Arts & Entertainment

Writers’ Picks

The oldest art museum west of the Mississippi increases its longevity with an extensive remodel.

The oldest art museum west of the Mississippi increases its longevity with an extensive remodel.

Photo By Larry Dalton

Best groundbreaking breaking of ground

Crocker Art Museum
Last summer, the Crocker Art Museum began the immense undertaking of its redesign, slated for completion in 2010—its 125th anniversary. By more than tripling its size, quadrupling traveling-exhibition space and adding an auditorium, education center, a two-story atrium and a 7,000-square-foot courtyard and cafe, the Crocker can finally accommodate its due share of visitors. The massive increase will also allow the first museum west of the Mississippi to present works well beyond the minuscule 4 percent of the permanent collection currently on view. While parking may be dubious during construction, the museum is showing as much as possible in the temporarily reduced space. Witness the paintings in the California Gallery, hung salon-style, floor to ceiling. 216 O Street, (916) 808-7000,

Best unlikely combination of jokesters

The Coexist? Comedy Tour
An atheist, a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu and a Buddhist walk into … oh c’mon, how did you expect us to introduce these guys? Give us a break. The five aforementioned zealots, better known as Keith Lowell Jensen, John Ross, Tissa Hami, Tapan Trivedi and Sammy Obeid, make up the Coexist? Comedy troupe, a group of comedians benefiting from the no-P.C.-equals-new-P.C. trend, devoted to uniting others by poking fun at our differences. Genius, right? Yeah, we thought so, too. The Coexist? crew has toured the state, including multiple sold-out shows and earned themselves rave reviews by turning troubled waters into fine comedic wine. Don’t miss their next local gig at the Crest Theatre, a couple of weeks before Christmas—if you’re into that sort of thing.

Best free alternative to Netflix

The Sacramento Public Library’s DVD collection
Netflix claims it’s “the best way to rent movies.” Uh-uh. If you live in Sacramento County—yes, even you Walnut Grovers—there’s a way to get entertained via DVD for free: the Sacramento Public Library. As a taxpayer, you’re already financing the library, so take advantage. The selection may not be as thorough as Netflix, but it’s always expanding, with big box-office current releases (Fool’s Gold), TV shows (Saved by the Bell, The Wire) and indie and foreign flicks (Persepolis). Peruse the online catalog, request a movie and have it delivered to the branch of your choice for pickup. Renew online, by phone or in person—and pick up a book or CD while you’re there, too. Various locations;

Best place to support music

R5 Records
Listening to Russ Solomon, founder of Tower Records and the subsequent R5 Records, talk several months ago about the music industry was like listening to a grieving father giving a eulogy for his dead child. Really, it’s not so bad, Mr. Solomon. It’s just different. People aren’t buying as many records, but they’re doing other music-related stuff, like illegally downloading them. Hmm, maybe you have a point, but you’re doing something right by having as many live shows within your store as you possibly can. That shows appreciation for the music lover, even if the music lover isn’t sure how to show appreciation for you. Yet. Hopefully, sir, that will change. For now, please keep doing what you’re doing. People notice. 2500 16th Street, (916) 441-2500,

Best go-to guy for a bloody skull

Paul Imagine
How many times have you needed a picture of a skull with bicycle gears coming out of its face and a bloody rose dripping onto radical punk-rock lettering? Don’t answer that. If you’re in a band and you need a colorful, fascinating poster, Paul Imagine is your guy. Even if you’re not in a band—say you’re just a dude who wants a poster—Paul Imagine will hook you up. His rock art-poster shows are like walking through a room full of collectors'-items-to-be. Not only that, the dude is really friendly and seems like he’s always enjoying life, in the most punk-rock way possible: by listening to music and drawing art. That’s more than most of us can say for ourselves.

Resident artist Kim Scott supervises the surreal at Studio X.

