Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

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


March 30, 2012
Go native in Sacramento, Yolo with Gardens Gone Wild tour

Native plants - many in spectacular bloom - will be the focus of an early spring garden tour Saturday, hosted by the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

Called "Gardens Gone Wild," the free self-guided driving tour will visit several gardens in Sacramento and Yolo counties as well as such landmarks as Sacramento's Historic City Cemetery's perennial-packed Hamilton Square.

Besides at least 50 percent native plants, the tour stops feature xeriscaping and edible landscaping as well as water gardens and flowers that attract birds and bees. Experts from CNPS will be on hand to point out special attractions and answer questions.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., patrons can take the tour at their own pace and in their own order, but they must register first to get the map and directions. To sign up, send an email to gardensgonenative@gmail.com.

For more details, click on www.SacValleyCNPS.org.

March 30, 2012
Wild & Scenic Film Festival coming to Crest Theatre

Baffin Island: A Skier's Journey EP2 [Season 2] from Jordan Manley Photography on Vimeo.


The 3rd Annual Sacramento Wild and Scenic Film Festival will take place at the Crest Theatre April 27 with the screening of 16 films examining that cast a lens on such topics as biomimicry, the bald eagle and the wild charms of Baffin Island.

The festival was started in 2003 by the watershed advocacy group, the South Yuba River Citizens League. The festival's namesake is in celebrationof achieving Wild & Scenic status for 39 miles of the South Yuba River in 1999. The goal of the festival is using film to inspire activism.

The festival is a natural extension the group Save Our Sandhill Cranes - a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining open space habitat and the conservation of the California Central Valley's Sandhill Crane populations.

March 29, 2012
Plant sale will put Sacramento gardeners in spring mood

Spring is here - and so is spring fever. Gardeners want to get outside and get to work.

With rain forecast for Saturday, that gardening urge can find refuge at the 11th annual Vendor Sale, hosted by the Sacramento Perennial Plant Club. To be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, this huge sale features several vendors with unusual plants including succulents, bamboo, natives and new introductions from Blooms of Bressingham. Shoppers also will find great gardening gear and supplies.

Gary Doerr, president of Blooms of Bressingham, will speak at noon about his company's worldwide search for new plants and the people who create them. Many of Bressingham's finds have come from amateur hybridizers or hobbyists.

The sale will be held at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center, 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento. Admission is free.

For more details, click on www. sacramentoperennialplantclub.com.

March 29, 2012
'Mirror,' 'Wrath of the Titans' enhance midnight movie madness

Last week, the "Hunger Games" Thursday midnight screenings bolstered the movie's box office take by nearly $20 million.

But it's not just tentpole films trying getting a jump on weekend box office with midnight screenings. Tonight, the 3-D epic "Wrath of the Titans" and the Snow White family comedy "Mirror Mirror" will debut just after midnight at several local multiplexes (Century Stadium, Greenback and Folsom among them).

Tonight's midnight openings sort of make sense. Fans of computer effects-heavy stories of mythical monsters also are fans of staying up late. And the witching hour seems appropriate for a film in which Julia Roberts plays a queen and black-magic practitioner who, if not a witch, is something very close to it.

Plus, Cinderella has stolen the midnight spotlight from Snow White for too long.

For theaters showing "Wrath" and "Mirror Mirror" at midnight (on far fewer screens than "Hunger Games" last week), see the movie guide on page D6 of today's Bee or visit Fandango.com. Also, look for my story in Sunday's a&e section on the enduring appeal of fairy tales as sources for movies and television shows.

March 29, 2012
Free Christian concert, kids activities June 2 at Gibson Ranch

Five Christian music acts will provide a full day of music Saturday, June 2, at Gibson Ranch in Elverta as part of the free "Fish Family Fest" sponsored 103.9 FM (The Fish).

Natalie Grant, Big Daddy Weave, Josh Wilson (music video above), Mikeschair and Lisa Daggs will perform at the event, which will run 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and include a family fun zone with a bouncy house and other activities.

Free tickets are available at California Family Fitness and Quick Quack Car Wash locations. For information, call (916) 934-0710.

