One of stand-up comedy’s best, Dave Attell, will bring his caustic wit and rapid-fire delivery of “very adult” material to Sacramento for three shows at Punch Line Comedy Club on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 (show time is 8 p.m.) and Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 (show times are 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.). Attell got into stand-up in the late ‘80s when he frequented the open mic scene in New York City. Since then he’s been named one of the “25 Funniest People in America” by Entertainment Weekly, had his own popular show Insomniac with Dave Attell on Comedy Central, has appeared in hit television shows like Arrested Development and has countless appearances on the late-night show circuit. What better way to get your pre-New Year’s Eve party on than to laugh your ass off with some friends over drinks? More information and tickets available by calling Punch Line at (916) 925-5500, or visit Livenation.com.
The 2011 Submerge Holiday Gift Guide
By Submerge Staff
Every year it happens: the holidays come and your shopping list grows and grows. You’ve got your family, friends, significant others, co-workers and more, all equally deserving of a thoughtful, cool and unique gift from you. Whether you’re short on ideas or just looking for some inspiration, Submerge is here to help. We’re proud to introduce our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide! We’ve got all sorts of neat stuff in here; everything from Spy ski/snowboard goggles designed by local artist Skinner to a handmade necklace by Rad Geometry made with local salvaged wood. Need something for mom? Check out the Dropp Bowl by Menu, available at Lumens. It’s a bowl that looks like an action-suspended splash of paint. How clever! How about something for your dad, uncle, boyfriend/husband or anyone else who’s hopped on the San Francisco 49ers bandwagon? Check out the 49ers Reyn Spooner Hawaiian Shirt (there’s Oakland Raiders ones too), available at Swanberg’s for Men. It doesn’t matter whether you give a little or give a lot, it only matters that you show you care.
This handmade salvaged wood necklace by Shane Bellmer of Rad Geometry, available at Bows and Arrows for $32, would look great on your wife, girlfriend or, if you have a hip mom, on her too. Every Rad Geometry piece is unique, just like every woman in your life.
Ski resorts are already starting to open, and it’s supposed to be another La NiÃ±a type winter, which means snow. Lots of snow. (Editor’s note: where the hell are you, snow?!?) To look extra fly on the hill this year, get your hands on the Spy Trevor Goggles designed by local artist Skinner, available for special order at Ground Zero Clothing and Boardshop locations for around $80.
Make any kitchen counter look cooler instantly with the Dropp Bowl by Menu, available at Lumens in various colors for $65.
Help the baby-bearing couples on your list keep their little nugget looking clean and professional with the Business Time Onesie from Sacramento-based Ana Apple Designs, available at Never Felt Better Vegan Shop for $28.
The music festival enthusiast on your list will surely appreciate this Roll Up Fleece Lawn Blanket, available for $15 through locally based website Festivalfunkjunk.com. Whether they’re tired at Treasure Island or partied out at Outside Lands, they’ll be happy to lay their heads down on this.
Bay-Area NFL teams are kicking ass this year, so help your dad or uncle or husband/boyfriend look like a true fan with these San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders Reyn Spooner Hawaiian Shirts, available at Swanberg’s for Men for $73.
Two local boys, Brian Lee and Chad Nelson, needed a way to tame their wild mustaches and so Cowboy Comb was born. Packaged in a cardboard matchbox style case, this bad boy can handle any beard or ‘stache you throw at it. It’s available in pink for the ladies, too, and is great for bangs, flat ironing and more. Available at Anthony’s Barber Shop for just $5. Yeehaw!
You might need to learn how to tell time again with these uber-stylish Nooka Watches, available at Legacy Boutique, but at least you’ll look really cool doing it. Sleek, minimal, hip, unique and intuitive, these watches make a statement without flashy bling. Prices range from $100—$150.
Delightfully soft and knit in 100-percent vegan bamboo yarn, the Fujita Circle Scarf available for $70 at Never Felt Better Vegan Shop will keep you (or someone on your shopping list) warm and cozy all winter long. The fabric is double layered and cabled on both sides, a sturdy scarf indeed.
Music is the best gift, and it’s even better when it comes from local artists’ CDs available at ZuhG Life Store. Jam-y and groovy? Try Arden Park Roots’ Pipe Dreams or ZuhG’s Free Love. Sing-along? Try Musical Charis’ Ace of Space. Hip-hop, metal, pop–they’ve got it all. It’s the best representation of regional music available on shelves anywhere in town.
Your parents will love it, your friends will love it: the Menu Wine Decanter is simple and sleek. It has a broad base to ensure proper aeration and a precision pouring lip to avoid unsightly drips. Available for $80 at Lumens.
This vintage ‘70s brass and bone carved bangle, complete with crosshatch and starburst carvings, is available for just $13 through Bows and Arrows’ Etsy site. Although this piece is one-of-a-kind, they have other vintage bangles as well.
