Everything art in Sacramento!

SN&R’s guide to the months ahead in visual arts, live music, film, theater and more

illustration by john malta

If we’re being honest, January’s got us in a bit of the doldrums. The rain is great, of course, but it gets a bit depressing after a while, being cooped up at home, hibernating with stuff like Making a Murderer and The Returned. In short, it’s time to get out and forage for creative nourishment. And El Niño be damned, it turns out there are a ton of worthy events out there. Impressive art cred exhibits and massive stage productions along with cutting edge group shows, binge-worthy film fests and super-smart speakers. Oh, and music. Lots and lots of music. Our writers scanned the artistic horizon in search of the best ways to mark the calendar from now through the summer (and slightly beyond). Seasonal affective disorder? Cheer up, we got this—just read on.


Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical, January 29-31

Five-time Tony Award-winning director Susan Stroman is bringing Woody Allen’s musical comedy Bullets Over Broadway to Folsom. The story, based off Allen’s 1994 film with the same name, is about the making of a Broadway show and full of quirky characters and 1920s jazz. Stroman’s original production received six Tony nominations. $45-$75; various times at Harris Center, 10 College Parkway in Folsom; www.harriscenter.net. J.B.

Rise, March 26

CORE Contemporary Dance is not your grandmother’s dance troupe. Rise, however, is a full-length production based on the life and hardships of artistic director Kelli Leighton’s grandmother—still, there will be more grande jetés than “The Jitterbug” in this modern-art affair. $20-$30; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Harris Center, 10 College Parkway in Folsom; http://corecontemporary dance.org. D.D.

The Vagina Monologues, February 14-20

V-Day Sacramento, a local chapter of a global activist movement fighting violence against women and girls, presents Eve Ensler’s revolutionary, award-winning play. Performed by local women to benefit local organizations, the shows have sold out in previous years, so be sure to secure tickets early. $18-$20; 2 p.m. on February 14 at 24th Street Theatre, 2791 24th Street; and 7:30 p.m. on February 20 at Crest Theatre; 1013 K Street, www.vdaysacramento.org. D.D.

Beer & Ballet, February 19-28

The Sacramento Ballet has scheduled its annual (and ever-popular) Beer & Ballet show, a lovely marriage of suds and fancy footwork. Sit, sip and enjoy dances choreographed by company members. $35; various times at Art Court Theatre at Sacramento City College, 3825 Freeport Boulevard; www.sacballet.org. J.C.

The Book of Mormon, March 9-20

The Tony Award-winning musical, written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (the Emmy Award-winning South Park creators, of course), finally makes it to Sacramento. The show was written with Robert Lopez, no slouch in his own right—he won a Tony for Avenue Q. What to expect from this missionary-themed production: irreverent humor that sometimes borders on the filthy and songs so catchy they’re downright devilish. $38-$168; various times at Community Center Theater, 1301 L Street; www.californiamusicaltheatre.com. R.L.

Also on the bill:

Love and Information, January 27- February 28 at Capital Stage (2215 J Street, http://capstage.org); Twelfth Night, February 27-March 20 at Sacramento Theatre Company (1419 H Street, www.sactheatre.org); Happy Armenians, February 19-28 at California Stage (1723 25th Street, www.calstage.org); A Masterpiece of Comic Timing, March 6-April 17 at B Street Theatre (2711 B Street, www.bstreettheatre.org); The Shadow Box, March 11-April 2 at Resurrection Theatre (1723 25th Street, www.resurrectiontheatre.com); Disney’s Newsies, April 12-17 at the Community Center Theater (1301 L Street, www.californiamusicaltheatre.com).

Visual Arts

Ai Weiwei, Circle of Animals: Zodiac Heads, January 24-May 1

Ai Weiwei&#8217;s <i>Circle of Animals</i> exhibit has some eye-popping, beastly heads.

photo courtesy of crocker art museum

Acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals comprises a dozen bronze zodiac animal heads that “reinterpret” ones that once adorned the 18th-century fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan, an imperial retreat outside Beijing. Long story short, in 1860 the palace was raided, Princess Bride-style, and the heads were stolen. This exhibit features contemporary versions of epic scale; it’s the artist’s first major public sculpture project, aimed to put focus on, among other issues, the topic of repatriation. $5-$10; Crocker Art Museum, 216 O Street; www.crockerartmuseum.org. R.L.

