Archive for February, 2012

A Guide to Local Pub Quizzes

By Dennis Yudt photos by Scott Duncan

The pub quiz – like the grilled cheese sandwich or a bicycle – is one of those simple yet perfect ideas: answering a wide variety of trivia questions with a group of friends over a pint or two in friendly competition with other teams for a prize of more beer. Kinda brilliant, isn’t it? Read more »

SKINNER Book Signing: Sat 2/25 at Dragatomi

Did you know about this?  We didn’t!  Awesomez local artist SKINNER will be signing copies of his new art book Every Man is My Enemy from 1-3 PM Saturday, Fen 25 at Dragatomi in Midtown.  Can’t wait to get my copy!

2317 J Street

Sacramento Beer Week Highlights

The third annual Sacramento Beer Week gives you the opportunity to try hundreds of beers from your backyard and from around the world from February 24 to March 4.  This year is marked by several additions to the family of Sacramento breweries and a number of larger events catering to thirsty beer fans from Sacramento and beyond. Read more »

Living Library 2/19: Ed Carroll, Beer Historian

Whenever we need an article that focuses on the history of beer or brewing in this region, there’s one guy we go to first. Ed Carroll is the author of Sacramento’s Breweries, the definitive history of the subject. You can find his article on Sacramento’s Ruhstaller Beer in this month’s issue of Midtown monthly.

In honor of the upcoming Sacramento Beer Week Ed will speak about Sacramento brewing – and how he came to write about it – at Sunday’s Living Library at Time Tested Books. The event is free, open to all and starts at 7PM. Hope to see you there!

SAVE THE ZOO! (well, the HyPars)

The folks over at SacMod are working on a campaign to preserve the Hyperbolic Paraboloids at the entrance of the Sacramento Zoo, a cause we wholeheartedly support.  Designed by architects Rickey + Brooks, the HyPars are swoopy icons of the Atomic Era, perfect emblems of Sacramento’s Mid-Century boom years.  SacMod needs your vote to help them keep this little part of Sacto history intact for the next generation. Check it out:

“We need your help preserving the historic entrance to the Sacramento Zoo.Please vote for our entry in Dwell Magazine’s “Rethinking Preservation”contest.

Voting is easy: just one click to vote and another to “Like” if you’re on Facebook.   Details of SacMod’s efforts to preserve the entrance to the Sacramento Zoo are outlined in our latest blog post:

Thank you for your support! Let’s do our part to ensure the Sacramento Zoo can embrace the future without losing its past.”

SacMod is the same group that brought you the Mid-Century Modern Home Tour – they know their architectural history!  Be sure to vote to KEEP the HyPars and don’t forget to check out the other stuff SacMod is up to:

SacMod Associate Memberships are now available! Member benefits include a discount to paid SacMod events and having first crack at reserving a seat/purchasing tickets.

Editor’s Letter, February 2012

Five years is a long time.

It was five years ago this month that we made the decision to ditch the unwieldy Midtown-Downtown moniker that had been slapped on the pub by the previous publisher in favor of a slightly catchier – if even less accurate – name. By February 2007 we’d already come a long way from Midtown-Downtown’s original incarnation – a newsprint direct mail piece that was as much ad flier as newspaper. Though we’d stopped running advertising on the front cover (!) we still hadn’t quite found the voice of the magazine yet.  You could say that we knew what we weren’t, but we hadn’t figured out what we were.

Art Director Tracy Heller spent February 2007 freshening up the layout, coming up with the colored ‘skybox’ design that would top each cover for the next four years.  With the March 2007 issue we were officially Midtown Monthly; local music wunderkind Chris Woodhouse promptly tagged us with the nickname ‘MidMo,’ and with that we were well on the track to be whatever it is that we’ve become.

Five years later, some things don’t seem that much different.  Becky Grunewald still leads our herd of food writers, ‘Incoming!’ still features the hot shows for the coming month and I’m still writing about the regional art scene.  Even Maakies and Underworld are in the same spot on the last page.

