Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

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

April 30, 2012
No reservation needed for Tuesday travel talk

By Linda Beymer

The No Reservations Travel Club, which meets the first Tuesday of every month, will discuss traveling in South Africa and Namibia at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the community room at the Arcade Library, 2443 Marconi Ave., Sacramento. For more information, go to or call (916) 457-1426.

April 27, 2012
Spring fever? Find cure at Asparagus Fest, home tours

Get out and enjoy warm spring weather this weekend. There's no shortage of special events that will make the most of it.

Celebrating a home-grown green bonanza, the Stockton Asparagus Festival opens today in downtown Stockton. Many of the festivities at this famous food fest will be held at the Stockton Marina district. Park at Stockton Arena, 248 W. Fremont St., Stockton.

Featuring many ways to eat asparagus as well as music, carnival rides and entertainment, the family-oriented festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Sunday.

April 27, 2012
Parkway Half Marathon to hold special tribute to officer
Officials at Saturday's Parkway Half Marathon, which benefits the American River Parkway Foundation, will hold a special ceremony before the race at William Pond Recreation Center, 5700 Arden Way. 

Police officer Randy Van Dusen, after being serenaded by a bagpipe band, will receive the honorary bib No. 1 for saving the life of a runner who collapsed during last year's race. Ralph Jefferies, the runner whose life was saved, will also be feted along with his wife, Felicia. The two also will run in the 13.1-mile event along the parkway's bike path and levee. 

The ceremony starts at 7:30 Saturday and will last 15 minutes. More than 4,000 runners then will loop a portion of the parkway from Riverbend Park to the Sacramento State area.    
April 26, 2012
Davis to host Bike Loopalooza


Davis, which in the past has come up with novel bicycle events such as a Guinness record for a bike parade and a Grand Fondo, will be hosting a Bike Loopalooza on May 6. 

Actually, it's the third year for the Loopalooza, which showcases the city's network of paved bike trails that especially loops the city. As in previous years, there will be 10 "stations" along the route where bike riders can get their "passports" stamped, go through a bike safety course and also maybe score a Clif Bar and some water. For more details, such as locations of the stations and times, click here

The event is held in May to highlight the national Biking Month. 

But, really, every month in biking month in Davis, isn't it?

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April 26, 2012
Ed Asner? Yes, he's still performing and he's coming to town...


If you belong within the confines of the baby boomer demographic you will, no doubt, know who actor Ed Asner is.

If not, suffice it to say that Asner performed the feared, but loved newsroom boss Lou Grant in the bygone era TV sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

The 80-something actor is coming to town to perform a reading from books inspired by the musical, "Fiddler on the Roof." Asner will also provide numerous personal tales from his half century working in the entertainment industry.

April 26, 2012
Learn how to Row, Row, Row That Boat in West Sac

bp heading back.JPG

Rowing is one of the most vigorous, yet less joint-pounding, cardiovascular activities available. 

And the River City Rowing Club of West Sacramento is holding a free event on June 2 to introduce newcomers to the sport. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is part of a national Learn to Row Day.

To register for the day-long event  -- and to learn about a junior rowing program over the summer -- go to the club's website

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April 26, 2012
New Fine Living Expo opens Friday in downtown Sacramento

Find inspiration for your summer home and garden projects this week at the new Cal State Fine Living Expo, which opens Friday at the Sacramento Convention Center.

The new three-day show features an eclectic mix of lifestyle attractions as well as traditional home and garden experts. You'll find cooking demonstrations, wine tasting, live music and a display of vintage travel trailers.

Gardeners will enjoy the expo's display gardens and vendors with plants and supplies. You'll also see the latest in outdoor kitchens, patio furniture and spas.

April 26, 2012
Virtuosos Fisk, Stoltzman to wrap up classical series at Sacramento State

The New Millennium series at Sacramento State will wrap up Friday with a rare dual concert by guitarist Eliot Fisk and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman.

The pairing of classical virtuosos will happen at 7:30 p.m. at Capistrano Music Recital Hall.

