As far from the “real world” as it may seem, Burning Man is a part of our world – money, income inequality and all. Does that make Burning Man commercial? Or is it a valiant and largely effective effort to balance a culture in which money warps our politics, our religion, even our personal relationships? The answer is yes. And no. Or, as in real life, somewhere in between.
The Roman ruins and Renaissance cathedrals are getting some competition for tourist dollars this year from something decidedly contemporary: Milan’s Expo 2015, this year’s international exposition. Having opened in May to great fanfare – as well as charges of incompetence and indictments for corruption in its construction – features acre after acre of spectacular national pavilions that focus on this year’s theme: Food production.
I really did love my stuff. I even used a lot of it. And I had a lot: My gorgeous Victorian home in downtown Sacramento held closets full of clothes, a kitchen crammed with utensils, a garage full of sporting gear, a formal dining room, a roomful of records, even a library, floor to ceiling with books. So much stuff. These days, I have a backpack and a duffel bag
A Bee Business story on this week’s buy-outs was long on numbers, but it didn’t mention a single name of the very real people who are leaving The Bee this fall. So I’m going to drop the commentary and just list those who are leaving. Read the names, remember the people – and the stories. These are the people who made The Bee what it is…was. And the names say it all.
Dan Gehweiler, accompanied by his wife and toddler son, as well as by his parents, accepted the award quietly. It was more than two years in coming, but it was welcome nonetheless. Speaking the day before the ceremony, Gehweiler recounted the afternoon of Aug. 29, 2005, when his truck hit an explosive device on the road back to his base. The shrapnel tore through the floor of the truck he was driving and “a hunk of metal the size of a golf ball” lodged in his right arm.
What would you do without Gracenote?
Well, for one, you’d be typing into your computer the name of every artist and every song on every CD you pop into iTunes or other music management program you use on your computer.
Do you feel grateful yet?
By David Watts Barton, The Sacramento Bee, March 7, 2006 Tower Records has seen better days. Everyone knows it. Russ Solomon certainly knows it. Solomon launched Tower in 1960 out of his dad’s pharmacy in the Tower Theatre building at 16th and Broadway. He built the company into the most influential record chain in the…
The start of a new year seems like a good time to plan to enjoy our sweet spot of outdoor fun. Plus, you don’t want to wake up one day 20 years from now and wonder why you never hiked Yosemite, rafted a Class IV stretch of river or reeled in a king salmon, do you?
It’s still hard to believe. Someone shot Beatle John. It happened 25 years ago today, but it still doesn’t make sense that someone – a fan – would kill a man who sang a whole generation awake. But John Lennon was indeed shot this day in 1980, and many Sacramentans are remembering that heinous crime, some shedding fresh tears over an old wound.
With the four-piece band he’s been leading for an ongoing series of tours that started in Oakland in 2002, McCartney has become one of the hardest-working classic rockers on the road. Still at the top of his game musically at 63, he looked and sounded a good 20 years younger as he worked through 37 songs in 21/2 hours.
You’d think that people would have had enough of Paul McCartney. But you look around you and you see it isn’t so. With a sold-out show at Arco Arena on Wednesday, yet another album in the Billboard Top 40 and a seemingly endless stream of books being published about his first band, the Beatles, McCartney is the object of enduring interest, especially for baby boomers who grew up with the Fab Four.
John Lennon been turned into a soft-focus pop icon, a pinup for peace. A driving force behind that, all agree, is Ono, who, as Lennon’s widow, creative partner, business partner and manager of his estate and legacy, has revised the man. Now, he comes across as a dreamy house husband, not as the firebrand who wrote the raw, violently emotional “Yer Blues” and “Working Class Hero.” Instead, we get the Lennon of clouds and dreams and childish doodles, widely available as lithographs – “limited edition,” of course.
When she set out to hike 200 miles of the John Muir Trail, Anne Arthur, 57, wasn’t aiming to make a statement. She just wanted to go on a hike, the kind she and her husband had planned to do. “We’d been trying to get back to backpacking,” she says of her hiking plans with her husband of 22 years, Jeff. “It was an activity in which we both felt alive; it was something that we shared.” But that was before Jeff, 58, died unexpectedly last November. And before Anne was forced to think about her life and her dreams in a new light.
Sheltered from the big waves of the opening to the Pacific a few miles south, Richardson Bay offers gorgeous vistas, wildlife and companies ready to offer beginners their first experience of kayaking.
