Best of Sacramento 2015: People & Places writers' picks

People & Places writers’ picks

Diagram of viral sensation: Sacramento police Lt. Roman Murrietta danced to “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” at a recent Summer Night Lights celebration.

Diagram of viral sensation: Sacramento police Lt. Roman Murrietta danced to “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” at a recent Summer Night Lights celebration.

Illustration by Hayley Doshay

Best cop to go viral for the right reason

Lt. Roman Murrietta

The good lieutenant, who runs the Sacramento Police Department’s respected Cops & Clergy program, got a decent amount of positive notoriety when video of him grooving to “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” during a July Summer Night Lights gathering in South Sacramento went sort-of viral. But how was Murrietta’s Nae Nae technique? Tamaira “Miss Tee” Sandifer, owner of the local Studio T Urban Dance Academy, weighs in with her professional take:

Murrietta showed “great rhythm and coordination,” with Miss Tee describing his transitions from “stanky leg” to “break ya legs” as spot on. Good start!

While she enjoyed the way Murrietta pointed out the kids who were doing “their ’thang,’” she says most of his movements were soft. “[I] would like to see him graduate to ’hyphy’ level like some of his young hip-hop cohorts,” she says.

Murrietta did show solid stamina, out-dancing a couple of the kids who tuckered out toward the end. And Miss Tee says the video clip was “super fun to watch, but too brief.” She concludes: “We need more cops who do the ’Whip’!—meaning the dance.”

Technical grade: B-. Audience appeal: A+.

Summer Night Lights: Video: Studio T Urban Dance Academy: RFH

Best (and first) Hmong immersion program

Susan B. Anthony Elementary School

It’s no secret that Sacramento is home to a large number of Hmong American citizens. To that end, a real gem of an education program is offered to help them maintain their connections to their roots and heritage. The Hmong immersion program steeps students in the language, teaching them to read and write Hmong while easing them into learning English on the 90/10 model: 90 percent Hmong, 10 percent English, with the balance shifting 10 percent to English each year. The program is the first of its kind in California. 7864 Detroit Boulevard, (916) 433-5353, A.S.

Best Greek ambassador

Kittens inspired by kittens at the aptly named Museum of Wonder & Delight.

Photo by Evan Duran

Alexandra Salidas Roll

The local baker and Figs & Feta food blogger is the perfect person to give Greek food a new, modern twist. She grew up learning traditional Greek cooking from her mother and grandmother—they hosted feasts for family and friends regularly. But she was born and raised in the states and loves food from all cultures. (One of her favorite ingredients is Sriracha.) She publishes innovative new Greek recipes on her Figs & Feta website, usually after employing her three sons as taste-testers. She started blogging in 2013 and includes recipes for Greek-style s’mores, tuna melts, bread pudding, even spaghetti. More recently, she’s been baking and selling her own line of Greek-style pastries and baklava (including baklava toaster pastries!) on her website, and was a finalist in this year’s Calling All Dreamers competition. A.C.

Best gay bar name that isn’t a gay bar

Leatherby’s Family Creamery

Look, everyone loves ice cream. Straight people. Gay people. Even Supreme Court justice-people. That’s why it was disappointing when Sacramento’s premier dessert institution donated $20,000 to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign six years ago. But, as they say, bygones. Prop. 8’s short-lived clampdown on marriage equality was undone by the courts. Months ago, gay marriage became legal throughout the rest of the nation. And ice cream still makes people happy. This may be one of those teachable moments our president talks about: Leatherby’s began as a family business; they just didn’t realize how big their family was. With the culture wars finally starting to thaw, let’s band together around a bowl of rainbow sherbet and sink our spoons in solidarity. After all, how anti-LGBTQ can a proprietor who calls himself “Daddy Dave” really be? 2333 Arden Way, (916) 920-8382; 7910 Antelope Road in Citrus Heights, (916) 729-4021; 8238 Laguna Boulevard in Elk Grove, (916) 691-3334; RFH

Best place to get bird-brained

Folsom Zoo Sanctuary

Save your breath, Iago. With an African Grey parrot, Amazon parrots and a macaw that dances when visitors sing “B-I-N-G-O,” the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary brings together a wide—and wild—assortment of worldly friends. Better yet, throw that “animal-in-cages” guilt right out the window. The animals have either been rescued or rehabilitated. (And its not just birds: bears, primates, reptiles and mammals all call the zoo home.) Sometimes from owners who bought an animal and couldn’t care for it, other times it’s animals with injuries that would prevent them from surviving in the wild. Either way, it’s the real macaw. 403 Stafford Street in Folsom, (916) 351-3527, W.C.

Best sex economist

Kristen DiAngelo

The onetime escort shone a much-needed light on the world’s oldest profession when, earlier this year, she asked street sex workers about their lives. The resulting survey proved revelatory, and cemented DiAngelo’s status as an authority on sex work—primarily the unintended consequences of trying to eradicate it. But she’s not all bleeding heart. DiAngelo, who has a degree in finance from Sacramento State, can also elucidate why law enforcement strategies are destined to fail. Here, she explains the flaw in targeting johns: “The problem is we have a double-sided supply and demand model. You have the women that have also a demand, and men that have a supply. So you just knocked out one of the elements, which makes the other element more needy. Their demand increases, the supply decreases, so you have chaos. And then we wonder why it’s not working.” Twitter: @kristendiangelo; RFH

Best defense of Christmas

Museum of Wonder & Delight

Remember when Santa Claus was a svelte mortal named Saint Nicholas and no one had to sell laptops on Thanksgiving? Well, UC Davis design professor Dolph Gotelli does, and he’s about to school you like the Ghost of Christmas Past. September 11 marked the opening of the Folsom Historical Society’s Museum of Wonder & Delight, featuring Gotelli’s world-renowned collection of antique toys and artifacts, including Victorian-era holiday paper items. There’s nothing overtly religious in the exhibition, and Gotelli, the museum’s creative director, curates more than simple yuletide joy (though he has been given the nickname “Father Christmas”). It’s like a lesson in folk art and a Carroll-inspired tea party rolled into one. 905 Leidesdorff Street, Suite 100 in Folsom; (916) 985-2707; B.P.