Listen, laugh

The Red Museum holds its third premiere music fest; Capitol PUNishment celebrates three years of competitive corniness at Punchline

The Capitol PUNishment family.

The Capitol PUNishment family.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Humbarger

Check out Red Ex Vol. III Saturday, Sept. 14 from 3pm to 11pm. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. 212 15th St.
Capitol PUNishment is Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 8pm. Tickets are $16. 2100 Arden Way, Suite 225.

This week in local shows you shouldn’t miss: a DIY arts festival sports a bill of rad bands, and a tournament of puns faces a bigger stage.

First, let’s talk about Red Ex Vol. III. If you haven’t been to the Red Museum, the 15th Street warehouse is both a members-only rehearsal space and home to some of Sacramento’s weirdest underground shows. In its holiday show last December, a raunchy reinterpretation of How The Grinch Stole Christmas collided with noisy rock performances and a chainsaw-to-ice-block demonstration.

Red Ex is the venue’s annual, all-day fest to keep the doors open for next year, and museum co-founders Jennifer Jackson and Brett Hart put together an eclectic lineup of local artists, plus bands from Olympia and Los Angeles. As of Tuesday, they had sold more than $1,500 in tickets out of their $4,000 goal on Indiegogo. This year, the festival’s two stages are sponsored by the city of Sacramento.

Jackson says that running the museum is “always a little bit tenuous.” “Anyone who’s renting and trying to do nonprofit arts stuff is getting priced out,” she told SN&R. “Our spirit is always to do the best we can, playing it by ear and enjoying the time that we have.”

At the top of the bill is L.A. Witch, a trio of dazed Southern California psych rockers who have risen nationally since the release of their 2018 album, Octubre. There’s also STRQ x Camilla, a collaboration between the local steel-drum master Shawn Thwaites and Camilla Covington, an enchanting, up-and-coming neo-soul singer. Get there for opener Minihahas, a super-group of Sac oddities Wino the Clown, Spacewalker and Doofy Doo’s Drew Walker. Arrive on an empty stomach for Bambi Vegan Street Tacos.

Like puns? At Capitol PUNishment, four comedians and guests test their might in a multi-round, back-and-forth battle for the best in dad humor.

L.A. Witch.

Photo courtesy of Riot Act Media

The monthly competition has sold out Luna’s Café & Juice Bar all year. But to ring in its third anniversary, comedians and co-founders Daniel Humbarger and Damian Harmony are holding the event at the Punch Line in Sacramento.

This one pits some of the punniest champions from the last three years: Amy Gilson, Dejan Tyler, Justine Lopez and Danica Peterson.

The game is simple, but intensifies: With the spin of a wheel, a topic is chosen and a one-on-one ensues with groaners and gut-busters.

“It’s kind of like a rap battle, but using puns instead,” Humbarger said. “If you can insult the person, it’s highly encouraged, as long as the pun works.”

After eliminations, the finalist faces off against the Humbarger and Harmony, both standup comedians skilled in improv humor. Two heads against one means it’s a lot easier to strike out.

“It’s totally unfair and it’s designed for them to fail,” Humbarger said.

What started as a game between friends at Round Corner has grown surprisingly, Humbarger said. Aside from the sellout nights at Luna’s, they’ve taken the show to the Bay Area with success.

“It just feels really good to know people are coming back,” he said. “We’ve established a sort of cult following that we weren’t expecting when we first started this.”