Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

The Bee's guide to events, activities, arts and entertainment


June 30, 2008
Fountains flowing with new stores

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Anthropologie

The long-awaited opening of a local Anthropologie store has finally arrived. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony took place today at the Fountains at Roseville, with Anthropologie being one of the first retailers to open its doors.

Yeah!

While Anthropologie has been around since 1992, our closest venues have been either Berkeley or San Francisco or the old reliable shopping destination, online.

I spoke with local boutique owner Barbara Lym, whose second Serendipity boutique is slated to debut at the Fountains next month. She attended today's festivities and says the stores that have opened - which also includes White House/Black Market, Chico's and Coldwater Creek apparel - "look great."

"I know a lot of people have been eager for stores like Anthropologie to open, so I know it will be very welcome."

"I can't wait to be among the retailers there," she adds. By the way, West Elm (home interiors) and Sur La Table (kitchen products) also are open for business. Other businesses will continue to roll out in the coming weeks and months.

Stay tuned.

June 27, 2008
Flipping for flip flops


Old Navy

OK, so this is short and sweet and to the feet: Tomorrow, all Old Navy flip flops - any color - are on sale for just $1! For one day only.

Hey, you could have yellow, red, purple, green and blue ones and have money left over for an ounce of gas.

There are multiple Old Navy locations to choose from. Just click here to find a store close to you.

June 27, 2008
Bob, bob, bobbing along at the River Cats


KCRA

They're saying over at Channel 3 that this is a "long-awaited" event. I'll be the judge of that!

Anyway, KCRA sports director and all-around nice guy Del Rodgers (pictured) will have his bobblehead launched at Saturday night's River Cats game when the Cats take on the Tucson Sidewinders at 7:05 p.m. at Raley Field.

Del, a former NFL player and member of the 49ers' Super Bowl XXIII champion team, will actually hand out bobbleheads to the first 3,000 fans in attendance. He'll also throw out the first pitch and conduct the seventh-inning stretch.

What a team player!

Then, starting Sunday, the bobblehead will be available for purchase ($6.99 each) at the KCRA 3 Experience at Arden Fair.

Keep in mind: This is a limited-release item!

According to a well-placed source, Del is apparently is very proud of the fact that he finally has a bobblehead but is somewhat critical of its "bobbleness."

Anway, get to the game early so you don't miss out getting one for free. For more River Cats info, click here.

June 27, 2008
Been a son

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Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream with this week's "Sunday Single." We're featuring a psychedelic and intriguingly melodic track called "This Thing Called Life" from the Ancient Sons. This band is a local supergroup of sorts, featuring members of such favorite indie bands as Th' Losin' Streaks, Army of Trees and Rock the Light. And fans of the Brian Jonestown Massacre should definitely peep this track. It's a synthesis of sorts between 1960s psychedelia and the spacier side of modern alternative-rock. Far out!

THE ANCIENT SONS
Song: "This Thing Called Life"
Style: Indie-rock with a harmonious, psychedelic streak
Members: Chris Teichman (guitar/vocals), Brad Teichman (bass/drums), David Aslanian (guitar), Matt K. Shrugg (drums), Matt Maxwell (guitar), Justin Pine (tambourine, percussion)
Influences: Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spiritualized, Galaxie 500, Spacemen 3
Behind the song: "I got really sick as a kid," says Chris Teichman. "I had cancer and had to have a kidney removed when I was about one-and-a-half, but I got a new lease on life. This song is kind of centered around a boy's view of looking for hope and trying to grow. It's about hope and redemption."
See them: The Ancient Sons will perform an acoustic set at 5 p.m. Wednesday on LiveWire (Access Sacramento, Channel 17 for Comcast and SureWest cable subscribers).

Here's the player to hear "This Thing Called Life":

On the Web: www.myspace.com/theancientsons

June 26, 2008
We'll miss the shorts at Wimbledon

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Associated Press

OK, just when I was getting used to (and liking) Maria Sharapova's white diaphanous, pin-tucked tuxedo top and white shorts at Wimbledon, the former champ gets booted in a second-round shocker today at the racket of a 154th-ranked Russian named Alla Kudryavtseva.

Holy strawberries and cream!

This year's serving of "Breakfast at Wimbledon" has taken its fashion cues from the past. Just about every participant is sporting the traditional uniform of purity, i.e., white. And I thought Sharapova's interpretation of a feminine top with sporty shorts was one of the best.

Even Swiss star Roger Federer's cream-colored crested cardigan (white shirt and white shorts) is a noticeable departure from his usual dark tennis attire.

In other Wimbledon wardrobe notes: The Israeli flag decorates the tennis shoes of Israel's women's singles player Shahar Peer; Spain's Rafael Nada is also going all white, from his headband to his longer, cargo-style shorts; and Venus Williams of the U.S., wins today in a beautiful tennis dress with a keyhole, cross-tied neckline.

Just hope the cleaners have plenty of bleach on hand. This tournament has a ways to go.


June 25, 2008
It's (fashion) show time - again!


Sacramento Bee file

The Park Ultra Lounge will be the setting for yet another fashion show - this one Thursday night.

Suede Salon & Spa is hosting a biggie featuring three top local designers - Dee Aguilar (pictured), Mercedes Ben and Casey Sue Douglass.

It's being touted as an evening full of fashion - coupled with a "hair extravaganza."

So, what are the fashion themes?

* Casey Sue will take on urban chic, colorful tailored garments for fall.

* Mercedes' Benzo line will feature a "Socialite" collection with dresses for both summer and fall.

* Dee is looking ahead to holiday cocktail dresses. But heck, you could still pull off her looks from now until December.

Tickets are $15 (you must be 21 or older) and are available at the salon, either the Sacramento (900 Fulton Ave.) or Folsom location (850 E Bidwell St., Suite 140).

Doors open at 9 p.m.; the show gets under way at 10:30. The Park Ultra Lounge is at 1116 15th St. downtown.

June 25, 2008
Huzzah!

This weekend the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival takes its show down the road to the Fair Oaks Renaissance Tudor Fayre. The SSF will stage two of its 50 minute Shakespeare Lite productions, Scott Lynch-Giddings' "Robin Hood" and Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" on Saturday and Sunday.
SSF director Luther Hanson was interested in adapting "Robin Hood" himself until he found a fairly recent version by Lynch-Giddings.
"I contacted him and we're doing his short version at the Renaissance Fayre," Hanson said.
"We'll do the full length version next summer."
Hanson contacted Tudor Fayre producer Raelynn Debone about advertising the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival at the Fair Oaks event but she said "Why don't you come out and perform?"
So they are.
"It's the kind of performance they like have to out there so it's a really good match," Hanson said.
"Robin Hood" will be performed at 11 a.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday while "Much Ado About Nothing" plays at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday.
The Fair Oaks Renaissance Tudor Fayre is located at Fair Oaks Park, on the corner of Fair Oaks and Madison. There's a free shuttle from the Bella Vista High School parking lot at 8301 Madison Ave. Tickets are $6 - $12 and available online at www.renaissance-rose.org

June 25, 2008
Drive-By Truckers kick booty, eardrums

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Say what? Huh? Sorry, I'm a little deaf in my right ear this morning. That's what I get for standing a little too close to the speakers at last night's epic Drive-By Truckers show at Empire. We're talking a three-guitar, Southern rock onslaught from a truly great American band. Drive-By Truckers hail from northern Alabama and their songs are populated with various ornery characters and a sense of small-town tenacity during tough economic times. Think of Drive-By Truckers as something like Lynyrd Skynyrd in the age of job outsourcing.

