Saturday, May 21, 2011

Stay Classy, Sacramento!

The following letter appeared in the May 12th issue of the Sacramento News & Review. Our good friend Clark Nova penned this response, but it was not printed in the following issue of the SN&R, so we printed it here on our blog instead.


Food trucks = who cares?

Re “What the truck?!” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, April 28):

     When I go out to eat, I want to be greeted by a host or hostess, who takes me to a booth or table, where I am served by a waiter or waitress. I want comfort and class. Remember class?
     Food trucks are a part of Mexico’s poverty culture, and they have no place in America. If you want to eat out of a food truck, go to Mexico. This current fascination with food trucks is just a fad among knee-jerk liberals. Anyone who wants to stand in line for an hour to eat out of a truck is moronic. But, hey, look around at California politics and California culture. We’re the premier state of American Moronic—or, as Green Day once put it, American Idiots.
   Who cares what they do in Portland, Oregon? I’ve been to Portland on numerous occasions, and their line of food trucks in their downtown area is an embarrassing eyesore. I wouldn’t eat there for free. The Sacramento City Council should ban food trucks outright before Sacramento starts looking like Stockton, Fresno or, God help us, Mexico itself. Sacramento is either going to strive to become a world-class city, or it’s going to embrace the trashy, Third World ambience of food trucks.

Bon appétit, Portland.

Daniel McMasters

* * *
RE: “Food trucks = who cares?” (Letters, May 12, 2011)

     While it may fill him with a certain sense of perverse glee to see his name in print as a reaction to the ignorant tripe he spewed onto the Letters section of last week’s SN&R, I still feel compelled let Daniel McMasters know that he is a fuckin’ moron - on so, so many levels.
     Where to begin?
     “Food trucks are part of Mexico’s poverty culture…”? On what factual source - that isn’t a miniature Glenn Beck inside his head - is Mr. McDonald’s basing this conclusion? Knee-jerk neo-conservatism? His own ass, perhaps?  Needless to say, Mr. McMuffin’s’ naïve, dim-witted rhetoric is downright offensive, if not utterly bizarre. That he equates food trucks to “poverty culture” in Mexico is almost as perplexing as his need to publicly out himself as the ignorant racist twerp he is. Regardless, I’m guessing the only Mexican restaurant Mr. McDouble eats at is Taco Bell.
     Perhaps Mr. McFlurry missed this little festival we had down here at the beginning of the month called Sac MoFo. You know, the event that highlighted the popularity of food trucks and people’s desires to patronize them. Had he attended this event, Mr. McNugget would have noted that the food trucks in attendance were serving more than just delicious poverty culture-producing Mexican food. Sac Mofo illustrated that people in this area are ready to embrace this “knee-jerk” “liberal” food truck “fad” with gusto.
     Now, I’ve been to Portland, Oregon many, many times. It’s a delightfully International (that’s “World Class City” everywhere else, by the way) city with lots of cool things to see and do. I’ve eaten at many food trucks and carts there, and have had some of my best meals ever. One entire downtown block is dedicated to a plethora of food trucks, and the lines I’ve experienced each and every time have been two - maybe three – people long per truck. Add to this that most of these trucks have eye-catching, though-provoking decorations all over them.
     Portland’s food trucks are “…embarrassing eyesores”? Are you fuckin’ kidding me?!? That’s a pretty brave card for anyone from Sacramento to play. I mean, lest you find chain link fences, overgrown dried-out weeds, empty parking lots, and every building here painted some shade of baby shit beige to be the zenith of beauty…
     Hayseeds like you, Mr. McCafé, make Sacramento look like the joke is. You hold steadfast to an outdated status-quo mentality that equates “World Class City” with being placid, sleepy and boring, while the rest of us try - in vain - to drag you and our town into the 21st Century. And if you doubt “World Class Cities” don’t include food trucks, just jump on your Cam Am Spyder Roadster and zip on over to San Francisco, New York, Baltimore, Chicago, Seattle, or any other actual “World Class City” and see for yourself: Food trucks are happenin’, and have been for quite a long, long time.
     (And hey, while you’re at it, read the lyrics to Green Day’s “American Idiot.” I’m guessing the band’s not huge fans of your beloved Fox News).
     At the beginning of your letter you asked, “Remember class?” (I’m assuming you mean “sophistication,” but whatever…) You, Mr. McGriddle, are unequivocally without class. You are a racist tool who uses unfounded over-exaggerations, blanket generalities and racist pap to further his cause …AND WE’RE TALKING FOOD TRUCKS HERE, FOR CHRISTSAKE!
     Mr. McCheese, why don’t you do us all a favor and quit your whining, pack up all your shit and move to Arizona, Texas or any other state in the Union that will put up with your knuckle-dragging racist ass? California’s in bad shape as it is; we don’t need you making us look even worse over here.

