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september 3, 2020 | Vol. 32, Issue 3

This is the man to see for hard-core D&D players.

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by Foon Rhee

Labor Day is the traditional start of campaign season. But this election will be like no other in modern times— during a deadly pandemic and featuring a president who will do anything to win. So here are some helpful tips to make sense of it all and get through the next two months: 1. Do make sure your vote counts, and that starts with checking that you’re properly signed up to vote at VoterStatus.sos.ca.gov If you haven’t registered yet, the deadline is Oct. 19 at RegisterToVote.ca.gov. If you miss the deadline, you can still register and vote the same day, but only at county elections offices and polling sites. Every registered voter in California will receive a ballot in the mail by Oct. 5. If you want to track your mail ballot, you can sign up at WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov. If you’re worried about President Trump’s meddling with the Postal Service, you can drop off your mail ballot at sites starting Oct. 5. And if you want to vote in person on or before Nov. 3, be sure to find a safe location, with plenty of space. 2. Don’t believe much of what you see on Facebook and other social media. There are organized efforts to mislead and confuse, using millions of fake accounts all over the web. U.S. intelligence officials say that Russia is actively trying to cause chaos, just as it did in 2016, when it helped Trump. So only look at posts from friends you trust. Better yet, do your own research from reputable news sources and nonpartisan groups such as the League of Women Voters and Vote Smart. 3. Don’t trust anything Trump says. In normal times, the president exaggerates, deceives and flatout lies every day. Since taking office three-and-a-half years ago, he has made more than 20,000 false or misleading claims and counting, according to a tally by the Washington Post. In desperate campaign mode, Trump and the truth will be complete strangers. He will say anything to win reelection, and will retweet any conspiracy theory or concocted attack, as long as it helps him or hurts Joe Biden. And he’s already threatening to ignore the election result if he loses. 4. Don’t give Republicans a free pass. If Republicans in Congress haven’t repudiated Trump by now, they are completely in his back pocket. Many apparently really would continue to support him even if he shoots someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, as he has boasted.

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They refused to remove him from office. Staying loyal to the president is their choice. But they should also bear the political consequences of that decision. 5. Don’t forget local races. Yes, this is the most consequential presidential election of our lifetimes. Still, our daily lives can be affected more often by decisions made by local elected officials. And your votes count more because fewer votes will decide the winners. In Sacramento, voters citywide will decide whether to change the city charter to give the mayor more power and to impose stricter rent controls. And there are runoffs in two districts for City Council seats. 6. Do safeguard your vote. For all the flaws with our democracy—not diverse or representative enough, too much power in the hands of the rich, corporations and special interests—the system of one person, one vote is still the envy of many other countries. Treat your ballot as precious—as if people bled and died to protect it. They did. Ω

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by Doris Matsui

Protecting the mail A pandemic and presidential campaign is no time to be messing with the Postal Service On Aug. 18, I was at the Land Park Post Office with community leaders to rally behind the U.S. Postal Service in the face of destructive attacks from the Trump administration. With my neighbors standing beside me, I was reminded about what that post office has meant to Sacramento and my family. I started bringing my son there when he was about four years old; he always loved sliding the envelopes into the mailbox. As he got older, those letters turned into birthday party invitations and eventually college applications. The Rep. Doris Matsui of Sacramento represents California’s Sixth Land Park Post Office, and others just like it, are an Congressional District. irreplaceable part of our community’s shared history. That’s why the Trump administration’s attempted sabotage of the USPS has shocked so many Americans. Our democracy simply cannot function unless all They recognize that it’s about more than just getting letters Americans have an opportunity to safely and reliably vote from A to B—it’s about the fabric of our democracy. by mail. That’s why House Democrats are taking action. Hundreds of millions of Americans across this In late August, under extraordinary circumstances, I and country rely on the USPS for paychecks and life-saving many of my colleagues returned to Washington, D.C., to prescriptions, as well as mail-in ballots. Seniors depend vote on the Delivering for America Act, a bill that provides on the mail for more than 850,000 Social Security checks. emergency funding to the USPS and protects our mail from Veterans count on it for their VA benefits and 1.2 billion the assault of the postmaster general. of their prescriptions. To say the USPS is a literal lifeline When I voted Aug. 22 for the bill, I voted to provide is no exaggeration. $25 billion in emergency funding for the USPS in Despite the vital role of this historic institution, the addition to prohibiting the stoppage of mail sorting Trump administration has undertaken a machines, removal of public mail collection reckless campaign to undermine it. Recently, boxes, hiring freezes and enactment of any President Trump appointed Postmaster Our rule that would delay the delivery of General Louis DeJoy, a major financial mail to or from a government entity. democracy supporter of the Republican Party On Aug. 18, after massive public with significant business interests in simply cannot backlash, DeJoy announced that he competitors to the USPS. would be suspending these radical Earlier this summer, DeJoy function unless all changes that have been delaying announced an overhaul of policies, Americans have an mail deliveries. Unfortunately, his under the guise of cost efficiency, feeble attempt to save face is a far that have fundamentally degraded opportunity to safely cry from what is needed to keep our postal service by cutting back operations running smoothly. The and reliably vote hours, deactivating sorting machines Delivering for America Act halts the and restructuring the agency. by mail. damage being done and provides critical The effects of these cruel cutbacks support to put the USPS back on track. were felt almost immediately. I have heard This is not a debate about ideology or party Sacramentans say that for the first time in their preference. This is a debate about the physical health of lives, mail was not delivered to their homes. One Americans, the strength of our economy and the viability constituent had to pay out of pocket for medication that of our democracy. My responsibility in Congress is to was not delivered on time. Bills have gone past due. faithfully represent the people of Sacramento and provide a In the middle of a public health crisis and two months check on the executive branch. from the most consequential presidential election in a I have heard the voices of Sacramento loud and clear, generation, the stakes couldn’t be higher. and I absolutely believe that, in this moment, our democracy The USPS expects 10 times the normal amount of stands on the shoulders of the USPS. I look forward to the election mail this November and warned recently that it passage of these protections, and will fight hard to ensure all cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail will arrive in time Americans, like my family, can depend on the USPS. Ω to be counted. The Trump administration’s actions have directly undermined the electoral process and disenfranchised voters in communities of color at For more community essays, go to sacramento.newsreview.com/category/voices disproportionate rates. This is unacceptable.


Is Joe Biden what we want? Or what we need? by Jeff vonKaenel

The great philosopher Mick Jagger once said, “You can’t always get what you want / But if you try sometimes, you just might find / You get what you need.” After nearly four years of President Donald Trump and his enablers, what I want on most days is an avenger. There is much to be angry about. But after watching the Democratic convention last month, I realized that what I need looks a lot more like Joe Biden and his empathy. Believe me, I am no Biden. I do not give out my cell number to everyone. I don’t make personal connections with elevator operators and celebrities. But the times in my life when I have been open to diverse views and have really tried to listen are the times I have learned life’s most important lessons. It is relatively easy to be open to your inner circle. It’s a lot more difficult to be open to those you disagree with, or those whose life experiences are far different from your own. Let me share a few examples. In 1970, when I was a long-haired, extremely anti-war freshman at UC Santa Barbara, at the urging of a close friend, I took a military history ROTC course taught by Army Capt. Bloodhart. His name was really Bloodhart and he had recently returned from a tour in Vietnam. He was an UCSB alumnus and believed the Army was an important institution that needed to be part of the wider community. He believed that interaction and communication between the Army and the college campus made both institutions better. As the only non-ROTC student in the class, I developed a respect for Bloodhart and much greater respect for those who were willing to put themselves in harm’s way. The class increased my opposition to the Vietnam War, but it also increased my respect and support for our troops. Now 50 years later, when the armed forces are one of America’s leading

institutions supporting inclusion, I see “Amazing Grace.” On impulse, I called how right Bloodhart was. Memorial Auditorium and booked it for When I was in Chico in the 1980s, Sept. 11, 2002. The next day, it hit me I was one of the very few people ever that I really did not have any idea what I nominated for but rejected by the local was going to do. With the goal of finding Rotary club. My case was not helped Sacramento religious musical groups when Chico News & Review ran a story for this event, I started attending faith about government subsidies for rice services all around town to hear their growers, many of whom were members music. I showed up at services unanof Chico Rotary, or by my questions nounced. Since they did not know me, I about admitting female members. figured I could develop a great Five years later, times lineup for my interfaith had changed and the event without ever It is Sacramento Rotary having to reject admitted me, not anyone. relatively easy long after they What I had to be open to your started admitting not expected women. Now I was how inner circle. It’s a lot more am a liberal guy, much the difficult to be open to those and although religious the club had services you disagree with, or those hundreds of would impact members, it me and whose life experiences had very few change my are far different from Democrats. life. Even after Nevertheless, I choosing who your own. enjoyed Rotary. Most would play at our members wanted to give incredibly successful back to their community. I Call for Unity Concert, found impressive people of good which evolved into a benefit character on the political right as well as for interfaith Habitat for Humanity home the left. And a few bastards on both sides builds, I continued visiting religious as well. services. This was a weekly treasure From both of these experiences, I chest of insight and experiences. learned about interacting with others who I remember the first time I went to a had very different life experiences and Russian Baptist church. I had only driven beliefs. to West Sacramento, but it felt like being On a Sunday morning in the spring of in Ukraine for two hours. I experienced 2002, I was sitting in the pews of Trinity the joy of rocking out with the gospel Episcopal Church, listening to the choir. choir of St. Paul Missionary Baptist I was reminded how on Sept. 11, 2001, Church in Oak Park. In the packed pews I heard National Public Radio play the at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, the Judy Collins recording of “Amazing attendees were as interested in the babies Grace.” It moved me to tears. being passed around as the sermon. Sept. 11 exposed many divisions. I attended about 200 different Collins inspired me to consider that services in Sacramento, with the goal of music could bring us together. Perhaps going to as diverse a range of religious every religious tradition has its own organizations as possible. At Buddhist,

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African American, Muslim, Sikh and Hmong congregations, people went out of their way to make me feel comfortable. Although I would make small mistakes, like not knowing when or where to sit or stand, no one ever seemed to care. When the service was in a different language, frequently someone would come over and translate for me. Through these experiences, I discovered the incredible diversity of people who live in our community. One concepts I heard repeatedly was that there are many paths up the mountain, but they all lead to the same mountaintop. I came to appreciate the many different paths. But while they were so different, they shared similarities. All groups delighted in babies and their children’s accomplishments. All had traditions around births, coming-of-age, marriages and deaths. All believed that you are part of something bigger than yourself and that you should give back to your community. And now in 2020, these lessons are even more important. We need to listen. We need to find common ground. We must show respect and compassion for those we disagree with. Biden has inspired me to become a kinder, more empathetic person. So, as Mick Jagger said, it is not about what we want, it is what we need. We need to be empathetic like Biden, whether we support him or not. We need to be personally involved in reducing the polarization. For me, that means listening to and trying to better understand the 40% of Americans who support Trump, and perhaps to even find some common ground. I will try. Ω

Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.






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15 minutes






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Christopher Smith displays his handmade dice.hoto cour-

tesy of christopher smith, Kuroheim item Shop

Fifteen Minutes: Christopher Smith, resin die maker For those who dream of becoming their own boss, sometimes it’s necessity that turns the dream into reality. For Christopher Smith, creator of Kuroheim Item Shop, impending layoffs motivated him to start his own business, and quickly. Though a lapsed gamer—he’s since rejoined the fold as a 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons player—his work became creating resin dice that are works of art on their own.

Why did you begin making dice if you weren’t gaming? That’s right, I wasn’t playing a game...when I started. But I [found I was about to be laid off] and I was like, “Okay, well why don’t I do something that makes me my own boss where I don’t have to deal with other people and threats of being laid off or anything like that… I have a bunch of [friends] who are really big into tabletop gaming. And I thought, hey, this might actually be a good idea. And I went online and looked at other people’s prices and I thought “Wow, those are really, really overpriced.” I knew I could do it at least just as good, but for a lot cheaper.

What kind of materials do you use?


by Lindsay OxfOrd

To make the dice themselves—because there’s a lot of other steps, because I do my own molds, make my own masters, there’s a lot of other stuff, too—but the dice themselves, mostly just a two-part epoxy resin...To get the colors you

need, I use alcohol ink, which is a water and resin soluble ink that doesn’t mess with the ratios, and mica powders like you’d find in makeup and stuff like that… You want it to be hard as rock when you’re done with it, and if you put too much into it, it’ll get all gummy or it won’t cure, and it’ll just—it won’t be something you can use at all.

So it’s a little bit like making a cake? It’s very much like making a cake. There are less ingredients involved, three, maybe four things if you’re getting complicated. But it’s pretty much like that. If you mess up with the ratios, then you get something completely different, a lot of times unusable.

Do you mostly sell through Etsy? That’s correct. I probably do about 90% of my sales through my Etsy shop. I originally didn’t think that Etsy would be my main seller, because I’d go to these Con[vention]s, and people would buy my stuff. And I thought that was pretty neat until the pandemic hit, and I had to figure out what the heck to do before rent’s due the next month.

So it has helped you make it through? Yes, this whole process of starting my own business….finally getting it up and running and having actual sales happen is very promising and definitely really helping me staying me afloat so I don’t have to call someone else boss.

Do you take custom orders? A good amount of people [ask] if they’re looking for something very specific that I just don’t have on my shop…I’m very happy that I do those commissions because they test my creative bounds more than anything else, because they’re asking for something that either I didn’t think of, or something I’ve never really experimented with before. And that makes me feel really good when I can send one of those guys out. Ω

See more of Christopher’s work at instagram.com/KuroheimiS






Artist and activist Shepard Fairey painted the 15-story mural of Johnny Cash for Wide Open Walls in 2018. Photo by Graham Womack

Walls apart City investigates Wide Open Walls and its founder as Sacramento mural festival faces uncertain future by Graham Womack

Raphael Delgado acknowledged the obvious: This year, Wide Open Walls will be different. The annual festival, which has ushered in more than 100 murals throughout Sacramento since 2017, is slated to run Sept. 10-24. Just 13 local artists selected by Delgado, a Wide Open Walls board member, will participate this year. That’s due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, though something else has been rippling through the festival, too. A city spokesman confirmed that the City Auditor’s Office is investigating founder David Sobon’s work with the city,

For more local news coverage, go to sacramento. newsreview.com/ category/news






including Wide Open Walls. While the results of this investigation could take six to nine months, a review of documents by SN&R and interviews with several Wide Open Walls artists make clear the festival’s future is not a sure thing. “There is a dark cloud...There’s questions that we haven’t answered,” Delgado said. All the same, he knows one thing: “You can always count on the artists to perform and to do a great job.”

