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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Anonymous Do-gooder Does Good Well

Andrew Carnegie knew how to put his name on donations

Andrew Carnegie knew how to put his name on donations

It started as a few disparate people getting gift cards in the mail around Christmas. The cards were sent from an anonymous gift-giver who, from all evidence, seems to favor those people in the Sacramento community who do their thing and in the process make our town a better place.

I noticed several people in my Facebook feed thanking this anonymous Santa, people like Brian Crall, owner of the Sacramento Comedy Spot, or Chris Crotty, owner of ComedySportz, or standup Keith Lowell Jensen. Each of the three received a gift card with a note saying, “Thank you for all you do for the Sacramento comedy community.”

Thinking this was just a nice gesture from an ardent comedy fan, I stored it away as interesting and nice.

But, just in the last few days I’ve seen posts from John Marcotte, political satirist and high-brow prankster, Stephanie Rector, organizer of Sac Geeks, and a few other “non-comedy” souls. These cards were sent with custom notes that basically said thank you for making Sacramento a better place.

So, #1 This gift-giver is awesome and deserves high praise for true heart and brilliant execution. #2 I don’t need to know who it is, nor should you. They’ve chosen to remain anonymous and that’s just fine. #3 Their choice of recipients is interesting and I’d like to know if anyone else out there received such a gift. If you did or know of someone else that did, please comment below or shoot me an email at saceats at gmail dot com.

Guess Who’s Back?

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Guest Post: Ugly Sweater Run

By Jeff Gonzales and Cintia Lopez, journalism students at American River College.

Nothing says the holidays like ugly sweaters, inflatable Christmas decorations and charitable acts. Especially when those acts are rewarded with beer.

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More photos by cintia.lopez92 on Flickr

Blow-up candy canes and a Christmas tree arch lined the sides of William Land Park as masses mustachioed with temporary tattoos dressed in their best, or worst, ugly Christmas sweaters gathered to partake in the third annual Ugly Sweater Run.

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Local angle to Batkid story: Sacto boy donated suit

In case you enjoyed following the crime- fighting exploits of “Batkid” on Friday, you’ll want to know that among the many amazing people who made it possible was 7-year old Carmichael resident James, who donated the awesomely realistic pint-sized Batsuit worn by the Batkid himself. CBS13 reports:

Greta Gerwig stars in Arcade Fire “Afterlife” video

Sacramento’s own Greta Gerwig stars in this video for Arcade Fire’s “Afterlife,” directed by Spike Jonze live at the YouTube Music Awards which are a thing now. As with most of the tracks on “Reflektor,” it gets pretty epic at the 3:00 mark (in this reviewer’s humble opinion) when, well, the thing in the preview image happens.

Stage Coach- Grease, Grits, and Cultural Exchange

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Sometimes brunch won’t do. Some mornings, the thought of mimosas and purse dogs and hungover waiters sours the stomach more than last night’s libations. Some mornings, breakfast is the only solution for what ails you. And a very specific breakfast at that, one with potatoes, biscuits, eggs, and all the other fixin’s. But, every now and then, you need to go farther. You need a gut bomb that feels like it was especially prepared by Paula Deen’s grandma, you know the one that thought the rotund racist was “too skinny” and kept inducing her to eat sticks of butter like they were popsicles. On those mornings, you go to the Stage Coach.

 Unprepossessing with its A-frame roof and 50-year old sign, the Stage Coach Restaurant offers the homiest of down-home cooking, the most comfortable of comfort food, the bombest of gut bombs. And, with its Florin Road location it also offer an intriguing intersection of white, black, Hispanic, and Asian customers who tend to mingle together in a common cause in a way usually reserved for houses of worship.

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