Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

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

September 30, 2009
TV Meteorologist Patty Souza moves on

KXTV News 10 meteorologist Patty Souza has resigned, the station reported on its Web site.

A resignation statement by Souza was released by the station. In it, the popular weathercaster did not give reasons for the resignation or say what she would do in the future, only that, "After a very difficult decision, I have decided to leave News10 to pursue other interests and life dreams."

The station reported that many viewers had inquired as to Souza's whereabouts since her last on-air appearance in July.

Souza said she would miss the station's anchors, Dale Schornack and Cristina Mendonsa. "They are the two most caring and talented anchors I have ever had the privilege of working with during my 18 year broadcasting career."

The meteorologist said she would stay in the area where she and her large Portuguese family had always been and addressed viewers in her statement:

"You might see me out and about hiking, biking, skiing, backpacking or pretty much anything that has to do with the please say hello!!!"

September 30, 2009
Redding's Sundial Bridge to go pink for breast cancer awareness

Redding's Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay will be illuminated in pink light for two hours Oct. 15 in support of breast cancer awareness and education, organizers of the event announced.

The city approved the one-time event for the 13th annual Think Pink Day, organized by NorCal Think Pink.

The bridge, designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, is a pedestrian span across the Sacramento River. It actually functions as a working sundial, though it is precisely accurate only on the summer solstice.

According to a release from the Think Pink organization:

Breast Cancer affects approximately 1 in 8 women in the US. For 2009, the National Cancer Institute estimates new cases of breast cancer to be found in 192,370 women and 2,100 men. There are more than 2.5 million cancer survivors in the US. There is a 97% cure rate when breast cancer is caught early. This is why Think Pink's message is so important.

Event activities begin at 7 p.m. on Oct. 15, with the lighting estimated to take place 8-10 p.m.

September 29, 2009
Thieves leave Chanticleer singing the blues


Thieves brought new meaning to vocal ensemble Chanticleer's "Songs of Love & Loss, War & Peace" concert at St. Francis Church.

The Sunday performance began on schedule at 5 p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1066 26th St. However, just before intermission, it was discovered that the sacristy, which served as a dressing room for the singers, had been burglarized.

Sacramento Police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong said police were called at 5:33 p.m. Sunday to the K street entrance of the church. As of Tuesday, he said, there are no leads in the burglary.

Taken were six backpacks, rental car keys, house keys, wallets, phones music, and egg shakers that were to be used for a work by Bay Area composer Mason Bates, said Brenda Hughes, spokesperson for Chanticleer.

"It was a clearly a grab and run," said Curt Hancock, director of operations, touring & merchandise for the group. "Someone clearly knew what was going on and they clearly knew that people would not be in there."

This is the third time that the group has performed at the church.

"We've run into some minor things there before, but we run into that everywhere... like when we go down to San Luis Obispo at the Mission, or to Petaluma. Anytime you are in a church in any California town or city - chances are you will run into that," he said.

Hancock said that the incident will not affect the group's desire to perform at the church again.

"We feel that Sacramento is a place we want to be at. We have a loyal fan base there, we love the acoustics at the church, and the people at the church are great to work with," said Hancock.

But when they return, it will be with an eye toward more security.

"We will have to look at the way we handle that space," he said. "But that also goes for every other space we perform in."

For the ensemble, the most difficult part of the theft is that the 12 singers are scheduled to leave on a national tour today.

"So yesterday, for them, was spent dealing with going to the DMV... which is the last thing you want to do on your day off," Hancock said,

September 29, 2009
Disney program gives volunteers one ticket for one day of service

Volunteering may have just gotten a little happier ever after.

Disney announced today that it's launching a program Jan. 1 that will give 1 million people free admission to Walt Disney World or Disneyland resorts in exchange for a day of community volunteer work.

Disney has designated HandsOn Network, which has 250 volunteer action centers nationwide, as the conduit that will connect volunteers with projects and organizations needing help for the "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" program.

Sacramento is one of the designated markets for the promotion, said Kathy Chow, director of HandsOn Sacramento.

"There are a lot of people out there who want to volunteer but for whatever reason they don't," Chow said. "This might be the first thing that will spark their interest."

HandsOn Sacramento connects about 2,500 volunteers each year to projects and organizations in the greater Sacramento region. Next year, there will be roughly two dozen projects for volunteers to choose from that will qualify for the Disney ticket promotion.

Chow declined to give many specifics about qualifying projects, but did confirm that Sacramento -area Martin Luther King Jr. service projects, which run from Jan. 16 to 23, will qualify.

Potential volunteers should take note of some stipulations.

Volunteers can't sign up until Jan. 1 and must do so through, which then will direct participants to HandsOn Network sites. Volunteering must be verified.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old to participate and can sign up a maximum of eight additional members of the same household, online rules state.

Children must be at least 6 years old to volunteer and to participate in the promotion.

Children 6 to 17 years old must be accompanied by an adult while volunteering, the rules state.

September 29, 2009
Jr. Miss California International enjoys giving back


Claire Wright (pictured) is only 13, but talking to her over the phone she sounds like she could be an an international ambassador, not just the recently crowned Jr. Miss California International.

Poise and personality always win out.

Wright, who lives in Auburn with her parents and older brother, Christian, 16, won the title on Sept. 12 at a pageant in Downey. The other "delegates" in her category included several good friends who ended up as first and second runners-up.

But Wright came out on top, impressing the judges in her interviews, evening gown, fun fashion and platform presentation.

The last component is what's most important to her.

"You hear about beauty pageants, and you think bratty girls," Wright says. "I competed because each contestant had to be an advocate for a charitable cause we believe in. For me, it's Acres of Hope."

Based in Applegate, Acres of Hope is a long-term housing program for homeless women with children. "I love working there and raising awareness," she says.

Wright, an eighth-grader at Forest Lake Christian School in Grass Valley, will compete next July in the national version of this pageant, representing the state of California. At her school, everyone's been real "cool" about her crowning glory.

"The students put up a banner, and I'm giving a speech. I love speaking in front of people," she says. Wright also has dance and theater experience.

As for her pageant wardrobe, she has one gown, which she says is "perfect."

"I couldn't find a better one. It's white with silver beads, and my Dad walked me during that part of the competition," she says. "For the fun fashion, I did a 'Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend' sparkly dress with a Kings necklace."

Looking ahead, Wright has school to keep her busy but she knows her reign will go by quickly. And don't think she's all about crowns and sashes, though she does have a crown case.

"I mountain bike, too," she says. "But I can also be a totally girly girl."

Long term, Wright says she would love to major in journalism and work for a newspaper or magazine - or maybe even write a screenplay!

"I'm just soaking it up right now!"

September 29, 2009
Got talent? The Sacramento Kings want to see you

Maybe you don't dunk worth a darn, but if you can sing, dance or play a musical instrument, or if your pet does tricks, you might make it onto center court, after all.

The Sacramento Kings will hold open auditions at noon Oct. 11 at Arco Arena to choose local acts to perform at home games throughout the 2009-10 season.