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‘He can sell you just about anytHing’ Long before Wide Open Walls, local artist Jeff Musser knew Sobon. Musser had seen Sobon at parties, art exhibits and the Crocker Art Museum. “He’s kind of like ‘Better Call Saul’ in Breaking Bad,” Musser said. “He can talk. He can sell you just about anything.” The son of Amador County vintners, Sobon parlayed a career in marketing into various other ventures, including mingling with the local well-to-do by hosting charity

auctions. Several of this set—including television personality Mark S. Allen, City Councilman Steve Hansen and former state Assemblyman and city arts consultant Dennis Mangers—attended Sobon’s 2014 nuptials to his now-estranged third wife, Anna Sierra. Sierra, wrote to a Wide Open Walls board member in May, alleging a wide range of financial improprieties against her ex-husband. “He burns every bridge,” she said. “That’s how he operates.” Sobon denies wrongdoing. “Yes, we are being audited, that’s all,” he said. “It is what it is. It’s basically based on nothing but unsubstantiated information from an angry ex-wife. There has never been any other claims from anybody else.” In 2017, Sobon organized the first Wide Open Walls, telling SN&R at the time, “Everybody’s not going to go walk into a museum; everybody’s not going to walk into a gallery. But anybody can walk or drive or bike down the street and look at beautiful art. My goal is to paint every single district in the city, and that will happen in due time.” The results of this effort are highly

visible. Look around the city at the legion very artist-friendly,” O’Donnell said. “And of murals, particularly downtown, and then you go to ones that are not, where there’s a good chance it’s connected to there’s something else going on, there’s Wide Open Walls. People like Mayor another agenda. It seemed to me there was Darrell Steinberg have been enthusiastic a political undercurrent, there was a lot of supporters. (SN&R has been a sponsor.) politicking going on.” Aside from Delgado, a dozen artists A possible reason for this: The interviewed by SN&R say they have had, perceived power of murals to boost land by and large, good experiences with Wide values in neighborhoods, such as where Open Walls. O’Donnell was painting. O’Donnell Artists take a fraction of their recalled Sobon telling him at an evening commercial rate to paint in festivals such party during the 2017 festival, “That area as Wide Open Walls, justifying long hours is coming up, it’s going to be really great, and sometimes harsh conditions with the and I just can’t wait to get rid of all the rewards of public exposure, more social homeless people that are down there.” media followers and, sometimes, new Sobon denied making such a remark. clients. He said he’d volunteered feeding the And artists get to create works close homeless 30 homemade burritos a day to their heart. British artist David Puck, when he lived in Midtown and was sensifor instance, created three 15-by-15-foot tive to gentrification concerns with Wide murals in 10 days at Wide Open Walls in Open Walls. 2019 at $1,000 apiece. “Art is not going to move a homeless Puck, who said he paints about mental person out,” Sobon said. “Art will give health awareness and queer visibility, was them and all of our other citizens somevisited while he worked on his murals by thing beautiful to look at.” Steinberg, who wrote the Mental Health Musser painted a mural in 2017, receivServices Act while serving in the state ing $2,500 as well. He also learned that Senate. prospective sponsors would gladly pay “From my perspective and having several times this to Wide Open Walls. worked on projects that are really bad and Two months before the festival, Sobon really do exploit people, I think that [Wide included Musser on an email thread where Open Walls] did really well,” Puck said. a project manager for the Elks Tower Mabel Vicentef, a muralist from Casino and Lodge agreed to pay $15,000 Buenos Aires in Argentina, also had a for a mural. positive experience with the festival in Although Musser returned to volunteer 2019. She said Sobon picked her up from at Wide Open Walls in 2018, he reached the airport, found her a place to stay and his breaking point after attending a was “always asking if I needed something party—that Sobon had received $30,000 else.” from a sponsor to host—in the Elks Lodge Stephanie Taylor, a local artist who parking lot with lasers, a DJ, food trucks participated in the festival in 2017 and people spray painting. and 2019, said while Sobon “To the people that have could be “scattered as either been through it or hell,” his heart was know someone who’s in the right place. been through it, “Yes, we are being “I know you can’t it’s—and this is audited. It is what it make everybody my opinion and happy all the an opinion of is. It’s basically based on time, but he a couple other nothing but unsubstantiated gets it done,” people—it’s not information from an angry Taylor said. really looked “I was really upon with favor,” ex-wife.” impressed.” Musser said. David Sobon, Still, artists’ The disconnect founder of Wide Open Walls experiences with has sometimes been both the festival and pronounced between Sobon haven’t been local artists and national uniformly positive. celebrity muralists such the New Zealand artist Elliot North Carolina-based Shepard O’Donnell, who paints as Askew 1, Fairey, who painted the “Hope” portrait received $2,500 to paint a mural during of former President Barack Obama and Wide Open Walls in 2017. The mural produced a sprawling mural of Johnny was painted over shortly after the festival, Cash at Wide Open Walls in 2018. without O’Donnell’s knowledge, during a That same year, first-time Sacramento dispute over its content with its sponsor. muralist Aik Brown said he waited four or “You go to festivals that clearly are five days just to get paint for his mural of

Sacramento artist Jenn Ponci did a mural of a grizzly bear and a cub for Wide Open Walls in 2018. Photo by Graham Womack

Dia De Los Muertos in Oak Park. “It was like, ‘Hey, you’ll get your paint when you get your paint,’” Brown said. “I just kind of had to deal with it.” Sobon confirmed past issues with paint, blaming previous curators and saying that’s why he’s producing the event himself.

Tax problems Time is a critical factor in mural festivals, with many of the artists interviewed saying they worked all 10 days to finish, some starting at sunrise, taking a midday break from the Sacramento heat, and then working until dark. Lifts and lighting aren’t always plentiful in the evenings. San Franciscobased artist Cecelia Perez said she had to work on top of her boyfriend’s truck with its light bar on while painting last year. “From my experience, it was kind of disorganized,” Perez said. In exchange for their hard work, artists generally get $2,500 to $3,500. If there’s extra money, it doesn’t appear to go to them. A review of Wide Open Walls’ tax return for 2018 showed that it had a surplus of $64,069, with total revenue just shy of $550,000. The surplus, Sobon told SN&R, went to paying debts from 2017 and artist deposits for 2019. Sobon is listed in the tax return as receiving no compensation for working 40

hours a week for the festival, though Wide Open Walls gave $12,000 to David Sobon Events Inc. Meanwhile, treasurer Margaret Owens received $14,063, while secretary Patrick Harbison got $6,250. “My income comes strictly from doing auctions and advising nonprofits,” Sobon said. “Not from Wide Open Walls.” Wide Open Walls has had few documented tax problems, aside from a state tax lien of $1,019 in April 2019. But Sobon, himself, is a different story. A review at the Sacramento County Clerk Recorder’s office showed that Sobon or his companies have incurred 12 federal and eight state tax liens since 2008. On Jan. 13, 2020, Sobon received his most recent federal lien, totaling $134,738.47 for the 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2018 tax years. Another federal lien went to Sobon and his second wife, Laura Sobon in 2010, totaling $90,376 for the 2003 and 2004 tax years. Laura Sobon said the lien originated because her ex-husband didn’t refinance a house out of her name that she deeded to him after they split in 2006. “His lifestyle’s extremely extravagant. I live without, and I still have to pay taxes because of him,” Laura Sobon said. But Owens, the treasurer, insisted during a brief phone call, “There’ve been no improprieties whatsoever.” Ω






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Toxic algal blooms settle around Stockton’s waterfront in the summer heat. Photo by Scott thomaS anderSon

environmental groups say Newsom’s water plan will worsen toxic threat in the Delta Documents continue to reveal big and uncertain spending around Delta tunnel, Sites Reservoir

by Scott thomaS anderSon

a full version of this story is available at sacramento. newsreview.com

At the end of July, Gov. Gavin Newsom released his revised plan for bringing long-term water security to all Californians. But his announcement was overshadowed by San Joaquin County and several Delta communities scrambling to confront the worst cases of toxic algae blooms ever seen on local sloughs and rivers. These green, floating slicks brought a new level of criticism to Newsom’s agribusiness-friendly water proposal. That’s because the governor’s

strategy relies in large part on the controversial Sites Reservoir proposal and the even more contentious Delta tunnel proposal. Conservation groups say both projects—particularly the tunnel—could worsen the problem of dangerous algae contamination in regional waterways. Meanwhile, the state continues to spend large sums of money on both multibillion-dollar projects with little clarity on who will ultimately foot the bill as the COVID-19 pandemic

sc o tta @ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

drains ever more revenue from public agencies.

DoN’t DriNk the wAter On the last day of July, a man wandered through the scorching heat along Stockton’s waterfront. He paused to look at the thin layer of neon-lime sludge lapping against its dock. Leaning down for a whiff, he suddenly pulled back in revulsion and confirmed, “This water’s so bad now

it’s been all over the news!” The part of the San Joaquin River flowing into McLeod Lake in the heart of downtown Stockton is now the region’s epicenter for toxic algae. The blooms, also called Harmful Algal Blooms or HABs, can cause serious gastrointestinal and respiratory problems in humans, especially in children. Exposure to toxic algae has also been linked to fatal liver disease. A study in the journal Toxins also determined the blooms are particularly deadly to dogs swimming in contaminated water. According to the Center for Earth and Environmental Science at Indiana University, the toxic blooms are caused by a combination of algae overgrowth coupled with unusually warm water and low water flow. The threat is not limited to Stockton’s waterfront. Toxic algal blooms have also been documented in the north Delta’s Disappointment Slough, some 20 miles east of Isleton, and in the South Delta’s waterside community of Discovery Bay. There have also been unconfirmed sightings in other sloughs and marshes. Bill Wells, executive director of the coNtiNueD oN pAGe 14






“We don’t have enough flow in the warm months as it is right now,” she added. “We’re watching these [algal California Delta Chambers & Visitor’s blooms] get larger, and if they don’t Bureau, says that all reports indicate deal with it, I think ten years from the problem is worse and more widenow we could have some very serious spread than in previous years. threats to our complete water system.” “If this gets any worse, the One specific flaw Restore the Delta business impact would be huge. and the Sierra Club see in Newsom’s Boating is a three-quarter of a billionplan involves its reliance on the dollar industry in California, and a lot proposed Sites Reservoir in the west of that is focused in the Delta,” Wells Sacramento Valley. Conservationists said. “This will drive people right out argue that Sites’ location and design of the Delta.” will cause it to channel mostly Adam Laputz, assistant executive warm water chalked with naturally officer of the Central Valley-Regional occurring heavy metals into the Water Quality Control Board, recently pristine Sacramento River and acknowledged to reporters north Delta, creating the that the blooms had opposite type of flow brought “reasonably that’s needed to “if high levels of counteract toxic this gets any toxins in the algal blooms. waterways.” worse, the business Of even Not greater impact would be huge. everyone is concern to Boating is a three-quarter surprised environmenabout how of a billion-dollar industry in tal groups dire the situis how california, and a lot of that is ation is. Newsom’s focused in the delta.” The plan has made nonprofit the proposed Bill Wells, advocacy Delta Tunnel executive director of the California group Restore one of its cornerDelta Chambers & Visitor’s the Delta had stones. The tunnel Bureau been warning state is by its very nature officials that warming a massive conveyance trends, coupled with a system designed to take large lack enforcement on agricultural quantities of fresh water out of the discharges, could cause the floating north Delta and move it to Central and toxins to get out of control. Given that Southern California water contractors. the main method of combating such A myriad of legal battles have blooms is fresher and cooler water already been fought over whether a flowing through the Delta, environDelta conveyance system will destroy mental advocates were surprised by farming and collapse local economies Newsom’s new vision for California. from Sacramento to Contra Costa They claim it’s not new at all, but counties, as well as drive some fish rather a carryover of former Gov. populations to extinction. Jerry Brown’s stalled and embattled Now, the emerging threat of toxic objectives to get more water to thirsty algal blooms, which are predicted to Southern California. get worse with climate change, has “The whole system is being added another layer of controversy to managed for water exports rather than the project. protection of the estuary,” said Barbara For his part, Newsom insists that Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director the overall plan, which consists of of Restore the Delta. “When it comes some 142 separate state actions, is a to the algal blooms, the state is failfar-reaching effort to handle droughts, ing on multiple fronts. They are not rising temperatures, declining fish doing proper enforcement on pesticide populations and the state’s overreliance discharge, and the Newsom adminon groundwater. istration has entered into voluntary “Water is the lifeblood of our state, agreements with the water contractors sustaining communities, wildlife and that are regulating flows to a greater our economy,” the governor said in a degree.” continuEd from pagE 13






statement. “For more than a year, my administration has worked to assemble a blueprint to secure this vital and limited resource into the future in a way that builds climate resilience for all communities and sustains native fish and the habitat they need to thrive.” Restore the Delta maintains that the Newsom administration and the state Department of Water Resources should be making Delta levee repairs and clean, safe water quality their top priorities. “Those are the two most important things to saving the Delta, and saving our water supply, not a tunnel,” Barrigan-Parrilla said. “Nothing has changed with the state’s approach, but the problem is that the stakes are now getting way too high.”

