Entertainment & NightLife: Tonight, tonight, tonight (gonna make it right, whoa oh)

Awesome summer-evening ideas that have nothing to do with getting wasted or spending a ton of cheddar. Take that, Phil Collins.

Is it air guitar if a stick figure’s playing the ax? Anyway, Mix Downtown’s Wednesday deejay night is all about pop music and furniture you’d never find at Grandma’s—unless, you know, your grandma is Heidi Montag. Oww!

Is it air guitar if a stick figure’s playing the ax? Anyway, Mix Downtown’s Wednesday deejay night is all about pop music and furniture you’d never find at Grandma’s—unless, you know, your grandma is Heidi Montag. Oww!

Photo By Nick Miller

Thoughts of summertime conjure many images from my childhood, but especially one of mom chauffeuring my brothers and me around suburbia in a beastly Club Wagon van larger than most anything on the road nowadays, except maybe a Regional Transit bus itself. Come to think of it, it’s like I spent the equivalent of six summertimes in that damn van, listening to the most god-awful adult-contemporary music. Like that song, “Sarah / Sarah / No time is a good time for goodbye”; man, I hated that song. And Toto, too. And definitely Phil Collins.

“You can’t hurry love / No, you’ll just have to wait,” he’d sing, covering the Supremes, as we’d cruise from Mervyn’s to swim lessons and then seemingly back to Mervyn’s every day. I remember Collins’ later “hits” as well: “Easy Lover,” then “Sussudio,” which was probably the worst.

No, wait: “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” takes the cake. Man, I loathed that track. It just kept going and going and going.

Anyway, a point? How’s this: This summer doesn’t have to be Phil Collins. You can do better than that. You don’t have to stay cooped up pounding greyhounds while lamenting all that you could be doing. There’s no need to clean the shower on a Thursday night in between swigs of zinfandel while counting down the minutes until Jon Stewart comes on.

Because there’s so much to do—and not just for you, for everyone. Even those pesky underage kids of yours, whose minds you’re probably warping every day with the modern adult-contemporary equivalent of Sir Collins (who is that, by the way?). Anyway.

Sunday night is a good night to start making it right, and what better way than escaping the house and the heat and taking in some independent cinema? Enter Movies on a Big Screen: Every Sunday at 7 p.m., MOBSters take over the Guild Theater (2828 35th Street) in Oak Park and screen interesting underground films—classics, indies, cult favorites and special one-time-only Sacramento screenings, like the recent Found Footage Film Festival. The Guild is a beautiful facility and the films are always worth your time. Find out more at www.moviesonabigscreen.com.

If obscure cinema isn’t your game, perhaps hosing bros with rubber balls on a trampoline is more your style? That’s right: Every Saturday night at Sky High Sports in Rancho Cordova (11327 Folsom Boulevard, Suite 160), there’s a three-on-three dodgeball tournament. Sign-ups are at 9:45 p.m. Be warned: This is dodgeball on a trampoline; I’m told it’s like playing dodgeball in space (cosmonauts do this, yes?). Jump over to www.jumpskyhigh.com for the 411.

I’m not gonna lie: Trivia night at Streets of London Pub in Midtown (1804 J Street) is basically an excuse to empty a few pints down your piehole. And this is well and fine; there’s something about beer that triggers receptors in the brain that help you remember useless facts, like that it was Divinyls, not Blondie, who sang “When I think about you, I touch myself.” But you don’t have to drink to participate in Streets’ trivia night. And, in fact, this may actually help your team—which you’ll need (friends, that is), by the way: Sign-ups start around 8 o’clockish, and all the tables fill up quick.

On Monday, a great option for live music is Club Pow! at The Press Club (2030 P Street). There are typically local and touring acts, typically three, and the cover typically is $3, too. It’s not about getting drunk, yeah, but one drink won’t kill you—if you partake—and PBR cans are only $2. Do the math: That’s five clams for a night of consistently reliable indie-electronica. Check out the schedule at www.myspace.com/clubpow.