Cool one-of-a-kind wallets by Kitten Camaro are a great gift idea. And for just $14 available at Never Felt Better Vegan Shop, they are easy on the pocket book, or, uh, wallet.
October is the perfect month to check out some horror films and there’s a few good ones coming out soon (or that have already premiered) in theaters. The Thing opened last week (Antarctica research site, frozen alien craft is discovered, some sort of crazy alien monster is awoken), Wrong Turn 4 comes out on DVD and Blu-ray on Oct. 25 (group of friends go snowmobiling on winter break, take a “wrong turn” and get lost and presumably suffer grotesque, unthinkable deaths), Paranormal Activity 3 drops on Oct. 21 (set in 1988, two young sisters Katie and Kristi befriend an invisible entity who resides in their home and all hell breaks loose), and Red State also comes out on Oct. 21 (set in Middle America, a group of teens receive an online invitation for sex, but they soon encounter fundamentalists with a much more sinister agenda). Whether you’re taking a date or a group of your buddies, get out there and enjoy a scary flick or two this month!
Fright Planet is really stepping it up in 2011 with their haunted theme park at Cal Expo (gate 9 off Ethan Boulevard at the former Paradise Island Theme Park). There are five massive themed haunted houses: Pirates of Scurvy Island, Dead Man’s Lagoon in 3-D, Death Row, Blackout! and Psycho Midway in 4-D (“terrorific scents” add the fourth dimension according to their website, Frightplanet.com). Each haunted house attraction is about 5,000 square feet. There’s also a 100-seat “ScreamMax” theater where you can catch a 25-minute 3-D movie featuring “spectacular 3-D effects and a frightful soundtrack.” There really is something to scare everyone, even you tough guys out there, at this hell-ish (in a good way) theme park. Claustrophobic? You might want to avoid Blackout!, where you really can’t see shit and there are “hidden scares.” Hate clowns? Stay the heck away from the Psycho Midway! All Fright Planet cast members–there are a whopping 150 of them–have to go through a formal audition process and attend “Scare School” before they step foot into a haunted house to scare you and your friends. Their set painter is even a retired Disneyland artist, so everything looks realistic. Fright Planet is open now until Nov. 2, 2011, check their website for times and for tickets (which range in price from $19.95 to $35) call 1-866-666-1313 or visit Frightplanet.com
Capital Stage starts its 2011—2012 season in a larger space
A theater company six years in the making will start this year’s play season on Oct. 7 at a new location–the Old Armoury on J Street in the heart of Midtown.
Capital Stage, which for the last six years has been tucked away inside the Delta King in Old Sacramento, has been relocated to a space that not only provides the theater company more space but also allows it to establish its identity.
“Even though we had been working [on the Delta King] for years and winning awards for our work, the bulk of the community still had no idea who we were,” said the company’s founding director Stephanie Gularte. “Now we’ve got this amazing storefront presence.”
This year’s season will start on Oct. 7, 2011 with the comedy Superior Donuts, the story of an owner of a poorly kept donut shop in uptown Chicago whose work ethic is challenged by the spunk of a new employee. It will feature a nine-person cast, which Gularte considers large for the company.
This is a busy time for Capital Stage, with the start of the season just around the corner. Nonetheless Submerge managed to finagle a chat with Gularte over the phone in the midst of her busy schedule.
The company has placed great emphasis on producing bold, innovative and intimate plays since its inception in 2005. In fact it’s engrained in their mission statement. They must be doing something right: last year the company received five stars for its entire season of plays from the Sacramento News and Review.
“We believe live theater is such a communal experience and opportunity for our audience and artists to have an experience together that is really kind of elevating, that goes beyond just entertainment,” Gularte said. “We like to explore strong ideas and try and create an experience for the audience that is memorable and provocative.”
This experience is partially created by providing the audience an opportunity for introspection as members of society, in a sense holding up an invisible mirror to reveal human reality.
“We have so many opportunities to be alone and be behind our computers at a safe distance,” she said, “But live theater particularly gives us the opportunity to do work that is thought-provoking and challenging, [and] provides an opportunity for a more visceral and community experience around that introspection.”
The desire to provide this unique experience is what brought Gularte and partners Jonathan Williams and Peter Mohrmann together to begin Capital Stage back in 2005.
Up to that point, although she was living in Sacramento working as an actress, Gularte found that the plays she found most provocative and interesting were those she was working on in the Bay Area.
Rather than relocating to the Bay Area, Gularte made it her mission to bring provocative theater to Sacramento. Thus, with the cooperation of likeminded individuals Williams and Mohrmann, Capital Stage was born.
This season’s string of plays should not disappoint. The plays are expected to be just as thought-provoking and introspective, Gularte said, if not more so.
They also all have a very American vibe, she said, and are what she considers to be American theater at its best. Several of which include the work of groundbreaking playwrights of the last couple of decades.
“This is an important time in our culture to see who we really are as a nation and where we come from and where we’re going,” she said.