Stoltzman and Fisk will play works ranging from Bach to Steve Reich. Both musicians have been soloists with countless orchestras and chamber-music combinations. Stoltzman is a two-time Grammy winner and Fisk a Grammy nominee.

Tickets are $25 general, $20 for seniors and $5 for students. Tickets are available at the Sacramento State box office (916-278-4323). Parking is free in the garage adjacent to the hall.

April 26, 2012
Wellness Expert to Speak in Sacramento

Michael Roizen, a wellness expert from the Cleveland Clinic and author who goes by the nickname "The Enforcer," will speak at UC Davis Medical Center on Tuesday on how nutrition can extend longevity and lead to better health. 

The free lecture, part of the Pioneers of Integrative Medicine series, will be held at noon in the Education Building, room number 1222. 

For more information and to register, click here

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April 25, 2012
In The Flow Preview

In The Flow the Midtown music festival featuring jazz and related improvised music offers a preview of upcoming six night festival next Friday. The Anthony Coleman Quartet, Chikading!, and Dino Piranha from Oakland will perform at Midtown Village Cafe, 1827 I St. Sacramento. The all ages show starts at 8 p.m. and the cover is $6. Call (916) 668-6052 for more information. In The Flow 5 begins on Wednesday May 9 running through May 14 at multiple locations in Midtown. Details on the forty performing groups and five Midtown locations are available at

April 25, 2012
Come Sail Away to West Sac


Sailing may have the reputation as an elitist activity -- what with the prohibitive cost of a boat and all -- but the Lake Washington Sailing Club is trying to introduce more of the populace into the activity with its annual "Sail a Small Boat Day" in West Sacramento. 

The event, free, will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., on Saturday and will offer free rides on sail boats -- weather permitting. 

It will be held at the Lake Washington Sailing Club's headquarters at the Port of Sacramento, just off Industrial Boulevard in West Sacramento. 

For more information, go to the <a href=" ">Lake Washington Sailing Club website.</a>

Did we mention it's free?

PHOTO CAPTION: Lake Washington Sailing Club holds an open house. Lake Washington Sailing Club

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April 24, 2012
Dancing Tractors? Only in Oregon House


compressed pink1.26MB tractor.jpgVintage tractor lovers -- and we know you're out there plowing away -- can travel a bumpy road over to Oregon House, in Yuba County, on May 5-6 for the eighth annual Vintage Tractor Days.

The event takes place at the aptly-named Eventful Acres farm at 9594 Yuba Ranch Way and is free (though a $5 donation is requested).

Among the events: tractor games, parades and driving competitions.

Then there's tractor dancing. We'll let the event organizer, Janet Marchant, describe this activity:

Dancing tractors? That's right, a team of expert drivers, calling themselves the Exhibitionists, will perform choreographed moves and patterns to square dance and quadrille tunes including John Deere Green, Grandpa, and International Harvester.  This not-to-be-missed event is scheduled for 4:00 pm on Saturday, right before the drawing of the winning ticket for the now famous Pink Tractor which has raised some $20,000 to be shared 50-50  between the American Cancer Society and the Community Center.

More information here.

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April 24, 2012
Jewish Heritage Festival on tap Sunday, road closures

The Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region is hosting the Jewish Heritage Festival and Walk With Israel on April 29.

The public event will be held at Capitol Avenue & 20th Street in Midtown Sacramento from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event will force closure of Capitol Avenue from 19th Street to 21st Street. Additionally, 20th Street will be closed from N Street to L Street.

April 24, 2012
Scottish Games: Kilt Without the Guilt


KG SCOTTISH FEST 1.JPGMen in kilts, haggis and bagpipers. What's not to love about the Scots?

Make up your own mind this weekend, when those Robert Burns-loving Scotsmen and women -- and those who just want to pretend to be Scottish so as to wear a kilt -- descend on Woodland for the Sacramento Valley Scottish Games and Festival.

The event will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Yolo County Fairgrounds at 1125 East Street, Woodland. Daily admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (60 and over) and $6 for youths.

In addition to music and sporting events such as the hammer throw, you can trace your Scottish roots. More information here.   

