Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

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

August 31, 2009
Bitters bottle bidders battle

Collectible bottle enthusiasts vied for a quarter-million dollars worth of fancy glass in a recent Internet and catalog auction held by Sacramento's American Bottle Auctions (

A straw-colored bourbon whiskey bitters bottle went for $10,640, a green H.P. Herb Wild Cherry bitters bottle went for $7,480 and a Southern Aromatic Cock Tails (sic) bitters bottle went for $6,610 in an Internet auction of collectible bottles this month.

Even better than the bitters bottle bids was a $30,240 winning bid for what was described in a press release as a "medium chocolate amber California Clubhouse Whiskey bottle, made circa 1872-1874 and one of only nine examples known."

"For whiskey bottle collectors, it is the Holy Grail," said Jeff Wichmann of American Bottle Auctions.

All told, the auction drew bids of $250,000 for 260 bottles.

August 28, 2009
Mondavi single tix sales goes live Monday...


The time to buy single tickets for any the 85 concerts, lectures and recitals at the Mondavi Center for the Arts has arrived.

Tickets at the UC Davis-based presenter go on sale Aug. 31 for its 2009-10 season, a season that offers such acts as Sonny Rollins, the Saint Louis Symphony, and the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.

The single ticket sale will kick of at noon Monday. Tickets can be bought online at, by telephone at (530) 754-2787 or in person at the Mondavi Center Ticket Office at the north end of the building. That office is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m.

This year the center is offering incentives for ticket buyers called the "Pick 3" ticket package. That package allows patrons to save 10% off regular ticket prices if they buy tickets to any three (or more) shows.

August 28, 2009
Peter Yarrow at State Fair at noon today

Peter Yarrow, a member of the legendary folk group Peter, Paul and >Mary, is making a surprise concert appearance at noon today at the California State Fair.

Fair officials made the announcement with little notice to the press.

He'll be on the Promenade Stage in the fair's food court area.

Yarrow, Noel "Paul" Stookey and Mary Travers made up the most popular folk group of the 1960s.

"Peter, Paul and Mary's roots run deeper than almost any other folk act one might care to name, while their appeal crosses audience lines that other acts couldn't (and can't) even approach," according to

The 2009 California State Fair runs through Sept. 7 at Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento.

- Dixie Reid

August 28, 2009
Bring a favorite poem to public reading

Readers and writers of poetry will have the opportunity to share favorites at a special reading Wednesday 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Sacramento Room of the Central Library, 828 I Street.

The event will feature invited readers, including The Bee's Marcus Crowder and Carlos Alcala. Other readers are KXJZ's Jeffrey Callison, Clare Ellis of the Sacramento Room, Richard Hansen of the Book Collector and others.

The event is hosted by the Sacramento Poetry Center's Mary Zeppa and Bob Stanley.

Members of the public will also have an opportunity to read for a maximum of five minutes on a first-come, first-served basis. Readers are asked not to read their own poems, but to bring favorites by other writers.

There is no charge for the event.

August 28, 2009
Rocklin girl to appear on Labor Day telethon

Kayla Vittek, an active Rocklin 4-year-old, will be among the kids featured on the national airing of the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon Labor Day Weekend. The show will air locally on KQCA 58.

The telethon will show a video profile of Kayla and her parents, Lisa and Jeff. The family will also appear live during the program, which is in its 44th year. It begins at 6 p.m. Sept. 6 and runs for 21.5 hours, broadcasting from Las Vegas.

Kayla goes to horseback riding theraphy weekly, loves to dance and plays basketball with her parents. She has myotonic muscular dystrophy, a degenerative disease of the muscles. She uses leg braces and communicates using American Sign Language.

The telethon raises for the non-profit Muscular Dystrophy Association. It raised $65 million in pledges and donations last year.

August 27, 2009
Celeb fitness instructor Jackie Warner heading to Sac

The Bravo network's resident workout diva, Jackie Warner, will bring her pitch to the Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Warner, host of the reality series "Work Out," will answer all of your fitness questions in an hour-long presentation.
But, wait: There's more.
Warner's appearance is only part of a veritable fitnesspalooza at Arden Hills on Saturday. According to the resort's Web site, there also will be "yoga and body boot camp sessions, a jump rope demonstration, a pampering 'Beauty Zone' with hair and make-up applications, nutritious food sampling, and to top it off, a 'Grill Off' competition where guests compete in their quest to cook up the best "alternative to the traditional cheeseburger" beginning at 2:30 p.m."
The fun begins at 10 a.m. at the resort (1220 Arden Hills Lane, Sacramento) and ends at 4 p.m. But Warner will only press the flesh between 1-2 p.m.

August 26, 2009
El Dorado Hills salon is reaching beyond the 'hills'


Tomorrow night, models representing the Rowena & Takashi Salon and education center in El Dorado Hills will once again walk the runway at the Park Ultra Lounge (15 and L streets) in recognition of the salon being named the winner of last fall's Hair Wars competition, which was held in the same venue.

What's different? Obviously, the pressure of being judged is gone (sort of like a winner reappearing on "American Idol").

"We're doing a showcase featuring about eight people," Rowena Hiraga says. She and her husband, Takashi (pictured), are the creative force behind the salon, which specializes in - no pun intended - cutting-edge styles and education.

Rowena already has cut the models' hair, they've practiced several times and local fashion designer Lauren Oto, who was profiled this past Sunday in The Bee's Living Here section, is doing the clothing.

The show has got all the makings for a showstopper.

"It's an opportunity for people who come to know what we do," Rowena says. "Sometimes it feels like we've been hidden (in the hills) for 10 years."

