Saclive: From fairytale to earthy jazz

One of our favorite family events of the year gets underway today as Fairytale Town opens the doors on its Winter Wonderland. For the next two weekends, the park will be transformed with decorations, lights after dark, special events and special hours.

Besides personal appearances by Santa and Ebenezer Scrooge, there will be reindeer. Friday’s events include Bel Tempo, a traditional handbell choir, performing in the Children’s Theater at 5p.m. and 5:30p.m., and strolling Victorian carolers from Sacramento Theatre Company’s School of the Arts from from 5 to 7p.m.

On Saturday and Sunday, Santa Claus will be in his workshop in the Children’s Theater, available for photos from 3 to 7p.m. On Dec. 19, author Erin Dealey reads from her new book “Deck the Walls” and also hosts a sing-along in the Children’s Theater at 2p.m. and 4p.m.

Fairytale Town Winter Wonderland, Fairytale Town, 3901 Land Park Drive, Sacramento. Today-Sunday and Thursday-Dec. 22. Special park hours: 1-7p.m. (weather permitting). Free for Fairytale Town members and children 1 and younger. Tickets $5 for nonmembers. Printed photos with Santa, $5. Information: (916)808-7462;

Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet does ‘Nutcracker’

“The Nutcracker” is one of the cultural touchstones of the Christmas season, and Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet keeps Christmas as well as any group around. The traditionally oriented company brings its lush, festive “Nutcracker” back to the Harris Center this weekend with four performances. (Warning, last year they sold out.)

Performances are 7:30p.m. today and Saturday; 2p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Harris Center for the Arts, Three Stages at Folsom Lake College, 10 College Parkway, Folsom. Tickets: $15-$26. Information:; (916)608-6888.

Anton Schwartz due at JB’s Jazz Lounge

San Francisco-based saxophonist Anton Schwartz brings his Ugetsu band to JB’s Jazz Lounge on Sunday for a tribute to the great jazz drummer, band leader and musical ambassador Art Blakey. Ugetsu references a live 1963 recording of the same name by Blakey and the Jazz Messengers at Birdland. The group featured the pianist Cedar Walton who wrote the title song along with one of the band’s classic, lineups – Wayne Shorter on saxophone, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and Curtis Fuller on trombone. Schwartz is a heady player who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in mathematics and philosophy before moving on to doctoral research in artificial intelligence at Stanford. His playing has a thick, earthy feel, and it’s not surprising that he has said: “What I require for music to really captivate me is groove and intellect working in tandem. Music that gets into your bones, into your head and into your heart.”

Anton Schwartz and Ugetsu at JB’s lounge, inside the Clarion Inn, 1401 Arden Way, Sacramento. Tickets $5-$15. 5-8p.m. Reservations: (916)723-5517 or email