Looking for a Faustian bargain

Sorry if you read this space last week and showed up at Gallery Horse Cow last weekend to see the Exploding Opera’s production of Faust, an adaptation of the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe story and Charles Gounod opera by Zach Boyd and Eric Bradner.

According to gallery proprietor Steve Vanoni, city of Sacramento building inspectors showed up at the site, at 1409 Del Paso Boulevard, with police officers in tow, on Friday afternoon, mere hours before the opera was scheduled to debut on a set that was built in a yard adjacent to the gallery. Vanoni thought he had his paperwork straight, but the city opined otherwise, “red-tagging” the project—which amounted to a cease-and-desist order—pending future approval by city officials.

At issue were building and electrical permits, according to city spokesman Gary Little, along with a recent ordinance that governs live performances in nightclubs and other commercial venues. Little wasn’t sure if the ordinance also applies to art galleries, which sometimes blur the distinction between gallery and performance venue when they feature, music, theater or film in addition to paintings and sculpture. At press time, a phone call to the city official with that information had not been returned.

Faust was scheduled to run the weekends of June 18-19 and June 25-26; it will be rescheduled if the gallery can work through a solution with the city.

Meanwhile, this Friday, June 25, marks the return of the fabulous Joy Buzzards, namely Bob Armstrong, Keith Cary and Bill Scholer, to the stage. The whimsical trio, whose repertoire contains many wonderful 78-rpm-era obscurities, a Captain Beefheart gem and some choice originals, will play the Fox & Goose, 1001 R Street, at 9 p.m. If you’ve never seen the Buzzards before, and you like stringed instruments; the musical saw (Armstrong’s virtuosic performance on this particular hardware staple will raise the hairs on the back of your neck, literally); accordions; homemade wonders (like Cary’s commodium, a lute-like instrument fashioned from a metal bedpan); and the kind of music you don’t often hear in nightclubs, on radio or anywhere else, you owe it to yourself to go see these guys. And for $3, you can’t beat it for value.

If you miss this somewhat rare appearance by Joy Buzzards—they play private parties more often than club gigs—you can see them open for the highly touted folk/blues/jazz performer Jolie Holland on Tuesday, July 20, at the Palms Playhouse, 13 Main Street in the western Yolo County hamlet of Winters.