An Open Discussion: Second Saturday Shooting

Posted on September 15, 2010 – 5:16 PM | by OldManFoster
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We’re still reeling from this weekend’s shooting at Second Saturday.  Although the eruption of violence did not come as a complete surprise given the size of the crowds, none of us here predicted anything like this. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families and we hope that this tragedy will inspire actions that will make Second Saturday safer for all.

What is the answer? How do we make Second Saturday safe and fun for all?

Like most Midtowners, we’ve been both excited and concerned by the explosive growth of this event. Seeing the neighborhood full of people has been a joy, even if the crowd’s sometimes surly behavior has not. As Second Saturday has shifted from its initial focus as an art event to more of ‘block party,’ many Midtown residents have voiced their displeasure. Our own Bill Burg has often been on the frontlines of these discussions- relating his own experiences with drunks in his yard at 4AM, cleaning up their trash and even washing their piss off his porch. Ironically, the homeless population that is so often the subject of public scorn has caused Burg far less trouble than the drunken suburbanites who come to Midtown for the party.

Yesterday, MBA head Rob Kerth, Midtown Neighborhood Association’s Matt Piner, and Sac PD captain Dana Matthes were guests on KXJZ’s INSIGHT program, hosted by Jeffrey Callison.  The good news is that no one at the city, from the Mayor on down, is suggesting the same drastic reaction that killed K Street’s Thursday Night Market.   How they will handle the event from here on out is still an open question.

So, we offer an open forum here: What do YOU suggest?  What do you like, or not like, about Second Saturday?  What will make it better?

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  1. 71 Responses to “An Open Discussion: Second Saturday Shooting”

  2. avatar

    By livmoe on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    That’s just it… it’s not about art and hasn’t been for a long time. A lot of the communal art nights I’ve attended in other cities are pretty hoppin’ but they’re specifically hoppin’ with art goers, period. No t-shirts, no bands, no incense and hemp jewelry vendors. Zilch. Just art.

    When I brought this up at a roundtable discussion about second Saturday about a year ago a hush went through the room. At the time the consensus I seemed to get was that all us gallerists are getting tired of this but none of us want to leave the safety net of the built in crowd and move on.

    The truth of the matter is that at this point I would venture to say that the galleries could say screw it and roll up their sidewalks and there’d still be activity on 2nd Saturday. A colleague said that only about %20 of the bodies on the street actually came into the gallery she was at this past weekend. Of those even fewer did much looking around once inside.

    From a music perspective my main complaint has been the doubling up of bands in one block to the point where things just sound like muddy noise. The stuff that Barber’s and the Bike Kitchen puts on is brilliant. It would be great to walk around to various pop up venues every weekend to catch different acts. I was stoked when folks were setting up in different alley’s around town for a while there too selling tacos and what not.

    Really I think this falls under a city task force or MBA type thing. As someone who works in the arts I can’t say I’d want to make it my job to address musical programming for an “art” event where I don’t sell any art. On the flip side from a community activist standpoint helping to coordinate and facilitate a string of happenings that contribute to the overall vibrancy of our city has a lot of appeal.

    In the meantime I think 2nd Sat should reestablish itself, just for art on another night of the month. San Francisco does Thursdays which seems to work just fine especially in the wrapping it up early department given that it’s on a weekday.

  3. avatar

    By William Burg on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    Well then–if that isn’t a good argument to detach the vendors and street music from Second Saturday and start spreading it around the month, I don’t know what is. The crowd that shows up for Second Saturday is mostly not interested in art–they are there to see people and be seen, to enjoy the city from the street level. That activity is not very important to the arts community, but essential to a city’s day-to-day street life.

    As to who should regulate the street life (and despite my own appreciation of anarchic abandon, I do feel it should be regulated) I suppose I’d rather see an organization that has both business and residents as its priorities. I have my doubts about whether MBA should be that organization.

    Of course, for some folks Midtown will never be quiet enough, just as for some people Second Saturday isn’t wild enough for them. The compromise point will be somewhere in between, odds are at a point where most parties are equally uncomfortable. Art will probably be a secondary effect of the street scene and city life, which is as it should be.

  4. avatar

    By OldManFoster on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    I love the idea of moving the actual ‘Art Walk’ component of second saturday to another night. I actually approached SMAC and a number of galleries with that exact idea a couple of years ago when Second Saturday first began to get out of hand. At that time I suggested coordinating the art openings to be held on the Thursday before Second Saturday – Second Saturday would still go on, but those interested in actually seeing art and interacting with gallerists and artists would go on the Thursday before instead. We never really solidified anything and then the economy collapsed and the idea went on the back burner.

