Archive for March, 2011

“Art in Sacto: Where Do We Go From Here?” March 31

Master Barber and Beauty will be hosting one of their free ‘Art on Stockton Blvd’ panel discussions tonight on the theme of “Art in Sacramento: Where Do We Go From Here?”

Organized by Marichal Brown, these discussions seek to encourage the arts in Sacramento and explore ways to improve education, understanding, and access to, art.

The event kicks off at 6:30 with a performances by Cielle, and Rodney ‘Lil RoRo’ Brown. The panel discussion runs from 7-8:30; panelists are Allan Gordon of CSUS, artist Lorrie Kempf, collector James Sweeney, artist Patris, and artist Daphne Burgess. I’ll be moderating the discussion, and artist Gerry GOS Simpson will be the keynote speaker. We’ll set aside some time at for questions from the audience- so come prepared!

Master Barber and Beauty Shop
4340 Stockton Blvd, #2
This event is free and open to all ages

Sactown Magazine Recall Rumor is BOGUS

[This article has been amended- see correction at bottom] We just heard that SacTown Magazine has recalled copies of its latest issue. The new issue came out yesterday but the publication sent out an email today saying they’d be by to pick up copies from some retailers. Huh? And they are SERIOUS- they’re driving around, picking magazines up right now.

We haven’t seen a copy, so we can’t say if an ad is printed upside down or if there’s a glaring error in an article or what…

Anybody gotta clue?
SacTown Co-Editor in Chief Rob Turner got back to us and stomped the rumor flat. The truth is much more mundane: Some copies of the latest issue were damaged on one of the shipping trucks and they are replacing those (and a few other boxes from the same truck for safety.)

Review: Richard Thompson at Ace of Spades

Intern Parie Wood just came on board MidMo last month.  She’s a great kid- not afraid to work and already a talented singer-songwriter.  When we found out that she’d never heard folk guitar legend Richard Thompson we immediately assigned her to review the show from the unbiased perspective of the 15 year old.  -Tim Foster
Not knowing what to expect, I came into Ace of Spades at 7 o’clock on Wednesday night. It was a sold out show, and the place was packed. There were chandeliers hanging, big speakers in front, and lots of liquor being served. The other thing I noticed quickly, was that I was easily younger (by at least 30 years) than everyone else. I was one of the only people with pigment still in their hair. My daydreming and people watching was interrupted  when the Alex Nelson Trio, (the same members from the band known as Walking Spanish) came on.

The front man was a young, personable musician who sung bluesy rock songs with vivid lyrics about things like traveling, love, nature, and murder. The band sounded pretty tight, with a stand up bass and violinist to back up Nelson. After a full set of pretty agreeable but not super-exciting songs, they finished their set with a song called “Counterfeit Wishbones.”  I overheard the bassist ask Nelson if they were going to play the song, and Nelson exclaimed, “Of course!” as if he was dumb for even asking. It was a favorite of mine, and appeared to be a hit with the rest of the crowd as well. There was much more head bobbing, toe tapping, and hand clapping to this song in comparison to the others – not to say the others weren’t as good, but this song had a special type of energy to it.

After about a 15 minute break,  Richard Thompson strutted onstage wearing a black turtleneck, black pants, a black bandanna, and a black beret. The relatively quiet crowd stood up and started cheering.  Thompson grabbed his guitar, said something like, “it’s good to be back”, and broke into the first song.

Within two minutes of the first song, Thompson ripped into his first guitar solo. I finally understood the hype about him being one of the best guitar players in the world.

As a musician, (and guitarist more importantly), his tone and musical intuition blew me away. It was obvious that he had a solid foundation with scales and blues, and could bend his guitar strings like no one else. He de-tuned his guitar while playing, continuing to play in an alternate tuning without going off key or missing a single beat or note. Needless to say, I was impressed.

His band – which consisted of a phenomenal young black drummer and a quirky bassist that reminded me somewhat of Elton John – were equally as impressive. Some of my favorite parts of the show were actually the bass solos. The bassist was just entertaining in general. He wore big circular glasses, fancy shoes, and had strange facial expressions. I’m pretty sure he smiled through majority of the show. The drummer was tight, in time, and seemingly tireless. I was amazed by how synchronized with each other they were.

Thompson was also very funny and personable – he made it easy to like him. He came across as humble and free spirited, and acted, (and rocked out) like he was much younger than his age, even quoting Spinal Tap, which the audience thought was hilariously funny. He also poked fun at how bad his memory is, saying, “I’d tell you what albums all these songs are from, but I can’t remember.”   Then, after a beat, “Too many classics.”  Thompson is more concerned about the music than the image or anything else. I find that admirable in a musician.

The only thing I would say was unremarkable about his performance was his singing. The music was mind-blowing and groundbreaking, so his singing, (which was not bad, just average,) seemed plain in comparison. No one seemed to notice or otherwise care.

Most of the audience seemed to be familiar with his work, and sang, played air guitar, and drummed along to all of the songs; he seems to have quite the cult following. I asked the guy sitting next to me if he had seen him before, and he said proudly, “7 times.”  I think this is a testament to how devoted Thompson’s fans are. And understandably so. His music is funky, soulful, and jazzy, with a deep foundation in blues. There is something for everyone to like.  –Parie Wood

Midtown Murderess Dorothea Puente Dead at 82

Sacramento serial killer Dorothea Puente has died.

I lived just down the street from Puente’s infamous boarding house at 1426 F Street in 1988 when police began digging for bodies in the front yard of the old victorian home. Like many, I gathered on the street to watch the earth moving equipment at work after the first body was discovered; I never saw anything gruesome myself, but a total of seven bodies were found on the property. High drama ensued when Puente, who, incredibly, was not initially held by the police, disappeared. She was soon caught in southern California and was brought back for trial. She was eventually convicted of three murders and was sentenced to life in prison.

