Unrefined Salt vs. Table Salt

Unrefined Salt vs. Table Salt


By Mallory Nowak, NTP

Salt: a seemingly simple ingredient with bold flavor and an infamous reputation.

Salt was deemed an ingredient of concern when hypertension and heart disease became the widespread health crises they are today. But human consumption of unrefined salt can be traced back thousands of years, some evidence indicating as early as 6,000 BC. 

Key words in the above paragraph? Unrefined salt. A naturally-occurring, unprocessed food ingredient. One could even go so far as to say a beneficial food ingredient thanks to the broad spectrum of up to 84 trace minerals contained in unrefined salts. It is these trace minerals that lend to the beautiful hue of pink, grey, blue or black found in various unrefined salts. Himalayan, Celtic and Redmond’s Real Salt are all popular options.

The snow-white, free-flowing table salt that fills nearly all salt shakers across the US is vastly different from the unrefined salt our ancestors ate. The processing of table salt strips it of its many beneficial minerals, leaving consumers with isolated sodium chloride. The final product is nutrient-depleted and white in color. To add insult to injury, table salt is often laced with anti-caking agents. This type of salt has become an insidious staple in the Standard American Diet, found in the vast majority of home kitchens, restaurants and, of course, processed foods.


Why is the removal of trace minerals from salt so alarming? Minerals have synergistic and antagonistic relationships amongst one another in our bodies, making ratios important. When one mineral is isolated (sodium, in this case), an imbalance is created. Sodium and potassium have an important partnership in regulating blood pressure via the sodium-potassium pump, but this process is hindered when we remove the potassium from salt.

Furthermore, guess what electrolytes are...? Minerals! Muscle cramps and spasms, anyone? Heart arrhythmias? Dehydration or thirst unresponsive to increased water intake? These are often symptoms of an electrolyte deficiency—in fact, electrolytes are required for proper cell hydration. One remedy is to add a pinch of unrefined salt to drinking water; this replenishes minerals that have been removed during water’s purification process.

One caveat? I would be doing a disservice not to mention the importance of iodine in the human diet. In order to address widespread iodine deficiencies due to iodine-depleted soils, the US government began fortifying table salt with iodine in 1924. While this has effectively reduced the prevalence of goiter and other symptoms of iodine deficiency, there are certainly more nutritive ways one can meet their needs for iodine (given they do not have an autoimmune thyroid condition). Regular consumption of sea vegetables and/or supplementation are two such options I would recommend over iodized table salt. As always, discuss dietary changes and the addition of supplements with your doctor.

You can purchase unrefined salt locally (sometimes even in the bulk department!) at the following locations:

  • Market 515

  • The Allspicery

  • The Sacramento Foods Co-Op

  • Taylor’s Market

  • Elliott’s Natural Foods

  • Nugget Market

  • Compton’s

  • Corti Bros

  • Sprouts

Mallory Nowak, NTP (916) 562-2990  mnowak@nurturethat.com | https://nurturethat.com

Mallory Nowak, NTP
(916) 562-2990
mnowak@nurturethat.com | https://nurturethat.com

The Fourth Wall!

The Fourth Wall!

By: Katie Rubin

Thanks so much to our generous sponsor LRG Lending for making this article possible!!

Brian Crall runs the Comedy Spot in the Mars Building in Midtown, but he is not your average Comedy Club Owner/Manager/Performer.  In an industry that is usually driven by alcohol sales, hierarchical cool-guy behavior, and exclusivity, Brian Crall is all about inclusivity.  Well, that and making excellent comedy shows.

“Our mission,” Brian tells me “is to give comedians a place to learn, experiment, fail, and thrive.  Our mission is NOT ‘just let white dudes with beards be in charge of everything, say crude shit all the time, and be mysoginist onstage.’  Our attitude is ‘if you come to our space, we want you to see yourself represented here. So it’s important to me that we are always doing things that open the doors for everyone to be a part of our community.”  

A comedy guy who CARES?!  What’s happening here?

Brian was paying the rent for The Comedy’ Spot’s first space, from his own wallet, back between 2001 and 2005, using the tips he made as an airport skycap.  (Note: those guys don’t make a lot in tips). And he was doing that with three kids to raise!

Brian Crall shares a laugh centerstage at The Comedy Spot.

Brian Crall shares a laugh centerstage at The Comedy Spot.

Their space was tiny, (just 20 seats), but they felt good because they were developing their craft, and growing their audience.  Plus, Brian always had faith in his vision for what he knew the Comedy Spot could be.  “I knew if I could just get us through that hard time, we’d eventually start making money.”

“Everything in my life happens by chance.”  Brian tells me.

“Chance?” I wonder silently to myself.  “Or super positive karma cuz you’re actually quite a rad dude?”

“When we needed 10k to buy our first tiny space, I randomly mentioned that fact to my landlord at my apartment building at the time and he said ‘Oh, yeah.  I’ll back you. So we got the money. Which was like… WHAT?!”

“A few years later, in 2009,” Brian says, “one of the comedians working with us knew Edie Lambert from KCRA, and invited her to a show.  She came and really enjoyed herself, so we ended up going to Tower Cafe for dessert afterwards.  She said ‘I have a friend who has a space in mid-town and they might be interested in having you guys there.  This was during the recession, so they gave us a one year lease and a really good rate. I’m sure they were thinking ‘The economy will come back and then we can get rid of these guys because they probably won’t be able to afford this anyway.’  But, gratefully, November will be our 10 year anniversary in the Mars Building. So. That’s pretty awesome.”

The Comedy Spot is located at 1050 20th Street, Suite 130 in Sacramento, CA!!

The Comedy Spot is located at 1050 20th Street, Suite 130 in Sacramento, CA!!

Pretty awesome indeed.  Also awesome was the quality of the work that was happening (and continues to happen) at the Spot.  The shows were solid, word of mouth began to spread, their classes grew in size, and eventually they got their liquor license.  

“Because the space was created to get away from the worst parts of bars,” Brian tells me, “I didn’t want it to be a comedy club that existed just to sell drinks.  I also didn’t want the shows getting interrupted by drink service. I wanted the quality of the work to stay high. But, the liquor license really did help us out financially, so we decided to do it our own way.  No drinks are served during our shows, but you can buy beer before and after. And people seem to really dig that.”


I tell Brian that it seems like he really cares about all the important stuff that really matters.  And he’s honest with me.

“The truth is, the point for us was we always want to support comedians.  We want comedians to get paid.  So, what started off as a way to get our own space, really sort of accidentally became a community.  Somewhere along the line, we all sort of realized that we’re all a bunch of misfit toys, and we’re all in this together, you know?  And so I try to make sure that we are not a place where people are just out to get theirs.  But more like we’re all there to be a community and we all take care of each other.”

I’m interviewing Brian from the Dallas airport and I tell him “Dude.  You’re gonna make me cry at this Panda Express right now.”

He laughs.  Then he continues to elicit fluids from my eye holes.  


“I tried, for a while,” Brian says, “to get investors, but people literally laughed at me.  And I understood. I mean, it’s not a traditional business, that’s for sure. So, eventually, we formed a non-profit and I just donated the Comedy Spot to the non-profit.

“The coolest thing is, the more involved we’ve gotten with developing our board, the more involved in the community we’ve gotten.  Like, we started a kids improv program: theimprovkids.com.  We do drop in classes for that now.  And we’re working with this charity called “The Center.”  With them, we are gonna do after-school programs, and school assemblies that deal with being confident, and empowering creativity in kids and cool stuff like that.”

We also have this great program called Fundraisers for Charities.  We curate all the acts, so all the charity has to do is sell tickets to a comedy show.  We’ve worked with Heroic Girls, the LGBTQ, Rainbow Fest, Women’s Empowerment, Weave, and a bunch of others.  It’s really cool.

“Do you know how amazing it is for me, a female comedian, to hear how much you guys care about people and the planet and giving back?” I ask Brian.


“Here’s the thing…” he pauses to gather his thoughts.  “Like, we’re not good at feeding the homeless. We’re good at comedy shows.  So, we’re just using what we’re good at to benefit our community. We’re know we’re probably not gonna save the world with jokes, but we’re trying to really help people out doing what we do best, you know?”

I do know, bro.  I do know. “How did you get to have such healthy and generous priorities,” I ask Brian.  “It usually takes folks a while to learn that in life.”

“I had a really awesome Mom, you know?”

“Jesus, dude.” I think.  “Now you’re praising your MOM?!  ARE you Jesus?”

“And I seriously think she would probably punch me if I did anything to anyone.  So, I can’t mess around.”

He laughs.  I laugh. “That’s awesome,” I say.  

improv 101.jpg

“Honestly, though, and I mean this very much for real: This place would not exist if it wasn’t for everybody who currently performs there, and people who have performed there in the past, but have now gone on to LA, and people who were there for a while and don’t want to do comedy any more, everyone, I mean…  The Comedy Spot is a huge group effort- and if we didn’t have employees, theater assistants, bartenders, volunteers, interns, then none of this could work.  I’m very aware that this is not a one man show. It’s just a group of awesome people all working together to make awesome comedy.”

I tell Brian I have to go because my plane is boarding and he’s probably gotta go do more amazing, life-giving, heart-opening, community-building, wonderment-creating things.

He laughs.  I laugh.

And for a little while, I feel really good about human beings, and the kindness and joy we have the capacity to create.  

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Jason Mata: The Long and the Short of It!

Written by Katie Rubin

Jason Mata is one of those people you just wanna hang out and have a beer with.  

He’s one of those guys who you hope will invite you out, to hang at his favorite local bar, where you’ll meet all his other genial, kind-hearted, bad ass, probably-very-tall-cuz-he-is-and-tall-people-hang-out-together, great at their jobs, friends.  

He’s a good guy, you know?  He smiles often, and when he does, you feel like he means it.  Like it’s easy for him to do.  Like it’s coming directly from his heart.  Like he doesn’t have to try to “be nice.”  Like he actually, kind of just…  is.

And what a treat to meet that kind of guy in the finance world where time spent in an office can often be experienced as a kind of two-dimensional, heartless, money-grabbing exchange: “You give me money.  Me help you buy house. You leave office. Me drive nice car now.”

Not with Jason Mata.  In this guy’s hands, after 30 seconds, I feel like I’m family.  Like, but for real.

What is Mortgage Banking?” I ask him, profoundly ignorant, and not afraid to admit it.  

“So, in this business, there are three ways to pursue funding for home-buying:  Mortgage Brokers, Retail Banks, and Mortgage Bankers. Brokers are the go-between guys who connect people with sources of funding.  Banks are banks. And, then there’s us. We function more like a bank, providing the funding ourselves.”

“Ahh, gotcha,” I say.  “So, why come to a Mortgage Banker rather than going to a bank,” I ask.

We sat down with Jason at his office in downtown Sacramento.

We sat down with Jason at his office in downtown Sacramento.

“Well, not to knock banks, banks are great, and we need them to keep our economy healthy.  But, in the case of a bank, their aim is to keep you on board so they can sell you more and more products.  We just do one thing. Help people find and buy the home of their dreams. We have no other interests, no additional products to sell.  And that really frees us up to take time with each client.”

