Archive for January, 2009

Sweet Hollywaiians slack key guitar heroes THURSDAY!

I was tremendously bummed out when I realized that I was going to be in LA on the night of the Cheap Suit Serenaders’ annual show at Freight and Salvage this past weekend in Berkeley. I’m a huge fan of early twentieth century string band music, and very few do it better than the Cheap Suits.

One band that comes damned close is Osaka, Japan’s Sweet Hollywaiians. The Hollywaiians play very authentic early thirties style slack key guitar in the manner of Sol Hoopii and Roy Smeck- great stuff! Even that most curmudgeonly of music snobs, Robert Crumb, raves about them… so much so that the Hollywaiians got the opening slot for the Cheap Suits at Freight and Salvage. Lucky for us, the Hollywaiians booked some tour dates around the Berkeley show, and even luckier, two of the Cheap Suits live in Davis and encouraged the boys to play down here.

Nora Cary was kind enough to put together a house show for them this Thursday, January 29, 8PM at 1312 Tulane Drive in Davis. it’s $10 to get in, $5 if you’re a student. There’s a chance this may sell out, so if you (like me) must go, email Nora to RSVP: nlcary at ucdavis dot edu.

Calvin Johnson LIVE tonight *Tue* in Davis

Calvin Johnson (K Records, Beat Happening) LIVE tonight (Tuesday, Jan 27th) at Delta of Venus in Davis, CA
7:30 pm, $4, all ages

w/ Dragging an Ox through water (PDX) & Please Quiet Ourselves

Brother Can You Spare a Ride?

Doug Biggert is a local institution. He’s known for many things, not the least of which is his twenty or so years in the trenches at Tower Books corporate where his unflagging support for small press oddballs helped kick start the zine revolution of the ’90s.

What is not generally known is that Biggert is a great photographer. We ran an article a few months back, but Biggert is not big on self-promotion, which explains why his first photo show (A Sandal Shop Wall, Newport Beach Museum of Art, 1971) and his second (Hitch-Hikers, Paris) were about 35 years apart.

Enter Xavier Carcelle, a Parisian who literally stumbled into Biggert’s work (in a cardboard box on DB’s floor) and decided that someone had to do something. “Something” turned out to be a few shows in Europe, and then a book, Hitch-Hikers, and now, Beautiful America, a documentary by Chloe Colpé and Carcelle about Doug Biggert and his work.

2008 Year in Review

by Staff

As the end of the year approached, we asked a randomly selected group (i.e. we had their email addresses somewhere handy) of Midtowners to send in their thoughts about the best, worst or most memorable things about 2008. Here’s what we got back. Read more »

Musical Chairs

SteveSteve Martarano currently works as a senior information and education specialist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Sacramento. A former reporter at the now defunct-Sacramento Union newspaper, Steve reviewed concerts for the Union in the mid-1980s, and considers the long gone Cal Expo Amphitheater as the best musical venue in Sacramento’s history. He and his wife, Sharon, have lived in the Curtis Park neighborhood of Sacramento for 25 years. Read more »

getting ready to go!

We’re approaching the deadline for the February issue and  thought I’d toss out a reminder that we are always looking for photos for our ‘Out and About’ section.  

What do we want?  You.  Your friends.  That great band/art show/science fair/garage sale/frog jump/?? you saw.  Decent quality (camera phone photos don’t cut it).  
Send ’em to:  outandabout at midtownmonthly dot net and we’ll use ’em if we can!

Bad Ideas

by Elaine O’Brien  Photos by Jesse Vasquez

The extraordinary career of Sacramento regional artist Stephen Kaltenbach has been a subject of rediscovery for the cosmopolitan art world in the last few years.  Read more »

Luigis Goes Crazy Tonight!

the Rantouls

NOBUNNY (Oakland)
RANTOULS (Sunnyvale?)

The show is all ages, starts at 9, and costs only $5.

Rock ‘n’ roll was born in the USA, and TH’ LOSIN’ STREAKS are such a definitive rock ‘n’ roll band that they are probably the one thing about Sacramento that most makes me feel patriotic. Solid and authentic 60’s nuts ‘n’ bolts are punched up with the strident drumwork of Matt K. Shrugg that is incredibly ferocious and cleverly jazzy. If you beat your Rock Band video game pads like this guy drums, your parents will never splurge for Christmas again. And if that’s not enough to get your dancefloor-mojo to rev up, there’s always Mike Farrell’s unconscious snake-charmin’ guitar solos which are just unreal.