Bon appétit, bigot!

-Clark Nova 
Sacramento, CA 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Have You Pledged Your Support to KDVS 90.3 FM's Annual Fundraiser Yet?

Instead of going into a big, long spiel about why you - as a Sacramento/Davis community member who cares about what they put into their ears - should contribute to this year's KDVS 90.3 annual fundraiser, I thought it would simply be better to give you a list of 10 very good reasons to pledge whatever you can to this community-run, free-form radio station this valley is extremely lucky to have.

Here goes:

10. KDVS 90.3 FM provides quality content in the form of music, public affairs and news programs (Democracy Now, Al Jezeera America, etc) you cannot hear anywhere else... for free!

9. "Community-run" essentially mean that KDVS belongs to all of us. It's our radio station - by the community, for the community of this region and (thanks to the Internet) the world beyond.

8. KDVS is a free-form radio station, where the all volunteer DJ staff provides its listeners with a wide and varying broadcast content; on any given day, you may hear the sounds of indie, punk, folk, hip hop, jazz, experimental, and just about any genre of music you can think of.

7. Unlike certain Robo-radio stations from far-off lands who dictate their content to you and gleefully boast about you not having a choice in the matter, KDVS plays what you want. Go ahead. Call into any show on KDVS and request a song from an actual human being. Most likely, you'll hear your song two minutes later.

6. KDVS also sponsors community events and music festivals such as Operation Restore Maximum Freedom, Picnic Day, local shows, and various dance parties (via the station's Mobil DJ Unit). In addition, KDVS produces its free quarterly publication, KDVationS, featuring content provided by the station's dedicated and talented staff.

5. KDVS Recordings - an off-shoot record label of the station's - has released records by Buk Buk Bigups, San Francisco Water Cooler, Mucky The Ducky, Pregnant, and many more. And these are damn fine slabs o' wax, indeed.

4. Only 3% of KDVS 90.3 FM's operating budget comes from the Regents of The University of California Davis. The rest comes directly from you, the listener, in the form of your pledge donation. Yes, the direct line between best intentions and taking action is that easy for you to traverse.

3. If, for some horrible, horrible reason, KDVS 90.3 were to "go silent," you would be very, very bummed. Seriously, where would you hear about even a fraction of the cool music you've been made aware of without KDVS? 

2. Unlike mainstream radio's shrill, grating and insulting commercials, KDVS' homemade plugs have a whimsical moxie and charm all their own. And they're downright funny and fun, because they're made by non-professionals just like you and me.

1. If you listen-to and enjoy the content provided by KDVS 90.3 FM's all-volunteer staff, you should simply pledge your support. In doing so, any number of premiums are available to you (good stuff like records, CDs, DVDs, books, T-shirts, gift certificates, hand-made crafts, etc., etc.) But beyond receiving goodies, pledging your support to KDVS 90.3 feels so damned good. Give it a shot! Call in or go online, pledge any amount to the station and see if you don't feel good about yourself after you do. Trust me, you will.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Janky Does It: A Hi-Lo [Sacramento] Unsanctioned Mixtape

Sacramento has some pretty damn good bands. Need proof? How about this virtual compilation record? Please to be enjoying then the sounds of Janky Does It: A Hi-Lo [Sacramento] Unsanctioned Mixtape.

1. Appetite "Crack For Hippies"
From the album The Ambiguous Garment, 2009 - self-released.

2. Zach Hill "Memo To The Man
From the album Face Tat, 2010 Sargent House.

3. Ganglians "Valiant Brave"
From the album Monster Head Room, 2009 Woodist.

4. Mayyors "The Crawl"
From the 12" Deads, 2009 Mt. St. Mt.

5. Chelsea Wolfe "Moses"
From the album The Grime And the Glow, 2011 Pendu Sounds.

6. Sea Of Bees "The Woods
From the album Songs For The Ravens, 2010 Crossbill Records.

7. Pregnant "Dog
From the album Regional Music, 2010 Life's Blood.

8. Charles Albright "I'm Happy, I'm A Genius"
From the 7" I'm Happy, I'm A Genius,  2010 Permanent Records.

9. Agent Ribbons "Obituary"
From the album On Time Travel and Romance, 2009 - self released

10. Buk Buk Bigups "Hotter Mess
From the 12" Buk Buk Bigups, 2011 Weird Forest.

iViva La Record Store Day!