I ask Jason what he thinks the key to his company’s success has been.

“You know, I actually care about the experience people have with us.  It’s not just a transaction to me. It’s a relationship. Clients I’ve helped for 10 or 12 years are still clients today.  When you’re a client of ours, you’re a client for life.”

I ask what got him into the Mortgage Banking game to begin with and he says: “I love the connections.  I love hanging out with people. This doesn’t feel like a job to me.  Don’t get me wrong, people are entrusting me with the biggest investment they’re probably ever going to make, so it’s a big deal.  And I deeply understand that. But in the doing of it, it’s like I’m just here to take care of you and connect with you.  And that’s just fun for me.”

“I always tell my team,” Jason continues: “We’re more than an interest rate.  We don’t want to be commoditized. For us, it’s a very high touch experience. We want our client to feel like they have a team that is there to support them through literally every step of their home buying process.”

Don’t you just wanna have a sandwich with this guy?  And watch the game, or something?  I don’t even watch games, and I wanna watch a game with Jason Mata!

In the 30 minutes I spend with Jason, he also manages to offer me some juicy, insider, home-buying tips.  “Our business model,” he tells me, “is providing education for buyers. Like, for example, a lot of first-time home buyers still think they have to save 20% to put down on a house, but that isn’t true.”

“It’s NOT?!”, I almost shout.

“No.  California has a lot of great systems put in place to help the first-time home buyer.  FHA loans only require 3.5 percent down and Conventional loans require 3%, but with state assistance programs through CalHFA - sometimes you can put just down 2-3 thousand dollars.  They require you to have 640 credit score, and that you be first-time buyer, but that’s it.”

“WHAT?!”  Now I’m definitely yelling.

“Yeah.  And when we meet with people whose credit score is maybe not perfect, we’re never of the mindset that we can’t help you.  Instead, we want to teach you the steps to take to fix your credit score. So, with us, it’s not ‘No, never.’ It’s sometimes just ‘Let’s check back in in 6 months when you’ve had time to take those steps.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m blown away over here.  I’ve managed to stop shouting, but I’m still seriously blown away because I, myself, thought until this very moment, that I’d have to save 20% to buy a house.  

Then Jason does what Jason does.  He destroys my brain even further.  

“Yeah,” he beams.  “And, if you have like a 720 credit score, we may be able to coach you on how to get to a 760 credit score, which would then save you hundreds of dollars on interest or mortgage insurance.”

Needless to say, I signed up for one of Jason’s Homebuyer Workshops.  Immediately.

I’ll be taking it next month.  His classes are an hour long, and are designed to teach folks everything we need to know about every step of the home-buying process, from day one (where I am) when we’re sorting through those first bits of home-buying info, just trying to understand how it all works, to that glorious day when we pick up the keys to our brand new homes!


So, if you’re not heading to any of the awesome local spots Jason Mata frequents (Kings Games, The Bark Park in mid-town where his golden-doodle is apparently aggressively friendly, or any number of basketball courts where he’s wowing a bunch of dudes 15 years his junior with his ability to run some SOLID game) find him on CalHFA’s Website under their Lending Heroes where he’s been awarded as one of the top Mortgage Bankers in the state.

Or heck.  Just email the guy.  He’s happy, hilarious and ready for a chill hang.  With you.  At his office downtown, where you can look out the window and see, well, everything.  

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Jason Mata I Branch Manager

NMLS: 273080 I NMLS: 1850

office 800.455.0986 I cell 916.798.4733 I fax 855.631.0396

Jason.Mata@apmortgage.com | JasonMata.com

980 9th St. Suite 1780, Sacramento, CA 95814

Apply Online: Click Here! I Read My Reviews: Click Here!

Small Town (Girl) Grows Up

Small Town (Girl) Grows Up

Small Town (Girl) Grows Up

Written by Katie Rubin

Community.  Family. And Small-Town Love.  That’s what Andrea Crettol’s childhood was all about. Community. Family. And Significantly Larger-Town Love.  That’s what Andrea’s adulthood seems to be teeming with.

She’s a native Sacramentan and is as in love with our fair city as she has ever been.  Listening to Andrea talk about her childhood feels like stepping into a movie about idyllic, small-town living.  I am comforted and soothed just hearing her stories.

Andrea spent the majority of her Sacramento upbringing, visiting Vic’s Ice Cream after gymnastics class at Byers Gymnastics in Land Park. “We just loved Vic’s so much- it was just this very unique, 60’s style Diner, with the black and white wall paper, and a super cute vibe.  When you walk to the restroom area, you get to pass where they make the ice cream, so you know, as kids, that was just so cool to us. It just felt like a very special place.”


Gymnastics Class and time with the family at Vic’s was complemented by weekends at the River, hanging with friends, rafting, and just enjoying the Sacramento sun.  

Keeping matters close to the family, and as sweet as Vic’s Butter Brittle Ice Cream, Andrea’s sister eventually wound up buying their childhood Gymnastics Gym, and renaming it Planet Gymnastics, so that her kids could have the same kind of sweet, close to home, wholesome fun that she and her sister had when they were kids.


There was a moment in Andrea’s Young Adult “City of Trees” Life when she and her boyfriend Joel thought they might leave the Farm-to-Fork Capital of California.  “We felt for a while that there really wasn’t much to do in Sacramento, and we were looking for something a little more dynamic and exciting. Then, right when we were about to move, we started to notice a lot of new Mom and Pop restaurants popping up, and music and art events starting to happen in mid-town, so we decided to stay and see what would happen, and we’re just so happy we did.”

Joel and Andrea met through Andrea’s sister, who worked with Joel at Elephant Bar.  A few years after their first, brief meeting, they ran into one another, exchanged numbers and the rest is history.  They’ve been together 8 years now.

Joel and Andrea, both big foodies, now enjoy exploring all that the mid-town cuisine scene has to offer, and taking their two dogs, Layla Rose and Venture, to a wide variety of Sacramento dog parks.  Partner Park Dog Park is Andrea’s favorite because of how big it is, and for the fact that there are two sections of the park, allowing dogs to play in two distinct environments. “Our dogs have it good,”Andrea tells me, chuckling at the sweetly idyllic life even her dogs are getting to live.


When I ask Andrea what she would like people to know about Sacramento that they might not yet be aware of, she tells me about The Art Mix, an event which I, myself, had never previously heard of.  It happens once a month at The Crocker Art Museum and is apparently quite a blow-out, fun-time, not-to-be-missed, grown up style, party. Performers perform, Painters paint, DJ’s spin, Burlesque Dancers dance, and patrons often attend in costume.  

“One time,” Andrea tells me, “the theme was ‘Glow’ so my friends and I all wore neon colors, enjoyed the different bars at the event (there are usually at least two), and just had a super fun time all night.  It’s really my girlfriends and my favorite way to just get together and have a really good time, catching up with one another and letting loose.”

During the day, Andrea works for New York Life, a company she adores and that provides her the stability and sense of “giving back” she so desired to find in a workplace.  

Reach out to Andrea on  LinkedIn  or  Facebook ! Or via email: acrettol@ft.newyorklife.com

Reach out to Andrea on LinkedIn or Facebook! Or via email: acrettol@ft.newyorklife.com

New York Life is all about helping people figure out how to meet their financial goals.  We take people from what they dream about having, to a living action plan that allows them to enjoy living in the moment, knowing they are taken care of by the company.”  

Andrea lights up when she talks about her job.  “New York Life is all about giving back to the community and educating people of all financial levels about how to get financially empowered.  We go into all different kinds of communities in Sacramento and offer financial advice that is truly for everyone.  I honestly just love working for this company.  I couldn’t be happier.”

Dog Parks.  Fun Times. Excellent Food.  Community Spirit. Familial Love.  And Work That Inspires… Hmmm… Andrea’s life in Sacramento makes one wonder:  Maybe it’s time we invest in keeping Sacramento’s brilliance a wee bit hidden, lest the rest of the world discover just how awesome we truly are, and lest those dogs parks start resembling Bay Area traffic—which so many come here to escape.   :)

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Philosophies of a Local, Holistic Nutritionist

Philosophies of a Local, Holistic Nutritionist

Philosophies of a Local, Holistic Nutritionist

By Mallory Nowak, NTP

People often ask what I eat. Am I vegetarian? Vegan? Paleo? Do I subscribe to the keto craze? My response: “I eat real food.”

I realized pretty early-on that people usually assume I’m joking. “...as opposed to fake food?” they often chuckle. To answer their question, yes: my primary emphasis is on real, unadulterated food. My overarching philosophy on nutrition is that all animals (including humans) should adhere to their native diets. Seems intuitive enough, right? Most of my personal philosophies on nutrition and wellness are!

Luckily for us, living in the farm-to-fork capital makes clean eating an easy feat. From an agricultural perspective, the Central Valley of California is one of the most abundant regions in the world. Sacramento’s collective of local grocers (I love me some Corti Brothers!), real-deal butchers (Taylor’s Market, anyone?), slow foods restaurants (hi, Magpie!) and daily farmer’s markets make for quite the bountiful food scene. It’s easily my favorite attribute of the area.

We have a lot of responsibility surrounding our food choices. The creation of all food (whether plant- or animal-based) requires sacrifice; it requires the use of resources. Food waste and food packaging are important concerns and we ought to give them the recognition they deserve. Fostering creativity in the kitchen and finding ways to utilize food in its entirety are ways to prevent unnecessary food waste. In addition to sporting reusable shopping bags, we can opt out of foods with excessive packaging (including pre-packaged produce) to lessen our burden on the environment.

And then I have some rather unconventional philosophies: my stances on sun exposure, dietary cholesterol, salt and saturated fat all come to mind instantaneously (we’ll save those for a future discussion). I believe gut health is of utmost importance and water is under-rated. I believe ‘health’ embodies so much more than the absence of disease and I believe in taking a functional approach, always yearning to address the root cause of health issues as opposed to symptom suppression.

Broadly, I believe our bodies have the innate ability to self-heal when given the raw materials to do so. I look forward to sharing time-honored nutritional wisdom, local resources and earth-loving tips with the Sacramento community!

Mallory Nowak, NTP

Mallory Nowak, NTP


Jose Di Gregorio: Optimism with Angles

Jose Di Gregorio: Optimism with Angles

by Katie Rubin | Photos courtesy of josedigregorio.com

This Article Proudly Presented by LRG Lending

The spiritual teachers of the world tell those of us who are seeking a deep spiritual connection that we must be so deeply immersed in the practices of knowing The Divine, that in so doing, we become walking embodiments of it. At that point, they say, we will vibrate at its frequency and, as a result, become walking gifts. We will, at that stage, begin to touch, move and inspire everyone we meet without even trying to do so.

When I recently spoke with Multi-Media Artist Jose Di Gregorio, the first thing I told him was that his work evoked this divine energy for me. Immediately. That the geometric perfection of his images reminds me distinctly of some of the world’s well-known “spiritual” images: The Flower of Life, Fractals, Mandalas, and The Seven Chakras of the human energy field come to mind when I look at Jose’s work.