One of the greatest showmen on earth today, NOBUNNY hops over here from Oakland for a third Central Valley appearance. He’s gregarious and superfun, but he’s not all about antics…His picture-perfect pop tunes smack of the sweetest 60’s bubblegummy foot-tappers and 70’s nuggets of powerpop. People fall in love with NoBunny’s irresistible songs. And, whenever he’s in Sacto, he gets emboldened by the ghostly spirit of the legendary Li’l Bunnies. But that’s not why the pants come off. That just happens regardless. Still got new versions of the “Love Visions” LP, plus a new 7″ on HoZac.

THE RANTOULS are reportedly one of the best, boffo-fun party-time bands in the Bay Area. I regretfully ignored them for a while because I couldn’t make sense of their name, but word of mouth outta the Bay kept growing so much about their lovable melodies and lyrics, drawing comparisons like “imagine if the Archies met the Traditional Fools”, so now I’m all ears. I’m banking on mass conversion of an unsuspecting fanbase now. New 7″ on Chocolate Covered Records.

Sacto’s ENGLISH SINGLES don’t just round out any bill. They’re not the kinda band you take for granted of and then introduce like “last, but not least”. The whole “also/ex-members-of” thing is kinda hard to avoid (Bananas, Nar, Yahmos, FM Knives,et al); hey, this is a supergroup! Truly, this is a brilliant band of sweet pop bliss and instant Loft heyday recall. But if you’re new to the area in the last decade, don’t let us oldfolks make you with you were born sooner…You can come and enjoy music, the likes of which John Pritchard and I talk wistfully about from 15-year-old memories, TODAY!!! And make a record already, guys!!!
NO WEBSITE, EITHER!!! (Just like them good ol’ days!)

Remember, if you are 21, pay for the show BEFORE you buy beer. Flash your wristband at the counter for beer specials.

-Rick Ele

Midmo Editor makes ArtFagCity!

Liv Moe,  Pretty Lady with Dog, 2008

Local artist and Midtown Monthly editor Liv Moe got a nice shout-out on ArtFagCity, one of the  best art blogs around.  AFC blogger Paddy Johnson met Moe at the Miami Basel Art Fair last year and responded enthusiastically when she saw Moe’s whimsical/creepy creations.

Stephen Kaltenbach and more: UPCOMING SACTO ART!

Stephen Kaltenbach at work, photo by Jesse Vasquez

Those of you who have picked up the January issue of MM have probably read our cover story on artist Stephen Kaltenbach.  Kaltenbach is a local hero– a pioneer of conceptual art right up there with Bruce Nauman and the rest.  On top of that, he created what just may be the best piece of art in Sacramento: Portrait of My Father, which is in the Crocker’s permanent collection.

I first heard about Steve and his work from an artist pal named Richard Haley about 6-7 years ago.  SK was giving a lecture about his work and Richard assured me that it was not to be missed.  He was right.  Kaltenbach’s examination of his work was mind boggling.. in the truest sense of the word.. as in, I walked out a different person than when I went in.  And I wasn’t the only one.
Kaltenbach’s show, Nuclear Projects and Other Works, opens at the Verge Gallery on Thursday January 8, from 6-10PM.  The show is also the Grand Opening Party for the Verge.   This just may be the single most exciting Sacramento art event to happen in years, and I urge you not to miss it.
Second Saturday will, as always, offer a plethora of art choices– here’s two:
Artifacts on K Street kicked off their new gallery component in December.  Artifacts has been be presenting emerging artists with a contemporary urban flavor, and Amanda Lopez’ January show was absolutely great– the busiest– and liveliest– show we saw the whole night.
Espagne, Corine St. Ofle
This month they’ve got Polaroids, Coffee and Pigment, an Exhibition of Ideas, by Richard and Corine St. Ofle.   The husband and wife team make interesting work, with Corine presenting a beautiful series of polaroids while husband Richard will exhibit abstract paintings made with paint and that ever-present stimulant, coffee.  From what we’ve seen, this is going to be good.  Artifacts is at 905 K Street and the opening runs from 6-10PM.
And, last, I’ll shamelessly pimp the first exhibit at Midtown Monthly‘s brand new gallery space, midmo.  New Work is a show of just that– new work from two emerging artists, both art students at CSUS.   Yelena Martynovskaya and Christina Quintanilla each paint colorful abstractions which sometimes feature recognizable images buried in the mix.  We enjoy their work and hope you will too.  Midmo is located at 1719 25th Street (25th and R) and the reception runs from 6-9PM on January 10.