Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

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

October 31, 2008
Opera and politics....

Intense interest in the election is certainly a sign of the times.

That interest, in the arts, is playing out in unusual ways.

One of the more curious is the San Francisco Opera's providing election returns on election night Tuesday for audience members who attend its production of Modest Mussorgsky's political opera "Boris Godunov".

On Tuesday, eight Hi-Def video screens will be positioned throughout the War Memorial Opera House and will broadcast the latest election details before the opera and during intermission.

This production of Godunov offers bass-baritone Sam Ramey leading an international cast and production team that includes conductor Vassily Sinaisky and internationally recognized director Julia Pevzner in their San Francisco Opera debuts.

Information: or (415) 864 3330

October 28, 2008
Treat bag gives back goodies


I stumbled on this really cute jute bag (pictured) that certainly is appropo for Halloween, but also for anytime you feel like rewarding yourself or someone else with a treat.

This limited-edition bag is embroidered with a pumpkin-colored "Treats" on the side. Yes, it holds plenty of candy, but it's also sturdy enough for light grocery shopping, even hauling stuff to the gym or yoga class.

And, hey, it's for a good cause. The bag is only $3.99 and proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Check it out by clicking here.

Also, Sephora at Arden Fair Mall has plenty of spellbinding makeup ideas if you're still pulling together a costume for Halloween. For example:

* For your inner Elvira, there's nail patches in Black Strass ($10).

* Sephora's smoky eye palette ($38) is a step-by-step kit packed with all the necessary eye essentials.

* Nail polishes (each $4) in metallic purple and blue compliment any ensemble. They go great with the store's own brand of Glitter Gel ($10). And yes, it stays put.

By the way, we're hoping the local meteorologists hold off on the rain predictions for Friday. Because it's not a school night, I've got enough candy to sink a pirate ship - and then some. However, if you're 16 and show up with a couple of black face smudges and a pillow case, you get na-da!

October 28, 2008
Ghost Hunt

Natural healer and medium Ondre will broadcast live from the haunted Red Moose Cafe in Sierra City. The Internet broadcast on Nevada City-based Open Mind Radio takes place from 9 p.m. to midnight on Halloween. The Red Moose has been home to numerous paranormal encounters, according to residents and visitors. The internationally known Ondre will explore and investigate the building, reporting on anything he senses or experiences. For information call (916) 716-6196 or go to

October 27, 2008
A contrarian speaks out...


These days there's nothing more refreshing than the voice of a contrarian.

It's a sign of the times.

And one of the more interesting contrarians is conductor and academic Leon Botstein. He's conductor and artistic director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra which will perform at Mondavi tonight. He's also conductor and artistic director of the New York-based American Symphony Orchestra.

And he's president of Bard College.

Botstein has always had a great many things to say about classical music. And a great deal to say about education - some of it running contrary to popular views.

As a president of Bard College, a liberal arts college in upstate New York, Botstein has proved himself an able contrarian.

In the past, Botstein has advocated for the abolishment of the last year of high school. He did so in his 1997 book "Jefferson's Children: Education and the Promise of American Culture".

His gist?

Encourage high school students to voluntarily graduate in three years. It's a policy that he believes fits in well with the learning curve at a crucial age of educational development.

It's a policy that he has couched with the added benefit that such a move could also save property owners billions of dollars in taxes.

He called the current paradigm of high school outdated and leading to boredom and delinquency.

How's that for a refreshing take on education?

And so, it's no surprise that he is also a contrarian about music education.

"I see how little music education there is and I'm concerned about that, and I'm concerned we're not doing a great job with music education and music history," he said.

"I see how little a place music has to professors of the humanities at universities," Botstein said. "They often know a lot about art and literature but much less about classical music."

Botstein believes music education these days does not capture the imagination of young people. But he knows that classical music will not be an easy sell to a young demographic.

"It was never a children's affair," he said. "The question is: can we convince young adults to join in?"

When Botstein speaks of these issues it's not idle talk from a college president whose institution is content on resting on laurels.