Divine Interventions  Mexico City, Mexico

Divine Interventions Mexico City, Mexico

“You know, for me,” Jose responded “aesthetic considerations in the work come first, and any sort of conceptual notion about the work comes in after the fact. I don’t put any sort of concepts on the work. But people say exactly what you’re saying all the time. I mean, it comes up a LOT.”

To purchase artwork, visit  www.josedigregorio.com/purchase

To purchase artwork, visit www.josedigregorio.com/purchase

Di Gregorio works in his studio at the Warehouse Artist Lofts

Di Gregorio works in his studio at the Warehouse Artist Lofts

I remind Jose of what I’m sure he already knows; “Artists who are making work like yours are frequently doing so as a way to ask questions about the nature of being and existence. Are you doing that at all?” I ask.

“You know…” he responds, vulnerably and with total transparency. “I’m really just a maker. I just make things.”

What simplicity. What clarity. What humility, I think. He sounds so… Spiritual.


It’s just “a part of me now,” Jose says. “I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy some commercial success with the work which has allowed me to sustain my livelihood. Gratefully. So gratefully. But, it’s all kind of interwoven now. The livelihood, and the art-making. I just do this. I would do it regardless.”

I wonder internally how he got to this point. As if on cue, Jose offers:

“I mean, it didn’t start this way.”


How It All Began

“I was living in Santa Cruz, and was sort of directionless in my 20’s. My parent are immigrants who worked factory jobs. So, I was just asking the question ‘How do you even get by, you know? Like, how do you have any sort of mobility at all?’

“Fortunately or unfortunately, I suffered a leg injury, and was laid up for a few months, and started to write poems and take pictures, really just to pass the time. And I liked doing it enough that it sort of planted a seed of productivity. I started to wonder ‘How do I turn this into something? How do I make this my life?’

“So I started to draw images that were based on the photos. And eventually there was this sense of, like, alchemy, you know? Like, I made this thing. From nothing, you know? And that felt great.”

“At a certain point,” Jose tells me “I landed in Indianapolis, of all places, and was encouraged by my girlfriend at the time to apply to art school. People would see my work and say ‘Wow, this is pretty cool stuff, there are a lot of scholarships here that could help you.’ And I just thought, you know, ‘there’s no way any college will ever accept me because my transcripts are so poor.’

So, I really couldn’t believe it when I got into this 4 year university- because I was such a bad student.”

As Jose talks, I can’t help but be reminded of another common spiritual teaching I’ve run into over the years. The 12 Step people are known to say “Just show up for what’s in front of you, and the rest will work itself out.”

Jose, by virtue of his organically “surrendered to the flow” nature, stumbles into a 4 year eduction, a full-ride scholarship, and the beginnings of life as a working artist. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty “spiritual” to me.

I mention this to Jose.

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“You know,” I say. “Some of the most grounded, evolved, generous people I’ve ever met call themselves atheists. And some of the most self-righteous, fearful, controlling d-bags I’ve known claim to be quite spiritual.”

“What do you mean?” Jose asks.

“Well,” I tell him, “you sound like the guy who should be teaching the class on how to ‘let go’ and ‘calm down’ cuz you actually DO that. You ARE that. Meanwhile, all the spiritual people are out here freaking out, wearing white robes, and working real hard to ‘know God perfectly.’

Jose laughs a little, in that understated, enlightened Buddhist/non-Buddhist way of his. (Jose is not a Buddhist, he just freaking seems like one to me.)

“A lot of people might say that me just drawing these straight lines over and over is redundant, but for me it’s as close to anything spiritual as I get, I guess. It’s meditative. It has a calming effect, you know? And, lucky for me, people buy the thing I make through engaging in that process.”

“So, lemme get this straight,” I interrupt. “You spend all day engaging in a meditative, calming practice that makes you feel good, and that results in the creation of objects that touch, move and inspire people so deeply that they happily pay you to do so. Is that about right?”

“Well. I hope so,” he says. “I’m just… motivated to keep challenging myself and grateful for any and every opportunity to keep doing so. And I just hope that it inspires people, you know?”

I do know, my unwitting spiritual teacher. I do know.


You can see José’s work at The Wal Artists Lofts, on walls and murals all over the world (check out 701 S St. here in Sacramento for starters), and at his website: www.josedigregorio.com

And don’t forget to follow him on Facebook and Instagram! @josedigregorioart

A Change of Place... A Change of Pace

A Change of Place... A Change of Pace

Michael Glascock and I were friends in high school and I called him one day to talk because so many of you have been looking into moving here. After 19 years helping people finance homes here in Idaho I feel like I have something to say about the community where I now raise my family.

“ You mean Iowa?” Friends often joke with me. No friends, I don’t mean Iowa, I mean Idaho, next door to Nevada, Oregon, Washington and just a quick drive home if you’re NorCal. If you’re in SoCal - it’s just an hour by plane.

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Nothing beats raising your own family in a place that reminds you of home. You want to recreate your childhood memories with your own children. Eagle, Idaho does that perfectly for me. Growing up in the greater Sacramento area then later Carmichael I remember the tight knit community I was a part of. I knew my neighbors, walked to school and came home before it got dark. There’s not many places where that’s still the norm but I found one! Most of my neighbors are from Cali like me, looking for wide open spaces for kids to ride bikes and play with other kids in the neighborhood. But there are other similarities too. Love Tahoe? Bogus Basin Ski Resort is an hour drive. Further up the mountain you pass great river rafting and the gorgeous community of McCall offering world class 4 season resorts, golfing, hiking, zip-lining, fishing, snow-mobiling and more. There are also amazing restaurants, fun nightlife and an annual winter carnival complete with ice sculpting competition that will amaze children and adults alike. Truth be told there’s no ocean, which is heartbreaking, but there are beautiful lakes, rivers, sand dunes and plenty to satisfy the most advanced outdoor enthusiast. Most importantly the escape from traffic! Come for the weekend and check it out, you won’t want to go home— you’ll want to make it your new home.

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Cheri Ure | Loan Officer | NMLS #50579

3363 E Presidential Dr., Ste. 200

Meridian, ID  83642
208 794 0533 Cell | 208 912 0441  Office


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This Is What One Man Can Do

This Is What One Man Can Do

By Katie Rubin | Proudly Sponsored by LRG Lending

“I’m breaking hearts every day.”  That’s what James Kinloch tells me during the first 30 seconds of our first phone conversation.

It’s a Wednesday morning.  I’m in my car, outside a Walgreens, talking with James on the phone.

“Listen,” he goes on.  “Every time someone writes an article about the Lofts, I have to break more hearts.  I’m breaking hearts every day. We don’t have any space. So when someone writes something about how cool WAL (The Warehouse Artist Lofts on R Street in mid-town Sacramento) is, I get 50 phone calls from 50 new people I have to disappoint.”

“That sounds rough,” I tell him.  

Then an idea dawns.  “Maybe this is our story,” I propose.  “Maybe this article is a story about how badly the Sacramento area needs more affordable housing.”  

“Well.  Now you’re talking.”  James says. His voice softens, my heart opens.  James and I feel connected now. We are a united front.  We can both feel that this is one of those magic moments where doing the thing you love (writing, for me, running WAL for James) suddenly reveals itself as a possible way to contribute to the greater good.  

Michael L Malinowski and his architecture firm Applied Architecture were the design team behind the project: http://www.appliedarts.net/

Michael L Malinowski and his architecture firm Applied Architecture were the design team behind the project: http://www.appliedarts.net/

“I love this place,” James says  “I just wish I didn’t have to turn so many good people away.”   

During our conversation, James reveals some very useful and surprising information.  He explains to me how Section 42 Housing (approved by the state affordable housing commission) works (it’s complicated).  He also explains what it actually takes for affordable housing to get built (a LOT). And, he explains how WAL on R Street, and the soon to be built new artist community in Truckee, would not exist without the incredible efforts of one amazing young man, Ali Youssefi, who didn’t have to build WAL, but did.  Because he cared.

James fills me in on how projects like this happen.

In order for affordable housing to get built, developers have to choose, they have to elect, of their own free will, to invest their money (you know, that green stuff that most of us hold on to so tightly), into a project that will.  not. make them. any. money. in return.

Buildings of this sort, once approved by the state, (through a lengthy, often years-long paperwork-laden process) do yield their investors a tax credit once built, which doesn’t hurt, but again, it also doesn’t make them any richer, that’s for sure.  

James continues, insisting I know more about Ali Youssefi, the man responsible for doing this particular form of good, just because he wanted to.  

Photo courtesy of: https://truckeerailyard.com/updates/

Photo courtesy of: https://truckeerailyard.com/updates/

“Ali grew up here in Sacramento, with well-educated, very loving parents.  He went away to a great school, came back to Sacramento, and could have done anything at all with his education and influence.  But a lot of his friends were artists, and through them, he fell deeply in love with the arts. He saw how much his gifted, artistic friends were struggling and how hard their lives were.  So, he decided to build WAL. To help his friends, and to support the arts in Sacramento.”

“He didn’t have to do that, you know?”  James asks.

I do know.  I am amazed.  And eager to meet this Ali Youssefi.  “What a gem of a person,” I think to myself.  “I’ll have to ask James for his email later so I can speak with him directly.”

“He always went above and beyond, too.” James tells me.  “If you see the apartments at WAL, they’re gorgeous: brushed stainless steel appliances, quality materials, the finer things.  He used to say ‘Why should people not have nice things just because they’re not well-off?’”

Then came another surprising turn in my conversation with James.  

Photo courtesy of: http://www.cadanet.org/projects/thewal

Photo courtesy of: http://www.cadanet.org/projects/thewal

“I’m sorry,” he begins, his voice cracking.  “I get a little choked up talking about this…  Because… We lost Ali this year.”

“Lost him?  What do you mean?”  I don’t understand.

“He passed.”  James tells me.

“What?  How old was he?”  

“35.  He had stomach cancer.  He threw everything he had at it to try to beat it, but…”

I can’t internalize what James has just said.  

The good guy?  The 35 year-old good guy?  Who spent his money helping other people?  That guy… Died?

“His passing is a huge loss for our community, and I can tell you, as a somewhat older person now,” James insists on trudging forward.  His love for Ali is driving him now. “-that communities like WAL are few and far between these days. I’ve watched our culture change over the years.  I’ve seen it happen. WAL is a truly tight community that has been fed and flourished. There aren’t a lot of those now, you know what I mean?”

Again, I do.

“I mean, it sounds cheesy,” James laughs, “but one night recently, I ran out of soy sauce, posted that on the WAL Community Facebook page, and within 10 minutes someone was at my door with soy sauce.  That’s what happens when you get a bunch of like-minded people together.”

“The problem is,” James continues, “I have 11 apartments at one of the qualifying income levels, and a 70-80 person wait list built up for those 11 spots.”  