Tomorrow, April 16th, 2011 is Record Store Day, a nationwide event celebrating small, independent record shops. In this era of digital downloads, record shops are only slightly more economically tangible than video rental stores, porn shops and Jeff Foxworthy's career. Thankfully with the resurgence of vinyl as a collector's item (not to mention analog LPs being a far more superior sound delivery device than digital recordings), collector interest has breathed some new life into the dedicated shoponomics of brick-n-mortar sound peddles.

Here in Sacramento, we have but only a few record shops. But these place are all wonderful bastions of sound that exist solely because of your patronage. If you give a damn about the music you're putting into your ears and the people who sell it to you, come on out tomorrow and buy some records in bulk (as well as several Record Store Day exclusive releases.!) And while you're at it, pick up some slabs o' wax, CD's and even cassettes (the "new vinyl," apparently) by some of Sacramento's home grown bands.

Here's a list of Sacramento's best record shops:

*Armadillo Records - 205 F St. (Davis)
*Barney's Good Time Music - 15 W. Main St. (Woodland)
*The Beat - 1700 J St. (Sacramento)
*Brooks Novelty Antiques and Records - 1107 Firehouse Alley (Sacramento)
*Dimple Records - 2500 Broadway (Sacramento)
                              2433 Arden Way (Sacramento)
                              7830 Macy Plaza Drive (Citrus Heights)
                              313 E. Bidwell St. (Folsom)
                              1701 Santa Clara Dr. (Roseville)
                              9692 Elk Grove-Florin Road (Elk Grove)
                              212 F St. (Davis)
*Esoteric Records & CDs - 3413 El Camino Ave. (Sacramento)
*Heavenly Daze CDs and Records - 565 N. Polara Ave. (Yuba City)
*Phono Select - 2312 K Street (Sacramento)
*Rare Records - 1618 Broadway (Sacramento)
*Time Tested Books - 1114 21st Street (Sacramento)

Happy crate diggin', everyone!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How To Behave At A Live Musical Performance: The Rules

In Sacramento, we appreciate live musical performances much differently than folks in other cities. We don't go for any of those wild shenanigans 'round here; hootin' and hollerin' like bedeviled banshees and whatever the male equivalent of a banshee is. No, on those rare occasions when a nationally touring band does come to town, we Sacramentians know how to mind our manners and enjoy the show in silent, eerily still reverence.

There are, however, some audience members here in The City That Yearns To Be World Class who do not know about, or choose simply to ignore, The Rules. We here at Hi-Lo [Sacramento] would like to take this opportunity to remind these malcontents, misfits and miscreants exactly what these Rules entail. It is our hope that these unruly anarchists will adhere to The Rules, thus making for a calmer and more enjoyable concert-going experience for everyone.

If we all abide by The Rules, it is guaranteed that those national touring bands that have played our town will tell other national touring bands how polite the music-appreciating audiences in Sacramento truly are, thus beating a path directly to our cramped music venues.

The Rules For Concert-Going In Sacramento:

1. Refrain From Movement! Bodily movement of any kind expressing the joy or excitement you are receiving from the music being performed by the band(s) on stage will only serve to distract said band(s) from performing their songs properly. Your stillness and polite clapping (with beer bottle tucked firmly in the crook of your arm, thank you) at the end of each song is all the audience interaction the band(s) require. If movement on your part is absolutely required, a simple back-and-forth head nod should be sufficient.

2. Obey The Distance! A 10-foot perimeter between the audience and the stage should be in effect at all times during the musical performance. Do not enter the chasm between the stage upon which the band is playing and the Audience Zone, or you run the risk of the eyes of all of those in attendance being set upon a-soon-to-be-self-conscious you. Save your "dancing" for any number of dance clubs in Sacramento which feature the exact same music you are seeing live. Remain distant in the Audience Zone at all times!

3. Silence Thyself! Between songs, the band(s) must concentrate on what they shall be performing next. Your bellicose shouting and yelling will only serve to distract the band(s) from doing so, and it will also remind them that you are actually in the same room with them. If the band(s) do say anything to the audience, do not respond! They are testing you. That so-called "Call and Response" hooey has no place at a show within our city limits, thank you very much.