Art Hotel, February 5-13

More than 50 artists will transform an abandoned hotel into a massive, temporary work of art. All of its bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways will carry visual, sonic and performance art pieces, along with special one-off events. Any hope that the exhibit lasts longer will be demolished with the building. Free; various times at The Jade, 1122 Seventh Street; http://m5arts.com. J.B.

Life on Mars, February 9

This visual tribute to the late David Bowie was in the works long before his death on January 10. Life On Mars, curated by Melissa Uroff Millner, now takes on a deeper, more poignant meaning, of course. The exhibit will feature 40 artists randomly assigned a line to create from the song “Life On Mars?” which was originally featured on the 1971 album Hunky Dory. In addition, 20 artists will create art inspired by the song as a whole. Participating artists include Allen Chancey, Heather Crocker, Matt Verdolivo, Andrew Hooper and Lucy Giles. Free, 7 p.m. at Blue Lamp, 1400 Alhambra Boulevard, www.facebook.com/events/1023304394400031.R.L.

Good Blood, February 13

Get interactive—and somewhat intimate—with this Second Saturday participant-driven piece at Verge Center for the Arts. How it works: Two people each hold a dish containing a red ice cube. The person who’s ice cube melts first has the “good blood.” There’s no physical contact required but there’s still something appropriately personal (and Valentine’s Day-esque) about the process. Free; 6 p.m. at Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street; www.vergeart.com. R.L.

Andy Warhol, Portraits, March 13-June 19

If your only association with Andy Warhol is those Campbell’s Soup cans, it’s time for a bit of a primer. Lucky you, the Crocker’s got this exhibit, organized by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, featuring 168 portraiture pieces including paintings and illustrations, fashion sketches and photo booth strips. Subjects represent a who’s-who of anyone who was ever intriguing, clever or impossibly cool. Think Truman Capote, Judy Garland, Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe, Tennessee Williams and, huh, Sylvester Stallone. $5-$10; Crocker Art Museum, 216 O Street; www.crockerartmuseum.org. R.L.

Mark your calendar:

Beads and Beats workshop, January 29 at Sol Collective (2574 21st Street, www.solcollective.org); Valentine’s Eve Feb Second Saturday Group Art Show featuring Allyson Seconds, Kevin Seconds, Paul Imagine and Trisha Rhomberg; February 13 at Autonomous Love (2419 J Street, www.facebook.com/Autonomouslove); Sonado, artists’ reception for photography show with Kristen Hoard and Ruben Briseno Reveles, March 12 at Arthouse Gallery & Studios (1021 R Street, http://arthouseonr.com); Nevada City Craft Fair showcasing regional Etsy vendors, May 1 at Miners Foundry Cultural Center (325 Spring Street in Nevada City, www.minersfoundry.org).


Ensemble Mik Nawooj, March 5

If chamber music plus hip-hop sounds like a bad idea in theory, Oakland 10-piece Ensemble Mik Nawooj is here to prove that in practice, it’s fresh, fun and dutiful in its homage to both classical ensembles and classic hip-hop. Led by composer and pianist JooWan Kim, the group’s re-imagining of Motown classic “California Soul” will air during the Super Bowl next month. The concert takes place at Sol Collective as part of the venue’s ongoing Global Local music Series. $11.24; 8 p.m. at Sol Collective, 2574 21st Street; www.ensemblemiknawooj.com. D.D.

Keb’ Mo', March 9

Masterful three-time Grammy Award-winning Delta blues artist Keb’ Mo’ got his start collaborating with members of Jefferson Airplane more than four decades ago. His most recent album, BLUESAmericana, released in 2014, continues in the vein of essential blues that feel nostalgic and timeless all at once. $40-$60; 8 p.m. at Harris Center, 10 College Parkway in Folsom; www.kebmo.com. D.D.

Sacramento Music Festival, May 27-30

Brushy One-String will maybe bring this nice guitar for his April show with Globalfest Live at the Mondavi Center.

Photo courtesy of brushy one-string

Every Memorial Day Weekend, Old Sacramento transforms into a multivenue music festival focusing on jazz, blues and rock. Last year, there were more than 300 sets, including headliners Tower of Power, Everclear and Eve 6. With no lineup yet, tickets are on super-sale. $110 all-event pass, $20-$45 single day; various times in Old Sacramento; http://sacmusicfest.com. J.B.