An example of what Bard is doing with music education can be seen at its two Bard High School Early Colleges in New York City, where getting a diploma means you graduate with two years worth of college credits.

Some of the programs at the schools offer distinctive curriculum options. Botstein said that in its arts component adolescents are introduced to working music, visual arts and theater artists. In the program there are no music teachers. Emphasis is on the experiental.

One of the experiments that the program offers is teaching young people who do not know how to read music to improvise and to compose.

"One of the things that has been a mistake in the past in the teaching of music is the trend to teach music by rote," he said.

"What students really need to do is to learn how to improvise and they need to begin to compose early on."

He believes it is such an approach that can seed an interest in classical music among the young.

October 26, 2008
Sacramento Single: Harley White Jr Orchestra's "Autumn Returns"

hwjo pix_small 2.JPG

With a pedigree that includes Papa's Culture, Seventy and the Original Heads, Harley White Jr.'s been making music in Sacramento for years now, playing everything from jazz and hip-hop to rock.

These days, White's concentrating on jazz but still wearing many musical hats as the songwriter, arranger, stand-up bassist and leader for his big band-styled Harley White Jr. Orchestra.

"Doing the big band - it really covers everything I want to do," White says. "It allows me to do all those things that I'm interested in doing."

And what interests him, White says, is incorporating all of his musical loves - pop, jazz, hip-hop, rock, swing, etc - into one cohesive sound.

White finds inspiration in two music greats.

"Duke Ellington and Quincy Jones are my ideal musicians," he says. "They have hubris - they see the whole picture."

As such, White says he has no plans to release a CD version of his big band work.

"To release a big band record that sounds like a big band record? I wouldn't do it when Duke Ellington's already done it so perfectly," he says. "Those guys were on the road 200 nights out of the year and the music they play sounds like it - it was done so perfectly."

Fans can, however, find the Harley White Jr. Orchestra online as White turns to the Web to release experimental versions of his music. Check out one of those tracks, "Autumn Returns" at sacramentosingle.

Harley White Jr. Orchestra

Song: "Autumn Returns"

Style: Ethereal, dubbed-out jazz

Behind the song: "This a Harley White Jr. Orchestra song remixed by the Original Heads," White says. "I went into the studio with producer William Prince and we started with a regular square mix - like what you'd hear the band do at a show - and then dubbed it out.

"Dub (music) is what happens when you strip things out - it's about the (concept of) less is more."

Here, less is more means taking out some sounds while giving new life to others.

"You start with a bare bones skeletal mix and then add reverb and delays," he says. "It's about making the music more spooky and ethereal. "For example, there's a horn sound that, in the original version of the song goes "pow!"

Then, White says, lowering his voice to a whisper, "when you dub it out for the remix, it sounds like 'pow, pow, pow."

"It's about finding the subconsciousness of the song."

See them: Friday at the Distillery (2107 L St, Sacramento ) with the C.U.F. and Red Tape; the 21-and-over show starts at 10 p.m. and is $7 at the door.

Or, Nov. 11 the HWJO plays World War II-era music at a Veteran's Day party at Club 21 (1119 21st St, Sacramento). Patrons are encouraged to dress up in their best '40s finery. Admission is $10 and the music start at 9 p.m.

On the Web:

Listen to "Autumn Returns" here:

October 23, 2008
How Obama and McCain stand on the arts....

Ever wonder how 2008 presidential nominees Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain stack up on arts issues?

If you've been looking for it on the nightly news-good luck.

Some organizations, like the pro-public funding Americans for the Arts Action Fund, sees the arts as a crucial election year issue. The nonprofit has been keeping tabs on where each candidate stands on arts issues. To that end, it recently released its "Summary of 2008 Presidential Candidates Arts Positions."

The summary involves six criteria which are listed below.