Rowena was an instructor for the prestigious Vidal Sassoon, one of the biggest names in the hair-styling industry. Takashi, who Rowena calls a "Da Vinci kind of guy," has studied gems, done graphic design and even been a chef. They met at the Sassoon academy. These days, the couple agree getting your hair done is a luxury for some.

"The economy has affected everybody, including ourselves," she says. "Women and men really want some (styling) bang for their buck. Much like fashion. You can buy an incredible outfit from Versace, have it for 10 years and still get compliments. And then wear a T-shirt from Target and it could be disposable."

Rowena encourages clients to find a style that's suitable, not high maintenance, with different textures and manageable highlights. "That way, their hair changes its look as it grows."

"My gift is connecting, listening to a client and then executing something beautiful because of my training," she says.

Rowena and Takashi's show is being videotaped by Dagen Merrill, a noted filmmaker, salon client and friend.

"We're honored he's taping this for us, and we'll be using it for education in the salon," Rowena says.

The Hiraga's show on Thursday will follow this week's Hair Wars competition, which starts at 10 p.m. and features two salons. The hair finale is Sept. 3.

The couple's salon is at 4989 Golden Foothill Pkwy. in El Dorado Hills. For more info: (916) 941-9171 or the Web site,

August 25, 2009
Area women getting a heads up with job-readiness program

The local Women's Empowerment nonprofit program is partnering with Sacramento's Frumoasa Salon for a job-readiness program next week during which homeless women get makeovers to prepare them for work.

Consider it a second shot at helping women achieve their career goals. The event is from 1 to 4 p.m. Aug. 31 at the salon, 1007 12th St. in downtown Sacramento.

Women's Empowerment offers classes and assistance with creating a positive, healthy lifestyle for these women and, most importantly, their kids. In the past year, the program has enjoyed a 69 percent success rate helping homeless women get back on their feet financially. And 84 percent found homes for themselves and their families.

Frumoasa Salon will conduct the makeovers, which will include hair styling and skincare and makeup tips. For more info: (916) 498-9895.

August 25, 2009
Publishers aTwitter over Oprah's cryptic note

On Monday, talk-show host Oprah Winfrey started a frenzy of speculation in the book-publishing world with her latest post to
She tweeted: "Hey all you BookClubbers. Tune in Friday, September 18th to find out what my new book club pick is - never made a selection like 'this.'"
Publishers Weekly magazine offered an informed list of 11 possible titles that could be the pick for Oprah's Book Club, a guarantee of huge sales. It included such disparate titles as "Amigoland" by Oscar Casares, "Secrets to Happiness" by Sarah Dunn and "This Wicked World" by Richard Lange.
Two blockbusters are also due out the week of Sept. 14: "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown, the follow-up to his "The Da Vinci Code" (Borders Books offers a 40 percent discount for preordered copies at 916-564-0168.), and "True Compass," Sen. Ted Kennedy's memoir.
A year ago, Winfrey chose "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" by David Wroblewski.
-- Allen Pierleoni

August 25, 2009
Classical premieres keeping pace...but not in Sacramento


Orchestras continue to commission and perform new works despite the lagging economy.

Unfortunately, in 2009-10, the The Sacramento Philharmonic is not in the mix with its "California Composers" comissioned works series.

Last season the orchestra performed Dave and Chris Brubeck's "Ansel Adams:America" .

That co-comissioned work was part of the "California Composers" effort, which seeks to recognize composers, musicians and people who have made their mark in California.

Although those works have varied in quality and scope, the comissions put an indelible stamp on the orchestra, and provoked its audience, in turn.

A total of 90 North American orchestras will bring new works to the concert stage in 2009-2010 by performing the premieres of 212 compositions by 197 composers, according the League of Symphony Orchestras.

That's good news for classical music, whose evolution cannot happen without orchestras taking risks on new works.

Of the 212 new works to be done in North America, 179 will be world premieres, 24 American premieres, and 9 will be Canadian premieres.

The scheduled works span a broad range of styles and periods, from 19th-century German romantic composer Friedrich von Flotow's Piano Concerto No. 2, which gets its first American performance at the Carson City Symphony to Warren George's Armenian Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra, which will debut at the Fresno Philharmonic.

Although the Sacramento Philharmonic will not offer any large world premieres this season, it will offer works that have not been played in Sacramento before, such as composer Reza Vali's Concerto for Ney and Orchestra next January. The orchestra will also premiere a set songs for gospel choir and orchestra by local pastor Alonzo Morris next May.

August 21, 2009
Sacramento Regional Parks offer photo contest awards

Sacramento County Regional Parks has just added a new reward to its photography contest for the system's 50th anniversary.

Winning photographs will be displayed downtown in the County Administration building and photos by grand prize winners from each category will be featured on a commemorative poster.

IPS Printing of Sacramento is donating the materials and labor for the poster.

There are four entry categories - open space, wildlife, people at play and innovative photography - and entries must be submitted by Sept. 25, with a fee of $5 per entry, limit of three. All photos must be taken in Sacramento County Regional Parks.

Amateur and professional photographers will be judged separately and there are three age groups. For more information visit or go to the contest Web page here. More information is available by calling Liz Bellas at (916) 875-5925.

August 21, 2009
Concerts at Chavez Park continue tonight

Summer in Sacramento lasts well into September, and now, so does the Concerts in the Park series at Cesar Chavez Park (10th and J streets, Sacramento).

The second leg of the free outdoor concert series -- dubbed End of Summerfest by promoter Jerry Perry -- starts tonight with a reunited Kai Kln and lasts through Sept. 18.

The concerts run from 5-9 p.m. Here's the lineup:

Tonight -- Kai Kln, Prieta

Aug. 28th -- Method Echo, Shannon Curtis, Bobby Zoppi

Sept. 4 -- The Secretions, Th' Losin Streaks

Sept. 11 - The Nickel Slots, The Golden Cadillacs, Mae McCoy & the Neon Stars

Sept. 18 -- Jackpot, Agent Ribbons, Mike Farrell

August 21, 2009
Have time for the railroad museum?

