A day after the season's first big, cleansing rainstorm, a glorious sunny, clear fall Saturday: bike rides and backyard parties and ducks and kids and the leaves just starting to turn. And then comes the capper: Second Saturday on the Grid.
It's the best time you can have in public in Sacramento, hands down. No concert, no basketball game, no night at the bar, can match it. This is Sacramento's night to see what the future can be. Will be. IS.
It's the "art walk," yes, but more than that, it's a chance to watch Sacramento BE the city it is becoming. It's the sidewalks swarming with people, friends making connections, introductions all around, DJs on the sidewalks, random bands of random quality, dinner and drinks late into the night, 17th Street backed up all the way from I to L Streets, wolf whistles and fancy pants. Fire spinners!
It's a hell of a good time.
I overheard one curmugeonly old guy grumble to friends who asked him outside Harlow's what it was like down on the art walk, "We got caught in the traffic." When I pointed out that it was fantastic, he said, grudgingly, "It's good if you like people."
Indeed it is. And oh, we do. People were out in force, admiring each other and the work of some of their fellow citizens. We weren't watching TV. We weren't in San Francisco. We were on the Grid.
There was a big party in the new MARRS building at 20th and K Streets for Legend magazine, which is relaunching as a 64-page, perfect-bound glossy magazine after a three-year hiatus, with plans for a website to come. We saw Rob Turner and his stunning wife and business partner Elyssa Lee, founders and co-editors of Sactown magazine, enjoying the top-notch sushi and passers-by at Kru on J Street. Don't you love all these magazines? Glossy ones sprouting right and left, but still room for Midtown Monthly, funkier and simpler, but smart and soulful.
What else? Michael Afshar, the charming owner of DV8 clothing in the new MARRS building on 20th, spinning beats at Level Up, the lounge over Thai Basil at 25th and J Streets. Dennis Newhall reporting that the visitors to his rock 'n' roll museum next to Lush at 20th and I Street (in the old Oasis Ballroom building) drew more than 800 people last Second Saturday. You could even get a FREE ride in a elegant pedicab by a handsome, charming businessman named Harmon.
There were more bands playing than I've ever seen out on the sidewalks, at Old Soul Baking Company, at Rubicon Brewery (playing Zappa's "Peaches in Regalia"!), in front of Body Tribe...there was even a random guy with an amp and a guitar playing on the dark porch of Cheap Thills. We heard-tell that Mike Wolfchuck's great percussion group the Lloyd Family Players had traveled down from Chico and were roaming the streets with their thrilling Afro-Carribean drumming, but we didn't find them. Next time, we hope.
We loved Reinhard Hohlwein and Anna Skacel's stunning photos from Turkey, hanging among the gorgeous confines of the Momo Lounge above Harlow's. I bought the one of sufi dancer, a wonderful composition full of light and spirit and energy. But the one that really got me was the triptych of the Flaming Lotus Girls' 2005 installation at Burning Man - great memories and a beautiful work even if you've never been there. Dear Torzas: Buy it and leave it there! It makes the Momo MO' betta!
Art is a great bargain on Second Saturdays. Buy some! $25 or $40 for an original painting, often with some wit and humor? Hell yeah!
On J Street, walking west on a "quiet" stretch, there were two poi spinners working their magic in front of a century-old Victorian while a DJ spun some electronica. Burning Man on the streets, as well as the bars, of Sacramento.
And more than any of this: The sense that there is so much going on all over the Grid and beyond (don't forget Phantom Galleries on Del Paso) that you can't see it all, that you are only going to be able to see a small piece of the action. We didn't get to the Art Foundry (more bands at 10th and R) or the anniversary party for R15, or drummer/producer Matt McCord's show at Cafe Bernardo or a bunch of things we didn't even hear about. But we'll see them next time. And we're just happy they were there, even if we weren't.
Really, though: Isn't this what we've been waiting for? The sense that there's too MUCH to do, not too little? It's happening, kids!
If you live in Sacramento or nearby, but you don't go to Second Saturday, and you complain that there's nothing to do, well...YOU may be the problem. Because this town is happening, and at no time is it more apparent than on Second Saturday. It makes me proud and happy and excited.
Now, here's a goal, a common vision: Why can't EVERY Thurday, Friday and Saturday night be like Second Saturday? It's GOING to happen, folks. Because it's ALREADY happening. It just needs to happen more often.
And the way THAT is going to happen is if we just keep DOING it.
So pass it on. Tell your friends. Tell your enemies. Tell strangers. Tell your friends in Tahoe and San Francisco and Napa that it's their turn to come HERE. On Second Saturday. And First Friday. And Third Thursday.
We are all creating this place, together. And we're doing it right.