According to a press release, the tryouts are "open to performance groups including, but not limited to, dance groups, bands, musicians, gymnasts, choirs, specialty acts, pet acts and human tricks."

Register for "Sacramento's Got Talent" auditions by calling Scott Freshour at (916) 928-8113 or e-mail him at

- Dixie Reid
September 29, 2009
Writing contest for students

Creative Communications, a for-profit operator of writing contests, is seeking entries for its Fall conests.

The contest has categories for essay, deadline Oct. 15, and poetry, deadline Dec. 10. The essay contest has three divisions for students from grades 3 to 12, and poetry has an additional division for K-3.

Essays must be 250 words or less on a non-fiction topic and poems 21 lines or fewer. Both must be original work.

Although the company is not highly selective in choosing submissions for subsequent publication, it does not require an entry fee or purchase of the company's collection of winners. It says its aim is to encourage students to do creative writing, and awards free copies of the book to teachers who have at least five winning students in their classrooms.

Entries may be submitted online at or mailed, labled Poetry Contest or Essay Contest, to 1488 N 200 W, Logan, UT 84341.

Additional rules and information are available at the Web site.

September 28, 2009
Gap casting call reaches out to Sacramento - and beyond


Lots of folks (and you know who you are) think they've got a kid with "MODEL" stamped all over them. Well, the Gap retailer is looking for you. Er, your kid, that is.

Gap's national casting call is under way nationally - and here in Sacramento. Babies and toddlers (4 years and under) and children (ages 5 to 10) are eligible to ender for a chance to be featured in Gap's store windows coast to coast starting in February 2010. Last year, the company received more than a million entries.

Here's how it works:

You have until Oct. 22 to enter your child's photo by uploading it to Gap's judges will narrow the field to 20 finalists. They'll be flown to San Francisco for a photo shoot. Then - as with any contest (reality show or otherwise) - America votes for the four winners, which include one boy and one girl in each of the two age categories.

To sweeten the deal, there also will be a Fan Favorite Award. The child that receives the most votes through Nov. 17 sets sail - parents in tow - on a Caribbean cruise. On Dec. 7 the Fan Fave will be announced along with the 20 finalists. Voting is also done on the Gap's Web site. In addition to having their sweet faces plastered on Gap storefronts, the winners get a $1,000-gift card and a Disney on Broadway package.

Now, we all know parents make the best photographers, right? Well, just in case some of your family photos have body parts missing, here are some tips from professional photographer Stefano Azario:

* Get close: A Grand Canyon shot is great, but if your child is a postage stamp, look for a tighter pic. Make sure the face is visible.

* Show personality: Kids are loaded with spunk. Let them show it! Avoid stiff smiles and forced poses. And, please, hats off. They're cute, but the judges want to see their faces and hair!

* Watch the background: Simple is best so your child stands out, so move the giant stuffed animals.

* Try different angles: Take photos from different perspectives and photograph your children at their eye level rather than standing over them.

* Use natural lighting: Take advantage of sunlight, especially as the days get shorter. It's more flattering for enhancing skin tones and colors. Try not to shoot with the sun behind the camera. How many photos do you have of subjects squinting or giant shadows across their faces?

Above all - have fun!!!!!

September 28, 2009
Power outage knocks Sacramento's Fox40 off the air

Sacramento's Fox40 television was knocked off the air today, the victim of a power outage and blown generator. Power was lost about noon and restored about 3 p.m., but before then, the station's staff posted this video on YouTube.

Fox40 story:Power outage knocks Fox40 off the air

September 28, 2009
Local high school musicians receive prestigious scholarships

Two local high school students are humming the sweet melody of success thanks to their hard work, prodigious talent and an unshakable love of music.

Yes, for Rio Americano High School students Victor San Pedro and Zach Giberson, music isn't just a "phase." In May, we reported on the musical talents of Victor and Zach, who spent the past summer participating in a residency program at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. They were joined by fellow Rio band mate Graham Smith, and the students not only learned volumes about the craft and industry of their passion--they served as exemplars of young musical talent.

After studying and performing with world-renowned faculty and more than 900 of the world's best and brightest high school and college musicians, two of the men were invited back to further their promising music careers. Alto saxophonist and jazz guitarist Zach Giberson was recognized as one of the program's finest musicians, and the Rio Americano senior will finish out his final year knowing he is on board for a full, four-year scholarship to study at Berklee.

Rio Americano junior Victor San Pedro was selected as one of four guitarists from a pool of more than 250 to be showcased at the program's final performance, and will return to Berklee on a scholarship for next year's summer program.

"I remember one specific time when I was playing with musicians from different parts of the world in a Tower of Power [tribute] ensemble," recalls San Pedro of his experience. "The percussionist was from Japan, the drummer was from Italy and the pianist was from California. We could barely even talk to each other, but when we all played together it worked, and that was really cool."

San Pedro anxiously awaits his return to the program, where he'll once again be able to experiment with new instruments, explore alternative music genres and hang out with more than a few renowned musicians. This time around, he'll be entering the program with the invaluable knowledge he picked up in his first year:

"The most important thing I learned was that there are a lot of good players out there. So you gotta work hard."

The Rio Americano band program provides quality music education to 200 of the school's students, who comprise four levels of concert band and four jazz ensembles. On Friday, November 6, the school will host its 29th annual Rio Americano Playathon, a musical marathon featuring 17 hours of nonstop music.

Orchestrated by students, the event includes performances by all of Rio's award-winning jazz and concert bands, plus combos and soloists from the Small Ensemble program. Both Giberson and San Pedro will appear in multiple performances throughout the event.

From 3:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., band students from local middle and elementary schools can play their instruments alongside the Rio Band, and the community is invited to attend the evening concerts, which are scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. .

For additional information, visit

September 27, 2009
Brad Paisley rocks Sleep Train on Saturday night

By Dixie Reid

Brad Paisley brought his "American Saturday Night" tour to Sleep Train Amphitheatre on, appropriately enough, Saturday night.

He walked onto the stage unannounced, made his way to the end of the catwalk, picked up a waiting acoustic guitar and started singing "Start a Band," the duet he recorded with Keith Urban.

Suddenly, a huge black sheet across the stage fell, revealing his very own seven-man band and a video screen worthy of a drive-in movie theater.

Paisley is among country music's most successful and popular singer-songwriters. He's also one fine guitar-player. Ten years into his career, he's charted 14 No. 1 singles, including 10 in a row - something no other country singer has accomplished in 20 years of the Soundscan tracking era.

His 100-minute set was steady, tireless and endlessly entertaining. He also showed off his talents as a cartoonist and animator with a backdrop video in which he depicted himself as a superhero in a cape and cowboy hat, saving Reba McEntire from a dinosaur (was he ribbing her about her age?), Carrie Underwood from an oncoming train, Toby Keith from the Dixie Chicks, and various other country stars from similarly dastardly ends.

Paisley promised to play "until they kick us out," and said he wanted to cling to every last moment of summer - which wasn't unimaginable at the cool end of a 100-degree Sacramento Valley day.

"Till we stop playing, it's still summer," he said.