The California State Railroad Museum is looking for a few good volunteers.

Applications are due Sept. 25, and training begins Oct. 17. Must be 18 or older.

Last year, some 600 volunteers helped with track constuction, restoration and maintenance, talked with visitors and did clerical work. Museum volunteers have served 2 million hours since the museum was created 23 years ago.

For more information, call volunteer-training coordinator Theresa Gonsolis at (916) 324-7593 or e-mail her at

Applications can be found at

- Dixie Reid
August 21, 2009
"Idol's" David Cook headlines opening night of fair


He's definitely one of the most popular "American Idol" winners, so it's a treat - beyond cotton candy - to have David Cook as the opening-night highlight tonight at the State Fair.

His performance is at the Golden 1 Stage. Crash Kings will get things rocking at 7:30 p.m., with David and his band to follow.

David called me on Thursday as he and the band packed up their equipment, including video games, and headed north from Lancaster. With the monumental success of his debut album - "David Cook" - the "Idol" winner last spring extended his nationwide tour (which included many college stops) until the end of the year. The band just did its 100th show in Knoxville.

So a stop in Sacramento was an easy choice.

"The tour has been a learning process for all of us - me, the band, the crew, the label - because none of us had experience doing the college circuit," David says. "It was raw, it was real, and the reason we extended it was because we had a 96 or 97 percent sell-out rate."

He says what makes the shows work is that the band doesn't go on stage just to play songs.

"A fan two months ago told me, 'Your show is a lot of sweat, stink and fun.' That's because we love to crack jokes on ourselves."

David's album, which has sold a whopping 1.4 million copies, was also a stunner to him. "I remember fighting to sell 1,000 (copies), so it's crazy!"

He still credits the juggernaut singing competition with launching his amazing career. In fact, David performed a couple weeks ago with the top two finishers from this season's "Idol" - winner Kris Allen and runner-up Adam Lambert.

"It was part of 'Good Morning America's' concert series (pictured)," he says. "I was just an observer this year, so the competition was interesting to watch. The two of them get along great, but you could definitely tell where the battle lines were drawn."

On Season 9 of "Idol," which will be minus judge Paula Abdul (at least right now), David says "Nobody will come on the show and try to replace her. That would be a huge insult to the viewing public.

"I think both parties will be just fine."

David says tonight's concert-goers should include kids and parents, baby boomers and Gen-Xrs. "Interestingly, as the tour has gone on, the male audience has increased, which is great," he adds.

As for his next album, he says he's started the writing process. In the meantime, he's getting revved up for college football season, downloading iTunes and waiting for the next season of "House" on Fox.

Tonight's concert is free with fair admission ($12 general). Reserved seats near the stage are $45 at the Cal Expo box office or For more info, click here.

August 21, 2009
"Orpheus in the Underworld" comes to Curtis Park


When Jacques Offenbach's set out to write the full length operatta "Orpheus in the Underworld" he likely never figured that the risque galop music he wrote for it would become the most recognizable aspect of his work.

Today that music is called the Can-can. And it's too bad that, for most, the exploration of Offenbach ends there.

But, a deeper exploration into Offenbach, and "Orpheus" in particular, reveals a brilliant parody and cutting satire. And with these he aimed squarely at Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice".

Audiences will get a chance to experience Offenbach's great wit when the Village Opera Theater performs the work at the 24th Street Theater in Sacramento's Curtis Park next weekend.

This production of "Orpheus" includes Jonathan Hansen as Orpheus and Sara Haugland as Calliope. Pianist Roy Sanchez will accompany in this production which is directed by Jennifer Estabrook.

"Orpheus in the Underworld"
WHEN: 8 p.m. Aug 27, 28 and 29 ; 3:00 pm matinee Aug. 29
WHERE: 24th Street Theater, 2791 24th Street, Sacramento
TICKETS: $15.00; $12.00 senior and children under 12.
INFORMATION: (916) 731- 4506

August 20, 2009
The classical side of Disney @ the SF Symphony


For many the first piece of classical music was not heard in the concert hall. It was most likely heard as the soundtrack to a cartoon or film.

And the films that are frequently associated with that introduction belong to Walt Disney - most notably "Fantasia", "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, "Cinderella" and "Pinocchio".

To honor the esteemed link between these films and classical music - and to celebrate the opening of The Walt Disney Family Museum (which opens in San Francisco's Presidio in October) - The San Francisco Symphony is offering a special concert featuring selections from these films.

By far, the film that many cite as instilling a love for classical musical works is the 1942 Disney film "Fantasia".

Here is where Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain", Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, and Dukas's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" are, typically, first heard by children. And that's as good an introduction to classical as a child can get.

The SFS will perform those works as well as those by Tchaikovsky, Rossini and others that were used in Disney's films. Soprano Lisa Vroman joins the Orchestra for this concert.

WHEN: 8 p.m., Oct. 16
WHERE: Davies Symphony Hall,201 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
TICKETS: $15-$70 (half price for ages 17 and under)
INFORMATION: (415) 864-6000 or

Rossini - "Overture to William Tell"
Tchaikovsky - Waltz, from "Sleeping Beauty Suite", Opus 66a
David/Hoffman/Livingston / "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes," from "Cinderella"
Morey/Churchill, arr. Bishop - "Some Day My Prince Will Come," from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
Beethoven - Symphony No. 6 in F major, Opus 68
Mussorgsky - "Night on Bald Mountain"
Grieg - "March of the Dwarfs", from Lyric Suite, Opus 54
Washington/Harline - "When You Wish Upon a Star," from "Pinocchio"
Dukas - "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"

August 20, 2009
Last chances for State Fair discount tickets

This is it, folks. Today is the last day you can buy discount tickets in person at the Cal Expo box office before tomorrow's kickoff of the 2009 California State Fair.