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April 23, 2012
Infineon lets motorcycle riders have day on Sonoma racetrack

Most motorsports fans can only sit and watch as the racers go by. Next week, Infineon Raceway will let some fans experience the action firsthand.

On May 2, motorcycle riders can pilot the Sonoma racetrack's famous twists and turns during 3J's Motorcycle Track Days' charity ride. Now in its 17th year, the annual event includes a full day of riding around the 12-turn road course, catered lunch, T-shirt, raffle and an evening reception for all riders.

Cost is $275 and includes six 20-minute on-track sessions throughout the day. All riding levels are welcome.

The 3J's Motorcycle Track Day also serves as the kickoff to the Great Clips West Coast Moto Jam at Infineon Raceway, May 4-6. That weekend features the best in AMA Pro Road Racing, Supermoto USA and TTXGP electric motorcycles.

To sign-up for the charity motorcycle track day or for more information, visit or contact Jenah Smith, (707) 933-3990 or

During Moto Jam, Infineon also plans several other ways for riders to feel like racers. That includes: a Ride-In Bike Show (ride your motorcycle to the race with a chance to win prizes for best sportbike, vintage or cruiser), Park and Sell (paddock parking for motorcycles for sale), City Bike Ride (meet other riders in San Francisco, then travel over Golden Gate Bridge to Infineon before the May 6 finals) and free motorcycle seminars.

For more information or tickets to Moto Jam, click on or call (800) 870-7223.

April 23, 2012
Lyle Lovett, Steve Martin, Eddie Izzard to perform at Mondavi

The Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts just added three events to its 2012-13 season: Lyle Lovett on Saturday, July 7, Steve Martin and his Steep Canyon Rangers on
Saturday, Aug. 25 and comedian Eddie Izzard on Friday, Oct. 26.

Tickets go on sale to Mondavi Center subscribers today and to the general public on Sunday. For tickets to these shows or for subscriptions, visit the Mondavi site or call (530) 754-2787.

Lovett tickets run $35-$65, Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers tickets $35-$75 and Izzard tickets $25-$45.

Lovett memorably played the Mondavi with his friend John Hiatt in 2009. The Steep Canyon Rangers are comedian-actor-playwright-art collector Martin's sidemusical project. Martin leads the bluegrass band with his banjo and witty rejoinders.

Izzard, a late-1990s stand-up sensation known for his absurdist humor and out-transvestite status, has become best known for his acting roles in recent years. Izzard starred in the fascinating 2007-08 Fox series "The Riches" and voiced a role in the Pixar film "Cars 2."

April 23, 2012
Big Time Rush to hit Sleep Train Amphitheatre in September

Talk about big time: the Nickelodeon channel boy band Big Time Rush has gone from playing Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium a few months ago to the four-times-bigger Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Wheatland.

Big Time Rush will perform at Sleep Train on Friday, Sept. 21. Cody Simpson and Rachel Crow will open. Tickets are $32.50-$75.50, and are available through Live Nation.

Above is Big Time Rush's (or BTR, to insiders) mini-video for the song "Time of Our Life."

April 20, 2012
Tropical splendor on display at Sacramento orchid show

Find a taste of paradise without leaving Sacramento. This weekend, the Sacramento Orchid Society hosts its 65th annual show and sale at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento.

One of the largest floral events in the area, this Sacramento show features thousands of orchids in glorious bloom plus everything you need to keep them looking great. Demonstrations and free seminars cover care and how to make plants re-bloom.

The show will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $6; children under age 16 admitted free with adult. For more details, click on or call (916) 489-3263.

April 20, 2012
Roseville hosts family-oriented Celebrate the Earth Festival

The scene will be totally green Saturday as Roseville hosts one of the area's largest Earth Day commemorations - the fifth annual Celebrate the Earth Festival.

About 5,000 people are expected for Saturday's family-oriented event at Mahany Park, 1501 Pleasant Grove Blvd., Roseville. Hosted by the Roseville Utility Exploration Center, the free event features fun, food, music and family activities while showcasing green technologies, local green businesses and eco-minded organizations.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., about 95 vendors will offer products and information on how to be more Earth-friendly year round.

