Archive for May, 2010

Saturday in Del Paso: Boulevard Nights

Cult low rider flick Boulevard Nights will screen this Saturday as part of the Vida do Oro Latino Folk Festival in Del Paso.  The Festival will run from 1PM to 7Pm, and will spotlight Latino artists and artisans, such as Felipe Davalos, illustrator and expert in pre-Columbian art, photographer Julia Marin , artisan Guillermina Mina Perez, artist Carlos Irigoyen, and documentarian Hector Navejas. Also on hand will be a host of performers including local Aztec dance troupe Miktlantekuhtli Azteca,  vocal group Rondalla de Guadalupe, award-winning folk dancers Folklorico Latino de Woodland, singer Carlos Lastra, mother-daughter mariachi specialists Cecilia and Rosie Marin and
James Barrera, Trick Roper & Whip Master.    Centered at the intersection of Del Paso Blvd and Forrest Street, the festival is free of charge and open to the public.

The highlight of the day may well be a screening of Boulevard Nights, a 1979 film that depicted barrio life in LA.  While not critically successful at the time of release, the movie has garnered a following for its portrayal of the Mexican immigrant culture of the seventies.  Three stars of the film, Richard Yniguez, Robert Covarrubias,  and Daniel Zacapa, will be on hand to discuss the film and answer questions from the audience at the screening.  Boulevard Nights will show at 6PM, may 15 at the Masonic Temple/Acacia Hall at 2354 Forrest Street.  Admission is $3 with all proceeds going to charity.

Russ Solomon’s R5 Records to close

The rumors we’ve been chasing for a week have been confirmed: Russ Solomon will close R5 Records, likely by the end of the month.

R5, which Solomon opened at 16th and Broadway immediately following the demise of his Tower Records chain, had been foundering in the double-whammy of recession and a dwindling market for music product. Lately R5 had shifted focus toward vinyl, the only musical format that is seeing growth. I suspect that the departure of Dal Basi, longtime buyer for both Tower and R5, who is leaving R5 to start a boutique vinyl shop in Midtown may have hastened Solomon’s decision.

Unconfirmed rumors point to the Dimple Records chain as a buyer for the store.

Four Sacto Mayors at Living Library: Sunday, 7PM

Just a reminder not to miss this Sunday’s edition of the Sacramento Living Library at Time Tested Books!  Former mayors, Phil Isenberg, Burnett Miller, Anne Rudin and Heather Fargo will convene at 7PM Sunday, May 16 to speak about the challenges of governing Sacramento, including their thoughts on the ‘Strong Mayor’ idea.  Space will be limited for this program – as if there wasn’t enough interest already, the Bee promoted this one – so show up early.  And, if you happen to have read the Bee article, Midtown Monthly is, obviously, more than an ‘online magazine.’ Oops.

Sacramento Living Library
Sunday, May 16, 7PM
Time Tested Books, 1114 21st Street
Open to all, Free

Midtown Music Gear Theft

Bummer.  New local band the Blue Diamonds had some of their gear stolen – along with the truck it was in this weekend.  Truck and gear were parked at guitarist Chet Rich’s house in Boulevard Park and disappeared sometime Friday night.  The truck was found in Grass Valley yesterday, but the equipment is still on the loose.  Please keep an eye out for this stuff in your travels:

1974 Fender Vibrolux Reverb amplifier

Gallein Kreuger 800rb bass head

beat up old Peavey 2018 bass cabinet with one 18″ and two 10″ speakers

Call Chet: (cell) 415-269-9694 if you see any of the above or have ANY info at all.

