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December, 2010 | Midtown Monthly

Archive for December, 2010

MidMo Gets (Back) in Style

Longtime Midmo readers may remember ‘Small Medium Large,’ a feature we ran regularly up until about a year ago.   The concept  behind SML was to explore three levels of availability for stuff: the cheap, the average, the high end. 

We’ve reinvented SML for 2011 (it debuts in the January issue.)  The concept is basically the same, but we’ve streamlined the format a bit and given it a distinct fous on style

Blogger and regular MidMo contibutor Melody Stone has taken SML under her wing – and here she offers a preview of what you’ll be seeing soon!

How To Dress Well Is #19

Local record label Lefse Records have a release (by band How To Dress Well) that made Pitchforks top 20. The record, titled Love Remains came in at #19. Troy Mighty profiled the dudes behind it in the June MidMo.

The LP and CD are both for sale on their website for around twelve bucks. Last minute stocking stuffer?

MidMo Movie Night At Verge-Tonight!

Click on flier to enlarge. Hope to see you there. It’s going to be neat. There’s a heater, but wear a sweater.

Phono Select Coverage of the MidMo FUN Raiser

Phono Select loaded up a page of nice pics and even a youtube clip of the MidMo FUN Raiser.  Why are their pics so much better than mine???

Sea of Bees Makes NPR’s Top 10 for 2010!

We’ve been watching Sac’s Sea of Bees since photographer Jesse Vasquez sent in a snapshot of her a couple of years ago with a note that she was gonna do great things.  The buzz got even louder when she hooked up with Tape Op/Enharmonik maestro John Baccigauppi to produce her first record, Songs for the Ravens – which just got tipped by NPR’s Robin Hilton as one  of the 10 best albums of 2010!

We knew her when!

Art Picks, December 2010

Different Parts of Remembering
Robert Ortbal
JAYJAY
Through December 23

Sac State sculpture professor Robert Ortbal is based in Emeryville, so I’m not sure if the ‘sense of place’ referenced in the statement for the show is a Bay Area sense or a Sacto sense, but whatever Read more »

MidMo Movie Night at Verge


Click for larger version. Hope to see you there!

MidMo FUN Raiser Killed It!

Saturday night’s FUN Raiser (for the Mustard Seed School for disadvantaged kids) at Phono Select was a GAS!

Thanks go out to Luigi’s and Masullo (both of whom supplied mountains of pizza), Raku Sushi, and Kobasic’s Candies for loading us up with snacks, and to Knock Knock and Rhodes Island for playing rocking sets.  The party kicked off  right at 6- we’d filled one toy box in ten minutes and you kept the donations coming all night.  In the end we collected a truckload of toys and everyone seemed to have a good time.  THANKS!

Rhodes Island!

Did we mention it was all ages?

Nich shoots the band

Rebecca shoots the display

Dane found a High Life

Local celebutantes Tony King and Tim Matranga

Yudt on the go

Knock Knock

The littlest music critic

SOME of the toys

Editor’s Letter

I got up early on January 3, 2009.  I had some magazine work to do and I rushed off in the morning to meet someone about an article, or take an Out and About photo, or… or something. I don’t actually remember.

What I do remember is that I rushed out of the house, right past a string of slightly deflated helium-filled balloons that had gotten tangled in the jasmine bush in our front yard and which were now bobbing near the sidewalk.  Whatever I was doing that morning was important enough that I ignored the balloons, figuring I’d clean them up when I got back later.  By the time I got back, the balloons were gone.

Lucky for me, Liv had found them.  Lucky, because attached to those balloons was a plastic bag containing a one hundred dollar bill.

Along with the money was a short note:

“I have been very lucky this year, and I am thankful.  I have a healthy family, a job and my needs are covered.  I hope whoever finds this needs it more than I do.  Happy New Year!  Good Luck!”

We did need it.  Running MidMo through the bucking bronco that was 2008 had depleted our checking and savings accounts, and only a judicious balancing of credit card payments kept the wheels spinning that year.  $100 could not have come at a better time.

There was also an email address, and though we initially felt awkward about writing, we did eventually write to thank our benefactor(s?) for their generosity.  We never heard back.  I thought about those balloons a lot over the following year.  What was the person –or family- like who sent them?  Were they still OK?  What if the balloons had landed in a field or a river, and had been lost or destroyed?

What if?

The act was still the same. The balloons reminded me that the act of giving is much more important than what happens afterward. The balloons reminded me to think about others, and to share with others, and most importantly, not to put too much value on what, after all, is only money.

Yes, money is important, but other things, like friends, and family, and living your life, are more important.  Whatever it was that sent me rushing out of the house that morning seemed very important at the time; now I can’t even remember what it was.   There’s a lesson there.

Last year, Liv and I decided to make ‘The Balloons’ an annual New Years Day tradition. At the end of December we picked up a couple of helium-filled balloons at the Safeway on 19th Street and let them sit on the ceiling as 2010 approached.  New Year’s Eve came and went.  On New Year’s night we each wrote a ‘good luck’ note for the finder on a ziplock bag.  We couldn’t afford $100, but we put what we could in our bags, hole-punched the corners and tied each bag to the ribbon attached to a balloon.

They sank to the floor.  We learned a valuable lesson: helium balloons can lose their buoyancy fairly quickly.  They had been much more buoyant when we had bought them.  We tied the two balloons together with just one of the bags; the balloons lazily floated toward the ceiling.

Just before midnight we went out to our back porch for the launch.   We followed the second hand on my watch, and released the ribbon at exactly 12 O’Clock. The balloons climbed slowly into the sky, silently carrying their payload of good fortune.  They drifted west, over our house, over the trees and soon disappeared in the darkness.

We’ll be setting our balloons aloft again this year.  This time we know to buy the balloons the same day so they actually go up instead of down, and finding a bit of cash to go in the bags will be a bit easier than it was last year.  Some of our friends have said that they too are going to add The Balloons to their family’s New Years Day festivities.

I like the idea.  I like that for one day a year we stop worrying about money and think instead of how to send it away to someone we don’t even know.  It’s not like sending help to Haiti, or donating at church or giving to the panhandler on the street.  The Balloons are simply a celebration of the act of giving away.

The Balloons don’t really make any sense.  They don’t really do any good.  But I don’t care.  I like them anyway.

-Tim

Down on the Boulevard

By Becky Grunewald  Photos by Scott Duncan

At various points along its length, Franklin Boulevard can be charming (think Gunther’s neon ice cream scooper), charitable (as with St. Patrick’s Thrift Store and Home for Children), industrial (the stark Campbell’s soup factory), and on many stretches, somewhat desolate and desperate.  Franklin can’t boast a city council-designated ethnic area a la “Little Saigon” on Stockton Boulevard, but shopping and eating there can sometimes feel more like being in Mexico than in the US. Read more »