But most importantly, the Drive-By Truckers rock hard. So there was lots of hootin' and hollering during the band's set at Empire, which stretched past the two-hour mark and still didn't touch such gems as "Ronnie and Neil" (from the "Southern Rock Opera" concept album), "Do It Yourself" and "Feb. 14." The group's touring behind its latest album, "Brighter Than Creation's Dark," and a chunk of its set featured these newest songs. Some longtime Drive-By Truckers fans may have missed Jason Isbell, one of the group's key songwriters who left the band last year (BTW, don't miss Isbell's excellent solo album "Sirens of the Ditch.") So yeah, I missed hearing such Isbell penned tunes as "Outfit" and "Decoration Day," but Drive-By Truckers still roared like a nitro-powered Peterbilt in songs like "Sink Hole," "Marry Me" and "Lookout Mountain." The band played loud and loose - the bottles of Jack Daniels being passed around the stage was fuel for these Truckers - and Tuesday nights rarely rock like this.

Side note: Patterson Hood of the 'Truckers talked a couple times about someone from Sacramento who was "one of his favorite people in the world." Does anyone know who Patterson was talking about?

Anyway, that was one mighty show, even if my ears are paying for it. But that's the best kind of rock 'n' roll: the kind you can still feel the next day.

June 24, 2008
Playwrights unite

The Playwrights Collaborative at Chautauqua Playhouse has scored a double coup. Wednesday at their 7 p.m. meeting locally based professional playwrights Richard Broadhurst and Richard Hellesen will both be in attendance. Each has had works done around the country and will speak on the realities and difficulties of getting a play produced.
Hellesen is currently the literary manager for the B Street Theatre and recently had his short play "One Destiny" performed at the White House with First Lady Laura Bush in attendance. Broadhurst's drama "Resting Place" had its world premiere at the Sacramento Theatre Company in February.
Playwrights Collaborative, which has been existence for just over two months, hopes to be a resource for developing writers. Leo McElroy and Gary Agid lead the workshop and McElroy says he's looking for a "distilled respectful approach" to criticism that's adapted to current theater sensibilities. He says a committee selects the plays, which are read ahead of time so the people attending know what will be discussed.
Besides talking with writers Hellesen and Broadhurst, the short play "An Imperfect Child" by Frank Ingram and Mark Smith will also be read.
The Chautauqua Playhouse is located at 5325 Engle Road
For more information contact Gary Agid at gary@agid.com (916) 383-9267 or Leo McElroy at mcelcom@comcast.net (916) 564-0905.

June 24, 2008
Local retail is a shopper's dream


Kate Spade

Nothing - not gas prices, not a sluggish economy - appears to stop commerce. Especially when it comes to fashion.

I've been keeping an eye on all the new stores either opened or soon to open at Arden Fair Mall. And then there's the Fountains at Roseville, which has its ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. next Monday. There are quite a few new-to-the-area stores already in place.

* At Arden: The Bebe store has relocated and reopened in a much larger space next to the Coach flagship store. Bebe doubled the amount of merchandise, so that means more accessories. Lucky Brand Jeans (across from J.Crew) is set to open the end of this month with the usual assortment of cute tanks, hoodies and their signature jeans. Next month, look for designer Kate Spade's first Sacramento store. And no one does accessories - especially shoes, handbags and sunglasses - like Kate. Armani Exchange, also coming in July, will offer fashions for both men and women. Juicy Couture will join the mix in August, right across from Kate Spade. Expect the usual mix of tracksuits, handbags and, of course, the signature logo.

You can check what's coming, what's already opened and the Arden Fair store directory here.

* The Fountains: This is going to be one fab, upscale shopping destination. There will be an Anthropologie (apparel), Smith & Hawken (home and garden), West Elm (interior design) and Sur La Table (kitchen products) - all new to the area. Local boutique Serendipity will now have a second location as will Article salon and boutique. Foodies will get a new Whole Foods and Boudin Bakeries.

To see the Fountains' "floor plan," click here.




June 24, 2008
Paris in Sacramento

The Sacramento French Film Festival has confirmed the lineup for its 2008 event, to take place July 18-20 and July 26-27 at the Crest Theatre.

As always, the selections range from the humorous ("OSS 117: Cairo Nest of Spies," an espionage spoof opening the festival) to the scary (the psycho-horror midnight offering "High Tension"), and from the ground-breaking to the classic.

Put simply, this festival offers cinematic opportunities unavailable anywhere else in Sacramento, during any other time of year. Like the opportunity, at this year's festival, to see Truffaut's "The 400 Blows" on the big screen.

The festival still is a few weeks away, but the fun already has started with the promotional video shown above (via YouTube). It features key players from behind the scenes, including festival co-founders Cecile Downs -- and Connie Georgiou, as pals on their way to see a show.

(Spoiler alert: the stranger getting fresh with Downs actually is her husband, strong>John)

For the complete festival line-up, see festival's Web site


June 23, 2008
Download this: 20 free tunes via Kansas University (sweet!)

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In this dog-eat-dog economic slump it helps to know people. People who can get you free stuff, that is.

Here's the deal, my buddy Ian - a former Bee employee, by the way - works for the Lied Center of Kansas which is the University of Kansas' performing arts center and is similar to UCD's Mondavi Center. Anyway, he tipped me off to a great iTunes giveway the center is sponsoring.

E-mail the powers-that-be at
lied@ku.edu
to nab one of 50,000 iTunes cards good for 20 free songs.

It's not just any 20 songs, mind you. Rather, the card gets you 20 tunes by the likes of Phillip Glass, Laurie Anderson (pictured), the Soweta Gospel Choir, the Turtle Island String Quartet and Interpreti Veneziani.

They're all acts on the Lied Center's 2008-09 events calendar. Some of them, by the way, are also on Mondavi's calendar. Think of it as not just a great way to get free music - but also an opportunity to preview some of the performers visiting Davis this year (check out the Mondavi 2008-09 calendar here).

For more information, surf over to the Lied Center site.

June 23, 2008
George's 'filthy words'


Associated Press

With comedian George Carlin's passing on Sunday, I couldn't help but try to recall - from memory - his famous seven dirty words.

I couldn't.

I was still in high school when the whole hoopla about what you could and couldn't say on radio and TV was up for debate. There were no computers, no "Google" and no one in Martinsville, Va., would be caught dead saying those "words."

Right!

I heard at least three of them on a routine basis from the members of the football team!

Well, the whole debate eventually made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, and those judges decided in 1978 (five to four) that, yes, the seven "filthy words" were indeed pretty filthy.

As Carlin so famously uttered after the verdict: "They made up a whole new category of filth for me. It wasn't obscene -- indecent. And they said you can't play it when kids might listen."

Today, just an hour's worth of reality competition shows (on cable, of course) will expose viewers to the same three words I heard often in high school. At least one of the words has appeared in The Bee in reference to someone being upset with something or someone else. In its adjective form, it translates to P.O.'ed. Not quite the same word as Carlin had in mind, but close enough.

The other four words are still incredibly offensive, even to someone who has been known to drop a few foul utterances - under intolerable circumstances, of course.

So, even as we've progressed in our desire to maintain decorum and good taste, it was George Carlin who gave us some choice words to ponder a generation ago.

June 20, 2008
Strings and things

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"Sunday Single" is big on bands that truly do something different, so we're happy to say that the Definite Articles have one of the most unique sounds around town. The members of Definite Articles are classical musicians by background, but bring their string instruments into an intriguing indie-pop setting. Check out the all of the cool melodies, plucking and bowing on "Elixirs," which you can hear down below.