1. Campaign has met with Americans for the Arts Action Fund to discuss policy issues.

Obama - Yes (on 4/1/08)

McCain - Yes (on 4/1/08)

2. Campaign has published policy proposals on the arts and/or arts education.

Obama -- Yes (policy proposal on 2/28/08)

McCain -- No

3. Candidate has made statement on federal support of the arts.

Obama -- Yes (during a Pennsylvania speech, 4/2/08)

McCain -- No

4. Candidate has made statement on federal support of arts education.

Obama -- Yes (Texas speech given on 2/28/08)

McCain -- Yes (statement released on 10/3/08)

5. National party platform includes statement on the arts and/or arts education.

Obama -- Yes

McCain -- No

6. Candidate has pro-arts Congressional record.

Obama -- Yes (Co-sponsored S. 548, Artist-Museum Partnership Act)

McCain -- No (voted to cut funding or terminate the National Endowment for the Arts*)

*Roll call votes on 7/12/00, 8/5/99, 9/15/98, 9/18/97, 9/17/97, 7/25/94, 9/15/93, 9/15/93, and 9/14/93

Source: Americans for the Arts Action Fund As of 10/03/08

The Arts Action Fund is a 4-year-old, nonprofit membership organization created by Americans for the Arts.

October 23, 2008
Pulling hairs one last time

For the past couple months, I've been in great company as one of the judges for the Park Ultra Lounge's "Hair Wars" competition.

At 10 tonight, three local salons - Article Salon, Rowena and Takashi and Allure - will go head to head (no pun intended) in the finale to see who is crowned the "Hair Wars 2008" winner.

Think of this competition as Bravo's "Shear Genius" meets "Project Runway" with a little of "Tabitha's Salon Takeover" mixed in.

For sure, the shows have been interesting and well-received by the Ultra Lounge attendees. To be honest, sometimes theatrical did an updo - of sorts - over hair you can really wear. But the three finalists are all well-deserving of one last shot of mousse.

This is a 21-and-over event at 15th and L streets. The show is outdoors, so bring a wrap if it's chilly. And space fills fast! For more info, click here.

October 19, 2008
Sacramento Single: Jay Shaner's "The Astronaut Song"


It took Jay Shaner a year to record his solo album, "Best Laid Plans." The process, says the Sacramento musician, taught him a lot about what it means to be a songwriter.

"I was working with (other artists) but ultimately I realized that I've come to a point where I have to have the artistic vision for where the music is going."

That recognition of responsibility was freeing says Shaner who also sings and plays guitar in the Cowboy Killers.

"You take music seriously but ultimately you've got to let it go - leave the guitar part alone," Shaner says. "It doesn't need to be pristine it's fine the way it is. I ended up making the album that felt right to me."

Shaner's been playing music nearly his entire life but only started writing his own about a dozen years ago.

It was the Cure's "A Letter to Elise" that inspired him to try his hand.

The sweet, sad pop song moved him, Shaner says, for the way it layered its emotions.

"To be able to say something deep that struck you on more than just a superficial level t the best songwriters write songs that can hit you both a visceral and a cerebral level."

Jay Shaner

"The Astronaut Song"

Style: Quiet, reflective folk-pop

Behind the song: "The song is about regret and coming to the point where you realize you're not going to be the person who, in your grandest dreams, you set out to be - but ultimately, you can still be happy with yourself."

Reconciling the music with the lyrics proved challenging, Shaner says.

"Early in my songwriting life I erred on the side of making things too catchy," he says. "I wanted this to be more melancholy - less dramatic."

To achieve that, Shaner experimented with a less traditional structure.

"I wanted to keep the middle (of the song) more ethereal and textural instead of (sounding like) a melodic break," he says. "So we brought in more drums at the end to make it more intense instead of adding another melody line.

Listen to "The Astronaut Song" here:

October 17, 2008
San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall


Couldn't make it to New York City to see Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony open the Carnegie Hall season during its celebration of Leonard Bernstein?

Well, you have two opportunities to catch up with an upcoming broadcast and a DVD release of the performance.

Locally, the Carnegie season opener will be shown on Channel 6 (KVIE) as part of its "Great Performances" series at 10 p.m. Oct. 29 .

Dubbed a "Carnegie Hall Opening Night 2008: A Celebration of Leonard Bernstein," the broadcast will reprise the orchestra's soldout Sept. 24 concert.

