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Best of Sacramento 2011

(page 3 of 7)


THINGS TO DO

Best Way To Spend a Day
Grady O’Bryant likes bringing people together. And he does just that with his Meetup, SACRAMENTO DAY TRIPPERS. The group, which boasts 2,000 members, has been tripping all around Northern California since 2008: wine tasting in Amador, seeing plays in San Francisco, cheering at football games in Oakland, taking in the sights at Monterey Bay Aquarium. O’Bryant organizes some 50-plus outings a year. The group also holds a big New Year’s Eve bash and gets together to listen to jazz at MIX Downtown during the warm-weather months. (916) 443-8741; escapesac.com

Best Way To Expand Your Mind
Where do you go when you’re craving intellectual sustenance? California State Library’s FOOD FOR THOUGHT CULTURAL PROGRAM scratches that itch. Held the third Wednesday of every month, the free events have a format that varies: It could be a movie screening, author lecture or music performance. But it’s always something California-related. This month, pop-up-book author and illustrator David A. Carter talks about his books. “The series is meant to introduce people to what we offer here at the library,” says Rebecca Fontaine, special events coordinator at the library, which is like the California version of the U.S. Library of Congress. “Most people don’t know what we are really about or that we are even here.” 900 N St., Sacramento; (916) 654-0266; library.ca.gov

Best Way To See the Real Old Sac
In the late 1800s, the city raised Old Sac’s buildings 8 to 12 feet to help combat the effects of flooding. Now you can tour the hidden underground city that was left behind. Hourlong OLD SACRAMENTO UNDERGROUND TOURS ake you below several historic buildings, including the B.F. Hastings and Hall & Luhrs Co. buildings. You’ll learn about interesting residents of the era and view bona-fide artifacts from back in the day. Sturdy shoes are recommended and a new appreciation for Sacramento history is guaranteed. Tours run through November, then resume in April. historicoldsac.org/programs/programs-underground.asp

Best Place To Spot a Celebrity
Sacramento isn’t exactly teeming with famous people. But once a year, a slew of celebs come to town for induction into the CALIFORNIA HALL OF FAME. Founded in 2006 by then-first lady Maria Shriver, the Hall of Fame celebrates remarkable Californians who’ve had a major impact on the world. Past honorees include Tiger Woods, Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand, Serena Williams, Jack Nicholson, Mark Zuckerberg and Clint Eastwood. In previous years, induction was held in The California Museum’s tiny downtown auditorium. This year’s ceremony will be on Dec. 8 at the much larger Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are available at $125 a pop. For fans looking to gawk for free, there will be a red carpet arrival out front for this year’s inductees, which include Buzz Aldrin, Magic Johnson, Carlos Santana and The Beach Boys. Bring your binoculars. californiamuseum.org

 

Next page: Garden + Design

(page 6 of 7)

ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

Best Way To Add Sizzle to Your Life
SIZZLING SIRENS, a sensuous all-woman dance troupe, has been bringing va va voom to Sacramento since 2008, performing everywhere from the Crocker Art Museum to Harlow’s. Make a night of it and check out the The Siren Show at RESTAURANT THIR13EN, which features live jazz and blues from the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, themed cocktails and an optional themed dinner. Another option? Fishnet Friday, a burlesque-themed dance party that takes place every first Friday at Marilyn’s on K. Want to get your own sizzle on? Take a class at Burlesque Academy. Private and group lessons are available. sizzlingsirensburlesque.com

Best Way To See Artistsin Their Natural Habitat
To the layperson, art making can be a mysterious process. CAPITOL ARTISTS' STUDIO TOUR gives Sacramentans a chance to see what an artist’s life is like behind the scenes. Held every September by the Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, the free, self-guided two-day event allows you to tour 150 working artists’ studios and see for yourself how the magic happens. The art on display covers a wide spectrum, with textiles, furniture and sculpture among the offerings. “There’s something for every style,” says CCAS board member Cheryl Holben. The center encourages attendees to start their art collections by purchasing original works, many of which cost less than framed reproductions at major retailers. (916) 498-9811; ccasac.org

