learn about the monastic college and their work re-establishing their traditions. 3300 Coach Lane, Building E-1, sacredartsoftibettour.org. PhoTo courTeSy oF carolyn graBle

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Saturday, 1/5

Home Brewing Class ChoColate Fish, 12:15pm, $20

Want to wrench the means of craft coffee production from the coffee bourgeoisie? Too long have the roasters held power over the proletariat, too long have we toiled, beholden to the talents of roasteries and their effervescent Classes pour-overs. Well, now’s your chance to remove your blinders—Chocolate Fish is sharing its unique knowledge with the public, PHOtO COurtESy OF NatHaN duMLaO telling you how to make great coffee at home. All the secrets: brew temperature, ratios, grind size—your time has come to go off the coffee grid, and you’ll get a 12-ounce bag of coffee, too. 4749 Folsom Boulevard, chocolatefishcoffee.com/home-brewing-class.

MONday, 1/7 MONDaY NIGHT YOGa: There’s so many options

it’s well-behaved. Noon, no cover. California Capitol, 1315 10th St.

for yoga in this city of ours—come try another one with Sol Collective. Everyone is welcome at this mellow, exercising event. 6pm, by donation. Sol Collective, 2574 21st St.

WEdNESday, 1/9 sTORYTIMe aT THe DOWNTOWN saCRaMeNTO ICe RINK: Sacramento Public Library joins forces with a body of frozen water. Two children’s librarians will be sharing stories with young children, and afterward there will be ice skating. 11am, $6-$13. St. Rose of Lima Park, 701 K St.

LGBtQ SuNday, 1/6 lOlGBT+: Suzette Venetti presents this evening of queens and comedy. 7pm, $16. Punch Line, 2100 Arden Way, Suite 225.

tuESday, 1/8 GeT CeNTeReD: Take a tour of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, highlighting programs and services that the Center offers. 5:30pm, no cover. The Sacramento LGBT Community Center, 1927 L St.

WEdNESday, 1/9 THe OTHeR MIC: Take to the open-mic at this event that caters to folks who aren’t often given a platform to speak their piece, including queer and trans folks, people of color and women. 7pm, no cover. Lavender Library, 1414 21st St.

taKE aCtION tuESday, 1/8 eleCTRIC GReeNWaY TRaIl PROJeCT OPeN HOUse: The Electric Greenway Trail Project is opened up to the public for discussion. Come out and learn about the project that follows a SMUD transmission corridor, ask questions and voice feedback. 5pm, no cover. Sunrise Tech Center, 7322 Sunrise Boulevard in Citrus Heights.

PIT BUll aWaReNess aND BReeD DIsCRIMINaTION DeMONsTRaTION: If you’re frustrated by breed-specific legislation, you’re not alone. This event brings together a group of people who believe that discrimination against specific breeds is wrong and want to talk to legislators about it. Show up, and bring your dog to the north side of the Capitol, if

CLaSSES tHurSday, 1/3 NeW YeaR’s BasKeTBall CaMP: New year, new you. That means it’s time to get your basketball skills on lock. You’ll get lessons on ball handling, attack moves and “mental toughness,” which is likely very broadly applicable in life. 9am, $100. All World Ball Academy, 11327 Folsom Blvd. in Rancho Cordova.

TeeN aFTeR sCHOOl aRT PROGRaM: Send your teen to this art program that teaches new skills and brings new crafts to the table. Give your teen a safe space to work on some artistic stuff—they’ll thank you. Or maybe they won’t—teenagers, am I right? 2:45pm, $25-$30. Gather Studio & Marketplace, 8870 Auburn Folsom Road, Suite B in Granite Bay.

FrIday, 1/4 WaITRess MasTeR DaNCe Class: With the tagline “Dancing should be as easy as pie,” check out this Broadway dance class, featured on page 26. 10am, $25-$35. Sierra 2 Center, 2791 24th St.

Saturday, 1/5 HOMe BReWING Class: Get busy brewing or get busy buying—coffee, that is. Check out the event highlight featured above. 12:15pm, $20. Chocolate Fish, 4749 Folsom Blvd.

NeW YeaR, NeW MOON: It’s a new year, so you can make a new moon kit. What is that, you ask? Well, it includes bath salts, essential oils and candles, and you get to personalize it. There will also be sound healing, intention setting and more. 6pm, $50-$65. Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S St.

