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Posted on: April 16th, 2014 by tommyj

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Anyone else sensing a generational creativity crisis going on?

By Raina LeGarreta – Lifestyle & Arts Editor

spoke with my older brother recently about the lack of originality found with many of the producers and writers of recent movies.

I’m not one that watches many newly released films since their trailers and commercials do not impress me.

What I’m seeing is a ton of lackluster remakes of seventies and eighties movies – most of which I originally loved – or new movies that lack a quality script and overall production.

This subject of originality is one that comes to mind readily because I’m reminded of the lack of it regularly in these movies, television shows, music, you name it. 

What prompted my brother and me to discuss it recently was an online post that explained the forthcoming remake of Battlestar Galactica.

They’ve already reworked the classic science fiction TV show several times since its inception

in 1978.

Now the new remake will be a movie, and supposedly consist of them reworking the original story.

Although Glen Larson, the original series producer, has signed on to produce the film, the writers are going to attempt to make a complete reimagining of the storyline.

So, instead of coming up with a new idea for a new science fiction film, a decision has been made to just to completely rework a classic series.

Obviously, I’m not too happy with this decision; but so be it – it seems to be the popular thing to do these days.

We’ve seen it time and time again: Television shows and movies we’ve loved over the years be redone – and in some cases several times over.

It would be one thing if the remakes really paid homage to the originals; were produced well, really brought you back to the original storyline but gave you a better insight into its progression, etc.

But that isn’t typically the case.

My brother and I started joking about what producers will remake next.

He suggested Wonder Woman; I promptly responded that they’d “better not mess with Wonder Woman.

I went on to tell him that they should remake a movie or TV show that I didn’t care for much back when, like Punky Brewster.

He then suggested, All In The Family; I told hold him I loved that show too much, and that it’d also be a hard one to cast.

Though the conversation was all in fun, it really gets you thinking about originality in this era, or the lack thereof.

Just look at the current clothing styles, and a lot of our new music.

Most of what we’re seeing out there is mash-ups of styles from decades gone by.

But I refuse to believe that there isn’t any originality left out there, because in visiting many different schools in Elk Grove alone I’ve seen it first hand.

I also see creativity flourish when I attend local concerts, or when I watch independent films.

Maybe we just have to wait until imagination is cool enough to be contemporary again. 

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Sing it…and bring it!

Western Festival singing competition features new aspects this year

By Raina LeGarreta – Lifestyle & Arts Editor

Local singers will belt out their favorite tunes at the Western Idol singing competition on May 3-4. 

The contest, held annually during the popular two-day Western Festival held at Elk Grove Regional Park, will include a variety of performers and new features to entertain the audience.

“It looks like this will be our biggest event yet,” said Nina Kuhl, contest coordinator and owner of the Elk Grove Sports Bar. “Last year, we had 26 confirmed and paid entries; this year my goal is 50-60 entries.”

Kuhl is on the way to reaching her goal; as of press time there were nearly 50 singers registered for the event.

Though the competition may be named “Western” Idol, don’t let its title fool you; performers not well-versed in singing country music need not worry.

Performances featuring the classic and new sounds of country are always welcomed and appreciated; yet contestants can choose music outside of the genre.

For the last two years, Western Idols ventured outside of its traditional “country only” format.

Performers gave it their all in front of audiences and judges as they sung their renditions of hit songs by John Cougar Mellencamp, The Backstreet Boys, and Alicia Keys right alongside those of Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, and Martina McBride. 

Winners are chosen in divisions for men and women. 

New to Western Idol this year will be live entertainment featured on the Community Stage on both days of the event. 

Acoustic music showcases will include those by: Common Ground, Patrick Strang, The Taylor Chicks w/ Red Union Blue, Stillwood Sages Rusty Cogs, Grumpy Monkey, Rocco & Friends, and Fountainhead.

Community notables chosen for the tough job of narrowing down the plethora of talent include, judges Nan Mahon and Curtis Hildebrand, along with guest celebrity judge, actor-musician, Thomas Ian Nicholas who will also be the closing act after the Western Idol Grande Finale on May 4.

Guest emcees for the event will be local comedians Bill Bettencourt (“Billy Bob” from Double Dog Dare) who will also perform, and Mike Betancourt.

On both days the event will begin at 10 a.m., and the contest will begin at 3 p.m.

You must be at least 18 to enter the competition. 

Entry rates are $20 until May 3 (no refunds), and $25 for day-of-contest entries. 

You must be entered two hours before the contest begins.

The top three winners of the competition and runner-up will be awarded cash prizes ranging from $200-$600.

The first place winners of each contest will win recording studio time at Tanglewood Studios.

For detailed information regarding registration, visit the Elk Grove Western Idol Event Facebook page, or call (916) 685-6103.

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History in April

somehow lost important names on last week’s article and these great supporters of history were missed: Pat Weaver, Lynda Tallerico, Sandi Russell, Anna Jay Hooper, Lorraine Croup, Marie Mertz, Nancy Chaires, Christine Brainerd, Angela Frost, and Cedar Kehoe.  

The Elk Grove Western Festival will be here before we know it, May 3-4, and once again, it will be a great time to spend a fun filled weekend at our historic Elk Grove Park. The festival is always the first weekend in May because that is how the event started back in 1957. Many of the early traditions continue with something for everyone. Be sure that it is on your calendar!