“The heartbreak comes when it’s one of two things for me:” James says  “1. Domestic abuse sufferers show up and they’re trying to survive or get out of danger and I have to turn them away, and there’s nothing I can do.  And, 2. the artist that is so beyond talented, and so clearly in need of the kind of support we can offer them here at WAL, a community of creative people, who I have to turn away- like recently, I had to turn away a young, very feminine man who is clearly coming from a home he has to GET OUT of, and this would be the perfect place for him to live, to not only find that support, but to also find that commonality with people who are like minded.  And I couldn’t take him. That’s the heart break for me and it happens all the time. Because there is such a major need for this- for truly affordable housing- in Sacramento. Everywhere, really.”

“And it’s becoming harder and harder.”  James explains. “The bottleneck is becoming bigger and bigger.  And, recently, the current administration has made it less appealing for people to invest in tax credit housing.  So…”

“Wow…” I say.  I don’t know what else to say.

“Yeah.”  He says. Neither does he.

“Ali died on March 10th of this year.  This guy was a huge friend of the mayor.  A co-owner of the Kings. And a philanthropist, you know?  He was amazingly generous. He didn’t have to do this. He could have done anything.  But he chose to do this…”

“The good news, I guess, is we are moving forward with his projects:  17th and S just got financially funded through the state, we have 3 more projects with his signature on them, and we are determined to make those happen.”   

James takes a breath.  Gathers himself. And says. “This is what one man can do.”

“Right,” I say.  “Right.”

For more info visit: www.rstreetwal.com Video by Nicholas Wray: www.nicholaswray.com Music by James Cavern: www.jamescavern.com

LRG Lending


LRG Lending is a trusted mortgage company committed to exceptional service, pricing, and communication. At LRG Lending, the genuine care and well-being of our clients is our highest mission. We are driven to provide exceptional personal service for our clients who will always enjoy a warm, professional, and seamless experience. Our team is dedicated to building strong and honest client relationships through Loyalty, Respect and Gratitude. We look forward to assisting our clients with one of the biggest decisions of their life, home ownership.


The Side Door @ The Fifth String


The Side Door @ The Fifth String

By Randy Rodda | Photos by Beau Manley

John Green likes to think of his new 140-seat concert hall at 2900 Franklin Blvd. in Curtis Park as his very own Branson, Mo., showplace.

Since late April, this venue --  dubbed The Side Door @ The Fifth String -- has been the setting for semi-regular gigs featuring top-notch local, national and international musicians. Green’s so-called “listening room” resonates unencumbered amid intoxicating sounds of bluegrass, folk, country, rock and more. 

Got a spare $20? Treat yourself to a solid three hours of sweet sounds free of the clatter, clank and chatter  of bar venues. 

The Side Door -- a  cheeky reference to the Fourth Avenue entrance to the concert hall -- came about quite unexpectedly. 

Green, a fifth-generation Sacramento resident with considerable guitar chops as a performer and teacher, is the owner of The Fifth String, longtime guitar store/music studio that ended its retail operations with the sudden decline of brick-and-mortar, then moved last October from N Street in the Alhambra Boulevard  business corridor to the less congested spot on Franklin, a Spanish-design building that was a Safeway back before rock-and-roll hit the scene.  

 This latest version of the business  was initially set up as the Fifth String School of Music  -- focusing solely on guitar, dobro, violin, mandolin, ukulele and voice instruction to young and old. 

The home of The Side Door @ The Fifth String has served a variety of purposes over the years, including a Safeway store way back in the 20th century.

The home of The Side Door @ The Fifth String has served a variety of purposes over the years, including a Safeway store way back in the 20th century.

But shortly after the move, a spacious artists  space just a partition away at the same address became available to lease.  Green seized on the opportunity and the newly named  studio underwent yet another name change --  becoming  The Side Door @ The Fifth String.

It took months of toil  and skinned knuckles before Green’s vision became reality. 

 “There was a lot of work that went into all of this,” said Green, who works the showtime room as both ambassador of good will  and emcee. 

Converting the art space to a concert hall was a labor of love, in-kind labor, technical knowhow and donations, involving students, ex-students and longtime friends. The revamp features new carpeting,  a stage and lighting, state-of-the art  sound equipment, a new bathroom, and the addition of 140 seats.  And yes, the namesake side door  had to be jerry-rigged to open in the proper direction. 

 But fans  and musicians  are  smitten with the subdued ambience of this showplace -- a huge nod to the overriding importance of the music filling the room with ample character and clarity. 

Rows of  padded folding chairs face the stage, with a lone ceiling-level window filtering in the day’s  remaining sunlight as showtime draws near, typically,  about 7 p.m.  Fluorescent lights dangling from the ceiling are  activated with a tug of cords -- often with audience assistance -- as the show gets underway. The off-white walls are mostly bare -- the lone exception,  a framed photo of country music legend Hank Williams. Two ceiling fans keep the air circulating. A counter toward the back of the room serves as  concession stand and ticket counter, often staffed by Green’s wife and Fifth String voice teacher, Vivian Llamas Green.

 Green, who also works  as a CPA, is clearly motivated by the new challenge. 

Filling the seats with customers is another matter. However, Green knows a thing or two about putting on shows. He and his brother, Skip, booked shows at the nearby 24th Street Theatre in the early 1980s. Headliners then included  country luminaries  the Seldom Scene, David Grisman and Vince Gill. 

Glenn Boutte, a former student of Shelley Burns, takes the vocals a little deeper as guest soloist. At left is is Avalon Swing guitarist Tom Phillips.

Glenn Boutte, a former student of Shelley Burns, takes the vocals a little deeper as guest soloist. At left is is Avalon Swing guitarist Tom Phillips.

On Friday April 27, Eric Andersen & Band opened The Side Door @ The Fifth String, billed on its own website as “Sacramento’s newest, intimate listening room.”

Andersen, a contemporary of Bob Dylan and the Greenwich Village folk scene  way back in the 1960s, fit Green’s immediate business model for his brand-new showplace.  

“My focus -- without being discriminatory -- is (baby) boomers,” he said. 

A white-hair census of the opening-day crowd confirmed the showman’s acumen for sizing up a customer base. Many on hand for the show no doubt remembered Andersen from the day, when he penned songs including "Thirsty Boots” and “Violets of Dawn,” even if unfamiliar  with his respected work as a songwriter/recording artist  still plugging away just shy of 2020. 

Though Green’s music of preference is “straight California Valley country music” -- the variety that nurtured Buck Owens and Rose and the Maddox brothers, from Bakersfield to Marysville and beyond -- he mines many veins of the acoustic motherlode for the Side Door stage, working with local booking agent Swell Productions. 

Jazz chanteuse Shelley Burns and Avalon Swing take a rapt audience on a nostalgic cruise of the time-tested music of Harry Warren.

Jazz chanteuse Shelley Burns and Avalon Swing take a rapt audience on a nostalgic cruise of the time-tested music of Harry Warren.

He also promotes the venue through Facebook and mailing lists, with an occasional print ad placement. The flat-price $20 ticket can be purchased at the door or through www.thesidedoor.net, where upcoming marquee attractions are posted.

Headliners have included Bay-area bluegrass standouts High Country; Iain Matthews, of Fairport Convention and  Matthews Southern Comfort; Austin Americana songwriting standout Adam Carroll;   jazz chanteuse Shelley Burns and Avalon Swing; and Dom Flemons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who wowed a packed room with his breadth of musical history and jaw-dropping musicianship.   

Green’s showplace offers some beverages,  but brews, wine and  a great wood-fired pizza and more are available next-door at the Hop Gardens. 

 And just a short walk down the street from Fourth and Franklin are the flying neon scoops of Gunther’s storied ice cream shop and a burger  of renown at Pangea Cafe.

A surge of music lovers and musicians enters the front door of The Side Door, at 2900 Franklin Blvd. and Fourth Avenue in Curtis Park.

A surge of music lovers and musicians enters the front door of The Side Door, at 2900 Franklin Blvd. and Fourth Avenue in Curtis Park.

The Side Door's report card after more than six months in the  groove? 

“It’s going OK -- as my word gets out,” said Green, who is working hard at making more inroads into Sacramento’s burgeoning musical scene.

To this end, the  showman relies on a whimsical take on his ethnic heritage  -- “too Irish to run and too Scottish to forget”  -- as grounds for optimism that The Side Door @The Fifth String is on the path to success as a Sacramento cultural mainstay. 

“In six to seven months,” Green predicts, “the shows will become more  and more difficult to get into.”  

Listen up, Sacramento.


Buyer-Seller Win-Win!

Buyer-Seller Win-Win!

Click to Enlarge: Equity growth for 2019 is projected to be 3%-5% by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the National Association of Realtors.

How a seller credit for permanent rate buy-down can be more effective than a price cut.

By Danny Ponder | NMLS 230269

Whew! 2018 has flown by and with it a lot of changes in our housing markets. Limited inventory, increased prices and equity, rising interest rates, and buyer fatigue??? Yes, buyer fatigue is a real thing. We saw bidding wars with offers waiving appraisal contingencies, accepted offers going over list price, and 1st time homebuyers getting squeezed out in a fast paced market. Now, buyers who are playing the waiting game could be sitting out on one of the best times to get into the market. I have heard many buyers say, “We are going to wait for spring of 2019.” That could be a missed opportunity for many as equity growth for 2019 is projected to be 3%-5% by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the National Association of Realtors. New home builders are catching up with demand and creating more inventory all the while interest rates are creeping up. Location, location, location is the real estate mantra but timing is everything!

Listed homes for sale are starting to see more days on market which could be a seasonal adjustment but we won’t know until we work through this cycle and review the sales data. In some instances sellers are concerned and entertaining price drops to attract buyers. How do you make a listed home more attractive in this market with competitive active listings? The answer is to make it more affordable for the buyer—a mutually agreed upon solution by seller and buyer can make a sale happen! This is sounding like a somewhat normalized market as price and terms are equally negotiated by both parties. As housing affordability tests the markets and buyer confidence, financing becomes the solution for creating successful sales. A permanent rate buy-down is effective strategy where funds are used to reduce the interest rate.


If a seller is considering a price drop of $12,000 to attract attention and the home is listed for $400,000, the buyer benefit would be a lower price and the loan payment for this buyer would be 3% less than the original list price. If the seller was to credit the buyer $12,000, we can make the payment more affordable for the buyer than the price cut with the structure of financing. Where we can most effectively apply these funds would improve the affordability for the buyer is with a permanent rate buy-down. In this case, the principal and interest payment decreases over 8% for the buyer. Not to mention, this can also assist buyers who may have been affected by the recent interest rate increases for loan qualification. A 3% seller credit can also translate into roughly $32,000 increase in purchase price affordability for a buyer for this scenario.


In this exercise, the borrower is putting 20% down. The seller contribution does not have to be 3% and only used as an example. There are limits of allowable seller contributions based upon loan type, loan to value and purchase prices. Consult your knowledgeable and experienced lender on how best to use the seller contribution strategy to use the dollars for the maximum benefits for buyers and sellers. If seller credits exceed the allowable amount, the excess funds cannot be used in the transaction.