RelIeF THROUGH ROllING WORKsHOP: The foam roller—what can it do? Well, it can give you some relief for your back pain. Come learn from Nicholas Green about the simple tool and its uses. 10am, $25-$30. The Yoga Seed Collective, 1400 E St., Suite B.

tuESday, 1/8 a TasTe OF THe CO-OP COOKING sCHOOl: Have you tried out the Co-Op’s cooking school yet? Come get a primer on the services they offer at this demonstration cooking class. 6:30pm, $10. Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op’s Community Learning Center & Cooking School, 2820 R St.

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THURSDAY 1/3

FRIDAY 1/4

SATURDAY 1/5

SUNDAY 1/6

The Car Crash Hearts and Melissa Schiller & the Pinks, 7pm, no cover

Matt Mullen, 1pm, no cover

Fierce Fridays, 7pm, call for cover

Spectacular Saturdays, 7pm, call for cover

B.P.M. & Sunday Funday Remixed, 4pm, call for cover

Todd Morgan, 9:30pm, no cover

Guero, 9:30pm, no cover

ArmAdillo music

207 F ST., DAvIS, (530) 758-8058

BAdlAnds

2003 k ST., (916) 448-8790

Poprockz 90s Night, 7pm, call for cover

BAr 101

101 MAIN ST., ROSEvIllE, (916) 774-0505

Blue lAmp

Drop the Mic w/ Whirl, Ladie Red, Pryncess Hall and more, 9pm, $15-$20

1400 AlHAMbRA blvD., (916) 455-3400

The BoArdwAlk

Chaos Mantra, Something Heartfelt, RepresA and more, 7pm, $10

cApiTol GArAGe

Capitol Fridays, 10pm, no cover before 10:30pm

cresT TheATre

The Nightmare Before Christmas (After Christmas), 7pm, $7.50-$9.50

9426 GREENbAck lN., ORANGEvAlE, (916) 358-9116

PHOTO cOURTESY OF MElT bOOkING

Mick Jenkins

1500 k ST., (916) 444-3633 1013 k ST., (916) 476-3356

FAces

with Kari Faux 7:30pm Wednesday, $22-$25 Harlow’s Hip-hop

2000 k ST., (916) 448-7798

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Jason Kinney, center, greets state officials and staffers near the state Capitol in Sacramento on the first day of the 2019 legislative session. Photo For CALmAtters by byrhondA Lyons

how will California’s next governor deal with Big Cannabis? As the revolving door turns, a Capitol fixer is poised to ascend with Gavin Newsom—and legal weed by LaureL rosenhaLL

the week gavin newsom was elected governor, three Sacramento lobbyists quit an influential firm where they had been partners for many years. Two filed paperwork to launch a new lobbying shop. The third, Jason Kinney, de-registered as a lobbyist and immediately became a key member of Newsom’s gubernatorial transition team. The next week, Kinney, billed as Newsom’s senior adviser, shared the stage with three state regulators at a huge cannabis conference in Las Vegas. The event was sponsored by Axiom Advisors, the new lobbying firm Kinney’s former partners had just launched, and WeedMaps, a marijuana advertising website that was a client at their prior lobbying firm and is

now represented by Axiom. The Axiom logo shone on a screen above the stage. And when Kinney introduced himself to the roomful of marijuana entrepreneurs, he quickly mentioned Kevin Schmidt—his former partner now lobbying at the new firm. “Right after the passage of decriminalization and legalization in Colorado and Washington, then-Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom walked into an office and said to a bunch of us—(including) Kevin Schmidt, who was working in the lieutenant governor’s office at the time, who is here in this audience—he walked in and said, ‘California is going to be next,’” Kinney recounted, “‘And we are going to do it.’”

