ARTHOUSE on R Street Invites Public to CAST Sac Open Studios Art Tour This Weekend

In conjunction with Verge Center for the Arts’ annual CAST Sac Open Studios Tours, a local group of artists at ARTHOUSE on R (formerly “The Foundry”) invite the public to tour their open studios and enjoy the work of over 10 artists in one fun and convenient location at 1021 R Street. The artists of ARTHOUSE on R will welcome visitors, facilitate tours, give demonstrations and offer their work for sale. Both Saturday, September 13 and Sunday, September 14, studios will be open from 10:00 – 5:00. Area artists include Michelle Andres, Beverly Austin, Sue Chapman, Michele Fisher, Taylor Gutermute, Judy Knott, TJ Lev, Judith Perry, Dianne Poinski, Vinay Sharma and Jill Allyn Stafford. Work includes ceramic and metal sculpture, photography, pastels, oil painting, mixed media work, collage and traditional printmaking. Visitors may participate in a drawing for exciting prizes, including art prizes and an exclusive, private gallery event for the winners and their friends. ARTHOUSE on R will offer guides to help participants choose and navigate their art trek through the tour of 125+ open art studios. In addition, Verge Center for the Arts is exhibiting a compilation of participating artists’ work in their gallery at 625 R Street in Sacramento. The CAST Sac Open Studios Tour spans 2 weekends – September 13 and 14 and September 20 and 21 and features over 125 […]

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New films: The November Man and As Above, So Below

Two of this week’s new releases seem to spend more time reminding audiences of other films rather than carving out niches of their own. The November Man Directed by Roger Donaldson Much has changed since Pierce Brosnan played James Bond. For starters, the Bond character has been rebooted as something closer to an action hero (with weirdly introspective interludes) than the almost campy, suave character that Bond had become post Connery. But we’ve also seen several frenetic Bourne movies and similar reboots of the Mission Impossible franchise. Along with Liam Neeson relaunching himself as an actor with a certain set of skills and others, such as Kevin Costner, trying to do the same. “The November Man” has more I common with the “Taken” films than with the Bond series, with an ex agent drawn back into action to protect somebody close to him. The difference is that in this film the main character is caught up again in spy business, rather than being drawn into a relatively random international crime scenario. The similarity is that both films have that odd dynamic of non-American, American agents. Sadly, one of the best characteristics of “Taken” was that “not in the spy business anymore” aspect, in which the special skillset gets applied elsewhere. Here, with Brosnan, we’re just given a fairly ordinary story of a retired agent who […]

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New films: The Giver plus three moviebriefs

The Giver Directed by Philip Noyce It’s hard to consider “The Giver” without thinking about the timing of its wide release this week. The film is based on the 1993 Newberry Medal winning novel of the same name that is required reading for many schoolchildren. It was optioned for a film adaptation by Jeff Bridges only a couple of years later but, for various reasons, took almost 20 years to come to the big screen. A lot has happened in those 20 years. Whereas an earlier adaptation would have caused inevitable comparisons to films such as “Pleasantville,” the intervening years have seen the Young Adult literature segment take off with such hit series as “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent,” each of which have dystopian future society themes, as does “The Giver.” Indeed, that market segment has become dominated by dystopias, apocalypses, and vampires. However, “The Giver” has a more simplistic tone and was written for younger readers than the often brutal action of some of these other, more recent stories. It’s not that “The Giver” doesn’t have mature themes, after all it deals with eugenics and the forced killing of senior citizens, but it’s all very clean – it doesn’t, for example, yield a film in which teenagers are slaughtering each other in assorted bloody ways. In “The Giver,” a future version of our society, […]

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New films: Storms, Turtles, and Indian/French Cuisine

