Are we entertained?

The season’s distractions force our resident holiday hater to look local for good times

Modern Body Tattoo and Piercing (2017 I Street, (916) 930-0689, <a gets into the shop-local spirit.">

Modern Body Tattoo and Piercing (2017 I Street, (916) 930-0689, gets into the shop-local spirit.

Photo By Shoka

I’d like to pose a serious question: Why do we still care about the holidays? Can’t we just spend a solid week with our friends and family without having to worry about the mythology of some bearded fatty stuffing his corn-fed ass down our chimneys?

OK, maybe that’s too harsh. It’s the eggnog talking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for joy and cheer, but isn’t religious influence a bit passé? I mean, haven’t you looked out the window at our smog-filled universe—infested with ravenous zealots, drooling priests and followers of Oprah Winfrey—and not foreseen imminent doom? The inhabitants of our planet obviously have given up on the idea of a gracious God/Santa for affordable SUVs and text messaging, so we can stop pretending to know what’s best for the welfare of others and start focusing on the betterment of ourselves first, OK.

“God loves country, but hates Arabs, gays, rap music and Teletubbies. Merry Christmas!” Really, is that our yuletide message? Can’t we just put down the Book of Fairy Tales and relax with family without Hallmark shilling another musical Hanukkah card?

No? Ah, OK: Then screw it.

Let’s go shopping!

So, since we’re all playing the game again this year, let’s at least try to do it locally. There are actually many ways you can shop within the area for gifts. And we’re not talking about a macaroni nativity scenes, either; we’re talking about high-quality art and music. And, if you can believe it, you don’t have to set foot in Macy’s, Nordstrom, The Gap, Target or even Best Buy. So follow the next few paragraphs closely, because, like the manifest destiny, they will lead you to local culture.

For instance, throughout the month of December Sideshow Studios (5635 Freeport Boulevard Ste. 6, (916) 391-6400, will be your best bet for local, unique and edgy holiday items. That is, there will be a boatload of local art for sale. Last year, they sold crafts like little painted skull piggy banks and full-sized paintings, most for under 20 bucks. Artists like Matthew Marsango, See See Kwan and Char Hall all had items for sale, and shop owner Cy Wylie says the sale will be the same this year, but even better. There’ll be crafts, along with art from artists who probably hate the holidays as much as I do. Wylie also says the sale gives local artists an opportunity to unload some of their extra art while the art-lover catches a break on quality goods. It’s a win-win, if ever there was one.

And don’t forget: Tattoos also make first-class gifts for the holidays. Whether it’s at Sideshow or the many other shops in the area—Relentless Tattoo (608 12th Street, (916) 448-8608), Royal Peacock Tattoo Parlor (2101 P Street, (916) 448-1979), Wild Bill’s Tattoo & Piercing (205 Vernon Street, Suite D in Roseville; (916) 783-9090;, Primary Concepts (219 E Street Suite D in Davis, (530) 400-9622)—a gift certificate is good to go. Seriously, nothing says “Happy Kwanzaa” like a Whitesnake tattoo.

Here’s another idea that most people don’t think of: If you want a special gift from a local Sacramento artist, Google that artist to see if they’re selling anything on their Web site. They usually have some pretty cheap, high-quality stuff online. For instance, type “Jeff Musser” into Google and you’ll get the Web page of a fairly prolific Sacramento artist ( On his site, you’ll see that he received a letter from Oprah Winfrey that says, “Dear Mr. Musser, You’ve captured the essence of my Sophie and Solomon.” Holy Christ, I don’t even want to know what that’s about. Also on Musser’s site is something much saner, which is a link to several reasonably priced items, like original charcoal drawings and pen-and-ink prints starting at just $20. I’m sure Oprah paid way more.

I can also recommend Paul Imagine’s rock ’n’ roll posters and T-shirts, which can be purchased at And don’t forget the prolific Sacramento icon Skinner, who also has some affordable, demonic and colorful prints at his page. Check out for paintings that are perfect for the holidays, especially if your holidays include blood rituals and Satanic practice.

And don’t forget music. This holiday, head to Dimple Records, R5 Records, The Beat, Records on Broadway, or Armadillo Music in Davis for a host of local tunes that will make your whole family forget about the thousands of starving children in Guatemala who are sewing your Isaac Mizrahi sweaters exclusively for Target. Here are some specific suggestions: For exciting jazz instrument/vocal parings, check out Ross Hammond’s Duets. For some good old fashioned psychedelic rock, get a copy of the Ancient Sons’ The Dark Gospel. For hip-hop the way Santa intended, get Live Manikins’ Still Life or Too Raw For Radio. As far as Americana goes, do not go anywhere this season without Silver Darling’s Your Ghost Fits My Skin.

So maybe I should lay off Santa Claus. After all, the greed and materialism wasn’t his fault. So this is just a warning: Stay away from me with your sack of blood presents, you Judeo-Christian tool of corporate conglomeration. Unless there’s a MacBook in there. You can deliver that, then hightail it, fatass.