March 29, 2012
Aerosmith to bring sweet emotion, multiple scarves to Oakland

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Aerosmith, led by lovable/terrifying "American Idol" judge Steven Tyler,will tour North America this summer. Unfortunately, the closest stop to Sacramento is Oakland's Oracle Arena, on Aug. 4.

And it won't be cheap to see Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry out-grizzle each other. Upper-tier tickets start at $61, and other upper-tier tickets are $114.

Sometimes you have to pay for experience. Plus, there might be some new songs in the mix, since Aerosmith has been working on its first album since 2004, with producer Jack Douglas, who helped them make "Toys in the Attic."

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday through Ticketmaster (800-745-3000).

PHOTO CAPTION: Steven Tyler, from left, Joey Kramer, Joe Perry, and Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, pose for pictures at the Aerosmith news conference announcing the 2012 Global Warming Tour, Wednesday, March 28, 2012, at The Grove, in Los Angeles. Katy Winn/AP


Photo Gallery: Aerosmith in concert through the years

March 28, 2012
No surf contest, but Mavericks Festival set for Saturday

Despite recent storms, the winter of 2012 was just too mild for Mavericks, Northern California's world famous big wave surf contest.

No waves equal to Mavericks' mythic reputation are expected before the contest's official window closes Saturday, so there will be no competition again this year, announced contest director and Mavericks pioneer Jeff Clark.

But the party will go on. On Saturday, the contest organizers will host the first Mavericks Festival, to be held on the grounds of the Oceano Hotel & Spa, 280 Capistrano Road, Half Moon Bay.

The festival will include the presentation of the inaugural Mavericks Awards, honoring some of the greatest moments and performances from the past Mavericks surf season. Many of the world's top big wave riders are expected to attend.

Wimpy surf also cancelled big wave contests at other Pacific destinations, Clark noted.

"Winter threw us some good days, but nothing mustered enough power to hold the big wave contests at Mavericks, Nelscott Reef (Oregon) or Waimea (Hawaii) this year," Clark said. "That leaves a lot of big wave surfers with a whole lot of pent-up energy after a full season of training. So, we're throwing a party to celebrate the season, the athletes and the community."

With nature and the waves so fickle, Clark has wanted to have a post-season party celebrating Mavericks and big wave surfers for years, he said. Since 1999, the actual contest has been held only seven times; the last in 2010.

To be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the fest also will include food, giveaways, commemorative posters, autograph sessions and previously unseen video of Mavericks surf riders.

Tickets are $25 and available online at www.mavericksinvitational.com.

March 24, 2012
Saturday cheer competition raises money for prom

By Carlos Alcala
calcala@sacbee.com

Organizers of an annual prom for people with disabilities are encouraging people to attend today's all-day cheer competition at Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento.

The Norcal All-Star Alliance competition is partnering with Evening of Dreams, which allows teens and adults with disabilities to participate in activities they might not otherwise get to enjoy, said Michelle Purcell, of Evening of Dreams.

The prom is held in May.

Some cheerleaders with disabilities will also perform at today's' competition, Purcell said.

Tickets for the cheer competition, at 15th and J streets, are $10, cash only.

For more information on the prom, see www.eveningofdreams.com.

March 22, 2012
Serge Gainsbourg gets 3rd year birthday party at Verge

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The adoration of everything Serge Gainsbourg is back.

The one-time 1960's era French pop icon's birthday will be feted by the Sacramento French Film Festival as the 3rd Annual Serge Gainsbourg Birthday Party on March 31st.

The paradigm that worked so well for the past two celebrations will be at play again this year with a cross-pollinated evening of music by DJ Christophe and DJ Roger, the appearance of 5 tribute bands, film clips and a psychedelic light show by artist George Holden.

March 22, 2012
See 'green' ideas at SF Flower and Garden Show

Get into the spring spirit with the biggest flower and garden show in Northern California.

Through Sunday, the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show is in full bloom at the San Mateo County Events Center, 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo.

With the theme "Gardens for a Green Earth," 20 display gardens - created by award-winning designers - will showcase how to be sustainable with style.

March 22, 2012
'Hunger Games' midnight screenings abound in Sacramento


"The Hunger Games," the highly anticipated, heavily film hyped adaptation of Suzanne Collins' young-adult novel, already has sold out thousands of screenings across the country, according to online ticketer Fandango.com.