4. Do Not Purchase Anything From The Merchandise Table! The band(s) have a limited supply of merchandise to sell, and they must retain as much of their stock as possible if they are to make it all the way through their tour. Those LP's, CD's and T-shirts in various sizes and colors are there for you to visually appreciate, only! And this should go without saying: look with your eyes, not with your hands.

5. Do Not Engage Any Band Member(s) In Polite Conversation Before Or After The Show! Attempting to engage band members in casual conversation is foolish, and simply rude. Keep a measured distance from these performers. Staring at them will do nicely - the bigger your eyes, the bigger your appreciation of these band members and the music they make. Remember, they are not commoners like you or me; they play musical instruments, drive expensive automobiles, eat at the finest restaurants, and put their pants on with the aid of virginal nubile maidens, both legs at once. What could you possibly have in common with these golden gods?

Now go have fun at the show!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Paint The Town With Chain Grease: The 2nd Annual Vélo & Vintage Fashion Show

I've said it before and I'll say it again: there's no better sight in the world than a pretty girl on a bicycle. 

Luckily, the folks behind the 2nd Annual Vélo & Vintage Fashion Show agree. For the second year in a row, Sacramento will be dazzled by beautiful women (and men) in fashionably bespoke cycle-centric attire pedalling down the catwalk.

The brainchild of local fashionista bloggers Lorena Beightler ( and Kari Shipman (Juniper James), the 2nd Annual Velo & Vintage Fashion Show showcases the latest fashions and styles from local independent clothing designers and boutiques. Or, in Velo & Vintage's own words: 

"Velo and Vintage is a unique fashion show that brings together the thriving, independent communities of cycling and boutiques in Sacramento. Attendees will enjoy a fusion of modern and vintage looks, as each model cycles down the runway. Whether it’s a vintage look with a modern edge or a modern ensemble with a vintage flair, each model displays a high-end yet accessible way to wear the latest trends while still capturing a timeless element."

This event will once again take place on Saturday, May, 7th at Hot Italian, and will start at 8:30 PM. This is an all ages event, so families are welcome.

If you love cycling, fashion, pretty people or some combination thereof, you won't want to miss this wonderful and wild fashion show.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hi-Lo [Sacramento]'s First Annual Kvetchfest!

As we say our fond farewells to the year that was 2010, we here at Hi-Lo [Sacramento] want to take a look back at those things that both brought a smile to our faces and irked the living shit out of us here in The City of Parking Lots. This list of 10 represents those things that we feel both excels and falls-short in making Sacramento the place it should be, shouldn't be and ultimately is. Please then to be enjoying the first annual Hi-Lo [Sacramento] Kvetchfest!

RANT: Leaves Piled-Up In On-Street Parking Spaces
Okay, I really hate to sound all "Get off my lawn!" here, but seriously; leaves in the few scant parking spots Sacramento's urban midtown and downtown areas have to offer is one of the most annoyingly consistent traits this town has. There is nothing more aggravating than thinking you've found a prime parking spot in front of your place and then discovering that some one's pile of  lawn refuse has beaten you to it. I mean, how hard is it to take your leaves, lawn clippings and empty Cheetos bags down to either end of the block? C'mon! Now if you'll excuse me, Matlock is on.

RAVE: Sacramento's Bicycling Community
You know, compared to Los Angeles' burgeoning bicycle community having a tenuous relationship with irate motorists, or San Francisco where gawking, attention-deprived tourists sideswipe pedal-pushers with their rental cars, Sacramento's cycling scene is actually pretty great. Events like the annual Tweed Ride, Sac Cycle Chic's blog posts, the non-profit Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen, SABA, an abundance of bicycle lanes, top-notch shops, and even (for the most part) courteous and careful motorists make Sacramento a fairly great city to ride a bicycle in.

RANT: Beige Buildings
Beige buildings are boring. They show a complete lack of imagination on the part of the owners and the occupants of these bland-looking structures. Seeing as how this trend has splashed itself onto so many of Sacramento's edifices like so much trend-hopping diarrhea, the thinking here must be that buildings painted some variance of beige must not only be calming, but "classy" as well. Oh, and a total fuckin' snore, to boot! You live in Northern California, my fellow Sacramentans; not Arizona or New Mexico. Now go study a Pantone swatch book and give this place some color and vitality, will ya?