From the time he first stepped on stage with the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, dubbed “Captain Trips” by his following, exhibited the kind of charisma that would make him a revered cultural figure. Even after his death at 53 from heart failure 10 years ago today, his influence echoes among the younger musicians and fans of the booming jam-band genre. The same is true for older fans who – long ago won over by the music – sport J. Garcia ties with their business suits and drink J. Garcia wines at suburban dinner parties.
Nature is disappearing, and not just where we notice it. Certainly, the natural world is going under the bulldozer at a frightening rate, from the Brazilian rain forest to North Natomas. But that’s not all that concerns Richard Louv.
What worries the journalist and author is that nature is disappearing from inside us. People are spending less and less time in natural settings and, he says, are losing touch with nature in many different ways.
The Alexander Valley, which lies along Highway 101 and is centered on Healdsburg, population 10,000, still plays a secondary role to the world-famous Napa Valley. But the area is more familiar to outsiders than they might at first think, and for a simple reason: Like the weather, the wine is good here, too.
By David Watts Barton, The Sacramento Bee, April 21, 2005 First, it was the skiers’ and boarders’ turn to enjoy the abundance of precipitation this winter. Then came the wildflower enthusiasts, who traveled from all over the world to see the most colorful desert blooms in recent memory. Next up: whitewater rafters and kayakers. They…
Someday, anthropologists will be able to explain the human fascination with speed. Until then, we’ll just keep driving fast, faster and faster still. It’s how some of us are wired. Last week, several dozen NorCal members of the Rocklin-based CFRA, including Wong and others from the Sacramento area, brought their search for thrills to Infineon Raceway (formerly Sears Point Raceway), just off Highway 37 in Sonoma.
To say that a well-known artist was ahead of his time is a critical cliche. It might seem doubly ludicrous to say that about Brian Wilson, whose songs and productions for the Beach Boys in the first half of the 1960s virtually defined his time. But Wilson’s greatest work, largely written and recorded in 1966, got too far ahead of his time, his band and his audience, and even of Wilson himself. But Thursday night at Davies Symphony Hall, Wilson, his music and his audience finally all caught up to the music he dared not release in 1966: “Smile.”
The Host greets us at the door. We’ve met him before, when he was wearing a T-shirt, handing out handbills at a music festival. But now he’s wearing a black dress shirt and colorful tie, and his manner is gracious and welcoming.
He is fairly beaming with pride, for we have arrived at our undisclosed location. The air smells of onion, cumin and candle wax. We have found The Restaurant.
Angel Island looms large in the geography of the Bay Area, but it also occupies a special place in time.
It’s been revered by early residents, such as the Coast Miwok tribes, and used by various branches of the U.S. military for nearly 100 years. It was the first place many Asian immigrants touched ground upon arrival in America.
If the goal is to get to the top of a granite tower such as 3,000-foot El Capitan in Yosemite and get a workout doing it, there are good trails to the top. Pulling oneself up a sheer rock face seems, well, inefficient. Not to mention difficult. And dangerous. But as I discover during my first day of rock climbing, the sport has an advantage that outweighs all these disadvantages: It is a thrill.
Now in its 18th year, the Burning Man arts festival opens Aug. 30, drawing more than 30,000 free spirits to a weeklong event. It promises art, celebration, nudity, ritual, music and a physical challenge in a desert environment where dust storms can be part of the fun – for the prepared.
The Grateful Dead has always been great in theory: stylistically omnivorous, loose, improvisational and radically democratic, never doing the same show twice. But the band has at times gone to the down side of those ideals: unfocused, self-indulgent, rudderless, and sometimes just musically inept. Sunday night, returning as The Dead (the “Grateful” discarded in honor of singer-guitarist Jerry Garcia, who died in 1995), the band delivered on the theory. Its first show in the Sacramento area in nearly a decade was a triumph.
David Jones has had 40 years now – his first recording, as lead singer of the King Bees, was released in 1964 – to perfect being “David Bowie.” Friday night at the Berkeley Community Theatre, Bowie, now a svelte and energetic 57, gave a sold-out audience of 3,200 the most concentrated and perfectly packaged “Bowie” that he has yet mustered.
The great outdoors is so great, in large part, because we get away from all the concerns and pressures that add so much stress to our civilized lives. So saying that manners matter in our outdoor activities – observing the proper “outdoor etiquette” – seems almost oxymoronic.