The performance features music from a wide variety of Bernstein's music, from "West Side Story" and "On the Town" to Bernstein's later works. Soprano Dawn Upshaw, baritone Thomas Hampson and cellist Yo-Yo Ma join the orchestra in the performance. Also included is footage of conductor Tilson Thomas interviewing each performer.

The orchestra is releasing a DVD of the performance on Oct. 29. That release will be available on the orchestra's SFS Media label at


October 17, 2008
Oktoberfest for fashion

Town & Country Village is a great destination if you're looking for something fashion-y - and fun - to do this weekend. The event, from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., will feature entertainment, including the Shriners Hospitals Keystone Cops, as well as a fashion show (6 p.m.) featuring the newest looks from boutiques with the shopping mall (at Fulton and Marconi avenues in Sacramento).

They include some of your faves: Sisters' Boutique, Bonney & Gordon, Bella Donna Bridal Salon and Starlette O'Hara Boutique. The fashion show will happen right behind William Glen store.

Sacramento Brewing Co. will be serving German-style brews made just for Oktoberfest, including Kellerbier, Sprockets Pilsner and Hefeweizen.

Something for the kids? How about face painting, balloon animals, the Sacramento Children's Chorus and lots of music and dancing. Whew!

The entertainment is free; just bring cash for food (bratwurst, strudel, pretzels) and brew.

A portion of the proceeds benefits Shriners Hospitals Concours d'Elegance.

October 16, 2008
Want to conduct the Sacramento Philharmonic?

Wouldn't it be a rush to lift a baton and conduct the 85 members of the Sacramento Philharmomic orchestra?

The opportunity to be a guest conductor is one of several prizes that will be awarded at the "Masked Ball on the Boulevard," an upcoming charity event benefiting the Sacramento Philharmonic's education and outreach programs.

Hosted by the Philharmonic, the event brings together fine cuisine, fire spinners, psychics and musicians under one roof from 7 p.m. to midnight Oct. 30. The event will be at the Greens Hotel, 1700 Del Paso Blvd. in North Sacramento.

Entertainment includes performances by principal musicians from the Philharmonic; the Philharmonic Brass, the Delta Wind Quartet and the Madrone Trio. On the non-classical side there will be a Latin/salsa band. The Moulin Rouge cabaret performers will also perform and there will be a costume contest with a $500 prize for best costume.

Tickets are $125 per person in advance, and $150 at the door. The first
200 attendees to purchase tickets will receive a celebrity-style swag bag valued at more than $250.

Tickets are available by calling (916) 732-9045 or online at

October 15, 2008
Local designer to host benefit show

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it's been particularly emotional for local fashion designer Tomicko Abella. Several members of her immediate family have been diagnosed - in just this year - with multiple types of cancer, including prostate and pancreatic as well as breast cancer.

"This past year has been very challenging," she says in an e-mail. "With cancer all around me I have decided to do something to support cancer all together."

That said, Tomicko is hosting a fashion show Thursday night at Avalon Night Club, 805 15th St. in midtown. Tickets are $15 at the door, and the show starts at 10 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Tomicko says her good friend, Karri Grant, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, will serve as host for the show.

"It will be a good event," Tomicko says. "I believe it supports a worthy cause, so we're hoping for a good turnout."

October 12, 2008
Sacramento Single: Must.Not.Die's "Attachment Interlude"


The members of Sacramento's Must.Not.Die are both deejays and musicians. Yes, Miguel Francis and Quinten Larsen, both 24, play records and remix songs but they also create their own music.

"We DJ really fun stuff - a lot of indie, electric dance music," says Francis of the tunes he Larsen spin at clubs such as R15, Old Ironsides and the Blue Lamp. "But the stuff we make is really different - we're going for that whole shoegazer, wall of sound, sample-based sound."

Francis and Larsen, who attended different area high schools, met through their school's theater programs and quickly bonded over a shared love for "nerdy music."

"We geeked out on stuff like Edit and Glitch Mob and then we just decided to start producing stuff on our own," Francis says.