Working together with all parties in the transaction is now more important than ever. Rely on your trusted real estate advisor Michael Glascock on how best to strategize and effectively list or buy in this ever changing market. I am here to help make the financing more affordable with long lasting benefits to buyers for a successful close.

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A Talent for Our Time & Our Town

A Talent for Our Time & Our Town

By Katie Rubin

I sat down recently with up and coming painter, Adam Wever-Glen, to find out more about the real life of a working visual artist.  Having spent the majority of my adult life as a working actress and writer, I have some familiarity with the instability of the artistic life;  its ups and downs, its cross-your-fingers-and-hope-for-the-best-ness. I wanted to know if Adam’s world, the world of the canvas, was similar to that of the stage.  

Arms (Give) 24”x30” Oil on Wood Panel, 2018

Arms (Give) 24”x30” Oil on Wood Panel, 2018

I asked Adam what drives him to keep painting, day after day.  “It changes,” he said.  “Mostly, though, I’ve just always wanted to be really good at it.  I love painting. I love the craft of it- and I have always wanted to be a master painter.  I just want to keep painting and just get better and better at it. You know?”

I do know.  It’s often said, in the world of the arts (and personal growth), the more you know, the more you know you don’t know.  Experience gained often creates an awareness of experience required. Adam knows what I mean “I just want people to see my work and say ‘Wow- that guy really knows how to paint.”  You could call that pride, if you like, but the arts are a business of creating something from nothing, using only the engine of your heart’s desire combined with your will to create.  So, people liking or being impressed by what you do matters. If they don’t, they don’t buy, and you don’t eat.

Soft Rabbit 24”x30” Oil on Wood Panel, 2018

Soft Rabbit 24”x30” Oil on Wood Panel, 2018

I asked Adam how he handles outside criticism and other people’s opinions about his work, and like many of us, he is conflicted.  “A mentor of mine,” Adam continues “gave me some great advice recently. She said ‘in movies, the more specific you are, the better.  In art, it’s just the opposite. The more general you are, the more your work will sell.’ I thought that was great advice. At the same time, though, I went through a period where I was really worried about what other people thought about my work.  Like, was it cool or whatever. Then I realized, when I stopped caring about whether my work was cool or not, and just started painting what I’d like to have hung up in my house, you know, just trusting that if I like it, that’s enough, that’s when things started to go a lot better for me.  More people started buying my stuff.”

“So,” I ask, “You’re discovering ways to stay true to your vision while also being able to earn a living with your work?”  “Yeah,” Adam says. “I guess so.”

When I ask Adam how he approaches the business of painting, he says “You know, I’d love to make a bunch of money, and all that other stuff, but the core of it Is I really like doing it.  I always have. I also really like getting better at something, you know? It feels good, getting better at different techniques. That’s why I’m excited to be going back to school.”

Egg 19”x24” Oil on Panel, 2016

Egg 19”x24” Oil on Panel, 2016

Egg 24”x30” Oil on Wood Panel, 2018

Egg 24”x30” Oil on Wood Panel, 2018

Adam has been accepted to the Studio Art Grad Program at UC Davis and is heading there this Fall.  “I just feel really lucky right now. Between the paintings I sell and the part-time real estate work I do (Sometimes Adam helps stage houses for Real Estate Agents), I’m able to support my son and I.  And I’m really hoping that the Davis program just helps me get better at my work.”

“Painting is also just fun,” he continues.  “It’s like exploring, it’s like being a little kid, and I want to figure out how to keep that feeling alive.”

And that’s when it became abundantly clear: the world of the canvas, and the world of the stage are quite similar after all:  we’d all love the creature comforts that come with being wealthy, but at the end of the day, we love doing what we do, and “want to figure out how to keep that feeling alive.”

To see more of Adam’s work and possibly supports its survival, visit:  www.adamweverglen.com

Insight Southside

Insight Southside

By Katie Rubin

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At Insight Coffee on 8th street in midtown, you will find the single widest assortment of seating-types in any coffee house west of The Sierras.  Ok, no- I haven’t visited EVERY coffee shop west of the Sierras, but boy are there are a LOT ways to sit while you gain Insight-  Wow!  

Feeling nostalgic for your middle school’s wooden chair with a desk attached?  Eager to experience what its like to perch yourself atop the longest, skinniest bench attached to the longest, skinniest table known to man?  Or maybe you’re looking for a simple movie-theater-style-seat?  Whatever your pleasure, Insight has it and has made it readily available.  To all of us!

I’m here, of course, to sample Insight’s Espresso Gibraltar (mama loves her Gibraltars, known to other less-evolved coffee spots as “two shots of espresso with a splash of steamed almond milk, please”).  But what is espresso without ambiance, dear reader?  What.  is it.  Indeed.

When I agreed to sample all the coffee houses of Sacramento for this newsletter, I’ll be honest with you- I was as excited about exploring different coffee shop vibes, as I was about tasting all of the dark water caffeinated pleasures midtown has to offer.  

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And, Insight at 8th street was the perfect place to start.

The space is incredibly hip (was I supposed to ride my self-built bike here?), with a good natured tip of the Fedora to the wilds and beauty of nature.  There are stunning slabs of wood, seemingly wrenched directly off the sides of local Redwoods, repurposed as art, and hung elegantly on the walls.  Next to those, is a kind of “mature” grafitti on the wall- the kind of grafitti that says: “Yes, I’m still young and edgy enough to spray rebellious words on this wall, but no, I’d never do so tastelessly.  I’ll use this high-end spray paint, paired with the fanciest of fonts.”

And I know what you’re wondering, dear friends: Is she telling us this place is poised on the precipice of pretension (thank you, alliteration, for your service here)?  Well, that depends on your particular inclinations.  For my taste, I have only this to say:  My Almond Milk Gibraltar was dark, acerbic and delicious; I now desire to hire their woodsman-arteest to hang a slab on my walls (no, that is not a euphemism), and I KNOW, when next I am working on my ever-in-development screenplay, I will most certainly be hunkering down in the back corner of Insight on 8th, enjoying the back corner secret seats.  That’s right, the seats in the back are so unique and interesting, I now forbid myself from describing them to you.  You’ll have to venture out, and see them for yourself.  ;)



Monday – Friday
6:30am to 7pm

Saturday – Sunday
7am to 7pm

1901 8th Street
Sacramento, California 95811

Alhambra: Sacramento's Palace of Fantasy


Alhambra: Sacramento's Palace of Fantasy


The next time you’re doing a grocery run to the Safeway on Alhambra Boulevard, check out the turquoise-tiled fountain flanked by cypress trees in the parking lot. 

The fountain was once part of a half-block-long garden that led to the late Alhambra Theatre, the popular movie palace built in 1923 for $1 million by the Granada Co., founded by banker George Peltier. The theatre was in the image of the famous Alhambra Castle in Granada, Spain, which was known for its Moorish architecture and lush gardens -- complete with reflecting pools.


Designed by architect Leonard Starks, the theatre was capable of seating 1,976 people in plush, red velvet seats, beneath a domed ceiling about 100 feet overhead. Chandeliers and ornate gold walls oozed glitz. Balcony seating and a cutting-edge sound system completed a more than memorable audience experience.

The Alhambra, which also was designed for live entertainment, featured an orchestra pit, theatrical stage, dressing rooms and an organ with pipes that were part of the showplace’s very bones.

 “The Alhambra Theatre was one of the great theatres built during the pinnacle popularity of the Hollywood glamour ideal, when movie stars during the silent era were worshiped as gods and goddesses,” said Matias Bombal, who co-produced the documentary, “Alhambra: Sacramento’s Palace of Fantasy,” along with Chad E. Williams.

Matias Bombal and the Les Thomsen Mitchell (c) ALHAMBRA: Sacramento's Palace of Fantasy

Matias Bombal and the Les Thomsen Mitchell (c) ALHAMBRA: Sacramento's Palace of Fantasy

On Feb. 21, 2018 Sacramentans revisited the Alhambra’s grandeur during two sold-out showings of the documentary in the Tower Theatre.

Back in Sept. 24, 1927, for the Alhambra’s grand opening, Hollywood starlets sang and danced before the showing of “A Night in Spain” on the theatre’s silver screen. On hand for the festivities was California Gov. Clement Calhoun Young, who delivered a speech. And, the Alhambra Symphonic Orchestra performed three Spanish-themed pieces composed for the occasion.

“The movies had a certain intimacy that made you really believe that the people on the screen were your friends, and people developed this unusual relationship, which still works with movie stars today,” Bombal said. 

“The idea was founded by Marcus Loew of Loews Theatres. His famous quote, ‘We sell tickets to theatres, not movies,’ was really at the core of what the art of showmanship was all about – the art of not merely showing the movie, but presenting it,” he added.

Alhambra Theatre 1936- Nicholas Cadena Moore Collection

Alhambra Theatre 1936- Nicholas Cadena Moore Collection

"Between the late ‘20s and mid ‘30s, an average night or afternoon at the movie was a four-hour experience for which you paid 35 cents. There were no set showtimes -- you wandered in off of the street when you felt like it. In the summertime, it was great because theatres were air conditioned and most homes were not. You could sit there all afternoon.”

Bombal and Williams spent over a year pouring through historical documents and conducting interviews for their documentary. 

The subjects came from all walks of life. One woman who was pregnant felt her baby kick for the first time while in the Alhambra. Another patron, then an infant, learned to crawl down the theatre’s long carpeted aisles. A man experienced an accidental dunk in one of the garden reflecting pools shortly before catching a show with his older sister and her boyfriend.

Photo courtesy of Matias Bombal

Photo courtesy of Matias Bombal

Many recall childhoods filled with Saturday morning walks to the Alhambra for cartoons and free candy.

“The wonderful memories were human memories,” Bombal said. “People enshrined their lost youth in the theatre – even as the theatre started to get run-down and the gardens started to get overgrown.”

As it aged, the Alhambra struggled to fill its seats and had to juggle its operating costs.

And during the Great Depression, the Granada Co. decided to sell the showplace to the United Artists chain.  

In 1970, United Artists tried to increase the profitability of the Alhambra by building a second movie theatre in its parking lot, but the city council denied the addition because they claimed that there would not be enough parking for movie-goers.

In February of 1972, the Alhambra’s attendance fell to an all-time low, and they issued the following statement:  “It is just a question of economics until the theatre was obsolete.” The Alhambra was soon put up for sale.

Bombal discussed the economics of keeping these old urban theatres going.

Currently it costs $8,000 to show one classic movie in Oakland’s grandiose Paramount Theatre. Back in the ‘70s, United Artists had to cover the cost of operations, insurance and many employees which was hard to sustain with such little attendance. 

Alhambra Theatre in 1954 | ALHAMBRA: Sacramento's Palace of Fantasy

Alhambra Theatre in 1954 | ALHAMBRA: Sacramento's Palace of Fantasy

The golden days of movie going began tailing off after World War II. 

“After the war, people were not as excited about romantic movies that take you away from it all,” Bombal said. “They lost family members – America sort of grew up. And although the ‘50s seemed idyllic, people had gotten wise. The idea of escapism didn’t seem as plausible when people came back from war mutilated.”