What a difference a week makes. Last week was possibly my favorite film week of the year so far, with three wonderful films (reviewed here). This week isn’t all bad but it’s various levels of disappointing.   Into the Storm Directed by Steven Quale There’s something terribly problematic about releasing a film about tornadoes in the shadow of SyFy Channel’s release of “Sharknado 2: The Second One” (one of the most brilliantly awful sequel names ever) and having it seem like the lesser of the two. “Into the Storm” desperately needed sharks or almost anything else interesting to drop out of the funnel clouds and might have been more popular if it had been called “NadoNado” as it seems to be about a storm that spawns more storms. There’s virtually no story here, with just enough of a premise to justify why a particular group of people might be stuck in the midst of the kind of weather that will win any future “…oh you think that was bad?” conversation. A down on his luck stormhunter has run out of money without managing to capture footage from inside the eye of a storm and he’s desperate to rectify that. Meanwhile his target storm is barreling towards a high school where the Vice Principal has lost track of one of his sons, who is of course […]

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New Exhibit Showcases Mystery of Sacramento’s Unique Doorways; Artist’s Reception This Second Saturday

In a three-year venture to capture an architectural continuum of Sacramento’s commercial doorways, local award-winning photographer Martin Christian shot an array of images from the city’s alleys, railyards, and trucking corridors. What resulted is a pictorial showcase of Sacramento’s unique entryways. Now on display at East Sacramento’s Archival Gallery, the exhibit, titled “Doors of Sacramento”, focuses on the doorways of commercial buildings in the industrial areas of Sacramento. Loading docks and warehouses were frequently shot as well as the tattoo parlors and hairdressers spotted nearby. “I think the downtown core has been slow to adopt sterile, nondescript buildings,” said Martin Christian. “And that’s a good thing.” The project, Martin says, is not about preserving buildings, but simply showing what’s there and leaving viewers with a sense of mystery. “It’s a real pure, photojournalistic goal,” he said, adding that during the course of shooting, his vision for the exhibit evolved with the help of his wife. “She really challenged me to look for doors where there’s mystery there—like when you look at the door you would have more questions than answers,” Christian said. “So my focus [became] one of mystery. When you look at it you think, ‘Gosh, what in the world is there? What goes on behind those doors?’” Christian got the idea for the project when a friend who owned a bike shop on […]

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David Mamet’s Race Playing at Celebration Arts Theater

“Race”, presented at Celebration Arts theater and directed by James Wheatley, is very serious with melodramatic overtones. It explores in great detail the tracings of our American concerns about racial differences, racial equality, and the lengths to which afflicted people will go to either conceal racial slurs they might have made or thought of making, or to confess them and seek to absolve themselves of guilt. In this widely produced play, the author, David Mamet, portrays an accused man of high rank and social esteem who has sought a legal defense for a rape charge. The defense firm is multi-racial, and the length to which these lawyers go to build a safe haven case for their client is rendered asunder by one of their team who asserts some possibly spurious facts and figures into the case, not to mention her own racial and gender biases. The actors are very convincing, especially the newly hired recent graduate female attorney. This is possibly her first on stage case, and she makes some mistakes. She tries to correct them, and I will say no more of the plot. Don’t miss your chance to see one of the remaining 4 performances of “Race” at the Celebration Arts Theater this Thursday, August 7-Sunday, 10. Tickets can be purchased online at www.celebrationarts.net or by calling 916-455-2787.

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Last Showing of Marat/Sade Playing at California Stage This Weekend

“Marat/Sade”, produced by Ray Tatar of California Stage and directed by Kent Johnson, is a must see. You must be prepared for some gruesome language and extremely violent political points of view, courtesy of the German playwright Peter Weiss. But that’s the way it was in the French Revolution, a time in history with a vast amount of unrest, gross cultural misunderstandings, extreme rantings, and a level of concerted violence not even imagined by most of us so-called civilized people. Marquis de Sade has been immortalized by Weiss with due reference to his gruesome novels and subsequent quasi scientific research. Sade is played brilliantly by Richard Spierto, whose diction and dress are of museum quality. Jean-Paul Marat, played with impressive oratory by Mark Gonzalez, makes this a drama so spell-binding you cannot leave your seat or miss a word. And not a word was missed by the cast on this opening night in July. All of the twenty five supporting actors were right on with their collection of twenty songs and dances that would put our Music Circus acts to shame. Especially delightful is Penny Kline as Rossignol who has wholeheartedly entered this decadent world, and can sing like a thrush about it. There is even a role for the play’s producer, Ray Tatar, immaculately dressed in the period’s aristocratic costumery and seeking to tone […]

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New films: A Fantastic Week in Filmdom.