After all, isn’t going into the wild a chance to let loose our inner wildness? Well, yes and no.
Whatever the beauties of an accomplished snowboarder carving a black- diamond run, one’s first day on a snowboard isn’t pretty. But learning to snowboard is not forbiddingly difficult, either – it’s just not something you learn in a day.
Not everyone who enjoys winter sports yearns to be traveling at insanely high speeds.
While the downhill thrill lures many to the slopes, others are answering a more laid-back call: Come to the snow, and shoe.
Boarding and skiing are great fun, but so is the winter-sports family’s more pedestrian cousin: snowshoeing.
What if there was a skateboard-like device that more closely simulated the bombing and carving snowboarders love? A wheeled ride that could go upward of 50 mph screaming down a slope made of, ah, asphalt or concrete? Stop dreaming. The Freebord is here.
It’s tempting to write off the media attention being paid to the 40th anniversary of the arrival in America, on Feb. 7, 1964, of The Beatles. People have been talking, thinking and writing about that moment for, well, 40 years. So, what’s new? A handful of stars will do a tribute to The Beatles on Sunday night’s Grammy broadcast. Books and DVDs and CDs and articles keep coming. And no matter how much you love The Beatles, you’ve got to think: Isn’t this overdoing it?
Vacation is not the time for multitasking. Especially on a classic beach vacation, days spent vegging out, dining out and splashing about are as ambitious as one need get.
Still, if you’re like many active people, a few days of nothing but relaxation can get a bit … dull. So, while you’re on vacation – even just a beach vacation – you also can learn a thing or two.
The path toward amending the 1985 Parkway Plan, which governs the use of the 32-mile American River Parkway from Sacramento to Folsom, is even longer than the parkway itself: Citizens groups representing different sports and areas, various regulatory agencies and members of governing bodies from the Board of Supervisors to the state Legislature will study, vote on and ultimately enact any changes.
Great whites come to the Farallon Islands, a small group of guano-encrusted rocks 26 miles outside of San Francisco Bay, because of who else goes there: sea mammals. Specifically, elephant seals, which are mobile repositories of fat big enough to give Jenny Craig nightmares.
Such a sight – dryly referred to by Savedra as “a feeding event” – is said to be spectacular.
Cruising on a bike down tree-sheltered streets, it’s easy to forget the superheated highways and be transported back to a simpler time, when bikes were a common form of transportation.
And what better place to ride than the streets of midtown, with its close proximity to shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and outdoor activities?
It was no accident that the L.A.-based Beach Boys played their first big concert – anywhere – at Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium 40 years ago today, on May 24, 1963. It happened because of a precocious promoter named Fred Vail, a 18-year-old Sacramento State College student who wanted to help his alma mater, El Camino High School, raise money for its graduation party.
The realization that Tower, which was born in Sacramento and grew to include stores all over the world, is not indestructible has prompted many to reflect on the pivotal role Tower Records has played in area culture – and in pop culture in general. In the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s in particular, Tower defined cool in Sacramento – though some may have seen it as arrogance – and it provided a unique common ground for people of varied tastes and interests. No one is more surprised at Tower’s impact than the man who founded it – Russ Solomon.
Seated in a wheelchair with a small computer monitor mounted in front of him, Hawking is an unpreposessing figure. Disabled since the age of 21 with Lou Gehrig’s disease – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – he could easily be one of life’s casualties, invisible to all. But Hawking, 61, is, like Gehrig, a hero to millions.
A day at the movies circa 2003 means murder, mayhem, suicide and war – with a couple of great song-and-dance numbers thrown in. And John C. Reilly.
We all agree that a New Year’s resolution is a fine thing. Join a gym, gain strength, lose weight … what could be wrong with that?
Nothing, really. Unless you’re someone who long ago got into the gym habit. For those already-fit people, January isn’t a month of fresh starts. It’s a month that tries one’s patience.
Yes, the Rolling Stones are, as they have long claimed, “the Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the World.” They proved it again Friday night at PacBell Park in San Francisco, where their latest tour began a three-night Bay-area stand that concludes Tuesday night at the Oakland Arena. But at the same time, it felt like a missed opportunity to see what the Stones can be beyond “the Greatest Classic Rock Hit Machine in the World.”
