Archive for August, 2010


By James W. Cameron  Photos by Jay Spooner

Begun twenty years ago as a simple celebration of chalk art, Midtown’s Chalk it Up Festival has grown to become one of the signature events of the Sacramento summer.  Read more »

Sounds of Chalk it Up

Music coordinator Jerry Perry brings many of Sacramento’s best acts to the Festival each year, and for the 20th Anniversary he’s pulled out all the stops.  Live music runs from 10AM to 6PM each day of the Festival.  Here’s the lineup for this year:

SAT SEPT 4, starting at 10AM: Waldorf Taiko Drummers, Stout Rebellion, Life in 24 Frames, Ricky Berger, Walking Spanish, Exquisite Corps, Sea Of Bees, Maren Parusel (San Diego), The Kelps, Pets

SUN SEPT 5 starting at 10AM: Exhale, The Shruggs, The Four Eyes, The Foxtails, Autumn Sky, Simpl3jack, Dog Party, Majesty, Silent Comedy (San Diego), Prieta

MON SEPT 6, starting at 10AM: The Trees, The Hungry, Bright Faces, The Generals, Goodness Gracious Me, Smooot Valley High, [Awards presentation], Signal The Red, Verbalistic, One Eyed Rhyno, I Scream On Sundae

Bertolucci = Off the Chain!

Dick Bertolucci’s Living Library appearance this past Sunday brought in a full house of auto and history enthusiasts, filling every seat and leaving 20 or so fans standing in the aisles.  Local auto historian Bruce Woodward handled the questions, and Bertolucci shared the stage with longtime friend and customer, Buddy Ohanesian.  Originally slated for an hour, the program stretched to nearly TWO hours to accommodate questions and Bertolucci and Ohanesian’s engrossing tales.

Ohanesian (pronounced O’ HAN uh shun) hired Bertolucci and legendary custom pioneer Harry Westergard to create the Ohanesian Merc, a radically modified 1940 Mercury that was named one of the Top Ten Kustoms of All Time by Hot Rod Magazine!  Westergard began the transformation in the early forties, with Bertolucci completing the work later.  The metalwork in the car’s removable custom roof marked the then barely-out-of-his-teens Bertolucci as a master craftsman.  The car survives today and was recently featured at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance.

Dick had great stories and Bruce just let him tell them without getting in the way. He painted a picture of a way of life that is totally gone now.  A junkyard across the street from Memorial Auditorium, 80 mile an hour street races on K Street, running a bodyshop out of a one car garage in a residential neighborhood, all the kustom work being done piecemeal because nobody had the money to do more than a tiny bit at a time.   As we were setting up the event, Bertolucci and Ohanesian reminisced about Harry Westergard –  chatting about one of the true originals in Kustom work, who died 61 years ago when he hit a tree at one hundred miles and hour, splitting his hot rodded T Bird in half.

Buddy Ohanesian added some great anecdotes, including a tale of being pulled over outside of Oakland in the Merc – a jewelry store had just been robbed and his car was riding so low the cops thought he had the stolen safe in his trunk!

Most people didn’t notice, but Bruce also brought a carload of goodies which were sprinkled behind the ‘stage’ area: a ’37 DeSoto ripple bumper, Packard and LaSalle grilles, a nose off a midget racer… pretty cool stuff!   Thanks again to everybody who came out. It was an amazing chance to hear a master craftsman – and a really decent, nice guy – speak; I was stoked that so many people showed their support for a true Living Legend!

El Topo screening tonight!

Liv Moe and I are screening the Jodorowsky psychedelic classic “El Topo” tonight. Check heckasac for details.

(free) Nirvana at the Crest

Marking the 20th anniversary of Nirvana playing at the Crest (and Cattle Club) Jerry Perry hosted a special film documenting the first Nirvana show at the Cattle Club in 1990.

Here are some photos of the folks who attended.

Very Old Spaghetti Factory

By William Burg Photo from Author’s collection

On August 21, 2010, Sacramento’s Western Pacific passenger depot at 1910 J Street marks 100 years since the arrival of its first passenger train. On that day a century ago, the Western Pacific Railroad began passenger operations in Sacramento Read more »

Dick Bertolucci at the Living Library: 7PM Sunday, August 22

I’ve been excited about most of the Sacramento Living Library guests, but I am SUPER stoked about this Sunday’s guest, Dick Bertolucci.