"Hunger," which opens officially Friday, has outpaced the first "Twilight" in advance ticket sales. Kind of the way "Hunger Games" heroine Katniss would outpace wan "Twilight" heroine Bella in a foot race.

Many midnight showings have sold across the country. Locally, there still are plenty of tickets available.

The Regal Natomas theater alone is selling tickets for 14 midnight showings tonight. Regal Natomas obviously is banking on lots of parents looking the other way about their preteens and teens staying up into the wee hours (the film is more than two hours long) on a school night.

My review of "The Hunger Games" will appear in Friday's Ticket section. Reviews elsewhere have been mostly positive, with the movie drawing an 88 percent rating on RottenTomatoes.com.

Above is a clip showing Katniss' (Jennifer Lawrence) bold bid for attention during a skills test before the gamesmakers.

March 22, 2012
Guide lists 20 Yolo County bike rides

By Sam McManis

smcmanis@sacbee.com

Davis' love of all things bicycles-related is now reflected on the website of the Yolo County Visitors Bureau, which recently added a list of 20 rides in Davis and surrounding cities such as Winters, Woodland and the Capay Valley.

The Davis Bike Club developed the web page, which includes descriptions and links to maps. It can be found at http://www.yolocvb.net/bike-rides.html/.

"Most of these rides start in Davis or Winters, where interest in bicycling is very keen, and we made a point to select rides for all skill levels, whether you are a novice out for fun or a serious cyclist looking for good training rides," Alan Humason, executive director of the visitor's bureau, said in a prepared statement. "We also intend to add routes from events that are held in our area, such as the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame Gran Fondo, the LiveStrong Challenge, and the Davis Double Century."

March 22, 2012
Jazz Festival to debut in Placer County

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Placer County is getting its own jazz festival when the Placer County Jazz Festival debuts on Memorial Day.

The brainchild of jazz musician Jim Martinez (pictured, right), the festival will offer a roster of well known artists including the LA-area based Yve Evans as well as Cami Thompson, Cynthia Douglas and the traditional jazz ensemble Cell Block 7.

Also appearing is local pianist Joe Gilman, bassist Guilio Cetto and drummer Tim Metz. The festival will see artists paying tributes to Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Cab Calloway and The Four Freshman.

March 22, 2012
Harveys and Harrah's have the big-time acts together

People Toby Keith.jpg What are you doing this summer? How about catching some big-name live shows at Lake Tahoe - outdoors and indoors.

The 11th Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series at Harvey's Outdoor Arena has its acts together. For tickets and showtimes, go to www.harveystahoe.com, www.ticketmaster.com or www.apeconcerts.com. More concert acts will be announced soon.

July 13: Chicago and the Doobie Brothers
July 15: Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour (date is subject to change)
July 21: Maroon 5. Note that the week of July 17-22 is the 23rd annual celebrity-centric American Century Championship Tournament at Edgewood Golf Course.
July 22: Journey, Pat Benatar and Loverboy
July 28: Brad Paisley, The Band Perry and Easton Corbin
Aug. 8: Toby Keith (pictured) and Brantley Gilbert
Aug. 12: Norah Jones
Aug. 17: Joe Cocker and Huey Lewis & the News
Aug. 18: Sugarland, Lauren Alaina and Canaan Smith


While we wait for Harveys Lake Tahoe to rev-up the summer scene, let's go inside Harrah's Lake Tahoe and catch the acts at the South Shore Room.

Tickets and more information are at (800) 786-8208 and www.harrahslaketahoe.com. Exception: Tickets for Chickenfoot are sold only at www.ticketmaster.com or www.apeconcerts.com.

Playing this Saturday will be Rock Sugar, followed by:

March 31: Blue Oyster Cult
April 7: Ozomatli
April 14: Little Feat
April 21: Los Lobos
April 28: Puddle of Mudd
May 4-5: Chickenfoot
May 12: Rick Springfield
May 19: Beatles vs. Stones: A Musical Shootout
June 2: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
June 9: Eric Burdon and the Animals

March 21, 2012
Lisa Lutz kicks off Bee Book Club with 'Trail of the Spellmans'

Book009.JPGThe Sacramento Bee Book Club will kick off its 2012 season at 6 p.m. Thursday with Bay Area-based novelist Lisa Lutz.