Scholarship Night and Spotlight at the Ranch are also coming up. The scholarships awards will take place on May 1 and the fundraising Barbecue, Blues and Country Music event is on June 21. Students from EGUSD high schools will receive $163,400 from the Elk Grove Regional Scholarship Foundation. That is an amazing amount of generosity from our local folks, families, businesses, and organizations. 

Spotlight at the Ranch will be at the William Mosher Ranch on Grant Line Road. Melba Mosher and her family, Robert and Faye Krull, Bill and Kay Mosher, and Ouida and Herbert Garms, graciously host the scholarships’ fund raiser every year. The ranch is a wonderful setting for an afternoon gathering and a real taste of country for the city folks of Elk Grove. 

The music this year is great with two blues (The Gary Mendoza Band; Mark Hummel and the Blues Survivors) and two Country Western (Big Trouble; Flat Busted). Tickets are $40 and the ticket includes a wonderful barbecue meal from Dickey’s BBQ Pit. Something very special will be the amateur Rib Cook-off with local celebrity judges. If you have not signed up with your grill partners, call (916) 685-7118 or go to the webpage at

The Southgate Parks and Recreation Bunny Breakfast and Easter Eggstravaganza will take place tomorrow, April 12, at the long ago Florin East Grammar School (8383 Florin Road) from 8:30-11 a.m. Breakfast will be from 8:30-10 a.m., and there will be games, arts and crafts and an Easter Egg hunt. The cost is $7 for a family of six and $2 for each additional family member for breakfast. The egg hunt will begin at 10:15 a.m. and it is free. Here is some history about the site from Marielle Tsukamoto:

“This is the first opportunity I will have to go back to the original Florin Grammar School. This is where my parents and members of the Florin community attended school before and after WWII. Florin Grammar School was a segregated school for children of Japanese ancestry from 1921 to 1938. When we returned to Florin after WWII, Isabelle Jackson was our principal and Arthur Butler was our bus driver and custodian. I have many fond memories of my school experiences at Florin West Grammar School. The interior has been remodeled and will not be the same as it was when we were there. Even the yard and buildings have changed, but the memories of happy days attending school with my cousins and friends remain vivid in my memory. 

“In 1945 when I was in the third grade we used the same desks that my parents had used many years earlier. The desks and chairs were bolted on strips of wood, and the front of the desk was attached to the bench/seat of the desk in front of it. Each desk had a hole for a bottle of ink. I remember Mr. Butler offering these desks to my parents in the 1950s because new desks were ordered. He thought people should have these historic pieces of school furniture rather than having them discarded. I wish we had accepted his offer to save some of the desks.

“Florin JACL was invited to provide information about the Japanese community and families that lived in the area prior to and after WWII. I will be showing photos of the Florin community and speaking about Florin before and after WWII. There will be photos of buildings, businesses, farms, and people who lived in Florin. After WWII most former residents did not return, and Florin did not grow as Elk Grove did. Florin nearly disappeared.”

Tom Russell goes back a long way with gathering our Elk Grove history and he is a very appropriate choice to head up the Historic Preservation Committee for the city of Elk Grove. Recently, Tom spoke to members of the Elk Grove Historical Society, and everyone was impressed with his understanding and mastery of important events of our past. Tom and his wife, Sandi, have been involved with Elk Grove and its history for a long time, and both have been leaders with the Elk Grove Historical Society. For information about the Historic Preservation Committee, there is a lot that can be found on the city’s webpage at: We are fortunate that we have citizens such as Tom Russell who work hard to make sure that our history is gathered and saved, that historic buildings are preserved, and that our city residents will always be able to keep track of what has happened in the past.  

Mayor Gary Davis spoke recently about the state of our city, and this passage from his speech is one of my favorites: 

“Through our many events, parks and services, we are building off of the legacy that has been left to us – those who started traditions like the Western Festival or built facilities that we cherish to this day like Elk Grove Regional Park. It is also those who had the foresight to preserve jewels like our Old Town which not only symbolizes our proud heritage but is also core to our bright future. I think that the best way to honor those past contributions is to keep the ball rolling today – to build on the foundation that we have been given for future generations.  One example is our award-winning Rain Garden Plaza, a space that teaches about water conservation while actually improving water quality. Another is finding the right use for the Old Town site, located in the heart of Elk Grove. This process is not only open to you, we are actively asking for your participation.”

Storybook Woods Park had its grand opening celebration on April 3, and it is the 92nd park in our area. The new park is a joint effort of Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) and the city of Elk Grove. The park is located east of Bruceville Road in the Laguna Ridge area. Congratulations and thanks to our park folks for their recognition of the needs of our children and families and their clever arrangement of park facilities and structures. Elk Grove Park is the great grandparent of our parks as it has been in existence the longest. I will be writing up its history in the coming weeks.


History Happened Here, Book 1 – River, Oaks, Gold

History Happened Here, Book 2 – Fields, Farms, Schools

We the People, a Story of Internment in America 

All book proceeds go for student scholarships, and I thank the many purchasers who have made the 57 scholarships possible. Make your check payable to Laguna Publishers and send to P.O. Box 692, Elk Grove, CA 95759.  Books are $20 apiece and California sales tax is included. Add $3 for shipping of one or two books; $5 for 3-6 books, and tell me who you want the books signed to. For more information call me at (916) 685-0606 or email at You can also check my web page at  

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Arts Calendar

The Elk Grove Fine Arts Center will host a special book signing for local author Gregg Matson on April 12 when he will be launching his new book, “Living in 1984 – America’s Flirtation With Fascism.”

