Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

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

March 29, 2013
Grant-Lee Phillips performs in Nevada City

grant-lee.jpgSinger-songwriter Grant-Lee Phillips appears tonight at the Miner's Foundry in Nevada City.

If you don't know the native of Stockton from his successful Grant-Lee Buffalo, you might know him as the troubadour on the "Gilmore Girls."

In his new album, "Walking in the Green Corn," Phillips sings about his search into his Native American lineage. His show tonight features his instrumental versatility and his emotionally rich lyrics.

When: 8 p.m. tonight

Where: Miners Foundry, 325 Spring St., Nevada City

Cost: $18 online until 4 p.m.; $22 at the door

Information or tickets: (530) 265-5462;

March 28, 2013
Sacramento kendama battles set for Saturday and Sunday


The kendama craze in Sacramento continues with back-to-back events set for this weekend. For those not keeping score at home - or don't spend much time with young people - the kendama is a traditional ball-and-cup toy from Japan that's become all the rage locally. In this recent story from The Bee, local shops reported selling more than 200 kendamas a week and waiting lists have become the norm in some cases.

One quick observation: kendama-mania is very much a Sacramento phenomenon right now. I visited San Francisco's Japantown over the weekend and didn't see any kendamas in the toy shops. For all the kids eating and shopping with their folks, none of them seem to be carrying a kendama either. Check out any Sacramento schoolyard these days and it's the total opposite. Kendamas are everywhere.

Meanwhile, the SacKendama club has reinvigorated its Facebook page. Be sure to "like" this page if you're interested in keeping up with the latest kendama news and local events.

March 28, 2013
'Temptation' actor Robbie Jones' special Sacramento screening


Sacramento's Tower Theatre is rolling out the red carpet Thursday night (March 28) for a special screening of Tyler Perry's new movie "Temptation," which stars Cordova High School and UC Berkeley graduate Robbie Jones, who will be in attendance.

In the film, Jones plays Harley, an entrepreneur who has an affair with Judith ("Friday Night Light's" Jurnee Smollett-Bell), a married young woman who works for a matchmaking service.

While Jones' resume includes TV shows such as "90210" and "One Tree Hill" among other projects, "Temptation" marks his highest profile film role to date.

Look for a profile of Jones from The Bee's film critic Carla Meyer in Friday's Ticket section, in which he talks about working with filmmaker Perry as well as the other actors in the movie, including reality-TV star Kim Kardashian and pop-singer Brandy Norwood.

Tonight's 7:30 p.m. special screening at the Tower, hosted by radio station KSFM, is invite only (the station has been giving away tickets to listeners), however "Temptation" opens in Sacramento-area theaters Friday.

-- Tim Swanson

Photo credit: Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Robbie Jones in "Temptation" from Lionsgate Films.

March 26, 2013
Sacramento's Bows & Arrows highlights 'New Song Movement'


Bows & Arrows tonight taps into the Bay Area's "New Song Movement" with a three acts.

On the billing is Grex (pictured), which synthesizes indie and blues rock, modern jazz and contemporary structuralist composition, and features Karl A.D. Evangelista, M. Rei Scampvia and Robert Lopez.

Rounding out the evening will be singer/songwriter Chris Peck and LURK, a one-man band from Davis.

Evangelista says the New Song Movement is "meant to represent a recent groundswell of music in the Bay Area that synthesizes popular song and experimental concepts. This is a relatively new phenomenon (originating at Oakland's Mills College) but it's been gaining momentum."

Where: Bows & Arrows is at 1815 19th St., Sacramento.

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $5


March 21, 2013
Director, actor to appear in Sacramento with cult hit 'Repo! The Genetic Opera'


Friday night at Sacramento's Colonial Theatre, songs will be sung, organs will be extracted (on screen), and a cult-horror film director and star will interact with fans.

Director Darren Lynn Bousman and actor/writer/performer Terrance Zdunich will accompany their horror rock-opera films "Repo! The Genetic Opera" and "The Devil's Carnival, Episode I." The films will be presented as a double feature.

The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Colonial Theatre, 3522 Stockton Blvd. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here. Zdunich will sing a song from "Devil's Carnival," and he and Bousman -- who also directed the second, third and fourth "Saw" films -- will hold a Q&A with audience members.