THE DEFINITE ARTICLES
Song: "Elixirs"
Style: Indie-pop meets chamber music
Members: Shawn Alpay (vocals/cello), Jon Sung (violin), Arjun Singh (drums), Melody Mundy (viola)
Influences: Electric Light Orchestra, Sufjan Stevens, the Arcade Fire, Matt Pond PA.
Behind the song: "'Elixirs' was written about a girl who I could never quite admit that I had feelings for," says Alpay. "I wrote this song as a means of processing through that, where you're balancing between two different emotions, and you can't quite figure it out which way the seesaw will go. So I left the perspective of the lyrics vague. Are the words coming from me, or the girl? I suppose I still haven't figured it out, even now."
See them: July 12 at the Blue Lamp (1400 Alhambra Blvd.), with An Angle, Bridges and Bright Light Fever.

Here's the player to hear "Elixirs":

On the Web: www.myspace.com/thedefinitearticles

June 20, 2008
Jewel on the culture of women in music

jewel-04.JPG One of the topics that came up when I interviewed Jewel, who appears Saturday at the Sleep Train Amphitheatre with Brad Paisley (read my story here here) was the subject of women in music and what it was like for her when her debut album "Pieces of Me" was released in early 1995.

Alanis Morissette released her debut album "Jagged Little Pill" later that year and, Jewel, notes there were big differences in the way the two artists were received. For one, Jewel's sound was a soft folk-pop and, initially, radio stations wanted nothing to do with her.

"When I first started out Nirvana and Soundgarden were king and they wouldn't arrest a girl," Jewel says.

Then Morissette exploded on the scene with her first single "You Oughta Know."

"Alanis sounded like one of the guys - it was very angsty rock and I was just this sincere little songwriter - very traditional sounding," Jewel says. "Getting me on the radio was (still) heck. I couldn't get my first single, 'Who Will Save Your Soul" on the radio for 10 months."

Once she did make it on the radio, of course, Jewel did very well; she's sold more than 18 million records since the start of her career. But, she adds, being a woman in music during the mid-90s definitely had its downside.

Jewel's success, along with that of Morissette's and others such as Meredith Brooks, Jill Sobule and Hole's Courtney Love meant that most female musicians - regardless of their sound - got lumped in together.

And it was the women who came before them that paid the real price, Jewel says.

"It was insulting - there were so many great women that came before us and (the press) was trying to act as if we invented the concept of women in rock," she says.

"We didn't - Joni Mitchell and Carole King and Rickie Lee Jones came before us. And before that it was Josephine Baker and Etta James and Nina Simone - there were always these women who did amazing, revolutionary things with music."

Consider yourself schooled.

June 20, 2008
Olivia Coelho will close one door


Bows and Arrows

Some somewhat sad fashion news to report today.

Business owner and all-around great gal Olivia Coelho e-mailed to say that she has decided to close her Olipom store in midtown.

As many shoppers will recall, Olivia lost her original Olipom store on 19th street in a fire almost two years ago. She reopened at 1115 21st St. Then, last fall, she expanded her vintage empire with Bows and Arrows several blocks away. And everyone (including Olivia) fell in love with it!

"It is sad, but it is only because I love Bows and Arrows so much, and because it is doing so well, that I would close Olipom," she says. "I just don't have enough love, energy and time to stock and manage and work both stores."

Olivia also enjoys sharing Bows and Arrows with local designer Trisha Rhomberg so, together, that focus and attention should be an asset at the boutique, which is at 1712 L St.

Parting words from Olivia: "Thanks to all of you for participating in what we did here. Olipom has been a great community shop!"

So who benefits? Shoppers, of course!

Starting today and running through Sunday, everything in Olipom is 50 percent off. The store's last-day sale (and big party!) is from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. next Wednesday.

I wish Olivia and Trisha all the best. They're midtown Sac's favorite fashion mavens!

June 20, 2008
No grief with Reefs


Reef

OK, as a pre-emptive strike to a story that's scheduled soon in features, I'm PRO flip flops. My colleague, Sam McManis, is working on a story based on some info he recently obtained from the American College of Sports Medicine that "suggests that flip flops are a major cause of lower leg pain - calves, soles, etc."

Yeah, I know they don't have a heck of a lot of arch support, especially the super flat ones. But, in defense of the 'flop, I know I couldn't make it through a summer in Sac without my numerous Reefs (pictured). Taller than a regular pair of thongs, Reefs do supply a modicum of support but, more than that, they're really fun to wear.

I get my annual stash at Swanberg's on J (2316 J St. in midtown). Owner Lauren Lundsten checks in with me each season when the "innovative" Reefs arrive.

For example, I have a pair with a bottle opener on the bottom and another with, I swear, a plastic "pull-out" drawer to stash your valuables.

So, I'll read Sam's story and take my soles into consideration.

But no way will I make it through this dry heat in sensible shoes! UGH!

June 19, 2008
The bounds of PG-13


When you see as many movies as I do, you get a sense just from watching a film what it's going to be rated.

But my rating abilities have proved faulty lately. Certain that the innuendo-filled "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" and "The Love Guru" (opening Friday) were rated R, I was surprised to find each rated PG-13.

Now, PG-13 always has been amorphous, allowing all sorts of questionable material as long as certain body parts and curse words stay under wraps.

I often have lamented, in print and in person, the amount of violence the MPAA allows in PG-13 films. I then follow -- at least in person -- with a kicker about how Americans are prudes about sex and far too accepting of violence. (This observation usually leads my friends, gathered around me in a dark coffeehouse, to nod so vigorously in agreement that the berets nearly slip from their heads).

But "Zohan" and "Love Guru" suggest the MPAA is loosening up on the sex front - a development I'll file in the "careful what you wish for" category.

Because when I call the MPAA raters prudish, I am referring to their stance on sex scenes between attractive people, not their views on penis jokes delivered by comic characters.

Maybe it's not sexuality that discomfits the ratings board after all, but the sincere expression of it.

I think the MPAA has intimacy issues.


June 19, 2008
A reunion that sizzles


Bravo

Last night, Bravo served up "Top Chef: The Reunion", featuring the 16 "cheftestants" from Season 4. Finalist Richard Blaise appeared remote from Atlanta, awaiting the birth of his daughter.

This was the first "Top Chef" I followed from start to finish, and I thought Stephanie Izard of Chicago definitely earned the title last week. But last night's show also featured the announcement of this season's fan favorite. And I was all fired up to see Andrew D'Ambrosi take the $10,000 prize, only to see sweet Steph get the honors. So that's the $100,000 from Glad and the extra 10 grand for being soooo nice!

(Well, I knew Lisa Fernandes wasn't going to grab the cash. She spent the entire season stewing - literally - and looking like she was poised to punch someone out. Even she admitted the nasty faces gained her no friends once the show was over.)

Anyway, I thought Andrew provided the most fun (beyond the cooking) on the show and, obviously, had the best one-liners. As a matter of fact, his "culinary boner" comment earned its way on to a T-shirt (pictured) that Bravo is selling online. Just click here to order. Each tee is $24.95 and will be shipped beginning July 15.

His bud, chef Spike Mendelsohn, debuted the shirt on last night's show.

One of the interesting e-mails that a viewer sent in commented on the show's heaping helpings of weekly profanity. "The females talk like drunken sailors on leave," is what I recall. A quick recap did, indeed, prove that competing in a hot kitchen brings out the F-bombs in everyone.

I love to cook, but I love great hair and great clothes, too. And NEW shows. So bravo! to Bravo for having more debuts in the coming weeks. Season 2 of "Shear Genius" is next Wednesday at 10 p.m. And Season 5 of "Project Runway" jumps on the runway in July.

And look for my interview with "Shear Genius" host Jaclyn Smith and celebrity hairstylist and judge Kim Vo in next Wednesday's Scene section.