Her five-title "Spellman" series is critic-applauded, laugh-out-loud comedy that genre-crosses into the mystery arena. Her new book is "Trail of the Spellmans" (Simon & Schuster, $25, 384 pages).

The Spellmans are a wacky dysfunctional family of private investigators in San Francisco who wiretap, tail and blackmail each other while working their cases. The stories are told in first-person by Isabel "Izzy" Spellman, the "most normal" family member.

"I was determined not to make it a traditional mystery series," Lutz said. "I want it to be genuinely funny, and I don't care if it has to be a little goofy to get there. Even serious things can be quite funny."

Lutz will be at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St., Sacramento, to give a presentation, answer questions from the audience and autograph books. She will even pose with her fans for photos.

Barnes & Noble will be on site, giving a 30 percent discount on "Trail of the Spellmans" and selling Lutz's previous four "Spellman" books.

The public is invited to the free event; doors will open at 5:15 p.m. For more information: (916) 321-1128., www.lisalutz.com

March 21, 2012
Updated Golf Guide a timely addition to local scene

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It might be a huge tease whenever the sun appears, ready to really rev up and give us the warm spring we anticipate.

But even if we're in for more rain between the tantalizing solar bursts, it's definitely getting to be golf season -- and our updated Interactive Golf Guide has plenty of new information about local 18-hole courses open to public play.

Bee golf writer Stave Pajak has provided fresh information about prices, carts, yardage, local knowledge and where to find each track. The guide is easy to use and a comprehensive tool to help golfers choose where to play, and it has facts and figures for 40 courses in the greater Sacramento region.

Things will be drying out soon. Be ready.

PHOTO CAPTION: Cherry Island is one of 40 18-hole courses in the greater Sacramento region listed in the updated Golf Guide.

March 21, 2012
Updated: McKinley Park rose garden to reopen soon

McKinley Park's beloved rose garden is growing closer to its reopening - just in time for wedding season.

The week of April 15 is when the city plans to take down the fence surrounding the garden since September. The garden's first two weddings of 2012 are scheduled for April 21.

The official reopening is now planned for May 12, the day before Mother's Day, according to Cecily Hastings of Friends of East Sacramento. Her group recently signed an agreement with the City of Sacramento to take over the garden's care and event scheduling.

Originally planted in 1928, the Frederick Evans Memorial Rose Garden - located on H Street near Alhambra Boulevard - has been closed for major renovations for seven months. With a pricetag of about $240,000, the improvements include: an accessible walkway, new automatic irrigation system, planter curbs, a drinking fountain, a rose garden map, accessible parking spaces and refurbished benches.

City parks officials had hoped to reopen the garden in February. But the project was delayed by problems with the new irrigation system, according to Ellie Longanecker, co-founder of Friends of the McKinley Park Rose Garden. Also, new sod paths needed more time to take root.

The 1.5-acre garden features more than 1,000 rose bushes. Volunteers planted hundreds of new bushes during the renovation.

Friends of East Sacramento plans additional work to the garden, Hastings said.

The rose garden is a favorite Sacramento site for weddings and outdoor seasonal events. A new website - www.mckinleyparkcenter.org - will be launched April 7 to handle event bookings, she said.

March 21, 2012
Antiquarian Book Fair the ideal place to browse and buy


Browse the thousands of rare and collectible wares on offer from 60 exhibitors at the 20th annual Spring Antiquarian Book Fair. Included will be books in multiple genres (including children's, California and world history, science, nature, art, cookbooks and literature), photographs, maps, postcards, art and advertising graphics, bookends, ephemera and more. Asking prices will range from $5 to $20,000. Free appraisals will be offered.

The fair will be from 9:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is $5.

Note: A second book fair will be held at the center on Sept. 15.

Information: (916) 849-9248, www.sacbookfair.com. Mention the website and get $1 off admission.

March 16, 2012
Due to storms, soggy Daffodil Hill delays opening day

Rainy weather put a damper on Daffodil Hill. This week's storms have delayed the opening of the Amador County landmark until sometime next week.

Originally, the famous McLaughlin Ranch in Volcano planned to open its gates today for its 72nd daffodil season. But too much rain made its paths slippery, muddy and dangerous.