And so, until he got "kicked out," Paisley ran through his greatest hits, and more. He's a funny guy, song-wise, and one of his best-ever is "Celebrity," in which he makes fun of folks who live on the cover of tabloid magazines: " ... Can't wait to wreck a Ferrari on the way to rehab." He illustrated "I'm Gonna Miss Her" with a running video of hysterically gigantic fish.

Paisley is a guy's guy - yes, gals love him, too - who sings a lot about fishing, the waters that fish inhabit, hunting, beer and saucy women. But he's not all chest-thumping bravado. His "Waitin' on a Woman," which he did as a video duet with actor Andy Griffith, is quite sweet, as are "Letter to Me" and "We Danced."

Dierks Bentley performed prior to Paisley's set, in an all-male country revue that included Nashville newcomer Jimmy Wayne. It's amazing that Bentley is still someone's opening act. He last played this area with George Strait. No doubt he'll be headlining concerts before long. He's had No. 1 hits with such singles as "Feel the Fire" and "Sideways."

And he must have run a mile in his set, all over the wide span of the stage and up and down the catwalk, his blonde curls plastered to his sweaty face.

Before Bentley was Wayne, whose "Do You Believe Me Now," made its way to the top of the charts. He has an interesting story: His father walked out on the family, his mother was in and out of prison, and he lived in foster homes and on the streets as a teenager.

Unfortunately, Wayne's set was long over by the time much of the crowd made its way to Sleep Train, which is some distance from Sacramento and has a Wheatland address.

The traffic was horrible: It took two hours to drive from Sacramento to the amphitheater, but approximately 14,000 fans made it to the show, some of them buying tickets as late as 9:05 p.m., five minutes before Paisley hit the stage.

"American Saturday Night" was a great way to close out the summer. It also marked the end of Sleep Train's concert season.

On Nov. 11, Paisley will host the Country Music Association's awards show on ABC. He's earned the most nominations of any artist with six, including the top-dog Entertainer of the Year. His co-host will be Underwood.

Good thing he saved her from that cartoon train.

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

September 25, 2009
Chanticleer performs Sunday at 5pm


Not much needs to be written about Chanticleer. Simply put, they are the gold standard among male vocal ensembles.

And unlike many other sought-after ensembles, Chanticleer has always been keen about performing in Sacramento.

This weekend Chanticleer will perform a concert entitled "In Time Of... Songs of Love & Loss, War & Peace," a concert of wide ranging music that includes works by Palestrina, Dufay, Janequin, Ligeti, Chen Yi, Sametz, McGlynn, Bates, and Gershwin.

WHEN: 5 p.m.
WHERE: St. Francis Church, 1112 26th St.,Sacramento
TICKETS: $20-$44
INFORMATION: (800) 407-1400

September 25, 2009
Fisher Collection of contemporary art going to SFMOMA

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will become home to one of the world's finest collections of contemporary art, museum officials announced today.

The Fisher Collection - which belongs to Gap, Inc., founders Doris and Donald Fisher - will make its public debut next year as part of the museum's 75th anniversary celebration.

The couple, who founded the Gap 40 years ago, wanted to keep their collection intact to share it with people in their hometown, according to a press release.

The collection's 1,100 or so pieces include work by such well-known artists as Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Anselm Kiefer, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Brice Marden, Agnes Martin, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol.

"San Francisco is where we raised our family and opened our first Gap store," said Don Fisher, "and we want to give back to the city we love by sharing the art that means so much to us.

"Doris and I share a vision with SFMOMA to enhance its collections and programs, and we are prepared to make a substantial gift to strengthen the museum's standing as one of the world's great contemporary art museums."

The museum is in the planning stages of an expansion project that would triple its gallery space.

The Fishers had thought of building a museum in the Presido by this past summer decided against that idea and turned instead to the Museum of Modern Art.

"SFMOMA is thrilled to forge this groundbreaking partnership and bring the Fishers' outstanding collection to the people of San Francisco and the world, which will make the museum an even greater public resource and provide visitors with a deeper, fuller view of key contemporary artists and movements," said museum director Neal Benezra.

Read the San Franciso Chronicle's story on the Fisher-SFMOMA partnership at

-- Dixie Reid
September 23, 2009
Killers bring big sound to Arco Arena

In the space between adolescence and middle age -- between jeans skinny and Mom -- exists The Killers.

The Las Vegas quartet bridges the gap between people who remember the '80s and youngsters intrigued by the anthemic sounds emitted by that magic instrument known as a synthesizer.

A bit of Roxy Music, a touch of Pet Shop Boys and even a dash of The Cult -- the Killers evoked them all Tuesday night at Arco Arena while keeping a modest but enthusiastic crowd of 6,000 on its feet.

That included people who stood only after Killers lead singer Brandon Flowers shamed them into it.

"The people who are sitting down -- you're killing me," Flowers told the crowd. "We are not The Fray."

Flowers and his bandmates definitely rock harder than The Fray. They're also more elliptical, musically and lyrically.

Some of The Killers' songs, such as "Human," from the 2008 release "Day & Age," are so lyrically obtuse that they might have blocked messages from audience members' brains to their feet.

"Human" has a beat you can dance to, certainly, but what do The Killers mean by the line "Are we human, or are we dancer?" (I ask this after about 50 enjoyable/perplexing listens over the past year.)

Two exceptions from "Day & Age" are "Joy Ride," with its self-explanatory lyrics and insistent beat, and "A Dustland Fairytale," which, like the excellent "When You Were Young" from the Killers' 2006 CD "Sam's Town," tackles the plight of the easily charmed woman.

Flowers' elastic tenor reached such emotional heights during "Fairytale" Tuesday night that you wondered if he knows the woman in the song who got sucked in by a "slick chrome American prince." The Killers' portrayal of romance among the have-nots can approach the poetic, and at some moments, even the Springsteen-esque.

Consisting on Tuesday night of Flowers (vocals and synth), drummer Ronnie Vannucci, bassist Mark Stoermer, guitarist Dave Keuning and two side players, The Killers created a sound at once big, elaborate and exceptionally sharp. The band sounded even better when stripped down to its core for comparatively straightforward songs such as "Mr. Brightside" and "Somebody Told Me," both from 2004's "Hot Fuss."

The Killers' songs are credited to the whole band. One gets a strong sense, however, that Flowers runs the creative show. He certainly doesn't seem to be in it for the glory of being a front man.

Despite the effervescence he displays on stage, Flowers is no spotlight hog. He interacted with the Arco audience infrequently, and he even seemed a little shy while apologizing, during the encore, for what he had said earlier about The Fray.

The gesture showed that Flowers has manners to match his angelic face.

In other words, it wasn't very rock 'n' roll.

September 22, 2009
Local fashion events include trunks shows and fundraisers


OK, check your watches: It's officially fall! And, with a new season, fashion continues to take center stage in the area as local boutiques and other organizations plan seasonal trunk shows to show off new collections or host fundraisers for worthy causes.