The box office is open from noon to 7 p.m. today. You'll find it at Cal Expo's main gate (the one "guarded" by the golden bear statues), 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento.

Fair officials report a brisk business, and long lines, in the days leading up to the fair's opening.

You'll still be able to land cheap admissions online this weekend, from Friday until 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Get those at

You'll save $2 per ticket, and families can benefit from the popular Poppy Pak, which includes four admission four tickets, four monorail rides and a parking pass, for $39.99, which is a 45 percent savings.

The 2009 California State Fair runs through Sept. 7.

- Dixie Reid
August 19, 2009
Race for the Arts run approaching...


Sometimes running is the best from of giving.

Certainly your vascular system and heart will thank you.

At least this is the philosophy at the annual Race for the Arts the 5K Walk and Run event, where runners raise money for the arts organizations of their choice.

This year the race enters its 11th year and will be held at a new location: William Land Park.

The race kicks off on Aug. 28 at 6:00PM with a Kids 1/2 mile run.

Since its inception, more than 140 California arts organizations and school programs have benefited from Race for the Arts. And given the economic times this year's race may provide an opportunity for patrons to raise money for their favorite arts organization.

Pledges are not a requirement for racing.

Entry forms for the 11th Annual Race for the Arts are available at Raley's, Bel Air, Applebee's, Hobrecht Lighting Design & Decor, and California Family Fitness locations.

11th Annual RACE FOR THE ARTS - 5 km Run/Walk and Children's Fun Runs
WHEN: AUGUST 28, 2009
6:00 P.M. - Kids' 1/2 mile (8 and under)
6:15 P.M. - Kids' 1 mile (ages 9-12)
6:30 P.M. - 5 km Run/Walk Start (3.1 miles)

WHERE: William Land Park, Sutterville Rd & Freeport Blvd, Sacramento
COST: $30: $17 for ages 12 and under ( entry fee includes Race T-shirt and post-race refreshments).
INFORMATION: (916) 933-4056 or

August 19, 2009
Hot Italian to hold lunchtime concerts

Starting Thursday, Hot Italian, the pizza, panini and Italian fashion emporium at 16th & Q streets in Sacramento, will add free concerts to its menu.

The restaurant will present six Thursday lunchtime concerts at Fremont Park, just across 16th Street. Shows run from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., and concert goers can place orders in the park for Hot Italian lunches to be delivered to them.

Here's the (mostly Americana-folky) lineup:

Thursday -- Boulevard Park
Aug. 27 -- Kate Gaffney
Sept. 3 -- Richard March
Sept. 10 -- Ricky Berger
Sept. 17 -- Syncro
Sept. 24 -- Walking Spanish

August 19, 2009
Metropolitan Opera ticket sales setting records...


Something curious is happening as the worm turns towards the 2009-10 concert season at the Metropolitan Opera.

Ticket sales are booming.

That much is clear with the Met announcing this week that it has set a new record for opening day sales at the box office. The box office bonanza, to the tune of $2.5 million, began when single tickets for the 2009-10 season went on sale Monday.

Total sales reached $2,506,000 as compared to $2,016,000 on the equivalent day last season ($2,085,000 in tickets were sold on the opening day in 2007, the previous past record.)

The company's 34-week season opens on September 21 with a new production of Puccini's "Tosca", with soprano Karita Mattila in the title role. The 2009-10 season is the first fully planned season by General Manager Peter Gelb and conductor James Levine.

That season is distinguished by eight new productions, the most since the 1966-67, season. However, it is also marked by the company scuttling John Corigliano's lavish opera "Ghosts of Versailles" because of financial reasons.

The Met reported that its box office sales for the 2008-09 season met the company;s target of being at 88% of total capacity. It's box office sales have increased since the 2006-07 season. That increase followed six years of declining ticket sales.

August 19, 2009
Poetry journal is looking for submissions

Song of the San Joaquin, a quarterly journal, is soliciting poems about the San Joaquin Valley.

The journal's editors define the valley as the region from Stockton to Fresno, bounded by foothills on the east and west. (That is, Sacramento is not included.)

Poems must be 40 lines or less and up to three poems may be submitted. Poet's name and contact information should be on each poem. Please include a three- to five-line biography.

If you have work that fits, send it to Editor, Song of the San Joaquin, PO Box 1161, Modesto, CA 95353-1161. Include self-addressed envelope with proper postage for return of unused poems or notification of acceptance.

E-mail submissions are also encouraged. For more information, contact editorial board chair Cleo Griffith at or (209) 543-1776.

August 19, 2009
Jackie's back at the Blue Lamp tonight

Jackie Greene will make an unscheduled appearance tonight at the Blue Lamp (1400 Alhambra Blvd., Sacramento).

One of Sacramento's favorite musical sons -- late of San Francisco -- Greene, along with his band, will hold his final rehearsal for the next leg of his spring/summer tour at the spot where the singer-songwriter posed for the cover of his first album, "Gone Wanderin', " all those years ago. (OK, seven years ago, but he's done so much since that it seems like longer).

Doors open at 9 p.m. for the 10 p.m. show. Cost is $10, and there are no advance tickets.

So ... just show up.