"Due to the storms we are currently experiencing, we had to postpone our opening," said the ranch's recorded message on its daffodil hotline. "We hope to open when the weather dries out next week."

Flower fans are encouraged to call the hotline for updates after Monday: (209) 296-7048.

Weather permitting, Daffodil Hill's season extends into early April. Once open, hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily seven days a week. But always call before driving the two hours from Sacramento. For safety reasons, the garden is closed during rainy weather.

Considered the No. 1 tourist destination in Amador County, Daffodil Hill features about a half million blooms in more than 300 varieties squeezed into six acres. The Ryan family, descendents of the original owners dating back to the 1800s, add thousands of bulbs each fall.

Admission and parking are free, but donations are welcome. No pets are allowed.

Located about 50 miles from Sacramento, Daffodil Hill is at 18310 Rams Horn Grade, Volcano. For directions and more, click on www.amadorcountychamber.com and follow the links to Daffodil Hill under "Historic Attractions."

March 16, 2012
San Francisco Symphony webcasts creativity forum

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Every orchestra confronts this tough question when programming new seasons: How do you stay vibrant and fresh without alienating a traditional fan base?

The former is elemental to the evolution of classical music, the latter pays the bills.

Answers are, typically, not easily had... but one orchestra has managed to come up with some elegant ones: the San Francisco Symphony.

March 15, 2012
'Addiction Incorporated' film focuses on tobacco whistleblower


Cigarettes are bad for you. That's been an incontrovertible truth for about 50 years now. The only thing that can still surprise is the level of alleged duplicity in the tobacco industry.

The documentary "Addiction Incorporated," opening Friday at the Crest Theatre, focuses on tobacco-company scientist turned whistleblower Victor DeNoble, who speaks of one-time efforts to develop a cigarette that would decrease the risk of heart failure but stay just as addictive, nicotine-wise.

DeNoble is a familiar face in the Sacramento region. He has spoken to thousands of school children here about the dangers of smoking. He is in the midst of a monthlong visit to Sacramento sponsored by the Health Education Council and Kaiser Permanente.

Charles Evans Jr.'s documentary follows DeNoble's anti-smoking crusade and tells the broader story of efforts to bring alleged tobacco company malfeasance to light.

Producer Charmaine Parcero will attend the 8 p.m. Friday showing at the Crest (1013 K St., Sacramento), and engage in a Q&A session with audience members.

For information on the film, see the movie's website or the Crest's site.

March 15, 2012
Fleetwood Mac's Buckingham to perform at the Crest

Singer, songwriter, guitarist and fount of energy Lindsey Buckingham will perform Sunday, May 13, at the Crest Theatre.

Tickets go on sale Friday, and are $45 and $55 in advance, $3 more the day of the show. They are available at the Crest box office (1013 K St., Sacramento) or through Tickets.com. (800-225-2277).

The Fleetwood Mac guitarist, known for his furious guitar picking and impassioned vocals, released an acclaimed solo album called "Seeds We Sow" last year.

He always puts on a terrific show, solo or with Fleetwood Mac. When he's with Fleetwood Mac, he makes all the other band members look like they are standing still.
Except Stevie. She will do a little spin here and there.

March 15, 2012
Citywater to debut Michael Nyman work at Crocker

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The adventurous chamber ensemble Citywater will debut a work by film and contemporary composer Michael Nyman tonight at the Crocker Art Museum.

Nyman is a prolific composer best-known for his score for the movie "The Piano," and the chamber opera "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat."

Citywater will perform his "Child's Play," originally written in 1985 for Lucinda Childs. Nyman rearranged it for sextet, minus percussion, in 2009.

March 14, 2012
Run fast: Early CIM registration ends Thursday

By Sam McManis

smcmanis@sacbee.com

It's not too early to start thinking about December's California International Marathon.

In fact, bargain-hunting runners should note that Thursday at midnight is the deadline too register at the lowest entry fee of $85. After Thursday, the price rises to $105. After October, it rises further to $125.

To register and for more information, go to www.runcim.org/page/show/282989-registration-information.

