Words & Photos by Ellen Baker

This week has been a long, cold one for me. A week of self-inflicted crisis and lethargy—a week I’m ready to say goodbye to. The weather is no longer cozy in the mornings, nor is it daylight when I expect it to be. My mind is thrown off-kilter. I look for guidance in the outdoors only to find cold accompanying dark. It is these shifts in nature that break cycles. It is the epitome of my love for nature, but breaking cycles, whether positive, negative or neutral, can be a difficult time. And you know what a difficult, cold and dark time calls for? A movie theater. A theater production. A comedy show. Sacramento proper is home to more than 30 theaters. From the common theaters where one may find the popular “now playing” Rotten Tomato list, to B Street Theatre that hosts an array of entertainment from classic stage productions to comedy to music events. Sacramento, if you didn’t already know, is bursting with live entertainment. Take a solo night on the town, plan a date, call family, grab your friends and take your pick from one of Sacramento’s many theaters.

Although a more typical movie night out at the multiplex, Century DOCO Theater (1015 Fourth St.) now offers beer and wine as well as discount tickets on Tuesdays for $6.50. In the heart of our growing city, this is not a bad place to spend a dark and cold evening. The options are nearly endless for modern movie theaters in Sacramento. For instance, head to the West Wind Sacramento 6 Drive-In (9616 Oates Dr.) but don’t forget your hand warmers and blankets! Or, for a quieter night out, the Tower Theatre (2508 Land Park Dr.) is known for showings of independent and foreign films and is my favorite movie theater in town. Built in 1938, this neon-signed historic building began as one large auditorium showing sub-run films and later resigned the space into three theaters. This iconic Sacramento landmark is not to be missed! To immerse yourself onto a red carpet surrounded by 1920’s elegant decor, look no further than the Crest Theatre (1013 K St.). Here, one may find older movies and live entertainment, but my favorite of all is when they play the Oscar-nominated short films, typically in February. Two days of the best-of-the-best short films yet to be released to the public—what a dream!

Perhaps live theater is more your calling. B Street Theatre at The Sofia Tsakopoulos Center for the Arts, also referred to simply as The Sofia (2700 Capitol Ave.), has been at its new location for nearly two years now. With all-inclusive live entertainment of theater, speakers and music, The Sofia has a Mainstage for all, and a Family Stage for the children. As you may know, the Sacramento Community Center Theater (1301 L St.) is undergoing a $96.4 million renovation and is currently closed during construction. This venue is perhaps my favorite in Sacramento for ballet and Broadway shows. It is scheduled to reopen in Fall 2020. I highly suggest finding tickets for opening week!

For a night of laughter, stop by Sacramento Comedy Spot (1050 20th Street, #130) for improv and stand-up shows. It’s a small location nestled close to Block Butcher Bar and LowBrau, making it a perfect nightcap after a charcuterie board and drink. The Comedy Spot is also home to Northern California’s largest comedy school with eight-week sessions, individual workshops and classes for kids. Punch Line Sacramento (2100 Arden Way) is arguably the city’s number one stand-up comedy spot. With big names and a full bar, grab your tickets and seats early. Last but not least, at Laughs Unlimited (1207 Front St.) you will find a mix of stand-up and live music. Located in Old Sacramento, Laughs Unlimited is steps away from restaurants and bars, yet provides their own full kitchen and bar as well.

These nine entertainment vessels are a select few of the many that Sacramento has to offer with variance in entertainment ranging across the board. Check out The Guild, Capital Stage, Ooley Theater, New Helvetia Theatre, California Stage Co.—even Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar on 16th Street hosts live music, open mic comedy nights, poetry and more. Our city is bustling with live entertainment, so in these coming weeks of cold dark afternoons, take a step into another world, at least for a couple hours.

**This piece first appeared in print on page 9 of issue #306 (Dec. 4 – 18, 2019)**

    Ellen Baker

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    Rock scrambling, exploring and taking photos along the way.