Now the two tap into their other, disparate tastes - Larsen likes groove-oriented hip-hop, Francis prefers indie and math rock - to fashion new sounds.

"We'll work out something from a synthesizer and then create our own melody," he says.
"Quinten's good at laying down tracks and (creating) the rhythm section - I'm more involved in the melody so we'll just throw something out there to see what direction we go in."

They also use music samples in their songs -but with limits.

"We'll use samples as a pop element but when we do they have to be short and unrecognizable by the time we're finished," he says. "We don't want you to be able to tell what song it's from."

The two are currently at work on an EP, which Francis describes as "edgy and rough."

"It has a caustic energy - I'm just trying to represent my world view which is very imperfect, brooding and anxious."

The EP will be released by the end of the year, until then listen to the single "Attachment Interlude" at sacramentosingle.


Song: "Attachment Interlude"

Style: Surreal, dreamy electro-pop

Behind the song: "This song came out of a break-up," Francis says. "I was really in love but we weren't talking and I was listening to this one Pete Yorn song over and over. There was a small loop (in the song) that asked this question about not talking."

Francis took a three-second sample of the loop and then deconstructed, distorted and sequenced it into a brief, tense melody.

"It builds into this energy and madness that I was trying to convey," he says.

"I just wanted to personify that question of (not knowing) and have it build and build until it finally releases to the point where you let go."

See them: Must. Not.Die deejays Wednesday at Barcode Nightclub & Lounge, 1890 Arden Way, Sacramento. The 18-and-over dance club opens at 9 p.m and is $12 at the door.

On the Web:

Listen to "Attachment Interlude" here:

October 10, 2008
No opera in the buff

When Finnish soprano Karita Mattila sings the "Dances of the Seven Veils" in Richard Strauss's "Salome" she appears in the buff, as is the tradition.

But she'll only be appearing nude for New York audiences.

For the national live simulcast audience, like the six theaters the opera will be shown in Sacramento, the camera will pan away. As a result some of the power of the scene will be lost.

That decision comes way of the Met General Director Peter Gelb, who decided that the simulcasts should be more "family friendly".

Hmm... so much for giving us hicks in these here hinterlands the option to decide what is family friendly and/or appropriate, and what is not. Heave forbid we're given the option to look away for the few seconds the Mattila appears in the buff.

It's all silly, really. Think about it, if you go to Salome you go with the full expectation that you will see a story that involves a healthy amount of lechery and depravity. It's one of this opera's biggest charms.

So, censoring such a work is like trying to make "Deep Throat" or "Last Tango in Paris" family faire.

Nonetheless, the show must go on.... and on it will go in Sacramento this Saturday, October at 10 a.m. at each of these six theaters:

In Sacramento:
Sacramento Stadium 14
Sacramento Downtown Plaza 7
Sacramento Greenback Lane 16
Natomas Marketplace

Roseville 14

Elk Grove:
Laguna 16

October 9, 2008
Leanne makes the final cut


Portland's waterways provided some fine fashion inspiration for Leanne Marshall, who last night made it to next week's finale of "Project Runway" .

Leanne, who grew up in Yuba City, took mentor Tim Gunn (pictured) for a bike ride to discuss the progress on her final collection, which he pretty much gave thumbs up to. Each of the finalists (Leanne, Jerell, Korto and Kenley) had to include a wedding gown in their collections.

Leanne's use of "waves" in her designs was beautiful, though Tim was a little concerned about all the white that she was factoring in.

Anyway, the foursome returned to New York, where one of them would get the boot before the finale. Here's what I don't get: Every season the designers return and are collectively stunned when told they have to complete one more challenge before the finale. This has been the case since the get-go.

Last night, the challenge was to add bridesmaids' dresses to go with their already-designed wedding gowns. Ends up, Leanne and Kenley nailed their dresses (both wedding and bridesmaid), even though I thought Kenley's bridemaid's dress was a little on the short side. Jerell, whose finale collection looked a little cabaret (too much beading, too many mixed fabrics) when Tim visited him in L.A., had me worried because his bride looked like she was a walking floral arrangement. Korto's two dresses were too similar in fabric, but too dissimilar in style.

