A&E Profiles

"By Any Means Necessary, I Will Keep Being an Artist."

Painter. Bluesman. Filmmaker. Educator. After retiring in 2012 from UC Davis, where he was an art professor for 43 years—and on the eve of a solo show at the Manetti Shrem Museum—Mike Henderson reflects on shining shoes as a young man in Missouri, seeing his soul in Van Gogh's Potato Eaters, believing he had lost decades' worth of paintings in a fire, and securing his place in one of the greatest university art departments ever assembled.

Forever (530)

Davis native Hasan Minhaj wears his hometown pride on his sleeve—or sometimes on his sleeveless Kings jersey signed by ’90s-era point guard Bobby Hurley, which he proudly keeps in his New York office. The former Daily Show correspondent and Patriot Act host also filmed his first Netflix comedy special, Homecoming King, here at the Mondavi Center in 2017, and steadfastly refuses to part with his 530 Davis area code number. With his new one-man show, The King’s Jester, now streaming on Netflix, he talks to Sactown about honing his comedy chops at Laughs Unlimited and Punch Line, loving the new vibe of midtown Sacramento, feeling the lingering pain of the Kings’ crushing Western Conference Finals loss 20 years ago, and bringing that “I gotta make up for 2002” energy to NYC.

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.

The Thrill Isn’t Gone

After his 2020 birthday concert was canceled due to the pandemic, Mick Martin is getting his band back together for take two at The Sofia in August—his first live indoor performance in over a year. At 72, the Sacramento bluesman is readier than ever to reclaim the stage.

A Lasting Impression

The Manetti Shrem Museum celebrates Sacramento painter Wayne Thiebaud’s remarkable legacy with a group exhibit featuring works by the longtime UC Davis professor alongside those by former students and other artists influenced by him.

Spreading His Wings

Inspired by "Lady Bird," psych-pop artist Anton Barbeau is back home (at least for the time being) after a long spell in Europe. He chronicles his own coming-of-age, leaving-the-nest story in a new double album and music video filled with classic Sacramento iconography.

After the Fall

Tresa Honaker started 2012 on a high note. The local aerial artist and the troupe she founded were performing to sold-out audiences, creating mesmerizing vignettes with bodies wrapped in billowing ribbon up to 60 feet in the air. Then a terrible accident during practice left her paralyzed below her mid-spine, suddenly grounding the life-long dancer. But Honaker refused to stay down, and eight years later, her troupe is still going strong and so is she, having forged a new identity as a competitive athlete. This is the story of one woman’s life-changing fall and her life-affirming rise.

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.

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.

Funny Business

In his new B Street Theatre show about his long stand-up career, comedian Jack Gallagher plays for laughs while sharing professional highlights (his "Tonight Show" debut) and lowlights (his "Tonight Show" encore).

Ring Leader

He’s one of the toughest fighters in one of the toughest sports known to man—mixed martial arts, aka cage fighting. Now, two years after losing his title, Urijah Faber has a shot to become a champion again on July 2. But until then, he has TV shows to appear on, video games to star in, a clothing line to promote, and a fitness company to build. Can Sacramento’s “California Kid” become the ultimate comeback kid? And more importantly, what is he doing kissing Rosie O’Donnell?

The Fall & Rise of Hobo Johnson

Frank Lopes Jr.—the “Hobo” of Hobo Johnson & the Lovemakers—has had, by all accounts, an eventful first 24 years. He has already been, in a very particular order: a troubled student, a homeless teen, a viral video sensation, scorned by Black Lives Matter, swooned over by fans, signed to Warner Bros. Records, Instagrammed by Snoop Dogg, and predicted to be “huge” by New York magazine. On the eve of his major-label debut and a tour schedule that will see him sharing the bill with many of the biggest acts in the world, the Sacramento poet-rapper is working hard to stay grounded at a time when he’s so clearly taking flight.

Eyes on Art

Cool weather brings even cooler art shows, where you can grab some face time with photographer Duane Michals’ celebrity portraits, see City Hall through the eyes of political cartoonist Rex Babin or walk toward the light in one of Bruce Nauman’s corridors. Here’s our guide to five see-worthy exhibits around the region this fall.

Done Wanderin'

It’s been 16 years since Jackie Greene’s album "Gone Wanderin' " was named one of the best releases of 2002 by "Rolling Stone." Since then, he’s made eight more records, trotted the globe as lead guitarist of The Black Crowes, and toured with Lyle Lovett and B.B King. And now, after a decade away from his hometown, Sacramento’s prodigal singer-songwriter has returned with a wife, a daughter, and, yes, new music on the way. It’s time to shake, (baby) rattle and roll.

Raising the Barre

Amid a contentious transition, Sacramento Ballet alumna Amy Seiwert returns to the company as its new artistic director. Building on what her former mentors created over the course of nearly 30 years, she begins the delicate dance between respecting the troupe’s long-held traditions and pushing it in a decidedly bolder, more modern direction.

The Whole Earth Cataloguer

UC Davis professor Harris Lewin is about to launch one of the most audacious scientific ventures in human history—to map the DNA of every living thing on Earth. The 10-year, $5 billion quest could result in a tsunami of medical cures, solutions for global hunger, and the creation of a new “Silicon Valley of agricultural science and biotechnology” right here in our backyard. Oh, and it might save the planet too.

The Curious Case of William T. Vollmann

He jumps freight trains for fun. The FBI thought he might be the Unabomber. He won the National Book Award the same year as Joan Didion. And some people think he’s a lock to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Acclaimed author William T. Vollmann gives us a peek inside his Sacramento studio (and his head) on the eve of releasing his new books on climate change and the end of the world as we know it. Yes, Bill, we’ll take that scotch right about now, thank you.