March 14, 2012
Young Davis dancers tapped for Ballet Preljocaj at Mondavi

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Two locals have been chosen to play the young Snow White in the U.S. Premiere of Ballet Preljocaj's "Blanche Neige" (Snow White) at the Mondavi Center on March 17 and 18.

The two are nine-year-old Davis resident Camila Pedrosa, and Mckeena Lincoln, a 10 year old from Woodland. Both are students at the Pamela Trokanski Dance Workshop in Davis.

They will get their feet wet with the company at a first rehearsal on March 16 and March 17.

March 14, 2012
'The Bodyguard' to hit big screens again in a few weeks


Whitney Houston films have been all over television in the weeks since her death. Now her best-known film, "The Bodyguard," will play on big screens as well, at 7:30 p.m. March 28.

The event aims to celebrate the movie's 20th anniversary and a new Blu-ray edition of the movie coming out March 27. The 20th anniversary Blu-ray has to have been in the works for some time. But you have to wonder if "The Bodyguard" would have been brought to the big screen again had Houston not died.

Local theatres showing "The Bodyguard" on the 28th include include Century Stadium, Downtown Plaza, Greenback, Laguna, Roseville and Folsom, and Regal Natomas and El Dorado Hills. For information and tickets, see the Fathom Events site.

March 14, 2012
The Bee's guide to St. Patrick's Day events

St. Patrick's Day falls on Saturday, meaning it's just about time to paint the town green. Count on local pubs with an Irish flavor, including de Vere's Irish Pub and the Boxing Donkey, to go all out with corned beef and cabbage, music, pints of Guinness and other prerequisite St. Patrick's Day refreshments.

Going to the St. Patrick's Day parade in Old Sac? Look for our Snapshots photographer. Find all the photos Saturday night at www.sacbee.com/snapshots

But not all festivities are pub-based. You'll find family-friendly events as well, including an annual St. Patrick's Day parade and a special green-themed day at a local museum. And to kick off this weekend, note that the Sacramento Kings will pit its purple-and-black basketball attack against the Boston Celtics tonight at Power Balance Pavilion.

And as always, have a designated driver or taxi company number close by if you plan to imbibe on this most Irish of days.

Here's our guide to what's going down this St. Patrick's Day:

March 14, 2012
Daffodil time comes to Sierra foothills with Daffodil Hill, show


Despite this week's late-winter onslaught, Daffodil Hill expects to open on time for another spring gold rush.

A magnet for flower lovers of all ages, the famous McLaughlin Ranch in Volcano plans to open its gates for a 72nd daffodil season at 10 a.m. Friday. After that, the garden will be open to the public seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting.

But call before driving the two hours from Sacramento. For safety reasons, the garden is closed during rainy weather due to slippery paths.

March 14, 2012
Rummage sale to raise funds for people with Alzheimer's

By Anita Creamer
acreamer@sacbee.com

To raise funds to assist people who have Alzheimer's disease, the Alzheimer's Aid Society of Northern California has scheduled a rummage sale from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 31. The group will be selling used furniture, clothing and household items.

The sale takes place in the parking lot of the group's office at 2641 Cottage Way in Sacramento. For more information, go to http://alzaid.org/

March 12, 2012
Girl Scouts turn 100 today, lead Old Sac parade Saturday

Happy birthday, Girl Scouts! Today is the 100th anniversary of the founding of your organization.

The State Capitol will celebrate with - what else? - a proclamation, most likely followed by cookies.

At the start of the assembly's afternoon session today, State Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) will be joined by Pamela G. Saltenberger, CEO of the Girl Scouts Heart of Central California chapter, and several local scouts as he presents an official proclamation noting "the Girl Scouts' century-long commitment to building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place," according to his office.

Modesto's Girl Scout office (3621 Forest Glenn Drive, Modesto) will host a private party for members at 5 p.m. tonight.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, 100 Girl Scouts - dressed in their green uniforms - will lead Old Sacramento's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Sacramento scout leaders also are planning a large celebration for members and their families April 28 at Cal Expo.

It's all part of a spring full of activities, commemorating a century of Girl Scouts.

How did it get started? On March 12, 1912, founder Juliette Gordon Low gathered 18 girls for the first Girl Scout meeting in Savannah, Georgia. According to scout lore, Low said at that inaugural meeting, "I've got something for the girls of Savannah, and all America, and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight!"