August 18, 2009
Komen events are in the works around town

The Sacramento Valley affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure will really be feeling the love in the next few weeks. That's because there are several fundraisers skedded to raise awareness - just ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Here's what we know:

  • Monarchs Breast Health Awareness Night - Saturday at Arco Arena:
  • Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; tip-off against the Washington Mystics is at 7 p.m. There will be a special Komen information table set up with a free gift. Ticket prices range from $10 to $26.50 and can be purchased by clicking here. Survivors are invited to register for the pregrame reception. Space is limited to the first 100 RSVPs, so ticket purchase and pre-registration is required. Call (916) 928-8120 for more info.
  • Swabbies on the River
  • (5871 Garden Highway) is gearing up for an event called "Kindness Rocks," a benefit concert from 5 to 9 p.m Saturday for the local Komen affiliate. This is a live rock and R&B party with plenty of music, raffle prizes, a silent auction and, oh my, those incredible Swabbies tacos! The restaurant plans to donate $1 for every meal purchased, and the Wild, Wild West band is also kicking in for the benefit. Children under 10 get in free. Click here for more information.
  • Massage Envy
  • (4383 Arden Way) is hooking up with other Massage Envy locations for an event called "Massage for the Cure." It's set for 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (hours may vary) Sept. 15. Need some of the kinks worked out? The fundraiser will offer one-hour therapeutic massages for $35 - with $10 from each massage donated to the local Komen affiliate. Appointments will be accepted by phone - (916) 971-ENVY (871-3689) - in person or online -
August 17, 2009
Free wristbands and a local fashion show


Free stuff? Lucy Activewear has got it. To mark the launch of the store's "Back To (Gym) Class" collection, Lucy is giving away free wristbands (pictured). Here's how to get a pair. Just print out a coupon - - and head to a store while supplies last. No purchase is necessary.The giveaway is through Aug. 30.

In other fashion news:

* Harlow's (2708 J St.) in midtown will host a fashion show/fundraiser from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday. The beneficiary is Invisible Children, which started as a documentary six years ago by three filmmakers to expose the abuse of children in Uganda. The show's promoters are First Dirt, which has been involved in the local music scene for about five years. Working with the promoters are members of Alpha Phi Omega, a local community service fraternity. Boutiques suppling the clothing include United State and Artifacts. Several independent clothing lines also are on board, and Taki's Salon & Spa will provide hair and makeup. DJ Billy Lane is spinning. Tickets are $15, and this is a 21-and-older event.

August 17, 2009
Documentaries on Latino culture coming to KVIE


This fall a provocative documentary series called Voces kicks off on KVIE with a doc on legendary salsa singer Celia Cruz.

The series, produced by Latino Public Broadcasting, will plumb many subjects related to Latino culture, such as docs on Puerto Rican activist Antonia Pantoja, the plight of Mexican migrant workers, or a film about a unique soccer league made up of former stars from Latin America.

Here's the line up:

Sept. 5 at 9PM
"Celia the Queen" by Joe Cardona, is a loving look at the amazing life and legacy of a woman whose voice symbolized the soul of a nation and captured the hearts of fans worldwide.

September 12 at 9PM
"Antonia Pantoja: ¡Presente!" by Lillian Jimenez, tells the story of educator/organizer Antonia Pantoja, founder of the New York-based advocacy organization, Aspira.

September 19, 2009 at 9PM
"Bracero Stories" by Patrick Mullins, explores the personal experiences of five former "guest workers" in the controversial U.S.-Mexican bracero program, which granted temporary work contracts to several million Mexican laborers between 1942 and 1964.

September 26, 2009 at 9PM
"The Golden Age" by Phil Tuckett, documents a season in the life of the Golden Age League, a soccer league in Corona Park, Queens, New York. Not just any soccer league, the highly competitive Golden Age League is made up of middle-aged former World Cup players from Central and South America.

October 3 at 9PM
"Special Circumstances" by Marianne Teleki, plumbs the story of Héctor Salgado, who, at 16, was arrested and tortured by Chile's Agusto Pinochet's forces. By 20, Héctor was without a country, living in exile in the U.S. The film follows Héctor's return to Chile nearly 30 years later, camera in hand, to confront former perpetrators and captors, looking for answers and justice.

October 10, 2009 at 9PM
"Tito Puente: The King of Latin Music" by George River, visits the life of this influential bandleader, percussionist and composer.

October 17, 2009 at 9PM
"Soy Andina" by Mitch Teplitsky, tells the story of two women raised in different worlds: an immigrant folk dancer from the Andes, and a modern dancer from Queens, NY, who return to Peru to reconnect with their culture.

October 24, 2009 at 9PM
"Dream Havana" by Gary Marks, explores the decisions made by two writers, friends since adolescence, who are faced with a choice: continue struggling with the hardships in Cuba or brave the open water on a homemade raft.

August 14, 2009
Sing along to 'Grease' at the Crest

The late 1970s were full of "Grease" sing-alongs.

Of course, most of those were in my living room, where my sister and I, encouraged by HBO's six-times-a-day showings of "Grease," would belt out "Beauty School Dropout" before slowing it down for the high-school tramp's lament "There Are Worse Things I Could Do."

Something tells me the presentation at the Crest Theatre (1013 K St.), offering its own own sing-along "Grease" event at 2 p.m. Sunday, will be an improvement over my mom's wood-paneled RCA.

Doors open at 1 p.m., and there's a costume contest before the show. Everyone is encouraged to dress up. So break out the Brylcreem and those "hickeys from Kenickie"!

Tickets are $10 and are available at the door and at

August 13, 2009
More time to get State Fair discount tickets

California State Fair officials will keep the Cal Expo box office open longer to accommodate an "overwhelming response" for discount tickets before the fair opens.

Box office hours are now noon-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Advance sales end Wednesday.

No surcharges are added to purchases.

Examples of the discounts:

General admission - $10
Seniors 62-plus -$8
Children 5-12 -$6
Poppy Pak (four general admission tickets and monorail rides and a parking pass) - $39.95
Unlimited ride wristbands (good all day until 11 p.m.) - $28
Fun Fair Combo Pass (season pass to California State Fair and Raging Waters) - $49.99

For more info, call (916) 263-3049 or e-mail

The 2009 California State Fair runs Aug. 21 to Sept. 7 at Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento.