After Superior Donuts, the season will continue with a diverse set of plays that include subject matter ranging from the Iraq War to a scientist’s wife in the 1800s.
With higher ceilings and a larger stage area, the new location is allowing the company to add more creativity to their sets and cast more actors. The seating capacity is also increased by 15 percent from the old location.
The hope is that with the new space, Capital Stage will also attract new audience members.
”We have a really smart, dynamic, passionate audience base and I just want more of those folks,” Gularte said. “I look for opportunities to surprise our audiences and take our subscribers in particular, who commit to the entire season with us, on a real journey.”
For those who are all too eager to see what the upcoming season brings, Capital Stage will be performing sneak previews of Superior Donuts as well as a new, one-woman show that the company will debut at Midtown Modern Arts Festival on Oct. 15. And for those needing an excuse to celebrate, the company will hold its opening gala on Oct. 21.
Capital Stage’s Superior Donuts will be in previews from Oct. 7—14 , 2011 and officially open Saturday, Oct. 15 with a run that will last through Nov. 13. More information and tickets can be found at Capstage.org. Don’t forget to catch Capital Stage members in action at Midtown Modern Arts Festival on Oct. 15. Event is free, starts at 12 p.m. and is taking place on 20th Street in between J and K streets.
Ever wonder what it would feel like to stand on stage in a grand venue like the Community Center Theater, or to take a backstage tour of the lights, camera and action? On Sunday, Oct. 9, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., the doors of Community Center Theater will be wide open for the community to explore and familiarize themselves with Sacramento’s performing arts scene. Meet professional and community arts groups, see them perform, talk, learn, engage. After all, that’s the whole point of Artober.
If there has ever been a show I’ve written about in the past that I thought was important and that I urged you to attend, it more than likely paled in comparison to this one. On Friday, Oct. 7 at Blue Lamp, there will be a benefit show for a young woman named Alicea Peet (Mikey Hood from the band HOODS’ lady), who recently suffered from a kidney failure and had to have a transplant. As you can imagine, the medical bills are insane, so the benefit show (which features some of Alicea’s favorite bands in Kill the Precedent, Black Mackerel, City of Vain and Muderlicious) is aimed to help take a chunk out of those bills, as well as to raise awareness of how important organ donors are. Doors open at 8 p.m., 21-and-over only and it’s $10 at the door.
There are also cool T-shirts available for $20 donations that say Peet’s name and the words “Love Life.” You can send donations via Paypal to Hoods916@hotmail.com. Include size, mailing address and mark the payment as a “gift,” but most of all, come to the show at Blue Lamp and support! You can also make a donation securely at Alicealoveslife.bbnow.org.
Our current issue (No. 93) features an exclusive interview with two-time snowboarder of the year John Jackson in celebration of the many upcoming Northern California screenings of the groundbreaking film The Art of Flight, in which he is featured. The following questions were selected from our hour-long talk with one of the hottest snowboarders in the world. Space constraints didn’t allow for all of it to make it to the magazine. Read on to learn about an unnamed film project with Red Bull that Jackson dreamt up, what he is doing to rehab his injured knee, what he knows about Travis Rice’s upcoming contest called Supernatural, and his new “resort” home north of Truckee, Calif.
You and Travis Rice go way back, right? You used to compete in the same comps and stuff?
Yeah, I think I remember the first time I met Rice. We were both super young competing in the USSA regional or something, I think it was at Mammoth. [Laughs] We were both competing in the half-pipe contest.
That’s funny how all these years later and you guys are collaborating on probably the most highly anticipated action sports film ever.
It’s pretty crazy. I know man, it’s such a heartbreaker that I was hurt this year, but I’m just really stoked I went on that trip with them last year at least. And there’s a lot of opportunity in the future…
When did you hurt your knee?
My knee injury happened in December of 2010. I was going to film a good two-and-a-half months with them [Brain Farm] this season, the 2011 season. Then I hurt my knee doing something stupid just messing around. It’s always stupid things.
Were you even snowboarding or were you doing something else?
It was snowboarding, but it was messing around on a blizzard day in an icy park, just playing around. It was windy, couldn’t see well. I overshot this jump and landed flat. I land flat so often, you know, my knees have always been really strong. It was just the way I landed, so square on my board, I just felt it pop. It was so weird. It’s my right knee, so my back leg, the one taking most of the pressure…
That must have been pretty rough. You seem like a guy who knows how to keep his head up, though. How did you keep a positive outlook through all of that?
I kind of new something extreme was wrong. I was trying to be positive, like, “OK, it might be good, it might be good.” I gave it some time, I went down south, got an MRI and as soon as the doctor told me the news I went straight to the bar at like 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I had to get that out of the way, that was the one time I did that. Then I was like, “Alright, I’m getting better and it’s going to be all good. Shit happens.” And then you just got to look at it positive. It’s all about the rehab, and I’ve been working on it like a motherfucker, so I feel like my body is going to be stronger than it ever has been when it comes back.