Here's a sampling:

  • Brown House:
  • The boutique (2567 Fair Oaks Blvd.) will host two events this week. On Wednesday, Troels Engholm, the president of U.S. distribution for Denmark-based Blue Willi's, will be in the store to present the line's fall, winter and holiday collections. If you're not familiar with Blue Willi's, the company specializes in cotton and wool knit sweaters, jackets and coats and jeans that, mercifully, fit (pictured). Then, on Thursday, rep Terri Blake will take customers through the latest fashions from Spanner, a made-in-America sportswear line featuring jackets, pants, sweaters and skirts. Terri also will bring a line of belts that can be custom ordered. Appointments can be made during stores hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more info: (916) 973-1693.
  • Loehmann's benefit:
  • Loehmann's stores, including the Sacramento store (2555 Fair Oaks Blvd.), will host a nationwide event Thursday called "Fashion Funds Hope" to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. At stores and online ( customers will see plenty of sale merchandise, including name-brand designer fashions. Here's how it will work: Loehmann's will donate $5 to OCRF at the register for an additional 15 percent savings on every purchase. The company also will contribute 5 percent of the day's total receipts. Store hours: 10 a.m to 9 p.m.
  • Fashion show:
  • Spoiled Rotten Women's Boutique, which is located in Cameron Park, will host "The Little Give," a fashion show inspired by artist Michael Godard, from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday at The Lodge at Four Seasons, 3186 Four Seasons Drive in El Dorado Hills. The show is a benefit for the Janet Nachtman Fund, which assists with paying for mammograms and follow-up care. Tickets are $25 and include light food, wine tasting, a silent auction and, of course, the fashion show. Godard's paintings have been incorporated into much of the clothing that will be featured. Tickets are available at Spoiled Rotten, 3330 Cameron Park Drive in Cameron Park, or at the door the night of the event.
September 22, 2009
Ring Cycle cast at SF Opera...


It's hurry-up-and-wait time for fans eagerly awaiting the San Francisco Opera's production of Wagner's Ring cycle or "Der Ring des Nibelungen".

That's because the opera company has just announced its cast list.

Wagner's epic four-opera cycle masterpiece, which the SF Opera will present in June and July of 2011, will be performed by an international cast.

Some of those are returning to the company, and includes the standout tenor Brandon Jovanovich, who will perform the role of Siegmund. Swedish soprano, and Wagner specialist, Nina Stemme is cast as Brünnhilde (cast list below).

All four operas in this new production by San Francisco Opera Artistic Adviser and director Francesca Zambello--"Das Rheingold", "Die Walküre", "Siegfried" and "Götterdämmerung"--will be presented for the first time as a complete cycle. Zambello intends to use different eras of U.S History as the setting for the cycle.

Three complete cycles will be presented, each in their entirety, over the course of one week, as Wagner had intended.

These cycles begin on a Tuesday evening and conclude on a Sunday afternoon, and take place on June 14-19, June 21-26, and June 28-July 3, 2011.

Former San Francisco Opera conductor and acclaimed Wagner specialist Donald Runnicles will conduct.

Nina Stemme - Brünnhilde
Anja Kampe - Sieglinde
Larissa Diadkova - Fricka
Mark Delavan - Wotan
Ian Storey - Siegfried
Brandon Jovanovich - Siegmund
Gordon Hawkins - Alberich
David Cangelosi - Mime

For the SF Opera, this Ring cycle is but the latest evolution between it and Wagner's epic work. The company has presented the Ring cycle in 1935, 1972, 1985, 1990 and 1999.

Tickets: (415) 864-3330 or

September 21, 2009
Big Spoon Yogurt teams up with California Museum for unique fund-raiser

Here's a tasty way to make a charitable contribution.

Tomorrow -- Sept. 22 -- Big Spoon Yogurt will donate 30 percent of your purchase to the California Museum for History, Women & the Arts.

You will need to print out a Big Spoon fund-raiser card:

Then place your order tomorrow, present the card and say "The California Museum" -- and you're suddenly a philanthropist.

Store hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. at these three Big Spoon locations in Sacramento:

2281 Del Paso Road, in the Natomas area
3644 J St. in East Sacramento
1735 Arden Way (Market Square, next to Arden Fair mall)

- Dixie Reid
September 17, 2009
See a conducting phenom via webstream...

Dudamel Santa Cecilia Roma[1].jpg

He's called "the Dude".

No, I'm not talking about the Big Lebowski.

I'm talking about the 28-year-old conductor Gustavo Dudamel - the hottest and most exciting conductor to hit the concert scene since Leonard Bernstein.

Dudamel, whose performances are usually described with the superlatives "captivating", "fresh" and "electric", takes over at the Los Angeles Philharmonic this October.

But good luck finding tickets.

But for the curious and the devotee alike, a taste of the Dudamel charm will be available this Saturday via webstream when he conducts the Berlin Philharmonic.

For this concert, the Berliners will offer its first ever performance of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 12.

The concert, which will be streamed live in HD, begins at 8:00 p.m. Berlin time and will be webcast at

The webstream broadcast is the fourth Berliner Philharmonic concert to be webcast through Digital Concert Hall this season. Over the season, 33 concerts will be webcast live from Berlin. The performances will also be available later on the site's video archive.

Access to the Digital Concert Hall is available by a subscription to the complete season ($209), a 30-day subscription ($55) or individual performances ($14).

Also on the program is Sofia Gubaidulina's "Glorious Percussion", a concerto for percussion ensemble and orchestra that was premiered by Mr. Dudamel and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in September 2008.

And given the fact that Dudamel's concerts in Los Angeles are mostly sold out, this might be the only opportunity for Northern Californians to catch 'the Dude" in action.

Tickets are available online at

September 17, 2009
Sacramento Fashion Week kicks off tonight

Sacramento - including downtown and Old Sac - will host Fashion Week starting tonight and running through Saturday.

The event, put on by Magnum Opus Enterprises and Rambo Productions, will feature local designers - including design students from the International Academy of Design & Technology - plus fashion workshops and showcase events.

Here's the lineup:

  • Tonight:
  • "One Night in Paris" will be held at the Elks Tower Ballroom, 921 11th St. in Sacramento. The event will showcase the collection of Victor Louis from IADT, plus other students (Brittanie Calilan, Elisa Lipnick, Kevin Roux, Melissa Kay, TLa Graves, Jaclyen Chideme and Monica Sanchez). There also will be special performances by opera singers Hilary Richardson and Suzette Ledger and dancers Athena Mackis and Darwin Black. Tickets for this event are $30 general admission. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the show is from 7 to 10 p.m. and benefits "Ready 4 Life" foster family agency.
  • Friday:
  • Workshops will be held from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at 1207 Front St. in Old Sac. Guest speakers include accessories designer Ada Komorniczak and Chandra Bourne, owner of Cast Images modeling and talent agency. Tickets are $5.
  • Saturday:
  • A showcase event will be held from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., also at 1207 Front St. Featured guests include Veronica Castro, host of the syndicated TV show "Latin Eyes." There will be a clothing drive partnered by Shiseido cosmetics and the Miss Asia Sacramento Pageant. Tickets are $15.

Where to buy tickets and get more info: and - for the first night only -

September 15, 2009
Keillor now cancels Sacramento appearance

Humorist and author Garrison Keillor is not coming to Sacramento after all.

