Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

The Bee's guide to events, activities, arts and entertainment

March 31, 2009
French Film Festival moves to June

If you plan every summer around the Sacramento French Film Festival -- and if you don't, you should, because it's great -- it is moving up from July to June this year.

"Many French people go on vacation (back to France) in July," Cecile Mouette Downs, the festival's executive and artistic director, said of the switch. Downs wanted to accommodate those people, as well as college students who might still be in town in June, she said.

The festival will run from June 19-21 and June 27-28 at the Crest Theatre. Though Downs will not announce the full program until May, she did reveal that this year's slate of classic films includes Jean Cocteau's "Beauty and the Beast" and Jean Renoir 's "The Rules of the Game."

For information on the 2009 festival, see its Web site.

March 31, 2009
East meets West with Vox Musica

For the Vox Musica vocal ensemble, whose next concert is this Saturday at St. John's Lutheran Church at 7 p.m., all musical roads lead from the Republic of Georgia to the raga-infused streets of Mumbai, India.

At least they will on Saturday when the 3-year-old all women's ensemble performs with the Nada Brahma Ensemble, which is sure to add a provocative Indian fusion vibe to Vox Musica's program.

That program includes 6 works from India, or inspired by music from the Indian subcontinent and four works that are either Persian or set to Persian texts.

When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: St. John's Lutheran Church, 1701 L St., Sacramento
Cost: $15
Information: (916) 471-0507 or

March 31, 2009
Downtown Plaza: Gateway to stardom?

Deon Taylor Enterprises, a local filmmaking company I wrote about a few weeks ago, is looking for a potential host for "Up All Nite," an "Entertainment Tonight"-style show it has in the works. Open auditions will be held from noon-3 p.m. Saturday in front of Macy's at Downtown Plaza (547 L St.) in Sacramento.

According to a press release, the audition is open to men and women, ages 21 to 35, "with the right look, vibe, enthusiasm and confidence to co-host an entertainment show."

In other words, no unibrows.

Applicants should be prepared to deliver a 15- to 20-second bit showing his or her hosting skills. Each person should bring a head shot with contact information, and an entertainment resume or a written paragraph detailing his or her experience in the entertainment business.

The show also is looking for a fashion reporter and a movie critic, so hopefuls interested in those roles should come prepared. For fashion reporter, that means wearing something chic, and for movie critic, wearing a scowl and/or a superior look.

March 31, 2009
Movies on the radio

Every Friday at 4:40 p.m., I discuss movies with Kitty O'Neal and R.E. Graswich on KFBK 1530-AM.

Last Friday, we talked about "Monsters vs. Aliens" and "Sunshine Cleaning," and the Sacramento International Film Festival.

If you want to hear what I had to say, click here.

March 31, 2009
St. Francis High is high on fashion

If you've already purchased tickets for this weekend's annual fashion extravaganza at St. Francis High School, then you're in for a treat. This is the local high school's spring style fashion benefit, and there are three shows scheduled featuring SF moms and their daughters serving as models.

* Friday: Doors open at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the fashion show at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $65 per person.

* Saturday: The fashion show boutique is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There are two shows this day, starting with a breakfast at 8:30 a.m. with the fashion show at 9 a.m. Tickets are $50 per person. Then, the lunch show features a meal at 1:30 p.m. and the fashion show at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $55 per person.

The boutiques whose fashions and accessories being featured on the runway include Bijoux, Blush Boutique, David's Bridal, Jessica McClintock, Katia's Collections, Kenneth Cole, Krazy Mary's, Sugar Shack, Madam Butterfly, MW Tuxedos, Patrick James, Pinkadot, Quiksilver and Serendipity. Hoshall's Salon & Spa and Federico Beauty Institute will handle hair and makeup.

Proceeds will benefit the high school's scholarship fund. All shows are in the school gym, 5900 Elvas Ave. For more information or tickets, call (916) 452-3461 or click here.

March 31, 2009
Hawaiian music in Winters

It's Hawaii week at the Palms Playhouse in Winters.

The group Hapa performs tonight, and the Hawaiian Treasures Celebration Tour, featuring George Kahumoku, Dennis Kamakahi and Richard Ho'opi'i, is Sunday.

Hapa, according to the Palms' website, "evokes a place many people ... referred to as heavenly." Showtime is 7:30 p.m. today. Tickets are $30.

As for Sunday's concert, Kahumoku, Kamakahi and Ho'opi'i are legends - and slack key masters. If you love island music, you won't want to miss this. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20.

The Palms is in the old Winters Opera House, 13 Main St. in Winters. For more information on these and other upcoming shows: (530) 795-1825,

- Dixie Reid
March 31, 2009
This week: help keep the Sacramento Ballet dancing

The dancers of the Sacramento Ballet have been making a big push to keep their company alive, and this week, they're declaring an "S.O.S." is a Web site created by the dancers in an effort to rally community support for the Sacramento Ballet, which has been struggling to stay afloat amid mounting financial hardships. Although the ballet has been forced to cancel its upcoming Community Center Theater performances, the dancers have taken it among themselves to spearhead fundraising events and organize creative performance opportunities within the community--one that is determined to keep Sacramento's cherished art institutions afloat.

Throughout "Save Our Sacramento Ballet" week, several local businesses are helping the dancers by donating a percentage of their sales to the organization. Among the participants are Firefly Salon & Boutique (5539 H St.), Zuda Yoga (1515 19th St.), Arareity Jewelry and Art Glass Gallery (1021 R St.), Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill (3551 Truxel Rd. #A) and HeavenLy's Yogurt (5535 H St.).

The dancers will also be hosting a silent auction at Vizcaya Pavilion & Mansion (2019 21st St.) on April 23. Local businesses are donating auction items, and the company is still accepting contributions.

For more information, visit or email

March 30, 2009
'In the Valley of Elah' tonight at Mondavi

In 2007, several films about the war in Iraq hit theaters. Movie-goers, too weary of the real-life war to embrace fictionalized versions, mostly stayed away.

But the best of these films, Paul Haggis' "In the Valley of Elah," (trailer above) scored an Oscar nomination for Tommy Lee Jones' heart-wrenching lead performance as a former military man investigating the disappearance of his soldier son.

"Elah" is plays at 6:30 tonight at the Mondavi Center for the Arts as part of a four-movie Focus on Film series linked to a May 11 Mondavi appearance by Haggis, who also directed "Crash" and wrote the screenplay for "Million Dollar Baby."

The other three films in the series, chosen by Haggis, represent his strongest influences: Akira Kurosawa's "Rashomon," (April 13), Jean-Luc Godard's "Breathless," (1960), and Sidney Lumet's "Dog Day Afternoon" (1975).

As for "Elah" ... though movie viewers remain weary of war, the passage of time -- along with exposure to several Iraq-themed documentaries and true-life accounts such as the HBO film "Taking Chance" -- have allowed for greater audience perspective on the war. While "Elah" remains a challenging film -- and some of its anti-war symbolism too obvious -- its central questions about the meaning of family, honor and duty now seem almost timeless.

Tickets are $10 general, $5 for students and children (just FYI, "Elah" is rated R and contains disturbing content). For information on the Focus on Film series and the Haggis event, go to the Mondavi the Mondavi site.

March 27, 2009
Zombies on K Street tonight

I don't often promote film fund-raising projects, because if I had a nickel for every wonderful film that couldn't get funding, well, I'd have nearly enough for the catering budget on a short-film production.

But occasionally, there's a film fund-raiser that just tugs at the heartstrings, like the one at 10:30 tonight at the Crest Theatre (1013 K St.)

Those fine people behind Trash Film Orgy are trying to generate enough money so that they someday can gift the world with "Planet of the Vampire Women," a film that promises space pirates, a heist and -- this is just a guess -- a galaxy's worth of cleavage.

The fund-raiser centers on a showing of "Hard Rock Zombies," a 1984 film that combines the hair-band aesthetic and the walking, blood-thirsty dead.

Since tickets are only $9.50, the TFO folks probably aren't planning to shoot on location in space.

For information, go to the TFO site.

March 27, 2009
'American Idol' : Michael Sarver eager to go home


Michael Sarver says he definitely won't be returning to his job as an oil-rigger in Jasper, Texas. The first of the Top 10 contestants to be eliminated from "American Idol" was both gracious and humble in an interview today with "Idol" reporters.

Every female reporter who posed a question was met with a "yes, ma'am" or "no, ma'am" from Sarver, who will continue with his musical career after this summer's tour. Something you might not know: He's written more than 890 songs since his teen years, reflecting both the good times and the hard times.

"I'll be sharing that with my fans," he says.

Michael shared his thoughts Friday about heading home and his experiences on "Idol." Here's a sample of what he had to say.

Q: What have you learned about yourself after being on "Idol?" What's your best piece of advice/best memory?
A: I learned how much I love my family. I've never been away from them that long. So I got a hold of what my priorities are in life. I want to do this music thing and I plan to hit it hard. As for advice, there was a gentlemen on the ("Idol") crew who always told us: "Be here and now and in this moment." He kept us on our p's and q's and reminded us what a great opportunity this is. As for a memory, it would have to be singing on the same night on the same stage as Josh Stone, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder.

Q: What do you think about the interplay among the four judges? Is it helpful/distracting?
A: What people need to understand is that this show is supposed to be enjoyable and entertaining. Simon (Cowell) coloring on Paula's (Abdul) face was hilarious. And yes, it gets complicated when you think they aren't listening to you.

Q: Judge Kara DioGuardi said she didn't think you had shown what type of artist you'll be. Any thoughts on that?
A: I'm not as country as most people think. There's a lot of soul in me. And I think that works with both R&B and pop. There's such a mix of musical influences in my life. I love the style of Justin Timberlake. And then there's Gavin DeGraw and his soulful rock.

Q: Did you think there was a chance the judges would use the save on you last night?
A: My second performance of "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" was stronger than the first because I had been dealing with some sickness. I didn't think they would save me, especially based on Simon's comments Wednesday night about me not winning the competition. But we didn't get this far based on a mistake. I think what the judges say has a huge impact on how America votes. I don't think they got it altogether right on me the other night. But they're smart and talented. That's why the show is so successful.

Q: Tell us about Matt Giraud and why you think he was safe?
A: He's unbelieveable. We were roommates for a little while. And I have a lot of respect for him. He amazes everyone with his piano. America just couldn't send someone home who sings and performs like that.

Q: OK, so you'll be going on tour this summer. What are you looking forward to the most?
A: Experiencing the fans one on one. On the show, we live in kind of a bubble. We know the fans support us, but we don't physically see it. The tour will allow that. And they've blown me away with their support.

Q: Can you tell us something funny or memorable from your stay in the "Idol" mansion?
A: The other night, me, Danny (Gokey) and Anoop (Desai) played a game of basketball. I was horrible, of course. But it was a blast because we share a love of sports. Anoop can play some ball. He's very intense. It makes sense considering he's with the University of North Carolina. He would beat himself up if he missed a shot.

Last night's results show didn't reveal what next week's theme would be, and Michael didn't divulge any info, either. Maybe the year of their birthday?

March 26, 2009
Sac History Museum celebrates women on Saturday

Women's History Month will be celebrated in a big way Saturday in Old Sacramento.

Costumed docents from the Old Sacramento Living History Program will demonstrate daily life in the early days of this community, and the following authors will talk about their work and sign copies of their books:

Lynn Cook and Janet Ladue ("First Ladies of California")
Jackie Hanson ("Matilda" books)
Ellen Hartigan O'Connor ("The Ties That Buy: Women and Commerce in Revolutionary America")
Jody Hornor ("Golden Highway" books)
Melba Leal ("Women in the Pony Express: A Modern Tale of Changing Tradition" )
Marlena E. Uhrik ("In Grandpa's Hands")
Naida West ("River of Red Gold")

The event is 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday at 1849 Scene, in front of Sacramento History Museum (101 I St., Old Sacramento.) Admission is free.

For more info, call (916) 264-7059. The museum's Website is under construction and should be up and running any day now.

- Dixie Reid
March 26, 2009
Sacramento SPCA book sale is April 18-26

The weather is just about nice enough to curl up under a shade tree with a good book.

If you're looking for the perfect read, mark April 18-26 on your calendar for the Sacramento SPCA's Spring Book Sale.

The book offerings are a mix of new and used, and will include fine and rare books, fiction, mysteries, adventure tales, science fiction, biographies, history, westerns, art books, references, business, cultural issues, foreign language, humor, home and garden, and books especially for children and teens.

Sale times are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. every day except April 26, when they're 11 a.m.-6 p.m. The SPCA's bookstore is at Marketplace at Birdcage, 6187 Sunrise Blvd. (next to Long's Drugs) in Citrus Heights.

The sale helps with the SPCA's efforts to care for more than 12,000 abandoned, abused and unwanted animals in our community.

For more info, call (916) 383-7387, ext. 9103, or e-mail

- Dixie Reid

March 26, 2009
Vlade Divac to spend time with local kids

Vlade Divac, one of the most beloved Sacramento Kings players ever, is coming "home" to see his No. 21 jersey retired during Tuesday's Kings-Hornets game at Arco Arena.

While in town, he's planning to shoot hoops with teens at the River Oak Center for Children, which is opening its new Youth Development and Education Center gym. And, he's invited 20 River Oak youth to participate in his Charitabowl fund-raiser Monday at Strikes in Rocklin.