How is your physical therapy going? What sort of exercises and routines do your therapists have you doing to strengthen your knee?
Man, I’ve been pretty militant with it. All kinds of stuff. I’ve been going to therapy for in between five to six hours a day like three to four times a week, sometimes five times a week. Not all of that is heavy workout, you know, I spend a lot of time stretching, a lot of time working the muscles out on the foam roller or with my therapist…
Los Angeles is where all your therapists and doctors are?
Yeah, I have therapists in Truckee as well. But I really like coming down here. I just went to Red Bull and worked with their trainers today for the first time, and they’ve got such a good program, like all technical, you know? They’re taking blood like every 12 minutes on the bike and figuring out your lactate and judging your heart rate and just figuring out what kind of machine, or, basically what kind of engine is under the hood of your body.
What a trip!
It’s so trippy. It’s nuts.
If I would guess any company would have a program like that, it would be Red Bull. They take good care of their athletes, huh?
They are out of control. I’m so stoked and fortunate to be a part of it. They just have every resource imaginable. They take care of their investments and look at it like it’s not just an investment, it’s good relationships.
It sounds like the knee strength is coming back. So come this January you’ll be ready to be filming again?
They say I’m still a little vulnerable at that point, because I didn’t get surgery until March 1. I was just really trying to do a lot of therapy in between, and I spent January in Jackson Hole hanging out with the crew. Most of January, you know, so I could chill with them. I wanted to jump my sled off some shit. I had to do something.
Do you have any cool trips or projects lined up for this coming year that you can talk about?
Yeah, I’m going to film with, you know, a “company” project. Then I wrote up this project for Red Bull, an idea I’ve had for a while, and I presented it to them. I’m pretty sure it just got the green light. So it’s kind of cool.
Oh, really? What can you tell me about it?
I want to make a really, really passionate project that kind of combines surf aspects and snowboard aspects and has a lot of different views of expertise on the sports. Basically what I’m trying to do is get some sort of bus or van or something, trick it all out, make it run off veggie, or propane or something clean. Then I want to drive from Alaska to Chile, or Argentina. Start in April, have a bunch of heli trips lined up and there will be key characters involved. Hopefully a surfer will be on for the long haul, but I’ve been talking to a lot of people who are going to come in and out. Rice, Ian Walsh the big wave surfer. It’s kind of cool, because it’s more of just this journey that’s going to show, you know…Fuck, I don’t know how much I should be talking about this…
It sounds like there is an amazing film in the works then?
Yeah, it’s going to start I think next April. Basically it’s really going to show what’s behind everything and the personalities of the people and how kids can relate. Not all kids can relate to a professional snowboarder, the tricks they do and whatnot. Snowboard videos these days, besides The Art of Flight, a lot of them are almost like snowboard porn, you know, just gnarly trick after gnarly trick. So for this I want to be, like, the surfers are going to be in the heli coming up on this peak going, “Holy shit, are we really going to land there?” You’ll see the excitement from a different point of view, you know? Same thing with like, I want to bring my brother [Eric Jackson, also a professional snowboarder] in on this trip. You’re going to have us going down to these huge waves and being like, “Should we paddle out? Lets do it!” and maybe getting worked, but having so much fun, you know?
That’s cool to put each other in a different element.
Yeah, it’s cool. I want to focus on a couple different things with it, like the science of the seasonal change, get kind of National Geographic on it. And I want to do a lot of giving back, too, helping people out along the way. Line up orphanages to go work with, or schools, and have tons of products to give away. We’ll ship stuff down for different points we stop and just stoke kids out, you know, get a following going. We’ve got a few pretty cool ideas of filming it, which could be interesting. It could be a fun project.
So that’s kind of your baby? Your brainchild, if you will? How long have you been thinking about this?
I love road trips, I love traveling and I love people. I love everything about it, I love to explore. I have so much passion for it. So I’ve been thinking about it for a good year. And I wrote up this whole story, just kind of ideas and they’re [Red Bull] backing it. So hopefully it goes through and it’s good. I mean I don’t have time to really get all the…I want to get hopefully the gnarliest shots I can get, because that’s really my baby is pushing my snowboarding. With limited time it’s hard, you know, that’s why these guys [Brain Farm] take two years to film their project. You’ve got to budget in bad weather and bad snow and it just doesn’t go as planned all the time. Either way, it’ll be a really good eye opener I think for a lot of different things. It will have a lot of emotion involved in it.
Sounds unique, like a cool change of pace.
Yeah, exactly, trying to do something totally unique. And then hopefully I’m going to have, you know, some snowboard porn to go in there too.
Switching gears a bit, someone from Red Bull Media House told us that Travis Rice is up at Baldface Lodge in Canada building for his Supernatural contest that will happen there this winter. What do you know about that?