CAL ma tte r s

They did do it. Now Kinney, who worked with Newsom to pass the marijuana legalization ballot measure in 2016 and currently serves on the governor-elect’s transition team as an unpaid adviser, is poised to cash in on a nascent industry that is expected to become a $5.1 billion enterprise in California in 2019. It would be one more step through the revolving door for Kinney, who has made a lucrative and powerful career in Sacramento by moving from government to campaigns to industry lobbyist. This time, the question is whether he is working for an incoming administration that he will soon seek to influence. “Who is he really serving?” asked Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola

new year’S reSolutionS See aSk 420

34

Law School and former president of the Los Angeles Ethics commission. “Is he a hired gun for the marijuana industry? Is he a public servant working on a gubernatorial transition? The answer very likely is all of the above. Kinney told CALmatters that his appearance at the pot industry conference “was routine, appropriate and not in conflict with my work on the transition.” He added that he has “made no decisions about my professional future beyond January 7th,” when Newsom is sworn in. Schmidt said that as far as he knows, Kinney is focused on the transition and hasn’t decided what will come next. Neither of them ruled out the possibility that Kinney could join Axiom. Nathan Click, a Newsom spokesman, said the governor-elect has imposed a “lobbying ban,” and that “those working on the transition have agreed to not lobby transition staff, as defined under the Political Reform Act.” The Act refers only to people who are paid more than $2,000 a month, or spend more than a third of their time, trying to influence government decisions. And the ban ends the day Newsom becomes governor. Newsom told CALmatters that Kinney’s role in the transition is informal, taking calls from people who want to connect with the governor-elect and recommending potential job candidates. When asked about their relationship, Newsom said he would draw the line between business and friendship. “I always separate,” Newsom said. “I have 20-plus years of separating those kinds of things.” Until early November, Kinney and Schmidt were lobbyists for a high-powered firm called California Strategies. Kinney—a longtime political adviser to Newsom—also was the communications director for Proposition 64, the 2016 marijuana initiative Newsom championed. Since it passed, California Strategies has reaped more than $1 million from cannabis clients—investment companies, tech platforms and growers seeking to influence the rules for the state’s marijuana marketplace. The lobbying firm’s cannabis clients donated at least $188,000 to Newsom’s campaign, a 01.03.19 | SN&R | 31


...and I’m so honored to have worked with my coworkers who love and care for Sacramento. So...

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“big cannabis” continued from page 31

chunk of the more than $500,000 he raised from marijuana businesses overall. Like any big-money industry, cannabis businesses are lobbying for laws and regulations to help them succeed. The next governor could shape the potentially lucrative marketplace based on who he appoints to oversee regulations, or whether he signs laws to, for example, decrease taxes on marijuana or create a cannabis-friendly state bank as an alternative for what is now an all-cash industry. Rules nearing final approval already are generating complaints from small farms and cities that they favor large growers and cannabis delivery companies. “Kinney and his colleagues and their clients seem to have a more direct line of communication to Mr. Newsom, and that’s really concerning for a lot of the small businesses that don’t have the resources to have those types of representatives,” said Hezekiah Allen, who chairs a farming co-op called Emerald Grown. “The general sense out there in the community is, ‘Darn, the incoming governor isn’t going to listen to us. There’s this gatekeeper, and it’s a pay to play system.’” Newsom has long promoted the idea that marijuana legalization is not just a business opportunity, but a righteous cause. He embraced decriminalization policies that offer a second chance to black and brown Californians who were disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs. A panel he led to study model pot policy declared in 2015 that it “should not be California’s next Gold Rush.” And in 2017, as he raised money for his gubernatorial campaign at the Hollywood Hills home of a cannabis executive, Newsom said he wants “to make sure our diverse communities are front and center in this conversation, and that we’re protecting our small growers.” The host—the CEO of Advanced Nutrients, which makes fertilizers for marijuana plants—later boasted that the event raised $140,000 for Newsom in 90 minutes. His company also has been one of California Strategies’ most lucrative clients since voters passed Prop. 64. A one-time speechwriter for Gov. Gray Davis, Kinney rose to a partnership at California Strategies by working with both elected officials and the corporations that seek to influence them. He has been a strategist for Newsom and Democrats in the state Senate while also being paid by corporate clients including AT&T and PhRMA. This is not unheard of in Sacramento’s vast ecosystem of fixers and consultants who wield influence; some are lobbyists