Raina LeGarreta compiles these listings. If you would like an event or show included, please send details via email to and write “Arts Calendar” in the subject line; include as much information as possible, including dates, times, ticket prices, address and details on purchasing tickets.


The Elk Grove Fine Arts Center will host a book signing on April 12 for local author Gregg Matson to launch his new book, “Living in 1984 – America’s Flirtation With Fascism.” The public is invited to the signing and reception from 4-7 p.m. at the center located at 9080 Elk Grove Boulevard in Old Town Elk Grove. Refreshments will be served, and music by Glenn Bailey and John Malcolm Cuthbertson will be featured.

The Elk Grove Youth Orchestra (EGYO) was established recently, and will officially kick off officially with a potluck dinner, rehearsal, and auditions for the community on April 11. Formed in January under the leadership of Musical Director Michael Chan, the nonprofit aims to give local young people between the ages of 6 and 20 an opportunity to perform in a full orchestra. The potluck begins at 5:30 p.m., orchestra rehearsal starts at 7 p.m., and auditions with Chan and two additional instructors will commence at 8 p.m. For more information, visit the website, send an email to , or contact Marilyn Flemmer at (916) 685-9560.

The Elk Grove Artists (EGA) “Art2Hang” program features artwork from local artists at Elk Grove businesses.  Artists displaying for the month of April:  Jan Rau at Circle of Life Medicine, 2382 Maritime Dr., Ste. 100; Dee Tschida at Frank Zaccari Ins., 9250 Laguna Springs Dr., Ste. 230; Ron & Sandy Ridley, Michelle Vershaw at EG Urgent Care, 9045 Bruceville Rd., Ste. 100; Patricia Moore at Friends of Franklin Library, 10055 Franklin High Road; Esther Cheng at Mark Lai, DDS, 7171 Bowling Dr., Ste. 110, Sacramento; John Paul at Running Zone, 8470 Elk Grove Blvd., Ste. G135. For more information about the Art2Hang program contact Dee at (916) 684-4802.

The Elk Grove Artists (EGA) will be having their monthly meeting on Wednesday April 23 from 6:30-8 p.m. at 9275 E. Stockton Blvd at the Jesse Wright Suites #100. The guest speaker of the month is Christopher Dewees. He will be doing a presentation on Japanese Fish Printing. For more information about his artwork visit his website at New members are always welcome.

Sheldon High School Music Department’s Twilight Music Camp will be held on May 19-22. The Music Camp will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Sheldon High School Music Room. The Sheldon Band Twilight Music Camp aims to provide young musicians in grades 4-7 with the highest quality musical experience through working in small groups with the school’s musicians under the direction of Jim Mazzaferro, as well as in the full concert band setting. The camp also offers young instrumentalists an opportunity to improve their personal skill level, increase awareness of their ability, and expand the possibilities for enjoyment of music in an atmosphere of artistic expression and fulfillment. Some of the Camp’s features include: a concert performance with Sheldon School musicians, classes to improve your musicianship, band rehearsals side-by-side and coaching with the musicians, a one-to-five teacher-camper ratio, and group lessons. Applications are available through May 16. For an application and more information, contact Jim Mazzaferro at

Sheldon High School’s TheaterWorks will present their interpretation of the musical “Once on This Island” on April 11-12. The production tells the story of Ti Moune, a peasant girl who rescues and falls in love with Daniel, a wealthy boy from the other side of her island. When Daniel is returned to his people the fantastical gods who rule the island guide Ti Moune on a quest to test the strength of her love against the powerful forces of social class, hatred, and death.  Showtimes are at 7 p.m. on all nights with a 2 p.m. matinee on April 12.  General admission is $12, and $8 for children under 10. Sheldon High School is located at 8333 Kingsbridge Drive.

Cosumnes Oaks High School’s The Wolfpack Theatre will present the beloved classic “The Wizard of Oz” April 11-12 and 24-26. Dorothy and her dog Toto get whisked away in a tornado to the magical Land of Oz. To get home, she must see The Great and Powerful Oz and along the way she meets characters on the yellow brick road that help her throughout her journey. The musical features the timeless songs, “Over the Rainbow,” “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” and “Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead.” Showtimes are at 6 p.m. on April 10 and 24, 7 p.m. on April 11-12, and 25-26 with matinees at 2 p.m. on April 12 and 26. General admission is $12, and $8 for senior citizens and children under 12 and Cosumnes Oaks High School students with a current ASB sticker. Cosumnes Oaks High School is located at 8350 Lotz Parkway.  

will present “The Wiz” on April 25-26.  The popular musical, based on the famous movie of the same name – starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson – features musical favorites, such as “Ease on Down the Road,” and “Home.” Showtimes are at 7 p.m. on both nights.  Tickets are $5 for students, and $7 for adults. Children under age 5 are free. Valley High School is located at 6300 Ehrnhardt Drive in Sacramento. 