BottleRock Napa Valley, May 27-29

Wine country’s biggest music festival combines big name artists, fine dining chefs and, of course, amazing wine into one long weekend. This year’s headliners include Stevie Wonder, Florence + the Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers, along with a list of up-and-coming indie, soul, rock and Americana acts. $299-$3,100; Napa Valley Expo, 575 Third Street in Napa; www.bottlerocknapavalley.com. J.B.

First Festival, June 18-19

The second annual First Festival will highlight all things local: music, fashion, food and art among them. The lineup hasn’t been finalized quite yet, but founder Danielle Vincent is hard at work on new additions, including installations by local artists and an all-local beer selection curated by Beers in Sac. $30 single day, $50 weekend pass; Southside Park, 2115 Sixth Street; www.firstfestivalsacramento.com. J.B.

Listen up, there‘s more!:

Ringo Deathstar, Future Death and Starrsha, February 23 at Third Space Art Collective (916 Olive Drive in Davis, www.thirdspacedavis.com); Chastity Belt, March 5 at the Blue Lamp (1400 Alhambra Boulevard, www.facebook.com/chastitybeltmusic); Dengue Fever, March 5 at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub (2708 J Street, www.harlows.com); SAMMIES award show, March 24 at Ace of Spades (1417 R Street, www.sammies.com); Ciara, March 31 at Ace of Spades (1417 R Street, www.aceofspadessac.com); Globalfest Live: Creole Carnival with Casuarina, Emeline Michel and Brushy One-String, April 7 At Mondavi Center (1 Shields Avenue in Davis, www.mondaviarts.org); the Smithereens, playing songs by the Who, April 29 at Center for the Arts (314 West Main Street in Grass Valley, www.thecenterforthearts.org); Mickey Dolenz of Monkees fame, May 7 at the Crest Theatre (1013 K Street, www.crestsacramento.com).

On Stage

Nugget Fringe Festival, January 21-31

Prepare to have your mind blown. This eclectic 10-day festival up in Nevada City will boast 30 shows across a spectrum of theatrical genres that include drama, comedy, absurdist avante-garde, spoken word, open-mic readings and way, way more. Featured performers include Meri St. Mary, Richard Winters and Damian Lang. Times, prices and locations vary; www.nuggetfringe.com. R.L.

Bill Maher, February 14

There’s a special kind of political-junkie couple whose idea of a romantic Valentine’s Day is seeing Bill Maher do stand-up; if that’s you and your sweetheart, this is probably one you won’t want to miss. The presidential primaries that will be taking place around the same time are more or less super-manure for Maher’s comedic fruits. $49.75-$89.75, 8 p.m. at Community Center Theater, 1301 L Street; www.billmaher.com. D.D.

Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder, March 7

Serial junkies, prepare to nerd out. When the podcast debuted in late 2014, it not only became the fastest podcast to hit the iTunes 5 million download mark, it also turned millions of listeners into true-crime freaks. For this event Serial co-creators Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder tell the stories behind the stories. Seriously, Jay did it, right? $12.50-$58, 8 p.m. at Mondavi Center, 1 Shields Avenue in Davis; www.mondaviarts.org. R.L.

Sacramento Improv Marathon, March 11-13

What was once the Sacramento Comedy Spot’s annual 48-hour Comedy Marathon has turned into an all-improv marathon, spread over three full days with time for die-hards to sleep. That means loads of improv performances, workshops, parties, a brunch and maybe even a sleepover. Ticket prices to be announced, various times at Sacramento Comedy Spot, 1050 20th Street, Suite 130; http://sacimprovmarathon.com. J.B.

Aimee Mann and Billy Collins, April 25

<i>Serial</i> co-creator Sarah Koenig will talk about her popular true-crime podcast at the Mondavi Center in March.

photo courtesy of serial

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins and singer-songwriter Aimee Mann really hit it off a few years back at Poetry Night at the White House—so much so that this unlikely pair decided to discuss each others’ work, ask questions about the creative process, and perform in front of large audiences all over the country. $24.50-$49, 8 p.m. at Mondavi Center, 1 Shields Avenue in Davis; www.mondaviarts.org. D.D.