"The festival allows people to connect with local businesses who are committed to reducing waste and saving water," said Matthew Davis of the Exploration Center. "People want to know how they can lower their bills and save money."

In addition, master gardeners will offer advice on how to save water outdoors and cut down on chemicals to control pests or fertilize.

Helping to make the fest a major draw is the family entertainment. Among the favorite attractions for kids at the festival is the "Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom" live animal show. Also popular are the EarthCapades Environmental Vaudeville show and Dr. Solar's Good-Time Sunshine Traveling Medicine Show.

For more details, call (916) 746-1550 or click on

April 20, 2012
Reproductive rights documentaries on tap at Movies On A Big Screen


Movies on a Big Screen will show two documentaries that plumb the always controversial reproductive rights issue when it screens "Motherhood By Choice, Not Chance" and "We Always Resist." The docs will be followed by a panel discussion.

"Motherhood by Choice, Not Chance," was directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman and based on the trilogy, "From the Back-Alleys to the Supreme Court & Beyond." The 2004 film brings alive the struggle for women's reproductive rights in the U.S. and the chilling facts about the current threat to those rights.

This 24-minute "We Always Resist," from 2011, provides an informative history of the struggle for reproductive choice within African American communities and argues that black women have always considered reproductive choice a fundamental part of how they defined liberation for themselves and their communities.

The panel that follows the films include Dr. Glennah Trochet, former Sacramento County Public Heath Officer; Ana Sandoval, of Planned Parenthood; and Christi H. Ketchum, with Our Rightful Place.

Movies On A Big Screen
WHEN: 7:00 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: The Guild Theatre, 2828 35th St, Sacramento


April 20, 2012
Free Entrance for National Parks Week


bp yosemite.JPGWhat's better than enjoying the vast splendor of our national parks?

Not having to pay for the pleasure.

Starting Saturday and continuing to next Sunday, admission to any National Park is free. It's part of the celebration for National Parks Week.

Said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, in a prepared statement: "During National Park Week, stroll a woodland path or around the grounds of a presidential home. Kayak through a mangrove forest or on an urban waterway. All 397 national parks are great places to get some exercise while taking in spectacular scenery or learning something new. Whether you go to a natural, historical, or recreational site, or an urban, suburban, or rural park, every national park provides a place to exercise both the body and the mind."

Yeah, what he said.

More information here.

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April 19, 2012
Text Donation Campaign to Aid American River Parkway

It is unwise, of course, to run and text. But here's an opportunity to run or text -- or both, though not at the same time -- to help preserve the American River Parkway.

A text donation campaign is being run in conjunction with the running of the Parkway Half Marathon on April 28 in Sacramento. So, if you're too lazy to run 13.1 miles to raise money for the American River Parkway Foundation, all it takes is a little thumb action to text a donation.  Sacfit (Sacramento Friends in Training) is spearheading the text donation campaign. To make a donation, type in "Parkway", a space, "donation amount" then send to 27138.

Gee, hope that's not too taxing.


April 19, 2012
What, me worry? A talk about Germans and their superstitions...


Let's face it-you probably don't have any German ancestors.

So why should you care about an upcoming talk about German ancestors and their superstitions?

Depends on how afraid you are of Friday the 13th... or how much you care about Germans of yore and their fervent fears of things like dates, broken mirrors and black cats.

April 19, 2012
Get your tomato plants today at American River sale

While enjoying this warm weather, get a jump on your summer garden with the help of students at American River College.

From noon to 6 p.m. today, the ARC Horticulture Department is hosting a spring plant sale, featuring hundreds of heirloom tomato, pepper and other vegetable transplants. Also featured are annual flowers and - for folks you just can't wait for blooms - flower arrangements.

All plants were grown by ARC students and all proceeds benefit the college's horticulture department. Admission is free; parking is $1.

American River College is located at 4700 College Oak Drive, Sacramento. The sale will be held in the horticulture area on the northeast side of campus, south of Myrtle Avenue behind the auto body shop.