The Elk Grove Fine Arts Center presents the following weekly drop-in and private tutoring art classes: Watercolor for Beginners with Teresa Steinbach-Garcia, Instructor–Class Fee: $10, Materials Fee: $15, 9:30 a.m.–12 p.m. at ((916) 687-8908). Open Watercolor Studio with Teresa Steinbach-Garcia, Instructor – Studio Fee: $10, Tuesdays, 12:30 p.m. –2:30 p.m. (916) 687-8908). Watercolor –Beyond the Basics for Intermediates & Advanced with Sandy Ridley, Instructors – Fee $10, Materials $15, first and second Wednesdays, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. (916) 685-1980). Open Studio All Media – Painting with friends, no instructor– $5, Fridays, 12-3 p.m. ((916) 685-5992). Private Art Tutoring- with Stacy Maeda specializing in drawing animals, $25/hour of instruction, Ages 7-adult,, Please contact class instructor for information and reservations.

Call To Local Artists The Elk Grove Fine Arts Center is hosting their 2nd Annual Open Fine Art Competition in the following categories: 1) Water Media; 2) Oil, Acrylic; 3) Pastel or Drawing; 4) Photography; 5) Three-Dimensional including: Wood, Glass, Ceramic, Metal or Mixed Media. Applications are open through May 10 online at, or in person at 9080 Elk Grove Blvd., Wednesday through 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The public is invited to the free reception featuring awards presentations on June 7 from 5-8 p.m. at the Arts Center. The show will continue through June 26.  For more information, call (916) 685-5992 or email

Call To Local Artists Elk Grove Artists (EGA) has replaced its high school art contest at the Western Festival with a general community wide art show. EGA sponsors this art competition for all artists over 18 of all skill levels and various categories. It is held during the Western Festival on the first weekend in May; a festival that is attended by thousands from the surrounding areas and allows for maximum exposure for the artists. The juried art show gives monetary prizes as well as ribbons to those who show exceptional art. The indoor Pavilion at Elk Grove Regional Park will be transformed into a gallery with framed artwork hung on professional show panels and sculptures placed on draped tables. To enter the show visit, to download the application.   

Art For Kids Sofia Khalil teaches children the basic elements of painting and drawing to in her weekly arts classes in Elk Grove. Visit for more information. 

The Elk Grove Sports Bar presents Friday Night Comedy hosted by Laurelle Martin each Friday night at 8 p.m. Cover charge is $7. 18 and over. The Sports Bar is located at 9661 Elk Grove-Florin .

View artwork from Elk Grove on The Committee for the Arts has created a virtual Citywide Art Guide for the benefit of the residents and visitors that includes a comprehensive inventory of art pieces and art events in Elk Grove. There is also an interactive map that displays the art and events in Elk Grove. Only Citywide annual art events are included. If you know of a piece or event missing from the guide that should be included, contact Kara Reddig at or (916) 478-2249. 

The Elk Grove Sports Bar presents Gary Mendoza’s Blues Jam on Tuesdays. Can you sing or play an instrument? That’s all you need to come on out and groove with Gary and other local musicians on Tuesday night. The free event is open to anyone who wants to get on stage, entertain, and have some fun. Tuesdays from 7-10 p.m. The Sporty is located at 9661 Elk Grove-Florin Road. For more information, call (916) 685-6103. 

Common House Productions presents “something wicked” as they begin their series staged readings with Macbeth on April 11-13. Shakespeare’s tale of otherworldly manipulation invites the audience to witness one man’s descent into ruin. Through a series of self-fulfilling prophecies, incited by his lady and a trio of eerie figures, Lord Macbeth is driven to a blood-soaked ascent to the crown. The public is invited to join at 2327 Loyola Drive in Davis–the birthplace of Common House–and gather around the campfire for the production. You may want to bring a blanket to keep warm.

Lodi’s Art Hop is held on the first Friday of each month. For the list of participating venues and their featured artists, visit

KVIE Calls Artists for Juried Competition KVIE Public Television announces the 33rd Annual KVIE Art Auction and is calling for local emerging and established artists to enter their work in the KVIE juried art competition. Entry categories include California’s Gold, Contemporary Classics, Figurative, Photography, Sculpture, and Still Life and Landscapes. Prizes such as $500 for the Best of Show and $100 for first place will be given in each category. Juror’s awards will be given to 16 artists, along with a ribbon, as recognition for excellence in selected categories. Jurors will represent some of the finest artists in our region. Art can be entered through an online submission form April 15-May 30, or in person on May 17 at the station, 2030 W. El Camino Ave. in Sacramento. A complete list of rules and an entry form can be found at Only one piece per artist will be accepted. If an entry submitted online is not accepted, the artist may submit another piece. The televised auction will be held Sept. 19-21. All artists whose works are selected will receive two tickets to the Art Auction Preview Gala (a $100 value), on Monday, Sept. 15, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., and a complimentary one-year membership to KVIE. All accepted art will be juried into the televised auction and will be displayed at the Preview Gala.