who represent businesses or unions, others are strategists or consultants who work for politicians. A powerful few have figured out how to do both. Kinney has run into occasional trouble walking that line. He was forced to register as a lobbyist in 2013, when he was fined by the state’s political watchdog for hiding his work to sway government decisions. Kinney acknowledged at the time that he broke state law by not formally registering and disclosing who was paying him. Kinney also failed to properly register as a foreign agent when he was hired in October 2008 to lead a publicity campaign for an exiled sheik seeking to regain power in an obscure Arab kingdom. The eight months it took him to comply with federal law allowed him and his wife to contribute $52,000 to President Barack Obama’s inauguration, a prime networking event that banned contributions from foreign agents. Since he left California Strategies on Nov. 6, Kinney says he’s been volunteering full-time for Newsom’s transition. Like the rest of the transition team, he’s using an “@gavinnewsom.com” email address. Kinney says the email is for official transition business. It’s also a symbol of his proximity to the governor-elect. Lobbyists and other influencers rise and fall with each change of political power in Sacramento. After Gov. Gray Davis took office, his campaign fundraiser, Darius Anderson, opened a lobbying shop and enjoyed enormous clout until Davis was recalled. Then, during the Schwarzenegger administration, California Strategies gained influence—its founder, Bob White, had chaired the movie star’s gubernatorial campaign. The firm has expanded to include a bipartisan staff of former government officials, and brought in $4.5 million in the first nine months of 2018, making it the third-highest earning lobbying firm in the state. But legal weed, and the money to be made from it, is a special wrinkle. Not since the rise of tribal gambling during the Davis administration has a new industry so closely coincided with the rise of a new governor. Several in the cannabis industry who attended the Las Vegas conference saw Kinney’s presence there as a subtle sales pitch for the access he and Axiom could have to Newsom’s administration. Not wanting to anger the incoming governor, however, they spoke on condition of anonymity. “It certainly gave him the opportunity,” one entrepreneur said, “to promote the firm and himself.” Ω

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CALmatters senior editor Dan Morain contributed to this report. This article has been abridged for space.

01.03.19    |   SN&R   |   33


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by Ngaio Bealum

a sk 420@ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

In 2019, smoke more Hey, my grandma just had a stroke. It was a small one, but the doctors are worried about her blood pressure. Would CBD or THC help her out? —Graham masboi

I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother. Good vibes and positive energy to you and your family. I am not a doctor, so I cannot tell you if CBD would help or not. I can point you to a few studies (projectcbd.org/ stroke-traumaticbrain-injury) that show CBD and THC to be an effective treatment both before and after strokes. Unfortunately, just about all of these tests were done on laboratory mice. And mice aren’t people. This country would do well by its citizens if it were to allow scientists to do more cannabis testing on humans. After all, weed won’t kill you, even if you take too much. Talk to grandma’s doctor and see how she feels about it. Good luck.

monopolize the cannabis game. This is a shame on so many levels. State (and federal) governments love to make it easy for moneyed interests, often at the expense of smaller momand-pop entrepreneurs. Looking at you John Boehner, Willie Brown and any other former politician who has decided to champion the cause of legalization after spending their entire political career being “tough on crime” and keeping cannabis users in cages. We could have had legal weed 20 years ago. Once again, it is up to your friendly neighborhood cannabis user to support the locals and to stick up for the underdog.

Smoke more different and exotic strains. This one will be fun and easy, at least for me. I think I smoked 100 different strains last year without even trying. This year, I am going to make a conscious effort to smoke hella exotic strains. But we can’t let Blue Dream, Cookies and Gelato be the only things we smoke. Genetic variety is the spice of life. Search for weird strains. Try weed you might not ordinarily smoke. Ω

Happy New Year! Any resolutions? —Father thyme

Hell yes! Here’s two. (Clears throat.) This year, I resolve to:

Smoke more small-batch cannabis. It has become clear to me that the capitalists are not going to wait for federal legalization before they try to

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

@Ngaio420


by JOEY GARCIA

@AskJoeyGarcia

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You should be

Taking down expectations Our new year offers opportunities for radical change in dating, marriage or finding joy in the single life. The focus won’t be on the ever-growing hipster vocabulary list that shaped 2018 (words like dicksand to describe someone so infatuated by a new relationship that she or he loses their identity and friends). This year’s trends are about taking down expectations. Here are my forecasts:

Getting along with an ex is what grown people do: Watch for more exes celebrating holidays together, even after they have remarried or are living with someone new. The extended, blended family is an effort Married men and single women could be to ease the pain suffered by children of a thing: No, I’m not suggesting an uptick divorced parents. But don’t imagine that in business for Ashley Madison, the dating someone who is capable of enjoying an ex’s site for cheaters. This is about choosing new partner is more evolved than someone the best lifestyle for long-term happiness. who can’t stomach the idea. Keeping an Studies on marriage show married men ex in the fam is a lifestyle choice. are happier than married women. If your ex was abusive or is an After marriage, men benefit addict, don’t invite her or him from being well cared for, Gah, it’s back in. while women discover they’re responsible for no fun being Kindness, mindfulness, managing the household the mash-up of respect: Our dating and working outside the a modern woman profiles say we highly home—just like when value these qualities in a they were single. Gah, it’s and a 1950s partner. Do we mean it? no fun being the mash-up housewife. Kindness is choosing to be of a modern woman and a ethical even when it’s easier 1950s housewife. In general, not to be. Mindfulness is about single women are happier than being present and self-aware, able to their married counterparts, especially if allow experiences to flow through without they have shaken off the social pressure to overreacting or becoming overwhelmed. It’s be wed. meeting life as an equal. Respect is esteem for others based on our shared humanity. Heyyyy divorce, we’re not that into you: In 2019, we begin to admit that the only Divorce rates will continue to slow. The hack to attract the kindness, mindfulness latest stats reveal that one in four marriages and respect we desire from others is to do end in divorce. If singer Jade Bird is right the inner work necessary to embody what that love is a lottery, those odds are worth we seek. the gamble. If you want any long-term relationship to prosper, read on. Researchers Ultimately, relationship trends are John and Julie Gottman, who enjoy a 90 the result of what we choose to create. percent accuracy rate in predicting divorce, Want to meet your soul mate? Open say contempt is the culprit. If you or your to a happier marriage? Give yourself partner has a habit of eye-rolling, using permission to change your expectations. a sarcastic tone of voice, or exhibiting Rather than obsessing about what you a dismissive attitude toward the other’s imagine is missing in your relationships, concerns, or if you’re arrogant, defensive, appreciate the love you have. Ω critical and tend to stonewall, your relationship will end in divorce. Online dating isn’t getting us boo’d up: The sport of the swipe continues because it keeps the reward centers of the brain lit. But despite the marketing hype from dating sites—including inflating the numbers of actual matches, not admitting to faux profiles and keeping old profiles active— online dating is just a delivery system for endless texts from people we barely

getting it

know. In 2019, the backlash begins. Tired of the compulsive time suck that online dating represents, more people will opt for meeting IRL (in real life) and will move on quickly when a potential date delays the face-to-face.

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 Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95815; call (916) 498-1234, ext. 1360; or email askjoey@newsreview.com.

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Free will astrology

by Maxfield Morris

by rob brezsny

ma x fie ld m@ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

For THe Week oF January 3, 2019 ARIES (March 21-April 19): No one has resisted

the force of gravity with more focus than businessman Roger Babson (1875–1967). He wrote an essay entitled “Gravity — Our Enemy Number One,” and sought to develop anti-gravity technology. His Gravity Research Foundation gave awards to authentic scientists who advanced the understanding of gravity. If that organization still existed and offered prizes, I’m sure that researchers of the Aries persuasion would win them all in 2019. For your tribe, the coming months should feature lots of escapes from heaviness, including soaring flights and playful levity and lofty epiphanies.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The night parrots of

Australia are so elusive that there was a nearly six-decade stretch when no human saw a single member of the species. But in 2013, after searching for 15 years, photographer John Young spotted one and recorded a 17-second video. Since then, more sightings have occurred. According to my astrological vision, your life in 2019 will feature experiences akin to the story of the night parrot’s reappearance. A major riddle will be at least partially solved. Hidden beauty will materialize. Long-secret phenomena will no longer be secret. A missing link will re-emerge.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Millions of years ago,

Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica and North and South America were smooshed together. Earth had a single land mass: the supercontinent Pangea. Stretching across its breadth was a colossal feature, the Central Pangean Mountains. Eventually, though, Europe and America split apart, making room for the Atlantic Ocean and dividing the Central Pangean range. Today the Scottish Highlands and the Appalachian Mountains are thousands of miles apart, but once upon a time they were joined. In 2019, Gemini, I propose that you look for metaphorical equivalents in your own life. What disparate parts of your world had the same origin? What elements that are now divided used to be together? Re-establish their connection. Get them back in touch with each other. Be a specialist in cultivating unity.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): 2019 will be an

excellent time to swim in unpolluted rivers, utter sacred oaths near beautiful fountains and enjoy leisurely saunas that help purify your mind and body. You are also likely to attract cosmic favor if you cry more than usual, seek experiences that enhance your emotional intelligence and ensure that your head respectfully consults with your heart before making decisions. Here’s another way to get on life’s good side: Cultivate duties that consistently encourage you to act out of love and joy rather than out of guilt and obligation.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Here are four key

questions I hope you’ll meditate on throughout 2019: 1. What is love? 2. What kind of love do you want to receive? 3. What kind of love do you want to give? 4. How could you transform yourself in order to give and receive more of the love you value most? To spur your efforts, I offer you these thoughts from teacher David R. Hawkins: “Love is misunderstood to be an emotion; actually, it is a state of awareness, a way of being in the world, a way of seeing oneself and others.”

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “Most living things

begin in the absence of light,” writes Virgo author Nancy Holder. “The vine is rooted in the earth; the fawn takes form in the womb of the doe.” I’ll remind you that your original gestation also took place in the dark. And I foresee a metaphorically comparable process unfolding for you in 2019. You’ll undergo an incubation period that may feel cloaked and mysterious. That’s just as it should be: the best possible circumstances for the vital new part of your life that will be growing. So be patient. You’ll see the tangible results in 2020.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Many plants that

modern Americans regard as weeds were regarded as tasty food by Native Americans. A prime example is the cattail, which grows wild in wetlands. Indigenous people ate the rootstock, stem, leaves, and flower spike. I propose that we use this scenario to serve as a metaphor for some of your potential opportunities in 2019. Things you’ve regarded as

useless or irrelevant or inconvenient could be revealed as assets. Be alert for the possibility of such shifts. Here’s advice from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The slow, gradual,

incremental approach will be your magic strategy in 2019. Being persistent and thorough as you take one step at a time will provide you with the power to accomplish wonders. Now and then, you may be tempted to seek dramatic breakthroughs or flashy leaps of faith; and there may indeed be one or two such events mixed in with your steady rhythms. But for the most part, your glory will come through tenacity. Now study this advice from mystic Meister Eckhart: “Wisdom consists in doing the next thing you have to do, doing it with your whole heart, and finding delight in doing it.”

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Sagittarian

polymath Piet Hein wrote a poem in which he named the central riddle of his existence. “A bit beyond perception’s reach, / I sometimes believe I see / That life is two locked boxes / Each containing the other’s key.” I propose that we adopt this scenario to symbolize one of the central riddles of your existence. I’ll go further and speculate that in 2019 one of those boxes will open as if through a magical fluke, without a need for the key. This mysterious blessing won’t really be a magical fluke, but rather a stroke of well-deserved and hard-earned luck that is the result of the work you’ve been doing to transform and improve yourself.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): What themes and

instruments do people least want to hear in a piece of music? Composer Dave Soldier determined that the worst song ever made would contain bagpipes, cowboy music, tubas, advertising jingles, operatic rapping and children crooning about holidays. Then he collaborated with other musicians to record such a song. I suspect that as you head into 2019, it’ll be helpful to imagine a metaphorically comparable monstrosity: a fantastic mess that sums up all the influences you’d like to avoid. With that as a vivid symbol, you’ll hopefully be inspired to avoid allowing any of it to sneak into your life in the coming months.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In Canada, it’s illegal

to pretend to practice witchcraft. It’s fine to actually do witchcraft, however. With that as our inspiration, I advise you to be rigorous about embodying your authentic self in 2019. Make sure you never lapse into merely imitating who you are or who you used to be. Don’t fall into the trap of caring more about your image than about your actual output. Focus on standing up for what you really mean rather than what you imagine people expect from you. The coming months will be a time when you can summon pure and authoritative expressions of your kaleidoscopic soul.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In the eighteenth

century, Benjamin Franklin was a founding father who played a key role in getting the United States up and running. He wasn’t happy that the fledgling nation chose the bald eagle as its animal symbol. The supposedly majestic raptor is lazy, he wrote. It doesn’t hunt for its own food, but steals grub obtained by smaller birds of prey. Furthermore, bald eagles are cowardly, Franklin believed. Even sparrows may intimidate them. With that as our theme, Pisces, I invite you to select a proper creature to be your symbolic ally in 2019. Since you will be building a new system and establishing a fresh power base, you shouldn’t pick a critter that’s merely glamorous. Choose one that excites your ambition and animates your willpower.