Today, 3.2 million members take part in Girl Scouts and its leadership training. According to the Central Valley chapter, about 29,000 girls and 10,000 volunteers take part in Girl Scouts in the Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto areas.

To learn more, click on www.girlscoutshcc.org.

March 9, 2012
New guide out to 60 hikes around Sacramento

By Sam McManis
smcmanis@sacbee.com

Local hiking expert Jordan Summers has just released a new, expanded edition of "60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Sacramento," an omnibus for those wanting to hit the trails close to home.

The updated guide, published by Menasha Ridge Press, and available at local bookstores and online, includes hikes in Davis, Roseville and more paths in Auburn.

Summers, who lives in Elk Grove, is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School Wilderness Outdoor Educator program, a Leave No Trace Trainer, and a NOLS-Wilderness Medicine Institute certified Wilderness First Responder.

March 6, 2012
Valley oak starts 30,000-tree pledge drive for Sacramento area

This month-long party starts with a single tree in Sacramento, but will lead to an expanded urban forest - by as many as 30,000 trees.

At 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at Capitol Park, the Sacramento Tree Foundation will plant a valley oak to kick off its 30th anniversary celebration.

Wednesday - California's annual Arbor Day - also kicks off the foundation's drive to get pledges to plant 30,000 new trees across Sacramento's six-county region.

The valley oak - a symbol of the Sacramento Valley - was the perfect choice for a milestone tree, noted Ray Tretheway, the foundation's executive director.

"It's a native tree to our area, drought tolerant, strong and sturdy," he said of the oak. "It's also a very long-lived tree, which is appropriate."

The anniversary tree will be part of the Capitol's oak grove, located in the park's southeast corner. The planting ceremony will be just off 15th Street near the World Peace Rose Garden.

It will be the first of thousands of new trees to commemorate the foundation's 30th anniversary. In partnership with Greenwise Joint Venture, the foundation will gather tree-planting pledges through April 8 at www.30ktrees.com.

The foundation has a head start on its pledge drive, Tretheway said. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District offered 5,000 trees to local parks and schools. The City of Sacramento plans to plant 1,000 trees; the City of Folsom will plant 1,500.

"Those will all be in public places - parks, schools and streets," he said. "We've also had 1,000 pledged by neighborhood associations so far. The Lions Club plans to plant a tree for every member in the area - as many as 1,800. All these things add up; they're really neat."

Tretheway hopes that half of the 30,000 will come from private pledges as more individuals get involved.

To entice that effort, Green Acres Nursery - which has locations in Sacramento, Roseville and Folsom - is offering a free tree-planting kit with every 15-gallon shade tree sold. In addition, Green Acres will donate 10 trees to the campaign for every 100 sold.

To learn more, click on www.sactree.org or call (916) 924-8733.

March 6, 2012
Graze and sip on skis or snowshoes at Gourmet Ski Tour

On-snow gourmet grazing and sipping while walking on snowshoes or gliding on cross-country skis?

What a concept, but that's just what will be on offer at the 11th annual Gourmet Ski Tour, 1 to 3 p.m. March 11 at the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Center, 925 Country Club Drive, Tahoe City. If you don't have your own snowshoes or skis, the center will rent you the gear.

Kiosks will be set up along the trail, where purveyors will offer bites and adult beverages. Among the 13 restaurants will be Sunnyside, Jake's On the Lake, Bridgetender, Christy Hill, Mama Sake and North Shore Hawaiian Grill. Children 12 and younger get free admission and complimentary hot dogs, fruit and ice cream.

The afternoon will end with live music and margaritas, 2:30 to 5 p.m.

Wear a dance costume to match the "Snow Dance" theme (disco, hip-hop, ballet and the like) and get a chance to win a Tahoe XC season pass.

Tickets are $32 for adults (includes a half-day trail pass), $27 for ages 13-17. For information and to purchase tickets: (530) 583-5475, www.tahoexc.org.

March 5, 2012
Critic Marcus Crowder gives three stars to STC's 'Dial M'

By Marcus Crowder

mcrowder@sacbee.com

Frederick Knott's "Dial 'M' for Murder" has become a popular, iconic and much imitated thriller ever since the play first premiered on BBC television in 1952.

