People & Places

Writers’ Picks

The Sacramento Hostel is even lovelier on the inside.

The Sacramento Hostel is even lovelier on the inside.

Photo By Anne Stokes



Best place to urinate in public

Not the Dumpster next to my parking spot
There must be 8 million Dumpsters in the River City, so why do you always have to relieve yourself by the one I park my motorcycle next to every morning? Look, I know how it is. You’ve spent the night drinking in Glitter Gulch, and those stalls at The Depot can be mighty intimidating to the pee-shy individual. You need a little air to help Mr. Winky breathe. That’s all fine and dandy, but nevertheless, you’ve got to find a new place to take a leak. And cut down on the asparagus, for crying out loud. After all that, you think I’m gonna tell you where my parking spot is?!


Best building locals rarely step foot in (but should)

Sacramento Hostel
If you’ve stayed in hostels, you’re accustomed to the usual drill. Bring flip-flops for the shower, don’t let the bed bugs bite. Granted, many hostels are perfectly charming, but none so enchanting as our own gorgeous 19th-century mansion in the heart of downtown. One among only a few Gold Rush-era mansions left in the city, the Sacramento Hostel serves as one of the finest examples of Italianate-Stick style architecture in all of California. It’s seen many moves and incarnations since it was first constructed in 1885: family estate on historic Merchant’s Row, funeral home, lavish party place and finally restored in 1995 (for $2 million) as a stunning introduction to our fair city. Stop in, visit with some out-of-towners, and take in a bit of local historic beauty at the same time. 925 H Street, (916) 443-1691,

Best local boy made good

Senate President Pro Tem Elect Darrell Steinberg
We’ve watched Senate President Pro Tem Elect Darrell Steinberg since his days on the Sacramento City Council, and we believe he puts what is right before what is politically expedient. We’ve got high hopes for Steinberg as he moves into his new post as pro tem of the California State Senate. The pro tem is generally regarded as the second or third most powerful person in California state government, but as Spiderman knows, with great power comes great responsibility.

Steinberg’s predecessor, Don Perata, helped foist fake term limits on voters to try and keep himself in power. He used “issue committees” to get around campaign finance rules and raise unlimited gobs of campaign cash. Our suggestion to Steinberg when facing tough choices as Senate leader: Ask yourself, “What would Don Perata do?” Then do the opposite. We know you’re up to it, Darrell.

Best place to reduce your apathy footprint

Volunteer Center of Sacramento
When you get to a certain age, something inside of you says, “Why don’t you get off your content ass and do something?!” You can either drown it out with a good amount of Jack Daniel’s, or you can take the hint and figure out a plan to set the tilted world straight. The Volunteer Center of Sacramento can help with that plan. All you do is fill out a form and wait for a specialist to get back to you with a few volunteer options: teach kids, build homes, work in a museum, whatever suits you. It’s a chance to do something good and to make a difference with just a little bit of time and a whole lot of heart. 1111 Howe Avenue, Suite 600; (916) 567-3100;

Best hidden zen garden

The drive-through at Jimboy’s Tacos in Midtown
Those jerks made you work late. Again. You’ve barely got enough energy to curl up on the couch with a veggie burrito and America’s Next Top Whatever. You blast through Jimboy’s parking lot, past the proud sign announcing a “.02 Mile Scenic Drive Thru.” You bark your order at the menu screen, then sit and stare at the brake lights ahead. On the radio, the soporific voice of Gary Vercelli ushers in the soft notes of a jazz quartet and suddenly, you notice the flowers all around. Bright red and pink geraniums jostle for position over beds of deep-purple petunias. Salmon-hued hibiscus lean off trellises, calling you to tropical landscapes and gentler days. Maybe tonight, you’ll get your burrito and just keep driving. 1420 29th Street, (916) 452-6451,

Best urban explorer

Erik Schorr
As soon as Erik Schorr got his driver’s license at 16, he had his nose in everything. That is, everywhere—Sac’s old Firestone building, the rail yards, McClellan Air Force Base, condemned homes and warehouses. This local abandoned-spaces guru is constantly on the prowl for new old territory to explore and photograph (when he’s not shooting for SN&R, of course). “I know these things are eventually going to be gone. People have forgotten about them and they’re still so intriguing,” Schorr says. Apparently, his penchant for trespassing isn’t limited to the deserted; the thrill of gaining access anywhere he’s not supposed to be is the rush. “Rooftops,” he says. “For the view. I’ve really got a thing for getting on rooftops.”

We celebrate Ron Brock’s incredible dedication to annoying the heck out of us.

Photo By Kel Munger

Best (and most annoying) fringe protester

Ron Brock
Who hasn’t seen Ron Brock and his “truth truck” parked on one of the streets bordering the state Capitol, cruising past a Planned Parenthood or hanging out at GLBTQI events? It’s plastered with 8-foot posters decrying everything from same-sex love and marriage equality to reproductive freedom to the right to make end-of-life choices without government interference. We must admit, it’s a pretty slick setup, since he can change the posters depending on his mood or the issue at hand. Pretty much everything we’re for, he’s against, except for the one thing we share: a deep and abiding belief in free speech, even when that speech is annoying. Yep, we hate Brock’s truck, but we’ll defend to the end his right to fill it full o’ gas and drive it around.

