Boxed Cake Mix

Like this, but much cooler.

Like this, but much cooler.

On April 19th, Record Store Day 2014 will feature a number of limited release records from more than 100 artists. The eight record box set from CAKE is sure to create a local buzz among collectors and vibraslap aficionados. The set will include their entire LP discography plus the unreleased LP Live at the Crystal Palace recorded in 2005. I was there, it was awesome.

Sacramento area vinyl vendors are likely to get a good supply of this career spanning retrospective from our most famous hometown band, but fans will have to be smart and quick to snatch one up. Otherwise, the only option will be massively inflated prices on eBay.

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Arjun interviews ZZ Ward

I’ll stop being a one-man Arjun Singh PR firm when he stops making incredible video content, or when he becomes embroiled in a nasty personal scandal, and even then it would have to be particularly nasty. Here he is interviewing indie singer-songwriter ZZ Ward when she appeared in Sacramento last week before her appearance at Coachella over the weekend.

SacBee reporters honored by Pulitzer

Bee staffers Cynthia Hubert and Phillip Reese were named finalists for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. While they did not bring home the top award, only two stories win the distinction of being a finalist. High praise, indeed.

Their investigation started with allegations that a mentally ill man was discharged by Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services in Las Vegas and sent to Sacramento on a Greyhound bus with no supporting resources or plan of treatment. They uncovered a shameful legacy of more than 1500 patients over five years who were similarly shipped to cities across the country.

Hubert and Reese previously won the 2013 George Polk Award in Journalism and the 2013 Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism. Their entire series can be read here.

Favorite baseball teams: spot the Oakland green

Via Atlantic magazine based on Facebook data. A huge swath of Giants orange in Nor Cal and zero presence for the Oakland Athletics (as well as the Mets and Blue Jays). This is probably just the thing to make another Moneyball team possible.

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Pop-up TARDIS lending library in Tahoe Park

3eaf5b6e9bc49ec3fc8a15d525a7b287.max800Daniel Steinhart, a healthcare administrator from my neighborhood of Tahoe Park, constructed a “Little Free Library” near his home in Tahoe Park. This one is notable for its incredibly geeky shape: a 1960s-era police call box from the UK, now popularly known as the TARDIS, the ship The Doctor (as in “Doctor Who”) uses to travel through spacetime.

A Little Free Library is a pop-up “take a book, return a book” lending library installation that people can use to recycle books and related stuff (toys/games) with their neighbors. The library is bigger on the inside, with everyone in the community sharing what they can. Continue reading

City aquatics schedule announced; YMCA to operate Tahoe Pool

The City of Sacramento was able to make an early announcement today about the start of summer aquatics season and it looks like the good news trend continues. The “YMCA of Superior California” will operate Tahoe Pool, as it did last summer, but Glenn Hall and Southside will once more be run by the city. Most pools will be open at least 6 days, with only Cabrillo Pool, near Florin & Freeport, scheduled to be closed.

I guess the last round of sales tax increases is finally starting to pay off? Though I can’t seem to find much in the way of news dating back to those increases to see if they went for city services like Parks & Rec.

I was a Glenn Hall River Rat as a kid but these days I am all about Tahoe Pool and the YMCA folks that ran it last year. Anyone else planning to use the city pools this drought-stricken summer?

Look who made the “Frozen” DVD/BluRay combo pack

Choice placement for CBS13/CW31′s Mark S. Allen on the DVD cover for “Frozen,” sure to be one of the biggest releases in recent years.

And he’s 100% right by the way–it’s snark-proof.

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Arjun Goes to Wizard World [PHOTOS]

Arjun Singh, percussionist with Wallpaper and YouTuber behind “The Public Access Show,” was rubbing elbows with the Sacramento geek community last weekend at the inaugural Wizard World convention. Here are some photo highlights:

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Concerts in the Park: !!! will headline

!!!. from Facebook

!!!. from Facebook

Downtown Sac Partnership announced the schedule for Concerts in the Park today, with performances starting May 2 at Cesar Chavez Park. Making a return visit to the park on July 18 is New York’s !!!. (Editor’s quandary: How to respect the band’s chosen label in a sentence that ends with the name of the band and then an exclamation point? e.g. “Excellent concert Friday night by !!!!”)

Old favorites like Arden Park Roots, The Nickel Slots, Zuhg, confirmed Sac Rag fan Autumn Sky, and of course nobody has to worry about getting their Brodys fix as the band will close out the summer on July 25, but lots of new names on the list as well. Anyone excited to see their favorite band at the park this summer?

Sac Public Library nominated for national award

Colonial Heights Library

Sacramento Public Library was announced today as one of 30 finalists for a National Medal for Museum and Library Service presented by Institute of Museum and Library Services. The awards are given to “outstanding institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.”

SPL is one of only 3 California organizations nominated this year, on a list that includes some top museums and libraries. The Discovery Science Center, a Santa Ana science museum, was one of 10 institutions honored with a medal last year in a White House Ceremony.

Kudos to the folks at SPL who make these programs happen!

The Sacramento Media Clickbait Award Goes To…

Oh, Fox 40. Your funny bone knows no bounds.

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Start making some space in the trophy cabinet now. The Edward R. Murrow Awards are coming up soon!

On Taking My Mother to Mother

Pass the sea salt

Pass the sea salt

Have you heard? A new restaurant opened up on K Street. It’s vegetarian. It’s hip. It’s different. It’s the toast of the town. And I can say that because toast is vegetarian.