Photo By Anne Stokes

Best place to get lowbrow

Studio X
Head to this studio within Surreal Estates on a Second Saturday and you’re bound to be treated to Rik Tillson’s spoken word, a DJ set (soul, groove, ‘80s Brit-electro-pop dance mashups), a light show, installation art, paintings, drawings, fashion, beverages, and unique lowbrow, outsider art that no other place in this town has or will ever have. There are usually some killer paintings from the students at Short Center North on display and the residents of the Estates—like Skinner, Robert Charland, Jack Nielsen, Valentino Fernandez and Kim Scott—offer a new take on modern art. The air of the place buzzes with a different sort of energy than you get in Midtown. It’s not in the grid, but Del Paso is the grid of tomorrow. Got it? 2320 Cantalier Street,

Best unexpected local comedian

Frank the Old Guy
“How’s everybody doing this evening? I’m all right. I must be. I woke up this morning.” So begins the set of Frank the Old Guy, a staple comedian at Laughs Unlimited’s Wednesday night open-mics. He approaches the stage with walker in tow, a horn attached to the side and a sign that reads, “Too old to work. Please laugh. God Bless.” And you will. “He’s one of the best young acts to come out of the business today,” jokes host Shane Murphy. Though Frank is 75 years old, you can tell Murphy’s sincere with his sarcasm. His act and joie de vivre are not to be missed. (Pssst! Word on the street is he’s worked with Lucille Ball.) Laughs Unlimited, 1207 Front Street, Old Sacramento; (916) 446-5905;



City code section 12.08.130: No cartoon-style violence
We always thought that whole dangerous banana peel thing was a myth—something that only happened to Charlie Chaplin or Wile E. Coyote. Nonetheless, in an effort to maintain civil order, Sacramento specifically prohibits tossing down a banana peel in somebody’s path. Careful to close any loopholes, the rules also ban “orange, lemon or apple peeling or any substance whatsoever liable to endanger life or limb.”

If city leaders really want to protect us from this sort of mayhem, they’ll also crack down on oversized mallets, large black spherical bombs with fuses and the whole line of Acme products.


Best place for a real horror show

Sacramento Horror Film Festival
There’s more to B-movie horror than Bruce Campbell. If you know that, you belong here. If you don’t, you belong here. If you’ve got no clue who Bruce Campbell is, you really belong here. The 2008 Sacramento Horror Film Festival promises to broaden the horrorizons of attendees with a range of cult classics, independents and popular blockbusters of the spooky/gory variety. In between screamings, enjoy the seething sounds of local outfit Insect and the strangely outfitted Zoopy Show (like GWAR, but cuter). Special guests include the Chiodo brothers of Killer Klowns from Outer Space fame, Friday the 13th‘s Adrienne King and composer Harry Manfredini, and our very own Mr. Lobo. October 17-19, Colonial Theatre, 3522 Stockton Boulevard;



Best uncensored shticks

Rob, Arnie & Dawn in the Morning
The three personalities on this radio show are Rob (pompous and intelligent), Arnie (sexist, fat and stupid) and Dawn (an admitted hypocrite who is so annoying that Rob and Arnie keep a running list of more than 1,000 reasons why she is “the least fun person on Earth"). The trio’s raunchy on-air jokes brought fines from the Federal Communications Commission in 2004, but for $50 a year, you can have online access to their uncensored segments. Hear cruder, unrehearsed versions of broadcasted segments such as “Bad News” and “Dr. Rob,” along with things they wouldn’t even try to get on the air, like “Top 5 Dumbest Sex Moves” and “Ancient Forms of Birth Control.” 98 Rock, KRXQ 98.5 FM; 5-10 a.m. Monday through Friday,


Best use of a small coffee shop

The plush couches at the Javalounge are supercomfortable, if you don’t mind sharing space with monsters.

Photo By Larry Dalton

There’s artwork. There’s coffee. There’s a really good logo that looks insane on a T-shirt. There are cheap shows—hip-hop, punk rock, experimental, jazz. (The punk-rock shows at Javalounge are not to be missed. It’s one thing to watch a band play on a stage, but next to a couch is somehow much better.) This is a really great place to sit and stare at walls because they’re filled with stuff. The staff is friendly without that annoying corporate sheen. You ask for a drink and they make it. And they make it really well, too. It’s a place full of pride—for music, community and, of course, for java. 2416 16th Street, (916) 441-3945,