Also on the bill:

Author Matt Taibbi, February 3 at Mondavi Center (1 Shields Avenue in Davis, www.mondaviarts.org); Afrofreak Fashion Week show, February 13 at Sol Collective (2574 21st Street, www.facebook.com/ArtCultureActivism); author Malcolm Gladwell, February 16 at the Community Center Theater (1301 L Street, www.sacramento speakers.com); Back to Life: Bay Area Figure Drawing Exhibit poetry reading, February 16 at the Crocker Art Museum (216 O Street, www.crockerartmuseum.org); Bad Comedy for Bad People comedy special taping with Keith Lowell Jensen and Johnny Taylor, February 27 at the Harris Center (10 College Parkway in Folsom, www.harris center.net); comedian Bobby Slayton, March 3-5 at the Punchline Comedy Club (2100 Arden Way, www.punch linesac.com); Nevada City Film Festival Winter Comedy Festival featuring Maria Bamford and Bill Nye, March 25-26 at the Nevada Theatre (401 Broad Street in Nevada City, www.nevada cityfilmfestival.com).


Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, January 21

Verge Center for the Arts reboots its monthly film series this month, kicking off with a screening of the 2012 documentary Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present—ahead of a planned retrospective of the Serbian performance artist’s work at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. February’s film will be Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine. $3-$5, free for members; 7 p.m. at Verge Center for the Arts, 525 S Street; www.vergeart.com. R.L.

2016 Oscar-Nominated Shorts, January 29-February 25

Starting January 29, the Crest Theatre will show all 15 of the live-action, animated and documentary short films nominated for this year’s Academy Awards. This program plays in Sacramento every year, and it’s usually a bit of a mixed bag, but this year’s edition has turned out to be a must-see event for Sacramento cinephiles. That’s because it will be the first chance for Sacramentans to check out the 17 life-changing minutes of Don Herzfeldt’s sublimely rueful World of Tomorrow on the big screen. Bonus: the Academy also nominated Konstantin Bronzit’s brilliant and heartbreaking animated short We Can’t Live Without Cosmos. $13 per screening, various times and dates at Crest Theatre, 1013 K Street; www.crestsacramento.com. D.B.

Sacramento Jewish Film Festival, March 5-6

The film list is short but this two-day festival nonetheless offers a wealth of whimsy and history. Scheduled screenings include In Search of Israeli Cuisine—a look at Jewish food and culture, and the 2015 documentary Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict. $15-$25; 6 p.m. Saturday, March 5, and 12:30 p.m. Sunday, March 6, at California Museum, 1020 O Street; www.californiamuseum.org/jewish-film-fest.R.L.

Winter French Film Short Screening, March 5

Film buffs for whom feature-length films are just too commercial and American, écoutez-moi: You can catch all the César-Award-nominated short films at the Crest Theatre, including the winner that will be announced at the ceremony in France on February 26. $11, 7 p.m. at Crest Theatre, 1013 K Street; www.crestsacramento.com. D.D.

Sacramento French Film Festival, June 17-26

Over the years, I have generally considered the Classics slate of the Sacramento French Film Festival far more interesting than its selection of Premieres. But last year the festival’s programmers stepped up their game, giving Sacramento cinephiles and Francophiles the only opportunity to see vital films such as Girlhood and Timbuktu during the main festival, and gems such as Mustang and Welcome to New York during the November minifestival. The program for this summer’s festival won’t be released for months, but I’m already excited to see what’s in store. Various ticket prices and times at Crest Theatre, 1013 K Street; http://sacramentofrench filmfestival.org. D.B.

Coming attractions:

La Belle et la Bête, February 4 at the Crocker Art Museum (216 O Street, www.crockerart museum.org); Composer Cameron Carpenter improvising a score for the 1920 silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, February 10 at the Mondavi Center (1 Shields Avenue in Davis, www.mondaviarts.org); 16 Candles, February 14 at the Crest (1013 K Street, www.crest sacramento.com); Movies in the Park, May through June at Pioneer Park (421 Nimrod Street in Nevada City, www.nevada cityfilmfestival.com); 16th annual Nevada City International Film Festival, September 8-11 at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center (325 Spring Street in Nevada City, www.minersfoundry.org).