But some things have changed. We shrunk from a tabloid to regular magazine size – and at the same time we boosted the page count by 25%.  Our original Editor Liv Moe left to head the Verge Center for the Arts. Scott Duncan replaced Jesse Vasquez who replaced Sean Custer as our house photographer. We’ve cycled through four Art Directors, with Judd Hertzler manning that helm for the past year and a half. I can’t even count the number of ad salespeople we’ve had.

Looking back at the folks who have contributed to making MidMo what it has been for the past five years, there is a lot of credit to go around.  The writers, photographers and designers are the obvious ones – without them, there simply would not be a magazine.  But, there are people who are less obvious who deserve credit as well.  There are two people in particular whose names have been in every single issue of Midtown for the past five years, and without whom we would not be here today.

Paloma Begin and Bob Lystrup began running an ad with us back in the Midtown-Downtown days.  Back then they usually ran a full page on the back cover.  With the economic chaos of the past few years they’ve scaled back some, but they’ve always been there with us, month after month, every month.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that there were times where their ad made the difference between shutting the doors and keeping the magazine going.  They’re still here (check out their ad on page 6); without their unflagging support – and the support of our other advertisers – Midtown Monthly would not be looking at a fifth anniversary.

Five years on, I’ve learned a lot of things, and one of the most important is to never forget who helped you get to where you are.  It’s easy to say ‘support our advertisers because they support us.’  It’s easy because it’s true.


Ruhstaller Redux

By  Ed Carroll  photos by Scott Duncan

“There’s something about Sacramento” can have any number of connotations – some good, some not so good. Whether it’s pining for that old Delta breeze, drinking on the porch, enduring the pain of another stolen bike, ridiculously hot summer days or other such pleasantries, no one can say our breezy little burg lacks charm. Being a native it is always a nice surprise to meet a transplant who appreciates, and even embraces the subtle allure of our fair city.  Ruhstaller founder J.E. Paino definitely falls into that category. Read more »

Pub Grub

Story and photos by Sarah Singleton

While Midtown and the greater Sacramento area has no shortage of pubs and watering holes in general, it’s always a plus to be able to sit down and enjoy a bite to eat while getting your drink on. Read more »

February Art Picks: Christoper Taggart Interview

Last month in this space I ran a preview of Time Fugitives, the new show at CCAS by artist Christopher Taggart, one of the brightest lights of the northern California art scene. Taggart’s art is process heavy, but there’s more than a simple ‘how long did that take?’ factor at work – the finished pieces are striking, savvy and sometimes, very funny. Taggart works in many mediums, but one constant thread is his fascination with perception. Whether he’s making a massive sewn-paper sculpture of a football, a ‘drawing’ (consisting of hundreds/thousands of smaller drawings) on aluminum sheet, or self portraits assembled from portraits of other people who share his name, Taggart is playing with both visual perceptions (often in the form of pixelization) and perception based on assumption.

Taggart will speak about his work on February 11 and he agreed to answer a few questions for MM here. Read more »


It’s a pretty monumental stage in a band’s career when they turn 19 and start their 20th year as a consistent and recognized project. It’s not a mark that very many bands reach. It’s something altogether different when the “band” that has been playing for 19 years has never actually been the same group on stage…ever…but somehow continues to expand the boundaries of improvisation in new ways regularly “as” a band. Lob, a Sacramento resident since 2005, has done just that with his long running conceptual project. Instagon, currently nearly 600 members strong… and growing, has never repeated a show with the same musicians in the same ensemble.. 19 years so far, and shows no signs of slowing This week to celebrate its 19th birthday, Instagon will appear as an 8 piece band featuring members of other Sacramento local bands Garage Jazz Architects, Chikading!, Gentleman Surfer, E Squared, Black HolesWhat?, & others, involving 2 drummers, 2 guitarists, and a horn section. This will be the 597th ensemble to be called Instagon..(the 600th show is just around the corner!) This festive extravaganza will take place Thurs, Feb 2nd at Old Ironsides for the monthly club night called FUTUREWANG (1st Thursday, every month = Improv!) The evening will also include sets from Sacramento’s’ CHIKADING! (with Tony Passarell on keys) and the Bay area’s DINO PIRANHA (with Phillip Greenlief on sax). Sorry kids,this is a 21+ event.