"We are so grateful to Vlade and his nonprofit Humanitarian Organization Divac (HOD) for giving River Oak children these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities," the center's president, Mary C. Hargrave, said in a news release.

For more details on where to find Divac in and around Sacramento over the next few days, go to

- Dixie Reid

March 25, 2009
CSUS student wins acting competition

California State University at Sacramento student actor Stephanie Zito nabbed first place in the prestigious Irene Ryan Acting Competition. The junior theater major won in the Best Classical Actor category performing as Rosalind in Act III, Scene II of Shakespeare's "As You Like It."

The regional competition, part of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, involves more than 350 graduate and undergraduate student actors from universities across the West. Zito's win has earned her a trip to the six week festival program Summer Arts Scholarship in Fresno.

Zito (left in the photo) performs at CSUS this week end in the current production of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." See a video preview of the performance by clicking here.

For more information on the competition or the production call (916)278-6368 or visit

March 24, 2009
Chi Cheng benefit web site now up

Deftones bassist Chi Cheng remains in a coma following a Nov. 3 car accident near San Jose. Now, Cheng's family and friends are trying to raise money to help pay for his medical bills,

Fans can donate money through the One Love for Chi site and all proceeds will go directly to Chi's mother, Jeanne Cheng.

The goal is to raise a minimum of $20,000 - so far they've netted just under $5,000.

In addition to donating, fans can also keep up with Cheng's status via family blog updates.

The Deftones are scheduled to play their first show without Cheng, April 5 at the Bamboozle Left Festival in Irvine, Calif,

Former Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega will perform in Cheng's place. Vega is a friend of the band's and has filled in for Cheng in the past.

No word yet on when "Eros" the album the band was recording before Cheng's accident, will be released but look for another benefit show in the coming months as well as more Deftones dates.

March 24, 2009
A supermodel will host local fashion show


It's been five years since Camille McDonald (pictured), now 31, competed on Season 2 of "America's Next Top Model." Even though she didn't win, she's been a certified success story: working on an advanced degree at Howard University, working on a possible TV project, working as a stylist and, of course, working around the world as a fashion model.

This Friday, Camille will be in Sacramento to host the IMAGINE 2009 fashion show, which is being put on by the International Academy of Design & Technology. She'll share the spotlight with keynote speaker Robert Best, best-known as the "Barbie" apparel designer from Season 3 of "Project Runway."

I spoke to Camille the other day as she was preparing to head back to Washington, D.C., from Miami. Currently, she commutes between the nation's capital (for school) and New York City, where she lives. She says she's excited about coming to Sactown and sharing her experiences with the IADT students.

"I'm hoping to leave them with a better understanding of the fashion industry, based on my experiences," she says. "The fashion industry is a multibillion-dollar business, but you really need something to ground you, especially an education."

Camille has been fortunate to work in so many different areas of the business. But one thing she'll definitely be able to speak to a young crop of designers about is starting a fashion line.

"I've been transitioning from being a full-time model to being a designer of my own brand," she says. "I've been working on it for two years. It's a contemporary outerwear women's collection that I hope to launch next year."

She admits jobs aren't always easy in the industry and that it's important to find one niche that highlights special skills and talent. "Fashion is always transitioning," she adds. "Today, you might have a chemist involved in a fashion project creating organic, green fabrics.

"It can have an impact on everyone."

IADT's show is Friday at the Sacramento Grand Ballroom, 629 J St. Tickets are $60 VIP and $40 general admission and are available at the school, 2450 Del Paso Road, Suite 250, or call (916) 285-9468. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30. Nine students will present full collections, and 12 emerging designers will also be featured.

March 24, 2009
Sacramento Public Library announces "Living Green" event series

The Sacramento Public Library is taking the LEED in local green building. The library's new Sacramento city and county branches are LEED-designed (that's a fun acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, in case you didn't know). As a result, the new facilities will boast increased water savings, energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality.

And in the spirit of green reading, the library's branches will be hosting an imaginative series of environmentally friendly educational events this spring. Called "Living Green," many of the scheduled events are for kids, teens and families -- but some sound so fun and unique ($10 for anyone who already knows what "plarn" is!) that I'm already penciling them into my planner (which is printed on recycled paper, by the way).

Here's a highlight of just a few of the 40 colorful events, as described by the library, which include arts & crafts, films, entertainment and educational seminars. To learn more, contact the Sacramento Public Library at (916) 264-2920 or visit

For Kids:

Go Green: Recycling Trash Show with Magician Trevor Wyatt

Trevor uses a trash can containing items that should be recycled and then are incorporated in his magic tricks.

  • April 9, Thursday, 4 p.m.: Arcade Library, 2443 Marconi Avenue, Sacramento

  • April 14, Tuesday, 4 p.m.: Belle Cooledge Library, 5600 South Land Park Drive, Sacramento

  • April 15, Wednesday, 4 p.m.: Arden-Dimick Library, 891 Watt Avenue, Sacramento

  • April 22, Thursday, 4 p.m.: Valley Hi-North Laguna Library, 6351 Mack Road, Sacramento

  • April 23, Thursday, 4 p.m.: Rancho Cordova Library, 9845 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento

"What Can You do with a Paper Bag?" with ArtWorks

There are hundreds of things you can do with a paper bag. You can create a doll, a book, a piñata, a puppet, buffalo story boards, and even a handmade purse.

  • May 20, Wednesday, 4 p.m.: Elk Grove Library, 8900 Elk Grove Blvd., Elk Grove

  • April 8, Wednesday, 4 p.m.: Rio Linda Library, 902 Oak Lane, Rio Linda

  • May 6, Wednesday, 4 p.m.: North Sacramento-Hagginwood Library, 2109 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento

Building a Lego City: Celebrate TV Turnoff Week

Help build a city made completely of Legos. All building materials will be provided and finished constructions will be on display.

  • April 24, Friday, 3 p.m.: Galt-Marian O. Lawrence Library, 1000 Caroline Avenue, Galt

Crocheting with Plarn! with Sonya from Rebel Thredz

Interested in recycling? Feeling crafty? Change plastic bags into 'plarn' and crochet a variety of different items, including a sturdy grocery tote bag made from plarn.

  • April 9, Thursday, 4 p.m.: Rancho Cordova Library, 9845 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento

For Teens:

Jewelry Making with ArtWorks

Go green and learn how to turn paper, beads, leather, wood, and other found materials into jewelry.

  • April 23, Thursday, 3:30 p.m.: Elk Grove Library, 8900 Elk Grove Blvd., Elk Grove

"Don't Throw Me Away!" with ArtWorks

Decorate old t-shirts with fabric paints, old beads, embellishments, buttons, and fabric from old clothes usually thrown away.

  • May 28, Thursday, 3:30 p.m.: Elk Grove Library, 8900 Elk Grove Blvd., Elk Grove

For Adults:

Smart Plant Choices with Julie Serences, Educator, Sacramento Audubon Society

Become a backyard habitat manager by learning about selecting native plants for the home garden. These "smart" plants require less water, less maintenance, and attract more birds into your yard.

  • April 4, Saturday, 10 a.m.: Fair Oaks Library, 11601 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks

  • April 4, Saturday, 1 p.m.: Franklin Community Library, 10055 Franklin High Road, Elk Grove

  • April 13, Monday, 6 p.m.: Belle Cooledge Library, 5600 South Land Park Drive, Sacramento

  • April 14, Tuesday, 6 p.m.: Elk Grove Library, 8900 Elk Grove Blvd., Elk Grove

  • April 15, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.: Arcade Library, 2443 Marconi Avenue, Sacramento

  • April 18, Saturday, 11 a.m.: North Natomas Library, 2500 new Market Drive, Sacramento

  • April 18, Saturday, 1 p.m.: Colonial Heights Library, 4799 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento

  • April 23, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.: Central Library, 828 I Street, Sacramento

  • April 27, Monday, 6:30 p.m.: South Natomas Library, 2901 Truxel Road, Sacramento

"Who Killed the Electric Car?"

Watch the documentary film that delves into the short life of the General Motors EV1 electric car, once the rage in the mid-1990s.

  • April 14, Tuesday, 3 p.m.: Del Paso Heights Library, 920 Grand Avenue, Sacramento

March 23, 2009
New date for Grupo Corpo finally announced...

The March 13 performance of Grupo Corpo, which had to be rescheduled due to repair problems at the Mondavi Center with an acoustic canopy in Jackson Hall, has been rescheduled to Tuesday, April 7 at 8 p.m., the presenter announced today.

Grupo Corpo, Brazil's most successful dance troupe, will perform "Seven or Eight Pieces for a Ballet", and the new work "Breu," both choreographed by Rodrigo Pederneiras

Patrons holding tickets for the March 13 performance can and should use their same tickets and parking passes for the rescheduled performance. A Post-performance Q&A moderated by Ruth Rosenberg, Mondavi Center dance consultant, will take place in Jackson Hall. There will be no Pre-performance Lecture for this performance

Patrons unable to attend on April 7 should contact the Mondavi Center Ticket Office, 530-754-2787, to request a refund.

March 23, 2009
Granite Bay Student Paper Wins Journalism Triple Crown

The Granite Bay Gazette, the student paper for Granite Bay High School, picked up a Gold Crown award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Friday.

The Gazette was one of only 19 high school papers nationally to earn the award this year, but it has won the award twice previously, said Karl Grubaugh, the school's journalism adviser and a copy editor for The Bee.

It was not the paper's only honor this school year. Grubaugh earned the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Teacher of the Year for 2008. A photo of Grubaugh speaking at the Columbia Press Association is on the home page of the organization at

Lauren Grubaugh, the adviser's daughter, was named California State High School Journalist of the Year last week. She is now eligible to compete for a national student journalism award.

Lauren Grubaugh is a co-editor of the Gazette.

March 20, 2009
Treat yourself as March Madness rolls on

As I blog, I've got the East Tennessee State/Pittsburgh box score running on March Madness, however, is not just the domain of a basketball court this weekend. We found some fun shopping/spa options that are crazy fun!

* Serendipity Boutique is hosting a trunk show featuring the Donna Asch jewelry collection, which is so pretty for spring. Donna (pictured) will be at the east Sac store (5362 H St.) until 4 p.m. today. On Saturday, she'll be at the Fountains at Roseville store (1182 Roseville Parkway, Suite 165) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The boutique is embracing the tournament with sales today through Sunday. Here's how it works: Bottoms (skirts, pants, etc.) are 15 percent off today. Dresses and purses are 15 percent off Saturday.Tops are 15 percent off Sunday (Roseville store only).

* Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa (1220 Arden Hills Lane) is inviting women who (natch!) spend 99.99 percent of their time taking care of others to a special "Inner Balance, Inner Beauty" wellness program. Saturday's class is called "Filling Your Energy Tank." It will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Cost is $20. You'll learn how to put yourself first - for a change - with tips for mind and body. For more information: (916) 482-6111 or click here.

March 20, 2009
State Fair is looking for unusual acts

If you're weird, wild or wacky - and, most importantly, entertaining - the California State Fair has a stage for you.

Interested individuals, bands, performance artists and dance troupes who offer family-oriented entertainment should submit an application and promotional kit by March 30.

Those chosen will perform at the 2009 California State Fair, which runs Aug. 21-Sept. 7 at Cal Expo in Sacramento.

This year's theme is "Weird, Wild & Wacky."

Find an application at:

For more info: (916) 263-3141,

- Dixie Reid

March 19, 2009
Roseville asks: What is art?

...And where is it going? (Besides, perhaps, on the wall behind the couch.)

Nationally recognized artist Everett Jensen will help participants find the answers to these questions and more in an interactive seminar on Modernism scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. April 1 at the Blue Line Gallery in Roseville.

The seminar costs $20 for Roseville Arts members, $25 for non-members, and is expected to last two hours. Pre-registration is advised. The gallery is located at 405 Vernon St., Suite 100, in old downtown Roseville.

For more information, call Roseville Arts at (916) 783-4117, or go to

March 19, 2009
UCD names new orchestra conductor


A new era of music-making will begin this summer at UC Davis when Christian Baldini takes over the university's symphony orchestra.

Baldini, conductor and music director of the Symphony Orchestra of the State University of New York at Buffalo, will replace outgoing conductor Kern D. Holoman in June. Holoman has been conductor of the university orchestra for the past 30 years. The orchestra was founded in 1959 and boasts 96 members.

The Argentinean-born conductor will make his concert debut at UC Davis on June 2 at the Mondavi Center in a program that will include Rossini's "Barber of Seville" overture, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E Minor, and Beethoven's Sixth Symphony ("Pastoral").

Baldini, who is also a composer, will join the UC Davis Department of Music as an assistant professor.

He comes to Davis with an impressive resume. He has won several awards including the 2005 Seoul International Competition for Composers in South Korea and the 2006 Sao Paulo Orchestra International Conducting Competition in Brazil.

Baldini regularly conducts orchestras in Chile, Argentina and Brazil, and has served as the assistant conductor of the Britten-Pears Orchestra in Aldeburgh, England.

March 19, 2009
This American Life-Live... in Sacramento?

No, Ira Glass won't be gracing Sacramento's streets in person, but he will be on six of its movie screens when the hit radio show "This American Life" comes to area movie houses.

The hit radio show will be broadcast live on April 23rd at 8:00 p.m. For the West Coast, the show will be shown at 8:00 p.m. as a time-delayed broadcast.