Sacramento Film Festival will be holding a conference featuring workshops and more on May 3. The conference we feature workshops on creation, distribution, and monetization. And will have a variety of panelists and content creators from film, games, music, and online distribution. The workshops include an animation and visual effects featuring a live special effects symposium. Workshops that take a look behind the magic of makeup artists, an acting workshop, and a workshop on trans-media and producing as well as film screenings will be shown throughout the day. The event will be held at Embassy Suites Riverfront Promenade and Delta King, 100 Capital Mall or 1000 Front St. in Sacramento. For more information, visit or 

The Sacramento Theatre Company (STC) presents the international hit play, “Visiting Mr. Green” through April and May. An American Drama League Best Play nominee, and winner for Best Play in Greece, France, Turkey, Israel, Mexico, and Uruguay, what starts off as a comedy about two people who resent being in the same room together develops into a moving story about friendship, tolerance, and love.  The universal story has been produced in 37 countries and has been translated into 22 languages. Directed by local favorite Marie Bain, the intimate play runs through May 4 on the Pollock Stage. For this production, STC has partnered with Meals on Wheels by ACC. Adult themes – appropriate age 13 and up.  Tickets: $15-38 (discounts for students, seniors, and groups). For schedules and more information, visit the To order tickets, call the STC Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office at 916-443-6722 or toll free 888-4-STC-TIX (888-478-2849) or visit the theater at 1419 H. St. in Sacramento.

Alpha Fired Arts will celebrate the rich history of 25 years of clay with the their first “America’s ClayFest Teapot Show” beginning April 18. The competition formerly known as the Feats of Clay held at Gladding McBean Clay Manufacturing Company in Lincoln will be in conjunction with Blue Line Arts’ America’s ClayFest.  In addition, there will be a Gladding McBean Retrospective at the newly opened Art League of Lincoln’s Art Center Gallery, and an International Student Art Show and Competition.  America’s ClayFest has traditionally had entries from all over the United States, Canada, Europe Mexico and Asia. Internationally recognized ceramic sculptor and instructor Tony Natsoulas will be the juror. The reception for the artists will be held on May 3, from 4-7 p.m. The show will run from April 18-May 31, at the Alpha Fired Arts Gallery, located at 4675 Aldona Lane in Sacramento.

Alpha Fired Arts in partnership with Art League of Lincoln and Blue Line Gallery presents “America’s ClayFest Teapot Show,” April 18-May 31. The show will be celebrating the rich history of 25 years of clay competition formerly known as the Feats of Clay that was held at Gladding McBean Clay Manufacturing Company in Lincoln. This year Alpha Fired Arts Gallery’s Teapot show will be in conjunction with Blue Line Arts’ America’s ClayFest.  In addition there will be a Gladding McBean Retrospective at the newly opened Art League of Lincoln’s Art Center Gallery, and an International Student Art Show and Competition.  America’s ClayFest has traditionally had entries from all over the United States, Canada, Europe Mexico and Asia. The reception for the artists is May 3, from 4-7 p.m. The Alpha Fired Arts Gallery is located at 4675 Aldona Lane in Sacramento. Visit for more information.

Chautauqua Playhouse continues its 37th season with their production of James Goldman’s “The Lion in Winter.” The show is running on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through April 19. As there will be no show on Easter Sunday, there will be an additional matinee on April 19. The performances will be held at the Chautauqua Playhouse, 5325 Engle Road in the La Sierra Community Center in Carmichael.  Admission is $19 general and $17 students, seniors, children and SARTA members. The show does contain adult situations and content.

Capitol Ballet Company with students from Capitol Ballet Center proudly presents “A Classical Ensemble” on May 10, 2 p.m. This seasonal matinee displays the progression of classical ballet training at its finest, showcasing Company dancers as well as students from the Company’s school, Capitol Ballet Center. The performance will feature excerpts from La Bayadere, and Coppelia. Additionally, two premieres from choreographer Bruce King – Pastorale for guitar and Chanson Triste/Sad Song – will be performed. “A Classical Ensemble” will be held at Sheldon High School Performing Arts Center located at 8333 Kingsbridge Drive in Sacramento. Tickets are $10-$16 and may be purchased by visiting or at the box office 1 hour prior to event. Capitol Ballet Company is a non-profit organization funded in part by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission Cultural Arts Awards with support from the City and County of Sacramento.  

The Northern Californian Filmmakers Coalition (NCFC) is based in Sacramento, California and was created to encourage individuals in film-making or film related areas to meet on a regular bases and explore the various aspects of the film industry. Meetings are held each Wednesday from 6-7:30 p.m. at Access Sacramento 4623 T. St. in Sacramento. For more information, visit t or contact P. La Marr at (916) 502-7068 or, or G. Bell at (916) 384-5796 or

Lee Diamond performs hits from the Rat Pack era, classic pop and soul hits from the 1950s-1960s, and more at the Backdoor Lounge in Old Sacramento most Friday and Saturday nights. The Backdoor Lounge is located at 1112 Firehouse Ally. 

The Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at University of California, Davis is pleased to announce a new just added performance, Willie Nelson and Family, performing in Jackson Hall on April 9, at 8 p.m. With a six-decade career and 200 plus albums, Willie Nelson is the creative genius behind the historic recordings of Crazy, Red Headed Stranger and Stardust. This iconic Texan has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor and activist. In 2013, Willie’s albums included April’s Let’s Face The Music And Dance, an album of deep pop-country repertoire classics performed with transformative patented ease by Nelson and Family, his long-time touring and recording ensemble; and October’s To All The Girls… which features 18 duets with music’s top female singers including Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples, Sheryl Crow, Loretta Lynn, Wynonna Judd, Rosanne Cash, Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones and Shelby Lynne. The performance is now on sale. Tickets are available at, or during regular business hours via phone at 866-754-2787 and in person at the Mondavi Center Ticket Office on the UC Davis campus.