When Cher says goodbye, she doesn’t get all weepy and sentimental; she wants you to see what you’ll be missing when she’s gone. Thus, it was with bravado and swagger that Cher brought her Living Proof Farewell Tour to Arco Arena on Sunday night. It was a show that explicitly aimed for Fabulous, and pulled it off in style. “Ladies and gentlemen … and flamboyant gentlemen,” she wryly said after her second song. “Welcome to the Cher-est show on Earth.”
Anyone who’s spent any time in San Francisco is familiar with the city’s most famous hills: Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill, Nob Hill and Twin Peaks.
But this vertically-oriented city also has a number of lesser-known hills, topped by parks or municipal open spaces, that are well worth the time – and the physical energy – they take to explore.
The biblical phrase “to hammer swords into plowshares” has a nice, logical feel to it. And it’s a relatively simple operation: Once the hammering’s done, you hitch up a mule and start plowing.
But what if your “sword” is a 5,000-acre naval base that was in operation for nearly 150 years and built everything from Civil War sidewheelers to Cold War nuclear submarines?
Rising from the Central Valley an hour to the southwest of Sacramento, Mount Diablo is a treasure hidden in plain sight. Though the 81,000-acre natural playground draws a million visitors a year, the state and regional parklands surrounding the peak still feel wild and remote, and this is Diablo’s time of year.
George Harrison wrote his own epitaph: “All Things Must Pass.” He sang that song in 1970, just after the passing of the Beatles, the group that made him famous. And with his death at the age of 58, Harrison leaves behind a profound body of work in music and film. But the millions who mourn his passing mourn more than the loss of a great songwriter.
It may not look like much, this tiny house set behind a low cyclone fence in a low-income Sacramento neighborhood south of City College, but it is a dream home. It was a dream without a dreamer. Or so some thought.
On first glance, this is the most ambitious and complex product placement ever. Reese’s Pieces in “ET” and Calvin Klein jeans in “Back to the Future” have nothing on FedEx, which fills nearly every frame of the film. Yet FedEx is more than a product. It is, in a very substantial way, a character in the movie.
When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, Ollie M. Hawkins, a young woman in Flagstaff, Ariz., watched her three brothers and a cousin march off to war. “I wanted to help bring the boys home – my boys, all the boys,” she says at her home in Oakland. “That’s why I came to California.” Now 84, Hawkins has finally seen her home-front work remembered, with the dedication last month of the new Rosie the Riveter Memorial in Richmond.
For violinist Jaime Smith, the words “family” and “music” have always been virtually interchangeable. Smith, now 24, has followed music wherever it would take her: first to the position of concertmaster of the Sacramento Youth Symphony; then to Boston, where she studied at the New England Conservatory of Music; then to Athens, Greece, on a Fulbright scholarship, where for the past year she studied and made friends and a new life, full of the Greek music she loves. And on Sept. 25, music led her into the path of a speeding car.
I recently spent a week traveling hopefully, never really arriving for long, in and out of eight countries and 11 airports, on 14 flights on eight airlines. What I hoped for — and am still hoping for — was the brass ring for many veteran travelers: the big frequent-flier miles score. My companion and I would travel about 13,000 miles, but we hoped to bag many times that: half a million frequent-flier miles.
You don’t have to play golf, or be retired, to have fun in Palm Springs. If you play your cards right, you can finish a week in Palm Springs in dire need of a vacation. If you’re an athletic thrill-seeker of any age, you can beat yourself up here, but good. Fortunately, you can also pamper yourself within an inch of heaven. By alternating the two – activity and passivity, the hard and the soft, the challenging and the relaxing – one can theoretically find a blissful middle ground of total physical satisfaction.
Ask Kurt Vonnegut how it feels to be immortalized on a shopping bag, and he doesn’t hesitate. “It feels as though I should be dead, ” he deadpans wearily. Although his literary profile has been low since his heyday in the ’60s and ’70s, when he was one of America’s most popular and influential novelists, the 73-year-old writer is quite alive and still writing.
The place is known as a “juice bar, ” but the men sitting around tables, nursing non-alcoholic drinks, aren’t here for their health. They are here to watch and admire and talk to women. Young women. Attractive women. Naked women.
Very naked women.
While e pluribus unum and “We the People” rank high as national catch phrases worth considering on this Independence Day, how about this alternative: “You can take it with you.”
It’s optimistic, it’s can-do, it’s American. Is it a good thing?