Basically this is his idea of a contest, saying “fuck you” to building jumps and the idea of having a set path to go on. It’s all done in the backcountry. He picks out an epic face, and there will be a window of time when you wait for good snow, good weather, then you go shred natural terrain. That’s why it’s called Supernatural. And what he’s doing, though, he’s like building stuff right now. He’s drawn up a bunch of plans. They’re actually building structures out there on this mountain face, so that when it snows, it builds up, you know? It’s going to be nuts! It would blow your mind if you saw the drawings that he was working on!
Have you seen any of The Art of Flight besides the two trailers that are out? Or are you looking forward to seeing the full film as much as the rest of the world?
Nah, you’re seeing as much as I have. This is so fresh. And for me, because I was hurt all year, I almost like forgot I went to Alaska with all those guys. So I’m remembering that trip and definitely still wish I could have filmed with those guys this year, but there’s nothing you can do about it now.
Still looks like you got some good footage though, like for example that huge gap that Rice hit on the cover of Transworld Snowboarding’s 200th issue! And you got the inside poster foldout shot on that gap, too. That was during that trip, right?
Yeah, that was during that trip.
Tell me about that gap. Was that something you scoped out for a long time?
Yeah, we saw it from the heli. We were like, “There could be a jump over there,” and we kind of overlooked it. Then coming back we were like, “Oh, that actually could be something.” Then you know, we’d go down and check it. And toward the end of the trip, after we’d gotten quite a few big lines, we’d be like, “We need to find some jumps.” So there was two jumps right next to each other, actually. That was like the thing that I wanted to hit. And Trav wanted to hit this one next door that was like off this face into just a perfect flat gully, into the widest landing you could imagine. You could put like three jumps on it. There wasn’t any set way to go. But anyways, the guide didn’t want us to hit it, because there was a cornice above and if the slope ripped or it slid… and it was over a crevice as well.
Yeah, the crevice below you in the photo looks pretty huge.
Yeah both jumps were over crevices, but the other one had a cornice above it too, so if something slides and you’re building a jump, there’s nowhere to go. Everyone’s dead.
Talk about a nightmare, you’d have nowhere to go!
You’ll get pushed right into the crevice and then buried on top of it. And then you’re in there with the fossils.
So the guide was like, “No way!” to the gap with the obstacles overhead?
We kind of talked him into it. He was like, “We’ll go out and drop some charges on the cornice and see if anything slides.” They dropped the first charge, explosion, little piece falls off, nothing slides. Then they’re going to the next cornice and just the vibration and the sound from the heli and the wind as it approached dropped the cornice and the whole face slid down to the rocks and filled in the entire thing. Our guide was like, “I told you so. Hell no.” So we went and hit the other one and it was so rad. It definitely took a little mountain manipulation, shape shifting, getting the run-in dialed in.
How long does it usually take to get these huge gaps and jumps set up?
It depends on the feature. It can take days. This one wasn’t too bad. We actually cleared it up, fixed it up, built it and then it snowed and we had to re-do the whole thing. But it was such a good day when we hit that. We didn’t have much time to hit it, so we were kind of under pressure at the end of the day. We hit it in the afternoon, rode some great lines in the morning. That’s another point I forgot to bring up, which actually works in our favor, how the days sometimes clear up in the afternoon, because the sun is so high, it’ll bake snow on the points that get sun when it’s high noon. Those facing slopes will be just totally screwed, so you have to hit north-facing slopes, which only get sun in the evenings and first morning, otherwise everything is baked. So we’d have to strategize kind of what we were going to hit and only get the north-facing stuff.
So those shots were later in the day?
Yeah, that was evening. That was the last part of the day. And then Trav went up and did the back flip that was in first teaser.
That gap looks sick, though. I can see how it was on your hit-list.
Yeah, there are certain things that are really valuable…and you’re like, “Oh man, we got to take the time and hit this thing proper,” and sometimes you’ve got to just go for it and you don’t have all the time in the world. You’re always under the gun. It was awesome though. That was a good day hitting that thing. You’re going over just a straight black hole in the air.
Well and doing a double-inverted trick over the gap you get to see that black emptiness twice!
Tell me about this goal of yours to do a back flip on a snowmobile. Because there’s a crazy shot of you in The Art of Flight’s trailer where you are like upside down 30 feet in the air, bailing from a snowmobile…
I just love snowmobiling. I’m not like, “I’ve got to do this!” But yeah I was feeling confident in it. I had a blown knee, and I had to do something, so I Googled it a bunch of times and figured I had it. I still feel like I got it. I just need to make some adjustments.
So that shot in the trailer where you’re bailing, you’re hurt right there?
Yeah that was when I had a blown knee [laughs].
Was the landing soft?
It was pretty powder-y, but this was after those guys had sessioned the shit out of it. I’m not going to track up anything fresh. I don’t know. I went way, way too big. If I would’ve committed, the thing probably would have come around, but my sled landed dead flat.It was so weird being that high in the air without my snowboard on… just full-on freestyle walking. It was all like, you learn how to act on instinct. You just do it. I don’t know, it’s just programmed. I pushed my sled away, I was so high up and my sled was doing a back flip and obviously I wanted to watch out for my head, so I tucked into like a front flip off of it, then opened up and landed pretty good on my feet. It was pretty insane, yeah, but my sled was all good, I wanted to try it again. Everyone was like, “Please don’t.” Like our photographer, Danny Zapalac, who is so funny, that guy is awesome, I love that guy. He’s got a really good heart. He was like, “Dude, please don’t ever scare me like that again. Please.”