Although he suffered a mild stroke over Labor Day weekend, Keillor had assured all concerned that he would be able to speak at a celebration of Lutheran Social Services of Northern California's 125th anniversary, which also was to be a fund-raiser for its homeless services programs.

However, Keillor has canceled his Sept. 22 appearance.

Classical jazz pianist Ricardo Scales, who was to share the bill with Keillor, has rescheduled and will play a benefit concert for Lutheran Social Services on Nov. 29 at St. John's Lutheran Church in Sacramento.

Ticket-holders will receive refunds for the Keillor event.

- Dixie Reid

September 15, 2009
President's Own Marine Band: for free...

It was established by an Act of Congress in 1798, and garnered its title from Thomas Jefferson.

No, it's not the Declaration of Independence-it's the President's Own Marine Band.

And the band is coming to Sacramento for a free concert.

This Marine band, one of the oldest professional musical organizations in the U.S., will appear at Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium on October 16 at 7:30 p.m.

The event is being sponsored by the Sacramento Community Concert Association.

The accomplished ensemble was created to fulfill a very specific and unique mission: to provide music for the President and the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.

Never mind the fact that President Obama probably doesn't have the band anywhere on his ipod. Or does he?

But, hey, listening to this band is a U.S. tradition. And the musicianship is top-notch.

Most band members are graduates of the nation's finest music schools, and nearly 60 percent of its players hold advanced degrees in music.

And that's not a bad ratio for any free concert...

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Oct. 16
WHERE: Memorial Auditorium, 1500 J Street, Sacramento
TICKETS: Free, but tickets are required. Requests are limited to 4 tickets.
Tickets can be acquired at the Community Center Theater box office at 1301 L St., Sacramento
INFORMATION: (916) 974-1357 or

September 15, 2009
Ghost detectives go hunting...


If you want to be creeped out, then the Sacramento region is certainly not the worst place to be.

Why's that, you say?

It's because the area has always owned serious cred when it comes to ghost sightings.

These have been well documented - from the haunted underground passages under downtown Sacramento to the bump-in-the-night gold rush towns of the Sierra.

Hunting ghosts down is the realm of Curtis Park resident Shannon McCabe and her ghost hunting partner Paul Dale Roberts, of Haunted and Paranormal Investigations.

McCabe and Roberts latest foray will entail a ghost scouting mission to Truckee. The hunting expedition will involve an overnight investigation at the Historic Truckee Hotel, a tour of the CB Whitehouse, and a ghost-sleuthing session at the local jail.

The scouting mission takes place on Sept. 19. The event is open to the public.

An evening séance with Bobby Marchesso, TV psychic for "Conversations with a Serial Killer", is also scheduled.

The Sacramento-based H.P.I. is now five years old and boasts more than 550 members. It holds monthly events for the novice and experienced paranormal investigator.

Information: 1-888-709-4HPI or

September 14, 2009
Another top designer - Anna Sui - at Target and on 'Gossip Girl'


Tonight's the night to get your "Gossip Girl" on and some cute clothes to go with the new season. FYI: Chuck and Blair adjust to life as a couple - whatever that means. The third season airs at 9 p.m. on The CW (Channel 31).

And yesterday, designer Anna Sui's "Designer Collaborations" collection debuted at Target to coincide with "Gossip Girl." The inspiration for the line comes from the show's four main female characters. Sui was in New York recently to launch the line, appearing with actress Monet Mazur (pictured).

Sui is the second big-name designer the discount retailer has partnered with in the "Collaborations" line. Alexander McQueen was first. The mission is for the designer to find inspiration from a partner, muse or other creative element. For Sui, it was the hit TV show.

"When I was in Asia last year, girls kept asking me about the different areas in New York City by referring to them as where the characters from 'Gossip Girl' live," Sui says in a statement. "The show is such a phenomenon and so fashionable, so I really wanted to create a collection reflective of the four main characters."

I checked out the collection yesterday at Target and left with a really cute three-quarter-length T-shirt and a tweed jumper. The palette is both colorful - blues, purples, oranges - and neutral - gray, brown, ivory and black. Sui adds the "girly" must-have touches, too, including satin, chiffon, a velvet bow-tie collar and lace.

Yes, the collection definitely skews to a younger market. But I can "gossip" with the best of them! It's all in how you hook it up as a complete outfit.

Prices range from $19.99 (for a feminine tulle tie-front top) to $149.99 (for a really cute leather jacket). The collection is in stores and online ( through Oct,. 17.

September 11, 2009
The art of dancing

While artists and art galleries are displaying the visual arts on this month's Second Saturday Art Walk, you might want to take a stroll by the new Pamela Hayes dance studio in midtown, where more than a dozen ballet students will be performing.

Starting at 7:30 p.m. behind the big glass windows at 1630 I St., the dancers, in full costume will perform excerpts from several classical works, including "Romeo and Juliet" and "Swan Lake." You can watch from the sidewalk outside, or go inside the studio.

Hayes and her principal teacher (and daughter) Zara Hayes, will be there to answer questions about the dance program. They'll also accept donations, if you'd like to make one, to purchase a portable sprung floor, which is essential to protect the feet and joints of the dancers. The dance company recently moved into the former car showroom, which has a hard -- really hard -- floor.

September 11, 2009
More time for Brubeck

In an interview that was conducted last week with jazz great Dave Brubeck (who will perform Sept. 18 at the Grove at the Radisson here) , the musician said, "This is going to be the biggest year of my life in many ways," but he was cagey about revealing any special events. One of them, it turns out, was announced this week: Brubeck is among the artists to receive the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors, along with Mel Brooks, Bruce Springsteen, Robert de Niro and Grace Bumbry. The awards will be presented on Dec. 6 (Brubeck's 89th birthday).

In addition, Brubeck will be presented an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music at the Monterey Jazz Festival on Sunday, the 20th, after which he will perform his classic recording "Time Out" in its entirety.

September 11, 2009
A wintery Wintour in 'The September Issue'


Word on 7th Avenue is that legendary Vogue editor Anna Wintour holds the $300-billion global fashion industry in her slim grip.

After seeing the just-released documentary "The September Issue," I feel safe in saying she holds the hearts (and other body parts) of not only the industry but the people who work for her, too.

The film, which opens today at the Crest Theatre (downtown Sacramento) and the Century (Roseville), chronicles the putting together of the 2007 September issue of the magazine, the largest ever (more than 4 pounds, more than 800 pages). The filmmaker, R.J. Cutler ("The War Room"), was given once-in-a-lifetime access to the real-life inner workings of the magazine - especially the notoriously tight-lipped Wintour (pictured).

After seeing this film, I totally get why actress Meryl Streep was so highly praised for her role as "Miranda," the editor in chief of the fictional fashion magazine Runway in 2006's "The Devil Wears Prada." It's no secret that the movie (and book by the same name) were supposedly based on Wintour and Vogue.

"The September Issue" only confirms what outsiders might have heard about Wintour: She's tough, difficult, restrained and, as publisher Tom Florio, eloquently puts it: "If you want warm, that's me."

