Smooth seconds

The wind cuts across N Street and rattles my apartment’s half-century-old windows. It’s a crummy, overcast, but otherwise relaxing late Second Saturday afternoon. That is, until some jerk starts blowing a trumpet around the corner.

It permeates all rooms. Can’t escape. Boo, da, da, da, da / boooo, da, do, da, da—the riff is that cloying, 1980s R&B run, but I can’t put my finger on it. No, not “Careless Whisper” by Wham!, but it is driving me whack.

And so, even though it’s going to pour, I evacuate my dry apartment to track down this brass monkey.

Twentieth between N and O streets is shut down. A bored cop slouches in his flashing black-and-white, texting and paying no attention. The blowhard on the trumpet is down the block. As it turns out, the blowhard is actually this 13-year-old kid who calls himself “Too Smoothe.” And his brass foreplay is actually part of some heritage festival. And he’s actually pretty decent. Smoother up close, for sure.

I’m no longer all that pissed off that he’s ruined my nap by taking advantage of Second Saturday’s special outdoor amplified-sound permit. I may not e-mail Steve Cohn after all.

Still, what’s that song?

Anyway, later on that night, a bike ride southward across town, complete with brutal headwind. Destination: The Frosted Cake Shop’s grand opening. Result: worth it. The boutique bakery—tucked away in the newly revamped S and 29th streets complex near “T2,” or Temple Fine Coffee and Tea’s new spot (adjacent to the future home of Revolution Wines, too)—isn’t an actual storefront. Instead, you order one of chef Tessa Lindow’s brilliant artisan-cake concoctions at and then pick it up at this spot. I’m not talking just wedding cakes, either; one of her concoctions looks just like a Lay’s potato chip bag (tastes a lot better, though).

After having cake and eating it, too, back to Midtown. Second Saturday: No art, just people-watching, thanks. The sun crashes and a chill fills the empty, even lonely streets. The MARRS complex at J and 20th is a bore. They’ve again booked the cheesiest, stiffest quasi-surf-rock act in town. This block is supposed to be the hub of Sacramento’s arts-and-culture scene; instead, it’s like a clearance sale at Tommy Bahama.

No life on MARRS, sure, but the Second Saturday no-show is a citywide epidemic. There is, however, a cool deejay-turntablist battle at UnitedState on J Street (see for video). And the new Indian restaurant on 21st Street, Bombay Bar & Grill, is packed. Rightly so—tasty thali-style Indian fare, complete with pickled veggies and olives and fluffy, oily naan bread and strange curried dumplings.

But tikka masala induces a food coma like no other, which leads to zonking on the couch, which resurrects that smooth trumpet lullaby. But I figured it out! It’s Sade’s “Smooth Operator.”

Sweet dreams.