- Dixie Reid
August 12, 2009
Van Shoe Art Show walks away with $1,400!

Sacramento County Probation Department

The Van Shoe Art Show held at last weekend's Second Saturday raised $1,400 for midtown's great work in progress - the VIBE Urban Youth Lounge, a nonprofit, teen-owned and operated career center that hopes to open next spring at 1725 K St.

Christina Giffin, VIBE's adult advocate, e-mailed me the results and the list of top winners. That would be those artists who took top honors for best creative work on a pair of plain white Vans.

"It was a great event, and I'm very happy for not only the kids but all the artists who participated," Giffin says. The show featured 25 artists who ranged in age from 16 to 52.

I promised a list of the honored artists, and here they are - with one particularly poignant story.

* Kara Schunk: Femme Fatale (best female artist)
* Jackie Nott: People's Choice (highest bid - $400)
* Erica Yoshino: Raising the Bar (Bold and Raw)
* Brent Patten: On the Rack (most commercial design)
* Eiland Hogan: Here To Stay (best adult artist)
* Zach Anderson: Diamond in the Rough (best youth artist, under 21)
* Aleksandr T.: King of the Jungle (best male artist)

That last award went to a teen named Aleksandr T., who is currently at the Sacramento County Boys Ranch and enrolled in Carson Creek Junior/Senior High School. He's enrolled in teacher Gabriel Romo's graphic arts class.

"Aleksandr asked to borrow a pencil about four or five weeks ago for an art project," Romo says. "He started drawing faces from a picture on his computer. When I saw his work, it kind of blew my mind. I'm an artist, and I immediately recognized it was amazing and highly detailed. The shading was so realistic.

"And he had never drawn before."

Aleksandr continued working and finished his drawing, which was passed around the classroom.

Through e-mails and other correspondence, Romo helped Aleksandr enter the Vans art show. He even picked up the plain white Vans for him. Aleksandr worked on a mock-up drawing and settled on the famous theater imagery of tragedy and comedy.

"He took the concept and designed a happy shoe that has a key that opens the door (to life)," Romo says. "The sad shoe depicts being behind bars with a lock."

For the Second Saturday event, Romo was able to get permission for Aleksandr to attend the show and meet the other artists. It was his first time leaving the ranch.

"He was blown away getting an award for his artwork," Romo says. "It was a life-changing experience for him. Now, I'm showing his work to other artists. He's someone who wants to work and use his hands. I'm just hoping someone will find a need for someone like him.

"He's very gifted."

To check out a great video of the presentation and comments from some of the artists,
click here.

August 11, 2009
The New Music continues by the sea....

Marin Alsop[1].JPG

Rarely does a new music festival fire brightly on all cylinders, but that is exactly what the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music pulled off on opening night.

And though it is hard to predict which piece will captivate an audience when, it's safe to say that the possibility of a new work thrilling an audience looms large for the remaining two days left at this Santa Cruz-based contemporary music festival.

Next Saturday will see the U.S. premiere of Joby Talbot's "Desolation Wilderness". The piece was inspired by a visit that the London-based Talbot made to Northern California's Desolation Wilderness.

"Joby is a new composer, and I've been wanting do this piece since I heard a demo tape of it seven years ago," said Marin Alsop, conductor and artistic director of the festival.(pictured, right).

It's orchestration seemed perfect for the festival. Alsop said she was keen on the three-movement work because it showcases the virtuoso talent of Cabrillo Festival Orchestra trumpet player Craig Morris.

"The work was commissioned for the English trumpeter, Alison Balsom," said Talbot via the telephone from England. "But when you hear what a player like Craig Morris can do, the idea of a trumpet concerto becomes a very exciting prospect."

That work will be programmed with the one-movement "Behold the Sun" by Magnus Lindberg and James MacMillan's "The Sacrifice:Three Interludes".

One of the more interesting, poignant and musically retrograde pieces offered this year is Ingram Marshall's "Kingdom Come". This will be a long lost return for Marshall, who had a work performed at Cabrillo in the 1970's.

With "Kingdom Come," Marshall is harkening back to his taped electronic music days, but this time the tape player has been replaced by the ubiquitous laptop. The piece is a memorial for his brother-in-law Frances Tomasic, a journalist who died in a mine explosion during the Bosnian war, said Marshall.

"It uses recordings I drew from Yugoslavian music and Serbian Orthodox Church music that uses disconnected hymns, as well as liturgical music from the Roman Catholic church," he said.

That work will be performed at Mission San Juan Bautista and shares a program with George Tsontakis' "Claire de Lune" as well as works by Aaron Jay Kernis and Kevin Puts.

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music
WHEN: through Aug. 16
WHERE: Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., Santa Cruz; Mission San Juan Batista, 406 Second St., San Juan Batista
TICKETS: $30-$45
INFORMATION: (831) 426-6966 or

August 11, 2009
California Museum will be open longer to accommodate crowds for Lincoln exhibit

During the past six weeks, 27,000 people have viewed the Library of Congress' outstanding "With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition" at the California Museum.

Because of its popularity and importance, the museum is extending its hours for the exhibit's final 10 days in Sacramento. The exhibit closes Aug. 23.

Starting Thursday, the museum will be open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, until the Lincoln show ends.

This is the only West Coast stop for "With Malice Toward None," which contains 200 rare objects, including the contents of Lincoln's pockets the night he was shot at Ford's Theater, the Bible both he and President Obama used at their inaugurations and a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The California Museum for History, Women & the Arts is at 1020 O St., Sacramento.