The flight to the suburbs was another reason, he added, “Because of the boom of the automotive industry, people started moving away from downtown to Carmichael and Citrus Heights and as the city spread, they started making smaller theatres.” 

The same city planners who refused to let the Alhambra expand also refused to let the Safeway Supermarket on 39th and J expand into its parking lot – citing, similarly, that the proposed expansion would not offer enough parking.

Ultimately, Safeway decided to relocate.

In March, Safeway obtained the option to buy the Alhambra, which it planned to raze and build a larger store. However, the public was outraged when the news was announced. 

Sensing a public relations catastrophe, the grocery chain offered the community a deal: if $700,000 could be raised by a nonprofit or community group by September, Safeway would rescind its option to buy the theatre. 

Though the Save the Alhambra Committee was organized to raise money to meet the challenge, the citizens group was only able to collect $10,000 by September.

Still, Safeway ended up leasing out the Alhambra to the Save the Alhambra Committee for six months so that they could continue fundraising to preserve the theatre. A series of benefit concerts were hosted in the space, featuring Van Morrison and Vince Guaraldi.

VAN MORRISON | Photo: Doug Taggart | Dennis Newhall/Sacramento Rock and Radio Museum

VAN MORRISON | Photo: Doug Taggart | Dennis Newhall/Sacramento Rock and Radio Museum

The committee put forth a $1.2 million countywide bond measure designed to save the theatre, but it fell short at the ballot box. 

At that point, Safeway decided to demolish the theatre.

On Jan. 3, 1973, five men and two women -- not affiliated with the Save the Alhambra Committee  -- broke into the theatre to protest the demolition, occupying the Alhambra for five days.

As the drama unfolded, Safeway executives considered donating the theatre to the city of Sacramento. However, when Safeway board members visited the theatre, the protesters dumped garbage on them from the balcony. In the wake of that egregious faux-pas, the fate of the grand movie palace was sealed. The Alhambra would be demolished into dust.

“I think the driving force when we made this movie was that so many people said, ‘Safeway destroyed the Alhambra, I’ll never shop there again’,” Bombal said. 


“We wanted to set the story straight. … If there is one thing that I wish that people knew about the Alhambra, it is that Safeway was not at fault with the Alhambra, it was the public which was unaware of what they were losing.”

Currently, Bombal and Williams are raising money to expand their documentary to 90 minutes, with newly found footage, to air on Netflix or Amazon. They also are seeking $100,000 to shorten the documentary so it can be featured on local PBS station KVIE and other PBS stations throughout the country.  

The documentary will be shown next at the California Automobile Museum on Sunday, September 23rd at 6pm – which coincides with the 91st birthday of the theatre  (https://www.calautomuseum.org/alhambra-screening).

Next Showing:

California Automobile Museum, Sacramento, California September 23rd, 2018 at 6pm. Tickets: https://www.calautomuseum.org/alhambra-screening

ALHAMBRA: Sacramento's Palace of Fantasy A Documentary By Matias Antonio Bombal and Chad E. Williams Wendell Jacob, Executive Producer

More information: https://www.facebook.com/AlhambraDoc/ "Alhambra" performed by Walt Strony at the Alhambra Theatre Robert Morton organ



Jake Castro: Geometric Art

Today, we are spotlighting local Sacramento artist Jake Castro. He is a muralist, who has been creating amazing pieces for 12 to 14 years, as well as doing laser cut work. Originally from Chicago, he moved to Sacramento for its small-town vibe and the local artist community. He has his own brand and sells some of his works in local farmers markets and festivals. His style is very geometric, with different shapes and hard edges with unique designs.  His work has been featured in shows in Sacramento and Chicago, such as Wide Open Walls. In his spare time, he loves exploring local breweries and cycling around town. His most recent work is on the corner of S and 9th on the building of 1st Corporate Solutions.

If you want to check out more of his art, make sure to check out his website and follow him on his social media.

Website: https://www.jakecastro1.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jake.castro.7393

Instagram: @Jakecastro1


 Horst Leissl: A Hulking Piece of Sacramento History

Horst Leissl: A Hulking Piece of Sacramento History

By Corey Rodda

A larger-than-life painting of the Incredible Hulk seemingly breaking though the container wall of a water tower on Riverside Boulevard made quite a civic splash back in the 1970s.

The artist who gave trompe l'oeil reality to the Riverside Water Treatment Plant landmark was the late Horst “Hank” Leissl, who had paid homage to his son’s favorite comic book character.

Painted in 1976, the big green guy in action lasted four years longer than the six months of its commission, thanks to the efforts of three preteen girls who protested the city’s plan to sandblast it into oblivion.

“I was in kindergarten going to Crocker Riverside Elementary,” recalled James Peyton, who has digitized Horst’s work in "The Art of Horst Leissl. " (https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/).

“I would see that water tower on Riverside, and when you are a little kid obsessed with Spiderman and Hulk – it was this amazing thing that you had never seen before. You knew that it was something that was not supposed to be there.”

Horst’s very public art enchanted Sacramento residents from 1974 into the late 1980s. He had no problem with the short lifespan of his works.

“All my stuff is temporary,” Horst told the Sacramento Bee in 1984. “That doesn't bother me. There is room for temporary as well as permanent art.”

The Sacramento Fly, by Horst Liessl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

The Sacramento Fly, by Horst Liessl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

Other notable installations created by Horst include the Sacramento Fly, a 12-foot-by-18 foot cardboard fly on the Alhambra water tower and Hand Laundry which consisted of a series of giant inflated hands that were suspended under the XY freeway overpass. 

He also painted dada juxtapositions of Sacramento landmarks in an exhibit dubbed "Sacramento Dreamscapes," and satirized dessert culture with his "Incredible Edibles" -- ceramic-sculpted confection creations titled "Lobster-Chiffon Cake," "Bambi's Revenge" and "Seagull Chiffon Island." On one of the cake sculptures, plastic hands and feet are so precisely arranged that at first glance, they look like puffs of icing.

Horst’s grandfather, a traveling dentist, taught him how to bake.

Horst, who would create a cake called “A Gift From Nice” that looked like a basket with fruit tumbling from it, often baked for his son, Niko.

“He was very loving, but not in a super affectionate hug and kissing way,” Niko said. “He was very German."

“He was an awesome dad,“ his son added. "I learned a lot from him. As a kid, I was doing small animations. He taught me that being an artist is a skilled craft. You can be a Sunday painter or you can really be a trained artist.”

Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

“He was an original,” his wife Julia said. “He thought about things and he felt things and there was nothing that he couldn’t do once he put his mind to it. I’ve never met anyone like him.”

“I really believe he was a genius,” she added.

In 1987, Horst suffered a stroke, followed by another a few years later. After his second stroke, he lost his ability to speak. Julia cared for him as his health declined. As his fine motor skills deteriorated, he turned to collage to channel his creativity.

The artist died in 1991, at the age of 61.

“He just faded in the end so in a way it wasn’t a surprise,” Niko said. “It wasn't a shock, you knew it was coming. That’s a better way.”

Horst was fastidious about his life's work, which he cultivated after nearly flunking out of school because of poor eyesight. To him, art was a trade that he could capitalize on.

“I think what made him so unique was that he was a European and he went through the war and it was a terrible thing for him,” Julia said. “He was a dadaist and he was a surrealist. He loved that school of art, the absurd. Going through the war, he saw how absurd things were and that is what gave him a unique background for his art.”

Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

Born in Augsburg, Germany, in 1933, Horst's parents never married and he never met his father, who died fighting near the Eastern Front during War World II. He escaped being drafted into the Hitler Youth Corps after being judged too weak to join their Aryan ranks.

“He had a maternal grandfather who was very good to him,” Niko said. “He had a farm. When they were bombing Augsburg, they sent all of the kids away. He told us about the camps -- he encountered a lot of deprivation at the children’s camp.”

When he was 19, Horst moved to Redwood City, Calif., to live with his Aunt Paula, who had emigrated there from Germany. She had been working as a nurse in South America, where she fell in love with an American.

In the United States, Horst earned his citizenship and set about working toward a career as a commercial artist. He enrolled at Cooper Union College in New York City, where he majored in graphic design. As a student, he lived on a shoestring budget and a scant diet, including occasional bowls of “ketchup soup” at the automats.

His studies were cut short when he was drafted for a peacetime army and stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. He participated in the army as a graphic designer, tasked with curating the Old Fort Bliss Replica Cultural Museum which showcases the history of the fort, built in 1815.

“He wasn’t the most physically fit guy so he used his arts background to become the curator,” Niko said.

Horst Leissl himself working on a painting. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

Horst Leissl himself working on a painting. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

After his service, he ran his own business, Graphic Arts Studio, for five years in El Paso until he moved to San Francisco to join the Steadman, Cooper and Busse advertising firm as a production manager.

Horst was introduced to his wife Julia by a Maurice Read, a mutual friend, at an art gallery opening in Old Sacramento. She was pouring champagne. 

“They locked eyes and the next thing I knew that they had gotten married -- and then they got divorced and got back together,” Read said.

After they wed, Horst and Julia abandoned their careers to open Kiosko, a European-themed restaurant near Lake Chapela, Mexico, an hour south of Gaudalajara. They scouted the restaurant’s location by driving through Mexico in a Volkswagen van with son Niko, then a toddler.

The couple would shutter Kiosko after three years and return to California. They eventually moved to Sacramento in 1974 so Horst could immerse himself more fully in also his artwork and also to be near Julia’s family.

“We came back and he had a lot of friends here” Julia said. “We thought it would be the most comfortable place to be.”

To pay the bills, Horst freelanced and taught commercial art and film at Sacramento City College. He created a quarterly magazine for Blue Diamond, the nut people, called "Almond Facts."

“He hated being part of the rat race,” Niko said.

Horst worked closely with the City of Sacramento to create community installations, including a time capsule to be opened in 2073. He interviewed everyday Sacramento residents about how they felt about their home and their predictions for what it will be like in 100 years.

The artist also took pains -- some humorous -- to explain the rationale behind his works. A pamphlet distributed to his collaborators on the Sacramento Fly on the Alhambra Blvd water tower quotes Edgar Watson Howe, a magazine publisher and novelist: “Put cream and sugar on a fly, and it tastes very much like a black raspberry.”

Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

“The fly gestated over years and geographic miles and hatched in Sacramento because of its fertile climate,” Horst added.

He came up with the idea to make the fly while he, Julia and Niko were staying at a vacation spot in Mexico overrun with flies.

“He would sit with his fly swatter and his book – [making a]  clunmpf clumpf [noise as he swatted the flies],” Julia said.

The Hulk by Horse Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

The Hulk by Horse Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

“We would see things and they would be normal and he would see it and turn it around and find something in it that would be unique,” she added.

“Horst took art and turned it around and turned it around inside out,” Julia said. “That’s what he was about turning things inside out and backwards.”

Read praises Horst as "the most underrated artist I know.”