Questions? Call (916) 484-8539 or click on

April 19, 2012
Sammy Hagar is ready to party at Tahoe's Cabo Wabo Cantina

BB CABO WABO STAGE.JPGGet ready, fans of Sammy "Red Rocker" Hagar. The soft opening of his expanded Cabo Wabo Cantina at Harveys in South Lake Tahoe is set for April 27, with food and drink specials and live music by local bands. Hagar originally opened the restaurant-bar-music venue in 2004, amid - shall we say - much festivity.

What can fans look for in the revamped cantina? For starters, an expanded menu, more seating, raised ceilings and a stage that will be twice as big as the original. At the bar, Hagar's signature Cabo Wabo blue-agave tequila will be joined by his new brand, Sammy's Beach Bar rum.

As "grand opening week" continues, the Red Rocker's son, Aaron Hagar, will play in the cantina at 8 p.m. May 2 and 3, with Sammy's band, the Wabos.

Sammy will host the official grand-opening party at 4 p.m. May 4, on stage with a surf band. Judging by the soiree in 2004 - during which Hagar smashed open a huge pinata with a guitar - it should be quite a ride.

Sammy and his newest band, Chickenfoot, will play to sold-out crowds in the South Shore Room at nearby Harrah's on the evenings of May 4 and 5.

For more information: (775) 588-6611,

April 19, 2012
Mumbo Gumbo to play at fund-draiser for Eastern Star building

The Eastern Star hall, that beauty of a historical building across K Street from Sutter's Fort, needs a $9,000 city soil test to stay open. So preservation groups are putting on a show.

Mumbo Gumbo and the Freebadge Serenaders will perform Saturday, April 28 in ballroom of the building at 2719 K St.

Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. fund-raiser are $25 in advance, $30 the day of the show. The show is all ages, but beer and wine will be available for music fans ages 21 and older. Advance tickets are available through

The event is sponsored by the Capital City Preservation Trust and Midtown Neighborhood Association.

April 19, 2012
New Trail to Open in Cold Canyon Outside of Winters

Thumbnail image for RP STEBBINS VIEW WEST.JPGThe completion of any new trail is a cause for celebration, so the  volunteers that blazed the new Annie's Trail at Stebbins Cold Canyon outside of Winters (near Lake Berryessa) will throw a grand opening bash at the site Sunday, "Earth Day," at 9 a.m.

Afterward, around 3 p.m., a potluck barbecue will be held at Solano Park's group picnic area.

The conservation group Tuleyome in 2009 purchased 72 acres in the Cold Canyon headwaters, enabling them to build a two-mile addition to the current stenuous five-mile loop popular with hikers and trail runners. The new trail, which goes through an oak glade before ascending to the ridge, was named for Anne Schneider, a founder of Tuleyome who died in 2010. 

More information here.  

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April 18, 2012
Loopin' in Loomis


loomisart.jpgNine years running, art lovers have flocked to the foothills for the Loomis Art Loop Open Studio Mother's Day Weekend Tour.

This year, the tour will run May 12 and 13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thirteen artists from five local studios will be displaying work. Many of the artists will be working while visitors admire their creations.

The first stop, 3578 Silver Ranch Road in Loomis, will feature refreshments, including a chocolate fountain. More information here.  

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April 18, 2012
Dick Clark's death ends a television and musical era

News that longtime "American Bandstand" host Dick Clark has died closes the door on an important era in the presentation of pop music.
That door already was partially closed when "Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius died in February.

Clark's and Cornelius' shows seem quaint now, but they were important sources of news and information for 1970s and '80s small-town kids like me. "Bandstand" and "Soul Train" showed the faces behind radio hits and offered insights into the latest fashions and dances.

These shows offered a sense of community among music fans -- even if the young people who appeared on these shows clearly were not regular teens but rather showbiz types angling for more camera time.

YouTube and social media now get bands' images out to the world in an instant. But "Bandstand" seemed dated even in the early 1980s, when MTV was the much cooler conduit for lip-syncing.

