Archive for January, 2012

Look Who’s Talking

By Bob Masullo

“A lecture is an occasion when you numb one end to benefit the other.”

                                                – John Gould (noted Canadian author) Read more »

Film Fests

by Sarah Singleton

There’s more to movies in Sacramento than what’s playing at the local Megaplex.  You can stay immersed in film culture by attending just a few film festivals per year.  Now how to choose…? Read more »

Head of For Arts’ Sake Resigns

Deborah Edward, head of the Mayor’s For Arts’ Sake initiative, is leaving Sacramento to head Portland’s Business Culture for the Arts.

Edward was hand-picked to run Mayor Johnson’s arts program barely a year ago.  Coming from Austin, Texas, Edward boasted an impressive resume in the arts, including experience as the Executive Director of the Austin Children’s Museum which she also co-founded.  Edward arrived in Sacramento with big plans and high hopes saying, “I am inspired by the can-do attitude of the Mayor and his team as well as the creativity and commitment of artists and arts organizations. Sacramento is to be commended for not only making a plan to grow the arts, but also putting resources behind the implementation.”

The reality has been a bit different.

For Arts’ Sake has struggled to find its place in the region’s art scene.  The mission of FAS has often found itself butting up against the mission of SMAC, the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Council – an organization with a 30+ year history, and a long record of successes in the region.  While Johnson has clearly put energy into promoting FAS,  active participation from the local arts community has been dwindling, and many say that the program has failed to live up to its billing.

Edward’s departure for greener pastures leaves a big hole in the program – it will be interesting to see what’s next for For Arts’ Sake.

Betty Inada: A Sacramento Flapper on the Silver Screen

Betty Inada: A Sacramento Flapper on the Silver Screen

By William Burg

How did a Sacramento girl become the most popular jazz singer in Japan? The little-known story of Betty Inada began in Sacramento’s Japantown. Like many Nisei, the first generation of American-born children of Japanese immigrants, her life was caught between the traditions of her parents and the culture of their adopted country. Born on November 10, 1913, her parents named her Fumiko but gave her the nickname “Bessie,” which she disliked and later changed to “Betty.” This independence characterized her life, and by her teens she fell in love with jazz. In the 1920s, jazz was wild, disobedient music considered responsible for the downfall of American morals, but kids like Betty loved it. Adopting flapper fashions, short hair with celluloid barettes and short skirts with rolled-down stockings, Betty’s style shocked her parents and more traditional Nisei youth but made her a popular figure in the local jazz scene. Read more »

Michael Thiemann to be New Executive Chef at Ella

It might seem like a stretch for a guy who put out a record called “The Kids are All Fucked Up” to get hired as executive chef at one of Sacramento’s fanciest restaurants, but not for Michael Thiemann.

Thiemann, who was part of some of Sac’s best punk bands like “Crash and Britany” and “The Pretty Girls“, has just been named the new executive chef at Ella.


He’s leaving Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco to move back to his hometown. He’ll start at Ella on February 1st, replacing Kelly McCown, who will be moving to new restaurant Goose & Gander in St.Helena.

Maybe being back in Sac will cause Thiemann to reminisce about his music days and we’ll finally have that gourmet restaurant-slash-punk-venue we’ve all been waiting for.