EnvironmEntal and social justicE facadEs? In June, Gary Kremen, vice chairman of the Delta Conveyance Finance Authority—an agency tasked with getting the tunnel built—wrote a guest commentary for CalMatters arguing that the project had a social justice benefit. If a catastrophic earthquake were to harm the Delta’s levee system, Kremen argued, the resulting lack of water security would be borne on the backs of California’s poorest communities. While Kremen’s assertions drew skepticism, those interested in his argument don’t have an easy way to compare the potential cost-benefit ratio of the Delta Tunnel with other interventions aimed at public health and social equity. That’s because the question of exactly who is paying the millions of dollars to plan the tunnel, as well as who will pay the billions needed to construct it, has only grown murkier as the COVID-19 pandemic has taken hold in California. In June, state invoices obtained by SN&R revealed that Kathryn Mallon, the director charged with getting Delta tunnel through its approval process, was earning twice as much money as the governor, billing the state $47,000 every month, even as Newsom furloughed thousands of employees and slashed the state budget by $54 billion. DWR maintains that the cost of paying for Mallon, her staff and the authorities she runs—reportedly $101.6 million over the last year—will ultimately be

reimbursed to California by the water contractors. According to a legal brief DWR filed in Superior Court on Aug. 6, it’s counting on 29 different water contractors to pay for the tunnel. Yet four of those water contractors sent a letter to Newsom in mid-June making it clear that, in light of the COVID-19-related economic collapse, they wanted out of their agreement to fund the tunnel and Mallon’s agency. Nonetheless, DWR listed those contractors as funders when it went to court to confirm its ability to issue revenue bonds. Now, a Public Records Act request filed by Delta boater Leland Frayseth has revealed that only 10 of the 29 water contractors DWR mentioned in its court brief have been making payments up until July toward tunnelrelated expenses. Sierra Club California has said that such costly projects as the Delta tunnel and Sites Reservoir move the state’s water future in the wrong direction, while also harming the environment. For the group’s director, Kathryn Phillips, the toxic algal blooms are that latest, most urgent sign. “Given that the blooms are becoming worse and worse, they’re no longer the canary in the coal mine – the damage has been done,” Phillips said. “The last thing you want to do is take more fresh water out of the system, but unfortunately that’s exactly what is happening.” That could have long-term implications for all Stockton residents. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the harmful algal blooms don’t just threaten those swimming and fishing. Anyone near the water could breathe in toxins from wind-blown aerosols under certain conditions. For Phillips, that possibility raises a far more direct social justice question than the one Kremen wrote about. “The Delta legacy towns aren’t just those towns that tourists see, it’s Stockton, a big area with lot of people, and it deserves better treatment than what it’s getting now,” Phillips said. “And the best answer this administration can come up with is an answer that will destroy the Delta, all while this administration claims to care about environmental justice.” Ω
















Pandemic heroes I

n a normal September, SN&R publishes its annual Best Of

Sacramento issue, featuring reader and staff picks for the best and most popular restaurants, shops and other establishments across the region. Last year, we had more than 200 categories, and 11,700 readers cast more than 254,000 votes. These are not normal times. So in 2020, we’re highlighting Pandemic Heroes—those arts groups, businesses, nonprofits and people that have gone above and beyond for the community. This painful period in our community’s history is not one for competing. It’s a time for lifting up and supporting each other, and for showing gratitude to those helping us make it through. About 90 people submitted nominations for Pandemic Heroes, including educators, business owners and community groups. We then picked some unrecognized and interesting ones to publish (excluding form letters), plus a few to feature. (Foon Rhee)

helping ‘starVing’ artists When Claire Curley began Broad Room, she says she wanted to “create a space for creatives to come together and work together.” “I really want it to be a space that’s very easily accessible,” Curley said. “Unfortunately, with the pandemic, that’s just not really something that we can do.” Since the stay-at-home order took effect in mid-March, Curley says that she wanted to find a way to help the Sacramento arts community so she began the Sacramento Artists Relief Fund to collect donations to distribute monthly to artists. “I tried to set it up to be as easy and accessible for artists,” she said. “We’ve managed to raise just over $10,000 and have distributed funds to about 60 artists at this time.” Broad Room retains 15% of the donations, which Curley says help pay for utilities and other costs of Broad Room remaining in its space. Curley says that her plans don’t 18





Volunteering through danger It’d be understandable if Gayle Auge were hiding out from the world right now. The 55-year-old South Sacramento resident was forced into early retirement from her 26-year career as a local elementary school teacher roughly five years ago after learning she had Stage IV metastasized breast cancer. Though she goes for chemotherapy every four weeks, her diagnosis is terminal, her remaining time uncertain. The COVID-19 pandemic presents special dangers for people like Auge, who have elevated risk factors or compromised immune systems. But rather than hole up at home, Auge makes a difference by volunteering at the Sacramento SPCA. “Teachers, you want to help people and I want to help the animals,” Auge

end with the Sacramento Artists Relief Fund. She recently announced two new programs that she plans to begin in September—Trade School and Cosmic Library. “Both of them came out of a survey that we sent out to the artists that have requested funds through the Artists Relief Fund to see what other kind of support they need right now,” Curley said. Trade School is a four-week workshop to teach artists “to take their in-person workshops online,” while Cosmic Library will be a physical space inside the Broad Room warehouse that will provide free art supplies, feminine hygiene products, a curated selection of clothing and other donated materials. “I feel like I’m just kind of doing my job,” Curley said. “I definitely hope that what I’m doing is helpful and important to the artist community, and I’m definitely flattered and shocked by this nomination.” (Patrick Hyun Wilson) Claire Curley is founder of Broad Room artist collective.

Photo courtesy of claire curley

Gayle Auge volunteers at Sacramento SPCA.

Photo by Graham Womack

told SN&R during a break from preparing bags of food for SPCA’s Paw Pantry. “If I’m capable of doing it, I’m going to do it.” It’s strenuous work, with Auge and few other volunteers prepping bags of food that can weigh as much as 35 pounds. Tuesdays, Auge and others distribute the food and cat litter to anyone who asks for it as supplies last. “There’s days where I’ve been sore, but I’ve been doing it for a couple months now,” she said. The muscles in her arms and legs remain toned, a credit to workouts at River City Rowing and the fact that “I haul a lot of dog food around.” The work can be intense and Auge always has the option to go home if she’s not feeling well. But generally, volunteering beats the alternatives. “I think it’s a lot healthier for me, even though technically I’m not supposed to be out of the house because of COVID,” Auge said. “I said, ‘I’ll go crazy if I stay home.’” Rayla Maier-McMann, Sacramento SPCA volunteer manager, said Auge is enthusiastic about any task and dependable for less-than-glamorous duties. “Gayle is always there to help me,” Maier-McMann said. Asked what advice she’d give to anyone who receives a life-changing diagnosis, Auge urged them to find fulfilling activities. “Do what makes you happy,” she said. “’Cause there’s no guarantee in life. And this makes me happy.” (Graham Womack)

“Some of the musicians were feeling a little bit lost at the beginning of the pandemic...”

“...At the same time, we’d been thinking about how we could get back some of the ambience...”

Keeping the music live The COVID-19 lockdown has dampened many of the artistic pursuits that make Sacramento so livable. This is especially true of live music. Performers have seen months of paid work evaporate. Some venues have been shuttered since March. Two Rivers Cider decided to do something about this hollowing of the community’s creative core. It has a taproom full of music fans and a collective understanding that when rhythms stop in a city, people feel disconnected. By innovating on the fly, Two Rivers has continued to support local bands, helping them earn money while keeping music lovers anchored to some sonic comfort. The cider house was founded by Vincent Sterne, who grew up in Sacramento and always had an interest in the city’s songwriters. So when he opened his taproom in Hollywood Park, he wanted a place where patrons could pair his well-balanced, traditional ciders with live music vibes. Sarah Wright, Two Rivers’ tasting room coordinator, says the team has developed close bonds with its regular performers, so was keenly that most of their gigs had vanished overnight. “Some of the musicians were feeling a little bit lost at the beginning

sarah Wright, Two Rivers’ tasting Two Rivers Cider is letting musicians play in its loft.

room coordinator

Photo courtesy of two rivers cider

of the pandemic,” Wright said. “At the same time, we’d been thinking about how we could get back some of the ambience we’d created for our customers, even though we were only open for to-go orders.” A solution soon presented itself: Two Rivers has a loft above its taproom that offers plenty of space for bands to perform while social distancing. Equally important, it’s an ideal spot for live web broadcasting. The loft concerts on Facebook Live have allowed performers to earn a steady stream of tips through their Venmo, CashApp and Paypal accounts. Daryel Dillon, a member of the roots band Gheni, was a mainstay performer at Two Rivers before the COVID-19 crisis. So far, he’s done two loft concerts. Dillon says Two Rivers is helping musicians with more than just lost revenue; it’s giving them the comfort of sharing music again in an environment they care about. “We all get that itch that we just want to play in front of people,” he said. “To be able to perform for people during this loft series has really been satisfying.” (Scott Thomas Anderson)

All those thAt didn’t open Every person or organization nominated has something slightly different to offer the community during the pandemic. One reader anonymously nominated “all those that didn’t open” because “they all understand math and science.” However you choose to interpret it—there’s certainly room to read snark or frustration—that person isn’t off the mark: Coronavirus spreads from in-person contact, and the more distance we put between one another, the less chance we have of spreading the disease. Staying safe and healthy has required all of us to radically change our daily routines, including when and how we work. Some businesses let employees work from home or provide alternate schedules that limit person-to-person contact. For others— including retail, personal services and restaurants—adapting is more difficult, though some have pivoted to online sales or contactless pickup to get by, keep staff employed and serve their customers. The decision to keep any business

closed is a tough one, and not just because of overhead expenses such as leases and utilities. For most business owners, deciding to shutter temporarily or severely limit services means laying off staff when finding another job is near-impossible and unemployment only goes so far in replacing wages. But having a business survive past the pandemic requires that there be customers and staff on the other side. Pretending we are in a business-as-usual situation where a mask and a loosely-enforced six-foot distance is enough does not make the pandemic go away. Additionally, health insurance is rare—a unicorn—in retail and restaurants. Asking a person to choose between going without a paycheck or working without health care during a pandemic is a heart-wrenching question with no right answer. There are business owners who have kept their doors shut, but found ways to keep their employees paid. Thank you. Protecting the health of workers is a true act of compassion. Your heroism is the work you’ve done to keep your staff and customers safe. (Lindsay Oxford) 09.03.20





A selection of other

Pandemic Heroes Our readers nOminated educatOrs, business Owners and cOmmunity grOups

Mary Wright and Pepper Von, founders, Step 1 Dance & Fitness, Sacramento: “Step 1 has been the heart of dance in Sacramento for more than 30 years. Mary and Pepper have welcomed people of all ages and backgrounds, supporting and cultivating all styles of dance, fitness, education, history, culture and community. During the pandemic closures, Step 1 has adapted by hosting classes online, providing students and teachers the opportunities to continue maintaining their physical and mental health, fueling the life and passion of performing arts and preserving the sense of normalcy in times of unpredictable change. For 30-plus years, they have built Step 1 into a loving family and a legacy. Due to an out-of-their-control leasing situation, their original Midtown location unfortunately must close, but Mary and Pepper are taking it in stride. They are now in process of relocating Step 1 to a new expanded space, always ready to welcome the community back home.” Stephanie Giang











Jesse P. Jones, owner, STAB! Comedy Theater, Sacramento: “He streams shows seven days a week and is helping to keep art alive, not only for the artists who are displaced currently because of the novel coronavirus, but also providing content for people who are stuck at home and bored. Jesse Jones is the hero you’re looking for.” David Shapiro Jennifer Canfield, owner, Laughs Unlimited, Sacramento: “She has worked tirelessly to find ways to provide paid work for us local comedians and keep customers safe and happy by making a whole new set-up outside in Old Sacramento!” Wendy Lewis David Maestas, owner, West Coast Events, El Dorado Hills: “With funding through El Dorado Hills Rotary Club, West Coast Events catering has fed more than 2,000 meals to families in need at The Upper Room shelter in Placerville.” Bill Tobin



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Julie Szukalski, teacher, Visions In Education charter school, Carmichael: “My son’s teacher at his alma mater, Visions school. She really is the most vibrant teacher he’s ever had! She got him to graduation with honors in the middle of a global pandemic. Thank you immensely. I don’t have enough thank you’s for what she gave to our lil’ family! My son graduated with honors in math science and creative writing. We couldn’t have done it without her. She rocks!” Nkosazana Esperanza Shihada

John Eick, principal, Westlake Charter School, Natomas: “Returning to school in the middle of a global pandemic and COVID is daunting. Thousands of parents wanting what’s best for their children and situation. In-person learning? Distance learning? Independent studies? A hybrid? Every child learns differently and it’s hard to know what the right answer is. John Eick is the executive director of Westlake Charter School in Natomas, and he doesn’t purport to know all the answers. What he does know is that when the time comes for the 1,000 students to return, it will be done safely. Together with his team of administrators, teachers and staff, they’ve compiled a 29-page handbook so that families know what to expect and the protocols in place to manage each situation as it comes. While other school districts and schools are scrambling to figure it out, John’s been collaborating and communicating with our community. John is invaluable.” Nancy Kong-Vasquez




l society

Editor’s note: These were selected from non-anonymous nominations and edited for style and grammar.