The show originates from the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University, and will be shown in over 400 movie theaters nationwide, including the following Sacramento area cinema houses:

* Laguna 16 - Elk Grove
* Roseville14 - Roseville
* Downtown Plaza - Sacramento
* Stadium 14 - Sacramento
* Greenback Lane 16 - Sacramento
* Natomas Marketplace - Sacramento

The evening's lineup will include popular show contributors Dan Savage, Starlee Kine, Mike Birbiglia, David Rakoff and Dave Hill, There will be a special musical performance by Joss Whedon, creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Together they will perform a two-hour, live stage version of the radio show, centered on the theme "Return to the Scene of the Crime."

Tickets for this special one-night event are available at presenting theater box offices and at .

March 19, 2009
'American Idol': Alexis doesn't get the save


Talk about singing for your supper - er, survival. Last night's "American Idol" results show almost, almost saw the newly installed "judges' save" used to keep contestant Alexis Grace, 21, of Memphis still singing.

But, as Simon Cowell put it to her after she warbled "Jolene" one last time (while the judges practically were in each others' laps discussing her fate!): "It wasn't good enough."

I'm not so sure I was shocked at this. It came down to Alexis and oil-rigger and nice guy Michael Sarver of Texas (pictured). Looks like likeability won out over forgettable.

Remember what happened after Alexis sang Tuesday? Simon said the performance would be forgettable in "10 minutes." By the end of the show, when the voting began, I had a feeling that premonition might have merit. "Idol" fans/viewers have learned from the past not to take their favorite contestants for granted. That's probably why more than 31 million votes were cast this week.

Also in the bottom three was teen rocker Allison Iraheta, which was somewhat of a surprise.

If you're not into the show this season, you're missing out on some great acts - at least during the results show. Last week, Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson performed (as did Kanye West). Last night, it was Brad Paisley singing "Then." That was followed by an amazing duet featuring Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood and this week's mentor, Randy Travis. FYI: Carrie has been nominated for Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music Awards.

"Idol" reporters got a chance to talk with Alexis today about her experiences on the show and where her career heads. Here's what she had to say.

Q: Last night, it appeared you might be the first - and only - contestant the judges might have saved. What were you thinking, and do you wish you could have sung a different song or changed up "Jolene?"
A: I thought maybe they (judges) could save me, and I like the fact that they were actually thinking about using it - that they believed in me. I wish I could have done a better job. I love "Jolene," but I probably would have done a previous song, maybe "Never Loved a Man." Still, I don't know if they would have chosen me because it's still so early in the game. Maybe now it's not so good for TV.

Q: Any thoughts/regrets on your song choice this week?
A: I was considering a Carrie Underwood song. But two others were doing her, and I thought it might have been too much. I loved "Jolene," both the lyrics and the singer. You pick the songs you think will work. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.

Q: You were one week shy of going on the summer tour. Is that tough for you? And who among the Top 10 will you miss most?
A: I'm really disappointed about that. It would have been fun, especially if we got to perform duets. But there will be other tours. It would have been a sacrifice being away from my family. I was really close with Megan (Joy) and Matt (Giraud). He cracks me up! He's hilarious, doing riffs and runs all the time. Megan and I are a lot alike. We have kids the same age. On tour, we said our children would be boyfriend and girlfriend.

Q: The way the results were playing out last night, did you feel safe or vulnerable?
A: I knew I would be in the bottom three before the show. I had a feeling based on what the judges said. I don't know why I didn't connect with the viewers. I may never know. But it gave me a little bit of a reality check. It lets me know what I need to do to step up my game.

Q: There are seven guys and only three girls left in the competition. Do you think the guys have an advantage?
A: America still has the vote, so it could go either way. With only three girls you have to show the little girls who are voting at home for the boys that they're still in the competition.

Q: What did you learn from your "Idol" experiences - good and bad?
A: I learned that if you want to pursue a dream, you have to work hard and believe in yourself. I know who I am and what career path I want to take. I'll be writing music. But all the cliche things are true. Being away from friends and family was tough. I was a stay-at-home mom. I'm used to seeing my daughter every day.

Q: Being from Memphis, was it tougher going home after country music week?
A: Absolutely. I'm from the South. I think I should be able to sing country music well. And I think I let them (Southerners) down a little bit.

If you're a fan of the "Idol" tour, the Top 10 who will hit the road next summer are set. Seven guys/three girls, which is not exactly the norm. Anyway, next week's competition shifts to Wednesday night with the music of Motown as the theme. Results come on Thursday. Keep in mind: The judges have five more chances to save a contestant. Once they get to the Top 5, that's it.

March 18, 2009
Zombies Take South By Southwest Awards

Lost Zombies, an online social network about zombies, took a pair of prestigious awards, including People's Choice, at the recent South By Southwest (SXSW) festival.

Among Lost Zombies' creators is Ryan Leach, a 2004 marketing graduate of CSU Sacramento. is not only a network for people who love to debate and share the concept of horrifying brain-eating revivified creatures. It is also an example of crowdsourcing in which, like Wikipedia, the content is created by many, many people.

Lost Zombies' users contributed hours of zombie video footage which Leach and his partners aim to shape into a full-length "mockumentary" on zombie takeover. Unlike many crowdsourcing projects, the partners have aims to redistribute profits to contributors.

Although the SXSW awards do not guarantee anything, the attention they generate - Lost Zombies have already done interviews with national publications - may allow the partners to turn a sideline into a business.

Leach pointed out that Twitter only took off after it garnered awards at SXSW. "It's more about the press you can get for the award," he said.

For more, see

March 18, 2009
'Broadcast Blues' Sunday at the Crest

Sue Wilson, director "Broadcast Blues," a documentary lamenting the erosion of the contrasting-views concept in the wake of deregulation and media conglomerates, knows of what she speaks. An Emmy-winning former news producer, she worked at Los Angeles' KCBS back in the days of Jim Lampley, Keith Olbermann and even the Fairness Doctrine.

In the time since, she has seen many broadcast stations' "public interest obligation become a shareholder obligation," said Wilson, 50, who lives in Amador County and has worked locally at Channel 6 (KVIE) and KXJZ (90.9 FM)

"Broadcast Blues," which plays 2 p.m. Sunday at the Crest Theatre, maintains that corporate ownership of (overwhelmingly conservative) talk-radio stations hinders real political discourse and that fewer locally owned stations means less stewardship of decency standards and emergency broadcast systems and fewer opportunities for listeners to lodge complaints locally.

Wilson interviews several national figures in the film, including actor Danny Glover and talk-show host Phil Donahue. She also touches on the case of Jennifer Strange, the 28-year-old Rancho Cordova woman who died in 2007 after a water-drinking contest at KDND (107.9 The End). The FCC has not acted on the Strange family's request to revoke the station's license, Wilson says, and has instead issued 14 more licenses to its parent company, Entercom.

"If they can't keep their nose clean in Sacramento, why are we giving them more licenses?" asks Wilson.

Wilson made the film, she says, to remind people that broadcasters, through their licensing process, promise to uphold the public interest, and that the public can hold them -- and the FCC -- accountable.

"If people become aware of this, we can get the (broadcasters) to start paying attention to us once again," Wilson said.

During the four years she spent making the film, Wilson sought information from the FCC, which has yet to respond to her Freedom of Information Act request request. She also sought an interview with media giant Clear Channel, which declined comment.

If the documentary itself seems one-sided, that's not what Wilson intended.

"If they just won't call you back ... at some point, I have a story to tell and I have to tell it without them," Wilson said.

Tickets are $10 ($5 for students) and are available at the Crest box office at 1013 K St., and through The filmmakers will share proceeds from the screening will Access Sacramento and media Watchdog groups Sacramento Media Group and California Common Cause. All proceeds from a noon fund-raising luncheon at the Crest Cafe (next to the theater) will benefit the same groups.

At 1:30 p.m., Wilson will lead a protest of Rush Limbaugh and "hate radio" in front of the Crest.

For information, call (916) 456-8600 or 443-1792. ext. 11 or visit the movie's Web site.

March 18, 2009
'American Idol' goes a 'Little' country


Why on earth do we need - once again! - the formal introduction of the four "American Idol" judges, especially when Simon Cowell still chooses to wear a T-shirt that's about five sizes too small?!

Last night was the country music hoedown, and I think fans were probably both pleasantly surprised and somewhat shocked. Grand Ole Opry member Randy Travis was around this week to mentor the contestants. And there were a couple of unusual song choices - and arrangements - but getting 11 contestants to keep it somewhat in the musical ballpark was pretty amazing, considering there really isn't a country-esque crooner, except for perhaps Michael Sarver of Texas.

As it happens, Michael, 27, sang first, tackling Garth Brooks' "Ain't Going Down 'Till The Sun Comes Up," a song with about a kazillion words! Simon said he couldn't understand a single word. "You could have been singing in Norwegian." Michael retorted with, "Country music is about havin' some fun."

Allison Iraheta, 16, blew both Randy T. and Randy Jackson away with her super updated version of Patty Loveless's "Blame It On Your Heart." This season, instead of "That was dah bomb," Jackson has a new accolade: "That was dope!"

Cute guy Kris Allen, 23, put down his guitar and sang one of my favorite Garth songs, "To Make You Feel My Love." Randy called him a "tender dawg." Paula Abdul thought it was "vulnerable," and Kara DioGuardi said the performance "wasn't even country. It was very Kris Allen."

Lil Rounds, 23, however, struggled - probably for the first time - because she tried to stay true to the musical genre instead of her R&B riff. She tackled the monster Martina McBride song "Independence Day." Simon said she reminded him of someone forced to sing at a wedding, performing a song she didn't want to sing. "It just wasn't you." But the night will be remembered for his ridiculous mispronounciation of her name. It's "Lil" - not short for Lillian, Lily and certainly not "Little."

And then there was Adam Lambert, 27, channeling Elvis Presley via Alice Cooper. Sorry, but he's starting to creep me out big time with the sneer and the heavy foundation and the fingerless black leather gloves. And he had poor Randy Travis scratching his head with the black nail polish and a bizarre sitar/Egyptian/crypt-inspired version of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." If Adam was trying to do what Season 7 winner David Cook did with Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," he should be tossed into a ring of fire. Kara thought it was a little strange, and Randy said it was like Nine Inch Nails doing country." Simon, of course, called it "absolute, indulgent rubbish."

My least favorites? Unfortunately, it was Scott MacIntyre, 23, performing another Martina hit, "Wild Angels," which sounded exactly like last week's song, which I can't remember. Paula worried that his piano was becoming a crutch and that he might need to be closer to the fans. "I can move the piano closer," quipped Scott.

My other concern was Alexis Grace, 21, who has always been a popular contestant. She tackled Dolly Parton's "Jolene." The thing is, Alexis looks like a younger version of Dolly (minus the bustline), but there wasn't a lot of her own twist on the song. It just sounded like Dolly singing it back in the '70s. The ill-fitting dress didn't help much, either. If she stays, she promises to bring back "the dirty."

Neither I nor Simon could get past Danny Gokey's white Michelin Man coat. Danny, 28, also wrestled a monster with Carrie Underwood's "Jesus, Take the Wheel." Randy thought it was pitchy in spots. Kara and Simon disagreed on Danny starting the song slow and building. But Simon had the best line: "It's not about the vocals, it's what you're wearing. It looks like you're going on a polar expedition, and it's 80 degrees outside!"

It was redemption week for "Snoop" Anoop Desai, 22 (pictured). Maybe it's because his UNC Tar Heels got a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but Anoop - the balladeer - had me clutching a hanky with his rendition of the great Willie Nelson classic, "Always On My Mind." "Anoop is back everybody!" shouted Paula. But it was Simon, of course, who found himself apologizing to Anoop for saying last week that he didn't belong in the Top 13. "You've managed to go from a zero to a hero. And you deserve to be on the show."

OK, so I'm guessing most viewers didn't know how sick Megan Joy, 23, has been this week. She's been battling the flu and made at least two trips to the hospital. But last night, I actually appreciated her raspy, rocky, bluesy version of Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight." Kara said it was the perfect song and the perfect look. Will there be pity votes? Most definitely. But I think Megan should stay. The competition needs her.

Last, Matt Giraud, 23, proved he deserved to get the Wild Card nod from the judges. He also performed a Carrie U. song, "So Small." Simon said his performance was similar to Danny's. "In fact, you outsang him," he said. "You remind me of Michael Buble. Terrific!"

Predictions for tonight's live results show (9 p.m. FOX40)? has Michael near the bottom, and still is trying to keep Megan safe. Talent could be a problem for Michael becauase likeability won't get you into the Top 10. And remember: Only the 10 get to go on this summer's "Idol" tour.

Oh, and guest performers you won't want to miss tonight include Carrie Underwood, Randy Travis and Brad Paisley. It's must-see results!

March 17, 2009
Garbeau's granted new life

Garbeau's Dinner Theatre in Rancho Cordova has a new lease on life.

The landmark theater raised the $8,000 over the weekend that it needed to avoid closure, reports Mark Ferreira, Garbeau's CEO.

Not only was the monetary goal met, but Ferreira says Washington-based landlord Andy Lakha has relented on certain terms and will discuss renegotiating the lease on Wednesday with the company.

"The community response to our story was overwhelming," Ferreira says. He added the increased media coverage was a significant factor in keeping Garbeau's open.

"The landlord was not expecting us to be as big a story as we were -- neither were we for that matter," Ferreira says.

