July 06


Retail of Two Cities&emdash;July marks Rhoda Santamaria’s eighth year in Sacramento. She came here from New York City to help care for her mother after her father’s death. While moving from Gotham to the River City was quite a transition, perhaps the biggest change for Santamaria is that she’s gone from selling television advertising to purchasing it. She appears in TV spots for Casa Bella, the contemporary-furniture store at the corner of Arden Way and Del Paso Boulevard she co-owns with Shane Curry (my business and life partner). I always wanted a business of my own, she said one recent afternoon in her store’s expansive showroom as she prepared to host a Second Saturday artist’s reception. But if you’d told me five years ago that I’d wind up in the furniture business, I’d have told you, ‘Nevah, evah gonna happen.’ Santamaria&emdash;whose mother is Puerto Rican, father was Basque and accent is pure Noo Yawk&emdash;is a model-thin, no-nonsense bundle of energy. She has an infectious grin that telegraphs she has some very funny stories she’d love to tell you, if only there were more time. But who has the time when you’re running a bustling business and, not incidentally, trying to help Del Paso Boulevard achieve its long-promised, oft-interrupted destiny of becoming a western SoHo District? All of the efforts over the years to get the Boulevard to really take off kept starting and stopping, she says. But now we have developers who are investing, really starting to see the area’s potential and won’t give up. There’s that grin. I mean, they don’t want to lose any money.

Rail Against the Universe&emdash;For some time, the best place to cadge a glimpse of the 10th circle of hell&emdash;without having to actually do bad things or grow a tail and horns and stuff&emdash;has been at Sacramento’s downtown train station. Under renovation for the past, oh, 378 months, it now features idiotically confusing self-pay parking machines, conveniently located outside the station (which really drew some merry crowds during the rainy season). Then there’s the needlessly twisty-turny parking lot (designed, I believe, by Frank Lloyd Wrong) and cacophonous public address system (If you can clearly hear this announcement, we’re just not doing our job). But relief may be in sight: The California Department of Transportation may sink more than $600,000 into some fixes, while the Sacramento City Council is undertaking some others. Hope so. It’s expensive altering pants to accommodate a tail.  

Send in the Clones&emdash;Elk Grove resident Paul Dale Roberts wittily weighed in on a recent Time magazine cover story about the digital revolution. I predict that Hollywood will eventually make feature-length movies by digitally re-creating long-gone movie legends, he wrote to the editor. Using computer-generated imagery, animators will . . . maybe even render live movie stars a thing of the past. (Actually, if you’ve ever watched Orlando Bloom in a movie, you already know that live actors left the building long ago.) Roberts also predicted that on a future Oscar night, the red carpet will be rolled out for the computer geeks who created the stars. If so, I suggest they all begin their acceptance speeches with these words: I’d like to thank all the little pixels . . .

Running Dialogue&emdash;When Martin Garozzo, a respiratory therapist at Sutter General Hospital, married Katherine Macias a few weeks ago, it was the fulfillment of the 53-year-old Marty’s 42-year-old dream. She was the little girl I used to chase and try to kiss when we were kids, he tells me. Which means that either Marty finally picked up the pace or Katherine stopped running so fast.