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Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society: “SSVMS is a nonprofit medical society that represents more than 6,000 physicians in the Sacramento region and has served the medical community for 152 years. Recognizing the extreme shortage of personal protective equipment for health care workers on the front lines, SSVMS partnered with the 3D printing community to design, manufacture and distribute face shields though Operation ShieldsUp program. Since March, Operation ShieldsUp has donated nearly 25,000 face shields, as well as thousands of N95 and fabric masks, to all Sacramento region hospitals, community clinics, nursing homes, hospices and senior living facilities. SSVMS stepped up when the traditional methods of procuring PPE were nonexistent due to the pandemic. The pandemic heroes are our health care workers. Thank you to SSVMS for keeping them safe.” John Wiesenfarth Parkside Pharmacy: “A local business, which has the ability to make pharmaceuticals for their customers— when certain medicines were unavailable— Parkside was able to fill prescriptions and features items from other local vendors who truly live the ‘Support Local’ ideal.” Joe Flores

Photo courtesy of Girls rock sacramento

Girls Rock Sacramento: “In a year with everything canceled, disappointment is rampant among us all. For kids, summer vacation is especially hard to lose out on. Girls Rock Sacramento converted their summer camps to virtual/online sessions and proceeded to rock with their campers, creating community, empowerment and a reprieve from shelter-in-place. Run completely by volunteers who got creative and made it work, the campers in two sessions of camp were able to experience that special feeling of being a part of something bigger than themselves. This is the stuff of heroes!” Jenny Manzer

Grant High School drum line: “Besides all of the community involvement they have during normal conditions, these kids have risen above the depressing conditions of lockdown and isolation to show school and community spirit through music and message, and bring a vision of hope to people their own age who may not see that they have a role to play in reducing the spread of coronavirus. Most recently they created a mask promoting music video and bought and distributed masks to homeless people. Those are major contributions from teenagers who experience challenges everyday, besides having a large portion of last school year and a real summer vacation stolen from them.” Michael Cook

Tiffany Gretton, vice president, Woodland Swim Team: “Tiffany has taken the lead to support the social, emotional and mental health needs of the Woodland Swim Team by serving as our COVID monitor and developing protocols and procedures that keep our community safe. She has given tirelessly of herself to do this work while trying to figure out how to teach her first grade class in distance learning. There aren’t enough words or deeds to thank her.” Hope Gawlick

Photo courtesy of Grant hiGh school Drum line






building a



Diverse Voices Ask for Change by Edgar SanchEZ As a newcomer to Sacramento, Katherine Moua admits to not knowing much about Mayor Darrell Steinberg – except that he wields power and influence at City Hall. But when she learned that Black Lives Matter would hold a “die-in” near Steinberg’s home, the Sacramento City College freshman had to be there. “BLM’s fight is our fight, because BLM is not just fighting for Black lives, it is fighting for minority rights,” the Fresno-born daughter of Hmong refugees from Laos said recently. The June 5 “die-in” was part of a national uprising against police brutality prompted by the videotaped murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police 11 days earlier. The ongoing protests spread around the world. Floyd’s brutal death alarmed the 19-year-old Moua. A videotape showed police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on the neck of the handcuffed African American, ignoring his repeated “I can’t breathe” cries. Three fellow officers, including a Hmong American, did not intervene, the video showed. “I only watched about two minutes of the video, on the internet. That was all I could stand,” Moua said. After moving here a year ago, Moua began volunteering at Sacramento’s Hmong Innovating Politics, or HIP, a grassroots

organization supported by The California Endowment. On June 5, she and two HIP colleagues drove to Steinberg’s Pocket neighborhood, where a multicolored sea of diversity was forming. Over 1,000 demonstrators of all races and backgrounds assembled peacefully to demand that Steinberg help defund the Sacramento Police Department and ensure that its officers respect Blacks and other people of color. Displaying signs naming unarmed Blacks killed by police nationwide – from Floyd and Stephon Clark to Breonna Taylor – the activists raised their hands and shouted in unison, “Don’t shoot!”

“WE dEfiNitElY SENt a mESSagE ...” Katherine Moua Participant in recent “die-in” near Sacramento mayor’s residence

Then everyone laid down for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the time that Chauvin, now charged with murder, had his knee on Floyd’s neck. The silent bodies splayed along four blocks represented victims of police violence. “We definitely sent a message not only to the

a volunteer for Hmong innovating Politics, Katherine moua educates fellow Hmong americans on democracy’s greatest privilege – the right to vote. “i want to be part of HiP’s effort to get-out-the-vote” for the Nov. 3 presidential election, said moua, who posed at Sacramento City College. Photo by Edgar Sanchez

mayor but to anyone watching,” Moua said. “We want laws that protect African Americans and other people of color.” In a tweet, Steinberg called the demonstration “a powerful and necessary expression of the ... demand for greater change in our city and in our country.”

BuildiNg HEaltHY COmmuNitiES

He promised to work with his colleagues and Police Chief Daniel Hahn toward new police reforms.

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.

This was Moua’s second protest. In 2018, she and other students walked out of Sanger High in Fresno County to press for safer schools and gun control.

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

paid with a grant from the california endowment 22





for more about Hmong innovating Politics, visit hipcalifornia.com. www.SacBHC.org

building a



Latinx Support BLM by EDGaR SanChEZ Three months ago, a Sacramento teen faced a decision: To be or not to be at a local march against police brutality? A young Chicano, Roger D. Zapata, concluded he had to be at a late May protest organized by Black Lives Matter. The 16-year-old rapper, aka “Chuco,” later attended two other BLM demonstrations in Sacramento, for a total of three. He believes Latinos’ involvement in these rallies solidified the Black-Brown bond. He recalled that African Americans had defended Latinos when Donald Trump, then running for president, assailed Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug smugglers in 2015. “When that stuff was happening, the Black culture supported us,” Zapata said recently. “They stood with us when there was nobody there. So it’s only fair that we support them too.” Like millions of people, Zapata was shocked by the videotaped death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police on May 25. As the handcuffed African American lay on the ground, a police officer knelt over Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, without intervention from other officers. “I felt horrible watching that tape, man,” Zapata said. “That was somebody’s cousin, brother, somebody’s dad. Anything that has to do with stuff like that, I get angry.” Spurred by that tragedy, along with police murders of other unarmed Blacks nationwide,

Zapata joined diverse Sacramentans in marching with BLM, which also seeks judicial/carceral reforms. At one protest, he paired with his mentor Henry Ortiz, a formerly incarcerated activist who co-founded SelfAwareness and Recovery, a program supported by The California Endowment.

“I fElt HorrIBlE watCHINg tHat taPE, maN.” Roger D. Zapata, aka “Chuco,” on his reaction to the videotaped murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police

“Henry’s taught me” many good things, Zapata said of the 39-year-old, now a lawabiding “community healer.” This June, Zapata completed 10th grade at Monterey Trail High in the Elk Grove Unified School District, for which his mother, Jasmine Guevara, is a special-ed teacher. He now attends South Sacramento’s Las Flores High. For years, classmates thought Zapata was a pachuco – a juvenile gang member – because he dressed like one, down to heavily starched pants and hat. They dubbed him “Chuco,” a diminutive of pachuco.

roger D. Zapata – aka “Chuco” – would like to vote on Nov. 3, for candidates who support Black lives matter. But, as things now stand, he won’t be able to cast a ballot until he’s 18 in 2022. Photo by Edgar Sanchez

Zapata, however, is too smart to join a gang. For him, avoiding gangs is best. After becoming a rapper in 2017, the California native entered a rapping contest. His song, “For All My People,” won a $500 scholarship and placement on YouTube. More recently, Zapata has traveled to Los Angeles to co-star in a fact-based movie about a gang-banger seeking a gang-free – and better – life. Still in production, Chuco plays Chico in the film, a friend of the tormented gang member.

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

paid with a grant from the california endowment

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 info, visit blacklivesmatter sacramento.com www.SacBHC.org 09.03.20





“A lot of people have gotten more into D&D because they’re like, ‘Man, I’ve always wanted to try this.’ We don’t have to make time to do it. The time is right in front of them.” Vincent “Scooter” Hamilton, who runs Time2Tabletop

you’re standing in front of a

HoW W Dungeon & DrAgonS’ DrA Dr AgonS’ fAnTASy WorlD HAS cArrIeD people THrougH THe pAnDeMIc Story and IlluStrIonS by Patrick Hyun Wilson p at r i ck w @ n e w s re v i e w . c o m






simple wooden door with a brass handle. When you press your ear against the tattered wood, you hear depraved snarls and the unmistakable sounds of claws against a concrete floor. What do you do? In real life, you probably wouldn’t open the door. But in a tabletop role-playing game, a reasonable response could be kicking it down—sword drawn— ready to face whatever waits on the other side. Tabletop role-playing games have existed since E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson first published “Dungeons & Dragons” in 1974. In the game, the “Dungeon Master” creates an imaginary world for players to participate in writing a story.

Since stay-at-home orders took effect in March, D&D and other role-playing games have increased in popularity, providing a reprieve from unpleasant realities and offering a fantasy world entirely of your own creation. “I’m a 400 pound, 15-year-old Tortle [a turtle person] cleric,” said Christian Kiefer, a Sacramento author and director of the creative writing master’s program at Ashland University. “My character’s a bit afraid. He’s young, he’s really trying to be brave. It’s very difficult for him.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kiefer has used an online service called Roll20.net to play D&D with professional writers across the country. When Kiefer began playing D&D at age 12, he already had an interest in writing, but D&D offered something unique—collaborative storytelling. “It’s a way to write a novel as a group, and it’s actually pretty hard to collaborate in a narrative way in any other form—at least that I’ve found,” Kiefer said. “The [Dungeon Master] can give you a framework, but you can radically change the framework. You can just turn and leave the map if you want to.”

In his current adventure, Kiefer’s teenage cleric Tortle is joined by Naomi Williams, a Sacramento writer and author of the novel Landfalls who had never played D&D before Kiefer invited her. “My association of it was with kind of nerdy guys,” Williams said. “And I’ve always been a super nerdy girl, but I’ve never been a nerdy guy, so no one had ever invited me to. It wasn’t like I was wishing I could be part of this community, but nobody had ever invited me to play before Christian.” Williams says that as the pandemic, heat wave, wildfires and “the upcoming election and the dismantling of democracy” have given her more and more to worry about in real life, D&D has provided an outlet to a fantasy world where those problems can be set aside for a while. “D&D has been a big spot of joy in my life. I think it can be easy to feel guilty for feeling any joy, and that’s actually not good,” Williams said. “It’s okay to take two hours and just, you know, kick the s--t out of bad guys and help your friends.”

More than a gaMe While tabletop role-playing can be an escape, Vincent “Scooter” Hamilton, who runs the Sacramento community group Time2Tabletop believes that the games can provide more than fantasy. For the past three years, Hamilton has incorporated their cathartic experience to teach social and emotional skills in schools. “They can deal with the real mess going on around them in a safe way instead of going, ‘So why do you think you’re having troubles with Tommy?’ Nobody wants that,” Hamilton said. “It really does let you get yourself out in the open.” During the pandemic, Hamilton says Time2Tabletop has continued to meet for Tuesday game nights on Twitch.tv. He’s also teaching new players how to play online through the group’s Facebook page. “A lot of people have gotten more into D&D because they’re like, ‘Man, I’ve always wanted to try this.’ Now it’s there,” Hamilton said. “We don’t have to make time to do it. The time is right in front of them.”

Yet, the financial difficulties caused by the pandemic have made maintaining Time2Tabletop difficult. “Two of our biggest streams of revenue was, of course, working in the schools with curriculums, and the other one was putting on six or seven events per month at local breweries,” Hamilton said. “We were like, ‘Okay, we can’t do that.’” Hamilton isn’t alone, Abbie DelozierHarris, owner of Tables & Tales game store in Elk Grove, has also lost revenue due to canceled events. “We lose about $10,000 a month with no events going on,” she said. But she says that the loss is more than financial. “It’s been especially difficult on a lot of the people who have social anxieties and things like that because a lot of time this is the place that they’re coming,” she said. “Now they’re isolated.” According to Delozier-Harris, playing games such as D&D can help children and adults alike develop critical thinking skills in an environment that allows them to take risks without fear of real-life consequences. “You’re able to have a situation occur and you can discuss at the table, ‘What’s going to happen?’” she said. “It all helps you view aspects of life outside of that game in a whole different way.”

Yes, More ZooM Delozier-Harris says that though her store is unable to host in-person events, online tools including Zoom and Discord are effective ways to get started playing the game. Discord communities such as Sacramento PC Gaming Group provide ways for people to meet despite social distancing guidelines. For Christopher Yang, playing online is a necessary precaution for his members, one of whom is older than 70. Yang first began playing in 2001 and met his group through Adventurers League, the official campaign of D&D publishers Wizards of the Coast. “That group’s been pretty steady, which is rare because most of the time you can’t really get people to play longer than a couple of months,” Yang said. “We’re on year two of playing together, so it’s been a long time.” Currently, Yang is the game master for his group playing “Pathfinder.” He says that people who want to learn to play

shouldn’t worry too much about the rules and simply learn as they go. “If you just start a game and just start playing it, when you come up against scenario that you hadn’t experienced before, you can just see what happens when you get there,” Yang said. “It’s so much easier to just play, than trying to learn every single rule.” His perspective is echoed by many players. “They give you all the rules you need, if you’re a rule follower,” Kiefer said. “But a lot of time you could just go, ‘I’m going to try to scale the fence.’ Okay. Roll a D20, and then you just sort of ballpark.” The sentiment is repeated in the official rule book for D&D: “The D&D rules help you and the other players have a good time, but the rules aren’t in charge.” Ω

“D&D has been a big spot of joy in my life. I think it can be easy to feel guilty for feeling any joy, and that’s actually not good.” Naomi Williams, a Sacramento author and new D&D player

So what is really behind that wooden door with the brass handle? To find out, read more at sacramento. newsreview.com. For more arts coverage, go to sacramento.newsreview. com/category/artsculture.






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Sociallydistancing the sidewalks Pandemic-related adjustments for 30th edition of Chalk it Up! by Lindsay OxfOrd

l i nd s a y o @ne w s re v i e w .c o m

This year’s Chalk It Up! Music and Arts Festival, Sacramento’s annual Labor Day celebration, was meant to be even larger than usual, a 30th birthday party. On any normal Labor Day weekend, artists, bands and businesses from all over the region would be filling Midtown Sacramento’s Fremont Park for three days of creating astounding chalk-art in real time. But with the pandemic still a health hazard, it would be impossible to enforce six-foot social distancing between artists and the 20,000 weekend visitors for a typical Chalk It Up! “Obviously this has been a big curveball for us this year,” says John Nelson, Chalk It Up!’s media director. The festival is rolling with the punches, rebranding as Chalk It Up! Around the Town. Instead of 200 artists filling every square of pavement around Fremont Park, approximately 60 chalk artists will be dispersed throughout the city—with some in outlying areas, as well. An interactive map at chalkitup.org allows people to find the artwork, often at businesses sponsoring the artist. Chalk It Up! has faced curveballs before. Jerry Perry, promoter and Sacramento music scene linchpin for decades, had been its driving force for 15 years. But his stroke two years ago necessitated a quick shift; the event, while always relying on a large team of volunteers, saw the rest of the Perry family and many of those volunteers taking over Jerry’s duties. Linda Perry, Jerry’s wife, sits on the nonprofit’s board, and son Eli Perry has been booking the bands since 2018. For this year, Eli, along with Eric Bianchi, longtime Chalk It Up! music collaborator, have arranged for a nightly multi-platform live-stream of pre-recorded sets by local bands, including Kevin and Allyson Seconds, Kepi Ghoulie, Sea of Bees, Dog Party, and Honyock. The coronavirus “may have thrown a monkey wrench in our plans this year,” Perry says. “[B]ut we’re still here putting in hard work to make something we hope captures the passion that we’ve always stood for.”