June 18, 2008
Do it with a Wiffle Ball bat - for charity

I'm pretty sure the Beastie Boys had something else in mind when they sang "I did it like this, I did it like that, I did it with the Wiffle Ball bat" but, whatever, I'm still going to suggest you make like Boys and grab one of the plastic, perforated balls - for a good cause, of course.

That's because there are still a few slots open for the 4th Annual Pat and Tom / Clint Howard Wiffle Ball Challenge, scheduled for June 28 at Howe Park (2100 Howe Ave).

Yes, that would be Pat and Tom of 105.1 FM (KNCI) and, yes, that would be Clint Howard - Ron Howard's brother.

Here's the deal (and long story short), DJs Pat Still and Tom Mailey interviewed Clint a few years back and, somehow, the topic of Wiffle Ball came up; Howard told the guys how much he and Ron used to love playing the game and, from the sparks of an off-handed conversation, was born the idea for a charity tournament.

The tournament raises money and awareness for the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders), a research organization that studies causes of and seeks treatment for various neurodevelopmental disorders.

It's a cause that's close to the heart for the country radio deejays, Still's son, who is autistic, is treated by doctors at the institute.

Howard, by the way, really does participate in the tourney; the first year they played was the same weekend that Ron Howard's "Da Vinci Code" opened in theaters and, after the tournament, Clint told the deejays that he'd had the better weekend - and that his brother would probably agree with him.

In addition to all the Wiffle Ball games, there'll also be a home run derby, raffle and lunch. Still and Mailey are hoping to get 32 teams of three players; team slots are now available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Interested? Learn more by visiting the Wiffle Ball Challenge site.

June 17, 2008
RiverWrap blog feed covers Sacramento

Out of the ashes of Prosper magazine, Sacramento-based business and lifestyle monthly that ceased publication in November, comes a blog aggregator with a local focus.

The new RiverWrap.com blog feed, which went live last week, currently features feeds from dozens of Sacramento-based blogs as well as other blogs that write about the RIver City.

"That's what's really unique about this blog aggregator - we're bringing in blogs from around the world, not just Sacramento," says Zach Melchiori, a web analyst for the midtown-based Prosper Media company that produces the site.

"We'd much rather have someone blogging in Cleveland about Sacramento than someone in Sacramento blogging about their cat," Melchiori said.

What that means is a focus that is squarely Sacramento-centric, focusing on the region's culture, food, politics, media, entertainment, etc.

Some of the usual Sactown suspects are already finding a presence on the site, including Heckasac, The Sac Rag, Sac Foodies and yes, even 21Q.

In addition to the standard blog feed - updated entries from the local blogosphere, RiverWrap features recent headlines (including, yes, from stories in The Bee) and a Top 10 Blog Posts chart highlighting entries with the most hits.

There's also a Flickr feed - any photos submitted to the popular photo-sharing site and tagged "Sacramento" will show up here.

In the future, Melchiori says, look for more site interactivity including the addition of user comments.

"We really want to drive more dialogue," Melchiori says.

In the meantime, RiverWrap fills a nice niche; the site is hardly exhaustive in its representation of Sacramento bloggers but it's nice to look at, easy to use and, at the very least, neatly echoes the voices of Sacramento.

And I'm not just saying that because a post I wrote just made the Top 10 chart. Honest.

June 17, 2008
Fair gets water-friendly


Florence Low/flow@sacbee.com

The California State Fair and Raging Waters theme park at Cal Expo have teamed up to offer a family-fun-friendly deal to get unlimited access (regular business hours) to the fair and water park for one price: $49.99.

As soon as you purchase the Fun Fair Combo Pass it will be good for admission to Raging Waters and all 18 days of the California State Fair, Aug. 15 to Sept. 1.

Raging Waters Sacramento is open daily. Purchase the combo pass online by clicking here.

June 17, 2008
Makeovers from Chanel


Chanel

The Chanel counter at Macy's Downtown Plaza is gearing up for the official start of summer with a "Mega Event" this Friday. What this translates into is your chance to have your skin analyzed and your makeup done.

With really, really good products!

I've tried the Precision skin-care line, and there are some lightweight products that are perfect for summer, especially ones that work nicely with sunscreen.

As for the makeup choices (pictured), the bronzing powder is great for adding a bit of warmth to your skin - safely, that is.

And a good waterproof mascara (Inimitable) is important, not just for the heat or water but in case you get stuck crying at a summer wedding. Add a high-shine lip gloss, and you're good to go.

The Chanel event will be going on throughout the day. Your best bet is to book an appointment, so you're assured of a spot. Call: (916) 444-3333, ext. 2362.

June 16, 2008
Read it on purpose

We don't usually cover books at 21Q, but this one has a movie tie-in: Mary Pols, former movie critic at the Contra Costa Times, has written a terrific memoir called "Accidentally on Purpose" (HarperCollins, 272 pages, $24.95).

Beginning on the night she got pregnant -- by a nice young man she didn't know very well -- "Accidentally on Purpose" details Pols' transition from 39-year-old single film critic to working mom trying to negotiate motherhood, a career and a tricky relationship with her child's father.

There's loads of insight along the way, punctuated by tremendously funny and achingly sad passages and related with a level of candor that's unusual even for a memoir. Reading "Accidentally on Purpose" is like entering someone's mind and heart.

I couldn't put it down. And I'm not saying this because I know her -- because I didn't really know her until I read the book.

Most of the times I have seen her -- at film screenings or at meetings of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, a group Mary founded -- we have talked almost exclusively about movies. And real life, as we all know, is far more interesting. "Accidentally on Purpose" testifies to that.

For information on the book, click here ...

June 13, 2008
Fire coverage: Both good and bad

Wednesday, I asked readers to weigh in with their opinions on how local TV stations were covering the regional fires.

And, aside from some readers who groused that The Bee wasn't covering the media coverage enough, results were pretty much divided among "too much" and "not enough."

Barbara Boudreaux commented in an e-mail that she thought "the fire coverage by KCRA is not only excessive but obsessive. If there is a fire anywhere, even a grass fire, it is always 'top of the news' and their cameras linger for long periods on the flames."

Meanwhile, Barbara Sanfilippo appreciated KCRA's coverage - mostly.

A blog reader identified as "RepublicanKid" believed News 10 (KXTV) was the clear winner.

"While I don't know if they broke into programming, News 10 had the best overall coverage. They utilized their website very well with live video until late afternoon with a live chat going between a producer in the newsroom and viewers, who often reported developments as they saw the smoke."

And, finally, Susan Read believed all broadcasting outlets dropped the ball.

"I work (near) Kiefer Blvd. and Jackson Highway and I could not find anywhere, on TV or radio, that would tell me if and which streets were closed to fight the fire," she wrote. "Bottom line, with all the coverage of the fire, road closures should have been at the top of what to report."

Thanks to everyone for the input, you can read all the blog comments here.

June 13, 2008
Own an 'A-List' dress


Bravo

If you didn't catch last night's "A-List Awards" show on Bravo, you missed multiple outfit changes, two dropped plates of food and plentiful profanity by hostess-with-too-much mostess Kathy Griffin.

But it was all good, of course. Soooo much less stiff than, say, the Academy Awards.

The actual trophy was pretty hideous, but the show was a hoot.

Loved the Quick Fire competition between "Top Chef" judge Tom Colicchio and "A-List" chef winner Jose Andreas. They whipped up two dishes - on stage - that Kathy "dropped" before getting them to the judges.

Loved that "Project Runway" winner Christian Siriano, won for "A-List Drama Queen." Fierce! As for "A-List Drama Queen," Tila Tequila is one shot short of tranny.