I read somewhere that plain old-fashioned conversation is making a comeback. So, what better way to stimulate a little tête-à-tête than with espresso. And with this in mind, Temple Fine Coffee and Tea (1014 10th Street) is an ideal destination for an incomparable cappuccino and relaxing chat in environs that truly speak to, you know, speaking. And all this is very healthy: We spend so much time on social-networking sites and drinking booze to unmask emotional insecurities so that we can actually feign conversation in group settings, so a little sober—if caffeinated—chat with friends in a way is very orgasmic. Temple’s open till 11 p.m.; visit www.templecoffee.com to go deeper.

A side note: Instead of driving—even if it’s not in a Club Wagon—try biking when you go out this summer. If you need help getting a bike or keeping up on maintenance, a good evening is time spent at the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen (1915 I Street, www.sacbikekitchen.org). On Tuesday early evenings, for example, the Kitchen is open from 6 to 9 p.m., during which you can use its tools to work on your bike—and eventually maybe even get proficient enough to volunteer once a week and help out around the shop, you know, changing tires and cleaning derailleurs.

Not nerdy enough for you? Maybe threesomes and turkeys are your game? If so, head over Capitol Bowl (900 W. Capitol Avenue) after 10 p.m. and enjoy $10 games for you and your really close friends—shoes included. White Russians will flow, too, but remember: There’s no shame in sarsaparilla. Check out the deals at www.capitolbowl4fun.com.

Scared of West Sac? Well, there’s nothing to fear in Folsom (except maybe fear itself, right?). Anyway, on Wednesdays at Powerhouse Pub (614 Sutter Street), local music lover and deejay Andy Hawk puts on Powerhouse Live, where you’ll discover great local rock talent and usually an interesting touring act. The calendar’s up to date at www.powerhousepub.com.

If downtown’s your game, then DJ Gabe Xavier’s new Mix Wednesdays night at Mix Downtown (1525 L Street, www.mixdowntown.net) is a great for taking in “pop 40” remixes and sipping upscale cocktails on the roof of the old Firestone building on L Street. Warning: You’ll probably have to dress up in something a little more presentable than your usual wife beater/jean shorts combo.

Remember that driving-range scene from <i>The Insider</i>? Great filmmaking—much stronger than your irons play, which you’re going to have to work on. Good thing Haggin Oaks Golf Complex’s range is open 24 hours.

Photo By Nick miller

Are you a slicer, a scratch or just a standard hack? Not sure? Well, visit Haggin Oaks Golf Complex (3645 Fulton Avenue, www.hagginoaks.com) any day of the week, where the driving range is open 24 hours all summer. That’s right: When you can’t sleep because visions of chili-dipping your pitching wedge haunt you like, well, the Tarzan soundtrack, Haggin Oaks is open at 2 a.m., so at least you can assuage your short-game night terrors, if not your irons play altogether. You’re a tiger, that’s right.

If there was the exact opposite of playing golf, it would have to be visiting local art exhibits. But why not indulge this contradictory impulse and check out what is arguably Sacramento’s most exciting new art spot, Verge Gallery (1900 V Street, www.vergegallery.com). Verge is open till 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, but check their Web site, as there are often special late-hour events every month.

Over at the Crest Theatre (1013 K Street, www.thecrest.com), the city’s touching up its famed marquee so that the neon can shine bright, which hopefully will lead to more people taking a night off from partying and broadening their horizons with some independent cinema. New films open each Friday, and don’t miss great festivals, like the Sacramento French Film Festival in June.

Speaking of indie, Luigi’s Fun Garden (1050 20th Street, www.myspace.com/luigisslice) usually has all-ages live shows on Friday: local indie-rock bands, touring acts, KDVS shows, etc. Slices are $3 if you pay the always-affordable cover, and shows typically end by 11 p.m. so that you can get back home and in bed by curfew.

The Fun Garden’s proverbial suburban sister venue is Club Retro (6521 Hazel Avenue in Orangevale, www.clubretro.net), an all-ages abode that has affordable multiband shows almost every Saturday night. Retro’s in a church, be warned, so watch your fucking language, all right? Because if you don’t, you’ll probably spend the rest of the summer in hell—where you know Satan only spins Genesis 24-seven.

God save us.