Wasn’t Curt [Morgan, director/producer] and everyone like, “Yeah, you got this!” and egging you on?
Well, Curt always wants to see something gnarly. I was planning on doing it. I Googled it for like three days before that, you know?
I read somewhere you make music? What sort of stuff are you into?
Yeah I love, love music, man. Music is the best high; it’s just so fun, man. I’ve been playing a lot of guitar. I got my brother into guitar, and he’s getting really good really quick. And I’ve been jamming the bongo a lot and the djembe. It’s fun. We travel around with all our stuff. We’re tapping into more banjos and mandolins and just getting a good mix. My two sisters play too, so having like a family band is awesome. We’re not that good or anything, but it’s just fun. I love making music.
Do you write your own songs and shit? Or just covers of stuff?
I do a lot of like just, mumbling, you know. I love to just freestyle it and just make up songs as I go. But I have been starting to write a couple things and eventually I will more. When you don’t have much time, anytime I can play I just want to jam, you know, and not be in the homework stage trying to learn something. But I should. I need to do that.
You just bought a house out in the cuts, right? What made you decide to purchase where you did? Where is it, like north of Truckee somewhere, right?
It feels like it’s in the cuts, but it’s really close to everything, so it’s the best of both worlds. It’s in Verdi, right outside Reno, between Truckee and Reno. Right on the border, you know, fuck Cali I’m getting in Nevada. I’m going to buy guns and shit…
So your address is technically Nevada?
It’s Nevada, all the way. I’d been looking at buying a place for a long time, and I just really wanted to get into Nevada and out of Cali. I’m right on the border, still got everything I love around me, all my friends. Right there on the Truckee river… Oh man, if you ever come that way you got to come to my house, and we’ll fish. There’s awesome fishing right there.
Sounds like a resort getaway!
It’s crazy. There’s a tennis court and b-ball hoop and I don’t even do that shit. I’ve been asked recently if I play tennis. It’s so weird. I’ll be in the airport, and I don’t know if it’s just because I wear crazy gear and have dreads or something, but people are like, “Do you play tennis?” and I’m like, “No, but I have a tennis court” [laughs].
Well congrats on the home purchase. When did you buy it?
Thanks, man. I’m so blessed. It’s like the perfect bill that just fell into my lap. I bought it at the beginning of this year, and I really haven’t spent much time there at all.
Do you have roommates? Are any of them in the same line of work as you?
Yeah I’ve got like three roommates. One of them is Daniel Ek, he rides for Forum too. He’s awesome, love that kid. He has a really good heart. For instance, there’s a bar downstairs in the house that was completely empty. I went down to get surgery and when I came home he had left to go back to Norway. I go downstairs and the bar is just completely dialed, like with 25 bottles! Danny Boy just styled it out. It was all like Red Bulls in the bottom, so styled, I just started laughing.
Most of the time roommates drink all your booze, not stock you up!
Yeah that’ll happen, too. Usually with the Coors Lights.
Catch John Jackson and Travis Rice in The Art of Flight along with other heavy-hitters like Mark Landvik, Nicolas Muller, Scotty Lago, Jeremy Jones and more! Visit Artofflightmovie.com for more details and to view the film’s two official trailers. Follow John Jackson on Twiiter @johnjamun.
With Midtown Cocktail Week falling perfectly during this issue (it takes place Aug. 15—21 at various bars and restaurants), we took it upon ourselves to dedicate “Submerge Your Senses” to this oh-so-delicious week filled with unique cocktails, cool hands-on classes, exciting competitions, fun themed parties and so much more. If just for this one week, set the High Life down, back away from the IPA and indulge in the finest cocktails and mixed drinks from the region’s best bartenders. Outlined below are a few of our editors’ picks for the week. For more information, head to Midtowncocktailweek.org.