"Repo!" involves rock songs, widespread human-organ failure and a corporation that finances organ replacement and then repossesses the organs of those who can't cough up cash for payments.

"Repo!" was (barely) released by Lionsgate in 2008, despite one of the more intriguing casts of the past decade, with Paul Sorvino, Paris Hilton and pop opera star Sarah Brightman among its actors.

But the film found new life through midnight screenings and "shadowcasts" -- actors performing along with the film a la "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Amber's Sweets, a performance-troupe offshoot of the Sacramento Horror Film Festival, has held shadowcasts at the Colonial.

Bousman, reached by phone Thursday, said he was sure "Repo!" would be a hit before its studio release.

"When anyone makes a movie, they think, deep down, 'This is going to do amazing, this is going to be big,'" he said. "I thought it was going to be 'Les Mis' or 'Chicago.' I was coming off 'Saw.' We were kind of slapped in the face when it was released in four theaters."

Rather than let it drop, Bousman and crew toured with it, and the film reached "cult classic" status within a few years. 'Rocky' took almost 15 years" to do that, Bousman points out. "But now we have social media."

Bousman and Zdunich made their subsequent, horror rock opera, "The Devil's Carnival" (also starring Sorvino, along with sean Patrick Flanery and "90210" actress Jessica Lowndes) independent of a studio.

They took the 60-minute first episode around the country. Sacramento actress Stephanie Hydenacted as mistress of ceremonies during the tour, Bousman said. Tonight's program will include a preview of "Carnival" episode 2.


March 20, 2013
SF Flower Show opens with world's largest succulent globe

Worlds Largest Succulent Globe.jpg Spring arrives today with a new spin on gardening at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show at the San Mateo Event Center.

Centerpiece for the mammoth show - the third largest flower show in the nation - is the world's largest succulent globe.

This green planet fits this year's theme, "Gardening Makes the World Go Round." Created by the show's staff and Succulent Gardens nursery in Castroville, this living planet spins at a 23-degree angle - just like Earth - but completes a rotation in 30 seconds, not 24 hours.

This is no garden-variety container planting. The 14-foot-tall globe weighs 2,800 pounds and measures more than 32 feet in circumference. It took more than 30,000 succulent cuttings to create its surface. They've been growing in place for more than seven months.

In addition, the event showcases 18 internationally themed gardens and offers 90 seminars and workshops. More than 300 vendors are part of the marketplace. There also is a large activity area for children. Celebrity chefs will demonstrate garden to table recipes.

The San Mateo Event Center is located at 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Admission: $20; seniors, age 65 and up, $18; children 16 and under admitted free; parking, $12.

Questions? Click on or call (888) 695-0888.

March 19, 2013
Where to buy Kendamas in Sacramento


For anyone who spends time among young people, especially those of elementary school age, today's Living Here cover story probably came as no surprise. The article's about the local craze over Kendamas, a traditional Japanese toy that's become all the rage with the Nickelodeon set and even older. Want to know where to buy one? Check out this list - and note that many shops sell out of Kendamas quickly and have waiting lists in some cases.

* Metropolis Comix, 8241 Bruceville Rd, Sacramento; 916-689-2009: Some credit this comic shop near Elk Grove with kicking off Kendama-mania in Sacramento. Metropolis Comix is an official partner with Kendama USA and a hub for SacKendama, a club that hosts tournaments and other events around the area. One event drew 800 kendama players.

March 15, 2013
Los Lobos to headline 2013 Sacramento Music Festival


The Sacramento Music Festival announced Friday that it's lowering ticket prices by 15 percent and booking acts of wide appeal -- such as longtime rockers Los Lobos -- in an effort to attract a wider audience this year.

The 40-year-old festival, once known as the Dixieland Jazz Jubilee, will present the 2013 festival in Old Sacramento on Memorial Day weekend, from May 24 - 27.

Los Lobos will be the headline act performing May 26. Other headline acts booked include Ben Taylor, the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon, as well as The Blasters, John Lee Hooker Jr. and the U.K.-based The James Hunter Six.

March 13, 2013
New Helvetia Theatre stages extraordinary "Ordinary Days"


By Marcus Crowder

New Helvetia Theatre's sparkling production of Adam Gwon's satisfying "Ordinary Days" has so many charms it's hard to know where to begin. Set in contemporary New York, the funny and dramatic sung through chamber musical has a bright unaffected grasp of modern life, which for its characters is vibrantly comic, sad and hopeful. With Courtney Glass and Tristan Rumery (pictured), Kiera Anderson, and Connor Mickiewicz.