Living in the relatively tightknit community that Midtown was back then, it wasn’t unusual to meet people with Puente stories. Around 1990 I dated a woman who lived in the house next door. Her kitchen window looked directly into the yard, and it was weird to see the kids of the tenants playing there. One of my wife Liv’s old roomates had made off with a string of Puente’s Christmas lights after she was arrested – he dutifully decorated their apartment with them each year.

Anyone else out there remember Sacramento’s most infamous landlady?

Incoming! Opera Mort, Kevin Shields + Derek Monypeny, TONITE!

“Strange” and “frightening” are a couple of words to describe Opera Mort, the French Faust-meets-Bastard Noise-ish nightmare of a sonic machine. The intensity is heavy here, in purpose and intent; a greeting and an assault, at once. I don’t know if a random stitch can be found in this, although so many other noise bands seem based in randomness. In October 2009, local label S-S Records released the debut LP from El-g, revealing a softer side of this Opera Mort member, through its dreamy, fractured French pop-folk warbling blues weirdness. We’re hoping he steps out for a few solo numbers during this show. Portland’s noise queen Kevin Shields (written about here last Oct.) teams up with ex-Oaxacan improvised guitar hero Derek Monypeny, for a set that is certain to conjure a similar feeling of warm greeting, mixed with the proper amount of damage and assault. Fun for the whole family! –TM

the hub, 8:30 $5

Incoming! Richard Thompson Electric Trio, March 23

As one of the musicians who actually deserved a place on Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘Top 20 Guitarists of All Time,’ Richard Thompson is the finest folk-rock guitarist to ever come out of the UK, bar none. And if that plaudit wasn’t enough, his lyrics and compositions are world-class; comparisons to prime Dylan are not exaggerated one bit. Thompson has a long history of playing in the Sacramento area; he is on record as saying that his favorite venue in the world was the late, great Palms Playhouse in its original locale. Those intimate performances are still spoken about in hushed and reverential voices. As a one-time member of the legendary Fairport Convention, and in the intervening 40 years, Thompson has honed his words and music to the degree any master craftsman does with their art: with an eye for detail, a universal appeal both flawed and brilliant all at once, as all true geniuses are. Opening the show are locals Alex Nelson Acoustic Trio. -Dennis Yudt

Ace of Spades, 3/23
Buy tix here

Where the Tiger meets the Dragon

I am always surprised when people don’t know about the tile house in Curtis Park. It’s not like this house is a shirking violet, but it is a block or two off of the main thoroughfare. I could tell you exactly where it is, but what’s the fun in that?

In unrelated news, John Olmsted died earlier this month. Without him, Sacramento and the world would not have the American River Parkway. Rest in Peace, sir. Thanks for everything. His son made a movie about his life, “My Father who Art in Nature.”

Anti-Asian Video Creator is from Fair Oaks!

This just in: Alexandra Wallace, the UCLA poli-sci major who posted a now-infamous anti-asian rant that went viral on youtube last week is from Sacramento. Fair Oaks, actually. Great.

So, let’s see… the month started out with a nationally-known white supremacist leader being gunned down in his home in Citrus Heights, and then, for a mid-month pick-me-up, we get pegged as the hometown of a moronic xenophobe. Maybe John Galliano will announce a move to Carmichael to cap off the month.

Ms Wallace’ video, if you haven’t seen it, isn’t of the kill-em-all-let-god-sort-em-out type… It’s more the musing of an incredibly entitled, insensitive, and deeply ignorant ditz who thought now was a good time to have fun with the Japanese Tsunami, among other things. Starting off with a statement that her friends know that she’s not ‘politically correct,’ she launches into her take on the trouble with UCLA’s asian population, replete with every asian racial stereotype short of impersonating a sumo wrestler.

One of her complaints about asian students was their lack of manners- and she used the example of a Japanese student who kept answering his phone in the library since he was trying to find out what had happened to his family after the earthquake. (What an asshole!) How ironic, then that Ms Wallace is fast on her way to becoming the poster-girl of the ill-mannered All American churl.

Funny that she opened her comments with a dig against political correctness, which, after all is simply another way of saying ‘good manners.’ Being ‘PC’ is nothing more than applying the rules of good manners to a person or group who was formerly considered unworthy of such treatment.

UCLA, to its credit, did nothing to punish her for the comments. Wallace realized she’d stepped in it pretty quickly, and announced to no one’s surprise that she was leaving school immediately on her own. Freedom of speech has to protect morons like Alexandra Wallace – it’s up to our society to decide who we’ll give our ears to.

Midtown Monthly AD CONTEST

You may have noticed the teaser for Midtown Monthly’s new ad contest in the latest issue… it’s a find-the-ad type contest to win a $100 Gift Certificate to Mulvaney’s B&L – one of the best restaurants in midtown!  You can enter by sending in the form printed in the magazine, or by sending us an email with the following information:

Your Name:

Your Phone #:

The ad and page #:

send your entry to:

One entry per person per month.  Entries must be received by Noon on March 20, 2011.  Winner will be notified by phone on March 26.

Good luck!

INCOMING! The Finches, Saturday, March 19

the incredible voice of Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs from the Finches has been absent from our region for quite a while- making us yearn for the good old days when she seemed to show up at a houseparty or the Fools Foundation every week or so. If you’re not familiar, just imagine if Sandy Denny had joined up with Paul Simon instead of Art Garfunkel. She’s swinging by Davis tomorrow night, playing at the venerable Delta of Venus just to remind us what we’ve been missing!

Delta of Venus
22 B Street Davis
(530) 753-8639

A tip of the hat to Heckasac for bringing this to our attention…