In the end, past "Project Runway" contestants (pictured) created one-of-a-kind fashions that were modeled in a finale show by the likes of Niki Taylor, Karina Smirnoff, Nikki Blonsky and Candace Bushnell. The frocks were fabulous, and they're all up for auction to benefit UNICEF.

My favorite? Laura Bennett's cocktail dress and the dress created by Chris March and worn by "Make Me A Supermodel" winner Holly Kiser.

There's at least six days left to bid. So check it out at Bravo. Just click here.

June 13, 2008
Come on, shake shake it

Shakedown is the right kind of band as Sacramento kicks into summer. Its blend of rock and reggae will make you want to kick off your sneakers or Teva sandals and jump around at some outdoor show. Peep the Shakedown song "Love to Get Love" and chill to the upbeat rhythms and and hip-hop embellishments.

SHAKEDOWN
Song: "Love to Get Love"
Style: Rock 'n' reggae, with some hip-hop bump
Influences: Spearhead, Citizen Cope, Living Legends, Blackalicious
Members: Mark Kinyon (vocals/guitar), Bles (vocals), Mike Wilhelm (drums), Garrett Fonda (bass), D.Q. Hayes (saxophone), Mr. Vibe (turntables), A.J. Wilhelm (keyboards)
Behind the song: "'Love to Get Love' is a song I wrote pretty much after we had a line-up change," says Kinyon. "Even though reggae can be upbeat and happy, our older lyrics were kind of downtrodden. I wanted to write something a little bit more uplifting, a little bit more positive."
See them: Shakedown performs on Thursday at Tokyo Fro's 6th anniversary bash (2224 Fair Oaks Blvd.)

Here's the player to hear "Love to Get Love":

.
On the Web: www.myspace.com/shakedown

June 12, 2008
On track just in time for Second Saturday

Second Saturday is going to finally get a little transportation break. Parking has always been a premium at the popular Art Walk, which also attracts music and fashion lovers.

Vice Mayor Steve Cohn and the Midtown Business Association tried to get a trolley on track in time for the May event, but it didn't happen. But the tracks have been cleared and the trolley is on schedule to transport midtowners for this Saturday's event.

The Bee's City columnist Carlos Alcala got the word out via his column in Thursday's paper. To read the item for more info, click here


June 12, 2008
Fashion show update: Work it!


Photo courtesy of Bobby Trendy

Fashion shows are happening more frequently in Sacramento - and taking place later in the evenings. (For some of us, that means taking NoDoz to hang on until 10 p.m. But hey, I've been up since 6!)

Tickets just went on sale for "Werk: A Luxurious Evening of Fashion, Music and Dancing" set for, duh, 10 p.m. June 21 at the new Bojangles Nightclub, 1930 K St. (next to Head Hunters) in midtown.

Headling the show? Local designers Monte Christo, Steven Willey, Jeremiah Hill (for AGAPE) and Richard Hallmarq.

But hang on, there's more.

I didn't watch, but if any of you remember "The Anna Nicole Show" on TV (2002-04) you probably couldn't forget the interior decorator who was a regular. Anna constantly dissed him, and their outrageous feuds were great fodder for the short-lived series.

His name is Bobby Trendy (pictured), and he'll be co-hosting the show with Hallmarq.

I spoke recently with Trendy from his L.A. home, which he shares with at least 11 Dobermans (rescued from Craigslist). "I live with my pets and my hydrangeas," he says.

Trendy says Anna Nicole changed his life, even when she was mean and hateful. "It allowed me to retire as an interior decorator and open the Bobby Trendy Museum, which is next door to Marc Jacobs' store (in West Hollywood)."

Trendy definitely sees himself as a modern-day Liberace. He has his own clothing designer, and the museum showcases mannequins dressed like him.

So what can Sacramento fashionistas expect?

"People don't get to see me a lot in person," Trendy says. "They see me in the tabloids because I normally don't do appearances. But I'm living proof you can live here and reach whatever you want."

Believe it. He had worked as a cashier at K-Mart before Anna Nicole discovered him!

As part of next Saturday's show, Trendy anticipates no fewer than 10 costume changes!

Also on the fashion playbill: San Francisco DJ duo SpekrFreks and a special appearance by recording artist Armstrong Jr. And, as if that weren't enough, the night will also feature a "walk-off" battle on the runway hosted by "Miss Danielle." Anyone in attendance can compete for a cash prize. So, do you have what it takes to be Sacramento's next top model? If so, sign up for the walk-off is at 9:30 p.m. the night of the show.

Tickets for Werk are $10 (18 and over) at R5 Records, 16th and Broadway. Doors open at 9 p.m. for the show.

I'll get a wake-up call at 8:30!


June 11, 2008
Love and Politics


"Antony and Cleopatra" is one of Shakespeare's lesser seen but more highly entertaining plays. Take heart, the rarely seen epic romantic tragedy will be staged Sunday at the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival with Adrienne Sher directing.
"The biggest part of the job was editing the script down to two hours," Sher says.
"I've never edited a Shakespeare before and it was fascinating. It gave me a love of this play which I hadn't had before. It's very funny! I learned so much doing it."
The reading takes place in Room A6 on the City College campus at 7 p.m. Sunday night.
The staging is minimal and Sher says the actors will carry scripts and move "some, but not a whole lot."
"My main interest was in making sure the story got told, so I did some direction around relationships and dynamics."
Christine Nicholson and Luther Hanson will play the doomed lovers with Rod Breton and Ken Figeroid also taking part.
"I'd kind of like to direct it now that I've worked on it. I really, really enjoyed it," Sher says.
The reading is a fund raiser for the festival and tickets are $10. For information call 558-2228 or go to the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival website at www.sacramentoshakespeare.net

June 11, 2008
Bay Area news anchor needs to improve transition skills

From the thank-goodness-this-wasn't-local files:

There are stupid anchor moments and then there unbelievably head-shaking, OMG-anchor moments.

All I can say is that Ken Bastida, an anchor for San Francisco's CBS affilliate, Channel 5 (KPIX), might want to take a refresher course on the importance of smooth transitions.

I mean, seriously.

And, by the way, Dana King, the co-anchor in question, is alive and well.

(Via, of all things, VH1's Best Week Ever blog)

June 11, 2008
Reggie Kumar back on the air - at Fox40. Also: Fire coverage?

Less than three months after being laid off by Channel 13 (KOVR), reporter Reggie Kumar is back on the air, this time at Fox40 (KTXL).

Fox40 news director Brandon Mercer confirmed in an e-mail to The Bee that Kumar is working in a "freelance capacity."

"Reggie has a talent for finding interesting stories, and bringing energy and creativity to his live reports," Mercer says.

And, in other local TV news, representatives from just about every station have called or written in to trumpet their respective station's coverage of the fires in the Sacramento and Stockton region.

It's certainly arguable (and I know you're ready to debate this) but it seems as if Channel 3 (KCRA) "won" the day by breaking into regular programming with two-hours-plus of mid-day coverage.

But, is quantity synonymous with quality?

As firefighters continue to battle blazes today, I'd like to hear from you - how well are the stations covering the story? Too much? Not enough?

Leave comments below or e-mail me at rleibrock@sacbee.com

June 11, 2008
Expanding her hair empire


Photograph by Lyra Halprin

Jacquelyn Crabtree (pictured) is a familiar face on the Sacramento hair-styling scene. I know I've seen her - curling iron and hair spray in hand - at many of the fashion shows I've covered, from Sacramento to San Francisco. (She's also made the fashion trek to L.A.)