“His art was very eclectic and he would do whatever he wanted to,” said Read, who pointed to one of Horst’s more famous paintings, this one depicting Arden Way. 

"He left out all the buildings and only had the billboards and signs,” Read elaborated. "The political statement was that we are a society overwhelmed by billboards," ruining the beauty of communities.

Niko believes that his father’s artwork is particularly relevant in this day and age and is ripe for a revival.

“I think that there is potential for his artwork to experience a renaissance,” Niko said. “One of the great things about my father is that he was a part of the futurist society. He was really ahead of time in a lot of his arts and concepts and now it comes around again.”

"There is a whole new generation that would be interested in his ideas,“ he added.  "He would have loved the internet. He loved technology.”

Peyton noted there was a small movement to access city funds to reintroduce the Hulk painting  to the water tower. However, currently the big green guy’s place on the Riverside landmark remains a distant memory.

The Land Park Harlequins: Taking the Ball and Running With It!


The Land Park Harlequins: Taking the Ball and Running With It!

By Katie Rubin

Have you ever meet a family that makes you think “Oh, this is what loving, supportive, emotionally engaged family feels like.”  I recently had that thought and felt that way while hanging with the Popp family in their gorgeous Land Park pad.

Papa Popp, Curtis, in addition to running his own Architecture and Interiors Firm, Popp Littrell Architecture and Interiors (plarch.com), also manages a collection of more than 25, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s “antique” analog cars.  Oh, and no big deal but he and his daughter, Olivia, also happen to have started a wildly successful competetive girls Rugby team in Sacramento.

Susan and Curtis Popp

Susan and Curtis Popp

2 years ago, after having played Rugby with the boys team, The Land Park Motley, (cuz she’s an incredible badass), Olivia realized it would be fun to play on a girl’s team.  Realizing none of the local girl’s teams were anywhere near them, the Popps decided, “Heck, why don’t we just start a team of our own?”  (They didn’t say heck.  That was me.)

And so they did. 

The Land Park Harlequins logo

The Land Park Harlequins logo

That’s how the Popp’s roll, you see.  They see an opportunity, or a potential for something new to come into existence, and they pounce, innovate and expand.  Here’s what I mean:

I asked Curtis what inspires him to keep running The Harlequins, his daughter’s now 4th in the Nation-ranked Rugby team, two years after its inception.  “I actually get really emotional when I talk about it,” he begins.  “It started just really pragmatically.  Olivia wanted to play and I thought she’d like it, and that maybe it would help her get a leg up on getting into college more affordably.  But now, it’s turned into something much much bigger…  One of our girls has just been offered scholarships to Dartmouth, Brown, and Bowdin.  And she was a need-based kid.  She’s crazy smart and has a 4.5, but it was Rugby that got her the scholarship offers.”

The Popp’s pet project, in other words, has become a legitimate service organization that allows financially at need students to consider applying to schools they more than likely wouldn’t have approached otherwise.

The Popp family home is a 1940’s Art Moderne masterpiece, filled with some of the most vibrant, stimulating, modern art this writer has seen outside of a museum.  Oh and speaking of museums, not only was Olivia Popp recently scouted and then recruited by the Youth Rugby Olympics team (that’s right, The Olympics) she also recently skipped over to New York City to attend the New York Times Academy where she learned how to curate Art Exhibits in Manhattan.  So.  No big deal.

Eventually, I learn that Susan Popp is, in her own words, “the mainstream one in the family…  I round out all the creativity in the house with some left brained ways of thinking.”

“Oh, ok, so you’re not an artsy type?”  I ask.  “No,” she tells me.  “I’m a Nurse in the Cardiac Surgery Wing of Mercy Hospital, so, all of this architecture and creativity was new to me when I started dating Curtis”

So let’s recap.  In the Popp family, we’ve got a Cardiac Surgery RN.  No big deal.

A 16 year-old Olympic Athlete.  Whatever.

And a Successful Design Master/Car Collector/Rugby Team Builder.  Laaaaame.

Oh, and their 14 year-old son, Fletcher asked for a Leaf Blower for Christmas so he could make some mad cash in his free time.  So.  He’s clearly good for nothing and heading nowhere.  (Big, fat, exaggerated eye roll.) 

I feel more accomplished and impressive just hanging out with the freaking Popps.

I ask Olivia and Curtis one final question:  “Why Rugby?”

Curtis answers first.


“Rugby is a phsycially demanding game on the field.  But it’s also the most community-minded, corgial, gentlemanly sport I know of.  At the end of every game, the two team captains shake hands, and thank each other.  Then the home team cooks a meal for the visiting team, and we all sit down and eat together.  That’s Rugby.

“Yeah.  I’d have to echo what my Dad is saying,” Olivia pipes in.  “My friends who play other sports are always bagging on their coaches.  And their coaches are always so down on their players.  Our coach, Naki Hopoi, is always so positive and supportive.  When his Dad died, our entire team went to his funeral.  We had never met him before.  But we went.  To support our coach.  ‘Cuz we really have each other’s backs on the field and off.  That’s Rugby.

So.  If you’re looking for something productive, inspiring, healthy and communal for your daughter to do, or if you’d just like your kids to get to hang out with some incredible people, maybe consdier girl’s Rugby.  It just might rock your world.

For information about becoming a part of The Land Park Harlequins Rugby Team and Family, please email Curtis Popp at curtis@plarch.com.

You can also find The Land Park Harlequins on Facebook at facebook.com/goharlequins, on Instagram @lpharlequins, and on Twitter @LPHRFC. You can also go to their website, www.goharlequins.com



Bringing Color and Form to Fair Oaks


Bringing Color and Form to Fair Oaks

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 3.50.47 PM.png

By Elizabeth Stephens

“Tupos” can be translated from Greek to mean impression or form, which is an apt word for the expressive style of Patricia Mills, resident painter at Old Town Fair Oaks' newest art gallery.  At Studio Tupos one can view some of Mills’s artwork from several recent series, as well as purchase prints, cards and paintings.

Join Patricia at Studio Tupos on December 2nd directly following the Christmas in the Village festivities for wine tasting from 7pm-9pm. 10149 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks, CA. See you there!

Join Patricia at Studio Tupos on December 2nd directly following the Christmas in the Village festivities for wine tasting from 7pm-9pm. 10149 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks, CA. See you there!

Pat’s love for art spans a lifetime. As a child growing up in Kansas Pat drew interiors of houses; she experimented with watercolors and went on to pursue art as an undergrad at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. However, it wasn't until 2000 when her children were all grown that Mills decided to make it a profession. She started attending graduate school at Sacramento State, where at the time CSUS had the Over-60 program and you could attend for only one dollar a semester. Later she would spend a month painting in France fine tuning her creative voice.

Pat draws inspiration from a variety of sources, and strives to pay respect to the subjects of her art. Some of the biggest pieces currently on display at Studio Tupos are part of a series of paintings called Catching Shadows based on the photography of Edward Curtis, famous for his black and white portraits of native people at the turn of the century. Curtis touched Mills with his photography. “[It was] the starkness of it. And the sadness of their images,” she says when asked what drew her to these pictures in particular. It is her hope that these paintings will give the subjects in the images a new life, and an opportunity for audiences to see them in a different way.

No doubt many would agree she has achieved this goal. The face of a Mojave girl greets visitors entering the gallery, inviting them to come in and learn more about her story through the painting. The Mojave girl in particular was an emotional challenge for Pat. “This girl was about 15 when her photo was taken. And I was painting her and painting her and she was staring at me and I was staring at her and I just broke into tears. I called [my husband] Bill and I said, ‘I can not do this.’ She was staring me down.”

Also on display are a pair of paintings depicting the damage done by Irma and Harvey, two of the hurricanes that hit the United States and the Caribbean earlier this year. Ever upbeat and positive in message, Patricia felt compelled however to depict these images in response because “that’s all that was left.” 

Mills uses acrylics for much of her paintings. However, she doesn’t restrict herself when it comes to art, and uses a variety of mediums in order to achieve the effect she desires. These have included house paint, enamel paint, and tea. She has even used a tie dying method with canvas. Currently, Pat is preparing for a new series of maps of imagined places, and plans to age them by burning, scratching, and rubbing dirt into them.

“I’m curious to see what my maps are going to be like,” she says with excitement.

Horizon of the Future  - acrylic on canvas   "Edward Curtis entitled his photograph "Vanishing Race". Taking exception to this title, I named my painting  Horizon of the Future . The original painting is in a private collection.   --Patricia Mills

Horizon of the Future - acrylic on canvas

"Edward Curtis entitled his photograph "Vanishing Race". Taking exception to this title, I named my painting Horizon of the Future. The original painting is in a private collection.

--Patricia Mills

Pat’s paintings have gained attention near and far. One of her paintings, “Horizon of the Future”, won an Award of Excellence at the California State Fair. This painting is also based on an Edward Curtis photograph, which is entitled “Vanishing Race.” Pat decided to change the title to one that suggests a much more hopeful future. Another painting of hers called “Torch of Memory”, which is of her husband winning the gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, hangs on permanent display at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. "I Am Your Chief" is a large work done in collaboration with Michael Rowden de Portola and won the Juror's Award at the California State Fair in Sacramento. It was purchased for the University of Nevada, Reno Graduate Center.

Studio Tupos is open three days a week: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 11am-4pm or by appointment. Pat will most likely be painting in the back with the help of assistant Christine Louen assisting in the front of the gallery. In the future Pat hopes to host a variety of events, including holiday events and watercolor painting classes. Upcoming is a wine tasting this December 2nd immediately following the Christmas in the Village festivities in Old Town Fair Oaks! Come kick off the holiday season at Studio Tupos!



Keeping a Keen Eye on Sacramento's Real Estate Investment Scene

Keeping a Keen Eye on Sacramento's Real Estate Investment Scene



Sacramento's feverish pace continues. The second quarter proved to be a success by most metrics. Positive rent growth, low vacancy rates, and improved unemployment rates. 

519 T St . New construction managed by Raymond Management

519 T St. New construction managed by Raymond Management

Q2 posted impressive Annual Rent Growth Rates (9.04%) & incredibly low vacancy rates (3.6%).  Sacramento "out performed" the North Bay & East Bay markets by both metrics.  The average apartment rent in Sacramento is $1,487, which represents a 8.8 increase from this time last year. 

The unemployment rate in Sacramento dropped to 4.8% in June, which was a .2% improvement from Q1, and a healthy improvement from a year before at 5.4%.  The job growth outlook remains strong as approximately 13,000 new jobs were added since mid 2016. 

Take a drive through Midtown / Downtown Sacramento and you'll notice what appears to be a never-ending chain of new construction.  New mixed use projects, new parking structures, new SFR product, and the highly anticipated Downtown Commons (DOCO) area which includes the newly opened Sawyer Hotel.  Sacramento currently has over 2,400 units (residential) under construction. So far in 2017, over 300 units have been completed and introduced to the market with an additional 1000 units estimated to be completed by the end of the year. 

As national rent rates begin to flatten out, Sacramento is in an interesting position.