This familiar scene from last year’s Chalk It Up! in Midtown’s Fremont Park will be replaced this year with sidewalk chalk art throughout the city. Photo courtesy oF chalk It uP! MusIc and arts FestIval

Perry and Bianchi have booked bands that not only have strong fan bases, but that also understand Chalk It Up!’s mission: the net proceeds provide grants to Sacramento youth arts education. Gwendolyn and Lucy Giles, the sisters who make up Dog Party, are well aware of the importance of youth arts programs. “I fell in love with playing music when I was in elementary school,” Gwendolyn says. “[A]cessibility to creative outlets at that age made me was tremendously essential in developing who I am.” Lucy echoes that sentiment: “We are beyond honored and stoked to be performing for Chalk It Up[!] and supporting [the] future of the arts for Sacramento.” There’s one last curveball for this year’s Chalk It Up!: As wildfires rage, Sacramento’s unhealthy air quality may stretch through the holiday weekend. Currently, Chalk It Up! has no Plan B for air quality issues. Even with COVID-19, Chalk It Up! encourages visitors to watch the artists at work. The organization has provided all artists branded face masks, and asks that spectators respect mask and social distancing mandates. For those wary of in-person visits, all completed chalk art—as well as recordings of festival performances and a link to donate to Chalk It Up!’s grant program—will be available on chalkitup.org after Sept. 7. Ω

The festival is rolling with the punches, rebranding as Chalk It Up! Around the Town.

Find an interactive map of artists’ locations at chalkitup.org.






Anton Barbeau returns to Sacramento with Manbird by Lindsay OxfOrd

lind sa y o @ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

Photo courtesy of Anton BArBeAu

Similarly, “Back to the Egg,” with a title nod to the Wings nerds in the back of the house, is sweet and mournful: Back to the egg, black-eyed and bleeding. “I think with this whole record, I’ve tried to be very careful, lyrically not to do filler lines,” Barbeau says. That tracks: whether singing about a childhood meeting with Reggie Jackson (“He was like the Beatles of baseball to me”) or feeling like an outsider as the city where he grew up changes (noting Sacramento’s “world-class parking anton Barbeau’s new album was inspired by Lady Bird. meters”), there’s little doubt to his authenticity. The knock on Sacramento’s increasingly homogenized landscape is a large part Musician Anton Barbeau is a Sacramento institution of what Manbird explores: What exactly makes a who…well doesn’t spend a lot of time in Sacramento. place home, and for how long? Since leaving in 2006, Barbeau has traveled “It’s my hometown so I can kind of knock it, the extensively—rarely in the same place for very long. way people can do that,” he says. Still, “It shaped me, His pre-pandemic home (as much as it is for such whatever that means, I don’t even quite know.” a frequent traveler) was Berlin, but Barbeau was in Barbeau flew back to Northern California in Spain when he saw Lady Bird, writer-director March, his longest stint here since he left Greta Gerwig’s critically acclaimed 2017 14 years ago. “I just sort of grabbed a “love letter to Sacramento.” flight as soon as I could…and my “So much of the film is set in flight getting out of Berlin was very familiar circumstances. Half absolutely chaotic,” he recalls. “It’s my of the film is within a few blocks “Canceled, moved, shifted, blah of my dad’s house. So it was hometown so I can blah blah. Got home, here, as very resonant in that sense,” fast as I could. So one way or kind of knock it, the way Barbeau says. “I think origianother, I’m here, I’m kinda nally after we saw Lady Bird, people can do that.” grounded for the time being.” we thought, ‘Let’s make our And it’s while grounded in Anton Barbeau own film called Manbird’—just Auburn that Barbeau completed kind of a joke where I wandered the video for “Manbird,” the around the streets of Sacramento or album’s title track. In the video, whatever. But then I thought, ‘Wow, Manbird-Barbeau travels through gotta make a song out of this.’” Sacramento via green screen in a gorgeous, Manbird evolved. That offhand joke did elaborate, man-sized nest handcrafted by his partbecome a song and video, and that song grew to ner and collaborator, Julia Boorinakis Harper. become an autobiographical double album with an While the “Manbird” video was originally meant elaborate, poster-sized album insert, an intentional to include scenes from both Sacramento and his homage to The Beatles’ White Album. home in Berlin as a reflection of Barbeau’s own Barbeau acknowledges an autobiographical travel cycles, none of the overseas filming had double album is likely not an ideal starting point for a started before the pandemic hit. Berlin only makes an new listener; it’s not an album that introduces people appearance in the video as Manbird’s cover photo. to what he jokingly calls “Anton’s bag of tricks.” “I think that’s actually fitting, right?” Barbeau It’s true: Barbeau is known for standing proudly says. “In my life right now, Berlin is just a on the pop-psych side of the fence, but Manbird, photograph.” Ω spanning not just his musical career but all his experiences, requires songs that function as chapters of his life. “Featherweight,” for example, is an unexpected Manbird is scheduled for release on sept. 18. Preorder it at antonbarbeau. straight-ahead punk rock song that’s utterly appropribandcamp.com. ate for the story it’s telling. 28





Q A &

oee L o L n a e S with ood marie r by thea

Meet the North Sac businessman who hopes to represent District 2 on the Sacramento City Council Can you give me some background on yourself?

I immigrated to America in the early ’90s to attend college. When I arrived I had very limited resources and could barely speak English. After working my way through school, I tried my hand at running a business. Years after running a successful business in Southern California, I received a call from Jerry Brown, who at the time was the mayor of Oakland, requesting (me) to open a store in an underserved area of Oakland. I accepted his invitation and without any financial

“i think north Sacramento needs a real plan – one that’s economically diverse and inclusive of all our residents.” Sean Loloee City Council Candidate, district 2

support from the city or the taxpayers, I opened a store that was named one of the top Bay Area stores by major news outlets. I met my wife in Oakland and we decided to move to Sacramento. We love this community and have been business owners here for about 15 years. My wife is such a treasure; she has gifted me with two beautiful children who I would do anything in the world for. One of the greatest joys I have in life is being a father. When we first opened VIVA Supermarkets in Del Paso Heights, it was the first full-service grocery outlet opened in the area in more than 20 years. We’re proud to be an integral part of this community and to provide working-class families with access to fresh foods at affordable prices. A huge part of who I am is based on the idea that you should pay things forward.

Tell us about some of the work you’ve done in the local community. Candidate Sean Loloee with his wife and two children. PhOTO COuRTESY OF SEAN LOLOEE

I’m really proud of VIVA’s free lunch program. We serve food to roughly 1,200 students from our

district each weekend. Additionally, every year during the holiday season, we provide resources to individuals experiencing homelessness in the forms of “blessing bags.” We do this in partnership with Sistahpat Rivers – she is a great person to work with who really understands this community and its needs.

What do you believe is important for your district to thrive?

North Sacramento is diverse and has such a rich history. The people in this community are great, ambitious and have a real sense of community. From a business perspective, I believe this neighborhood can be a real economic engine and a center for creativity. But...I think North Sacramento needs a real plan – one that’s economically diverse and inclusive of all our residents. I’d like to work with the City to also bring more college and career pathways to our local schools. We...have to prepare our students to be able to compete regionally and globally.

What sets you apart from other candidates in this race?

The incumbent has been in office for eight years. It is time for a change...As a business owner I have seen things get worse. Businesses are leaving. I’ll bring my business experience and connection to the community and make a real difference.

Can you talk about some of your specific goals for your district you can achieve on the city council?

Tackling our homelessness and joblessness crises is imperative. I will be very aggressive in reducing barriers that prevent job growth and will work to bring other businesses here (who will) make a commitment to hire locally. Another top concern of mine is public safety. I believe in partnering with our peace officers to build a community-based model that strengthens and protects our neighborhoods. We should expand our mental health services and look to hire social workers to help those in need. Access to basic government services is another priority of mine. Our roads should be smoothly paved, our parks clean and our environment healthy. One of my top goals is to bring a world-class learning center to our district. I will get it done.

Paid for by Sean LoLoee for City of SaCramento City CounCiL 09.03.20





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Live action role players fake fight, but raise real money for food banks.

Food fight


Live action role players compete with community food drives by Lindsay OxfOrd

lind sa y o @ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

“When I’m trying to sell Amtgard to the normies, it’s ‘I married to Justin/Clenawe) and Raven Lunatic (Jodi go out into the park and hit nerds with sticks,’” says van Tine, who has been organizing weekly Zoom Justin Smith, also known as Clenawe of Thor’s “feast” during the pandemic), each cite Westmarch’s Refuge. Food Fight Board for each year’s successful drive. Amtgard is one version of a subset of gaming Understandably, this year’s Food Fight will be known as “Live Action Role Playing,” or “LARPing,” a bit different. When Amtgard began the drive, the for short. The Amtgard universe is represented in website explains, September was chosen “because it chapters worldwide; Thor’s Refuge in Sacramento is falls in a bit of a dead zone for food banks,” which just one chapter of Westmarch, which includes much have often supplied free lunches to children during of California, part of Northern Nevada, and Hawaii. the summer and thus are short on supplies while also While the faux-fighting—the aforementioned preparing for the winter demand. “By focusing our hitting nerds with sticks—is what LARPing is known efforts in September it provides some initial relief and for, it’s just one aspect. Cooking, fake weapon often helps food charities better prepare for the building and various crafts earn points winter season.” Cooking, within the game, as does community During the pandemic, with continued service, both within the game and in high unemployment nationwide, food fake weapon the “normie” world. banks are even more hard-pressed to building, and various The largest out-of-game keep their shelves stocked. crafts earn points community service event is Food And the economic downturn Fight, which began this week. Each and pandemic-related precautions within the game, as does September, every Amtgard kingdom will complicate all areas of Food community service, both competes against the others by Fight. There will be less money within the game and running its own community food to either donate directly or to buy drive. They are a mixture of canned nonperishable food, and there will in the “normie” food drives, volunteer hours at food be fewer volunteer opportunities, with world. banks and cash donations. Westmarch spanning such a large area and Westmarch has won Food Fight for so safety precautions varying by food bank and many consecutive years that Amtgard has had to by players’ health. adjust how the points are tallied. Monica Smith anticipates that most donations will While some of the Texas kingdoms would raise come in online this year, so Thor’s Refuge is using $3,000 or $5,000 “and they’re doing that the hard PayPal and hoping to use its Facebook page and way,” Westmarch would raise $50,000 to $70,000,” Instagram account to garner attention for their cause. Smith noted in a Zoom chat with a few Thor’s “The more people we bring to other people,” she Refuge’s members. said, “the better we feel about it.” Ω Smith’s compatriots, Ohlanna (Monica Smith,

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Summer garden woes Extreme heat and wildfire smoke kill tomatoes and zucchini

1. The COVID-19 pandemic

by Debbie Arrington

Sungold tomatoes, a Sacramento favorite, suddenly died with fruit still on the vine. The culprit? Heat stress.

In this weather, zucchini develop little baby squash that start out OK, but never seem to develop. They rot before reaching 4 or 5 inches long due to insufficient pollination. The wildfires made conditions even worse. While skies are smoky, bees return to the safety of their hives. They’re not out, working the squash blossoms, as they normally do on a summer’s day. Extreme heat further complicates bees’ lives. If temperatures top 100 degrees (as it has many days this month), worker bees need to bring a quart to a gallon of water back to their hives. They’re too busy to pollinate. So, female zucchini blossoms—which start forming baby squash before the bees arrive—never get the attention they need. Without proper pollination, the squash rot before they mature. Yet, amid all this smoke, most plants will be just fine. They deal with smoke better than we do. As they process carbon dioxide, they also help filter out smoke, cleaning the air. The most vulnerable crops to smoke: Grapes and tomatoes. Both can absorb smoke into their skins, causing “smoke taint” to their flavor. (Winemakers say it’s like licking a wet ashtray.) As for falling ash, it can actually be beneficial to plants—if it’s mostly from grasslands, and not charred buildings and cars. Just make sure to wash your backyard produce really well. Ω

It’s enough to make backyard farmers throw in the trowel, but they shouldn’t panic.

Debbie arrington, an award-winning garden writer and lifelong gardener, is co-creator of the sacramento Digs gardening blog and website.

Photo courtesy of sacramento Digs garDening

Record heat and falling ash—what’s a pandemic gardener to do? Many Sacramentans got seriously into food gardening while staying home during COVID-19 restrictions. Then, weather and wildfires brought their expected harvests to an abrupt halt. Foolproof tomato varieties suddenly died with fruit still clinging to the vines. Zucchini—usually so prolific it’s the butt of countless jokes—aborted its baby squash. Gritty white flakes clung to leaves and vegetables yet to be picked. It’s the sort of experience that makes backyard farmers want to throw in the trowel. First, don’t panic. Our summer weather has not been normal. Following a very hot July, Sacramento hit an all-time August high of 112 degrees. When it gets that hot, plants shut down and go into survival mode. Local gardeners noticed that Sungold cherry tomatoes, in particular, were dying mid-summer even before the August heat hit. Considered among the sweetest homegrown tomatoes available, this popular variety often produces loads of little yellow tomatoes week after week, all the way into November. Instead, vines died while the ripening tomatoes still clung to the plants. Placer County master gardener Pauline Sakai first brought this situation to our attention. After a call to readers to share their experiences, we quickly discovered Pauline’s dead Sungold was not alone. We received more than 50 replies. And Sungolds weren’t the only variety having issues. “Wow! I was so relieved to hear I’m not the only one in Sac with terrible tomato luck this summer.,” wrote reader Enid Pritikin. “BOTH our Sungolds and our Early Girls were total flops.” Sungold sudden death syndrome puzzled experts; was it a new disease or some kind of fungal wilt? Closer inspection of the dead plants revealed they died of heat stress—and that was before August’s record-setting streak. As temperatures continued to climb, tomato production stopped altogether. Tomatoes won’t set fruit when afternoon highs are above 95 degrees. Their pollen dries up and flowers drop off.

We will continue to track the public health response and watch out for racial disparities and vulnerable populations, including the homeless.

2. Economic recovery

We will cover the unemployed and workers and small, locally-owned businesses, including government assistance efforts.