Best Alternative to the Multiplex
Sacramento isn’t a top-tier city when it comes to attracting independent films. So Robert McKeown and his wife, DeeAnn Little, started MOVIES ON A BIG SCREEN to bring documentaries, indie flicks and the occasional cult classic to town. Screenings have been held at different venues over the past five years that MOBS has been in existence, but for now they’re on Sunday nights at Oak Park’s Guild Theater. Tickets to most films are just $5. McKeown cites positive audience feedback as a reason why MOBS endures. “Our tagline is ‘We’re 5 years old and it’s all your fault,’” he says. The pair hope to add a second movie night. moviesonabigscreen.com

Best Band To Watch
When we first heard the name SISTER CRAYON, we thought we’d stumbled upon a children’s band. But one listen to the band’s ethereal, sometimes haunting
music and we were properly schooled. The band—Terra Lopez, Dani Fernandez and Jeffrey LaTour—put heart, soul and sometimes sweat into their live appearances. They have a solid fan base in Sac, and they love their fans back. Sister Crayon posted the following on its Facebook page after one Sacramento appearance this summer: “Thank you, thank you, thank you Sacramento. You never disappoint. Truly humbled and honored for your energy and support tonight. 916 got moves.” The Sammie-award winning band is currently touring, so you might not catch it here until next year. In the meantime, check out Bellow, its first full-length album under the Manimal Vinyl Records label.

Best Splashy New Arts Center
Not too shabby for a theater that was conceived as a gathering ground for students to show off their performance skills. Since its opening in February with A Chorus Line, THREE STAGES AT FOLSOM LAKE COLLEGE has drawn the Joffrey Ballet, Hal Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight!, Gloria Steinem, Harlem Gospel Choir, Rosanne Cash and other top touring acts. The complex also is a venue for professional groups closer to home, such as the Sacramento Ballet and Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, and youthful productions such as those of El Dorado Musical Theatre and Northern California Dance Conservatory. With three performance spaces—847-seats, 207-seats and 95-seats—there’s enough room to fulfill the original mission of showcasing college performances. This season, expect to see FLC’s Afro-Cuban Funk Band’s Jazz After Dark (Nov. 18), Monty Python’s Spamalot (Nov. 17 to 19) and Folsom Symphony’s A Joyful Celebration (Dec. 11) among other inspiring shows.

Best High School Touring Company
We’re busting with pride that MIRA LOMA HIGH SCHOOL was invited to perform at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival this past August. It’s not an easy gig to get: The school was one of 1,500 U.S. schools nominated and, following an arduous audition, one of only 50 nationwide selected to attend the fest. In Scotland, Mira Loma’s thespians performed Almost, Maine by John Cariani, “a romantic comedy with magic realism,” according to the school’s theater instructor Nikki Schallig-Weil. “It’s very American, which is why we decided to bring it.”

Best Usable Art
Fans of TWO ACCORDIONS quilts should be grateful that founders Joe Gallegos and Ruth Hansen met. The duo creates handsome, streamlined designs with a retro, ’60s mod feel, featuring abstract patterns in vivid colors. “Our goal is to keep our quilts simple and original,” says Gallegos, who was inspired by a tattered quilt made years earlier by his grandmother. Once he and Hansen started dating, he shared with her his vision for crafting modern, usable quilts. And these quilts are most definitely usable: Yoga mats and picnic quilts are among the styles they offer. Gallegos performs what he calls the “construction process,” which includes cutting and piecing the fabric, while Hansen sews the pieces together and adds their signature stitch design at the very end. The quilts can be found only at Scout Living on 18th Street while the quilting duo works on building up an inventory. twoaccordions.com

 

Next page: Civic Life

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