In one scene, a reporter asks Wintour - dressed in heavy attire - why people refer to her as the "ice woman." Her quick response? "Well, it is cold outside today."

Moviegoers see lots of Wintour's trademark bob and dark glasses, but I found it interesting that she doesn't appear to be a big fan of the traditional dark attire many fashion editors covet. She's seen a lot in florals and prints. And, unlke the pristine offices in "Devil," only Wintour's office digs are that nice. Most of the other editors and writers are in cramped quarters, and the hallways are jammed with clothing racks and boxes of belts and bags.

I've been a fan of Vogue since I was a teen. And, like so many devotees, I turn to its pages every month for fashion direction. After all, Wintour is seen as the force who can make or break a designer's collection, and the person stores like Neiman Marcus turn to to get their shipments delivered on time.

She wields that much power.

But what you will learn from "The September Issue" is that the real beating heart of the magazine is certainly not Wintour's but that of creative director Grace Coddington, who joined the magazine in 1988 - the same year Wintour became editor.

A former model from Wales, Coddington isn't well-known to readers except by name. By the end of the film, you realize it's her vision and amazing talent that moves the magazine from season to season, issue to issue.

Interestingly, that ginormous issue two years ago has not been equaled. In fact, the September 2009 issue of Vogue was a measly 584 pages. But Wintour gets the last quip: A headline at the bottom of the cover (with Charlize Theron) says, "In the REAL September Issue!"

September 10, 2009
BloodSource and IMAX team up for donations

BloodSource is offering a free IMAX movie admission in exchange for your blood.

Anyone who donates between this Sunday and Oct. 31 at any BloodSource location will receive a coupon for free entry to "Dolphins and Whales 3D" at the Esquire IMAX Theatre, 1211 K St. in downtown Sacramento.

The documentary film opens Oct. 16.

The free coupons expire Dec. 16.

For showtimes, go to or call (916) 443-IMAX (-4629).

For information on donating blood and BloodSource locations, call (866) 822-5663.

- Dixie Reid
September 10, 2009
Student stars take center stage in Aladdin Jr. production

A group of local elementary and middle school actors are hoping to transport audiences to a whole new world during performances of Disney's Aladdin Jr. at the California Stage Theatre this weekend.

The play is presented by Flying Monkey Productions, a nonprofit organization that gives young students an opportunity to perform on stage and run the artistic elements of theatre production, according to a news release.

Fourth- through eighth-grade students are starring in the play, which is a stage adaptation of the animated Disney hit. The production includes songs from the movie's Academy Award-winning score, such as "A Whole New World" and "Friend Like Me."

Four performances will be held, beginning with a show at 7 p.m. Friday. Additional shows will be at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The California Stage Theatre is located at 1723 25th St., Sacramento.

For tickets, call (916) 215-9077 or purchase them at the door.

September 10, 2009
Garrison Keillor is still coming, despite a health setback

Despite suffering a minor stroke over Labor Day weekend, humorist Garrison Keillor - who'll be released from the hospital sometime this week - still intends to make his Sept. 22 speaking appearance in Sacramento.

"An Evening With Garrison Keillor" is set for 7 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium.

His visit is sponsored by Lutheran Social Services of Northern California and is a celebration of its 125th anniversary. The event also is a fund-raiser for its homeless services programs.

Keillor's program "A Prairie Home Companion" airs on many National Public Radio stations across the country, including Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, with an audience of 4 million.

Tickets for "An Evening With Garrison Keillor" are $35-$70.

For more information: (916) 808-5181,

Tickets also are on sale at the Sacramento Convention Center box office, 1301 L St., Sacramento.

- Dixie Reid

September 9, 2009
Crocker Art Museum awarded two significant grants

As the Crocker Art Museum staff anticipates completion of the new $100 million wing - which will quadruple gallery space for temporary exhibitions and triple the permanent-collections exhibition area - they were thrilled to receive two generous grants.

The Henry Luce Foundation gave $125,000, which will be used to reinterpret and reinstall the American art collection.

"The reinstallation will allow visitors to fully experience a collection that communicates a broader, and less frequently told, story of American art," chief curator Scott A. Shields said in a press statement. "With one of the nation's premier collections of Californian art, it is a story we are uniquely positioned to tell."

In addition, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation gave a $50,000 grant for arts education. The Crocker was the only museum in this area among 500 nonprofits to receive such a grant from the foundation.

The Crocker Art Museum is at 216 O St., in downtown Sacramento.

The museum will close early next year, in anticipation of conditioning the new wing and installing art both there and in existing galleries. The "new" Crocker is set to open in the fall of 2010.

Follow construction updates at

- Dixie Reid

September 9, 2009
Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day: Free for all

On Sept. 26, nine museums in our area will offer free general admission as part of Smithsonian Magazine's 5th annual Museum Day.

You'll need a Museum Day Admission Card, which allows two people from one household to enter participating museums here and across the country. You must present the card at the door.

Download and print your admission card at

Last year, more than 200,000 people across the country took advantage of the Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day.

Here are the participating museums near us:

Aerospace Museum of California, 3200 Freedom Park Dr., McClellan (off Watt Avenue in North Highlands)

California Automobile Museum (formerly the Towe Auto Museum), 2200 Front St., Sacramento

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

California State Railroad Museum, 111 I St., Sacramento

California State Military Museum and Resource Center, 1119 Second St., Old Sacramento

Crocker Art Museum, 216 O St., Sacramento

Explorit Science Center
, 2801 2nd St., Davis

Maidu Interpretive Center
, 1960 Johnson Ranch Road, Roseville

Sacramento Zoo, 3930 W. Land Park Drive, Sacramento

- Dixie Reid
September 9, 2009
Sundance Channel kicks off Fashion Week - on TV


New York is the place to be as Fashion Week debuts the spring 2010 collections - starting Thursday.

Can't go? Well, the Sundance Channel will offer a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on before a runway show. Sure, there's plenty of glitz, plenty of glamour. And shows that start waaaay later than scheduled.

Starting tonight at 10 p.m., check out the world premiere of "The Day Before," a four-part fashion series that will give viewers an inside look at the creative process that goes into putting on a show. You know, the stuff you don't see on "Project Runway."

Here's the lineup:

* Tonight's show will feature Sonia Rykiel, the Parisian designer who specializes in chic knitwear. What you'll see: Her house's 40th anniversary runway show last October in Paris.

* On Thursday, check out the whiz kids - Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez - who are the designers for the label Proenza Schouler (pictured). What you'll see: Their fall 2009 collection from last February.

* On Friday, it's fashion mastermind Karl Lagerfeld. What you'll see: His Fendi fall 2009 collection shown last March in Milan.

* On Saturday, the final episode goes behind the scenes for a look at one of the most flamboyant designers in the business - Jean Paul Gaultier. What you'll see: His haute couture show in July in Paris.

And check back to 21Q on Friday for my thoughts on the fashion movie "The September Issue," which chronicles Vogue magazine's journey two years ago with the biggest fashion package in the mag's history. I'm catching a sneak preview Thursday night at the Crest.

