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March, 2009 | Midtown Monthly

Archive for March, 2009

Alkali Flat Treasure- Bill Burg Alert!

I was driving down E Street yesterday when I saw something that stopped me in my tracks– literally. Cars honked and drove around me as I sat wide-eyed in the middle of the road, staring at the mural that had been exposed when the tar paper siding was pulled off this old market. I pulled over to get a better look and grabbed some quick photos.  
Sacramento used to have quite a few of these old murals Downtown, but they’re getting pretty rare at this point.   The last one I saw unearthed was a much more recent vintage- the ’50s Capitol Speed Shop mural that appeared when the plastic Tower Video sign came down at 16th and Broadway when Records relocated there.  I hurried back with my camera a day later, but was too late- Capitol Speed Shop was buried under a coat of flat paint.
The first time I ever saw one of these murals unearthed was when I lived in Oak Park.  A fire had destroyed a building a block from my house, and when it was torn down, an amazing 3 story tall Wrigleys Spearmint Gum 5 cents mural was exposed.  The building that had been torn down was from the late twenties or thirties, so the mural had been hidden for about 70 years.  It was a thing of beauty and my roommate and I marvelled at the hidden wonders of Oak Park. 
Two weeks later I came home one day to discover that it had been painted over by the building owner in a bid to ‘beautify’ the existing building.  It had never occurred to me to rush to take a photo of the mural because it had never occurred to me that anyone could possibly be ignorant enough to do anything other than preserve and cherish it.
On that note, I urge you to go over to 14th and E to check this out.  It’s pretty well preserved, right down to the pencilled hobo grafitti that you can just make out in some of the white areas.  I hope the building owner will preserve this little bit of history, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

Watch Horror Films: Keep America Strong


Last night there was a memorial for Bob Wilkins at 17th and I in that rad, all glass building on the corner.

Despite the fact that it was a memorial the mood was light and warm. There was plenty of Wilkins memorabilia on display, Two-Rivers Cider flowed freely, and folks swapped anecdotes and stories either about knowing Wilkins personally or about the impact he had on their lives. It was a very pleasant evening as memorials go.

Amongst the various friends and fans in attendance, Wilkins’ daughter Nancy was also there. Pictured above are Scott Moon of Planet X magazine, Tom Wyrsch maker of the Wilkins’ documentary, Watch Horror Films: Keep America Strong, and seated in Wilkins’ chair is his daughter Nancy.

At the end of the evening we got to watch rare footage of Wilkins interviewing the famous and the not so famous while tooling around various parts of Sac and San Francisco. What struck Tim and I most about the footage was the playfulness, and humor present in local broadcasting at that time. It was a very entertaining screening even for someone like me who is too young to have remembered watching Wilkins while growing up.

If you would like a chance to catch Wyrsch’s film, Watch Horror Films: Keep America Strong, it will be screening at the 24th Street theatre this Wed at 6:30pm as part of the Sacramento Film Festival. I highly recommend checking it out!

A League of Their Own

By James W. Cameron

Derby GirlsAttractive, smiling, vivacious, proudly proclaiming her status as the married mom of three children, Dez Astris hardly looks like someone who’s dedicated to battling it out with pugnacious opponents while trying to avoid their elbows and balance on a pair of roller skates at the same time. But that’s exactly what she does on a regular basis as part of Sacramento’s own Sacred City Derby Girls, one of the city’s entrants in the world of extreme roller skating sport.  Read more »

Talk About Charles!

I am seated at a sticky table at Old Ironsides, years of spilt PBR and other mysterious liquids and liqueurs forming an impressive mélange. Seated to my immediate right is Charles Albright, with his debonair 70’s cop mustache, affable manner and a couple of his latest recordings for my perusal. What was supposed to be an hour of good-natured questions and answers turned into a sprawling three hour conversation where I was asked twice as many questions as I asked him. Read more »

Musical Chairs

mindyMindy Giles has been working in the music industry for most of her life, beginning with a gig as a teen record store clerk.  She soon graduated to promotions and eventually landed a head office slot at Chicago’s prestigious blues/Americana label Alligator Records where she worked on records with many of her musical heroes.  Locally, Giles is best known for organizing the popular Americana Ramble music series and for the concerts she produces with Steve Nikkel under the name Swell Productions. Read more »

This just in!!!!!!