Ends up, Season 5 will be an all-gal finale - a first for "Project Runway." Check it out next Wednesday at 9 p.m. on Bravo. For more pics, just click here.

October 8, 2008
John Brown's "Sarah Palin (I Wanna Lay Pipe)" makes Rolling Stone's Hot List

Former Davis resident John Brown marries politics with pop culture on his latest track, "Sarah Palin (I Wanna Lay Pipe)." which, incidentally, just made Rolling Stone magazine's Hot List.

The 1998 Davis High School graduate, of course, was a runner-up on VH-1's "ego trip's The (White) Rapper Show."

In its Oct. 16 issue, Rolling Stone praised the "Sarah Palin" track: "The ... new rap jam may be sexist but dude makes some good points ... "

Indeed, mixing Palin sound bites with a groove-laden rhythm, Brown's song muses on the vice presidential candidate's image in - how do we say this? - less than gentlemanly terms.

Want to hear for yourself? Visit Brown's MySpace page to check it out.

October 7, 2008
Where was the debate fashion police?


First of all, I appreciate the importance of last night's mayoral debate at Sac State featuring Mayor Heather Fargo and Kevin Johnson (pictured).

They touched on some concerns hanging over our local heads. However, beyond the political issues (which are important, yes) and the snipping and sniping between the two candidates, it looked like many in the audience had been cramming for a test, snoozed and grabbed some clothes off the floor before heading to the debate.

And, as much as I appreciate debate moderators, last night's crew also dressed more like college students than television/radio personalities.

Sorry, but I will be shocked if Tom Brokaw shows up on tonight's presidential debate wearing a Tommy Bahama shirt!

KCRA 3's Kevin Riggs, who was covering the debate from the sidelines, was appropriately attired in a jacket and tie.

The students can be excused for opting for "Monday Casual," and those students asking questions looked pulled together. But I was hoping for more from Channel 3's Walt Gray and Jeffrey Callison of Capital Public Radio. Gray in particular had a total "Out of Africa" look.

And, because they're public figures putting themselves before the public, I feel comfortable addressing the two candidates. They were stark contrasts in fashion. Fargo's choice of a bright green blouse (with some sort of ruffle) was a tough color for the debate's dark set. Too "Golden Girls" for me. As for Johnson, I would have preferred the traditional political red/political blue tie rather than pink with polka dots, but kudos for the dark suit.

It's all minor, considering what's happening with the economy, crime, transportation, et al, but looking professional - when it counts most - does matter.

October 5, 2008
Sacramento Single: Ghosts of Wyoming' "I Have a Brain"

brighter GOW.jpgEarl Brooks only moved to Sacramento five months ago but he's had one toe-tapping foot in the River City for much longer.

Brooks' band, Ghosts of Wyoming, was born in Seattle - his home for 26 years. But, after meeting Sacramento guitarist Jerry Lewis at a gig, the band slowly shifted to include more parts Sac than Seattle.

"I just woke up one day and decided it was time for a chance so I made my girlfriend mad and told her I was moving," he says

The pair still talk on the phone twice daily and her influence is notable in the lyrics Brooks writes for his rollicking country-rock tunes.

Drawing from true life inspiration, he says, is the only way he can write.

"I can't write from anyone else's perspective but my own," he says.

"I can't sit down and say 'I'm going to write about a truck driver -it just comes out sounding like a 17-year-old's essay."

Ghosts of Wyoming

Song: "I Have a Brain"

Style: Bar room brawlin' Americana

Behind the song
: "I really like this song because it's got a great opening line, 'I was born in a one stripper town," Brooks says.

"That's a running joke with me and my sweetheart - her dad was an oil executive in Los Angeles ... and I grew up in eastern Idaho and Wyoming so the song is about the dynamics of two very different people coming together."

In addition to Brooks and Lewis the band also includes bassist Brad Moore,singer Mary Louise Picerno and keyboardist / lap steel player Brett Lemke.CQ

Much of GOW's music reflects influences such as the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Neil Young but "I Have a Brain" also taps into his love for the Flaming Lips.