Home Bartending Classes
One of the coolest things about Midtown Cocktail Week is their lineup of hands-on home bartender classes. First up is the “How to Throw a Punch Bowl Bunco Party” class on Monday, Aug. 15 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Restaurant Thir13en (1300 H Street). In this class, home bartender students learn how to create tasty punch bowl drinks (both with and without alcohol), perfect for your next party or gathering. All students take home a punch bowl and their very own recipes. The class is just $25 and lunch is included. Next is the “Home Bartender 101 With a Taste of Italy” class on Saturday, Aug. 20 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Hot Italian (16th and Q streets). Taught by last year’s Midtown Cocktail Week Mixology Competition champion Russell Eastman, this class will give students some insight into basic bartending skills for either entertaining guests or for concocting your ultimate home recipes with, of course, Italian influences. All students take home a special gift bag and lunch is included with the $25 ticket. The third and final offering is the “Home Bartending 102 With a Thai Twist” class on Sunday, Aug. 21 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Level Up Lounge (2326 K Street). To take this class you will need to have basic knowledge of home bartending skills and a previous class under your belt. It will be taught by a local celebrity bartender, and students will enjoy five cocktail and cuisine pairings, all the while learning about flavors and techniques involved in Thai mixology. Each student will take home a special gift bag and tickets are just $25. For $10 extra you can snag a complete home bartending kit, or if you sign up for both the Saturday and Sunday classes, the kit is free! Already a bartender? There are “Industry Only” classes for you, too! They are even free of charge, and all Sacramento-area bar staff is welcome. For more information on those, visit Midtown Cocktail Weeks’ website.
The Science of Food and Drink on Aug. 20 at Lounge on 20
This will be by far the nerdiest event during Midtown Cocktail Week, not that that’s a bad thing. Everyone’s got a little nerd in them (some more than others). On Saturday, Aug. 20 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Lounge on 20 (1050 20th Street), witness a night of science-meets-mixology. One of the hottest trends in the cocktail world at the moment is “molecular mixology” and at this event you’ll get to witness some of the mad-scientist type stuff go down right in front of your own eyes. Molecular mixology is the term applied to the process of creating cocktails using the scientific equipment and techniques of molecular gastronomy, also a popular trend in the food world. Using these methods bartenders around the world are creating greater intensities and varieties of flavors and textures and are finding different ways of presenting drinks, for example using powders, gels, foams, mists, atomized sprays, etc. Sounds cool, right? That’s because it is, so don’t miss this event. Extra credit points for those who dress in a lab coat and safety goggles (not really, but that would be pretty awesome if you did).
Who Will Be Named Midtown Cocktail Week’s Mixology Competition Champion?
One event you’ll be sure to want to attend is the Mixology Competition on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at Red Lotus (2716 J Street) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Cheer on some of your favorite bartenders from the region, including (but not limited to) Dominique Gonzales (representing Zocalo, the only female in the competition), Chris Tucker (representing Golden Bear), Josh Carlson (representing Lounge on 20), Travis Kavanaugh (representing Shady Lady) and Robbie Schmitz (representing Lucca Restaurant and Bar), as they concoct delicious and unique punch bowl style cocktails. The 10 contestants all drew out of a hat one week prior to the competition to determine what spirit they will be using in their punch bowls so they could plan out their drinks. The five top-shelf spirits they chose from included Oxley Gin, Appleton Estate Reserve Rum, Famous Grouse Scotch, Casa Noble Tequila and Buffalo Trace Bourbon. Who will win the coveted title? You’ll have to show up to find out! After the competition, follow the crowd upstairs to Blue Cue for a rocking after party featuring live entertainment and guest bartenders.
Artisan Food and Drink Pairings at The Stately State of Local Food and Drink
On Wednesday, Aug. 17, Shady Lady (1409 R Street) is hosting a late night (9 p.m. to closing) event called The Stately State of Local Food and Drink where guests will enjoy artisan food and drink pairings from Shady’s infamous bartenders and chefs. Come thirsty and hungry, leave tipsy and full.
Billy Howerdel reunites A Perfect Circle for their first full North American tour in years
It may be a bit melodramatic to call Billy Howerdel a rags to riches story, but the guitarist and primary songwriter for A Perfect Circle, and more recently frontman for Ashes Divide, has certainly led a charmed musical life. Back in the ‘90s, Howerdel was working as a guitar tech for some of your favorite bands, including Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins and Tool. His work with the latter was life-changing. After getting to know Tool’s enigmatic frontman Maynard James Keenan, the two eventually struck up a more meaningful musical partnership. Songs Howerdel had been working on spawned a sort of post-alternative supergroup–A Perfect Circle, of course–which has included members from the aforementioned bands as well as Primus’s Tim Alexander, Zwan’s Paz Lenchantin and Marilyn Manson’s Jeordie White (aka Twiggy Ramirez). Certainly, not bad company for your first serious band.
As A Perfect Circle, Howerdel and company gained nearly as many accolades as the bands its prominent members came from. The group burst on to the scene with Mer de Noms in 2000, which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard charts. Three years later, APC released another highly successful album, Thirteenth Step, which upped Mer de Noms’ ante and reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts, selling over 230,000 copies in its first week. Though it’s often used in hyperbole, the term “supergroup” seemed to be almost muted in describing APC.
After 2003, though, the well seemed to have run dry. APC released eMOTIVE, a lukewarmly received collection of anti-war song covers (including “Imagine” by John Lennon) and one new-ish song, “Passive,” which was a reworking of a song Keenan and NIN’s Trent Reznor had created for their Tapeworm side project. APC has been officially on hiatus since 2005, freeing Howerdel to release his first “solo” album under the guise of Ashes Divide in 2008 (Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright). This brief break also allowed Keenan to delve into the dark, psychosexual weirdness of his first Puscifer release, 2007’s V is for Vagina.