It’s called Mother. And if you don’t read the local print journalists, then you might not know that Mother is the best restaurant to open in the area since a tired woman first roasted a bluegill trout on the banks of the American River after first coming over the land bridge about 12,000¬†years ago. Seriously. If you think I’m kidding, read this. Or this.

People I know are going batshit about this place. I expect this of the vegetarian and vegan community in town, with their Jehovah’s-Witness-level zealotry and their incessantly low reviews on Yelp of restaurants that don’t cater to their self-imposed dietary restrictions. But straight up eaters are singing this joint’s praises. So, you go. Right? Continue reading

First Step Reached in Pulling Down “World’s Nicest Projects”

See, there are bricks, and trees.

See, there are bricks, and trees and stuff

If you’ve driven by the corner of Broadway and Muir (9th) anytime in your life and wondered what exactly the grouping of building was you were looking at, you know the ones, the one and two story brick jobs laid out in a wide open pattern, like some kind of Massachusetts militia base from the heady days of the war of British aggression, then I’m here to tell you that they are, and always have been, public housing.

The handsome brick structures surrounded by leafy old trees, green lawns, soccer and baseball fields, and a head start pre-school were built after WWII by a team of architects known for their impressive, enduring structures like the Elks Building, YWCA, and (less enduring) the Alhambra theater. To have such eminent architects work on public housing was no big thing back then, as public projects of any kind were ways to show American superiority and excellence on the world stage.

These days, the public housing project known as Alder Grove (they were originally called New Helvetia, probably because of all the poor Swiss people that lived there), boasts hundreds of residents, many of whom have lived there for decades.

Surrounding Alder grove on the South is the neighborhood “Upper Land Park,” a collection of mostly post-war houses, built to a slightly smaller scale than the larger Land Park homes east of Riverside Boulevard. Recently, this neighborhood has become one of the hottest real estate markets in the city, given it’s medium price range and proximity to downtown, as well as the charming nature and fine condition of many of its 70-year old houses.

But wouldn't it be great if it looked like this?

But wouldn’t it be great if it looked like this?

So, here’s the rub. The Sacramento Housing Authority (SHRA) wants to pull the Alder Grove residences down, run a bulldozer through them, rip them up, shred them to a pulp, and put up some multi-story cubes in their place. Put some commercial on the Broadway side and build some “mixed” housing including a mix of market-rate and subsidized housing behind the commercial frontage.

Yet, the main reason for the pull down given by the SHRA is “the housing communities suffer from severe physical distress, with outdated, 60-year-old building systems. Many of the 700 residential units are undersized and do not meet the needs of today’s families.”

It’s funny a bit that the surrounding neighborhood is also more than 60-years old, and was built with the outdated technologies of the time, yet it’s still one of the most desirable neighborhoods in town. Also, the families that live in the Alder Grove development haven’t complained at all about the living conditions and would have to be displaced for months if not years while their homes are destroyed and replaced. So, I’m trying hard to believe that this is “for the comfort of the residents.”

Instead, this seems like a project that, like almost any building project in the country, is designed to make developer, builder, owner, and politician a lot of money. It seems a shame, doesn’t it, to have this wide patch of land without something on it that you can gain a market income from. It seems a shame, doesn’t it, that there are wide open spaces wherein children can play rather than rent-earning apartments. It seems a shame, doesn’t it, that there is room to put up a Subway sandwich shop that doesn’t yet have a Subway sandwich shop occupying it.

Also, there’s always bound to be shenanigans. According to one frequent commenter and expertly knowledgeable individual that’s a personal friend of mine, “The weird part is that the city paid a consulting firm to determine if the buildings were eligible for the National Register, which is part of the environmental review process. The firm determined they were, so they buried the report and hired another consultant.”

Thanks, city council, for looking out for the needs of the citizens once again. Why don’t you work on the empty, I mean EMPTY, city blocks in Downtown and Midtown before you go ripping down perfectly good residences? Try finding a plan for the Ice Factory. Try building a public market. Work on that ridiculous rail yard boondoggle. Find some tenants for the empty buildings on K Street. Do something useful rather than what appears to be a naked grab for money designed to screw the lucky few comfortable, low-income folks in your town.

The most recent (Jan 21) city council meeting addressed the issue and the council voted to go ahead with a plan to acquire a plan to tear the thing down. They haven’t agreed to move ahead, just to develop a plan to move ahead. So there’s still time to stop the move if you, the citizen, so wants. Just sayin’.

Sacramento is on the map, geekly speaking

This guy will be there. This is happening, Sacramento.

Wizard World, the fanzine publisher who hosts geek conventions in various cities including Chicago and Philadelphia, is bringing their con to Sacramento for the first time this year. The guest list is insane, including William Shatner, Stan Lee, and Bruce Campbell, and about half the cast of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

Huge news for Sacramento’s geek community. As a dad with kids I just hope the cosplay presentations are family friendly, which I guess is probably in vain. The Sac Bee’s Snapshots from the recent Anime con at the Convention Center were mostly safe, which bodes well. I think cons should have a “family friendly” cosplay area but I’d hate to have to put someone in charge of judging whether costumes are friendly.

YMCA mural is my new favorite local mural

Sacramento has quite a few murals but my new favorite is at the midtown YMCA. The walls of the patio in the pool area were decorated with a “whimsical” mural depicting undersea life last month, painted by local artist Markos Egure. I haven’t been to the pool since last year so I first got to see it this weekend. Makes the pool experience just a bit better!


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