Art Review: Rogelio Manzio, Dean DeCocker at Skinner Howard

Rogelio Manzo, La Duda (the Doubt),Oil, Image transfer/Resin Panel, 2010

Stopped by Skinner Howard Contemporary Art yesterday and took a quick peek at Looted, the new Rogelio Manzo show.  Manzo’s work is a good example of art that needs to be seen in person to appreciate.  When I saw photos of the images online before the show I wasn’t particularly interested; in person the work (often much bigger than one might assume) has a luminous quality that isn’t captured well in photos.   He’s got a good control of paint, and the active brushwork in the figures shows an appealing confidence that keeps your eye moving.  Most of Manzo’s portraits are painted on resin based carriers that refract light througout the image, even behind the painted portraits. The effect is interesting and unusual- one can make out the hanging hardware on some of them- and speaks to an artist that isn’t afraid to bend some rules.

While I was intrigued the overall effect of the work, I’m not bowled over by Manzo’s actual rendering.  The facial features in his portraiture tend to be outsized and cartoonish- they remind me a LOT of the faces drawn by amateur comic book artists with more experience learning other artists’ styles than looking at real people.  The same is true of the clothing his sitters wear.  It’s as though Manzo knows what a torso looks like and knows what a suit looks like, but has never really paid attention to anyone actually wearing one.  These portraits owe a nod to Francis Bacon, and the comparison doesn’t help Manzo.  Bacon’s masterful scrambling of features leaves the sitter not only intact, but eerily enhanced; Manzo’s decomposed faces leave the sitter identityless – which may well be his intent. 

Dean DeCocker See Bee's,acrylic paint, cardboard, metal, powdercoat, 2009

While you’re there, take a look at the Dean DeCocker sculptures left from the last show.  Playful and well-executed, the sculptures seem almost like store displays for unknown artifacts.   There is a vague Eames feel to some, perhaps because of the surfboard shapes and the use of bent steel rods for framing- the work has an overall industrial pop feel.  Cleanly constructed and appealingly light, the work is unchallenging without being corny.  I like.

Beer Bread Recipe

Hey guys-Here’s the beer bread recipe I wrote about.  Yes, it is complicated.  Yes, it is worth it.  It has a lovely deep flavor from the beer.  All the ingredients can be found at the Sac. Co-op and kind of nowhere else.  The barley malt syrup is a pretty specialized ingredient but you will probably want to make many loaves of this bread.

Jill Simmon’s Beer Bread Recipe

1 ½ teaspoons and a pinch more of Red Star active dry yeast
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup, room temperature
2 ½ cups less 1 tablespoon King Arthur unbleached bread flour (13.5 ounces), reserve ¼ cup
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon King Arthur unbleached white whole wheat flour (1 ounce)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) dark beer (stout works well), lukewarm, 105 degrees
1 ¼ teaspoons salt

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the beer with the barley malt.  Let stand until slightly foamy on top, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the bread flour (reserving ¼ of a cup), whole wheat flour, and the salt.  With a wooden spoon or your hand, gradually stir in the beer/yeast mixture until the flour is moistened.  Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together.
  3. Scrape the dough onto the lightly floured counter or cutting board.  Knead the dough for 5 minutes, just enough to develop the gluten, adding as little of the reserved ¼ cup of flour as possible to keep it from sticking.  Use a board scraper to scrape the dough and gather it together when kneading.  At this point it will be very sticky.  Cover it with an inverted bowl and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.  Knead the dough for another 5 minutes until it is very elastic, soft, and smooth.  If the dough is sticky, add some of the reserved flour, or a little extra.
  4. Place the dough in a large bowl lightly greased with cooking spray or oil.  Lightly spray or oil the top of the dough.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to rise in a warm place, ideally 75 to 80 degrees, until doubled, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and press down to flatten slightly.  Round the dough into a ball and set on a half sheet pan lined with nonstick liner.  Cover with a large container or loosely with oiled plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise until almost double, 1 to ½ hours.  It should be almost 7 inches in diameter and 3 inches high, and when pressed gently with a fingertip, the depression will slowly fill in.
  6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees one hour before baking.  Have the oven shelf in the lower third of the oven and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it before preheating.  Place a cast iron skillet or aluminum sheet pan on the floor of the oven to preheat.
  7. With a sharp knife, scissors, or a razor, make ¼ inch, to ½ inch deep cross-shaped slashes in the top of the dough.  Mist the dough with water, and quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot stone or hot baking sheet.  Toss ½ cup of the ice cubes into the pan beneath and then immediately shut the door.  Lower the temp. to 400 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.  Rotate the pan for even baking and bake for 20 minutes more or until the bread is golden brown (an instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 200 degrees)
  8. Remove the bread from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make ahead: you may refrigerate the proofed or shaped dough overnight.  This will make it even more flavorful.