The Lodi Community Art Center’s 54th Annual Spring Art show is scheduled for April 12-13. It will be the largest open juried art show that’s free to the public in Northern California.  There will be seven categories of art with cash awards to artists of more than $5,000, including $1,000 for Best of Show.  The theme for the Preview Night Benefit is “Putin’ on the Ritz for Art”. Participating artists from Elk Grove are Judy Knott, Jolene Matson, Ron Ridley, Sandy Ridley, Scott Shipley, Dee Tschida. Artists from around the state and country are entered in the show and will compete for $5,000.00 in cash awards.  Artist awards will be presented at our April 11 preview Benefit Gala starting at 6 pm. Tickets are $50.

d’Art Wines will be holding a Zinfandel wine tasting on April 19. Have you ever wondered how winemaking decisions effect the outcome of a wine?  Many decisions go into making good wine. Several Zinfandels from the same vintage and same vineyard  (as well as Zinfandels from other wineries) that were treated differently at harvest will be available for tastes at 12-2 p.m. Taste how decisions like harvest date and yeast choices can affect the outcome of a wine.  In the Barrel Room 13299 N. Curry Ave. in Lodi. Admission is $15 For reservations send an email to:

The Sacramento Wild and Scenic Film Festival will celebrate its fifth anniversary at the Crest Theater on April 25.  This annual community event offers an evening of short films addressing environmental issues that affect our region. A catered reception in the Crest lobby offers a chance to meet other non-profit sponsor groups, sample local food, and bid in a silent auction. All proceeds benefit the California Heartland Project. The Wild & Scenic Film Festival was started in 2003 by the watershed advocacy group, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL). The 4-day event features over 125 award-winning films and welcomes over 80 guest speakers, celebrities, and activists who bring a human face to the environmental movement. SYRCL is now sharing their success with other organizations to bring the festival to over 100 communities nationwide. The Sacramento festival program is specially designed to address issues that are relevant to our local community, and will feature short films that look at themes of water conservation, sustainable development and energy, food and local agriculture, wildlife protection, environmental activism, and outdoor recreation. The Crest Theater is located at 1013 K. St. in Sacramento. For more information, visit

The Sacramento Choral Festival will be held June 13-15 at the Harris Center for the Performing Arts (formerly known as Three Stages) at Folsom Lake College Billed as the largest choral event in Sacramento history, the Festival will feature more than twenty Sacramento-area choruses, representing many choral styles, including classical, jazz, barbershop, and more. For more information about the Festival and ticket information: Phone: (916) 864-3378 Email:

Sac Valley Teen Talent Program – A Community for Peace and Gravity Services, in partnership with Swan Paradiso Events, present the Sac Valley Teen Talent Program. Eleven Sacramento area cities (including Elk Grove) and over 300 students will compete against each other in three levels of competition. Winners will be awarded cash and prizes. Sponsorships are still needed from businesses as well as prizes that can be given in grab bags to winners.  For more details, and information on how to register visit,

Luna’s Café offers a variety of poetry, spoken word, and arts and entertainment at 1414 16th St., in Sacramento. For more information, call (916) 441-3931 or visit

present Tahoe Art Hikes Experience dancers, visual artists and musicians in the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park on Sept. 6-7.  Described as magical, diverse and inspiring, Trails and Vistas’ art hikes blend art experiences with nature. This year’s guided art hikes will take place along an aspen lined trail at Spooner Lake in the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park on Sept. 6 and 7. Located at an elevation of 6,980 feet, the location is an easy drive from the Sacramento, Reno, Carson City, Truckee, Tahoe City and Incline Village. Tickets for the art hikes and concert will go on sale on Earth Day, April 22, and are expected to sell out early given the popularity of this year’s participating artists. Advance sellouts have become the norm for Trails and Vistas. The early bird art hike cost is $30 for adults and $10 for children (5 to 12 years old) when purchased by July 15. Beginning July 15, art hike admission goes up to $40 per adult and $15 per child. The Art Hikes are recommended for physically healthy hikers who are accustomed to hiking at high altitude for three hours. In addition to the art hikes, there will be an evening world music concert featuring prominent and celebrated musicians from near and far on Saturday, Sept. 6. The concert includes multiple acts and serves as a fundraiser for Trails and Vistas’ Art in Nature fieldtrips for more than three hundred third grade students. For tickets and the most up to date concert details, visit


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The Laguna Creek High School Band’s booster club will be holding an Earth Day eWaste and Shredding event on April 19 to raise funds for the school’s band.

The band is currently using instruments that were purchased when the school was opened in 1994.  

Due to school district budget issues, each high school band program has to find ways to repair or replace their instruments.

“It is hard for students to play in the right key when the instruments are so in need of repair as to not play accurately,” said Jeffrey Edom, band director.

All money raised at the event will be used to repair the band’s instruments.  

In conjunction with a local eWaste company, All-Green Electronic Recycling, and a local shredding company, Rapid Information Destruction (RID), the Band Boosters will be collecting eWaste and shredding boxes of paper from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 

Shredding will be available until the RID truck is full; suggested donation for shredding is $5 per Banker’s box of paper.

Anything with a circuit board will be accepted, including: televisions, computer monitors, flat screens (all sizes), PCs, CPUs, printers (all sizes), cell phones, PDAs, telephones, modems, laptop computers, servers, DVD players, VCRs, stereos, boom boxes, game consoles, cables, wires, power chargers, and microwaves.  

In addition, ink and toner cartridges will be collected.  

No household appliances will be accepted. 