Theaters throughout the region also rallied behind Garbeau's efforts to stay open. "The fact that all the other theaters said they would support us by honoring our season passes was huge. It really helped us sell an enormous amount of the passes," he says.

Ferriera also instituted a Thursday night karaoke party as a fund-raising event. He now plans to continue this as a regular weekly feature.

"On the one hand we raised money. On the other hand, the amount of money we had to raise came down significantly," Ferreira says. "The conditions changed. Primarily finding someone to sign on for five years as a personal guarantee on our lease and having a future rent deposit were no longer required."

Ferreira says Lakha could see the company has positive momentum and, more importantly, a significant amount of cash was put toward the back rent. Moving forward, Ferreira wants to create more community partnerships for midweek usage of the venue and also expects to partner with a Folsom group that wants to use Garbeau's as a live music venue.

"We're looking more and more at either renting out the space or finding groups we can team up with for some type of production which helps everybody."

March 17, 2009
Boutique to change owners

Local business owner Michael Afshar e-mailed to say that he's selling his midtown boutique, DV8.

"As of today, I am holding a liquidation sale," he says. "Every item in the store is 50 percent off!" That includes jeans, jackets, T-shirts, dresses, etc.

"I would like to thank you (customers and friends) for all your support for the past five years," Michael says. And, he hopes shoppers will get on board to support the new owners. The boutique will remain in the same location - 1050 20th St., Suite 170.

March 17, 2009
California Museum is throwing a birthday bash for Barbie

It's a Barbie world, and on March 28, the California Museum will host a 50th birthday party for the iconic glamour doll.

Local collectors are bringing in some 200 Barbies of all vintage and attire to join the museum's own Barbie collection for the day.

The staff is planning some fun arts-and-crafts projects for attendees.

And, Robin Gerber, author of "Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her," will be on hand to talk about Barbie and the doll's creator, Ruth Handler. Gerber also will sign copies of the book, for sale in the museum's store.

Barbie's birthday party is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Gerber's talk is at 11 a.m.

The California Museum of History, Women & the Arts is at 1020 O St. For more info: (916) 653-7524;

Regular museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8.50 general, $7 students and seniors with I.D., and $6 for ages 6-13.

- Dixie Reid

March 16, 2009
Tomorrow: St. Pat's Day burlesque!

Tomorrow night, the fearless, freewheeling ladies of the Sac City Rollers will be trading in their knee pads and roller skates for fishnets and stilettos. But their unmistakable derby girl sass--that will remain.

Sacramento's fiercest roller derby vixens are celebrating St. Patrick's Day with their Second Annual Burlesque Fundraiser, an evening of burlesque dancing, featuring the shimmying shoulders and gorgeous gams of the Sac City Rollers themselves.

I attended last year's event, which was packed with pinup enthusiasts, skating queens and their wide-eyed male (and female) admirers. The men weren't the only ones who were entranced by the extremely colorful performances, one of which featured a derby dame in a silk robe professing her love to a stuffed animal.

No, they may not burlesque pros (they specialize in kicking ass and taking names), but the ladies managed to bring enough enthusiasm, humor and good-old shock value to the stage that their audience was in a constant state of hootin' & hollerin' uproar. Come feast your eyes tomorrow night at The Fire Escape Bar and Grill (7431 Madison Ave., Citrus Heights). Doors open at 7:30, show starts at 8:30. Admission is $10 at the door.

For more information, check out the Sac City Rollers Web site.

For more St. Patrick's Day events, check out this week's "Live This City" column.

March 16, 2009
Energizer seeking entries

The battery folks are looking for dedicated, unstoppable Americans -- community-minded people who personify a never-say-die attitude -- for the 2009 Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame.

Since 2006, the hall of fame has showcased the efforts of ordinary Americans who overcome hardships with great energy and show perseverence in the face of life's challenges. Last year's winner, a Michigan man named Ron Bachman, lost both legs as a child but became a motivational speaker to inspire other people and founded a nonprofit that helps children meet the challenges in their lives.

Each year's winner receives a $10,000 award plus a $5,000 donation to be directed toward the charity of his or her choice.

The 2009 nominations continue online through March 31. After judges select 100 semifinalists from across the country, online voters will be able to choose from among 10 finalists.

For more information, go to

March 16, 2009
Sacramento Single: Sasha & the Shamrocks "Happy Anywhere"


Sasha Soukup wanted to get away from it all. So, she and husband Chris Streng packed up their San Francisco home and moved to Grass Valley.

Soukup found it quiet and peaceful and, well, kind of boring.

"We lived by ourselves at the end of a dirt road and I got really tired of myself," Soukup says. "I needed some hobbies and I'd started to notice my own crappy patterns when it came to not making art."

And, so armed with a desire to get something done, she joined a local artists' group and started exploring music. Soukup had sang and played before - but never really beyond her bedroom.

"I had terrible stage fright," she says.

But, as she started to feel at ease with her art, Soukup decided it was time to take it public - with a little help from her husband and a set of makeshift drums.

"We didn't have drums at first, he was just playing on pans and a bucket."

That stopgap approach fits the music.

Anchored by Soukup's raw, punk voice, the Shamrocks, who recently added bass player Taylor cook, make music inspired by everything from '50s pop vocals, and doo wop to calypso, punk and pop.

"I've been listening to a lot of music from the San Francisco psychedelic music scene lately - a lot of Jefferson Airplane," she says.

"We've been doing a cover of White Rabbit' - I love the way Grace Slick sings, it's so operatic and trippy."

Sasha & the Shamrocks

Song: "Happy Anywhere"
Style: Lo-fi experimental pop with a nostalgic flair
Behind the song: The musical structure came first.
"It's just a fun little thing, the chord is a happy little thing."
The lyrical content follows a parallel to Soukup's life.
"The words are all about different places around the world - places my close friends have been," Soukup says. "There's someone who spent time on a fishing boat in Alaska, another friend lives in Dubai.
"It's just about making that choice to move out of our comfort zone, when you get that bug to change something up geographically."

Listen to "Happy Anywhere" here;

See them: Saturday at the Center for the Performing Arts (314 W. Main St, Grass Valley). Uni & her Ukulele and Tippy Canoe also perform. The 8 p.m. is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For more information: and (530) 274-8384.

On the Web:

March 13, 2009
Hope of saving Garbeau's

Garbeau's Dinner Theatre in Rancho Cordova, which is in danger of closing, may still have some life. CEO Mark Ferreira says even though the company will fall short of the $100,000 goal it had for March 16 -- there is hope. Strong community support has helped convince landlord Andy Lakha to renegotiate certain terms.

Lakha is dropping the requirement for Garbeau's to either create an untouchable escrow account with future rent or find an investor to personally guarantee the remainder of their five-year loan. Ferreira still needs $8,000, but he believes a strong showing this weekend will give Garbeau's enough capital to move forward.

The musical "I Love You Because" plays at 8 p.m. today and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $15.50 - $23.50.
For information go to or call Garbeau's box office at (916) 985-6361.

March 13, 2009
OSF Announces 2010 Season

Oregon Shakespeare Festival artistic director Bill Rauch announced today the festival's 2010 season. The 75th anniversary season will include four plays by Shakespeare in the 11-play season, anchored by Rauch's production of "Hamlet."

There will also be two world premieres. The first, "American Night" by Culture Clash, will be the first play produced in OSF's new History Cycle. The second world premiere will be an adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's classic film "Throne of Blood," itself an adaptation of "Macbeth."


Angus Bowmer Theatre

Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Feb. 26 - Oct. 24
Director: Bill Rauch

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams
Feb. 27 - July 4
Director: Christopher Liam Moore

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Feb. 27 - Oct. 24
Director: Libby Appel

She Loves Me
April 17 - Oct. 23
Music by Jerry Bock; lyrics by Sheldon Harnick; book by Joe Masteroff
Director: Rebecca Bayla Taichman

Throne of Blood, world premiere
July 24 - Oct. 23
Adapted by Ping Chong from the film by Akira Kurosawa
Director: Ping Chong

New Theatre
Well by Lisa Kron
Feb. 28 - June 18
Director: James Edmondson

Ruined by Lynn Nottage
March 27 - Oct. 24
Director: TBA

American Night by Culture Clash, world premiere
July 3 - Oct. 24 (first preview 6/29)
Director: Jo Bonney

Elizabethan Stage/Allen Pavilion

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
June 11 - Oct. 8
Director: TBA

Henry IV, Part One by William Shakespeare
June 12 - Oct. 9
Director: Penny Metropulos

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
June 13 - Oct. 10
Director: Bill Rauch

March 13, 2009
UC Davis Students Try to Ride Paper Planes to Austria

Students at UC Davis competed in a paper airplane flying contest Thursday, vying to be selected for an international competition in Salzburg, Austria in April.

The winner in two of three categories was sophomore Ryan Naccarato, a pre-med student. All planes had to be made with a single uncut sheet of paper.

:"I have a history in model aviation," Naccarato said Friday, "so I know a lot about aerodynamics on a small scale."

Naccarato practiced with printer paper, then was surprised at the different paper stock used for the competition. An experienced origami practitioner, he experimented for an hour while judges checked out others of the scores of competitors.

Naccarato's score of 285 in the aerobatics category was near the perfect 300, and almost 100 points higher than the 2nd place competitor. He also won the distance competition with a plane that went 94 feet.

After a series of similar competitions sponsored by Red Bull, the contestants earning the five highest scores in each category will be send to Austria to compete against European paper aviators.

"To go to Austria, that would be fantastic," Naccarato said.

The top three UC Davis competitors in each category were:

Farthest Distance:
Ryan Naccarato - 94 ft
Nick Chi - 90 ft. 4 in.
Kyle Oyama - 88 ft. 6 in.

Longest Flight:
Ronnie Lau - 4.78
Rocky Bair - 4.56
Patrick Elahmadie - 4.50

Ryan Naccarato - 285
Derick Felsman - 190
Amir Nojoumi - 175

March 13, 2009
Wheel of Fortune Contestant Search

The producers of the ever-popular game show Wheel of Fortune are bringing their mobile contestant search RV, the Wheelmobile, to Stockton in April. (Wait. Aren't all RV's mobile wheels?)

Your chance to qualify for the televised version of the show will take place at the Stockton Ports stadium, 2 to 6 p.m. April 4 and 5.

For more information on the event, check out

To find directions and information on the Ports ballpark, see

March 13, 2009
Jay Leno Picks (and Picks on) Roseville Woman

Caitlin Arzaga was at Universal Studios with her boyfriend when they spotted Jay Leno.

Leno's producers spotted them, and approached them to appear on Leno's Jay Walk segment, where he ambushes people with simple questions they can't seem to answer.

Arzaga, a CSU Chico grad originally from Roseville, not only appeared on the show in January but was picked for the Battle of the Jay Walk All-Stars this week.

The Battle is kind of an anti-Jeopardy, with simple questions that contestants, including Arzaga, had a hard time answering. Who invented the telephone? Who was president after Kennedy?

"If you watch the segment, you know I don't know much about history," Arzaga said, calling on the phone from Los Angeles where she works as an intern for Ellen DeGeneres' show. In fact, two minutes after being given the name of Kennedy's successor, she couldn't remember it.

"I was really embarrassed when I watched it," she said. Even so, "it was a lot of fun."

Here's the first segment of the two-night "Battle:"

And here's Arzaga's second night appearance:

March 13, 2009
Mondavi weekend shows rescheduled or canceled

This weekend's slate of performances at the Mondavi Center's Jackson Hall will be rescheduled or canceled.

The repair of a malfunctioning acoustic canopy that hovers over the Jackson Hall stage is the reason for the rescheduling, said Camille Spaccavento, marketing director of the Mondavi Center.

The affected shows include:

-Tonight's 8 p.m. show of Grupo Corpo
-Tomorrow's 8 p.m. show of the Academy of Ancient Music
-Sunday's 3 p.m. show of the Vienna Boys Choir

This evening's performance by the dance group Grupo Corpo, will likely be rescheduled, but the new date will not be announced until next week said Spaccavento.

Tomorrow's performance of the Academy of Ancient Music has been rescheduled to Tues. March 17 at 8 p.m. at Jackson Hall. The pre-performance lecture will begin at 7 p.m.

Sunday's Vienna Boys Choir performance has been canceled.

Patrons should hold on to their tickets and parking pass so that they can be used for the rescheduled performance.

To date, the canopy problem has already forced the rescheduling of three concerts to other campus venues

The canopy, part of the shell that helps create Jackson Hall's widely praised acoustics, became stuck in the down position last week, after the stage crew had lowered the canopy to prepare it for a March 8 concert.

Information: (530) 754-2787

March 13, 2009
Another Opera company bites the dust...


The dire economic times for opera companies has taken its latest victim - the 58-year-old Baltimore Opera.

That company recently announced that it was liquidating its assets under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This comes only three months after the company desperately tried to stay viable under a Chapter 11 reorganization that forced the canceling of its remaining 2008-09 season.

The implosion of the Baltimore Opera is the latest development in a dark time in the opera world. In the last six months, companies like Opera Pacific and the Connecticut Opera have closed doors, and many others have cancelled seasons.

The pressure of declining endowments, shrinking donations, the vanishing of corporate entities that gave to opera, and soft ticket sales are putting immense pressure on opera companies.

