I’m sure other down-on-their-luck NBA markets have their “ones that got away,” but it’s pretty hard to watch perennial All-Star Isaiah Thomas get mentioned in the MVP discussion for his play with the Celtics. But now there’s another source of woe, as Jimmer Fredette, our lottery pick in 2011 famously chosen ahead of Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard (long pause here in writing the post as, like many Sacramentans, I become legally dead for a short period every time I realize that) has been named MVP of the Chinese NBA. He is averaging 36 points per game and recently scored 73 (!) for the Shanghai Sharks.
Local standup JR De Guzman wins NBC comedy search, talent deal
According to Deadline, local standup JR De Guzman, frequent performer at beloved Midtown improv joint Comedy Spot, has won StandUp NBC, a nationwide talent search for “comedians of diverse backgrounds.”
De Guzman was chosen from among eight other finalists out of more than 600 stand-up comedians who auditioned at open calls last year in New York City, San Diego, Nashville and Austin.
Born in the Philippines and raised in California, De Guzman began performing stand-up comedy while working as a music teacher. He has performed for Stand-Up Tokyo and ROR Comedy in Japan, the Jokers Ball in Indonesia, the Badaboom Comedy Series in Amsterdam and the Edmonton Comedy Festival. He has shared the stage with Tim Allen, Margaret Cho, Daniel Tosh, Jerrod Carmichael and Iliza Shlesinger.
The prize includes a 1-year talent deal with NBC. In addition to his national and cable/streaming appearances, JR is performing at the ‘Spot later this month.
Interview: Electro Group
Electro Group, a shoegazer mainstay of the local music scene in the late ’90s, have managed to stay together and put out several albums in the 2000’s. The latest, Ranger, was out on 1/27. I got in touch with the band–Matt Hull (drums), Tim Jacobson (guitar & vocals), and Ian Hernandez (bass)–to talk about the new album, their history with Sacramento and their plans for a spring tour.
See my review of the new LP “Ranger”
How long have you all been working on this album?
Tim: At least the beginning of 2014 if we include planning. It’s funny; the whole reason we went to a studio and worked with a producer this time was to get it done quicker than we can on our own. We did get it done quickly but it still came out in 2017.
Electro Group, “Ranger” LP
Back in the late ’90s, Electro Group had one of the most defined musical styles in town and blew out many eardrums as the noise pop vanguard of the local scene. Though it has been a full 10 years since their last LP Good Technology in 2007, the band has managed to eke out recordings on vinyl and even put out a cassingle (!) in 2015. Last month they released a new LP, Ranger, on their longtime label Research Sound Recordings.
The album is strong out of the box with “Like Pelicans,” introducing you immediately to the elements that make up such a consistent sound for a band that has been together for 20 years: falsetto vocals over deeply crunchy guitars, heavy bass, and inventive drum lines. Characteristic atonal riffs and hard-driving fuzz make “Undone” another standout, and “Mandobo” is a sweeping, My Bloody Valentine-inspired anthem. The epic Built to Spill inspired outro of “Monotron” is a standout of the latter half of the album. Electro Group may wear its influences on its sleeve, but this is no mere copycat band. They’ve got the chops to back it up.
The sound is mature, pulling in strings on “Unwind” and a synth-and-keys vibe on “Gong.” Electro Group are still interested in moving their sound forward rather than just covering old ground. Ranger is a solid album from a band confident in its sound, one that should gather lots of “where has this been all my life?” reactions on their upcoming tour.
Tomorrow: An interview with the band.
Supportive crowds gather in Tahoe Park after businesses vandalized
Earlier this week vandals broke the front windows at Momo’s Meat Market in Tahoe Park, and next door the Supreme Barber Lounge was burglarized and hit with racist graffiti, because people are terrible.
But because people are also amazing, neighbors in my beloved former hood Tahoe Park are coming out in force to show these businesses some love. A group gathered to help the owners of Supreme Barber Lounge with cleanup, and raconteur, rabble-rouser, and one time (literally) writer on this here web log Isaac Gonzalez is blowing up Facebook with photos of huge groups gathered at Momo’s today for lunch.