3. Police reform

We will monitor the police reform and Defund the Police debates--and the broader reckoning on race-and give a forum to diverse voices.

4. Election 2020

We will focus on local candidates and measures, while also keeping an eye on statewide measures and the all-important presidential election.

5. Arts and entertainment

We will chronicle the efforts to safely reopen local venues, while continuing to lift up local artists and musicians.

If coverage of these topics matters to you, please donate today.

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COVID-FRIENDLY EVENtS CALENDAR While some venues are holding live events, remember to follow public health guidelines. Many events are still virtual due to COVID-19. Keep up to date and list events at sacramento.newsreview.com/


Vineyards & Winery, 18261 Rosemary Lane, Grass Valley.

SUNDAY, 9/20 RAY LAFLIN @ NAGGIAR VINEYARDS: Ray Laflin, lead singer of Dream and the Dreamer, will be performing classic rock favorites from James Taylor and Pink Floyd and original songs with an R&B, Latin, reggae and rock ballad flair. 1pm, no cover. Naggiar Vineyards & Winery, 18261 Rosemary Lane, Grass Valley.

WEDNESDAY, 9/23 RONNIE MILSAP: Ronnie Milsap’s grandparents

9 0 GH U O R H t 30

Omonivie Okhade is one of the many artists offering studio tours through virtual Sac Open Studios

Verge offers visits to virtual artist studios though Sac Open Studios Virtual, Various times, Free Ever wonder where artists make their art? Well, now you won’t have to wonder anymore. Verge Center for ARt Arts and Culture is hosting the 15th annual Sac Open Studios. Typically that means dozens of participating artists would open their studios for in-person tours. In this anything but typical year, the Sac Open Studios Committee has switched to virtual tours of more than 120 artists’ studio spaces, including Omonivie Okhade, Nick Shepard, Justin Amrhein and

many more. Verge describes the monthlong event as a “dynamic, artist-driven virtual experience.” In addition to the artist-led studio tours, Verge will host a virtual launch party on Zoom on Sept. 10, as well as a series of Verge-led webinars throughout the month. Visit Verge’s website to find the artist directory and learn more about that artist whose work you’ve seen, but don’t know much about. vergeart.org.

gave him over to the North Carolina State School for the Blind hoping for a better chance. There, Milsap discovered music, deviating from the school’s classical curriculum to explore the nascent realms of race music, rock & roll and jazz. 7:30pm, $65.50-$79.50. Crest Theatre, 1013 K St.

FRIDAY, 9/25 DAVIS JAZZ NIGHt: A monthly free livejazz event is hosted by a Davis 12-piece community jazz band, “The New Harmony Jazz Band.” 7pm, no cover. John Natsoulas

Gallery, 521 1st St., Davis.

FESTIVALS FRIDAY, 9/4 128 ARtISAN MARKEt: A monthly Friday Night market with Berryessa Brewing Co., a 20-barrel craft brewery located just outside Winters. The tap room is a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere in a country setting. 5pm, no cover. Berryessa Brewing Co., 27260 California 128, Winters.

ROLL-IN AND ROCK OUt 3 NIGHtS LIVE DRIVE-IN CONCERtS (LABOR DAY WEEKEND): Check out the Inaugural Drive-In Concert Experience at Bradley Ranch Winery. This concert experience will feature festival-level stage production overlooking the beautiful vineyards of Elk Grove. Three days of rockand-roll cover bands with food trucks and beer. 6pm, $60-$150. Bradley Ranch Winery, 11070 Bradley Ranch Road, Elk Grove.



and co-founder of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, Crosby is heading out on tour. Joining him will be five musical friends, collectively and affectionately known as the Skytrails Band. 7:30pm, $50-$581. Crest Theatre, 1013 K St.

THURSDAY, 9/3 HOt MUSIC W/JON REYES: Jon Reyes is a San Francisco-based DJ and producer, one half of the hip-hop electronic duo, DLRN. He started the party Hot Music to celebrate soul, house and global dance music in Sacramento. 9pm, no cover. The Flamingo House Social Club, 2315 K. St.

MR. ROGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD: Chill music on the patio with Jerry Rogers and friends every Second Sunday. 3pm, no cover. Oak Park Brewing Co., 3514 Broadway.


SUNDAY, 9/13 DAVID CROSBY & tHE SKYtRAILS BAND: David Crosby comes to Sacramento for one night only. Two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer






Morgan will be playing background music, including classic rock and pop favorites by Steely Dan, Jimmy Buffet, The Eagles and many more. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, there is no dancing permitted. 1pm, no

cover. Naggiar Vineyards & Winery, 18261 Rosemary Lane, Grass Valley.

FRIDAY, 9/18 AMERICAN LEGEND 2020: AMERICAN LEGEND is a trail-blazing and spirited tribute to the life of an American icon, Johnny Cash. 7pm, $20-$45. Folsom Amphitheater, 200 Stafford St., Folsom.

SATURDAY, 9/19 GINGER tIVEY @ NAGGIAR VINEYARDS: Ginger Tivey will be playing background music: adult alternative, classic rock, ballads and R&B/soul genres. Due to COVID-19, there is no dance floor. 1pm, no cover. Naggiar

drink at the Vintage, Vinyl and Handmade event in The Russ Room. Every first Sunday of the month, local vintage clothing and accessory vendors, along with local makers from River City Marketplace and Funky Soul Stop Live, will sell rare and one-ofa-kind items. 11am, no cover. Solomon’s Delicatessen, 730 K St.

SUNDAY, 9/13 POP-UP SERIES At DOCO: River City Marketplace is popping up at DOCO. Shop from local creative vendors, listen to live music, watch street performances and enjoy all that DOCO has to offer. 11am, no cover. DOCO Sacramento, 405 K St.

FOOD . DRINK FRIDAY, 9/4 DUNLOE BREWING CURBSIDE BEER SALES & FOOD tRUCKS: Buy beer curbside at Dunloe Brewing every Tuesday and Friday. On offer is a rotating list of beers, featuring IPAs, lagers and lots of sours. 4pm, no cover. Dunloe Brewing, 1606 Olive Drive, Davis.

SATURDAY, 9/5 GRASS VALLEY FARMERS’ MARKEt: The Grass Valley Farmers’ Market is now open. Normally, you could come for the produce and stay for the art, music and food. Due to the public health crisis, only the essentials will be available. 8am, free. McKnight Crossing Shopping Center, 111 W. McKnight Way, Grass Valley.

TUESDAY, 9/8 FOOD LOVE FARM StAND: Shop for fresh, organic produce at Sierra Harvest’s Food Love Farm on Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Shop for veggies, fruit and flowers at this beautiful educational farm. Cash, check and EBT are accepted. 4:30pm, free. Food Love Farm, 16200 Lake Vera Purdon Road, Nevada City.

SATURDAY, 9/12 BUENOS AIRES GRILL FOOD tRUCK @ NAGGIAR VINEYARDS: Sacramento’s first and only Argentinian food truck serves empanadas, steak sandwiches, milanesa and much more. Noon, no cover. Naggiar Vineyards & Winery, Nevada City.

RIVER FOX tRAIN-OLD VINE EXPRESS: River Fox Train, a locally owned and operated business dedicated to preserving a piece of Northern California history, has resumed train rides through countryside in openair cars, while passengers enjoy themed activities. 3pm, $35-$69. River Fox Train, 18095 County Road 117, West Sacramento.

THURSDAY, 9/17 WESt COASt tACO BAR FOOD tRUCK @ NAGGIAR VINEYARDS: West Coast Taco Bar offers your favorite classics with a Cali twist. Noon, free. Naggiar Vineyards & Winery, 18261 Rosemary Lane, Grass Valley.

FILM WEDNESDAY, 9/2 tHE BAD FLICK SHOW: Alex Shewmaker finds the worst clips from the worst movies and shares them with comedians who are blown away by just how bad these movies really are. Past guests have included Greg Proops, professional wrestler Colt Cabana and musician Tony Thaxton. This free streaming event supports the Sacramento Comedy Spot. 6pm, free. Sacramento Comedy Spot, 1050 20th St., Suite 130.

Friday-Sunday, 9/4-6

mOnday, 9/7

drive in, rock out BRadley Ranch WineRy, 6pm, $60-$150

Mountain BiKe MondaYs: The Sacramento

You’ve seen a drive-in movie, but have you heard a drive-in concert? Bradley Ranch Winery will be hosting its inaugural drive-in concert festival, overlooking the vineyards of Elk Grove. The winery will be donating a portion of proceeds to Autism Speaks, Festival an organization that sponsors research and conducts awareness and outreach activities. The three-day festival will go from Friday to Sunday night and feature tribute bands such as Fleetwood Mask, Hot For Teacher, Journey Revisited, Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers. There will also be food trucks, wine, beer and music played over a crowd of cars. 11070 Bradley Ranch Road, bradleyranch.com

Valley Conservancy invites you to explore Deer Creek Hills Preserve on your mountain bike. The self-guided trails are open exclusively to riders between 4 pm and 8 pm. To observe public health precautions, this offering is limited to 50 people and only to individuals who comply with the guidelines and new registration process on SVC’s website. 4pm, $0-$10. Deer Creek Hills Preserve, sacramentovalleyconservancy. org/events.

Saturday, 9/12 overlooK endurance runs: Created by Ann Trason, the Overlook Endurance Runs primarily follow the historic Western States trail. While the races have different starting locations, they finish at the same place: Overlook Park in Auburn. 6am, $80$155. Overlook Endurance Runs, Forest Hill Road, Foresthill.

WedneSday, 9/16 plaY date on tHe FarM: Are you and the kids tired of being stuck indoors? Join Lucero Organics on the farm for story time, movement, art and farm activities. 10am, $5. Lucero Organic Farms, 12561 Hauschildt Rd., Galt.

Friday, 9/18 cHecKpoint cHallenges discoverY parK: pHOtO COurteSy OF lOnG time

COmedy crest tHeatre: Tig Notaro at The Crest Theatre. Tig Notaro is a stand-up comedian, actor, writer, producer and director originally from Mississippi. Hailed for her storytelling and stage presence, her subject matter ranges from the absurd to the monumentally serious. Rolling Stone recently named her “one of the 50 best stand-up comics of all time.” 7pm. sunday, 9/27. $39.50-$49.50. 1013 K St..

art aXis gallerY: The Weight- Manuel Fernando Rios. Manuel Fernando Rios’ exhibition at Axis Gallery, titled “The Weight,” aims to visually explore the feeling of carrying mental baggage. Through mixed media paintings that often include silkscreen and image transfers, Rios weaves intricate compositions full of colorful abstracted and figurative forms to capture the complicated feelings of emotional weight. various times. 9/4- 9/27, free. 625 S St.

elK grove Fine arts center: “Say It With Clay,” Art Competition Show. The “Say It With Clay” art competition Show celebrates this medium with works that are whimsical, thought-provoking, abstract or figurative by some of the best ceramic sculptors in our region. The shows judge, Joe Mariscal, holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from the Universidad de Las Americas in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico and a master’s degree from Sacramento State. 4pm. 9/5-9/25, free. 9683 Elk Grove-Florin Road, Elk Grove.

verge center For tHe arts: Sac Open Studios. Verge Center for the Arts is hosting the 15th Annual Sac Open Studios. This event is transitioning to a virtual format with a dynamic

and diverse variety of live online activities scheduled for September 9-13 and 17-20. Sac Open Studios is a self-guided tour designed to showcase artists who live and work in the Sacramento region. 6pm. 9/9-9/30, free. 625 S St.

vieWpoint pHotograpHic art center: Franka Gabler- With Open Senses. Franka M. Gabler has been drawing her inspiration from subtle, moody and often intimate landscapes. Photographing in misty and foggy conditions allows for making interesting compositions and interpretations. various times. 9/10-11-7, free. 2015 J St, Ste 101.

SpOrtS & OutdOOrS WedneSday, 9/2 river FoX train railBiKe: Escape the ordinary, get some fresh air and discover Sacramento’s newest adventure as you pedal your way down the tracks on a journey unlike any other. These pedalpowered vehicles have never been offered before in Sacramento; you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another place and time while you cruise along the river and the Yolo countryside. 8am, $250. River Fox Train, 18095 County Road 117, West Sacramento.

Saturday, 9/5 cHalK it up! around tHe toWn: The 30th Annual Chalk It Up! chalk art and music festival comes to life on sidewalks, parking lots and driveways throughout the Sacramento region. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the festival is transforming into Chalk It Up! Around The Town. 9am, free. Various locations, chalkitup.org.

Checkpoint Challenges is a physical and mental outdoor sport that can be enjoyed by active people of all skill and fitness levels. 9am, $5. Discovery Park, 1000 Garden Highway.

deaF aWareness daY: Join the Sacramento

free. Bear River Library, 11130 Magnolia

Zoo for a special day for the deaf and hard of hearing community, sponsored by NorCal Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The zoo will have ASL interpreters for the event. There are limited facilities for service animals. Call (916) 808-5888 in advance for service dog information. 9am, free. Sacramento Zoo, 3930 W Land Park Dr.

guided paddle tour: Join experienced naturalists for a leisurely paddle up the Cosumnes River and its peaceful sloughs where you’re likely to see forest birds and raptors. 8:30am, Cosumnes River Preserve, 13501 Franklin Blvd., Galt.

Monster golF JaM 2020: The Phoebe League of City Seminary decided that instead of another golf tournament where sponsors have all the fun, how about turning it into a miniature golf event where all the player spots go to foster kids? Monster Golf Jam, now in its fourth year, is taking over the indoor Monster Golf facility, where children can play golf, win prizes and invade the arcade with free tokens, followed by an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch. 10am, $0$20. Monster Mini-Golf, 12401 Folsom Blvd. Factory, Rancho Cordova.

girl scout Badge daY MiXed level daY: Spend a morning getting up close and personal with some of the zoo’s animal ambassadors while enjoying presentations and activities. You’ll also be able to explore the entire zoo and complete the outdoors- or animalrelated badge for your age group. 9am, $0-$17.50. Sacramento Zoo, 3930 W Land Park Drive.


autuMn eQuinoX celeBration: Explore the farm and gardens, enjoy live music, sample seasonal and organic food prepared by prominent local chefs, taste exceptional wine and beer and celebrate the harvest season under the stars. 5:30pm, $75. Soil Born Farms, 2140 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova.

group for anyone dealing with issues of illness, disability or recovery. Open to patients, caregivers, staff, community members and health-care providers, the intent of the workshop is to create a sense of freedom and excitement about writing as a tool for self-expression. 6:30pm, free. UC Davis, 1 Shields Ave, Davis.