Read the complete review tomorrow. 8 p.m.

Thursdays - Saturdays, 2 p.m Saturdays through March 30. The New Helvetia Theatre, 1028 R St. Sacramento . Tickets: $20 and $30. Information: Call (916) 469-9850 or go to

March 12, 2013
Old Sacramento hosts St. Patrick's Day parade on March 16


Old Sacramento will go a wee bit Celtic crazy Saturday (March 16) at the 17th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade - one of the largest in Northern California. Irish dancers, pipers, drummers and others will march in a shamrock-soaked, family-friendly celebration o'er the cobblestones. The parade begins at 1 p.m. at Second and L Streets. Cost is free.

Here's a numerical breakdown of what you'll see in the parade, according to organizers.

March 8, 2013
No more daily movie showings at downtown Sacramento's Crest Theatre

By Carla Meyer

Sacramento's Crest Theatre has stopped operating as a seven-day-a-week movie house.

The Crest on Friday ceased daily movie showings in its two downstairs auditoriums. The Crest will continue to show films in its main auditorium, but not every day. That auditorium also holds concerts and other events.

"It will be a calendar schedule, so people should expect usually one- to three-day runs" of films, Crest general manager Sid Garcia-Heberger said.

Garcia-Heberger announced in November that the Crest would likely close its two downstairs auditoriums, citing changes in the way people watch independent films. Many arthouse and foreign films now debut on cable On Demand and streaming services before hitting theaters.

The decline in movie attendance, and the renaissance of the 1000 block of K Street on which the Crest sits, inspired Garcia-Heberger and her business partners to consider other options - such as a restaurant or a music venue - for the theater's below-ground space.

"There is something in the works, but we are not ready to talk about it yet," Garcia-Heberger said Friday about plans for the downstairs space.

The Crest remains home to most of Sacramento's film festivals, including this weekend's Sacramento Jewish Film Festival.

On Sunday night, the Crest will show the film "Girl Rising," a collection of animated vignettes about girls overcoming tough obstacles, in its main theater. On March 14, it will open one of its downstairs theaters for a showing of "Citizen Hearst," a documentary look at publisher William Randolph Hearst.

The end of daily operation of the Crest's downstairs screens leaves the Tower Theatre as the only Sacramento arthouse theater showing films seven days a week.

Call The Bee's Carla Meyer, (916) 321-1118. Follow her on Twitter: @CarlaMeyerSB.

March 4, 2013
Downtown Sacramento 'Concerts in the Park' 2013 schedule announced

Time to bust out the calendar and circle some summer dates.

MAJ CHAVEZ PLAZA.JPGThe Downtown Sacramento Partnership has announced the band lineup for the 2013 Concerts in the Park season in Cesar Chavez Plaza, which runs Friday nights May 3 - July 26 and features notable acts such as Middle Class Rut, Mothers Hips and !!!.

"On the heels of last season's success, we are excited to have a lineup that is even bigger than 2012," said Downtown Sacramento Partnership's senior events manager Annie Stuckert in a release. "We had a nearly 40 percent increase in attendance in 2012. For (Concerts in the Park) 2013, we're taking all the elements that people loved last year and enhancing them."

Concerts, which include DJs spinning music between sets, will run from 5 - 9 p.m.

Check out the full schedule below (good to note that there's no July 5 show because of the July 4 holiday).

March 1, 2013
Sacramento Home and Garden Show opens today at Cal Expo

fredhoffman.jpg Get inspired for a busy spring at the 32nd annual Sacramento Home and Garden Show, which opens at noon today at Cal Expo for a weekend run.

Attracting thousands of patrons, this show emphasizes renovation and renewal with hundreds of exhibitors and vendors. Among the guest speakers are radio host Farmer Fred Hoffman (pictured), who will answer garden questions from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, and "Lighting Geek" Tommy Herren.

Billed as Sacramento's "original home show," this event packs three buildings at Cal Expo, located at 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento.

Show hours are noon to 6 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $7; children age 12 and under admitted free. Bring a can of food and save $1 off adult ticket price with the donation to the Sacramento Food Bank.

For complete details and exhibitor list, click on


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