Midtown: the Brand


We were a bit perplexed when we got a press release announcing that the new ‘Brand Identity’ of Midtown Sacramento would be unveiled last week.  We were even more perplexed when we actually saw it.

It’s not that the logo isn’t nice.  It’s well designed, I’d even say it’s visually ‘catchy’, as far as that goes.  The scribble reminds me of ’50s Italian abstract sculpture more than anything, so Hot Italian was probably stoked. 

But I truly can’t imagine the thought process that went into choosing ‘Go Your Own Way’ as a tag line, since A) Fleetwood Mac will probably sue us; B) who thought it was a good idea to associate Midtown with a rock group more famous for cocaine addiction than anything else?  Was this just a tip-of-the-hat to that certain uber-successful Midtown businessman who made his bones as a coke dealer back in the ’70s? 

Whatever.  I’m inclined to ‘roll with it’ as local style-maker and boutique owner Olivia Coelho suggested in her comments on Heckasac.  It’s done, it cost an ass-load of money (don’t even ask, it will make you so angry your teeth will hurt), and it could have been way worse. 

Rob Kerth, quoted in the Business Journal, suggested plenty of uses for the new logo.  “The logo will show up on t-shirts, banners and window stickers the association is making available to businesses. We’ll think of some other clever uses along the way.”

Reader Marion Millin sent us her suggestions for other clever uses.  We thought they were too good not to share:

Hire Ground Chuck to draw the logo in chalk on the sidewalk in front of participating businesses

Hold hop scotch competitions and let kids compete for whose game is craziest

Print the new logo on meal tickets with prices, tax and totals artfully spread on the “grid”

Tell people it’s an old Gold Rush symbol used by miners to hide location of their claim

Hire Midtown Hipsters to get tattooed with the new logo

Encourage use of the cartoon grid as the template for Midtown bar crawls, bike rides and scavenger hunts

Check departing patrons level of inebriation by having them try to trace the logo

Bumperstickers on Humvees and Escalades: “Midtown: Get Out Of My Way”

Require barristas to draw new logo in foam on espresso drinks

Social networking to spread the buzz that we are now “Scribblemento”

T-shirts for locals: “Welcome to Midtown: Now Go Away”

Tell people the real logo will be ready soon

-Marion Millin

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

By Niki Kangas    photos by Scott Duncan

At one point in history, zoos were no better than circuses in terms of wild animal capture and exploitation. After discovering this sad fact as a child, my curiosity about zoos vanished for decades. I became an avid backpacker, often observing wild bobcats, moose, marmots, deer, and other critters on their own terms.  Then, as I had children of my own, I was surprised to find the Sacramento Zoo in our Lazy Susan of haunts; this nearby showcase of biodiversity’s best was just too good to pass up. Read more »

The Life and Times of Ground Chuck

By Dennis Yudt photos by Scott Duncan

Recently, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson and a few associates made a pit stop at the venerable Midtown watering hole, the Rubicon Brewing Company. While there, he was goaded into singing “Happy Birthday” to Charles Adrian Thomas, a Rubicon regular who was celebrating his 41st year on earth. Mayor Johnson, never one to oppose a majority voice, gamely serenaded the birthday boy, muffing up his name only slightly. By all accounts, the mayor did a half-way decent job, adding one more episode in the life and times of Mr. Thomas, or, as every good denizen of Midtown knows him: ‘Ground Chuck.’ Read more »

Cooking With Class

Story and Photos by Becky Grunewald

There are almost as many ways to learn to cook as there are dishes to make.  I came to it by necessity. Read more »