It’s official everybody! CORTI BROTHERS IS HERE TO STAY!!!

That’s right, news came over the Midmo wire this afternoon that beloved purveyor of delicious food and drink, Darrell Corti, has renegotiated his lease and will be allowed to stay at his Folsom Boulevard location. Hazaa!


Image courtesy of the Gourmet Grocery List

In doing a google image search of Corti Brothers for this post I came across a blog called the Gourmet Grocery List which may be the new way I waste time at least for the rest of the evening. The GGL’s author stumbled upon Corti’s last year and like many of us was thrilled with what they found. The photos of Corti’s stock are pretty amusing as is this quote:

I was able to meet Mr. Corti and have to admit that his own quote is the perfect description of the store and it’s philosophy, “We don’t have everything that is good, but everything we have is good.” Oh, better than good, Mr. Corti, much, much better!

We at Midmo whole heartedly agree.

Congrats to Darrell and the entire Corti Brothers team!

Meat Lab

meat labThe University of California at Davis is an invaluable resource for the greater Sacramento area.  There’s the Mondavi center, which attracts prestigious cultural events, and there’s the newly created Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food science, which complements the longstanding and well-respected viticulture program.  And then there’s the meat lab.   Because for all its high-falutin’, intellectual trappings, Davis is still an agricultural school at heart, which means that you can occasionally catch a sweet whiff of manure from almost anywhere in town, and also that students are being trained to raise and slaughter livestock. Read more »

Dimensional Bodies at The Verge

This Friday, at The Verge Johunna Grayson and Greta Snider will be presenting Dimensional Bodies, a collection of 3D slide shows. For a much better description of the work than I can give here’s Greta’s own words:

Dimensional Bodies, a collaborative project of landscape gardener and photographer Johunna Grayson and filmmaker Greta Snider, is a collection of intimate and erotically charged stereoscopic slideshow portraits. Using spoken narrative and environmental soundscape to illuminate an array of subjects (including a farmer, a social worker, a veteran, an athlete and a robot-maker), the portraits focus on issues of aging, addiction, vitality, sexual identity and other concerns of the physical body. The stereoscopic aspect of the projection puts additional emphasis on the physical experience of viewing, accentuating the physiology of image processing and creating a sense of physical self-consciousness in the viewer and thus the perfect environment for experiencing the portraits. (Greta Snider)

Now here’s some praise for the work to help get you even more motivated to attend:

“Not to be missed!” – Johnny Ray Houston, SF Bay Guardian

“By turning the reels into an interactive art experience, Snider and Grayson are transforming a mass-produced commercial product into a hand made object, and capturing the personal histories of regular people, not often reflected or celebrated in popular culture. Not only are the reels portraits of individuals, but they also reveal the hidden treasures and underground spaces scattered throughout San Francisco. Look for Ivy McClelland’s tour of a clandestine cement garden near Candlestick Park; Bill Basquin working the dirt on a plot in his community garden; and Craig Baldwin emerging from the basement of Artists Television Access. With this latest project, Snider once again takes a potentially commercial medium and creates an intimate homemade record of peoples’ personal lives.” -Natalija Vekic, KQED online

Did I mention it’s free? That’s right.

Dimensional Bodies
Friday, March 20 7pm
Verge Gallery
1900 V Street, Sacramento
916.448.2985

Do it!

!!! WTF? WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY


Just got wind of three, count’em, three !!! (“chk chk chk”) shows in Midtown this week: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Press Club– $7 per night. One question: how off the hook is this going to get?

BREAK THE CHAINS! SHOP INDEPENDENT!

Come out and buy some crap if you can! It’ll help us out a lot… thanks Sacramento! We love you up! Don’t miss the opening at Midmo Gallery by Dan Quillan and the Personal Lives exhibit up at Verge Gallery. Also, Sellout Buyout’s on all day at Bows and Arrows, the once-every-three-months-buy-direct-from-local-textile-artists awesomefest that is among Midtown’s best recurring events… get off those buttz today!

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