Yet "Bandstand" still had some juice in the early '80s. I saw Madonna's face (and midriff) for the first time on "Bandstand" (see video, above)

I recall it vividly because I had heard "Holiday" on the radio and had envisioned a 1970s, sequined-gowned dance diva singing the song. The East Village-scruffy, fashion-forward singer and modern dancer who appeared on "Bandstand" was a revelation.

Within a few years, Madonna would become as iconic a figure as the always genial yet always in-charge gentleman who introduced her on "Bandstand." The in-charge part is evident in the final part of the video, when Clark keeps control of his interview with Madonna despite crowd whoops and her already formidable ego.

April 17, 2012
Picnic Day is Saturday in Davis

By Timothy Sandoval

UC Davis holds its annual Picnic Day Saturday. The event, meant to showcase university programs, turned into a rowdy drunk fest in recent years. A heavy police presence curtailed violence last year. This year, officials have expanded a downtown safety zone with enhanced penalties for crimes like urinating in public. Other measures will also be used to enhance safety as well. Several events on the campus will also be held before the events on Saturday.

More info about the school's events can be found at

April 17, 2012
Sacramento master gardeners host Open Garden Wednesday

Take a mid-week garden break and get ready for spring.

The Sacramento County master gardeners will host an Open Garden Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center in Fair Oaks Park, 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks.

While tending their garden, the master gardeners will be available to answer questions about growing vegetables, fruit, grapes and berries, flowers and more.

Find out about backyard pests and tips for growing great tomatoes. The best part: It's free.

For more details or directions, call (916) 875-6913 or click on

April 17, 2012
Read all about it: Thousands of books at warehouse sale

How about a deal you can read?

The Friends of the Sacramento Public Library will hold a fund-raising warehouse sale of more than 70,000 gently used books, audiobooks and video cassettes, along with a special section of Chinese-language books.

The sale will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at 8250 Belvedere Ave., south of 14th Avenue between Power Inn Road and Florin-Perkins Road.

The Book Den bookstore at the warehouse will be open during the warehouse sale, as well as Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Information: (916) 731-8493.

April 16, 2012
'Casablanca' to play again in movie theaters


It's a second encore for "Casablanca" in multiplexes.

The Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman classic, shown in March in theaters across the country, will appear on big screens again at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 26.

Tied to the release of a DVD and Blu-ray editions of the film, the screening will include a filmed introduction by Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne.

"Casablanca" will show at several theaters in the Sacramento region. For details,
click here.


April 16, 2012
Yeardley 'Lisa Simpson' Smith shows off her new shoes

download.jpgYes, Yeardley (pronounced "YARD-lee") Smith is well-known as the voice of Lisa Simpson, the brainy saxophone-playing daughter of Homer and Marge on the Fox network's "The Simpsons."

Beyond that, the Emmy-winner is a film actor ("The Chaperone," "As Good As It Gets," "City Slickers"), Broadway stage actor ("The Real Thing" and her one-woman show "More"), voice actor on a library of audiobooks ("Stephen King's Nightmares and Dreamscapes," the Noel Coward and Oscar Wilde collections), writer (the children's book "I, Lorelei), producer and philanthropist.

Her self-invention continued with the recent founding of Marchez Vous, her high-end footwear company. Smith herself designs the made-in-Italy padded high heels, pumps, booties and wedges. Her mission statement: "To merge beauty and elegance with comfort."

Judge for yourself: Smith and her fall collection will be on hand from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Pavilions Salon Shoes in the Pavilions center (Fair Oaks Boulevard near Howe Avenue), Sacramento; (916) 933-4056,

April 13, 2012
Capital Stage Changes Schedule

Capital Stage Theatre company has announced a change to its 2011-12 production schedule. Paula Vogel's 1998 Pulitzer Prize winning drama "How I Learned to Drive" will switch slots with Christopher Shinn's "Dying City." "How I Learned to Drive" will now open on May 19 while "Dying City" moves to the company's summer production dates, July 18 - August 12, 2012. "How I Learned to Drive" features Capital Stage artistic director Stephanie Gularte and veteran Bay Area based actor James Hiser. Jamie Jones, Melanie Marshall and Eric Wheeler complete the cast. Janis Stevens directs.

