Author: Hillary Louise Johnson

A Comedy Giant

Jimboy’s Tacos, Tower Records and Sunrise Mall. As Brian Posehn gets ready to take the stage at Punch Line and release a new special this December, the “forever nerdy” 6-foot-7 stand-up comic—who is also a proud metalhead and Dungeons & Dragons podcast host—shares tall tales (literally) from his childhood and how he got his comedy start right here in River City.

Magic Mountain

On a clear day, find your way above the tree canopy in Sacramento, look southwest, and there you’ll spot it—the soaring 3,849-foot peak at the center of Mount Diablo State Park. The summit—reachable by foot, bike or car—rises over a thousand feet higher than the world’s tallest building, and from it, you can see 40 of our state’s 58 counties. At Mount Diablo, you can also hike up to 150 miles of trails, camp in the ultimate “room” with a view, and literally lunch above the clouds. So go west, young men and women, and experience California from a whole new point of view.

Thiebaud: A Celebration

Five months after Wayne Thiebaud passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 101, the Crocker Art Museum is remounting its Covid-curtailed 2020 retrospective of the artist’s career—this time with more than a dozen additional works. The museum’s chief curator Scott A. Shields gives us a tour of 10 of the 117 pieces in the exhibition, which opens May 29, and lends his perspective on Sacramento’s “patron saint of painters.”

The Shops Around the Corner

Talk about a Hollywood ending. Over two decades since Meg Ryan’s sweet little children’s bookshop lost the battle to Tom Hanks’ big bad Fox Books, it looks like indie bookstores around the country (and around town) may have won the retail war. With April 30 marking Independent Bookstore Day this year, we’re spotlighting a dozen of our favorite local literary nooks in the Sacramento region. Trust us, this story is a real page-turner.

A Life of Crime (the Perfectly Legal Kind)

John Lescroart became an “overnight” success at 45, and the Davis author has since published 19 New York Times best-selling legal thrillers, with his 30th novel due out in late March. Meet the man with his ink-stained finger on the pulse of American crime stories.

Best of the City 2021

If there’s one thing we’ve learned during the pandemic, it’s that the human spirit perseveres through the darkest times. The dozens of Sacramentans featured here—struggling like all of us over this past year and a half—have found ways to shine some much-needed light into our lives, whether with charmingly anachronistic TikTok videos or a winning French pastry made with Top Ramen or an eco boutique that’s trying to help save the planet one bottle-free shampoo bar at a time. They bring smiles to our faces, good food to our bellies and taps to our toes. And if you haven’t already met, we’re thrilled to introduce you.

Perfect Picnics

We’ve filled our wicker baskets with the best takeout en route to eight sonnet-worthy spots across the region for your alfresco dining pleasure. Whether you’re unpacking a gourmet BLT on toasted artisan bread while gazing upon a sweeping view of Gold Country or digging into a bucket of crispy fried chicken while smelling the roses at McKinley Park, we prove that life in the wake of a pandemic can be a picnic after all. (Just don’t forget the sunscreen.)

Q&A: Sacramento's Creative Economy Manager Megan Van Voorhis

Growing up in Flint, Michigan, Megan Van Voorhis wanted to be a ballerina like the one she saw twirling on an episode of Sesame Street. It wasn’t until she took a business administration class in college that she realized her calling wasn’t to make art, but to make art possible. As the head of Arts Cleveland, she introduced innovative programs linking art with health care and helping creators access their inner entrepreneurs. As Sacramento’s freshly appointed Cultural and Creative Economy Manager, the former dancer takes the stage for her next act. Here the new 916 resident talks about the arts’ influence on the GDP, how to reopen venues safely in the age of Covid, and why the ability to create is a basic human right.

The Sweet Life

On the eve of his 100th birthday, Wayne Thiebaud—the Sacramento painter best known for his evocative portrayals of desserts that look good enough to eat—talks about the new pieces he’s working on (yes, he’s still wielding a brush—and a tennis racket!), his favorite kind of pie, and why, despite his status as one of America’s most important living artists, he still sees himself as “just an old art teacher.”

Murders, She Wrote

Over the past decade, Granite Bay author Theresa Ragan—or T.R. Ragan, as she’s known on Amazon, where she has sold more than 3 million books—has been penning mysteries and thrillers in which female vigilantes exact not-so-sweet revenge on their male predators. Her latest page-turner stars a Sacramento crime reporter and a crew of femmes “fatal.” Get ready for a bloody good read.

In the Name of the Father

After graduating from UC Davis in 1967, Stephen Kaltenbach headed east and thrived in the heady New York art world, exhibiting alongside future greats like Richard Serra and Bruce Nauman, and inhabiting provocative alter egos à la Sacha Baron Cohen before Sacha Baron Cohen was even born. But it was his return to Davis that resulted in one of Sacramento’s most beloved paintings: a hauntingly evocative portrait of his dying father. With the launch of his first solo American museum show in over 40 years, the artist reflects on the man who inspired his masterwork and his own starring role as both father and son.

Courtside Cantina

An eye-catching Mexican eatery has opened across from the Golden 1 Center, boasting regionally sourced south-of-the-border dishes and a room with a view that’s perfect for hooping it up.

True West

In his day job, Cornel West is a Harvard professor, a "New York Times" best-selling author, a national authority on race and a passionate advocate for the poor. In his spare time, he’s appeared in two of the three "Matrix" films (because, well, he helped inspire them), recorded three albums, and is taking meetings on the 2020 presidential campaign trail with Bernie Sanders and Cardi B. At a time when the country feels hopelessly divided, this nearly native son of Sacramento—and a “jazzman in the world of ideas”— has a message of love and compassion for all races, religions and political persuasions. And no matter how far he ventures from home, he carries with him a moral compass that unfailingly points west.

Rocky Horror Time Warps to the ’20s

Are you ready to travel to another dimension, with voyeuristic intention? The Green Valley Theatre Company continues its tradition of reinterpreting the ultimate cult classic, "Rocky Horror," as a period musical—this year, with a Jazz Age twist. Frank-N-Furter and flappers? We’re shivering with anticipation.

Small Wonders

With the need for homeless housing solutions greater than ever, an aspirational new architecture competition is yielding innovative ways to approach domestic design