And if you were wondering: yes, of course the graffiti swastika was backwards.
Cafe Lumiere, a breakfast joint across the street from the affected shops, is also getting in on the action:
Fair Oaks delights, or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the ‘burbs
Well, dear readers, much has transpired since I wrote my last post in 2015. In 2016 I moved my family out to Fair Oaks, leaving behind our beloved Tahoe Park and being grid-adjacent (or at least near-grid-adjacent) and adopting the life of suburbanites. (This was the most important thing that happened in 2016.) While we definitely miss Tahoe Park specifically and the urban core in general, I have found Fair Oaks to be full of offbeat charm. It’s not a complete list, mainly because I don’t get out much, but I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite Fair Oaks features. Continue reading “Fair Oaks delights, or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the ‘burbs”
Name Funderland’s new swing ride, win a party at Funderland
Beloved Land Park family amusement park Funderland is adding its first new ride in 25 years, and they are crowdsourcing the ride’s name. If your name is chosen, you win a party at Funderland for yourself and 19 of your closest friends:
We’re so excited about our 1st new ride in 25 years! The new swing ride will be opening soon, but we’re asking for your help. We need a great new name for the ride! Enter our latest giveaway and tell us your best name idea for the swing ride. Just for participating, you’ll be entered to win our Exclusive VIP Party Package for 20! That’s a prize package worth over $1000 – just in time for a Summer Bday Bash!
Personally I’d hold out for naming rights, but that’s OK. I’ll still allow the public to ride on CoolDMZ’s Monsanto PepsiCo Swing Ride presented by Chevrolet (trademark pending).
City of Trees festival lineup to include “listener choice”
The City of Trees music festival tickets went on sale this morning. The event, to be held August 15 at Gibson Ranch in Elverta, features as a headliner a little local band called “Cake” whose work has been featured in such things as “TV” and “the movies.” In addition to Cake and some other hot acts like Of Monsters and Men and BORNS, the lineup will include a “listener choice” option:
We’re letting YOU, the listener, help us pick the rest of the line-up. Just TEXT the name of your favorite band that you want to see play on stage!
So I’d like to use my social media presence and this bully pulpit that is thesac rag dot com to ask you a favor. Please vote for Buddy Holly and the Crickets. I think Radio 94.7 can pull this off. Text “BAND Buddy Holly and the Crickets” to 31858. Let’s make this happen Sacramento!
City of Trees – Tickets $50-$100 on sale now
Kings submit formal plan for arena development
According to the Biz Journal, the Sacramento Kings submitted formal paperwork to support their development plans for the area surrounding the downtown arena.
A rendering submitted with the application shows the hotel, including a pool deck on an upper floor, immediately north of the arena’s main entrance, and a reconfigured Downtown Plaza facing east, onto the main plaza and the arena.
I think it’s fitting that the 16 story building will all but block the view from the new arena of the Railyard.
Mr. Pickles to star in Cartoon Network show
But not the one you’re thinking of. A new “Adult Swim” animated series called “Mr. Pickles” will debut later this fall on Cartoon Network. From the press release:
Mr. Pickles is an original animated series set in the small, old-fashioned world of Old Town that is slowly being taken over by the modern world. The series centers on the lives of the Goodman family and their innocent six-year-old son Tommy, whose best friend is the family’s lovable Border Collie, Mr. Pickles. The two roam around Old Town together getting into classic adventures.
Aww, cute, right?
Unbeknownst to Tommy and everyone else, except Tommy’s Grandpa, Mr. Pickles has an evil streak and frequently wanders off to kill, mutilate and hump his deserving victims.
There’s that Adult Swim angle. No word on whether the horrifying human-pickle hybrid mascot from the Sacramento area sandwich chain will be used in the marketing effort, though he would fit right in.