"How I Learned to Drive" previews at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 16 and 8 p.m. Thursday & Friday May 17 & 18. The production open at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 19 and continues at 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. through June 17, 2012. Tickets from $20-$32. Previews are $18; Student Rush tickets are $12; Senior Sunday Matinee Tickets are $26; Information at (916)995-5464 or at

April 13, 2012
Drive In screenings offered for free Thursday at West Wind


Attendance at drive in theaters is booming.

And to celebrate that fact Sacramento's West Wind Drive In is offering free movie screenings - three of them, actually - on Thursday evening. The screening will take place at the West Wind Sacramento Drive-In at 9616 Oates Drive off of Highway 50 and Bradshaw Road.

It's part of their customer appreciation night where three of the drive-in's six screens will be showing pairings of recent movie blockbusters: "The Lorax," "Journey 2" and "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol."

April 13, 2012
Clean Up the River Parkway


20110503_LS_PARKWAY331.JPGSacramentans are being asked to celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 21 by helping to tidy up the area's recreational crown jewel -- the American River Parkway.

The annual clean up sponsored by the American River Parkway Foundation will be held at seven sites from 9 a.m. to noon. The sites: Discovery Park, Northgate at Highway 160, Howe at La Riveria, Watt at La Riveria, Ancil Hoffman Park, William Pond Recreation Center and Sunrise at South Bridge Street.

To register as a volunteer, visit or call the ARPF
at (916) 486-2773. 

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April 12, 2012
Lake Solano Park Hike: It's for the Birds

Bird watchers and, heck, nature lovers in general are invited on April 21 to embark on a two-hour guided tour of the birds on Lake Solano and Putah Creek, just outside of Winters.

The walk, from 10 a.m. to noon, begins at the Nature Center and 8685 Pleasants Valley Road in Winters. There is a $5 parking fee in the lot across Pleasants Valley Road from the center. Call (707) 432-0150, ext. 200 for further information or log on to Solano County's website.

Leading the tour will be volunteer Barbara Cooper, who will link "what birds have to do with dinosaurs.  

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April 11, 2012
Mystery novelist Cara Black will be in Woodland tonight

San Francisco-based mystery writer Cara Black will be in Woodland tonight, giving a free presentation, fielding questions from the audience and autographing books.

Black is the author of the 12-title Aimee Leduc series, set in Paris. Her latest is "Murder At the Lanterne Rouge" (Soho, $25, 320 pages).

Leduc is a tall, spiky-haired private investigator very much into knockoff couture and Chanel No. 5. She's partners in a computer security business with Rene Friant, a "little person" who drives a 1964 Citroën. Their investigations usually lead to mayhem of one sort or another.

"Aimee does a lot of things I would like to do but never will," Black said. "I wouldn't climb over roofs while wearing high heels, but she can." Black appeared for the Bee Book Club in 2008.

The author will appear at 6:30 tonight at the Woodland Public Library, 250 First St.; (530) 666-2976,

April 10, 2012
Monterey Bay Aquarium is ready with special events

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of California's world-class attractions, and gets its share of visitors from our area. In your coming travels, you might add these special events to the itinerary:

"The Jellies Experience," showing now: The popular 16-species jellyfish exhibit has taken new twists with the addition of six new hands-on interactive galleries. For instance, visitors can now "swim" with jellyfish, and create their own electronic jellies and set them adrift in a virtual aquarium.

"Día del Niño/Day of the Child," April 22: The 11th annual event will feature mariachi bands, performances by Grammy-nominated Perla Batalla, a special crafts-making room, and free admission for children 12 and younger.

"Cooking For Solutions," May 18-20: This is the big one - a "culinary extravaganza" - three days of food from 70 restaurants and wine from 60 wineries. Featured will be sustainable-seafood dishes from celebrity chefs, chef-hosted special breakfasts (one led by Carla Hall, co-host of TV's "The Chew"), cooking demonstrations, tastings, hands-on activities, seminars and more.