RAVE: Temple's Bliss Drink
Oh my gawd! Oh my gawd!! Oh. My. Gawd!!! Temple's aptly named Bliss has to be one of the most truly great things this town can honestly lay claim to. Perfect on cold days (but still remarkable in any seasonal climate, really), The Bliss combines hot peppermint tea, soy milk, coconut milk, and honey into one of the most amazingly spledid elixir's that there ever was. If and when you move away from Sacramento, The Bliss may be the one thing - which you can find anywhere else, mind you - that just might bring you back.

RANT: People Riding Their Bikes On the Sidewalks
If you habitually ride your bike on the sidewalk - treating said sidewalk as if it were your own private bicycling freeway, say - then you are a complete and total asshole with zero regard for your fellow pedestrian's safety or well-being. If you are on a busy street that does not have bike lanes and you feel that you cannot contend with the cars whizzing by you, turn down towards one of the many side streets that do have lanes specifically for bicycles instead of mounting the sidewalk. There are plenty of bike lanes in Midtown and Downtown Sacramento; most of them on much less busy streets (this isn't a very hectic town, mind you). Use these streets and the bike lanes they are on, or simply walk your bike! It's that easy, and far less rude.

RAVE: Local Music/Musicians
Man, Sacramento has come a long way since the Groove Dawg & The Funk Thangs'-centric 1990's. Sea Of Bees, Ganglians, Zach Hill, and Sister Crayon are getting national coverage, while ex-pats like Agent Ribbons and Chelsea Wolfe are getting approving nods in magazine and airplay on teen vampire shows. G. Green, The Four Eyes, Knock Knock, English Singles, Charles Albright, Buk Buk Bigups, Dead Western, and a host of others are crafting a sound that will make the rest of the world regret sleeping on Sac for as long as they have.

RANT: The Over Abundance Of Parking Lots
Yeah, Sacramento loves to call itself the "City of Trees," but I'm beginning to think that this town has more urban, street-level parking lots than it does California Sycamores. Considering the suburban sprawl circling this town like a soulless smoke ring, you'd think some enterprising building companies would clue-in to all the potential fill-in lots and actually make this burg feel like a city. But no. Instead we get asphalt eyesores that remain mostly empty, even during the work week. Every block seems to have a parking lot. Sometimes two or three butt-up next to each other. Building. Building. Parking lot. Building. Parking lot ...Parking lot! Just sad, really.

RAVE: Craft-Makers/Fashionistas
Given the economic climate these days, no wonder craft culture has taken hold the way it has. Quality craft items made by dedicated hands? Certainly beats the store-bought shit that will eventually be littering our freeways and landfills. Sacramento isn't slacking on it's end in regard to being crafty. Craft companies like Bows And Sparrows, Citizen Rosebud, Juniper James, The Sacramento Craft Mafia, and host of other can be found both at local craft sales events and on Etsy, and bring a sense of style, elegance and individuality you will never, ever find at Nordstrom's or your local Mall Wart.

RANT: "World Class City"
In order to be a "World Class City," you gotta give people world class things to see and do. Mermaid titty bars for the over-40 set is not "world class." Arcade Fire playing your town is. And if you can't figure this one out, than you will forever remain "classy" - and not sophisticated. Sacramento had the potential to possibly be a "World Class City," but then in the late-60's and early 70's most of the historic buildings that could have given Sacramento a better sense of distinction, grandeur and (this is key) identity were razed in a mad frenzy to impress suburban mall zombies. "World Class Fuck-up" is more like it.

RAVE: The Underground Community Spirit
"Keep Midtown Janky!" It's not simply a motto for some here in the River City; it's a way of accepting, embracing and celebrating Sacramento's kitschy novelties (dive bars are still  a huge draw here). Sacramento may shutdown by 9pm, get snubbed by most touring bands and be over-run with big boy Tonka toy trucks, but it's the community spirit of those denizens living and breathing the janky grind that are the true lifeblood of this ragged little burg. And no "classy" ultra lounge, beach-themed deli or stretch prom Hummer hogging our cramped streets is going to change that. Businesses like Old Soul Roasters, Pedal Hard, The Hub, The Verge, Phono Select, and Cuffs (to name but a very few) see to our needs (Read: "wants."), while Undietacos, KDVS 90.3 FM and Midtown Monthly (info outlets by the community, for the community) keeps everyone in-the-know on the everyday goings-on (movies, music, art, awesome shows coming up, etc.) Sacramento may a small town, but it's all we got. And we're making the most of our lot just fine.