Oh, and she and Patricia Woodward, an assistant professor at Sac State (kinesiology and health science), are co-owners of Strands Salon & Spa, 3271 Folsom Blvd. in Sacramento. The Aveda-inspired salon opened about six years ago after Jacquelyn and Patricia relocated here from Fresno.

Their beauty bonanza is now cutting its way across the Causeway with the announcement that the two have purchased Tangles Salon Spa in Davis (also an Aveda salon), 630 Second St.

John Hausler, Tangle's longtime owner, will remain at the salon as a stylist, as will Kara Smith.

And, yes, Tangles customers will still be able to drink in that all-too-familiar Aveda "scent" that's so distinctive of the line's eco-friendly styling products.

Jacquelyn e-mails, "We're thrilled to have a Strands in Davis now. We appreciate the community's interest in the environment, and the many friendly people."

How J.C. is going to fit another salon into her business sked will be nothing short of amazing.

FYI: Strands does the hair and makeup for Kristen Simoes and Guy Farris, co-hosts of the weekday 9 a.m. "Sacramento & Co." show on Channel 10. Recently, the salon coifed the "Sex and the City" event at the Crest Theatre.

And Jacquelyn has been known to have her hands in first lady Maria Shriver's lovely locks and the lesser locks of the governor himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The new Davis version of Strands is set to hold an official open house in the next few weeks, so stay tuned.


June 10, 2008
Fashionable goings-on

Already making plans for the weekend?

In Sac, it's the always popular Second Saturday event, when shopping and strolling are synonymous with noshing and sipping. Midtown is your destination. Mark your calendars.

Over in Davis, The Wardrobe boutique is gearing up for its 2nd Friday Salon, "The Sound of Fashion." It's happening in conjunction with the city's Downtown Art About. The event is from 9 to 11 p.m. Obviously, after-hours shopping is part of the package, along with DJs from KVMR and KDVS.

Wardrobe owner Heather Caswell says folks will find "songs to chill to, dance to, dress to and romance to." OK, so there's two hours you couldn't fill watching reruns of "The Ghost Whisperer."

The Wardrobe is at 206 E St. in downtown Davis. You can also check it out online. Just click here

Another fashion-related event is set for Saturday night. White Pebbles Fashion is putting on a fundraiser from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel (2001 Point West Way) to benefit autism research at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute and the Sutter Neuroscience Institute.

The fashion show, titled "The Best of the South Pacific," will headline the evening, which also includes dinner, music, speakers and a raffle.

Tickets to the event are $100 and are available by calling (888) 414-6337.


June 9, 2008
Film locally, win nationally

The locally themed short films "Kindred" and "Being Lisa" have been honored with "Hometown" awards by the Alliance for Community Media in Washington, D.C. The films were made as part of Access Sacramento's 2007 "A Place Called Sacramento" program, which asks filmmakers to compose 10-minute shorts with local themes.

"Kindred" (shown below via YouTube) imagines a physician whose vivid dreams evoke the 1850 cholera epidemic in Sacramento. The film's director, Sacramento graphic designer Scott Howe, 43, arrived at the idea for the film while his father was in the hospital getting his kidney removed. He came up with a location while working at his former job at California State University, Sacramento.

"I noticed that the basement of the library building looked just like a hospital,"
says Howe, who now works for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.


"Being Lisa" (below) involves a fledgling romance between and man and a transgender woman who meet over a business dinner.
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The experience of making "Being Lisa" convinced co-director/co-writer Becca Louisell, 34, who works for a local nonprofit, to apply to film school.

The project helped inspire her to "get work out there that has some kind of meaning," says Louisell, who co-wrote the film with Gene Hoisington, Steven Bourasa and the film's star, Amara Stefani, and directed it with Hoisington and Bourasa. She since has been accepted into the prestigious USC film program.

"Kindred" and "Being Lisa" will be honored in the "cultural perspectives" and "gay/lesbian" professional categories, respectively, at the ACM "Hometown" awards ceremony July 10 in Washington.

For information on the 2008 "A Place Called Sacramento" contest, now in the production stage, go to www.accesssacramento.org.

June 9, 2008
The B Street B3 lineup

B Street Theatre has set an impressive lineup for the second season of the edgier themed B3 Series. On Aug. 30 B3 will open with Douglas Carter Beane's Hollywood comedy "The Little Dog Laughed," which was nominated for the 2007 Tony Award for Best Play. It deals with a hard-driving agent who is trying to keep her star client's "recurring homosexuality" from becoming common knowledge.
In November, Irish playwright Conor McPherson's "The Seafarer" gets its Sacramento premiere. Set in an unruly old house in a town outside of Dublin, five hard drinking Irishmen find themselves in an unusual poker game on Christmas Eve. "The Seafarer" received a Tony Nomination for Best Play 2008. This year's awards will be announced on Sunday night.
In January of 2009, Margaret Edson's "Wit," the winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, comes to town. The play about an English professor dealing with terminal ovarian cancer deftly balances intensity and humor in a story that's also surprisingly uplifting.
The B3 season closes next April with Arthur Miller's classic "A View From the Bridge," the story about Italian immigrants living illegally in Brooklyn and Eddie the longshoreman who initially shelters them. It is one of Miller's most enduring and popular dramas.
This year B Street will also sell $60 subscriptions to the B3 Series. For information call (916) 443-5300 or go to www.bstreettheatre.org.

June 9, 2008
Following the 'Devil'

I've been waiting for this one, and it arrives just in time for summer reading.

Author Lauren Weisberger, she of "The Devil Wears Prada" fame, is back with her third novel titled "Chasing Harry Winston." I just started it and, if you loved "Devil," you've got to read "Harry."

I appreciate that Weisberger seems to have such an inside scoop on life in New York. Even though I'm far from being a "thirtysomething," the new book tells the story of three best friends about to turn 30 in, of course, the Big Apple. Each is predicting life-altering changes as they hit the big 3-0.

For example, I'll let you in that one of the characters, "Emmy," vows to have carnal knowledge of a man on every continent!

Publishers Weekly says: "A comic novel that manages to rise to the upper echelons of the chick-lit genre."

I love the book cover (shown) because it's a twist on the "Devil" cover. Instead of the red stiletto with horns, it's a white fur stiletto with diamond rings. Clever touch.

My prediction? Look out Jackie Collins, who just happened to be on the "Today" show this morning talking about another beach read, her new book "Married Lovers."

Oh heck, go ahead and get both books. For less than a tank of gas, you'll be thoroughly entertained for the next couple weeks or so.

June 6, 2008
RadioMatthew finds a new home - at Fox40

In May, Sacramento media blogger RadioMatthew called it quits but now he's back - sort of.

RadioMatthew - who asks that we don't publish his offline, real-world name - tells us he's accepted a job as a Web producer with Fox40 (KTXL).

What this means for the rest of us, RM says, is that he may also soon return to the blogging realm.

So, you know, stay tuned.

June 6, 2008
Random rapping

RandomAbiladeze.JPG

Random Abiladeze (say: Random A-bil-a-ties) is a local rapper and spoken word poet who just dropped an album called "Brutally Honest." His music is all about empowerment and social awareness, and that all comes through on "Never Give Up," this week's "Sunday Single." Check out Random Abiladeze's very on-point rhyme flow and those slick scratches from DJ Rated R from Live Manikins.

RANDOM ABILADEZE
Song: "Never Give Up"
Style: Hip-hop that seeks to uplift and inspire
Influences: Tupac Shakur, KRS-ONE, Nas, Guru
Behind the song: "In this song I felt like I'm standing up for the 916 and I'm not afraid to say it," says Random Abiladeze. "It kind of turned into an anthem that I wasn't expecting. (The hook) of 'never give up, never give in, forever we win, to quit is the original sin,' that's just the way things are going. People are disillusioned, and I want to remind them that you can speak with authority and confidence. That's what I want to inspire in other people."
See him: Random Abiladeze performs on June 20 at 6 p.m. at Dimple Records in Roseville (1701 Santa Clara Dr.).