I can’t remember the last time I saw and wrote about three films in a single week, which I held in such collective high regard and for such different reasons. And they come together for me in a manner that is helped by memories of film critic Roger Ebert, with one of the three being a film based on his life and work (with special screening information at the end of this column). So here are three connected accounts of three otherwise unconnected films, one that made me laugh and giggle, and two that made me cry.   Guardians of the Galaxy Directed by James Gunn I can’t presume to know what Roger Ebert would have thought of “Guardians of the Galaxy” but much of my own response comes from a place and an opinion that I know he and I shared: That films are an art form that should be judged in the context of their genre and intended audience. He had famous disagreements with long time reviewing partner Gene Siskel on this point, one of which can be seen in “Life Itself” (see below). And “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a phenomenal, fun riding, summery popcorn bonanza. As with so many other recent films, it’s based on comic books of which I have virtually no knowledge and yet I never felt at a […]

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What is the sound of public art? Midtown Out Loud

Twice a month, Shine Café hosts one of Sacramento’s most prominent and provocative open mic nights, Midtown Out Loud. From 8 p.m. to well past 10, musicians, poets, and authors alike take the stage for five minutes apiece to perform, to share, and to celebrate their artistic endeavors. “Midtown Out Loud is a place for artists,” said Heather Anderson, the founder of MOL. “Be they spoken word artists or musicians, they are able to freely express themselves in an incredibly forgiving space where they’re not just appreciated but celebrated.” Beginning in 2010, the open mic night was originally hosted at what is now the Midtown Village Café, but after the passing of her mother in 2012, Anderson was forced to place the event on hiatus. Now, almost four months after its relaunch and relocation, it’s apparent that MOL has encouraged long-lasting connections among Sacramento’s artistic community. “You’re in a space where people want to do good,” Anderson said. “The time that we have, let’s spend it wrapping ourselves in art and pushing out love into the community. That’s what it’s all about.” Anderson’s take on life undoubtedly reflects certain tenets of MOL, which has raised contributions and awareness for local organizations such as the Sacramento Poetry Center’s Real Poets Writing Project and Breaking Barriers, a support service for people with HIV. Most recently, the MOL event […]

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Children’s Animated Film Series at the Tower Theatre

Reading Cinemas Tower Theatre will partner with GKIDS, a distributor of award-winning animation for both adult and family audiences, to present a retrospective of their films over eight weeks, starting Saturday, July 12, and running through Thursday, September 3. The program, titled AN ANIMATED WORLD: CELEBRATING FIVE YEARS OF GKIDS CLASSICS, will feature seven films, including the return of animated classics like Oscar nominated The Secret of Kells, A Cat in Paris and Ernest & Celestine; animated features Tales of the Night, Eleanor’s Secret, Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro and Nocturna; as well as a selection of short films from the GKIDS produced New York International Children’s Film Festival. The GKIDS retrospective can be seen exclusively at The Tower Theatre on Saturdays and Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. and Thursdays at 3:30 p.m. All tickets are $5.50 and can be purchased online at www.ReadingCinemasUS.com or at the box office. GKIDS Film Festival Schedule The Tower Theatre The Secret of Kells Saturday, July 12 – 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 15 – 11:00 a.m. Thursday, July 17 – 3:30 p.m. A Cat in Paris Saturday, July 19 – 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 22 – 11:00 a.m. Thursday, July 24 – 3:30 p.m. Tales of the Night Saturday, July 26 – 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 29 – 11:00 a.m. Thursday, July 31 – 3:30 p.m. Ernest & Celestine Saturday, August 2 – 11:00 a.m. […]

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