Sunday, 9/6 Watercolor For Beginners WitH creativelY carrie: This class is a way to learn the basics of using watercolor and have fun while doing it. 1pm, $45. University Art, 2601 J St.

WedneSday, 9/16 Writing as Healing: A twice monthly writing group for anyone dealing with issues of illness, disability or recovery. 6:30pm, free. uc davis, 1 shields ave, davis.

Saturday, 9/19 JoY oF living cooKing scHool septeMBer: A

Sunday, 9/20

Saturday, 9/19

Road in Grass Valley.

Writing as Healing: A twice monthly writing

WedneSday, 9/2 still liFe draWing (Br): Practice your drawing skills and techniques on still lifes. They won’t be going anywhere, so all ages and skill sets welcome. Still life displays will be set up and all materials will be provided. 4:15pm,

free program for cooking demonstrations with samples. First come, first served, no reservations. The theme of this month’s class is pumpkins. Child care provided for school-age children. 6pm, free. Sacramento Woodside SDA Church.

tHurSday, 9/24 rivers laB landscapes tHat WorK For BiodiversitY and people: Rivers Lab is a paper/report reading and discussion group assembled so that river lovers can break down the prestigious walls of academic papers to learn more about the systems we care for and have a chance to ask questions, discuss and enjoy each other’s company. noon, no cover. South Yuba River Citizens League, 313 Railroad Avenue, Prairie City.

calendar listings continued on page 38

Friday-Sunday, all September

ride the rails and be the train RiveR Fox TRain, vaRious Times, $250

There’s a lot to love about trains. The choo of the engine, the rhythmic sound of complex machinery, the spherical geometry of the wheels. But one sports & disappointing thing about outdoors trains is that—try as we might—we humans can never experience what it’s like to be a locomotive chugging down the track. The next best thing is River Fox Train’s Railbikes. Every weekend in September, River Fox Train is offering railbikes for you to hop on the tracks and feel the breeze on your face, just like your favorite train. You may not get the satisfaction of having coal shoveled into your firebox, but, hey, riding on the rails ain’t a bad way to spend a weekend. 18095 County Road 117, West Sacramento, riverfoxtrain.com

pHOtO COurteSy OF WiKi COmmOnS






While some venues are holding live events, remember to follow public health guidelines. many events are still virtual due to CoVID-19. Keep up to date and list events at sacramento.newsreview.com/calendar.


Monday evenings over Zoom. Each class is focused on a theme, with step-by-step instructions for how to draw specific subjects and how to use color to bring them to life. 5:30pm, $15. Sierra 2 Center, 2791 24th St.

Color the town chalk Various locations, free


Sidewalks have always been pretty boring, but Chalk It Up! brings color to those walkways in the form of dyed limestone. This year, Chalk It Up! will be different, due to limits on ART public gatherings. The festival will be taking place all around town, in more than 70 locations, with 20 virtual stages for musical performances. While the festival may be different, the chalk is the same, and Labor Day Weekend will still make boring sidewalks colorful again. Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Chalk It Up! by visiting the locations listed on its website and give yourself an excuse not to walk on the sidewalk. Various locations, chalkitup.org

10-week class, the focus is on pioneering women in rock’n’roll. Each week, study one musician or group and learn a selection from the artist’s catalogue. In addition, each student will pick one artist or musician to write their own blog post about. 5pm, $285-$325. Verge Center for the Arts, vergeart.com.

WEDNESDAY, 9/9 a free, self-guided tour designed to showcase artists who live and work in the Sacramento region. The ever-evolving event is the region’s oldest, largest and most prestigious artist studio tour program. 6pm, free. Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S St..


CALENDAR LISTINGS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 37 to offer you one more—partner dancing. You will learn the basics of a variety of ballroom, Latin and swing dances. Whether you are learning salsa or waltz, a fun time is guaranteed. 7:15pm, $20-$60. Spotlight Ballroom, spotlightballroom.com.

VIRTUAL WEDNESDAY, 9/2 ART ATTACK VIRTUAL ART CLUB FOR TWEENS & TEENS: This Zoom event is especially for teen and tween artists. Art Club will meet weekly with an activity demonstrated: drawing, painting, collage, etc. It’s also a time to show off your work to others in the group. 4pm, free. Bear River Library, 11130 Magnolia Road, Grass Valley.

THE BAD FLICK SHOW: Alex Shewmaker finds

PENCE GALLERY ART AUCTION 2020: Bid online in Pence Gallery’s annual art auction to support the gallery’s programs year round. More than 150 pieces will be available to view and bid on, beginning Sept. 1 at midnight. 12am, free. Pence Gallery, pencegallery.org.

SOIL BORN FARMS ONLINE MARKETPLACE: This weekly marketplace features organic produce, prepared foods, seedlings, fruit trees and an assortment of organic pantry and baked goods that we have curated from local farms, bakeries and businesses. Soil Born Farms intention is to create a safe, one-stop shopping experience that will support you and our favorite farmers, bakers, artisans and entrepreneurs. 12am, free. Soil Born Farms, soilborn.org.

the worst clips from the worst movies and shares them with comedians who are blown away by just how bad these movies really are. This free streaming event supports the Sacramento Comedy Spot. 6pm, free. Sacramento Comedy Spot, saccomedyspot.com/live.

BURNING MAN: Burning Man will not be held on the playa in 2020, but will take place virtually. Once a year, tens of thousands gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, transforming a dry lake bed into Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression and self-reliance. 8/30-9/6, no cover. Black Rock City, burningman.org.

SUMMER OF SOUND ONLINE COURSE: Summer of Sound, a free online course provided by Department of Sound, is for those looking for an introductory program on the basics of music and podcast production. Using the web-based production software Soundtrap, you’ll learn the fundamentals of beat making, song structure and composition, audio recording, instrumentation and arrangement, podcast production and the music business. 11:55pm, free. Sacramento Convention Center Complex, deptofsound. org/summer-of-sound.

CATALYST: A THEATRE THINK TANK SEASON PREVIEW: Stage and screen actor Sharon Lawrence, best known for her role in “NYPD Blue,” will host a webinar preview of Catalyst: A Theatre Think Tank’s 2020-21 season. Co-directors Professor Mindy Cooper and Lisa Quoresimo, as well as playwrights Anthony D’Juan and BrianDaniel Oglesby and Tony Award-nominated composer Paul Gordon, will be taking part. 5pm, free. Virtual Space/Online, One Shields Ave., Davis.

COMEDY SPOT LIVE! ONLINE STREAMING SHOWS: Tune in for streaming shows or binge on past videos. Check their schedule on their website for upcoming airings, and to find all the live and archived watchables. You can also interact with us and others online as we simultaneously broadcast live from our Facebook page. 6pm, no cover. Sacramento Comedy Spot, saccomedyspot.com/live.

DRAG QUEEN STORY TIME: Join the Sacramento LGBT Community Center on the first Thursday of every month for Drag Queen Story Time live on the center’s Facebook page. 1pm, free. The Sacramento LGBT Community Center, facebook.com/ SacLGBTcenter/.


DATE NIGHT DANCING AT HOME: During this pandemic people are choosing to pick up a new hobby. Spotlight Ballroom wants






a virtual panel discussion event featuring artists Lin Fei Fei, Cassandra Burgess, Zoey Rosenthal, Esther Chow and more. This is a free event for the public to learn more about the Roseville Mural Project and the artists who were selected to bring their designs to life in Downtown Roseville. 1pm, free. Blue Line Arts, 405 Vernon St. #100, Roseville.

THE STAB! SHOW-STREAMING LIVE: Three comedians get a day to write their responses to five prompts and present them for the first time to the world. Streaming live online and from varying distances, Jesse Jones brings together the funniest writers he can find to let them show off what they can do under a deadline. 8pm, free. STAB! Comedy Theater, stabcomedytheater.com.

COMEDY SPOT MIXTAPE-EXCLUSIVE ONLINE SHOW: Comedy Spot Mixtape is an exclusive live-stream event featuring comedians and special guests doing stand-up, improv, sketch, videos, music, characters, games and more. 8pm, $10. Sacramento Comedy Spot, saccomedyspot.com/mixtape.

LET’S DRAW VIRTUAL ART SERIES: Learn how to draw from the safety of your own home. Join local artist and instructor Cara Gregor as she teaches you a bit about drawing on

CERAMICS CONFERENCE-COLLEGE EDITION 2.0, FREE ZOOM WEBINAR: John Natsoulas Center for the Arts continues one of the largest sculptural ceramics conference in the world. Conceived by the need for dialogue and direct interaction between artists and students, this educational conference is an expansion of the annual ceramics conference held in May and a sneak peek into next year’s annual conference. 10am, free. John Natsoulas Gallery, natsoulas. com.


SAC OPEN STUDIOS: Sac Open Studios is


FRIDAY, 9/18

satire writing course is for comedy writers of all levels. Analyze satirical pieces from websites such as McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Reductress, and Slackjaw. You will learn the basics of online satire writing and get a chance to practice writing in two different genres: the list and the character monologue. 7pm, $80. Sacramento Comedy Spot, saccomedyspot.com/online.

SUNDAY, 9/13 CELEBRATION ARTS LIVE: CELEBRATING ARTISTS: Celebration Arts Live: Celebrating ArtistsThe Inside View with James Wheatley provides opportunities for performers who are connected to Celebration Arts to share their experiences with the community and provide an entertaining and nostalgic approach to discussing the history of Celebration Arts. 4pm, no cover. Celebration Arts, facebook.com/CelebrationArts.

POP-UP AT DOCO: River City Marketplace is popping up at DOCO! Shop from local creative vendors, listen to live music, watch street performances and enjoy all that DOCO has to offer. View less 11am, free. Solomon’s Delicatessen, 730 K St..

instructor Lee Miller in this fun class for budding artists practicing the art of Zentangle. This class dives right into drawing new tangles, as you explore art-making on black tiles instead of the traditional white. 11am, $25. Sierra 2 Center, sierra2.org.

SATURDAY, 9/26 BOLDLY SIMPLE EAGLE LAKE, DESOLATION WILDERNESS WITH DAVID LOBENBERG: Watercolor has a reputation for being a spontaneous medium. It means boldly simple and not caught up in fine details. It has a fresh, impressionistic look where the subject has been reduced to its essentials. 10am, $175. Sacramento Convention Center Complex, sacramento365.com/event/boldly-simpleeagle-lake-desolation-wilderness-withdavid-lobenberg/.

SUNDAY, 9/27 JACAM MANRICKS BAND ‘SAMADHI’-MVJ LIVE STREAM EVENT: To celebrate the upcoming release of Samadhi, his sixth album as a leader, saxophonist and composer Jacam Manricks and his adventuresome band will present a video concert of music from the album. This will be their first performance since COVID-19 restrictions started in March. 7pm, $15. Midtown Vanguard Jazz Series at The Auditorium, allevents. in/sacramento/jacam-manricks-band%E2%80%98samadhi%E2%80%99-mvj-livestream-event/10000114554706210.


Make fun of bad movies with the crew at Sacramento Comedy Spot Virtual, 6pm, no coVer Are movies ever really “bad?” Just because there are constant editing mistakes, awkward dialogue, stilted acting, poorly composed shots, needlessly complex plots, old men playing high school freshmen, Troma Entertainment and Birdemics? Well, yes. There are bad movies COMEDY and Alex Shewmaker is finding the worst clips and sharing them at Sacramento Comedy Spot for “Bad Flick Show,” a livestream event where a group of comedians watch the worst


of the worst and make fun of the bizarre world of bad movies. Special guests of the show have included Greg Proops of TV’s “Whose Line is it Anyway?” professional wrestler Colt Cabana and musician Tony Thaxton. So check out the worst the cinema industry can get. saccomedyspot.com

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C a n n a B i s

Canna-Kamala Can Kamala Harris change Joe Biden’s views on cannabis legalization? by Ken Magri

Kamala Harris takes the oath of office as a U.S. senator from Vice President Joe Biden in January 2017. Photo from Wiki Commons

Legalization of cannabis has been relatively ignored as a presidential campaign issue, even though two-thirds of Americans support the move, according to a Pew Research poll last November. Joe Biden’s pick of Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his running mate, however, raises new questions about cannabis as a campaign issue and whether she might try to influence his thinking on the subject. But what are the candidates’ current campaign positions on cannabis and how do those stands differ from one another?

The Trump position President Trump expressed support for a 2018 bipartisan bill by Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Gardner of Colorado that would exempt cannabis from the Federal Controlled Substances Act and strengthen the states’ right to legalize. But Trump has also added three signing memos to legislation passed by Congress that reserve his right to enforce all federal cannabis laws as he sees fit. At an Aug. 17 campaign rally in Wisconsin, Trump told former Gov. Scott Walker: “The next time you run, please don’t put marijuana on the ballot at the same time you’re running. You brought out like a million people that nobody knew were coming out.”