Household batteries (AA, AAA, C, D and 9 volt) will be collected for a small donation of $1-$5, and will be brought to the Sacramento County recycling plant for disposal.  

Signs will direct attendees to the parking lot located on Vicino Drive.

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A penny for his thoughts

Occasionally, patients will ask if they should address me as “pastor.” I tell them I’d be honored to be considered their pastor, and that they can consider the hospital room their temporary church. 

Despite the fact that chaplaincy can be a bit like pastoring a parade, the analogy often encourages patients to pause long enough to discuss their spiritual issues with me. At least that’s the way it worked with Mr. Penny. 

I call him “mister” because that’s how he introduced himself when I first entered his room at Houston Northwest Medical Center in 1992.  

Perhaps he meant the “mister” title to formalize the relationship between young and old, but my guess was that he meant to distance himself from his stereotypical idea of the “preacher.” 

Penny had inoperable brain cancer, but he didn’t want to talk about that. The balding, bony man steered most of our conversations to things like his opinion of the Houston Oilers and my lunchtime basketball games with local clergy. 

Over the next several months, Penny was admitted a half dozen more times, but on his last hospitalization his nurse summoned me from lunch. “Mr. Penny” had a favor he wanted to ask. 

Thinking his request sounded like the call to a deathbed confession, I made a quick exit from the cafeteria and hurried to ICU. 

I walked into the room to find Mrs. Penny stroking her husband’s fevered head. 

“Oh good,” she said. “I’m glad you’re here, but I thought Tuesday was your basketball day.”

“Knee problems,” I said, patting my left knee. 

She exhaled in relief. “He wants to ask you something.”

I looked at the figure on the bed, twisted and ghostly. His raspy breathing suggested he wouldn’t have much strength for this conversation, so I leaned over the bed and called to him as if announcing my presence through a dense fog.

“Mr. Penny, it’s Chaplain Norris,” I said. “Is there something you want to ask me?” 

He nodded.

“Teach me,” he said, his voice trailing off. 

He took a fuller breath and added, “Teach me to pray.” 

I searched his wife’s face for context. She chewed at her thumbnail as she explained that her husband was embarrassed to ask for God’s help at such a late hour. 

“He’s afraid he’s being hypocritical,” she added.

I often hear this reasoning from patients, and it always reminds me of the two revolutionaries who died on the crosses beside Jesus.

The first man spent his last hours mocking Jesus and goading him to use his magical powers to save everyone. 

The other guy was quite the opposite. He felt shame for his past life, so he asked Jesus, “Remember me when you enter your kingdom.”

Instead of disqualifying the man for being hypocritically late, Jesus assured him that he would see his new spiritual home that very day.


“Mr. Penny,” I said. “I think you’ll find that God cares very little about your past. He mostly cares what you’ll do with the next minute of your life.”

Penny nodded.

“Prayer is just talking to God. It’s not theologically complicated,” I added. “Just talk from your heart.”

Penny closed his eyes and began moving his lips. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but when he opened his eyes his expression told me that he’d heard God’s voice. 

I know this because the “mister” who had originally sought to distance himself from spiritual matters managed to say one last thing to me.

“Thank you, pastor. Thank you.” 


Norris Burkes is a syndicated columnist, national speaker and author of No Small Miracles. He is an Air National Guard chaplain and a board-certified hospital chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains. Recorded comments are welcome at (843) 608-9715. You may also send your comments to or P.O. Box 247, Elk Grove, CA 95759. Please visit his website

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Church News

Easter breakfast, egg 


The Elk Grove Congregational Church, UCC invites the entire community to join it for a free Easter breakfast and children’s egg hunt Sunday, April 20. Breakfast is offered from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. and the egg hunt begins at 9:30 a.m.

Easter worship service follows the morning activities at 10:30 a.m. The church is located at 9624 Melrose Ave., and Rev. James Kosko invites all to attend. For more details email or call the church office at (916) 685-4825.


Easter sunrise service

Once again Elk Grove and Point Pleasant United Methodist churches will combine for an Easter sunrise service Sunday, April 20 at the Point Pleasant church, 3349 Point Pleasant Road west off Franklin Boulevard.

It will begin at 6 a.m. followed by a free will offering breakfast served by the Point Pleasant youth.


Old Testament at

Cornerstone Church Elk Grove is hosting a live event, Walk Through the Old Testament, to take place Sunday, April 27 from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. The church is located at 3147 Dwight Road, Suite 400 in the Laguna West area of Elk Grove.

All are welcome and for more information should call (916) 399-1000 or visit the website at or


7th-day Adventists

open food closet

The All Nations Seventh-day Adventist Church has opened a food closet program for low-income and homeless families in the Elk Grove area. It takes place the second and third Wednesday of each month and dates are April 9 and 16. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Clients must bring proper identification. The church is located at 8280 Elk Grove-Florin Road, and for more information call Mr. Fazil at (916) 233-6012 (cell) or 424-1967 (home).


offers Seder meal

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church presents its fifth annual Seder dinner Sunday, April 13 at the church, 9085 Calvine Road just east of Elk Grove-Florin Road.

In recent years the Christian community has begun to re-enact some events of the Old Testament especially the Seder where St. Mary’s parishioners will partake of a five-course kosher dinner including matzo ball soup and barbecued lamb, accompanied by four small glasses of wine or grape juice. The William Hedge Trio, a local band will play Jewish-inspired music and children will be looking for food that may contain yeast.