    The idea came back a few months ago, now labeled ‘Preview Thursday.’ SNR put some weight behind it and many of the galleries have shown a lot of interest. There is a lot to be said for the concept of an event that really is about the art again, and Preview Thursday could be it.

    Second Saturday can continue as a vibrant Midtown/Downtown event, with galleries choosing to stay open to showcase their wares to the crowds or no. I think Liv is right- Second Saturday has gotten bigger than the galleries, and even if every single artspace was closed, there would still be a huge draw.

  5. avatar

    By livmoe on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    One last thing on this programming issue before I lose steam…. If there is a said task force helping to guide the vision of this event my hope is that this group would genuinely have just that… a vision. A vision guided by some sense of culture that helps maintain the flavor of a vibrant event.

    I was around when the city and the Downtown Partnership tried to work together to manage the Thursday Night Market once it started getting unwieldy and all they managed to do was morph the event into something so milk toast and weird that no one wanted to attend anymore.

    One of my big beefs with it was this whole “let’s make it family friendly now” campaign and indie bands were replaced with Dixieland and church groups were allowed to set-up and preach in St. Rose of Lima Park through these bizarre reality plays. In short it stunk IMHO.

  6. avatar

    By Craig on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    This is a very difficult problem to solve. Large groups of 20 somethings or younger, alcohol and late night / early morning hours is a combustable mix in any public gathering. Perhaps, if Midtown gathering were promoted as a continuing cultural tradition instead of a one time “Second Saturday” event focus, the block party culture would disappear. Why not have a “Weekends in Midtown” focus where shops, food and other kiosks are open throughout the weekend, every weekend? If you desire to be like St. Helena, then this is what you do. Otherwise, another incident like this and everything will die because it doesn’t take many of them to scare away the paying customers you want in Sactown.

  7. avatar

    By William Burg on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    liv: And that’s why we have the “Keep Midtown Janky” brand. Even Burning Man has rules these days, even if it’s still “Safety Third.” I see no contradiction between encouraging creative weirdness, being able to bring the kids, and some level of civility.

    I do agree–I remember how lame the “Fringe Arts Festival” ended up. Although it’s not exactly a popular event, I try to run the Noisefest using the same principles–despite the level of sheer weirdness at the Noisefest, every one has been held at an all-ages venue, and we even held dozens of Sunday matinee “Audio Waffle” events to encourage all-ages crowds. Past fests included performers as young as 11 years old.

    Craig: Eeeexactly. If Second Saturday is getting too big for its britches, perhaps the answer is bigger britches.

  8. avatar

    By Dane Henas on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    Folks…to set the record straight I parked in the alley next to the Bike Kitchen. The sidewalk I referred to is the concrete area in front of the buliding. The alley and sidewalk area had a bunch of empty Guinness or other British beer paper cups. I didn’t smell them to see if it was beer–could have been Kool Aid. There was a guy pissing in the alley next to a dumpster. I was really there! 😉 It was after 9:30 and Alkali flats wasn’t playing. And I made a typo–t was actually “DJ” hipsters! Get rid of the DJs and let’s have more old timey bands like Alkali flats! Tony–don’t be so damn thin skinned–you read too much into everything–sheesh! Ask Tim and Jackson–I’m a cool old guy! I’ve got 3 bikes myself, but no fixed gear–sorry!

  9. avatar

    By William Burg on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    I can verify this. Dane was a hipster back when they still said “daddy-o.”

  10. avatar

    By Dane Henas on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    We actually used the term “hep”.

  11. avatar

    By livmoe on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    You sirs have made the old man laugh out loud. Good show!

  12. avatar

    By Marion Millin on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    Dane was a hipster back when Mike Palmer had a Ramones haircut.

  13. avatar

    By Diane Heinzer on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    9/11/10 Second Saturday was great, art, music not too loud, the businesses and eateries full, people of all ages including families with kids and strollers, a wonderful scene that lasted until 9:30, no one screaming on the streets. Loved it. Then came the young loud ones who just party, drinking out of the trunks of their cars, screaming and laughing at their own outside parties in parking lots, alleys, streets, sidewalks. I don’t believe they even enter the bars and night clubs. The noise level only goes up AFTER Second Saturday closes the galleries and street vendors leave. I like the point Jeremiah Mayhew made that the shootings happened on Sunday, not Second Saturday. Don’t we have codes that prohibit drinking & having parties outside on the streets and on parking lots without permits?

  14. avatar

    By Diane Heinzer on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    I sent this email to Steve Cohn and Rob Fong.