September 8, 2009
Robbie Knievel to jump buses at Jackson Rancheria Casino

After deciding that charter buses aren't bringing in enough high-paying customers, Jackson Rancheria has hired a stunt man to jump buses ... in the hopes that it'll attract customers.

The casino is inviting the public to come to the casino Thursday at 6 p.m. to watch Robbie Knievel, son of daredevil legend Evel Knievel, attempt to jump - on a motorcycle - three school buses parked bumper to bumper.

The casino recently ended its traditional arrangement with charter bus companies, which brought in customers in exchange for a commission. Casinos have suffered in the depressed economy.

The jump will take place at the Jackson Rancheria RV Park, Highway 88 and Dalton Road.

September 8, 2009
So you think you have ants? Audition for a pest control TV ad

For the second year, Clark Pest Control is holding open auditions for people who want to appear in one of their commercials.

Those vying for a spot in a spot will do their thing in front of a green screen with Clark-provided props. The would-be actors are free to come up with their own 30-second spiels ending with the company's slogan, "Clark, we need you!" Last year's winner was a 4-year-old.

This year's auditions will be held at the Lodi Grape Festival, with taping from 4-8 p.m. each day, Sept. 17-20. The festival is held at 413 East Lockeford St. in Lodi.

For hints from past commercials check out Look for the link at the bottom of the page.

September 8, 2009
Met Opera Simulcasts return to region for fourth season...


Opera fans take note - the Metropolitan Opera's live simulcasts return for the 2009-10 season. Now in their fourth season, the simulcasts have become a veritable staple for opera lovers nationwide and locally.

In the Sacramento region, the Met's simulcast presence remains strong: a total of 8 regional theaters will participate in 2009-10 - from Yuba City to Elk Grove.

The fourth installment of "The Met: Live in HD" begins with Puccini's "Tosca", with Karita Mattila (pictured, right) in the title role, on October 10. This season features nine live and nine encore presentations. The simulcasts end with Renee Fleming in Rossini's "Armida" May of next year.

All performances begin at 10 am PST. Encore performance begin at 6:30 p.m. PST.

Tosca - Giacomo Puccini
October 10
Encore: October 28

Aida - Giuseppe Verdi
October 24
Encore: November 11

Turandot - Giacomo Puccini
November 7
Encore: November 18

Les Contes d'Hoffmann - Jacques Offenbach
December 19
Encore: January 6, 2010

Der Rosenkavalier - Richard Strauss
January 9, 2010
Encore: January 27, 2010

Carmen - Georges Bizet
January 16, 2010
Encore: February 3, 2010

Simon Boccanegra - Giuseppe Verdi
February 6, 2010
Encore: February 24, 2010

Hamlet - Ambroise Thomas
March 27, 2010
Encore: April 14, 2010

Armida - Gioachino Rossini
May 1, 2010
Encore: May 19, 2010

Participating Theatres:

Cinemark Stadium 14
Cinemark Downtown Plaza 7
Cinemark Greenback Lane 16
Regal Natomas Marketplace

Elk Grove:
Cinemark Laguna 16, Elk Grove

Cinemark Folsom 14

Cinemark Roseville 14

Yuba City
Cinemark, Yuba City

September 4, 2009
Five Figs trunk show this weekend


Pam Pacelli over at Five Figs Couture in Davis e-mailed me to say that, after a "long break," designer Lynn Mizono's fashions will be back in her store just in time for a two-day trunk show.

The collection, which includes Lynn's fabulous fleece coats and her signature shirts (pictured) and pants, will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Saturday at the boutique, 231 E St. For more info: (530) 756-3500.

While you're out and about in Davis, check out the farmers market at Central Park (4th and C streets) from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow.

September 3, 2009
Local theater company calls it quits

The quirky, adventuresome Beyond the Proscenium Productions announced Thursday that it's calling it quits. "After a series of unfortunate occurrences, the board of directors has decided that BPP has already served its mission to enrich the cultural climate of Sacramento," a theater company press release said.
"Personal matters coupled with dwindling arts funding" were cited as "sealing the deal to close the tent."
The company was found in 1994 with two goals, according to founding artistic director Ann Tracy: "to expand the styles of theater produced in town (and) to pay the actors and other artists at least a small stipend." Sacramento now has "new theater companies that weren't out there in '94, staging provocative new works by up and coming playwrights," Tracy said.
Among the shows presented by BPP are the one-act performance piece "Dancing With Desire: A Poetic Fandango with the Erotic and the Bawdy," which it presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland; "Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches in 1998 and "Part Two: Perestroika" in 1999, "Orestes 2.5," Tracy's adaptation of Euripides' "Orestes" in 2002; "The Al Hamlet Summit" by Sulayman Al-Bassam in 2006 and "Symphony of Rats" by Richard Foreman in 2008. The company's last production was "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" in May.

September 3, 2009
Galleries to honor arts pioneer with donation campaign

In honor of the late art gallery owner and Second Saturday co-founder Michael Himovitz, who died of complications from AIDS/HIV 15 years ago, several galleries will set up donation boxes for CARES (Center for AIDS Research, Education and Services) as part of Second Saturday Sept. 12.

Organized by Himovitz's children, Lucas and Julia, the donation effort targets CARE's "Are You the Difference?" campaign, which aims to eradicate new cases of HIV in the Sacramento region within the next five years.

Here are the participating galleries:

Axis Gallery
Beatnik Studios
B. Sakata Garo Gallery
Jay Jay
Skinner Howard Art
Solomon Dubnick Gallery
Verge Gallery and Studio Project
A Bitchin' Space
Crandall Bear Studios

Information on the "Are You the Difference?" campaign is available here.


September 3, 2009
"Musical California" day coming to California Museum

This is music to our ears.

On Sept. 19, the California Museum will devote the day to celebrating the state's musical diversity. And, thanks to Target, admission is free.

Performers for "Musical California" include children's entertainer Francie Dillon, the drum group Red Circle with War Cloud, Camellia String Quartet, bluegrass band Natural Drift, the Gold Rush-inspired minstrel group Off to California and Sacramento Blues Society.

In addition, Disney's Rockin' Road Crew will perform scenes from "High School Musical" from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

There also will be a musical instrument "petting zoo," karaoke lounge, crafts and games.

The event runs 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

California Museum for History, Women & the Arts is at 1020 O St. (10th & O streets), Sacramento. Free parking on weekends across from the museum's entrance.

For more info: (916) 653-7524,

- Dixie Reid
September 2, 2009
Nickelback: Band for the people

Nickelback's cover of Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places" didn't quite come off as the departure intended Monday night at Sleep Train Amphitheatre.

That's because Nickelback always has been a rock band with country-music sensibilities. After all, the Canadian hit-makers offer sing-along-ready odes to experiences common to many of us, whether it's attending high school ("Photograph") or dreaming, for a moment, of enjoying a lavish rock 'n' roll lifestyle ("Rockstar").

Lead singer Chad Kroeger even devoted much of his between-song chatter Monday night to praising California's sunshine -- weather far different, he informed the crowd, from what he gets at home in Vancouver, B.C.