"There are these two lap steel parts buried in the mix and they just come in and out of the song," he says. "The Flaming Lips have really tweaked my head as far as emotional content and general weirdness. There's a certain joy to their music that's really powerful."

See them
: Saturday at the Ryan Seng Collective, (1301 I St.) The artists' reception starts at 6 p.m., the music starts at 10 p.m. Free.

On the Web:

Listen to "I Have a Brain" here:

October 3, 2008
Sheryl Lee Ralph in Sacramento

Actress and AIDS activist Sheryl Lee Ralph, brings her acclaimed one woman show "Sometimes I Cry" to Sacramento's Guild Theater tomorrow. Ralph's extensive credits include originating the role of Deena Jones in the Broadway production of "Dreamgirls" and receiving Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for her performance. She's been in films with Denzel Washington ( "The Mighty Quinn"), Robert De Niro ( "Mistress") and Eddie Murphy ( "The Distinguished Gentleman." Ralph also won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress for performance with Danny Glover in Charles Burnett's "To Sleep with Anger."


"Sometimes I Cry" is presented by and opens their 2008-09 season.

The play which Ralph wrote and directed is inspired by real stories of women living with HIV and AIDS.

The evening includes entertainment featuring vocalists Aladrian Elmore and Bill Miller with Adrienne Bankert of KCRA News acting as Mistress of Ceremonies. There will also a talk back and desert reception with Ms. Ralph after the show.
"Sometimes I Cry" plays Saturday night at 8 p.m. October 4, at the Guild Theater, 2828 35th Street (35th & Broadway) in Sacramento. Tickets are $60 in advance and $65 at the door.

Next Friday, Images presents the world premiere of the new play "Solomon's Storefront" by Lisa Lacy. "Solomon's Storefront" will play at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m Sundays through November 9.
For information go to or call (916)428-1441.

October 2, 2008
Was this a 'PR' cop out?


Were last night's "Project Runway" judges seeing the same gowns schlep down the catwalk as the rest of us?

If not, then that explains the ridiculous decision to send all four remaining contestants - Jerell, Korto, Leanne and (whiney) Kenley - packing to create an entire collection for the show's finale.

I was reading some of the responses to Tim Gunn's blog at Bravo's Web site., and a lot of viewers are in total agreement that the show is keeping Kenley around for the drama.

That "fish-scale" fiasco she paraded out last night needed to be wrapped in today's newspaper. And what was up with that mundane black belt?

Anyway, Jerell wins the challenge and should have been named an automatic finalist for Fashion Week - along with Korto and Leanne - instead of these three having to compete with Kenley for the coveted spots.

Just my opinion, but I think it's a reasonable one.

Oh, and for the neighbors who think "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell, who is a producer on NBC's "America's Got Talent", swayed the vote to get opera singer Neal E. Boyd (pictured) to "win" (which he did) - forget about it. I know Simon loves opera (think: Il Divo), but even he doesn't have the moxie to move a country's votes!

As for me, I was pulling for piano man Eli Mattson mostly because I liked him a lot, thought he was talented and he didn't cry all the time.

October 2, 2008
Two good cheap shows tonight at Old Ironsides and Sophia's Thai Kitchen

uni and her ukulele1.jpg

Because, as I always like to say, Thursday is the new Friday there are a couple of good shows to check out tonight (you know, after the vice presidential debate). Best of all, given the troubling economy, they're both on the cheap side.

In Sacramento at Old Ironsides (1901 10th St.), check out quirky folk-pop singer-songwriter Ricky Berger with San Francisco band Uni & Her Ukelele (pictured) and, coming atcha live from Foresthill, the wonderful western swing'n'twang sound of the Poplollies. That show is 21-and-over and costs $5 at the door. For more information:

Or, head over to Sophia's Thai Kitchen (129 E St, Davis) to check out Tim Williams. The New York-based singer-songwriter crafts moody, earnest pop and because there's a melodica in the mix it all sounds so sparkly and pretty. That show is all-ages and only $3. For more information:

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