    On 22nd and L we and our neighbors watch and frequently report people at night who drink & urinate in parking lots and alleys and sidewalks around our houses between 10 pm and 3 am. Some come to their parked cars on the street and get intoxicants from the trunks of their cars and imbibe on the streets, loudly with screams and shrieks. The city must already have codes against this kind of behavior. If the police would give these people tickets for that behavior it would keep the violators from coming back and back again week after week especially after Second Saturday. That would also deter groups from congregating until we have a tragic uncontrollable situation as occurred last Sunday morning at 12:30. The tickets given to parking violators has really helped the parking situation in Midtown. If we ticket these other “small” code violations I’ll bet we could prevent the behavior that we all hate, loud drunken parties and pedestrians disturbing the peace of our neighborhoods and possibly scaring off customers who come to enjoy our small businesses and entertainment venues.

  15. avatar

    By Dane Henas on Sep 19, 2010 | Reply

    Good letter Diane! That same Second Saturday I also saw some kids with an open ice chest on their tailgate in front of Butch & Nellies. Premeditated public drinking! Just the other night I was at Luigi’s Slice and 4 or 5 young ladies come waltzing in with cocktails from Azul–is that allowed? I’m not into any kind of Police State, but with so many stupid people around, maybe they should beef things up a bit in that part of town. Also, there is absolutely no use for DJs on the street. The music is usually awful and it just takes up space where some real musicians could be. Second Saturday should screen, arrange and space out the music venues. Yes, I am a music snob.

  16. avatar

    By Sterling Running Stream Phillips on Sep 19, 2010 | Reply

    I couldn’t agree more with Kevin Santos Koy.Thank you for bringing the truth to light…. we have wasted our opportunities (as ‘artists’) to truly engage the construct of this social experiment. One glance at the glimmer of fame and our ethics , morals, and beliefs evaporated like summer rain.It is our responsibility (‘artists’) to guide the people to a higher place. IT is time to take that mission seriously… the one we all spoke about around ‘bongs’ and over kegs… the one that said “I will do MORE than my part and i will use the ARTS to do it.” It is time to teach this world how to LIVE TO LOVE TO LIVE. All proceeds from the event on the 25th will go directly to the family to cover funeral costs and to establish a scholarship in Victor Zavala’s name. This is all being done with the approval and participation of This inspirational young man’s family.

  17. avatar

    By Matt T. on Sep 22, 2010 | Reply

    I lived in midtown for three years before leaving the country. Second Saturday (S.S.)was always a great time, yet it always got out of hand. The shooting is tragic yet it does not surprise me: it was bound to happen at such an event with a vast collection of individuals with their own personal agendas. My friend last year during the July S.S. my friend’s head was bashed into a light pole, all for laughing at a joke I told him. This Marine thought we were laughing at him, next thing I know my friend is knocked out, I’m pushing people out of the way, then I get hit in the back of the head while trying to make sure he is okay. I do not know who tainted the S.S. Kool-aid, but it is a gathering of slobs and drunks who cannot hold their booze nor enjoy a night of art and music. Part of the problem, as many of the long time Midtown residents have/can/will agree on, is the hours, also what S.S. has become. It ends too late, has nudged is ugly head right into peak bar trips, and the music…well…sucks. Keep it mellow Sacramento, let the douche’s go to Roseville where they belong and keep midtown the chill, relaxed, enjoyable-by-all feel that it lost some time ago. Only now, living on foreign land, and hearing about this, does my understanding of S.S. thicken and deepen. RIP young soul that was lost on a night that did not need to be.

  18. avatar

    By Rick on Jul 10, 2011 | Reply

    I have to say that I think it’s time for Second Saturday to be shut down completely. It’s not just the gangs that are a problem. It’s the booze. Too many people get a few free drinks in them and go out to cause trouble. I was attacked tonight by three men for riding my bike on the sidewalk in front of them. I’m going to dedicate as much time as I can to shutting this thing down. What was a nice event to hang out at and participate in has turned into a way for trouble makers to cause problems for those of us who are just out to have fun.

  19. avatar

    By Susan Moll on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    I heard there was another shooting last Second Saturday and a SCC student was killed, caught in the crossfire. This shit needs to stop. It’s making the neighborhood dangerous. But since all Mayor Dickhead John$on cares about is greenbacks for a new arena for our lousy basketball team, he’s unlikely to care. There’s plenty to do in/around Midtown without Second Saturday assholes clogging streets, starting fights and polluting the neighborhood. Things clearly aren’t getting better. They’re getting worse. Shut the damn thing down!

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