Appetizers will be served on the patio at 5:30 p.m. with the Seder beginning at 6 p.m. Cost is $15 per person and $5 for children. Childcare will be available.

All are welcome and should call the office at (916) 689-1099 for more information and tickets.


Palm/Passion Sunday,

Holy Week events

Sunday, April 13 is Palm Sunday in the Christian community, marking Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the beginning of Holy Week.

Elk Grove United Methodist Church will mark the day at both the 8:30 and 11 a.m. services with palm branches and then transition to the Passion through a drama titled “A Place at the Table,” featuring the women who prepared Jesus’ last supper. Roles will be played by Roberta Merrill, Lisa Olsen and Kathy Timmerman.

The church’s traditional pancake breakfast will be served from 7:30 to 10:45 a.m., all at the church, 8986 Elk Grove Blvd.

q q q

There will be a Good Friday, April 18 service at 8 p.m. with childcare provided in Room 1. It will be a Tenebrae (darkness) service as candles are extinguished, with special music by the choir.

Easter Sunday April 20 services are at 8:30 and 11 a.m. with special choral music followed by an Easter ham lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Members are asked to bring side dishes. Childcare is offered from 8:15 a.m. until the end of the 11 a.m. service.


Parish group helps

St. Vincent de Paul Society of the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in the Laguna Creek area of Elk Grove maintains a small storage locker for items for the needy in the church’s immediate area, ZIP codes 95757 and 95758.

Members help those in need with utility bills when funds are available, and have clothing and miscellaneous items available on Mondays. They do home visits to assess the needs of the family and discuss furniture needs on a one-on-one basis.

The locker is open every Monday from 9 to 10 a.m.; these are summer hours that begin on April 1. It is located on the south side of the church parking lot, 9539 Racquet Court, near the tennis courts of the Racquet Club.

at St. Maria Goretti

April 18, Stations of the Cross, 1 p.m.; Seven Last Words, 2 p.m.; Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion, Veneration of the Cross and Communion, 3 p.m.

April 19, Holy Saturday, the Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

April 20, Easter Sunday Masses, 8 and 10 a.m. and 12 noon.

Fr. Mervin Conception and members welcome all to attend. The Parish Center is located at 8700 Bradshaw Road, and for more information, call (916) 647-4538 or visit the website at


Live presentation of

Jesus’ last week at

“In Remembrance of Me” is the title of a live presentation at Country Oaks Baptist Church on Good Friday, April 18 at 7 p.m.

It is the story of Jesus’ last week from the Last Supper to his death on the cross and church officials invite all to attend the free performance. The church is located at 9717 Bond Road at Bradshaw Road on the northeast corner.

1st Baptist to host

children’s Easter

First Baptist Church of Elk Grove issues an invitation to families with children ages 12 and under to attend its free Easter Festival Saturday, April 12 at the church, 8939 East Stockton Blvd.

There will be game booths, inflatables, an illusionist, face painting, egg hunt for the little ones, a “ton of candy” and more from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Krush Burger will also be on site for those who wish to purchase lunch.


Congregational Church

Elk Grove Congregational Church, United Church of Christ invites all to “Walk with Jesus” in a multisensory experience designed for families that takes place Saturday, April 19 at the church, 9624 Melrose Ave.

Attendees travel together as they experience Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, Gethsemane, Good Friday and the Resurrection. The journey takes about 90 minutes and refreshments are provided. 

Pastor James Kosko asks that participants arrive between 10:45 a.m. and noon for this free event. For more details contact the church office at (916) 685-4825 or email


Light of the Valley Lutheran Church is continuing its series of “Parents Night Out” since it has been a successful outreach to the community. Children can be dropped off at the church for supervised childcare while Mom and Dad have some time to themselves.

This free event offers games, activities and snacks for the children, and upcoming dates and times are April 11, May 2 and June 13 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. 

Questions? Call Summer at (916) 690-0361 or email Light of the Valley is located at 9270 Bruceville Road, just south of Laguna Boulevard.


Free breakfast, lunch

Elk Grove United Methodist Church has expanded its “Get to Know Your Neighbor Breakfast” to “Get to Know Your Neighbor Meals.”

Members have been serving a free breakfast on Saturdays from 8 to 10 a.m. and now are also serving a free lunch on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. All are welcome to the church’s social hall at 8986 Elk Grove Blvd. in Old Town Elk Grove at Gage Street.

Elk Grovians who would like to volunteer to prep, cook, serve or clean up are more than welcome and should call the church office at (916) 686-8303. 

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Twilight Music Camp for music students sponsored by Jim Mazzaferro

The Sheldon High School Music Department will be holding a Twilight Music Camp from Monday, May 19 through Thursday, May 22, 2014. The Music Camp will be held from 5:30 – 8 p.m. at the Sheldon High School Music Room. The Sheldon Band Twilight Music Camp aims to provide young musicians (grades 4-7) the highest quality musical experience through working in small groups with SHS musicians under the direction of Jim Mazzaferro, as well as in the full concert band setting, and by offering young instrumentalists an opportunity to improve their personal skill level, to increase awareness of their ability, and expand the possibilities for enjoyment of music in an atmosphere of artistic expression and fulfillment. Some of the Camp’s features include:

Applications are available through May 16, 2014. For an application and more information, contact Jim Mazzaferro at


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