Who can't relate to weather talk?

It's no wonder the Sleep Train audience -- 14,000 strong, even on a Monday night -- hung on his every word and on to Nickelback's every user-friendly note. As Kroeger sang the line "And this is where I grew up" from "Photograph," audience members ranging from adolescent to salt-and-pepper haired all shook their heads in appreciation.

It helped that Nickelback's music takes on a much fuller sound live than it does on record.

In concert, Daniel Adair becomes a monster on drums -- at least in that contained, Canadian way. Kroeger's gritty vocals sound more supple live, and although he's billed as rhythm guitarist to Ryan Peake'ss lead, Kroeger also knows his way around a riff.

As the culmination of a devil-horn-sign flashing, hard-rocking four-band show (Saving Abel, Hinder and Papa Roach opened), however, Nickelback's set seemed anti-climactic. Yes, they know how to rock, but their repertoire consists mostly of ballads and mid-tempo songs.

The distinction became stark when Papa Roach front man Jacoby Shaddix and Hinder singer Austin Winkler joined Nickelback on stage for a cover of AC/DC's "Highway to Hell." Whereas Shaddix and Winkler seemed rough, ready and ragged, the amiable, cleaner-cut Kroeger came off as almost fatherly -- he's only 34 -- in their presence.

Papa Roach proved the most energetic act of the night, and not just because of the Vacaville/Sacramento band's hometown advantage.

Shaddix mesmerizes on stage, amping the audience with his eye-bugging theatrics and constant hand waving. After the band delivered solid versions of hits such as "Scars" and "Last Resort," Shaddix vamped for more love from his "916/530/707" crowd.

He always got it. Shaddix made you want to throw you hands in the air and wave them like you ... were doing what Shaddix told you.

September 2, 2009
Free Concerts at UC Davis announced...


In this current economic climate there is nothing more appealing to an arts patron like the word "free".

With a little legwork and a flexible schedule a whole concert season can be accessed for free in the Sacramento region.

And one of the destinations to keep in mind for free music is UC Davis which always offers a robust schedule of free concerts during concert season.

At UC Davis, the Fall schedule for 2009 includes such artists as cellists Lena and Robert Andaya, the adventurous New York-based Meridian Arts Ensemble, and soprano Rebecca Plack.

Many of the concerts are free noon concerts, and most are held in the Music Building at UC Davis. A select few will also be held in the Grand Lobby of the Mondavi Center.

For more infornmation, or to join the events mailing list, contact the Department of Music at (530) 752-7896 or

Thu., Sep. 24, 12:05 p.m., Grand Lobby, Mondavi Center
Noon Concert: Davis Summer Symphony. Tim Follin (arr. by Paul Watkins): "Akrillic" from the Super Nintendo Game "Plok"; Robert Schumann: Allegro affettuoso from the Piano Concerto in A Minor, with ChiaWei Lin, piano; Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 4 in Bb Major.

Thu., Oct. 1, 12:05 p.m., Grand Lobby, Mondavi Center
Noon Concert: Tim Feeney, amplified percussion, and Vic Rawlings, prepared cello. Electroacoustic improvisation with self-built and assembled instruments: The cello is prepared with extra resonant strings, metal flashing, and other objects, while the drums are amplified and used as a resonator for other percussion instruments in the set.

Thu., Oct. 8, 12:05 p.m., Grand Lobby, Mondavi Center
Noon Concert: Laurel Ensemble (UC Davis faculty-affiliate Ann Lavin, clarinet; Sarah Holzman, flute; Jenny Douglas, viola; Krisanthy Desby, cello; Lori Lack, piano). Works by Beethoven, Clarke, and Martinů.

Thu., Oct. 15, 12:05 p.m., Room 115, Music Building
Noon Concert: Genevieve Lee, piano. Featuring UC Davis faculty composer Kurt Rohde's "One," 13 reflections for speaking pianist based on poems of Paul Mann. The piano and pianist are lightly amplified, and assorted "found objects" are used throughout, as well.

Thu., Oct. 22, 12:05 p.m., Grand Lobby, Mondavi Center
Noon Concert: Rebecca Plack, soprano, with Blaise Bryski, piano.
Selected Schubert Lieder, selections from Rachmaninov's six romances, and William Walton's "Three Songs" on poems by Edith Sitwell (excerpts from "Façade" and arranged by the composer for soprano and piano).

Thu., Oct. 29, 12:05 p.m., Grand Lobby, Mondavi Center
Noon Concert: Percussion Group Davis & CSU Percussion Group. Steve Reich's Drumming (1970-71).

Thu., Nov. 5, 12:05 p.m., Grand Lobby, Mondavi Center
Noon Concert: Lena and Robert Andaya, cellos.

Tue., Nov. 10, 12:05 p.m., Room 115, Music Building
Noon Concert: Meridian Arts Ensemble, artist-in-residence, a faculty brass ensemble at the Manhattan School of Music that plays everything from J.S. Bach to Frank Zappa. Works by graduate student composers Hendel Almétus, Ben Irwin, Garrett Shatzer, Ching-Yi Wang, and Brazen Overtures by undergraduate student Paul Watkins.

Thu., Nov. 12, 12:05 p.m., Room 115, Music Building
Noon Concert: Marilyn Nonken, piano.

Thu., Nov. 19, 12:05 p.m., Grand Lobby, Mondavi Center
Noon Concert: Passamezzo Moderno and Duo Solace.
Early 17th-century music from Germany and Italy. Passamezzo members include UC Davis faculty-affiliate David Granger, dulcian and bassoon; Jonathan Davis, harpsichord and organ; and Edwin Huizinga and Adriane Post, violins; with Duo Solace members Linda Tsatsanis, soprano, and John Lenti, flute.

Tue., Dec. 1, 12:05 p.m., Room 115, Music Building
Noon Concert: Student Chamber Ensembles.

Thu., Dec. 3, 12:05 p.m., Room 115, Music Building
Noon Concert: UC Davis Baroque Ensemble. Phebe Craig and Michael Sand, directors

September 2, 2009
Bee freelancer wins outdoorswoman award

Holly Heyser, a contributor to The Bee, has won California Waterfowl's 2009 Artemis award.

California Waterfowl, which calls itself a "hunter-supported conservation organization," presents the award each year for promoting positive outdoor experiences for women and preserving the outdoor heritage.

The organization works to preserve wetlands as seasonal waterfowl habitat and supports and encourages hunting of waterfowl by adults and children.

According to a press release on the award: "Heyser has proven herself to be a powerful voice for promoting the positive aspects of hunting, such as the health benefits of pursuing and eating wild game, and the contributions hunters make to habitat conservation. She is a tireless advocate for California Waterfowl's award-winning education and outreach programs through the Women's Outdoor Connections Committee, which is creating a network for women interested in volunteerism, hunting and conservation. On her blog, NorCal Cazadora, she provides a wealth of information on all things hunting in a thought-provoking and inviting way that draws people out and into the marsh."

The award is to be presented at the organizationas "Wild Game Feed" Thursday.

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