Many companies, like the Metropolitan Opera, have been forced to take draconian steps to stay viable. At the Met, those measures include scaling down its 2009-10 season, cutting staff, and using its two esteemed lobby paintings by Marc Chagall as collateral to raise a loan.

March 13, 2009
World music auditions announced

As evidence that Sacramento belongs to the global village, the organizers of the second annual Sacramento World Music & Dance Festival invite performers to apply to audition for this year's event, which is scheduled for Sept. 26 and 27.

The 2008 event, which took place at Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium, showcased the arts from Scotland to the Philippines, from Egypt and Ireland to Mexico and Peru.

Auditions for this year's festival are scheduled for May 16 and 17 on the California State University, Sacramento campus. To apply, performers must submit their applications by May 1. There is a $15 application fee.

For more information, go to or call (916) 808-8983.

March 13, 2009
Sacramento Zoo's rummage sale is April 4

When the going gets tough, the smart shopper hits the Sacramento Zoo's Recycle Rummage Sale.
It's coming up April 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The racks will be stocked with housewares, jewelry, books, CDs, videos, toys, artwork and collectibles, all at good prices.

The sale benefits the zoo's Conservation Committee, which supports wildlife education and conservation efforts worldwide, and its Green Team, which purchases carbon offsets for air travel and zoo vehicles.

Sacramento Zoo, near the intersection of Sutterville Road and Land Park Drive, is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Admission is $9 general, $6.50 for ages 3-12.

For more info call (916) 808-5888 or visit

- Dixie Reid
March 13, 2009
Inside Edition Visits Sacramento's Tent City


Inside Edition, the television news magazine, sent a correspondent to spend a day and night in Sacramento's homeless tent city and will air a report on the experience tonight on KXTV Channel 10.

The report is close on the heels of a visit by producers for the Oprah Winfrey show, which aired a report on homelessness last month and included a visit to the tent city.

"Eating and sleeping are difficult in the freezing cold on the riverbank alongside a busy bridge," Inside Edition reported in a press release about the show. "About every half hour or so a train comes by and shakes the ground."

The show, with correspondent Jim Moret (in photo), is slated to air at 7:30 p.m.

March 12, 2009
'American Idol': The first two to go


Sometimes nice contestants finish last or, in the case of "American Idol,", are the first to go.

On last night's live results show Jasmine Murray, 17 (pictured), and Jorge Nunez, 21, were the first two of the Top 13 to be eliminated based on viewers' record-setting 33 million votes. Even the new judges' twist couldn't save the two. I like the new twist: The four judges get an opportunity to save a contestant from being eliminated - until the final five finalists compete. It's a one-time-only deal, and everyone has to agree to the save. No singers will get the ax that week, but then two will go the following week.

"The whole point of this competition is America votes for who they want to save," explained Simon Cowell. "If someone happens to be at the bottom, and we think they deserve another chance, we're going to give them another chance."

Well, that didn't happen last night. Neither Jasmine nor Jorge got a break from the judges. But they both were gracious today when they spoke to "Idol" reporters. Here's what they had to say about their experiences moving on.

Jorge Nunez

Q: The world has plenty of good lawyers living good lives, and there are musicians out of work. As far as your education, what are your plans?
A: The show has been so amazing, so I'm going to do both! I'll finish college. But music is my priority, and I'll pursue it. I've gotten great coverage in Puerto Rico.

Q: What did you gain from your experience, and what was the biggest hurdle?
A: Being a singer is about staying true to yourself, no matter what others think. Picking songs was the most challenging aspect for me because it's not the type of music I'm used to listening to, even though Puerto Rico has a musical influence in the U.S. However, we have our own culture. I listen to music in Spanish.

Q: What was your family's reaction, and are you looking forward to going home?
A: I've received so many text messages! None of them said 'I'm sorry.' They said you've got a great voice and you're going to be great. They were happy I was on the show. I've been here (Hollywood) for a month or so, and I can't wait to go home and eat some Puerto Rican food.

Q: Do you guys (the contestants) talk about the judges' twist? Do you think it's a good idea?
A: We did. But we didn't know. It just happened. I kind of imagined it would be something like that because of all the talent on the show. I think it's a really good thing. Contestants like Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson didn't win, and people think they should have gone farther.

Q: Next week's theme is country week. Did you think about what you might have performed?
A: That's definitely intimidating for me! I'm sure I would have been the first Puerto Rican to sing country music. I had a few songs picked: 'I Know You Won't' by Carrie Underwood or 'Anyway' by Martina McBride because they're both ballads.

Jasmine Murray

Q: You're still a teen, and you received so much support from your home state of Mississipi. Will you return soon?
A: It's been unbelievable. 'Idol' really gets you out there. The students at my (high) school really supported me. When I get back, I'll be happy to see them and catch up on what's going on. I've got to finish school - I'm just a junior! And I'm definitely going to college, and I want to have a career in music.

Q: Jorge was asked about the changes in the show. What do you think?
A: We had no idea about the "save." I think it's a good idea. There's been the Top 36, the wild card and the Top 13. The judges are giving more people a chance to reach their dreams. They put us here in the first place, but America gets to decide. I think it's a good idea to increase the numbers. I was happy to be back on the stage with the lights and audience.

Q: The new "Idol" mansion is pretty amazing. What will you miss the most, and how did your mom fit in?
A: I'll probably miss the practice room. It's a big area with wonderful acoustics and a keyboard. I used to go down there and practice all the time. My mom was always encouraging me. It was great to have her there, and the other contestants got along with her.

Q: What's been the most rewarding aspect of the "Idol" experience for you?
A: Just being able to perform. That's what the competition is all about anyway - showing fans what you can do.

Q: What were you considering for next week's country music theme?
A: I was considering LeAnn Rimes or Carrie Underwood, and I was really looking forward to it. I'm excited to see what the others will do.

The 11 finalists remaining will compete for a vaunted place in the Top 10. Remember, unless they change the rules, these will be the finalists selected for the sell-out "American Idol" tour. Show times: 8 p.m Tuesday and 9 p.m. Wednesday on FOX40.

March 12, 2009
Art in Roseville, about Roseville and by Rosevillagers

The Blue Line Gallery has issued an artists call for works celebrating Roseville for the city's centennial this year.

The resulting exhibit will be called -- what else -- Celebrating Roseville, and will open May 16.

Historic pieces dating back to the city's 1909 founding are welcome, as are modern works, said Beth Rohlfes, curator for the show. Everett Jensen, an artist well-known in Placer County, will serve as juror for the show, selecting about 50 pieces.

The deadline for entering works is April 13. Up to five entries per artist are permitted, with a $20 fee for the first work and additional, lesser, fees for additional entries. Artists need not be Roseville residents.

Complete details are available online at

March 11, 2009
Schedule Shuffle at Capital Public Radio

Capital Public Radio's popular "Insight" show will move to a new 10 a.m. time slot March 23.

Currently airing at 2 p.m, the show hosted by Jeffrey Callison will move to the morning to make room for the addition of "BBC Newshour". That show will air live at 1 p.m., said Station Manger Carl Watanabe, while "The World" will move from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

The changes were needed because NPR's "Day 2 Day" will cease production, Watanabe said.

The only change that may be seen in "Insight" is a quicker pace, characteristic of morning programming, he said.

For a current programming schedule, see

March 11, 2009
Fashion school contest

OK, so it's not exactly a reality show like "Top Design," and Todd Oldham is nowhere in sight. But the winners of the "Fashion Forward 2009" design competition, sponsored by the International Academy of Design & Technology, will receive a range of scholarships to the academy's 10 campuses.

High school seniors who are interested in fashion design have until March 25 to submit their entries to the competition, which is co-sponsored by Teen Vogue magazine. Participants are required to submit sketches of their designs, including fabric selection. The finalists must create a finished garment and provide documentation of their design process.

A full scholarship, valued at more than $50,000, will be awarded to the national winner, with $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to 10 local winners.

The Sacramento campus of the academy, founded two years ago, is located at 2450 Del Paso Rd. Other campus sites of the 25-year-old academy include Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Antonio and Seattle.

For more information, go to

March 11, 2009
'American Idol': Top 13 draw mixed reviews


First things first: Who has just crawled out from under a rock and discovered there are FOUR judges named Randy, Kara, Paula and Simon and a host named Ryan Seacrest on "American Idol?"

Last night's intro was just plain goofy. But enough about that. The Top 13 finally get to the big girls/big boys stage. What was also noticeable is that the "Idol" team of stylists/makeup artists/hair folks is back in action and helping the contestants with their "looks."

Alas - even with new clothes and new 'dos - they got stuck singing Michael Jackson songs. Some songs were obvious choices; others stumped me.

For example, Scott MacIntyre finally got to play the baby grand and chose "Keep the Faith." Simon Cowell said, "I hated the song. Nobody knows it!" Then there was "The Sneak," Kris Allen, who wrestled his guitar to the ground on "Do You Remember the Time?" Regardless of the judges' comments, Kris misled "Idol" reporters when he made it through a couple of weeks ago. He never mentioned being married, only that he had been with the same person for some time. Guess he hoped no one (read: female votes) would be watching the little family prologue, where his wife was introduced. Simon previously told him the "chicks will dig you." Last night, he told Kris he wasn't sure he should have brought the little woman out so early. She was in the audience and, if looks could kill, we'd be down to three judges!

I loved Danny Gokey's "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)," especially when he let Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi jump in. Lil Rounds brought an R&B touch to "The Way You Make Me Feel," which Randy Jackson appreciated. And Michael Sarver sang "You Are Not Alone," which was just OK for me. Simon said he wasn't the best singer in the competition but he made up for that with passion and a big heart.

Teen Jasmine Murray offered a Mariah Carey/Michael Jackson mix of "I'll Be There." She's starting to look more and more like a deer in the headlights. And then you get 16-year-old Allison Iraheta, who blew the paint off the wall with "Give In to Me," another song I couldn't recall. Simon called Matt (aka Justin Timberlake wannabe) Giraud's "Human Nature" a "meat-and-potatoes performance."

The worst of the bunch? Definitely Anoop Desai, whose tie and flack jacket weren't in keeping with "Beat It." Neither was his singing. Kara said she "felt disconnected." Simon lowered the boom: "It was horrible, lightweight and you looked stupid." AHHH!

Somewhere in the middle were Jorge Nunez, who got dinged for attempting "Never Can Say Goodbye." Even Paula admitted it was the wrong song choice. And what the heck was up with Megan Joy (pictured), who must still be going by "Corkrey," even though she said last week she was giving up her married name. Whatever. "Rockin' Robin" was a ridiculous song choice, and her "Caw! caw!" at the end was enough to get her tapped as the contestant to keep at And I fear the long lapse between performances hurt fan fave Alexis Grace. She's taking the "dirty yourself up a bit" comment from the judges waaaay too seriously. She sang "Dirty Diana" (never heard it) dressed in an odd mix of shorts and black stockings. Simon told her, "It was not as good as you thought it was."

So that leaves rocker Adam Lambert (pictured). His version of "Black and White" was spot on. Randy said he was the most current competitor and the "most right now!" Kara said he hit notes she didn't know existed. Simon said it was totally different. And Paula just frothed at the mouth.

Predictions? Two contestants will go, and I'm thinking there's trouble looming for Anoop and Megan. The live results show is at 9 tonight on FOX40. And Ryan warned they're changing the theme tonight - and it involves the judges. Please, no more intros!

March 10, 2009
Classical music and gastronomica...


The curious pairing of classical music and wine returns once again to Northern California this summer.

Artists Renee Fleming, Sarah Chang, and Leif Ove Andsnes are but some of the performers that will grace the stages of one of the country's most unique summer music festivals - Napa Valley's Festival del Sole.

In this festival wine and food follows classical music, and all of it a stone's throw from Sacramento.

The festival just announced its fourth season which runs between July 17-25. The weeklong schedule includes world-class concerts, receptions, lunches and dinners, wine tastings, as well as art exhibitions.

Some of its concerts are free community concerts showcasing young talent on the rise.

This year's Festival opens July 18 at the Napa Valley Opera House featuring three young artists - violinist Sarah Chang, pianist Andrew von Oeyen, and 14-year old pianist Conrad Tao.

As is the habit at Festival del Sole, the concert is followed by an event at a winery - in this case, a twilight dinner on the terrace overlooking Napa Valley at Palmaz Vineyards, a new winery participant at the festival.

Soprano Renée Fleming makes her festival debut on July 23, in a recital at Castello di Amorosa winery. Other artists to appear include a rare appearance by Royal Opera House conductor Antonio Pappano, and cellist Nina Kotova.

Participating wineries and restaurants at the festival include Clos Pegase, The Carneros Inn, and Dominus Estate.

Tickets for concerts range from $35-$125. Discounts are available for students.
Information: (888) 337-6272 or

March 10, 2009
Summer opera immersion - Italian style


Are you a young singer with a wan for performing the works of Verdi and Puccini?

Then you might want to look into a full immersion 5-week summer program designed for singers 16-18 years old.

Offered by an organization called Italian Operatic Experience, and located in the medieval town of Piobbico, Italy, the program is tailored to students who are attending or just graduated high school and are looking to pursue studies in vocal music and/or Italian language.

The preparatory program prepares the young singer to "bridge-the-gap" from High School musician to the level expected at University and Conservatory music departments. Coursework includes classes in Italian language study, diction, musical, vocal, stage and dramatic coaching.