Here's the player to hear "Never Give Up":



On the Web: www.myspace.com/randomabiladeze

June 6, 2008
Got plans for Saturday night?

I just got off the phone with Nicole Kangas over at Javalounge right off Broadway (2416 16th St., next to Forever Tattoo).

She says she's putting together a fashion show - Homespun Revelry - for Saturday night that incorporates great clothes and great music.

Included in the runway and trunk shows? Sapphire Cordial, Bananafish, Linden Simone, Faedrah Clothing Co., Danielle Kalfas, Martini Kisses Designs and Mindy.

Included in the musical portion? Th' Losin Streaks, Knife Thru Head, Mr. Stitches and Flower Violence.

The whole thing gets started at 7 p.m. The cost? $7.

Get there early and take advantage of all the cafe goodies.

June 6, 2008
Book an appointment at The Bee's 'salon'

The features department (third floor) at The Bee is opening a "salon!"

No, we're not adding mani/pedis or cuts/colors to the daily menu, but we are setting up a fun and, hopefully interesting, series of discussions on something both readers and reporters enjoy: writing.

Our new features editor, Cathie Anderson, came up with the idea. Here's how it works: Editors and reporters can offer up stories from various publications, including newspapers and magazines, etc. Participants in the "salon" will debate and discuss the challenges and opportunities of writing in all its forms.

The first topic will be the personality profile. Or, as Cathie defines it: "The character sketch, the people pieces that provide the hot skinny on a person's life, style, impact. ... We've chosen several stories that draw word pictures of compelling people."

We are opening the "salon" beyond the features department to readers. So you have the opportunity to offer input. The point is the discussion, which could be both critical and positive.

In the first few sessions, we'll take a look at long-form profiles, short sketches that snap a shot of a personality at a moment in time, and humorous fiction that can teach us a lot about the use of metaphors, similes and other devices that liven up descriptions.

Our first "salon" appointment is at 2 p.m. June 24. If you want to have your opinions included in the discussion, grab a copy (if you don't already have one) of this month's Vanity Fair magazine for the cover profile of Robert Kennedy.

Spend some quality reading time with it and post a comment below. We'll let you know via 21Q and the print Bee what everyone had to say.

And hey, it's cheaper than a facial!

June 5, 2008
Of mice and movies


Last week I wrote a short news story that combined by favorite subject, movies, with one of my least favorite subjects, rodents. And I am still torn.

The closed theaters and snack bar at the Century Stadium 14 soon were up and running again, after being re-inspected. The county returned again Wednesday to make sure things remained up to snuff.

But as I said, I am torn. Having worked in food service in my youth, I know it takes constant vigilance to keep pests out, and that it's naive to think a place where customers routinely leave sodas, popcorn and candy on the floor wouldn't attract elements even less desirable than people who talk on cell phones during movies.

I just wish I had never seen behind this particular curtain. The Century Stadium 14 is one of my favorite places to see a movie in the Sacramento area. I especially love the smaller theaters, where the screens are big and the sound terrific.

Indeed, my love for these theaters is so great that I think it outweighs the creep-out factor. So ... I will heed the judgment of county inspectors and head back to the Century Stadium 14.

I just won't be wearing my flip-flops.


June 5, 2008
Charlie knew Diddley

BoCM1.jpg

Well, more like Charlie McGimsey knew what it was like to play with Bo Diddley, the rock 'n' roll pioneer who passed away Monday. The local drummer played back-up for Diddley at a gig at Folsom's Powerhouse Pub. You see, Diddley didn't usually play with a touring band in his later years. To cut costs while on the road, Diddley would hire local musicians for one-off shows. They tended to feel like "by the seat of your pants" gigs for the musicians, but it was still a doozy to play with a living rock 'n' roll legend like Diddley.

Here's McGimsey's story about playing with Diddley:

"In January 2004 I was playing in the Sunday night jam band, Probable Cause, at the Powerhouse Pub. Bo Diddley was booked to play on Jan. 4, and we were asked to be Bo's backup band for the gig. We didn't have enough time to practice with him, so we decided to learn some of his well-known songs such as "Mona," "Can't Judge a Book by its Cover," and "Who Do You Love." Friday afternoon Bo showed up and opened a guitar case - and there it was - the famous square guitar. We set up and played the first set, then Bo came back at 8 p.m. to start his show. He played from 8 p.m. 'til 10:45 p.m. straight through with no breaks.

He just called out the songs and we had to follow along. Being a drummer, it was much easier than a guitar player. I didn't need to know the chords to the songs, just the beats. The only thing he said to me all night was when he turned around and said, "Four on the floor," which means (in drum language) eighth-notes on the bass drum. It was a wonderful experience for me - he was very nice and I was very tired. It was the longest set I've ever played without a break. It was an honor to play with him. I will never for get that night."


June 5, 2008
Adrian Tomine's latest New Yorker cover

tominecover.jpg Sacramento native and current Brooklyn resident Adrian Tomine has yet another New Yorker magazine cover - just four months after his last one in February.

Tomine's style is so distinct, I recognized it as his the second I pulled the magazine from my mailbox yesterday.

Titled "Book Lovers," it features two young hipsters making eye contact outside a bookstore.

And, speaking of books, if you haven't yet, pick up a copy of Tomine's latest graphic novel "Shortcomings" (Drawn & Quarterly, 104 pages, $19.95).

I finally had the chance to read this book last week and now I'm sorry it took me so long to get around to it. (Published last October, it carries the distinction of being the only graphic novel to have cracked the New York Times Top 100 Books of 2007.)

It only took me about an hour to read this story of a disaffected Bay Area guy puzzling over a break-up, but the short amount of time says nothing of its depth and emotional impact. It's at once a visually arresting, funny, sad and always spot-on story of quarter-life crisis angst. Definitely a good, quick summer read.

June 4, 2008
Allure's most alluring products

I confess, I'm a cosmetics junkie!

So I always look forward to Allure magazine's Readers' Choice Winners, which are announced in this month's issue. (Jessica Alba is on the cover.)

Readers submit their picks for the products they can't live without. And this time, they got specific. Not just a Vaseline body lotion, but the particular formula. Not just any lipstick, but the particular brand and color. And there are products listed in both the drugstore and department store categories.

For example, the hot pick for a drugstore brand blush was Cover Girl Cheekers Blush in Natural Twinkle. The department store winner was NARS blush in Orgasm - always a winner in spite of the name.

One category that always amazes me is the drugstore mascara. Maybelline Great Lash continues to dominate. I thought for sure L'Oreal's Voluminous would give the pink and green tube a run for it this year.

Yeah, I know this isn't rocket science. But, given the tough economic times, checking out just the drugstore winners might save you money, especially on items like facial cleansers and lipstick.

Neutrogena's Make-Up Remover Cleansing Towelettes and L'Oreal's lip color in Mica were drugstore favorites.

Had I voted, I would be sharing the self-tanner banner for Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer (pictured). I still say it's the best way to get a subtle color, and now it comes in a variety of shades to suit any skin tone. It's safe, and there's no better way - other than stupid lunges - to make even leg imperfections go poof!

June 4, 2008
Look! Up in the sky! It's choppers, choppers everywhere ...

Last week we told you about Channel 3 (KCRA)'s extended morning news coverage and extra chopper duty for the big I-5 fix.

Well, I was walking through William Land Park yesterday morning around 7:30 a.m. - near the Sutterville / I-5 juncture - and there were, I'm here to tell you, about a million helicopters hovering through the sky.