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 realastrology.com.

Therapist wrangler It can be difficult just to decide you’d like to talk to a therapist—but once you’ve done that, it can be much harder to actually find a therapist who will talk to you. The general action plan is to take to the internet, search for “Sacramento therapists,” place some calls and write some emails. Faced with offices not accepting new clients, unreturned messages and murky insurance navigation, many people are disheartened. That’s why Joe Borders started a therapist listings website for the Sacramento area, sacwellness.com, to make the process easier. Launched in June, it lets clients reach therapists in the area, searching by location, insurance accepted, treatment approach and other factors. Borders, a licensed therapist originally from Woodland with an office in Roseville, noticed therapists struggling with search engine optimization and clients struggling to find therapists. Something had to be done. SN&R talked with Borders about the process of crafting a community therapy resource from scratch.

What kind of issues do people seeking therapy face? Usually, people start with how to find therapists … It’s usual for people to only hear back from 20 percent of the people you call … and then you don’t really know anything about the therapist until you call them. That’s part of the aim of the site, is to make information about therapists more accessible so they have more of an idea of what they’re getting into.

How did you get the idea for the site? Well, basically, right now, there’s a problem a lot of people have where it’s difficult for most people to figure out how to find therapists. Most people don’t really have any kind of general idea of how to do that; they usually just Google around or call their insurances carriers or something. There’s a couple of big international websites that do what I’m doing, but so far there isn’t anything that specifically covers our area. So I spent a lot of time as a therapist getting my website built, and this seemed like a good thing for the next step.

Have people been referred to therapists through the site? Yes. So far, we’ve got about 140 therapists lined up. That’s throughout the greater

Here’s to an easier way to find a therapist. PHOTO COURTESY OF JOE BORDERS

like, “Sac? What the hell is this?” But [I said], “You guys, people in this area will get it.”

Sacramento area, so those are all therapists people can find on the site. … Throughout November, we had something like 27 emails or calls to therapists.

Those 140 therapists, did you reach out to them individually? That’s a complicated story. It was a lot of work. I’ve been licensed in the area for four years, and before that I was an intern in the area for four years. And my parents are therapists that have been working in the area for forever, so I’ve gotten a lot of contacts. But I just kind of reached out to everyone I know, got the word out. I mailed out a bunch of postcards. At some point, when I first started, I got desperate and just randomly emailed 500 different therapists. I’ve cold-called a couple people. It’s been a little slow, but I think it’s going pretty well.

I’ve heard it can be a really trying experience, finding a therapist. Yes, it’s horrible. … I’ve had people call me sometimes, where they’ve called 10 therapists before they got a hold of me, and only, like, two called them back, and none of them had availability. It’s generally just hard to find a therapist.

Do other cities have similar websites? The only other thing I’ve seen is I know a guy up in Portland who has one. That’s pretty much the only one.

The site’s name is SacWellness? Yes. … It’s so funny, when I first started coming up with an idea for a name, I put it on a therapy forum that’s therapists all over the country, and a lot of people were

What kind of therapy do you practice? I specialize in working with addiction, couples, teens and the LGBTQ community. But primarily I’m a sex-positive gender therapist.

Have you been in therapy? Oh yeah, it’s kind of the general rule, you’re supposed to walk the walk if you’re going to talk the talk. … I always tell people at the very least, you don’t necessarily have to be broken to need therapy. At the very least, it’s a place to check in every week, or every other week, and unpack what’s going on.

Have you gotten any hesitance to sign up from therapists? Not really. That’s a good question. I haven’t had anyone explicitly or overtly say anything, but I do think there’s a chance that people don’t understand what the value of the site is. It’s not uncommon for people who take insurance to be full, so they just kind of figure, “If I’m full, then why do I need this?” And then in other cases, a whole lot of people are listed on other sites, like Psychology Today, and they’re like, “That’s working for me, why do I need this other site?” I’m really trying to find new ways to communicate to other therapists like, “Hey, this is something good for our community that is specific for our area.” Ω

Find some of the therapists in the Sacramento area at sacwellness.com.

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