Information: (201) 773-0773 or

March 10, 2009
TV News with Union Views

Those who watch Channel 1000 News won't get the weather and they won't get sports, but the online newscast is betting it can get plenty of viewers by focusing on the concerns of the state employees' union SEIU Local 1000.

The webcast, which appears at as often as events warrant, was the brainchild of Naj Alikhan, who went to work for the union after being let go from his broadcast TV reporting job in 2007.

Channel 1000 has been on the union's Web site almost a year, anchored by Alikhan and providing updates to members of the largest state worker union about bargaining and state legislative and budget matters.

"It allows us to get out more information to members than newsletters and fliers," Alikhan said, in an email release.

Alikhan expects the webcasts will tally a million viewers by the end of the year.

March 9, 2009
La Raza Galeria Posada announces show

Three internationally renowned musicians -- Eduardo Peralta, Rafael Manriquez and Lichi Fuentes -- will showcase works from the Latin American new song movement during a March 21 performance at La Raza Galeria Posada in midtown Sacramento.

The new song movement, or "nueva cancion," combines traditional Latin American folk music with more politicized lyrics. While it began in South American in the 1950s and spread from there into Central America, the music was forced underground in the early 1970s by the Pinochet regime in Chile, which killed one of the genre's most popular artists, Victor Jara.

Peralta began playing protest songs in his native Chile during the Pinochet era. Manriquez and Fuentes are both Bay Area musicians.

Tickets to the event are $12, and seating is limited. La Raza Galeria Posada is located at 1022 22nd St. For more information, call (916) 446-5133.

March 9, 2009
Mondavi makes last minute changes to schedule...

A malfunctioning acoustic canopy in Jackson Hall has forced the Mondavi Center at UC Davis to make last-minute changes to its concert schedule.

The performance of Celtic bands Danú and Dervish, scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday, has been relocated to Freeborn Hall on the UC Davis campus. No action is required by audience members other than to come to the performance at Freeborn Hall with their tickets. Parking passes will be honored at the North parking structure. Patrons who desire information about Freeborn Hall can find it online at:

The student matinee with Danú, scheduled for 11 a.m. on Tuesday, has been canceled. All schools and parents who planned to bring students are being notified. There is not a suitable venue available to which this arts education performance could be relocated.

The following events have also been changed:

The Forum@MC scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Mondavi Center's Studio Theatre has been canceled due to the relocation of the Danú and Dervish concert that follows it. Mondavi Center staff is notifying all those who made reservations for this free event.

The performance by the University Concert Band scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, at 7 p.m. in Jackson Hall has been relocated to the Main Theatre in Wright Hall on the UC Davis Campus. UC Davis Department of Music staff is contacting all ticketholders for this event. No action is required by audience members other than to come to the performance at the Main Theatre with their tickets.

Anyone with questions should contact the Mondavi Center Ticket Office at 530-754-2787.

The malfunctioning equipment at Jackson Hall is an acoustic canopy that is part of the shell that helps create the widely praised acoustics of the Mondavi Center's main performance hall. Mondavi Center officials are planning for the repairs to the acoustical canopy to be complete in time for performances this coming weekend, March 13-15, to take place as scheduled in Jackson Hall. For more information, please contact the Mondavi Center Ticket Office at 530-754-2787.

March 9, 2009
Bang the Drum Thoroughly

Local drummer Russ Prager started what he hopes to be a Guinness Record stretch of drumming at Guitar Center Monday.

He began at noon and plans to beat the skins - or whatever they make drum heads out of these days - continuously until Saturday, a five-day stretch. If he succeeds, he will again hold a record he claimed for six months in 2003.

He will be using two drum kits at the center, one of which will allow him to do his rolls, paradiddles, rim shots and cymbal crashes in a standing position.

The drumming marathon is not only a personal challenge. It is also a fundraising event for Easter Seals.

To see Prager beat it, go to Guitar Center at 2120 Alta Arden Expressway or watch live streaming video at

Donations can be made online with a credit card or mailed to Easter Seals, 3205 Hurley Way, Sacramento 95864.

March 9, 2009
Sutter Middle School artists

At their big Second Saturday reception this weekend at Archival Framing's gallery, the artists will sip sparkling cider.

"So they'll feel all grown up," says D. Oldham Neath, Archival's owner.

They're young, but they're creative. The exhibit features the works of 27 seventh- and eighth-graders at Sacramento's Sutter Middle School. The students belong to the school's art club, which meets every Wednesday after school.

"These are not art class students," says Neath. "None of this work was done to get a grade or because they had to."

The exhibit was judged by three local artists -- Janet Aly, Andrew Taggert and Cathy Rowe -- with three jury prizes and a best of show scheduled to be announced at the Second Saturday celebration, which takes place from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the gallery, 1703 Del Paso Blvd.

For more information, call the gallery at (916) 923-6204.

March 9, 2009
Sac State announces big Battle of the Bands

California State University, Sacramento, will be alive with the sound of music May 4, when it hosts a rocking, rollicking Battle of the Bands.

Here's the rub: at least one member of each band must be enrolled at Sac State and must perform in the competition.

March 16 is the entry deadline.

The contest, limited to 10 bands, is sponsored by University Union UNIQUE Programs, and American Marketing Association.

Applications are at

Prizes include a $500 Guitar Center gift certificate and a chance to perform during UNIQUE's Wednesday Nooner series.

For more info: (916) 278-3928,

- Dixie Reid

March 9, 2009
Sacramento Single: Chelsea Wolfe's "Underwater"


Chelsea Wolfe was a good girl. The Sacramento singer-songwriter still is actually.

"I don't think I've ever been a rebel - I've always considered myself a good person," Wolfe says. "I believe in honesty and kindness and integrity and kindness.


"I have a dark side that I keep to myself - I only show it through my music. The rest of the time I'm very happy-go-lucky."

Certainly, with its ethereal dirge of guitars, keyboard and strings floating beneath a mournful voice, Wolfe's music is anything but cheerful. Still, its roots have somewhat happier origins.

The 20something Wolfe's been making music since she was nine and she and her sisters crafted "gothic hip-hop" songs in her country musician dad's home studio.

"They were hilarious but some of the songs were kind of awesome considering we were so young," she says.

Now, she adds, it seems as if she's "been writing songs forever."

It took her years to get them out of the house. Wolfe didn't start performing live until 2005, a year after she returned home from Capetown, South Africa where she'd been attending bible school and working with children.

Today, Wolfe says, her Christian faith is still part of her music.

"There are a lot of themes that relate to spirituality," she says. "It inspires the things I write."

Wolfe is currently at work on a new album. It will be, she says, "grittier" than her first CD, 2006's "Mistakes in Parting."

"I'm working with a friend (Sacramento musician) Scott McChane but it's mostly self-produced," she says. "I'm using some of the original demo tracks for the songs so rather than having everything sound so sparkling clean, it has a much more personal sound."

Chelsea Wolfe

Song: "Underwater"

Style: Ghostly folk-pop

Behind the song
: Wolfe's new album follows a delicate thread of self-doubt.

"It's about feeling you're going crazy, like you're lost in your head, attempting to fit into a normal world," Wolfe says. "This song is the first track and it sets the mood. I wanted it to be droning and spacey and moody."

"Underwater"'s narrative draws on the story of the writer Virginia Woolf's suicide by drowning.

"I wanted to explore her situation - what drove her to walk into a river with stones in her pocket," Wolfe says.

"I wanted it to sound like what it felt like when she went underwater."

See her: 7 p.m Saturday, March 14 at the Blackwater Cafe (912 North Yosemite, Stockton).

For more information:

Listen to "Underwater" here:

March 6, 2009
`Avenue Q' has a Yuba City woman's touch

There's a Northern California connection to the hit Broadway musical "Avenue Q," coming to Sacramento's Community Center Theater on Wednesday.

Set designer Anna Louizos is a 1975 graduate of Yuba City High School.

The onetime actress is among a small number of female set designers working on the Great White Way. And she's talented, having earned Tony Award nominations for "In the Heights," in 2008, and "High Fidelity," in 2007.

Louizos also did scenic designs for "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," "To Be Or Not To Be," "Curtains," "Steel Magnolias" and "Uncle Vanya."

Playbill described her "Avenue Q" sets as "battered yet whimsical" and spoke of the "weathered facades of outer-borough dwellings that sprout colorful interiors worthy of pop-up children's books."

"Avenue Q," part of the Broadway Sacramento series, runs through March 22 at the Community Center Theater, 1301 L St. Tickets are $16.50-$61.50. The show is recommended for age 16 and older.

For more info: (916) 557-1999,

Here's a clip from the original Broadway production of "Avenue Q" as performed on the Tony Awards:

- Dixie Reid

March 6, 2009
'American Idol': Four who feel very lucky!


List turning the "American Idol" Top 12 into the Top 13 among the reality show's efforts to grow and retain its audience.

Hello, we're still watching!

Anyway, my guess is the four judges had it already in the works to send four contestants through in last night's wild card round instead of three. The greatest gift (in my humble opinion) is that knee-scraping Tatiana Del Toro was finally and once and for all booted off the show. That after singing "Saving All my Love" not once, not twice but three times during the competition.

"Why fix something if it's not broken," she whined to the judges.

"Rubbish!" quipped Simon Cowell. With that, she was gone.

"Idol" reporters had a chance to talk to the four wild cards who now complete the Top 13 (pictured). Here's a sample of what they had to say.

Jasmine Murray, 17, Starkville, Mo.

Q: You're a singer who likes songs with big finishes. Do you see that as a plus moving on?
A: Christina Aguilera is one of my favorite artists. And I thought "Reflection" was an appropriate song for me. It paid off last night. Looking ahead, it depends on the theme of the week and the song I pick - and certainly how America votes.

Q: Have you done a lot of public performances?
A: I've been involved with pageants for a while, so I've gotten used to being on stage. And I sang at the Miss America Pageant a couple of years ago. The "Idol" stage is different because you're being judged. But my experience makes me less nervous.

Q: Who out of the wild card contestants were you surprised didn't make it through?
A: They were all amazing. I don't know how the judges made their decision last night. Everyone was so talented. I'm happy for the ones who made. I know the ones who didn't have big futures ahead of them. I would be doing the same thing - keep singing.

Q: How do you balance school work and "Idol?"
A: I do the work from my school, which my teachers send. It's about three hours a day. Here it's a shorter day. I go to a school of the arts back home, and my school day is 7:45 in the morning until 5:15. That's OK because I think education is very important.

Anoop Desai, 22 Chapel Hill, N.C.

Q: You looked utterly shocked last night when you thought it was over. How did you feel during those 10 seconds before you got the good news?
A: It was the difference between having all your dreams dashed and having them made alive again. I'm just glad I'm still here. Afterward, Simon and the judges and producers apologized!

Q: Last night, you gave a shout out to "Eve." What was your relationship with Eve Carson, the student body president at the University of North Carolina who died a year ago?
A: Everyone on Carolina's campus knew Eve. When we graduated last May we all wore buttons with her name on them. I carry that button when I perform and during the results shows to remind me of her. It was difficult (the anniversary of her death). I've been thinking about it since I got back in the wild card. But I got to see the memorial at UNC streamed out here.

Q: Why did you decide to perform a song you already had sung, "My Prerogative?"
A: That song has become an anthem for me since Hollywood Week, so I thought it was appropriate. After all, it's my prerogative. The judges said I did it better this time, and it was great performing it in front of an audience.

Q: So it looks like you'll miss March Madness at Chapel Hill and this weekend's Duke/Carolina clash. Does that bum you out?
A: You have no idea. The last Carolina/Duke game I was watching in a hotel room with (contestant) Ricky Braddy, who's a Tar Heel fan. We were watching the game, and ESPN blacked it out! So I spent two hours pacing back and forth. I'll have to get creative this weekend and during the tournament and have someone keep me up to date.

Megan Joy, 23, Sandy, Utah

Q: Do you like having a fourth judge? And how will it impact your song choice? Do you play an instrument?
A: It's been pretty crazy, but it's exciting to have a fourth judge and her input. Kara (DioGuardi) is tough, but it's great to get that kind of feedback. If I was allowed to I would sing any song by Bjork, but it couldn't be too crazy or weird. And no on the instruments. I would love to learn to play the piano or guitar if anyone wants to teach me.

Q: What musical genre would you fear performing the most?
A: I'm a little unsure what I would do with country week. I don't listen to country music. But I'll tear it up!

Q: What do your tattoos mean?
A: It's a castle with a night sky above it. In the stained glass window, there's a king and queen - me and who knows. The prince is my son; the fairy godmother is my mom. I look at my life as a fairytale. There are other tattoos - two stars for me and my mom and my name "Joy" on my hip. The sleeve tattoo isn't finished yet.

Q: What name will you go by from now on?
A: Corkrey is my ex-husband's name, and I want to get past it. Megan Joy is what I'm going by even though Joy is my middle name.

Matt Giraud, 23, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Q: What do you think happened with your take on the Coldplay song ("Viva la Vida") in the first round?
A: I felt the judging was a little harsh, and I couldn't sleep that night. People thought I was going to do it well, and I let them down. I've moved on. The Jackson 5 song I did last night ("Who's Lovin' You?") is in my bones. I can sing this song. But I don't know why I didn't think of it the first time.