Among the award-winning celebrity chefs-restaurateurs will be Cindy Pawlcyn (Mustards Grill), Michael Chiarello (Bottega) and Charles Phan (Slanted Door). Ticketing is by event.

World Ocean Day weekend, June 9-10: Special activities and exhibits will mark the global celebration of the "amazing ecosystem that covers 70 percent of the planet." Emphasis will be on how to keep our oceans healthy.

The aquarium is on historic Cannery Row in Monterey. Its mission is "to inspire conservation of the oceans." For ticketing and more information: (831) 648-4800,

April 5, 2012
Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw to countrify Oakland Coliseum

Stadium shows do not happen often in the Bay Area, and if they do, it's usually veteran rock superstars the Rolling Stones or U2 playing.

On July 15, country superstars Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw will change all that when they bring their "Brothers of the Sun" stadium tour to Coliseum in Oakland.

Tickets run $36.75-$276.95, and go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 14, through Ticketmaster(800-745-3000).

The Sunday concert will offer opening acts and an afternoon-buzz start time of 4:30. The beach-themed show will include a "sandbar" area near the stage.

The sun theme makes sense with Chesney, Chesney, the Jimmy Buffett of country with his island-getaway songs, but not so much with McGraw. McGraw's black cowboy hat says sun protection, not sun worship.

April 3, 2012
TV journalist Lisa Ling will take the stage tonight

Lisa Ling 2.JPG
TV journalist and Carmichael native Lisa Ling will be on stage tonight, talking about the memoir she co-wrote with her sister, Laura Ling, and "some of the stories I've reported on throughout my career."

Ling is host and executive producer of "Our America," airing on the Oprah Winfrey Network. It's mandate is to bring to light "the lives of everyday Americans."

Ling will give a presentation at 8 p.m. at the Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento, wrapping up the Sacramento Speaker Series' 2011-12 season. Tickets are $50 to $70 at (916) 388-1100 and

April 3, 2012
LiveStrong Challenge to unveil Davis course

By Sam McManis

The LiveStrong Challenge, a long-distance cycling event that will take place in June in Davis, will unveil its course on Friday at a free event.

The preparatory kickoff for the charity ride, which benefits cancer research, will be at Sudwerk Brewery (2001 2nd Street, Davis) Friday from 5:30 to 8:30. The event is a "free" happy-hour at the restaurant, with the official course unveiling starting at 7 p.m.

To RSVP, email:

April 2, 2012
Cocktail party for "Sacramento's Most Eligible Bachelor and Bachelorette"

AOL once ranked Sacramento as the sixth worst city in the country for dating, but hey, there's still a few keepers out there. Two local blogs, and, have helped narrow down some of the possibilities with the third annual "Sacramento's Most Eligible Bachelor and Bachelorette." The bachelors range from lawyers and consultants, to accountants and even a guy who makes cider. The bachelorettes include teachers, a lobbyist and a local DJ and you can check out all the nominees here.

After you've done that virtual window shopping, vote for your favorite bachelor/bachelorette here. Voting ends Tuesday, so get cracking with those votes.

Then, on Wednesday, the most eligible bachelor/bachelorette will be crowned at District 30 (1022 K St., Sacramento), the local hot spot for dancing and regrettable hook-ups. The event - slash - cocktail party runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Guests are asked to bring gently-used women's suits and business wear for WEAVE's "Suited for Success" program.

Good luck, and may the most eligible bachelor and bachelorette win!

April 2, 2012
Sierra College creates museum guide

By Sam McManis

Sierra College's electronic journal, called "The Journal of the Sierra College Natural History Museum," has just published a new issue with a valuable resource for history buffs - a directory of about 200 museums, libraries and other cultural organizations in the Sierra Nevada region.

Seventeen California counties, including Sacramento, are represented in the journal, accompanied by a short, explanatory description of the venue, contact information and a photo gallery. It also features a special section highlighting the Sierra College Natural History Museum.

For more information and to purchase the electronic journal, go to or through the college website at


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