Dick Bertolucci is exactly the type of person I’d hoped to spotlight when Time Tested Books asked me for some input on speakers for the series.  The word ‘legend’ gets bandied about quite a bit these days, but Dick Bertolucci actually deserves the label.  Although he is best known in Sacramento as the owner of an East Sac autobody shop, he is renowned worldwide as one of the originators of the California ‘Kustom’ automobile.  One fan from the Netherlands maintains an extensive online database cataloguing Bertolucci’s work.  This Sunday will be an opportunity to hear the story from the hometown boy himself.

Sacramento has long been a hotbed of auto enthusiasm (see ‘Hot August Knights’ from the August ’08 MM).  The central valley may lacked an oceanfront and mountain ranges, but we had plenty of long straight roads, and even more important, plenty of military/aircraft/engineering activity.  The jobs in those industries provided both good wages and an intimacy with machines; those dual components of Sacramento life encouraged innovation in auto design – both for functional and aesthetic purposes.

Dick Bertolucci began ‘improving’ the looks of stock automobiles in the late thirties.  Leaving most of the mechanical work to his father, Bertolucci focused instead on the aesthetics of the automobile.  Along with a few local contemporaries like Harry Westergard and Sam and George Barris, Bertolucci played an integral role in creating the styles that eventually came to epitomize the Custom car movement: lowered stance, fadeaway fenders, chopped tops, and deep finish paint.  Bertolucci, though very young, was regarded as a master for his ability to shape metal body panels that were better than those from the factory.

In conversation with local auto historian Bruce Woodward, Bertolucci will discuss his life, his role in the birth of the ‘Kustom’ movement, and his times with Westergard and the Barris Bros.   The aesthetic that Dick Bertolucci helped create has gone from the mark of a small regional subculture to become ubiquitous.  From American Grafitti to Hot Rod Magazine to the design for the PT Cruiser, California ‘Kustom’ touches are everywhere.

Don’t miss this chance to hear it straight from the master himself.

Dick Bertolucci
in conversation with Bruce Woodward
Saturday August 22, 7PM
Time Tested Books, 1114 21st Street
All Ages, Free

A Slice of Second Saturday

Here’s a slice of some street shots taken yesterday in Midtown on Art Second Saturday in the heart of the hub-bub, on J-L Streets.

Photo credit: Bella Q

El Topo Screening

Liv Moe and Heckasac (yes I am talking about myself in the third person) are teaming up to do another film screening to trip you out! We’re screening the Jodorowsky film “El Topo”. Please check for details on heckasac or at undietacos.

Designing Dreams

Last Saturday, on August 7th, the Designing Dreams fashion show took place at the Memorial Auditorium.  It was a fund-raising benefit for the Sweet Dreams foundation.  According to the event announcement, Designing Dreams was the second fashion show since the 1950’s to be held at the Memorial Auditorium, where the last collection seen was that of Coco Chanel. It showcased 7 local designers, and was the result of a collaboration with headlining designer Tiana Vega, the Sweet Dreams Foundation and the fashion PR firm, Couture Connections. Over 2000 people were expected to attend this event.

I was lucky enough to be one of the attendees, courtesy of Midtown Monthly and Couture Connections. It was thrilling to be seated in the front row and  view up close the details of their summer collections. All were women designers and included Jules Thor, Yennie Zhou, Nelli Rosh, Shamini ShnMugam, Lindsay and Rachel Smith of Linzel Couture, Melissa Kay, and Tiana Vega.

The show went smoothly and appeared to be received favorably by the crowd. Through-out the show, clapping and cheering spontaneously erupted, aimed at certain dresses and models that walked the runway. However it wasn’t mere fashion that got the crowd going. The part that received the loudest applause was the speech made by Virginia Quintel, mother of Braysen, a child who is a beneficiary of the Sweet Dreams Foundation. For more information on Sweet Dreams, go to

Text: Bella Q
Photo credits: Ernst Leyva
(This article originally appeared August 8th here.)