The stage version successfully went to both London's West End and New York's Broadway the same year. However, the play was indelibly stamped into the public consciousness through director Alfred Hitchcock's intense 1954 film version which starred Grace Kelly and Ray Milland.

The Sacramento Theatre Company opened its lumpy new production this weekend with a buoyant Matt K. Miller and a graceful Jackie Vanderbeck in the lead roles.

March 2, 2012
Sacramento Speakers Series announces its upcoming season

Clinton Heated Rhetoric.jpgMitchell Ostwald, managing principal of the Sacramento Speakers Series, has announced the program's upcoming celebrity lineup for its eighth season. Among the six speakers will be former President Bill Clinton and paleontologist Louise Leakey.

Speaking from the stage of the Community Center Theater Thursday night to subscribers in attendance to hear travel guru Peter Greenberg's presentation, Ostwald said he was "thrilled" by the "big names" who will be in Sacramento for the series' 2012-13 season.

Five of the six events will start at 8 p.m. at the Community Center Theatre, 1301 L St., Sacramento. Clinton's appearance will be at 8 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium, 1515 J St., Sacramento.

Subscriptions to the community lecture series are priced at four levels, from $205 to $420. For tickets and more information: (916) 388-1100, www.sacramentospeakers.com.

Still to appear is TV journalist Lisa Ling, whose April 3 presentation will conclude the the 2011-2012 season.

Here's the coming lineup:

March 2, 2012
See 'Cars of the Stars' at Auto Museum exhibit

JamesDean.bmp
The black Mercury coupe James Dean drove in "Rebel Without a Cause" and Erik Estrada 's motorcycle from "CHiPs" and other famous vehicles from film and television are part of the new California Automobile Museum exhibition "Cars of the Stars."

The exhibit runs through March 31, The "Rebel" car, on loan from Reno's National Auto Museum, has been at the Sacramento museum since the fall.

The museum at 2200 Front Street is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last admission 5 p.m.) every day. Admission is $8 adults, $7 seniors 65 and older, $4 students. Children 4 and younger are free.

For information, call (916) 442-6802 or visit the museum site.

PHOTO: COURTESY OF CALIFORNIA AUTO MUSEUM

March 2, 2012
Snow's here, Kirkwood plans festival to celebrate

By Sam McManis

smcmanis@sacbee.com

Lake Tahoe's ski season, finally beginning to ramp up thanks to the weather, will celebrate the snow accumulation with the Freeride Flow Festival at Kirkwood Mountain Resort on March 16-18.

Skiing clinics abound at the annual event, but it's about more than just hitting the slopes. There will be yoga sessions with big-name practitioners, dance parties and, to help you mellow out, meditation classes.

Cost is $349 for unlimited access over the three-day festival; $275 for a day pass; $230 for a half-day.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.freerideflowfest.com.

March 2, 2012
Almond Festival ready to blossom in Capay Valley

For going on a century, the communities of Rumsey, Guinda, Brooks, Capay and Esparto have come together this time of year to celebrate their almond trees. And they're doing it again March 11 with the annual Capay Valley Almond Festival.

Each of the towns along a 21-mile stretch of Highway 16 will offer different activities and goodies from hayrides across the historic Rumsey Bridge to "Granny Wyatt's Legendary Almond Roca" and almond-harvesting lessons to hot air balloon rides.

Check out the "Blossom Trail Map" and a full schedule of festival events.

. For more information about the festval go to capayvalleyalmondfestival.com

March 1, 2012
Go Bollywood with Indian film, food and dance

Hooray for Bollywood! Which is what the massive Hindi-language filmmaking industry is called globally.

Get familiar with it beginning Friday, when the Sacramento Public Library and alt+library (a reader exchange site) will present "Bollywood Spectacular."

It's the debut event of a series of First Friday programs, this one featuring a Bollywood movie, a dance lesson based on scenes from the film, henna tattooing, Indian food and chai (a.k.a. tea).

Go Bollywood at 7 p.m. at the North Sacramento Hagginwood Library, 2109 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 264-2920, www.saclibrary.org.

For more information: www.meetup.com/altlibrary and www.bollywhat.com.



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