Sacramento continues to draw massive media attention for Bay Area transplants, record level growth, new employment opportunities, and an undeniable sense that a new identity is being formed. The market's appetite for quality product (either new or heavily remodeled) is strong. Tenants are excited & willing to pay for quality product, amenities, and expect great service.

  • email: dan@raymondmanagement.net
  • phone: (888) 623-4480
  • fax: (415) 873-1300
  • office: 2012 P Street, Suite 201, Sacramento, CA 95811
1325 18th St .  Fully renovated apartment building managed by Raymond Management

1325 18th St.  Fully renovated apartment building managed by Raymond Management

Olympian Billy Mills on running, racism, and reaching unity through understanding


Olympian Billy Mills on running, racism, and reaching unity through understanding

As a young man studying at the University of Kansas, Billy Mills pursued a dream: to run in order to heal a broken soul. Billy lost his mother at age 8 and his father at age 12. Growing up within his Oglala Lakota community on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota he remembered his father telling him that he had broken wings. As a means to remedy this, his father encouraged Billy to try sports. After years of training through passion and hard work, he went on to compete in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games as an underdog, unranked in the United States, although he had the 8th fastest time in the world. It was here he was able to defy expectations and in the final lap of the 10,000 meter race pull ahead of the the rest to win gold for the United States, the only American in Olympic history to have ever done so in this category.

Billy later went on to help found Running Strong for American Indian Youth along with Eugene Krizek, a foundation dedicated to helping provide resources and hope to native communities around the country both on and off reservations. Today he is the foundation's spokesperson, and on Saturday, October 7 he will be speaking about his inspirational win at the All Nations Run 3k and 5k in Shingle Springs, CA. The event is being hosted by the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians and the Shingle Springs Health & Wellness Center with proceeds from the event benefitting the Running Strong Foundation.

Michael Glascock (left) and Billy Mills (right). Michael has attended the All Nations Run in previous years, and here he proudly shows off the gold medal he won in the "Best Striped Shirt" category. Click  here  to register for Saturday's race!

Michael Glascock (left) and Billy Mills (right). Michael has attended the All Nations Run in previous years, and here he proudly shows off the gold medal he won in the "Best Striped Shirt" category. Click here to register for Saturday's race!

Prior to the Running Strong Foundation and his Olympic career however, Billy found himself ready to commit suicide. “I wasn't ready for the racism in America,” he explained during an interview we had at his home one recent Friday afternoon. As a runner at his University, Billy says he was often asked to step out of the shot during group photo shoots. He quickly realized it was due to his Lakota heritage, adding yet another instance of racism for him to grapple with. “The third time I'm asked to get out of a photo, I broke. I'm on the verge of suicide.” But before he could, a voice that sounded like his father’s said, “Don't,” explaining if he kept going, someday he would have “wings of an eagle.” So Billy kept going with the confidence that he had been given “the ability not to win a gold medal, but to win a gold medal to heal a broken soul.” This became his dream. After marrying his wife Pat, serving as an officer in the Marines, and years of training hard, he saw this dream come to fruition during the Tokyo games. Mills says that there was a point during the final 95 meters of the run where he saw the embroidered image of an eagle on a German runner’s racing singlet, and was able to recall his father's words and know that he was going to win—even if he didn't get to the finish line first.

“I healed a broken soul, and in the process I won a gold medal. That moment was a gift and I wanted to give back.”

Winning did not end racism towards Mills and other members of his community however, and is still a presence felt by the hundreds of Native communities across the country. Billy says he has received death threats in the past, and can count 8 different occasions in recent years where people have used the term “prairie n***er” against him. He also makes clear that these are not isolated instances—Native Americans are regularly the victims of hateful rhetoric, and this particularly impacts Native youth. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, suicide is the second leading cause of death behind accidental death for Native youth ages 8 to 24, and there are much higher rates of suicidal behavior by youth reported in indigenous communities than any other racialized group.

Pat (center, left) and Billy Mills (center, right) march in 2004 alongside Running Strong and other organizations to celebrate the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. Photo by  Bill Koplitz

Pat (center, left) and Billy Mills (center, right) march in 2004 alongside Running Strong and other organizations to celebrate the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. Photo by Bill Koplitz

“We have a beautiful country, and we've done wonderful things throughout the world,” says Mills. Still, events unfolding around our country today both frustrate and sadden him. “How far back are we going to go? Do we go back to the Doctrine of Discovery? Do we go back to Manifest Destiny? I think one of the moves that might happen if things continue the way they are, [is that] Congress with a stroke of a pen can totally eliminate the treaty rights that have been fought for. And tribal nations [own] 5-35% of the last known natural resources in America. We own it, but we don't control it.”

“We have US senators, US Congregational representatives elected to represent state sovereignties making decisions on tribal sovereignty. Therein lies the conflict. It would be like the senators from California, the congregational representatives from California making decisions for the constituency in South Dakota. So fundamental change there is going to be difficult.”

Mills points to the Doctrine of Discovery (tying into Manifest Destiny, which relies on the the belief that the land on which what many call the United States currently exists was a gift to European settlers from God) as one of the fundamental principles used time and time again to justify ugly events from our country's past and present. He also stresses that he is not attacking Christianity by saying this, stating that people were merely able to manipulate Christianity for their own benefit. From the taking of indigenous lands to the genocide of native people throughout history, as well as broken treaties, slavery, Jim Crow, the use of the racial epithet “redskin” for a football team name, and the many examples of systematic racism that persist today, Billy believes that the fundamental lack of education and reflection on the dark realities of how the United States came to be prevents us from healing and moving forward together in unison.

For example, Mills offers a different way of looking at current NFL protests. As a veteran of the Marines and someone who has heard the national anthem in a sports arena, he understands the beautiful feeling of pride that can occur when one hears the anthem. Nevertheless, hearing it played also reminds him of all the work that is left to be done in our country. “The third stanza of our national anthem. You know what it says? It excludes people in bondage. So our national anthem is for everybody except the people in bondage, and in bondage at that point was the free Black person, the slave, and the Indian, so our national anthem today excludes them. That's the basis of the issue today and we don't talk about it. I would have every high school, every college, every business corporation discussing it. Just take it line by line and discuss it.” The third stanza he is making reference to here is a lesser known part of the national anthem, as we typically only sing the first stanza. You can read the anthem in its entirety here. The last sentence in the third stanza reads as follows:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In Mills's opinion, what we need to be focusing on here in the United States is education on these issues that impact people's lives on a daily basis. Some Americans have an understanding of these laws and their histories, while the majority do not. On Mills's part, he says he had a lot of learning to do before he reached the understanding of them that he carries today. During the 2008 US presidential elections Billy was reading multiple books a week in an effort to educate himself fully on the systems at play. He would ask friends from around the world, including Olympians, scholars, and other members of the global community, about their own unique perspectives. It was clear to him they received a better education on subjects such as the Doctrine of Discovery than the majority of Americans seem to have, so he valued their views. “They would ask me, 'have you studied your own history?' And I would say, 'yes'. Then I'd come back and start studying more to understand where they were coming from.”

Billy Mills (left) competes with friend and fellow runner Mohammed Gammoudi of Tunisia (right) in the 1964 10K race. Gammoudi took home the silver medal. Photo by the  Associated Press

Billy Mills (left) competes with friend and fellow runner Mohammed Gammoudi of Tunisia (right) in the 1964 10K race. Gammoudi took home the silver medal. Photo by the Associated Press

In all, Billy seems hopeful about our future, so long as we take the time to understand how our paths led us here. As the child of a mother who was a quarter Lakota, and a father who was three quarters Lakota, he has seen life through a lens of intersectionality. “I started putting all that together—why I came so close to suicide. I know what is is to be broken, and yet, the other half of me on occasion was offered what is being called white privilege. And the only way I can describe white privilege is a very innocent, very positive, confident righteousness. [It is having an] expectation of what you can do, and not realizing the roadblocks that are removed for you.” Mills told a story about ordering lunch at a restaurant with a corporal friend while he was in the Marines. Yet when it came time to eat, the corporal, who was also African American, was told he would have to eat in the kitchen. Billy followed him into the kitchen to eat with him, but after asking Billy to leave, and Billy refusing, both were told to leave and they took their food elsewhere. “I have to count on him, he has to count on me, in case of war. We have to understand one another.” At the same time, Mills understood he could not escape the rampant racism towards people of color in the United States. As a youth he knew he would never be afforded the American Dream, and realizes today that the only reason he achieved it was through a successful running career.

Billy Mills's 1964 Olympic Medal, alongside other running memorabilia from over the years. Use of this photograph courtesy of Dominic Mills, Billy's grandson and current medal owner. 

Billy Mills's 1964 Olympic Medal, alongside other running memorabilia from over the years. Use of this photograph courtesy of Dominic Mills, Billy's grandson and current medal owner. 

Through running, Billy healed himself. When asked why he chose running, Mills laughed and said it was a process of elimination. He tried rodeo (“That hurt,” he smiled). Later he tried boxing, and he also played basketball but ended up scoring 2 points for the wrong team. Running he was good at, and it carried him through difficult times.

Near the end of the interview Billy's wife Pat came out to sit with us. An accomplished painter, Pat and Billy have been married for over 50 years. When Billy realized he had won gold in Tokyo, the first person he asked to see was her. Some playful banter ensued between the two about how they first met. Both remembered it a bit differently—it's clear they've had this discussion several times before. One can tell however that neither of them really care about coming up with an answer so much as remembering a long and happy life together with their four daughters, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  

Today, Mills works alongside the Running Strong Foundation, giving speeches like the one he will be giving this Saturday at the All Nations Run in the hopes of inspiring people to strive for their full potential. Billy Mills's story is one of exemplary courage and perseverance. Yet he needed help and guidance, and while he realizes this same level of courage and perseverance lives within the hearts and souls of Native youth everywhere, Mills has recognized that many of them also need the opportunity to receive a hope similar to that which he has been given by his family and culture.   

When Billy went to find the German runner after the race to tell him how the eagle on his singlet had inspired him to win, he found that there wasn't one anywhere on their uniform. “It was simply a perception.” A perception that helped bring him the wings of an eagle.


The best way to hear Billy Mills's story in its entirety about his inspirational 1964 Tokyo win is by attending the All Nations Run this Saturday, October 7th. This family friendly run will feature a 3k and 5k, which you are welcome to walk or run. Obstacles and Halloween costumes will be a fun and optional part of the event, and prizes will be given for the best costume! A BBQ lunch after the run will be held where Billy will speak. Pre-registration includes a race shirt, medal, and lunch, but race day registration is available also, with shirts and medals being available while supplies last.



     10:00 AM – 1:00 PM


     Shingle Springs Rancheria's Event Field

     Shingle Springs Dr & Lincoln Hwy & US-50

     California 95682


     $20 General/Adult (18 years and older)

     $10 Student and Children (12 and under)

     $5 Participant's Guest, Lunch Only


     $25 General/Adult (18 years and older)

     $15 Student and Children (12 and under)

     $5 Participant's Guest, Lunch Only