Best ‘hood

Hollywood Park
Land Park? Too snobby. East Sacramento? Also pretentious. Curtis Park? Boring. Hollywood Park? Just right. This south Sacramento neighborhood has everything you could possibly want in a community: diversity, young families, an old shoe-repair shop, Hollywood Hardware, Awesome Video, J Crawford’s Books, a little dive bar called the Pocket Club and too many Chinese and Japanese restaurants to list. All that, plus enough of a hard edge to make it exciting. Nestled within Sutterville and Fruitridge roads and 24th Street and Freeport Boulevard, houses here remain comparatively affordable for the area. And residents don’t need to travel far to get to Sacramento City College for an education or to downtown for work and play.



City code section 12.84.040: No loop-de-loops
“It is unlawful for any person to engage in aerial acrobatics over any part or section within the city limits.” It’s also illegal to drop stuff out of airplanes. Who knew?


Best attorney

Brendon Ishikawa
For an appellate attorney, there are few honors higher than having a victory published in the California State Supreme Court’s Official Record. That’s exactly what Davis attorney Brendon Ishikawa has done. Representing appellant Ulf Carlsson, Ishikawa argued that because Judge Peter J. McBrien had walked out of Carlsson’s divorce trial before Carlsson had presented his entire case, a mistrial should be declared. The appellate court’s three-judge panel unanimously agreed, and ordered the decision to be published in the Official Record. That means it sets a legal precedent. The next time a judge pulls such shenanigans, it could be grounds for an automatic mistrial. Nice work, Brendon! Ishikawa Law Office, 429 F Street, Suite 8 in Davis; (530) 759-9865;

Best place to eat on the ground

Miller Park
Miller Park is an awesome place to lay down a blanket and share a relaxing nosh with family and friends. Perfectly shaded and just off the river bank, its proximity to the Sacramento Marina makes it great for boat watching. Even for a spur of the moment picnic, Miller has plenty of picnic tables and barbeque grills to accommodate you. One Miller Park enthusiast even tips that the place is “perfect for meeting men … especially at night.” 2710 Ramp Way, (916) 808-5712,

Best place to people watch

Department of Motor Vehicles
Everyone at the Department of Motor Vehicles is in a bad mood. The only people who might exhibit happiness are those who have recently married and are legally changing their names or an unusually cheerful (read: sadistic) employee. You can see people of all ages, races and classes at the DMV, and each one is just as annoyed as the person standing next to them. It’s true equality! Despite the common goal to weather the experience as pleasantly as possible, it’s unusual for anyone to start a conversation with a stranger. Even those who bring someone for moral support only seem able to grunt at them. Study such anthropological phenomena at will. Not one person will be surprised that you have been sitting there for an hour, accomplishing nothing. Various locations,

Best place to strike a pedestrian

Freeport Boulevard/21st Street conversion
The city of Sacramento spent more than $3.4 million on the Freeport Boulevard/21st Street Conversion, and taxpayers have been rewarded with the world’s greatest civil-engineering debacle. Of particular note is the pedestrian crosswalk in front of Taylor’s Market and the light-rail station: a short but treacherous stretch of roadway some locals call a “suicide lane.” Pedestrians push the button, and maybe the crossing light changes, maybe it doesn’t. Either way, as you round the blind corner traveling southbound on the boulevard, they’ll never see you coming. The Freeport Boulevard/21st Street conversion is located on Freeport Boulevard and 21st Street, between Broadway and Fourth Avenue.



Best place to stalk a celebrity

North Natomas
We had to think hard on this one. We’re not certain that suggesting readers stalk a celebrity is actually legal, and we couldn’t really think of an honest-to-goodness celebrity from Sacramento who still lives here, aside from Joe Carnahan. (Trust us, you do not want to piss that guy off!) Then we thought, well, maybe readers can just go out to Granite Bay and sit outside the gates with binoculars and see who comes out. That seemed a little hit-and-miss. And that’s when we remembered Sacramento Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof. If anyone ever deserved to be hounded into their graves, it’s these playboy bootleggers. Of course, to complete your task, you’ll have to attend all the Kings’ home games and spend a night or two at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas to keep an eye on them. Nice work if you can get it.


Best tourist attraction for the nontourist

Second Saturday art walk
Who knew a street corner could transform into a perfect music venue? During Second Saturday art walks, many storefronts morph into music hot spots with makeshift bands drumming on plastic containers and people break dancing to deejays in front of art galleries. Sure, historic sites and driving tours are on the must-see lists for tourists in Sacramento, but for those who wish to sample real life in the burgeoning cultural city, it’s all about Second Saturday. Many times, the best part is sipping a beer on a restaurant patio under the glow of city lights and watching the interesting variety of people pass by. Second Saturday of every month at various locations in Sacramento.