For more information: (916) 653-7524,,

- Dixie Reid
August 10, 2009
Sacramento Public Library expands audiobooks for iPod users

Sacramento Public Library, which has has offered downloadable audio books since 2006, has now tripled its available books to play on Apple's popular iPod.

The library's original 750 audio book holdings were not playable on iPods, but a gradual expansion brought holdings to about 700 iPod-compatible books and more than 2400 for other players.

Now the library has brought iPod holdings almost to the same level, 2400, by contracting with a new provider, MyiLibrary, which supplements the original provider, OverDrive.

Titles now available include bestsellers by Malcom Gladwell, Chuck Palahniuk, Dan Brown, Tami Hoag and Stephenie Meyer.

Library patrons can gain access to all the titles by visiting and clicking on "Download Books, Music, and Videos." Users must be prepared to input their library card number and PIN number.

Information is also available by calling (916) 264-2920.

August 10, 2009
Country music's Brooks & Dunn calling it quits, after a 2010 tour

Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks, the most commercially successful duo in country music history, are splitting up.

They posted this today on their Web site:

"After 20 years of making music and riding this trail together, we have agreed as a duo that it's time to call it a day. This ride has been everything and more than we could ever have dreamed .... We owe it all to you, the fans.

"If you hear rumors, don't believe them, it's just time.

"We will release our (new album) '#1's and then some' on Sept. 8th and come see you all one more time in 2010, with 'The Last Rodeo Tour.' "

The tour dates haven't been announced, but look for Brooks & Dunn to head in this direction one last time.

They made their Sacramento debut in 1992 as Reba McEntire's opening act at Arco Arena. Five years later, the Reba/B&D pairing was country music's highest-grossing tour.

In a 2001 interview with The Bee, Brooks talked about performing here.

"We have said it time and time again: When people ask where our favorite place is to play, Arco Arena has come up in that conversation. Some of our funnest nights have been in Northern California. You guys know how to rock. It's always a party."

The two met as Nashville songwriters and decided to team up, write music for themselves and hit the road as a honky-tonk twosome.

Their first single, "Brand New Man" (1990), reached the top of the country charts.

They won the first of their many top vocal duo awards from Country Music Association in 1992 and their first CMA entertainer of the year award in 1996. The accumulation of trophies since the early days could fill a tour trailer, or two.

Check out more about the guys at

- Dixie Reid
August 10, 2009
Legally fashionable at IADT

It doesn't work to any designer's benefit to be creative and create if he or she doesn't have the law on their side.

That's why the local branch of the International Academy of Design & Technology is hosting a special legal seminar presented by the California Lawyers for the Arts. It's from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the school, 2450 Del Paso Road, Suite 250 in Sacramento.

The goal? To give future designers the legal know-how to protect their interests once they're out in the real world. It's aimed at fashion design and marketing, interior design and visual communication students.

Students who don't have a good grasp on the legal and business aspects of their careers can fall victim to anything from someone copying their designs to overcharging for services. It also makes them more important members of the local arts scene.

The CLA panel seminar includes tips on taxes, copyright and contracts, the business aspects of a textile career and even meditation for when the creative juices just won't flow. An extensive question-and-answer session will follow.

The event is free. For more information: Kristene Smith ( or call (916) 698-1880.

August 7, 2009
Concert review: Rod Stewart wears it well at Arco

Published: Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009 - 6:28 am

By Dixie Reid

Rod Stewart's rock 'n' roll show, playing all the hits all night long, swept into Arco Arena on Wednesday, and it soon became clear why Donna Hamaker and Melisa Askew were there.
They met a few years back at one of Stewart's shows, and when Hamaker's husband gave her a 50th birthday present of a trip to Las Vegas, San Jose and Sacramento for three concerts in five days, she asked her best Rod Stewart-lovin' gal pal to come along, both traveling all the way from Alabama.
"I've been a fan since 1971, for 38 years, ever since a record dropped down on the turntable and I heard, 'If I listen long enough ...,' " Hamaker said before Wednesday's show. "I was hooked. He's got that thing, and that voice. Just wait. You'll see."
It's hard to believe the guy is 64 and has been doing this for more than 40 years.
Nobody had more fun than Stewart himself. He danced. He pranced. He preened. He joked. He teased his trio of back-up singers. He sauntered. He sashayed. He wiggled and swatted himself on the bottom. He fluffed his spiky blond hair a time or two. He kicked autographed soccer balls into the crowd.
And he changed clothes more often than Cher in her heyday, modeling everything from a baby blue silk jacket and matching tie - which both went nicely with the fedora a fan tossed on-stage and he wore for a bit - to stone-washed jeans and a drugstore-cowboy hat.
His 22-year-old daughter, Ruby, entertained the crowd while he made one costume change.
Stewart was in fine voice if you, like Hamaker are fond of his edgy, emotional sound, and he delivered a solid 90-plus-minute set to an adoring crowd, some of whom were older than he.
And the great thing when you're a fan of a guy's music, and you know every word to all of his songs, is that you can sing out loud for the entire concert -- and nobody minds, because they're all singing, too.
For some folks, his music truly was the soundtrack of a certain part of their lives, or at least the make-out music of their youth.
And Stewart didn't deliver his standards all funny, and try to make them different just to entertain himself after singing the same old songs night after night, decade after decade. Everything sounded pretty much like it did on radio, or eight-track, or cassette player, back in the day.
One of the best moments of the night was the encore, "Maggie May," which Stewart once said was the best song he'd ever written and the one he never gets tired of singing. He even let the crowd carry the first few lines, "solo," before joining in.
It truly was an all-hits show: "Tonight's the Night," "Hot Legs," "Forever Young," "Have You Ever Seen the Rain," " Downtown Train," "You Wear It Well," Rhythm of My Heart" and "Some Guys Have All the Luck."
Hamaker was right: Stewart does have something special. He's a showman, an entertainer, and maybe he isn't leaping onto speakers the way he did 30 years ago, but he's still the same ol' Rod Stewart at heart. The guy loves a crowd that loves him.
Everyone who had tickets for Arco's upper level was moved down to the lower sections - and that made for a full house of sorts. Stewart acknowledged California's hard economic times, and thanked the fans for buying tickets to see him.
The outstanding Australian band The Kin opened the show.