OK so maybe it wasn't a million, per se, but the sky was buzzing and I'm not quite sure what causing more of a problem traffic: The I-5 closure or all the people craning necks out their windows trying to see the hovering vehicles.

This morning it was just as bad - a colleague told me the 'copter noise interrupted her beauty sleep at 5 a.m..

Tell me, does anyone else out there think that, perhaps, just maybe, there's a bit of chopper overkill going on? (I won't even get into the topic of overall I-5 fix topic saturation.).

Oh, and all you eagle-eyed viewers who wrote in to note that former Channel 3 pilot-for-hire John Hamilton had shifted gears to work for Channel 13 (KOVR), sorry to disappoint you but Hamilton's not a permanent part of that news family (yet).

Hamilton, along with former KFBK guy Commander Bill, did indeed pull first-day commute duty for Channel 13 but station news director Cameryn Beck tells us it was just a one-time thing.

For now.

"John Hamilton and Commander Bill did fly for us Monday morning as part of our comprehensive coverage," Beck explained in an e-mail to The Bee. "It was one morning only, but we always keep all of our options open."

Stay tuned - and keep your eyes to the sky. Or not. Maybe we shouldn't encourage the mile-high congestion.


June 3, 2008
Candidates dressed to vote


Lezlie Sterling/lsterling@sacbee.com


Jose Luis Villegas/jvillegas@sacbee.com

I'm all for getting out the vote and proudly parading around my "I Voted" sticker. As evidenced at my Land Park polling place, getting the sticker seemed almost as important as filling in the ballot!

Call it a badge of civic duty.

I didn't catch either of the top mayoral contenders out and about, but word has it they both voted early: Heather Fargo in Natomas; Kevin Johnson in Curtis Park (both pictured above).

And both opted for dapper, yet politically correct attire. Suit and tie the standard uniform for Johnson, who I've heard will be leading a fleet of vans around town to assist voters who need a ride to their polling place. (Can't tell if he's sporting athletic shoes.) And, for Fargo, a bright red jacket, similar to the one she wore for the first televised debate, was a good choice.

Expect to see an abundance of red, white and blue and stripes on tonight's televised election coverage.

But, please, no stickers on air.

June 3, 2008
So you want to be a pop music critic...

The school year's almost up, and that means the hammer is coming down for final papers and class projects. That also means it's the time of year when I get hit up by budding high school and college journalists to answer questions for one of their final assignments. Just for kicks, here's some answers to a questionnaire sent by a local high school student. But students, please don't plagiarize these answers or else you'll get docked three grades and sent to detention for the rest of the year. Or something ... anyway, here goes:

1. What are your responsibilities? I cover music for the Sacramento Bee, which means I'm the guy who wears headphones all day and goes to record stores in the name of "field research." Interviews, reviews, profiles and trend stories are all part of my beat.


2. Have you ever been threatened over anything you have printed? Yes. A local musician (who shall remain nameless) once wanted to throw down because I printed the sales figures for his band's major-label album that flopped. We've since hugged it out, and all is good. I've also been called a variety of mean names by Clay Aiken fans.


3. Have you ever not printed anything because of a possible lawsuit? Can't think of a time where that's the case. It's not like I'm tracking down the "Pentagon Papers" on the pop music beat.

4. How much experience is necessary for your job? Let's just say that you should have a formidable portfolio of clips if you're going to apply for a music critic job, and for most journalism jobs in general. A big music collection and ability to talk about many different genres helps, too. If none of the above apply, you need to come correct with lots of enthusiasm and a willingness for trial-by-fire learning. Offering to wash cars/mow lawns for upper management wouldn't hurt, either.

5. What are the advantages/disadvantages of your job? Advantages: The chance to talk to your favorite musicians; free CDs and concert tickets; being read by a sizeable audience. If you equally love music and writing, it's a dream job.

Disadvantages: Writing at 3 a.m. after a concert when you're tired and ears are ringing; being the one dork at a concert who's taking notes when everyone else is having fun; nasty Clay Aiken fans.

6. How did you get started? I started freelancing for small magazines and Web sites in the mid-1990s, mostly writing for fun. I then got hired at www.sacbee.com, and then the newsroom's pop music critic gig became available. I tried out for the job (first assignment: reviewed Depeche Mode at Arco Arena), and just about jumped through the roof when the position was offered to me.

7. What was the most uncomfortable interview you have done? Why? One time I was driving around a certain section of South Sacramento with a rapper who's also a 24th St. Crip. He was showing me around his old neighborhood and the places where he used to sell drugs. He also pointed out a couple of places where he claimed to have stumbled across dead bodies. It was night when we were driving around, and the light wasn't so good. Yeah, it felt kind of sketchy.

8. Who is the most famous person you have interviewed? Here are a few: Carlos Santana, Gwen Stefani, Roger Daltrey of the Who, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Dave Matthews, D.M.C. of Run-D.M.C., Ozzy Osbourne, one of the Pussycat Dolls (not Nicole, darnit), Carrie Underwood, and Lars Ulrich of Metallica.

9. Name your favorite print/broadcasting journalist? My favorite print journalist is Mike Sager (writer-at-large for Esquire); my favorite broadcast journalist is Julissa Ortiz from KMAX, I mean, the late great Ed Bradley.

10. What is the salary range of different positions on a paper? Ha! Well, I'm not sure since we don't have a serachable salary database like the one for state employees. But let's just say that nobody's going to earn a bling-bling lifestyle at a newspaper (unless you own that whole mug), but many of us can still provide fine for our families and have fun on the side. But if you really have a burn to write and report, it's good work if you can get it.

11. If you weren't writing, what would be your other occupation?
"Would you like fries with that?"
Well actually, I'm not sure exactly what I'd be doing, but I know I'd be writing on the side. Or I'd still be wearing earbuds all day, but just not getting paid for it.

June 3, 2008
Sarah Brightman to play Arco Arena in December

Brightman.JPGPop singer Sarah Brightman just announced dates for her Symphony World Tour and Sacramento made the cut.

Brightman is scheduled to perform December 16 at Arco Arena.

Brightman, once married to Broadway composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, is widely known as the inspiration for Christine in Webber's adaptation of "The Phantom of the Opera."

Off Broadway, she's earned a reputation as an accomplished pop singer whose songs are imbued with an operatic flourish.

Ticket details still pending so stay tuned.

June 2, 2008
Saint Laurent designed from afar


Associated Press file photo

A call from the newspaper on Sunday afternoon alerted me that designer Yves Saint Laurent had passed away at age 71 after a yearlong battle with brain cancer.

Sadly, I didn't have much to contribute to his obit:

I never met him, never saw one of his shows, never owned a YSL original.

Those honors went to fashion writers with global connections and socialites and celebs with deep pockets.

However, I did look through tons of images that moved immediately after his death was announced, and it's pretty amazing the impact Saint Laurent had on the fashion industry. (The one shown was taken on Nov. 1, 1965, and features Saint Laurent with actress Shirley MacLaine.)

The Associated Press tracked down Pierre Berge, Saint Laurent's close friend and business partner for four decades.

Here's what he had to say:

"(Coco) Chanel gave women freedom," and Saint Laurent "gave them power." This, of course, in reference to Saint Laurent's bold move to re-introduce pants into women's wardrobes.

Saint Laurent, along with Chanel and designer Christian Dior, pretty much endowed Paris as the fashion capital of the world.

In Sacramento, about the only YSL brand you'll find is fragrance and cosmetics. Of course, the Gucci Group took over the Saint Laurent fashion house in 1999, so if you've got an original, guard it with your life.




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