Q: So will you stick with R&B, or will you keep moving forward? Are there any mentors you want to work with?
A: I've heard some rumors about certain theme weeks in the works that I can pull off. I love gospel and soul and country. I want to play the piano and work the audience. As far as mentors, Billy Joel would be ridiculous. That would be a dream. Maybe Elton John or Alicia Keys. Someone once called me the white boy Alicia!

Q: What types of music were you playing back home, especially since you grew up near Detroit?
A: A lot of gospel. I played 'N Sync, and I got into jazz and Motown. And, when I about 19, I played an out-of-tune piano in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel in Ypsilanti (Michigan). I never got tips. I was just learning.

Q: What did you think of Simon dishing out fashion advice to you?
A: I trusted the ("Idol") wardrobe people with that outfit. They said go for it. Who takes fashion advice from him anyway?!

The first night of competition for the Top 13 is at 8 p.m. Tuesday on FOX40. Word is there will be a guest appearance by none other than Kanye West. If you're gonna start watching, now would be a good time!

March 6, 2009
A busy weekend ahead - starting today!

If the weather cooperates, there are plenty of shopping/browsing options if you're just eager to out of the house. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and check it out:

* Five Figs Couture: The Davis boutique is signing up customers for something called "Clothing Rx." Answer these questions: Do you have clothes in your closet you never wear and don't know why? Do you have a piece (or two) in your closet that needs a makeover? Do you want more value from your current investment in your wardrobe? Five Figs owner Pam Pacelli will join clothing pro Linda McGinley to help you put more value in your closet. Drop by the store between 5 and 7 p.m. today and sign up for a closet consult. You'll save $50 on a private, two-hour session with Pam and Linda. The store is at 231 E St., Suite 3 in Davis. Or call (530) 756-3500.

* Le Petit Paris: This quaint bistro/boutique in midtown is hosting an interesting event on Saturday called "L'etranger Parfait," or "Perfect Strangers." Here's how it works: Bring an unattached friend (or two!) to Le Petit Paris, order one of their fabulous espressos and see what happens. Throw in a pastry and no telling what fireworks will go off. The event is free, starting at 6 p.m., at 1221 19th St. Shopping is always an option, too.

* Serendipity Boutique: This fun boutique, which now has two locations, is hosting a spring trunk show today featuring lots of must-haves for the season, including the comfy Velvet and hip Free People clothing collections. Serendipity's two locations are 5362 H. St. in Sacramento and 1182 Roseville Parkway in the Fountains shopping center in Roseville.

March 5, 2009
This Singing Cowboy is armed ... with an accordion

Sourdough Slim, a yodeling comic cowboy, is coming to the Blue Goose Shed in Loomis March 21, and bringing his accordion, harmonica, ukulele and guitar.

His performance will benefit renovation and maintenance of the shed, one of the few remaining fruit packing sheds in Placer County, now used for community and cultural events.

Sourdough Slim, also known as Rick Crowder, has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center.

Tickers are $20 for the 7 p.m. performance at the shed, 3350 Taylor Road. For tickets or more information, call (916) 787-0878, or see

March 5, 2009
'American Idol': A chat with Lil, Scott and Jorge


The last three "American Idol" finalists selected by viewer votes were tired but eager to talk about making it to the Top 12 and, in no small part, were appreciative that they were picked by fans. They are Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre and Jorge Nunez. (pictured).

Not that the wild card winners from tonight won't get the same shot at the title, but will it feel different to be sent through by the judges rather than voted in by America?

Here's a sampling of what last night's winners had to say to "Idol" reporters.

Lil Rounds, 23, Memphis:

Q: What were your feelings going into last night's results show, and how did you feel about the performance and Simon Cowell's comments about it being a little "copycat"?
A: The whole day I was really nervous. But I had no regrets. I got positive feedback, but it was up to America. As far as Simon's comments, I don't look at the performance as a copycat. Mary J. Blige and I have our different ways of singing. (Judge) Kara (DioGuardi) said I remained Lil from the beginning. Now I'll give you something to look forward to every week.

Q: Song choice is such a big part of the competition. How did you choose "Be Without You?" And how will you continue to pick songs?
A: I have to go with songs I can relate to. Not so much the beat, but the meaning. The song reminds me of my husband, my children and family. You think about how close you are to them. I plan to continue to sing with feeling. What comes from the heart reaches the heart.

Q: Why did you decide to audition?
A: I had been seeing the show for a few years, but I was also pregnant some of that time. It really was a spur-of-the-moment thing. I looked on the Internet thinking the auditions were over. The closest location (to Memphis) was Kansas City. My husband and I just got up and went. I felt it was the right time.

Q: Are there any mentors you would love to work with?
A: Stevie Wonder. I would just love to see him out there. It would be great if he could give me a couple of pointers - if he wouldn't mind.

Q: You and Alexis Grace are both from Memphis. Do you share any musical traits? Are you buds?
A: Well, I've been singing mostly in my church. Memphis has all genres of music. I just kind of picked what I felt in my heart. I'm more R&B. Alexis and I already were getting to know each other. We just clicked right away.

Scott MacIntyre, 23, Scottsdale, Ariz.:

Q: Have the show's producers worked with you on how to deal with your tunnel vision? What about the choreography?
A: I'm so up to rising to the challenge. I've actually had some dance in my background. Some salsa. There are lots of camera changes in the group song. I just have to learn where my focus is by memorizing distances and angles. The producers can throw whatever they want at me. They've been great helping me and so have the other contestants. I'm good at keeping an awareness of my space. I'm not too worried about it as long as I don't fall off the stage!

Q:Will you have the same person helping you on stage?
A: Not necessarily. That was my brother (last night). My mother was here during Hollywood Week. I'm hoping to spread the love around between my sister, dad and brother.

Q: Were you surprised when Simon criticized the lyrics to "Mandolin Rain?"
A: I had an answer for him, but I didn't want to interrupt. The lyrics are great. The song talks about listening - listening to rain, tears roll, hearts break. They're very applicable to me. I thought it worked because it represents a small part of what I perform and write. Whatever the theme is coming up I'm always going to choose something that I can make work for me.

Q: The judges talked about how excited they are to see you playing the piano. Do you feel the same way?
A: That's the entire reason I'm here. I've let them (producers) know that I do what I do best from behind a piano. It's not a substitute for my vocal presentation, it's just another layer. Here's where the magical moments happen musically. Next week I can start showing America who I really am.

Q: You finally got Ryan (Seacrest) do get the high five right. How did you accomplish that after he biffed it during your audition?
A: That's happened to me my whole life! I'm the last person who would ever be offended. People are always waving or high fiving me. He grabbed my hand then, and I had to return the favor. He's an awesome guy.

Jorge Nunez, 21, Carolina, Puerto Rico:

Q: How far do you think you've come since Hollywood Week?
A: My first solo there was my best. That was John Secada's "Angel." Our group performance was a mess. It was horrible! Luckily, when I sang "Closer" for the third round the judges liked it and I made it through to the Top 36.

Q; How do you feel about all this talk about your accent and working with a diction coach? Were the judges' comments confusing?
A: What they wanted me to do was change it (accent) when I was singing. I understand. It's distracting. I wanted to listen to what they say. Now, I'm more comfortable on stage.

Q: Will you perform in Spanish?
A: I'm hoping to get to a part of the show where I can sing American songs that are popular translated. "Killing Me Softly" is an example. I think my voice sounds best in Spanish. I might integrate a few verses in Spanish. I'm just very proud to represent my country in this competition.

Q: What kinds of music do you want to sing on the show, and do you think your emotions will get the best of you?
A: I like to make beautiful music, like the Elton John song I sang. I'm a pop artist, but I'm always looking for a softer side. And no, I'm not always crying!

Q: What are some of the cultural differences you've noticed being in L.A.?
A: Puerto Ricans are innocent people. Sometimes too nice, too hospitable. I'm definitely not used to such a big city. And yes, it's cold here!

Tonight at 8 on FOX40, the wild card round will determine the final three contestants who will make up "Idol's" Top 12. Check back to 21Q tomorrow for a recap and interviews with the judges' choices!

March 5, 2009
Trick roper to perform

James Barrera spins stories, cracks a whip and twirls rope as a cowboy perfomer at schools around Northern California and the San Joaquin Valley.

Barrera will bring his unique blend of entertainment to a public venue in midtown March 28. He will be the program headliner and emcee for the Buena Vista Child Development Center open house. The entertainment runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Barrera weaves his entertaining cowboy tricks together with true tales of the Old West.

The center is located at 1412 20th Street in Sacramento. The performances will be free and open to the public.

March 5, 2009
That's a lot of laurels!

The Sacramento Poetry Center is publishing its first book soon. It's an anthology featuring the work of 65 (count 'em) poets laureate from around California.

They're not talking about 65 state poets. They mean 65 poets who have been picked to represent cities, towns and counties from around California.

To celebrate the publication of the book, the Poetry Center will pull in Sacramento's laureate Julia Connor and a handful of other past and present laureates for an April 6 reading at midtown's California Stage.

The readers will include poets from Sonoma, Lake and San Luis Obispo counties. April, in case you forgot, is National Poetry Month. Take an unemployed versifier to lunch.

The publication party event will be at 7:30 p.m. April 6 at California Stage, 2509 R St. For more info, call the Sacramento Poetry Center at (916) 979-9706.

March 5, 2009
American music makes for American stories...


What defines "American" music?

Is it something grand and pastoral? Or, perhaps, its something dark and intensely urban?

Maybe, it's a little of both.

At least that's the suggestion that one can glean from Sacramento Philharmonic conductor Michael Morgan's choice of works for the orchestra's "American Stories" concert.

That concert will be performed Friday evening at Sacramento's Guild Theater (also at 8 p.m. Saturday at Roseville's Magic Circle Theatre and 3 p.m. Sunday at Orangevale's Temple Or Rishon) as part of the Sacramento Philharmonic's smaller format "Signature Series" concerts.

The concert will begin with Dvorak's String Quartet No. 12 in F, also known as "American." Sacramento Philharmonic principal clarinetist Ginger Kroft Barnetson will perform Leonard Bernstein's Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, accompanied by Theresa Keene.

Also on the program are selections from African American composers Calvin Taylor and Margaret Bonds. The concert concludes with Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring".

What can be more "American" than that?

8 p.m., Friday
Guild Theater
2814 35th St., Sacramento

8 p.m., Saturday
Magic Ciecle Theatre
241 Vernon St., Roseville

3 p.m., Sunday
Temple Or Rishon
7755 Hazel Ave., Orangevale

Tickets: $15-$25
Information: (916) 732-9045 or

March 5, 2009
Rod Stewart to perform August 5 at Arco Arena


It feels like it's a lifetime away but mark your calendars: Rod Stewart will bring a new greatest hits tour to Sacramento, August 5 at Arco Arena.

Greatest hits? He has them.

Rod "The Mod" Stewart's career spans several decades and boasts countless hits including the seminal "Maggie May," "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" and "You're in My Heart."

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 14 through or by calling (800) 745-3000.

March 5, 2009
Hot husband contender

Redbook, the women's magazine, is at it again with its so-called "hot husbands contest," an annual event. And once again, a Sacramentan is one of the 25 finalists.

That would be Larry Luong, 32, a local attorney who was nominated by his wife, Jennifer.

When they met, 32-year-old Jennifer says to the magazine: "I was struck by how humble and down-to-earth Larry was. I knew he was the one when he showed his caring side, nursing me back to health during a serious illness that landed me in the ER, and being so hands-on with my baby niece."

Awww. And now they have a baby of their own, little Addison.

For more information on how to vote for Luong, go to

March 5, 2009
'American Idol': Wild card update

OK, so when I got to The Bee this morning, I found other "American Idol" viewers/colleagues who were a little confused - as was I - as to how the wild card would work tonight when the final three contestants are selected for the Top 12.

I called my "Idol" contact in L.A. and got the scoop: The eight previously eliminated contestants who the four judges put into the wild card will perform new songs on tonight's show (8 p.m. on FOX40). Immediately after they sing the judges will select the final three finalists from the group.

They include: Von Smith, Jasmine Murray, Ricky Braddy, Megan Corkrey, Tatiana
Del Toro, Matt Giraud, Jesse Langseth and Anoop Desai

Last night, voters sent through Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre and Jorge Nunez.

To be honest, I am a little stunned that Tatiana gets another shot. When she sang "I'm Saving All My Love" in round one the judges told her she was too reserved. "I'm not used to you being so demure," said Paula Abdul.

Well, there was nothing demure about her reaction to getting another shot last night: "Thank you so much! Thank you so much!" she howled, dropping to her knees before host Ryan Seacrest could get her over to the couch.

As it stands, there are three girls and six guys who have made it through. So odds are there will be more guys in the Top 12 than girls - no half and half.

Check back to 21Q later today for an interview with the three finalists from last night!

March 5, 2009
Tonight: People of the green world, join in

It's refreshing to meet other people who care about the environment. It's also refreshing to care about the environment with a beer in hand.

Tonight, you can do both. Join Sacramento Green Drinks at its monthly mixer, scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at midtown's Green Living Center, located at 1931 H Street.

Sacramento Green Drinks is an informal monthly event uniting people who work in the environmental field (and people who generally give a hoot about environmental issues). Each first Thursday of the month the group assembles for a session ("meeting" sounds too buttoned-up: green drinks is all about being low-key and low-emission!), in which greenies from across Sacramento sip, mingle and network with like-minded individuals.

