Arts & Smarts

Writers’ picks

Best way to put the 'fun' in fundraiser

Verge Center for the Arts Jumble Sale

It’s no secret that arts funding is in short supply, but Verge Center for the Arts has devised a cleverly fun way to shore up its cash reserve by way of a “jumble sale” spread out over nearly every inch of its downtown gallery and studio space. Browse tons of vintage goods—records; clothes; arts; household stuff; and cute, kitschy knickknacks. The event launches tonight with a party featuring a chance to shop early and enjoy a no-host bar and appetizers, plus check out the artist studios. Sale runs through September 23. Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street; (916) 448-2985; R.L.

Best lecture series featuring hobbits, orcs, dwarves and elves

Full Circle: An Exploration of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings at the Sacramento Public Library

If it’s worth not one but two trilogies and half a lifetime’s work from director Peter Jackson, then The Lord of the Rings is certainly deserving of its own lecture series. The fun has already kicked off, but there are still six lectures over the next three months at the Sacramento Public Library Central Branch, covering topics like “Moral Realities of The Lord of the Rings,” “Smaug and Medieval Dragon Mythology” and “Who Is Tom Bombadil?” Also on tap: a Middle-earth fashion show and a Hobbit discussion group. What more can a good nerd ask for? We’re guessing one ring to rule them all. Lectures at 2 p.m. first and third Sundays through December at the Sacramento Public Libarary Central Branch, 828 I Street; (916) 264-2920; K.M.

Best hidden gem

Ella K. McClatchy Library

The airy and light bathroom at Ella K. McClatchy Library in the Poverty Ridge neighborhood is one of the finest in town. Featuring cheerful tile and an older, mottled glass door, little details of a stately home turned library are found all over the building. Walking up the majestic stairs to the entrance is enough to make one feel like a step back in time. The second floor, closed for years, will be opening soon to the public. The branch recently expanded the teen area to captivate more young readers, complete with a sunny nook peddling books and other sundries to help offset costs. While a more modest selection than, say, the Central Branch, any of the 2 million-plus books and other media from all 28 locations in the system can be requested on the Sacramento Public Library website and picked up at this hidden gem. 2112 22nd Street, (916) 264-2700, G.G.

Best place for a day of the dead onesie

Spanglish Arte

Spanglish Arte just relocated to a new location, which should give it a higher profile. A good thing, and well-deserved, because this is a fantastico place to support the local artist community by purchasing items such as a Day of the Dead onesie or a CD by a Latina punk band. This gallery-slash-retail-store-slash-classroom with a Hispanic flavor is run by the feisty and charming Mari Arreola. On a recent visit, she informed as to how the rural Mexicans are reacting to the drug lords in their towns, with the artwork on the gallery’s walls reflecting that struggle. Stop in—there is much to see and learn. 2512 J Street; (916) 446-1213, G.G.

Best hip-hop battle dance team

The Fallen Kings

B-boys Morris, Kareem, Swellz One, D-Trix, DereLeek and Victor Kim are part of the crew everyone in the dance community is talking about this year: the Fallen Kings. The group features some of the rawest talent in the world of B-boying, or break dancing. With Morris, Kareem and Swellz winning battle contests all over the world and D-Trix, DereLeek and Victor Kim trending on YouTube, the crew seems destined for a breakthrough. Look for them to raise their profile at B-boy events as they compete in more local and Bay Area battles. And this year, they might finally make it onto MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew. J.M.

Best local poetry blog

Medusa’s Kitchen

The brainchild of Rattlesnake Press (“poetry with fangs”) publisher Kathy Kieth—hence the snakes-in-the-hair name—Medusa’s Kitchen has been around for quite a while, but it maintains a standard of quality and a devotion to local work that can’t be matched. A local poet is featured almost daily, as well as poetry news, opportunities, advice, greatest hits, workshops, audio and video of readings and performances—just about anything a poet could need or want. In fact, when someone wants to plug into Sacramento’s huge and vibrant poetry scene, we send ’em to the snake lady. Just don’t look her in the eye. K.M.