Call The Bee's Dixie Reid, (916) 321-1134.

August 6, 2009
Java City remodels space, limits service in airport's Terminal A

It's been a bit more difficult to find a premium cup of joe in Terminal A of the Sacramento International Airport these days.
Java City's Terminal A café closed Monday for staff training and store upgrades but will reopen with limited service Saturday at 5 a.m. The location will fully open Wednesday.
During this time, passengers searching for coffee and pastries should try Starbucks or Cinnabon, both located on the upper and lower levels of Terminal A. Several other airport restaurants also offer breakfast and coffee, such as Lemon Grass, Burger King, Quizno's, California Pizza Kitchen and La Salsa.
--Li Lou

August 6, 2009
Tenacious D in the GGP

It's no joke: Tenacious D, the duo composed of comedian-musicians Jack Black and Kyle Gass, will headline the final night of the Aug. 28-30 Outside Lands festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

"If there are any dogs barking before we go on, don't be alarmed: that is just them sensing the earthquake of rock that is coming," Black quipped during a conference call Thursday.

Tenacious D replaces the Beastie Boys, who canceled after Adam "MCA" Yauch was diagnosed with cancer.

Tenacious D tops an Aug. 30 lineup that includes M.I.A. ("Paper Planes"), Ween, Modest Mouse and Lucinda Williams.

Pearl Jam will lead the Aug. 28 lineup and the Dave Matthews Band headlines Aug. 29.

The three headliners make perfect sense, really, since they share ... um ... well ... let's see ...

Fans who are not judgmental about marijuana use?

For information on the Outside Lands festival, go to the festival's site.

August 4, 2009
Step right up for cheap State Fair tickets

The 2009 California State Fair will be here before you know it. Now is the time to get special deals on tickets before prices go up.

Discounted advance admissions - for which you'll pay no surcharge - go on sale tomorrow at the Cal Expo box office, 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento.

Box office hours are noon-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The sale ends Aug. 19.

Here are examples of the cut-rate tix which are, more or less, the same as the 2008 prices:

General admission - $10 (will be $12)
Seniors 62-plus -$8 (will be $10)
Children 5-12 -$6 (will be $8)
Poppy Pak (four general admission tickets and monorail rides and a parking pass) - $39.95
Unlimited ride wristbands (good all day until 11 p.m.) - $28
Fun Fair Combo Pass (season pass to California State Fair and Raging Waters) - $49.99

For more info, call (916) 263-3049 or e-mail

The 2009 California State Fair is Aug. 21 to Sept. 7 at Cal Expo.

- Dixie Reid
August 4, 2009
Casting extras for TV show "The Mentalist"

"The Mentalist," a CBS crime show set in Sacramento, will be using lots of locals as extras, stand-ins and specialty talent for filming in Sacramento August 13-14.

It's fun to look at the list of who they're looking for. They want eight background staffers for the fictional California Bureau of Investigations - mixed races, but no Asian-Americans.

State capitol background extras are similar to those from the CBI, "but with some higher class folks."

They're also seeking a hot dog vendor, cafe customers, two waitresses ("cute, smart"), CHP and police officers and stand-ins for regular cast members.

Those interested should send a photo, availability, and union or non-union status to with a subject line of Re: The Mentalist.

Those not registered with Media Casting should go to

August 3, 2009
Yolo County's arts council gets a snappier name

YoloArts is the new name for the Yolo County Arts Council.

The change was made "to define the organization's image by expanding on an existing marketed name with a fresh, contemporary style and dispel perceptions that the organization is a division of the county," according to a news release.

The nonprofit YoloArts, created in 1981, will continue to work with Yolo County. One result of that long-standing partnership is Art in Public Places project.

- Dixie Reid

August 3, 2009
River Cats' annual food drive is Saturday

Since 2000, the Sacramento River Cats Players' Wives Food Drive has gathered an amazing 50,000 pounds of non-perishable food and enough cash to buy $300,000 worth of food and supplies for needy families in our community.

The 10th annual food drive is Saturday, during the Cats' game against the Oklahoma City RedHawks.

Game time is 7:05 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m.

Families of Cats' players will accept canned goods from fans and sell autographed baseball cards of Cats' players and coaches. Proceeds go to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

Last year's event resulted in $22,000 worth of much-needed food and supplies.

Raley Field is at 400 Ballpark Drive in West Sacramento. For tickets and more information: (916) 371-HITS (4487),

- Dixie Reid
August 3, 2009
Book an audition for talent star search at State Fair

The California State Fair at Cal Expo will hold open audtions for singers and dance groups Saturday 1-6 p.m at the Cal Expo Administration Building. The auditions are for a forthcoming "State Fair Star" talent show.

Walk-in audtions are on a first come, first served basis, but contestants can reserve a space by emailing or by calling (916) 274-0424. Leave a message with your name, age and contact information.

"Who knows - we may help to discover the next singing or dancing sensation," said State Fair General Manager Norb Bartosik, in a statement issued by fair officials.

After one or two-minute auditions, the most talented vocalists will receive invitations to compete Aug. 23 for a chance to win a Grand Prize package. Dancers will vie Aug 28.

Singers must be 16 years old or older. Dance groups can be of any size with performers of any age.

For more information on State Fair competitions, visit

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