The Biden position During the 1980s and ’90s, Biden was a loyal soldier in the “war on drugs,” introducing anti-narcotics legislation and supporting anti-crime bills. But as vice president, he supported President Obama’s efforts, through the Justice Department’s “Cole Amendment,” to stop enforcing federal cannabis prohibition in states where medical and/ or recreational cannabis was legal. 40





Biden’s position for the 2020 “These Truths We Hold,” Harris supported campaign includes decriminalizing comprehensive cannabis reform. cannabis on the federal level, reschedul“As marijuana becomes legal ing it as a Schedule 2 drug, letting states across the country, we must make sure set their own policies on legalization everyone—especially communities of and expunging old cannabis convictions. color that have been disproportionately Those recommendations are also impacted by the War on Drugs— in a unity platform released has a real opportunity to in July by the campaigns participate in this grow“Senator of Biden and Sen. ing industry,” Harris Harris has Bernie Sanders, told Rolling Stone his chief rival for last year. evolved significantly In July 2019, the Democratic on the issue of cannabis Harris introduced nomination. policy over the course of the MORE Critics including Justin Strekal, (Marijuana her career, showing that political director Opportunity, change is possible.” at the National Reinvestment Tiffany Devitt, president of wellOrganization for the and Expungement) ness at CannaCraft in Reform of Marijuana Act, which would go Santa Rosa Laws, called Biden’s further than previous policy “a half loaf,” saying legislation by completely it fails to match the views of removing cannabis from the federal most Americans. Controlled Substances Act. It would also “Federal marijuana prohibition was prevent discrimination based on a person’s implemented in 1937 explicitly out of cannabis use, and would award business racial animus,” said Strekal. “This crimigrants to those impacted by the “war on nalization is not, nor has it ever been, an drugs.” Finally, the MORE Act would set evidence-based public policy.” up a separate office within the Department of Justice and levy a 5% federal tax on The Harris evolution cannabis to pay for everything. Still, her critics say her overall record As San Francisco district attorney and isn’t always one of the criminal justice California attorney general, Harris put plenty of cannabis users behind bars. She reformer she claims to be. “Senator Harris has evolved signififought past legalization efforts, includcantly on the issue of cannabis policy ing Proposition 19 in 2010 and even over the course of her career, showing that co-authored an argument against Prop. change is possible,” said Tiffany Devitt, 19 in the voters guide. president of wellness at Santa Rosa’s Harris came out for decriminalization CannaCraft. “We deeply appreciate her of cannabis in 2015, after her re-election sponsorship of the MORE Act, which not as attorney general. But in 2016 she only de-schedules cannabis but includes stayed out of the legalization debate on important restorative justice provision.” Proposition 64. In 2018, as a U.S. senator, Harris Can Harris influence Biden? co-sponsored a bill by Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey to legalize adult recreational But it’s unclear whether Biden will hear use. In her presidential campaign book, Kamala’s call on cannabis reform.

“We’re hopeful she will influence Vice President Biden to move in the same direction,” said Devitt. Housing activist Amy Farah Weiss, who works with San Francisco’s homeless population on drug addiction, is also hopeful. “Our leadership must also consider easy, affordable, consistent, and informed access as one of the big social equity issues for cannabis,” she said. Others, however, don’t expect legalization will be at the top of the to-do list if Biden and Harris are elected. “I don’t think federal legalization will be a priority for Biden/Harris initially,” said Maisha Bahati, co-owner of Sacramento’s Crystal Nugs cannabis delivery. “Joe Biden is firm in his belief marijuana should be decriminalized, not legalized,” said Kevin Sabet, president of the nonprofit SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Sabet told SN&R that if Sanders supporters couldn’t change Biden’s mind, no one will. “I don’t see this as a fight Senator Harris will feel is worth having. She only recently came out in favor of legalization,” said Sabet. “This is not a high-priority issue, and I don’t expect any changes.” In July, Harris told Washington political reporter Matt Laslo: “I think it is good that he is in that place of understanding that, at the very least, it should not be a criminal matter.” Harris suggested that she will not push Biden, but let him evolve on the issue. But as Trump referenced last month, at least four states—Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota—have cannabis legalization measures on their November ballots, which could increase turnout among pro-cannabis voters. “As we have seen in previous elections, marijuana initiatives increase voter turnout in nearly every demographic,” said NORML’s Strekal. Ω

c an n a b i s

A primer on pot By Ngaio Bealum

Hey I’m hella new to this pot stuff. It seems so fancy these days. Can you give me a quick lesson on some of the terms?

Hey yourself. No problem. Here is a quick and dirty ganja glossary: THC: Short for tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that gets you high. Strains with a higher percentage of THC will get you higher faster. Think of it like “proof” for liquor or “ABV” for wines. Most strains are around 15-18% and they top out around 30%. Too much THC will give you anxiety though, so be careful. CBD: Short for Cannabidiol, known for its anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to help with a variety of ailments, and has no intoxicating effects. Terpenes: Sometimes called “terps,” these are the chemicals that give cannabis its aroma and ancillary effects. Leafly.com has great info on terps. Concentrates: Concentrated cannabis. There are many ways to do it, but the basic idea is to collect the glands from the cannabis buds. These glands contain most of the THC and terpenes found in the cannabis plant. Concentrates (also known as hash, hashish, dabs, wax, or shatter) usually contain between 50-80% THC. Cannabinoids: Chemicals found in the cannabis plant. There are more than 100 different ones, with the most common being THC, CBD, CBG and CBN. Scientists are just now starting to understand all the chemicals in cannabis plants and their uses. Pre-roll: A marijuana cigarette. From the medical marijuana days, because saying selling someone a “joint” made it sound like a drug deal, but allowing a cannabis patient to purchase a pre-rolled cannabis cigarette is classy.

a s k 4 2 0 @ne w s re v i e w . c o m

High Ngaio, I have been smoking weed on the daily for a long time. I just don’t get as high as I used to get. What should I do?

You have two choices: Start smoking a bunch of hash, or just quit smoking weed for a while. Hash (or dabsmds or shatter or concentrates) will get you hella high, but eventually you will also develop a tolerance to it as well, and hash gets expensive. Just stop smoking for a while, like a week or two. You may feel weird at first, but you will have vivid dreams and a little extra money. After two weeks, smoke a bowl and see if you don’t get higher than you’ve been in a while.

I am a grown man, and I still can’t roll a joint to save my life. Any tips?

Yeah. Practice. That’s really the best way to be better at it. Get a pile of cannabis and a pack of rolling papers (I recommend the 11/4 size), and get to work. Roll until your fingers hurt. After you have rolled about 50 joints or so, you should have an idea of what it takes to make a serviceable doobie. Don’t worry too much about a perfect cylinder, just get it so it burns evenly. Of course the internet is also full of tips. Have fun! Ω

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


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Free will astrology

ask joey

For the week oF Sept. 3, 2020

what to say to a naked face

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “A new idea is rarely



What to do when people refuse to wear masks

you’re having about those naked faces. See how each thought is also true about you. Projection is a defense mechanism in which we place our negative traits and Have you been in a public place, dutifully unwanted emotions on others. wearing a face mask, while staring at Here’s a simple philosophical exercise naked faces? that softens the ego and makes civil converMaybe you even approached a masksation easier. If your thought is, “They free individual to demand they cover up. don’t care about older people like me,” find That person might have responded by yourself in the thought: “I don’t care about asking whether you knew anyone who younger people like them.” Before you clap died from COVID-19. A tiny part of back that you do care and that’s why you you believed the conversation might go want everyone to wear a mask, consider well—until they began laughing. how compassionate your words would be if Now, you’re angry. An argucaring was a priority: “I notice you’re ment ensues. You have the not wearing a mask. Please stay presence of mind to safe. I worry about the health walk away. A few of your generation.” When feelings overhours later, you Talk to strangers: whelm us, our write a Facebook Chat with strangers, but don’t correct or post about bodies seek release. People reprimand them. the interacwho don’t wear masks become Avoid mentioning tion. Friends easy targets. But before health issues. Focus encourage instructing strangers on the the conversation your outrage on something that benefits of wearing a mask, and share their doesn’t require you conflicts with school yourself on why to judge. Speak as people who refuse you’re triggered. equals—regardless of to wear masks. age, education, appearance That’s one popular or socioeconomic status, yours way to handle the experior theirs. Pay attention to whether ence of seeing unmasked faces you try to bond via wounds (“Quarantine in public spaces. But if you want to make a difference, take steps to prepare yourself is so hard!”), nostalgia (“I can’t wait for things to return to normal”) or something to talk to a naked face. else. Practice bonding from a position of Detox your emotions: The pandemic wholeness. has ignited our grief, anger, fear and Feel annoyed after reading that depression, which means many of us are conversations about mask-wearing require carrying more negative emotions than we preparation? I feel you. We’ve been misled would otherwise. When feelings overwhelm us, our bodies seek release. People throughout our lives about the nature of communication. It’s more than just openwho don’t wear masks become easy ing our mouths and sharing what’s on our targets. But before instructing strangers mind. Communication requires internal on the benefits of wearing a mask, school excavation on an ongoing basis. With yourself on why you’re triggered. mounting tensions due to the pandemic A portion of what you’re feeling and other crises, we need to commit to lived in you long before the pandemic. developing these skills now. Ω For whatever reason, those feelings were bottled up and are seeking opportunities to explode. Schedule time with a therapist, a life coach or your journal, and get honest. How can you reduce the emotional drama you bring to conversations about the importance of wearing a mask? Clear your head: Examine the thoughts 42





by ROb bRezsny

Email Joey at askjoey@newsreview. com. Give your name, telephone number (for verification purposes only) and question—all correspondence will be kept strictly confidential.

born like Venus attended by graces. More commonly it’s modeled of baling wire and acne. More commonly it wheezes and tips over.” Those words were written by Aries author Marge Piercy, who has been a fount of good new ideas in the course of her career. I regard her as an expert in generating wheezy, fragile breakthroughs and ultimately turning them into shiny, solid beacons of revelationw. Your assignment in the coming weeks is to do as Piercy has done so well. TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “Every day I discover even more beautiful things,” said painter Claude Monet. “It is intoxicating me, and I want to paint it all. My head is bursting.” That might seem like an extreme state to many of us. But Monet was a specialist in the art of seeing. He trained himself to be alert for exquisite sights. So his receptivity to the constant flow of loveliness came naturally to him. I bring this to your attention because I think that in the coming weeks, you could rise closer to a Monet-like level of sensitivity to beauty. Would that be interesting to you? If so, unleash yourself! Make it a priority to look for charm, elegance, grace, delight and dazzlement. GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Author Renata Adler describes a time in her life when she began to notice blue triangles on her feet. She was wracked with fear that they were a symptom of leukemia. But after a period of intense anxiety, she realized one fine day that they had a different cause. She writes: “Whenever I, walking barefoot, put out the garbage on the landing, I held the apartment door open, bending over from the rear. The door would cross a bit over the tops of my feet”—leaving triangular bruises. Upon realizing this very good news, she says, “I took a celebrational nap.” From what I can tell, you’re due for a series of celebrational naps— both because of worries that turn out to be unfounded and because you need a concentrated period of recharging your energy reserves. CANCER (June 21-July 22): “I like people who refuse to speak until they are ready to speak,” proclaimed Cancerian author Lillian Hellman. I feel the same way. So often people have nothing interesting or important to say, but say it anyway. I’ve done that myself! The uninteresting and unimportant words I have uttered are too numerous to count. The good news for me and all of my fellow Cancerians is that in the coming weeks we are far more likely than usual to not speak until we are ready to speak. According to my analysis of the astrological potentials, we are poised to express ourselves with clarity, authenticity and maximum impact. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Of all the mournful impacts the pandemic has had, one of the most devastating is that it has diminished our opportunities to touch and be touched by other humans. Many of us are starved of the routine, regular contact we had previously taken for granted. I look forward to the time when we can again feel uninhibited about shaking hands, hugging and patting friends on the arm or shoulder. In the meantime, how can you cope? This issue is extra crucial for you to meditate on right now. Can you massage yourself? Seek extra tactile contact with animals? Hug trees? Figure out how to physically connect with people while wearing hazmat suits, gloves, masks and face shields? What else? VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “Like any art, the creation of self is both natural and seemingly impossible,” says singer-songwriter Holly Near. “It requires training as well as magic.” How are you doing on that score? Now is a favorable time to intensify your long-term art project of creating the healthiest, smartest version of yourself. I think it will feel quite natural and not-at-all impossible. In the coming weeks, you’ll have a finely tuned intuitive sense of how to proceed with flair. Start by imagining the Most Beautiful You.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I propose we resurrect

the old English word “museful.” First used in the 17th century but then forgotten, it meant “deeply thoughtful; pensive.” In our newly coined use, it refers to a condition wherein a person is abundantly inspired by the presence of the muse. I further suggest that we invoke this term to apply to you in the coming weeks. You potentially have a high likelihood of intense communion with your muses. There’s also a good chance you’ll engage with a new muse or two. What will you do with all of this illumination and stimulation? SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Each of us has a “soul’s code”: a metaphorical blueprint of the beautiful person we could become by fulfilling our destiny. If our soul’s code remains largely dormant, it will agitate and disorient us. If, on the other hand, we perfectly actualize our soul’s code, we will feel at home in the world; all our experiences will feel meaningful. The practical fact is that most of us have made some progress in manifesting our soul’s code, but still have a way to go before we fully actualize it. Here’s the good news: You are in a phase of your cycle when you could make dramatic advances in this glorious work. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): “Life is the only game in which the object of the game is to learn the rules,” observes Sagittarian author Ashleigh Brilliant. According to my research, you have made excellent progress in this quest during the last few weeks—and will continue your good work in the next six weeks. Give yourself an award! Buy yourself a trophy! You have discovered at least two rules that were previously unknown to you, and you have also ripened your understanding of another rule that had previously been barely comprehensible. Be alert for more breakthroughs. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “If you’re not lost, you’re not much of an explorer,” said rambunctious activist and author John Perry Barlow. Adding to his formulation, I’ll say that if you want to be a successful explorer, it’s crucial to get lost on some occasions. And according to my analysis, now is just such a time for you. The new territory you have been brave enough to reconnoiter should be richly unfamiliar. The possibilities you have been daring enough to consider should be provocatively unpredictable. Keep going, my dear! That’s the best way to become un-lost. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): “Dreams really tell you about yourself more than anything else in this world could ever tell you,” said psychic Sylvia Browne. She was referring to the mysterious stories that unfold in our minds as we sleep. I agree with her assessment of dreams’ power to show us who we really are all the way down to the core of our souls. What Browne didn’t mention, however, is that it takes knowledge and training to become proficient in deciphering dreams’ revelations. Their mode of communication is unique—and unlike every other source of teaching. I bring this up because the coming months will be a favorable time for you to become more skilled in understanding your dreams. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In June 1876, warriors from three Indian tribes defeated U.S. troops led by General George Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn in Montana. It was an iconic victory in what was ultimately a losing battle to prevent conquest by the ever-expanding American empire. One of the tribes that fought that day was the Northern Cheyenne. Out of fear of punishment by the U.S. government, its leaders waited 130 years to tell their side of the story about what happened. New evidence emerged then, such as the fact that the only woman warrior in the fight, Buffalo Calf Road Woman, killed Custer. I offer this tale as an inspiration for you to tell your story about events that you’ve kept silent about for too long.






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