Unicorns, Xmas and fire, oh my

What about unibrows?: Pregnant at the Unicorn Brew Film Festival on Sunday (above), and the janktastic homemade trophies for the participating filmmakers.

What about unibrows?: Pregnant at the Unicorn Brew Film Festival on Sunday (above), and the janktastic homemade trophies for the participating filmmakers.

Photos by Shoka

Feature creatures:
A few small, historical mining towns in the foothills seem to share some things in common—besides being small, historical mining towns. As with Nevada City and Grass Valley, Placerville has a creative community that overlaps into the lap of Midtown Sacramento. Case in point, Sunday, December 20, The Cozmic Café on Placerville’s main drag hosted the first Unicorn Brew Film Festival, with films by and featuring familiar faces from the Sac music scene.

The venue’s upstairs ballroom served as the screening room, but it was so packed that latecomers couldn’t even get a glimpse of the experimental film by Pregnant’s Daniel Trudeau. Trudeau also starred in another short along with Alak’s Jocelyn Noir, an untitled film by Midtown’s Joe Bengry and Shane Skogberg. And Noir was also in a short by Darin Spring, a co-organizer of the event.

Chll Pll’s Zac Nelson also starred in a few films, including singer-songwriter Brianna Lea Pruett’s She Will Be, where he, bushy-bearded, has a reticent, hot-and-cold relationship with a young woman in an elevator.

The last screening was the beautifully shot Billy Rivers’ Last Summer, which featured siblings Adie Beatty of Coal Beautiere and Joey Beatty of Dark River. But the night didn’t end there. Homemade janktastic “Uni awards” were handed out to all participating filmmakers, and then the musical portion of the evening: Pregnant, Afternoon Brother, C.B. and D.R. all played short sets, because while film is another medium for these creative types to dive into, at heart, they’re still sound creatures. (Shoka)

Christmas setbacks:
The Baby Grand “Cocktail Christmas” show at Old Ironsides on December 19 had to deal with severe cutbacks that were standard for 2009. Sea of Bees canceled due to illness and Poplollys were also out. But the group showed stamina and spirit, like the rest of us during these hard times—and, of course, sweet poppy music. Hearts+Horses dreamily opened and ended with a showstopper in which most of Baby Grand took to the stage to sing backup. That didn’t stop 99 Tales from adding a surf feeling to songs of the season. Baby Grand killed it in their holiday-themed outfits and performed a cover of the defiant “Christmas Is Cancelled” by the Long Blondes. The night hit its peak with a dreamy, jangly version of “Little Drummer Boy” and a finale of Saturday Night Live’s “Christmas Today,” which featured a total switch-up of the band members and their instruments. Juju of Hearts really shined at lead guitar, out of her element, but gamely leading us towards 2010. (G. Gustafson)

On faux fire:
I’ve been keeping warm this freezing winter with a Christmas TV station that displays a crackling fire. OK, so it doesn’t exude real warmth, but it’s a mental thing for me: Seeing a fire, even if it’s in a TV, makes me feel cozy. Although the holiday season is nearly over, Two Sheds created a computer-generated video of a Yuletide fireplace where fans can “enjoy a crackling fire without the hassle of smoke or soot.” It has all the awesomeness of a Christmas TV fire, but with one hour of Two Sheds’ smooth, lullaby folk songs. It’s the perfect accompaniment for the remainder of the cold, rainy winter, without risk of turning into one of those weird people who listens to faux-fire Christmas music while gazing at the Christmas tree throughout January. Check out the video at http://vimeo.com/8145199. (Jenn Kistler)