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 »

Blank City Sacramento

The Warhol Economy, Blank City, and a flyer

Blank City Sacramento

On July 15, I attended two very similar events that showcased the underground New York arts scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s: Midtown Business Association’s annual gala at Harlow’s, and Verge Gallery’s premiere of “Blank City” at the Crest Theatre. Both spurred discussion about the factors behind the creative environment that emerged from a dangerous, decaying neighborhood during the nadir of New York’s greater economy, and what that might mean for arts scenes in cities like Sacramento.

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Art Picks, December 2010

Different Parts of Remembering
Robert Ortbal
JAYJAY
Through December 23

Sac State sculpture professor Robert Ortbal is based in Emeryville, so I’m not sure if the ‘sense of place’ referenced in the statement for the show is a Bay Area sense or a Sacto sense, but whatever Read more »

Winter Cycling

By Melody Stone Photos by Scott Duncan

An avid cyclist won’t let a little rain deter them from hopping on a bike, but the average person might need a little more persuasion to take the winter cycling plunge Read more »

The Doors’ Ray Manzarek plus blues king Roy Rogers: Friday!

Rock legend and co-founder/keyboardist of The Doors, Ray Manzarek will appear at the 24th Street Theatre this Friday, October 22!  Manzarek will offer new takes on Doors classics like “The Crystal Ship” and “Riders On The Storm”, as well as other blues/jazz/rock classics.  Manzarek will be accompanied by critically acclaimed slide blues guitarist Roy Rogers. Roy is one of the genre’s premier slide guitarists, a two time Grammy Award nominee, and is well known for his exciting live performances with John Lee Hooker, Norton Buffalo, and The Delta Rhythm Kings.

What was Jim Morrison really like? The charismatic story-telling Manzarek will share his personal insights and rock n’ roll tales as a unique part of this concert.  A very special evening of music and spoken word. Plus special guest, Electropoetic Coffee, featuring Ross Hammond and NSAA.

Showtime: 7:30 PM, General Admission/All Ages
24th Street Theatre/Sierra 2 Center for the Arts & Community
2791 24th St (@ 3rd Ave in Curtis Park)

Tickets at Phono Select Records, The Beat and all Dimple locations, plus
online at
www.inticketing.com

The Wild and Wonderful Whites Are Coming!

I haven’t been this excited about a film screening since The Crest showed a mint print of The Bicycle Thief a decade or so ago… although mentioning the Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia in the same breath as Vittorio De Sica’s masterpiece would likely annoy both the Italian director and the White family.

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia is a documentary that captures West Virginia’s notorious outlaw White family in all their unfettered glory.  A sequel of sorts to the 1991 cult hit Dancing Outlaw, Wild Whites checks in with the rambunctious family two decades later.  Director Julien Nitzberg (who ‘discovered’ the Whites in the ’80s while shooting a documentary on outsider musician Hasil Adkins) spent a year in Boone County West Virginia, filming the parties, fights, births, deaths, weddings and arrests of the clan.  The finished film has wowed film festival audiences and received rave reviews, including a nice write up in the New York Times.

The film will show on Thursday October 28 at the Crest, and Nitzberg will be on hand to speak about the film and answer questions from the audience.  Don’t Miss this!

Cycle Chic Sundays

By Tony King  Photos by Scott Duncan

Sacramento has become a seriously burgeoning bike-centic burg.  These days, the River City is experiencing a two-wheeled renaissance that’s made biking easily accessible to just about everyone. Read more »

Agent Ribbons

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No Commercial Potential

By Dennis Yudt

Though Sacramento may be best known for producing slick radio rock on the order of Steel Breeze, Tesla, Cake and the Deftones, there has also been a strange side, filled with brilliant oddballs and sonic outsiders who are barely known even within our own community. Read more »

Thoughts on Second Saturday

Like most people who frequent Second Saturday, I was stunned by news of the violence that erupted at the event last month.

Victor Hugo Perez Zavala, a 24 year old City College student was killed, and three others were wounded when an altercation escalated into gunfire. Zavala was not involved in the dispute; he, like two of the other victims, was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s sad that Second Saturday has become that place.

The shooting will likely mark a turning point for Second Saturday. There have been calls to drastically curtail the event, calls to move it to daylight hours, and calls to shut it down altogether. On the other side there are those who do not want an isolated incident to destroy what is an undeniably vibrant community event.

City officials and the Midtown business community have expressed their commitment to continuing Second Saturday. Memories of the sad end of K Street’s Thursday Night Market loom high and there appears to be a widespread determination not to repeat the failure of leadership that allowed that once-flourishing event to be shut down instead of addressing its problems.

Good.

It’s hard to find anything positive in something like last month’s shooting, but if the City and the Midtown community can come together to start to solve the problems that have come to plague Second Saturday, then at least some good will have come from this.

We asked for ideas and suggestions on our MidMo blog, and the community dialogue that followed was both constructive and informative. There were many interesting contributions, but perhaps the simplest – and best – idea came (as it so often does) from historian, neighborhood activist and frequent MM contributor Bill Burg. Rather than trying to shut down Second Saturday, his suggestion is to open it up:

“It’s time to bring elements of Second Saturday to every Saturday. Street busking, food carts, and vendors need to be an everyday part of central city life, not just once a month at a pre-selected date. It should be regulated and properly managed, but the process should be simple and straightforward. You shouldn’t have to check your calendar to know something interesting is happening downtown.

“A higher overall level of weekend activity, say 3000-5000 extra people 8-10 days a month (every weekend day, plus the occasional “school night”), means a greater total economic impact than 15-20,000 extra people once a month. But because they aren’t all there at the same time, traffic is less, parking impact is reduced, and pedestrian levels are less likely to reach the point where a crowd starts acting like a mob.

“If Second Saturday is getting too big for its britches, perhaps the answer is bigger britches.”

Bill’s comment about Second Saturday outgrowing its britches touches on an issue that is a sore subject for many – that Second Saturday has almost nothing to do with art any more. The truth is that it hasn’t for a long time. Over two years ago we ran a cover story asking “Where’s the Art in Second Saturday?” – art was largely peripheral even then.

The more important question is: does that matter? Second Saturday started as an event for the art community but has grown into an event for the community at large. That event has been wildly successful for Midtown – and for Sacramento – and, until last month, had an incredible track record.

Though the shooting was surely unrelated to the Art Walk, it was probably related to Second Saturday, the event, Councilman Cohn’s protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. Since we don’t know exactly what brought the shooter to the corner of 18th and J that night, it’s hard to say for certain. But, odds are that he came for the same reasons most people come to Second Saturday – to mingle, to cruise, to people watch, to meet friends, to hear music, to flirt, to be part of the crowd, to party. Unfortunately, bad people like many of the same things that good people do.

The answer then, is complicated – there is no one quick fix like banning DJs from the street corners or getting rid of the jewelry and knick-knack vendors. The person who shot Victor Zavala didn’t come to Midtown for those things any more than he came for the art galleries.

Is there an answer?

Not a simple one. What Bill suggests makes a lot of sense, and there are other good suggestions being made every day. The MBA is inaugurating new safety procedures that will begin this month and Police Captain Dana Matthes is working on plans for better policing. Things are happening. Good – they needed to happen. Second Saturday needs to be a better, safer space for everyone. We owe it to Victor Zavala