APC may have been on hold, but it wasn’t forgotten. Soon after Howerdel wrapped up work on Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright, his attention turned back to the group with whom he started out. After a small five-city (Seattle, Los Angeles, Los Vegas, San Francisco and Tempe, Ariz.), 14-date tour in November 2010, the band now stands ready to embark upon its first full North American tour since 2004. Beyond that, though, as Howerdel tells Submerge, APC’s future plans are still being written.
Howerdel says that the dates the band played late last year were always meant as a precursor to a larger tour, but they were also a sort of testing ground to see if the interest was still there after such an extended layoff.
“When we put the shows on sale, and they sold out immediately, we thought, ‘Hey, people haven’t forgotten who we were,’” Howerdel explains. “We needed to see how the shows went and what it felt like getting to know each other again musically, but other than that, yeah, we had the intentions of doing this.”
As the current 29 string of dates (which officially kicked off in Portland, Ore., on June 29 after they played Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio on May 22) would probably indicate, APC passed the test with flying colors. Not only were audiences receptive, but perhaps more importantly, the band members–drummer Jeff Friedl, ex-Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha and Puscifer/Ashes Divide’s bassist Matt McJunkins join Howerdel and Keenan in rounding out the current lineup–were energized by playing as APC once more.
“It was received well, but it felt great playing I think for everybody, barring having a cold the whole time,” Howerdel says. “Maynard and I were sick the whole tour. It was harder on him than me, because he had to sing, which is awful having to sing when you’re sick, but I think he did admirably.”
Still, despite the positive response, Howerdel says the band took a cautious approach when planning the current tour.
“We have to trust our booking agent and him saying touring is really grim. There are bands out there that are tried and true that are struggling to sell tickets,” he says. “We proceeded along the way accordingly. We’re doing good-sized places and not trying to get too aggressive on it. It seemed like we picked the right-sized places for the appetite that’s out there.”
Fans eager to hear their favorite APC songs will certainly be rewarded on the tour, but those hungry for more will get a small taste of what may be to come. Howerdel reports that the band plans to play at least one new song on the current string of dates.
It may not sound like much, but it’s a start. Over the past three years, Howerdel says that he also took a hiatus from writing. He explains that becoming a parent played a big part in taking a break.
“It’s a silly obstacle, but it’s the honest truth that I haven’t had a place to work that I didn’t want to run from every time I got in there,” Howerdel says. “I really need to find a spot to work, so maybe we’ll make some money this summer and I’ll get myself a studio–get myself a rehearsal studio that doesn’t have fiberglass falling from the walls.”
However, now that he’s accustomed to the routine of waking up and going to bed earlier than he’s used to, he does find he’s becoming more productive.
“I believe I get more done by getting up at the same time every morning,” Howerdel explains. “I mean, there’s something great and bohemian about, ‘Oh, it goes off when you will.’ It’s great, but there is something you fight in the beginning about having a schedule and having domestication entering your reality. You definitely can have more focus.”
Becoming a frontman for his own band also played a hand in the new material Howerdel has been working on. He says it has given him more of an appreciation for what his partner in APC Keenan has on his plate as primary vocalist. He says it made his songwriting more purpose-driven as opposed to leaving it to “the ether just thrown out and whatever happens, happens.
“In regards to singing, it gave me a newfound appreciation for what it meant to really do it,” Howerdel says. “I always sang with APC, but I always sang backup and to a lesser extent. To have that be the focus–I went from 90 percent guitar and 10 percent vocal to really 99 percent vocal and 1 percent guitar in Ashes, sort of, at least as far as how many calories I burnt worrying about each position… It’s tough work singing.”
However, increased productivity may not translate to a new APC album any time soon. Howerdel says that while he’s writing more now, most of the songs he’s working on are marked for Ashes Divide. While there’s material out there for another APC project, he’s not looking to rush it.
“Last summer, I started writing again, wrote about seven songs and gave Maynard a few to chew on,” Howerdel says. “He’s working at them at his pace. I don’t badger him on the issue. I just wait for him to present something.”
With Keenan currently in the studio working on the new Puscifer record (Conditions of My Parole, due out October 2011), APC may have to wait. This tour, however, will be sure to whet appetites for the band’s U.S. and Canadian fans. At the close of our interview, Howerdel does promise more recorded music from APC, but there’s no firm date on when it can be expected or what form it will take. As he says of the band’s hiatus and the process of recording his first album for Ashes Divide, “It always takes longer then you think it’s going to take… It’s something you can’t really plan. It’s one thing that drives people around me crazy. I don’t plan so much, because my world is about being inspired and doing things spontaneously.”
A Perfect Circle will play Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium on July 29, 2011. For more information on what APC is up to and to order tickets for the show (price of admission is $49.50), go to Aperfectcircle.com.