2009 In ReviewPosted on January 1, 2010 – 9:06 PM | by OldManFoster
Once again we put out the call for the highlights and lowlights of the past year. Comparing last year’s responses with this year’s was an interesting study. Politics, a major focus of many 2008 responses, are almost unmentioned, probably unsurprising as we all grapple with the very personal affects of a recession and confront the reality of a popular president struggling with controversial decisions. The takeaway is that last year was about the big picture, and that this time out people are looking much closer to home. Here is a selection of responses we received…
Sacramento bicycle enthusiast and blogger (http://nothingsharper.com/blog/index.php)
I’d love to say that best thing about 2009 was that bicycles really hit it big, but two-wheel transport has been growing steadily for years now. Midtown drivers are finally learning to coexist with bikes and there are often more bikes than onions at the Sunday farmers’ market. It seems that Sacramento’s culture subtly shifted from beloved cowtown into budding Euro-style cycling mecca this year.
Want to work on your bike? The Bike Kitchen’s move to Midtown makes that nagging brake problem easier to fix. Nowhere to lock up? The city introduced free-to-install bike racks and R Street responded with those way-cool (and way-effective) penny farthing-styled racks in front of the Shady Lady. Need more reasons to ride? The Bike Kitchen’s May scavenger hunt and the Tweed Ride in November are likely to join the Thanksgiving Appetite Enhancement ride as local institutions. Too lazy to ride? You don’t have to! Congratulations, inveterate couch surfers: pedal-pushed delivery pizza (and more!) from Edible Pedal means you can even leave the pedaling to someone else. And all the while, city planners are opening bikeways wherever they can get away with it; even along downtown K Street.
If 2009 was the year we made trains worry about cyclists, I can’t wait for 2010.
Is Associate Editor of MidMo and Co-Director of the Verge Gallery and Studio Project
In reflecting on this past year the best thing that happened to me was so obvious that it initially didn’t even cross my mind. It seems silly, or perhaps too good to be true to cite one’s job as their favorite thing in life, but in essence, 2009 was defined by my role as a curator and artist in residence at the Verge. Being able to bring the art I am most excited about to the local art community has been both exhilarating and a tad overwhelming.
Perhaps best of all it has granted me the opportunity to work with the likes of Stephen Kaltenbach, Doug Biggert and Daniel Johnston. In addition to my day job curating the gallery, the opportunity to work as a resident artist in the project alongside a great community of local artists is a real treat. I was recently asked how long the Verge has been in business and I had to think about it for moment. Despite the fact that the project has only been in operation for a little over a year the past year has been so unbelievable it’s felt more like five years!
Compiled this article, rides the bus, and has opinions
Some of my favorite things in 2009 were the opening of several delicious new eateries and drinkeries at 15th and R, my sudden realization on a bright day this fall that Sac has, for the most part a clean and pretty Downtown, finally running into Mark S. Allen after years of hoping (at Alejandros on K Street no less) and, admittedly, furlough Fridays.
My heartiest “Boo” of the year goes to RT for discontinuing the Central City fare and transfers. It now costs $2.50 per ride on the system. That can really add up! Here’s a shocker, RT, bus riders are not Sacramento’s wealthier citizens! They are scraping by. In Phoenix, the city Sacramento strives to become, for $1.75 you can ride as many buses as you can fit your ass on for 2 hours. Pay half as much again and you can take an EXPRESS bus. Gracious, I would adore an Express bus! I think that it is ridiculous to ask for a bus system to make money in this day and age. It is a public service not a business. The city has subsidized capricious project after capricious project on the K Street mall to the tune of several millions, why can’t we give some money towards a citizen-friendly public transit. Not to be all 2009, but it’s great for the environment, frees up parking spaces in the center and gives the working man a step up.
Other Worst of 2009: This one goes out to the City of Sacramento helping to increase the businesses on 20th street between K and J, but only giving the barest protection to pedestrians trying to get there. You want us to spend money down there, but don’t really care about our safety enough to put traffic lights on those corners? There has been a need for these lights for years, but instead of putting them in the city moves a family skating rink there. Good luck crossing, J, kids!
Bassist for Sacramento’s longest-lived punk band, The Secretions. He tweets at http://twitter.com/MickieRat
It’s easiest to think of what sucked for me about 2009, so I’ll just get that out of the way first. 1) turning 40 2) having to get a “real” job with benefits because my health is finally going to crap past what home medicine can fix 3) Grandma getting cancer 4) the one year anniversary of my beloved younger sister’s death 5) people (including me) being naive enough to think that the president we voted for is going to change everything. I’ll leave that as a short list so you don’t completely succumb to post holiday depression. The single best thing I loved about 2009 was seeing how insanely strong the DIY scene here in Sacramento is. Notice I didn’t specify whether it was music or art or comedy. The truth is that all of the independent arts here are totally off the hook and amazing. The music scene, especially the punk scene, is going stronger and more independent than I have ever seen it in my 30 years here. I am beyond proud at the sheer number and frequency of DIY house shows, punk and otherwise. I won’t mention any DIY venue names because we are all illegally doing shows and no one wants to get shut down, but you all know who you are. Every single one of you that opens your house or space for live DIY music shows, I salute you. Keep it up, it’s the thing this town really needs and benefits from.
Is a regular contributor to Midtown Monthly
Worst: The travesty of the multiple cuts to Sacramento area summer school and enrichment programs. No one loves summer school, but it is essential for many kids.
Best: The refusal by many parents in the area to take these cuts lying down. Grassroots efforts are popping up all over town, and with more involvement, we can see the reinstatement of the important and inspiring programs.
Is a regular contributor to Midtown Monthly
Continued lack of all-ages venues… and the way people will go out to see a dj (don’t get me wrong- I love a good DJ) but will never step foot in a bar or small club to see a live band. The ongoing threat of a new professional sports arena. The development of the Sutter’s Landing Dog Park and the lack of a beautiful, clean, friendly river walk along the American River in Downtown and Midtown.
Small business owners, and their employees and those who volunteer, for giving us our homes-away-from-home. These amazing people are somehow finding ways to survive and push through this recession, despite the swarming meter maids chasing people away from Midtown. Our small business owners give us our community centers—thanks and much love to them. Also, the formation of Take Back Midtown in response to the horrific rapes that occurred in Lavender Heights.
Is a regular contributor to Midtown Monthly
Phil Jackson, the LA Lakers coach and our southern cousins’ resident zen meister, referred to Sacramento as a “cow town” some years ago and was routinely greeted with a cacophony of clanging cowbells by courtside King fans as he sat on the bench just outside their reach. But no more will that be necessary, my Sactown roundball devotees. We’re all grown up now.
When the Sacramento Kings worked their magic in the draft earlier this year and acquired Tyreke Evans, Omri Casspi and Jon Brockman to add to an existing roster of young talent and a talented coach in Paul Westphal, our own resident zen-meister, fans might as well have retired the cow bells. In the future the team will do the talking.
A quantum improvement is already more than apparent as these young Kings, not bound by past behavior and resultant failure, pass the ball unselfishly, scrap for rebounds, and run the court like youthful gazelles. Two thousand and nine will be remembered as the renaissance of the Kings, and in two years, the team will be running Phil’s Kobe-led gang off the court. Seasoned, and mentored by the wise Westphal, this group is the real deal and our days of wandering in the desert of also-rans are over. Remember. You read it here. In the year 2009, the renaissance of the cow town team is complete. The best of the year’s best? You bet!