Since its inception in June 2008, Sacramento Green Drinks has blossomed in popularity, drawing a lively mixture of people from NGOs, academia, government and business. New members are always welcome, too -- just show up and ask "Are you green?", and event organizers Sarah Piper and Richard Noss will see to it that you meet some new friends.

Says the Green Drinks Web site: "These events are very simple and unstructured, but many people have found employment, made friends, developed new ideas, done deals and had moments of serendipity. Everyone invites someone else along, so there's always a different crowd, making Green Drinks an organic, self-organizing network."

Come jump on the greenwagon tonight and help Sacramento Green Drinks toast to a new green economy! For more information, contact Sarah or Rick

March 4, 2009
Movement in Design, Saturday at the Artisan


Why let Second Saturday have all the fun? Get some art action a week early this Saturday when the Artisan (1901 Del Paso Blvd.) hosts "Movement in Design," an evening of music, fashion and art.

"Movement in Design" - a.k.a. MODSAC - will highlight fashion area boutiques and designers including Van Der Neer, United State and Havoc. There will be live music too via DJ Greg J, the New Humans, Diamond Monsterrr and DJ Rock Bottom.

There will also be a "Battle of the Boutiques" fashion-inspired art exhibit.

The all-ages event starts at 6 p.m. and costs $5 at the door.

For more information

March 4, 2009
'American Idol': Last 12 a mixed bag


Well, last night "American Idol" viewers were treated to multiple helpings of Elton John and Alicia Keys and one serving each of Martina McBride and, uh, Meat Loaf.

The final 12 contestants performed, and tonight three of them will move on, joining Alexis, Michael, Danny, Allison, Kris and Adam.

There were numerous blunders and bad song choices, especially at the beginning when I feared no one had the pipes to earn a vote. For example, Taylor Vaifanua, 17, did the first Alicia song, "If I Ain't Got You," and it was as pedestrian a performance as you'll see. Von Smith, 22, opened the show with "You're All I Need To Get By," which was judged better by the judges than I thought it was. Simon Cowell even compared Von to Clay Aiken (Season 2), for his look and his singing. And poor Alex Wagner-Trugman, 19. His rendition of "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" featured growling (no kidding), snarling and a knocked-over microphone. Arianna Afsar, 17, who entered the round with a lot of potential, blew it with a depressing take on Abba's "The Winner Takes It All." Simon called it "gloomy." Even Paula Abdul thought it was a little old-fashioned.

It wasn't until almost halfway through that Ju'Not Joyner, 26, changed up his Hollywood Week version of "Hey There Delilah" and got modestly good reviews.

Kristen McNamara, 23, got the purple out of her blonde hair, but her pink dress with a sash and rosettes looked more like she was going to a hootenanny, not performing on "Idol." And "Give Me One Reason" doesn't have enough range for even a bad singer to do anything with it. Simon said he was puzzled by her.

Drama guy Nathaniel Marshall, 19, appeared as a bad version of Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" get-fit get-up from the '80s - metallic headband, odd leggings-like pants, etc. He sang the Meat Loaf song "I Would Do Anything For Love," which left judge Kara DioGuardi saying she would take Nate on as her "karaoke buddy." For me, it was just uncomfortable.

And then things got interesting.

Felicia Barton, 26, was, essentially, a sub-contestant for Joanna Pacitti, who made the Top 36 but was ousted for having past conflict-of-interest ties with the show. Felicia proved why second chances are doled out with the other Alicia K. song, "No One." Paula hit her with one of those special Paula lines: "Isn't it funny how the universe works."

Scott MacIntrye, 23, was a little disappointing on "Mandolin Rain." I worry that without his piano, he's still a strong singer but missing just a touch of his passion. The judges, however, heaped on the praise. Simon says he would be surprised if Scott didn't sail through. "You're growing on me," he said.

Kendall Beard, 24, and Jorge Nunez, 21, both still had shots as the show neared the end. But her Martina McBride song, "This One is for the Girls" was not her best vocal performance. It got shrill, but Kendall definitely has the chops for country music. Jorge did the other Elton John song, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." It was good, not great. And he's a likeable guy.

Up last was Lil Rounds, 24, (pictured) who knocked it out of the vocal park with "Be Without You," a Mary J. Blige song she definitely connected with. Simon called it "brilliant." Paula added, "We'll see you for many more 'lil rounds." Hah!

My predictions? It's tough. But I'm going with Lil, Scott and - as my darkhorse - the risen-from-the-ashes Felicia.

The live results show is at 8 tonight on FOX40.

March 3, 2009
IKEA West Sac is turning three years old!

Well, at least one local business has cause to celebrate. An anniversary means you're still opening the doors every day!

IKEA West Sacramento will host a two-day soiree at the store (700 IKEA Court) to thank the community and customers who have welcomed the store to the area. To sweeten the celebration, the store is also spotlighting local agencies it has worked with over the years to make a difference, including the Sacramento Children's Home.

Here's the schedule:

* On Friday, kids can get their faces painted - for free! - courtesy of Sierra Adoption Services. That happens from 2 to 5 p.m.

* On Saturday, the Sacramento SPCA will have its mobile adoption van on site from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the store's entrance.

* The headliner event is the IKEA Design Challenge (also Saturday). The contest features local interior design students from the Art Institute of Sacramento and the International Academy of Design & Technology. The challenge? To see how the students take an ordinary piece of IKEA furniture and transform it into something worthy of Architectural Digest!

Judge for the contest will be home decor and interior design expert Lisa Quinn

For more information: (916) 371-4532.

March 3, 2009
Sacramento in digital photos at Sacramento airport show

If you have the time before catching your next flight out of Sacramento International Airport, check out "Timeless Sacramento," an exhibition of Tom Hulse's digital photography

He's known for his photo essays of San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Here, he explores his hometown of Sacramento.

The folks at the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission tout Hulse's project as "a series of color and digitally manipulated photographs that illustrate the often overlooked beauty of the architecture in Sacramento neighborhoods."

SMAC and the Airport Gallery are jointly presenting the show, which will be up through June 23. Some photographs are displayed in the public areas of Terminal B, and others are in concourses restricted to ticketed passengers.

The airport is at 6900 Airport Blvd., Sacramento.

If you want to run out for a quick look, parking is free for a half-hour in the Terminal B hourly lot. For more info:

- Dixie Reid
March 3, 2009
Artist Eduardo Kac, creator of glow-in-dark bunny, coming to Davis

If you like bunnies that glow in the dark, don't miss artist Eduardo Kac's talk on Thursday in Davis.

He specializes in making art with biotechnology and genetics. In 1999, he worked with French genetic researchers to combine a rabbit's DNA with that of a phosphorescent jellyfish. The result was a white rabbit that glowed green under black lights.

"It is a new era, and we need a new kind of art," Kac told the Chicago Tribune in 2000. "It makes no sense to paint as we painted in the caves."

His talk on "Telepresence and Bio Art" is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Veterans Memorial Center Theatre, 203 E. 14th St., Davis (between Davis High School and Davis Public Library.) Admission is free.

It's sponsored by the Art/Science Fusion Program at the University of California, Davis, and is part of the continuing Consilience of Art and Science colloquium.

After the lecture, Kac will autograph copies of his new book, "Telepresence and Bio Art: Networking Humans, Rabbits and Robots."

For more info on the program:

More on the artist:

- Dixie Reid
March 3, 2009
Casts set for new STC, B Street plays

Sacramento Theatre Company has set casting for its "Lysistrata" replacement production "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)" which begins March 11 and runs through April 5.

Michael RJ Campbell, last seen as Goneril in STC's "Cinderella" and current director of "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" at the Wilkerson Theatre at California Stage, performs along with Miles Miniaci, and Aaron Wilton. Miniaci last worked at STC in "To Kill a Mockingbird" has professional credits across the region including Foothill Theatre Company, B Street Theatre, and Capital Stage. Wilton who played Curley in "Of Mice and Men" last season at STC has numerous New York and Bay Area credits as well. Peggy Shannon directs with Michael Laun assisting.

B Street has also announced casting for its new B-3 Series production of John Kolvenbach's "Love Song" which bows on April 4. Artistic director Buck Busfield has stocked the cast with a quartet of B Street veterans: Dana Brooke, Jason Kuykendall, Elisabeth Nunziato and Kurt Johnson.

March 3, 2009
A historical day

An expected 500 local students, ranging from sixth-graders to high school seniors, will keep history alive at the annual Sacramento County History Day competition scheduled for Saturday.

Half a million students take part in the contest each year across the country. Categories of competition include poster, Web site, paper, exhibit and performance -- a range of ways for young people to showcase both their talent and their knowledge. The theme for this year's contest is "The Individual in History."

The competition takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the American River College campus.

For more information, go to

March 3, 2009
Free TV Movies

Sacramento's KQCA Channel 58 is now showing movies on an ongoing basis on Channel 58.2.

As of Monday, they are calling the channel "This TV Sacramento," with theme days such as "This is The West," "This is War" and "Dig This."

KQCA announced the channel as a 24-hour, 7-days a week thing, but the programming will also include large blocks of classic TV shows and a three-hour Saturday morning block of children's programming.

Information provided by KQCA indicates viewers with satellite or over-the-air receivers can tune to 58.2 with their remote controls. Cable viewers can check listings on their systems.

For more information on the schedule see

March 2, 2009
New Flamenco dance class for kids!

It's never too early to start preparing your children for the awkward dancing portions of their wedding receptions. Now, thanks to Drea Pacot, director and principal dancer of Flamenco del Oro, you can equip them for their honeymoon cruises, as well.

Beginning Wednesday, March 4, Pacot will offer an ongoing Kids' Flamenco Dance Class, in which children ages 7 to 11 will learn about the classic art of Spanish dance.

At first thought, "kids' Flamenco" may sound like of something of an oxymoron. Flamenco is a dance of seduction, right? Indeed, the mention of Flamenco might, for some, conjure images of romantic, over-the-top costumes and choreography wrought from the flames of passion. But there's a long and fascinating history to the southern Spanish art form, and the nature of the dance--characterized by its percussive style, hand clapping and rhythmic guitar--is exciting and upbeat.

That makes a lot more sense than ballet bars and pirouettes, right?

Flamenco Dance Class for Kids
Wednesday, March 4 (ongoing)
5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Ages 7-11
Deane Dance Studio
3385 Lanatt St., Sacramento

For more information or to register for class, email Drea Pacot at Click here to learn more about Sacramento Flamenco. Ole!

March 2, 2009
Funny business

A free comedy show sponsored by the Sacramento State Women's Resource Center and put on by Women Who Kick Comedy Butt -- yes, that's the name -- is scheduled for Thursday. The show, which features comedians Jackie Kashian, Gayla Johnson and Beth Schumann, is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the University Union Ballroom.

Kashian and Johnson will also appear in Auburn this weekend at the local Soroptomist International's comedy gala and fundraiser. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Ridge Events Center. Tickets are $35 and $45.

For more information, go to

March 2, 2009
Movies on the radio

Every Friday at 4:40 p.m., I discuss movies with Kitty O'Neal and R.E. Graswich on KFBK 1530-AM.

Last Friday, we talked about 2008 Oscar-winning films available on DVD, including "Man on Wire," the excellent documentary about Philippe Petit, the Frenchman who walked a tight rope between the Twin Towers just after the World Trade Center was built.

If you want to hear what I had to say, click here.

March 2, 2009
Sacramento Single: Mike Farrell's "Ain't It Funny"

small_smlogojpg.jpg Mike Farrell didn't really want to make music anymore - much less a rock record. But there was the well-known Sacramento guitarist with a batch of songs and some pals who wanted to finally hear them.

"A friend reminded me that I'd made a commitment to do a record," he says. "I sort of reluctantly started the record, not really feeling very confident."

Farrell's brush with a self-imposed musical exile came amid some personal upheaval but as the singer recovered his footing in life, he also regained a sense of ambition - and direction.

"(The new album) was going to be more of a country record (because) as much as I'm a fan of rock, I don't really feel like I have the voice for it," he says.

"That's one of my biggest pet peeves - that I don't have one of those cool, screaming rock'n'roll voices."

Usually that doesn't matter. In Daisy Spot, the Brazilian pop-influenced band he's fronts with friend Tatiana LaTour for example, the songs are decidedly soft and mellow. Elsewhere, he gets by with a little help from his friends.

"In a band like Th' Losin' Streaks I'm not the main focus- I have other people to rely up on to bring the rock," he says.

"To do this on my own is more of a challenge."

So, finally alone behind the microphone, Farrell worked on finding his voice.

"It took a lot primal scream therapy," he says. "I just had to scream it out, get it out and feel comfortable."

Farrell's new album is due in May. Until then, preview a track, "Ain't it Funny" at

Mike Farrell

Song: "Ain't it Funny"

Style: Brooding rock'n'roll

Behind the song: The track, produced by Dana Gumbiner, came together in the studio with Mike Curry on drums and Lee Bob Watson on the clavichord.

"The demo was really bare bones and I was very skeptical about how it would turn out," he says.

"But Mike Curry nailed it and Lee Bob - I didn't even have to give him direction - he just came in and nailed it on the spot."

Farrell wrote the song in 1992 yet despite the seven years between writing and recording, he says it's particularly apropos of the times.

"The very first (line) is 'it seems that things won't get much better' which seems to reflect the state of the world right now - I didn't mean for it to be a topical songs but it's really perfect for right now."

On the Web:

Listen to "AIn't it Funny" here:


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