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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:  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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 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. " (

“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

The Sacramento Fly, by Horst Liessl. Credit to

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

Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to

“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

Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to

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

Horst Leissl himself working on a painting. Credit to

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

Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to

“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

The Hulk by Horse Leissl. Credit to

“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 (, 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

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



Binchoyaki: Little Space, Big Taste


Binchoyaki: Little Space, Big Taste

By Jamie Worrall

Today you’ll find a much smaller Japantown here in Sacramento compared to what stood pre-WWII. It was relocated in 1957 after bulldozers and the Sacramento City Council moved forward with The Capitol Mall project and, in the process, uprooted our once-bustling 6-square-block Japanese community. These days, along 10th Street in Midtown Sacramento, mostly between T and W, a small cluster of Japanese owned businesses include Osaka-Ya, Sakura Gifts, June’s Cafe, and a new favorite-- Binchoyaki. This new eatery and small bar has caught the attention of many, including Michael Glascock who came in after noticing how crowded it was inside and then soon after reading about their chart-topping Duck Ramen plate in the Sacramento Bee. Learning that a Pocket-Greenhaven native, Craig Takehara and his wife Tokiko Sawada are behind Binchoyaki made him all the more proud of their success and we were eager to spread the word!

Binchoyaki is an Izakaya-style dining experience, or what in Japan would be your go-to after work gastropub where you meet up with friends or co-workers after a long day. Everything here is moderately portioned, but a plate or two per round of drinks should keep you more than satisfied. Binchoyaki seeks to be a Northern California bent on an Izakaya, so while it most definitely keeps Japanese beer on tap, and the authentic Binchotan (maple charcoal) is fired up on the smokeless grill, at the same time they are not afraid to throw some soul music on the speaker system and use French or European influences in a dish. Plus, they are using locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible, which here in our farm-to-fork capital is very much appreciated. The food is delicious and the sense of shared experience is too.


Here in Sacto we have great Japanese food, but admittedly, mostly sushi. At Binchoyaki you get more eclectic Japanese offerings, ordered either from their grill menu, which burns between 1000-1500 degrees, or from their kitchen menu. If you need help ordering, Faith, our super knowledgable server, offers suggestions and answer questions about the dishes, happy to share methods, ingredients, and history when asked. You’ll also get a little insight into the preparation of your food watching the barbecues just on the other side of the low bar being expertly fanned while the various skewers of meats and veggies are flipped, added, and removed, some after 30 seconds and others not for 20 minutes. It would take a minimum of 6 months, Craig later estimated, to become merely a proficient Sumiyaki chef using those high-heat binchotan charcoals.

Owners Craig, originally from Sacramento, and Toki who is from the LA area, have been in “the industry” since even before the two met at the California School of Culinary Arts. In high-school Craig worked at Oto’s Maket on Freeport Boulevard as a fishmonger, butcher, and deli manager. Both Craig and Toki have culinary degrees, impressive resumes, and years of experience which give them a great depth and breadth of understanding in Japanese cuisine. After meeting 16 years ago they continued gaining experience in various fine dining restaurants, large hotels, and clubs, even serving celebrities such as Tom Cruise among others. Their lifestyle changed, however, in 2009 when they moved to Sacramento to start a family.  After having been headhunted to open 300-seat restaurants, world travel, and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, he is happy here in Sacramento with his comparatively smaller locale. The goal is now to bring alive a variety of food and culture that has not been available to Sacramentans since the disappearance of a prosperous Japantown. And we are happy they have!

Binchoyaki is closed Sunday and Monday. Lunch is served Tuesday-Saturday 11am-2pm with Dinner from 4pm-10pm. They are open late on Friday and Saturday until Midnight!

Binchoyaki is closed Sunday and Monday. Lunch is served Tuesday-Saturday 11am-2pm with Dinner from 4pm-10pm. They are open late on Friday and Saturday until Midnight!

For Craig, one of the greatest revelations after having been in business for almost a year here in Sacramento is how supportive other restaurants and managers from other places have been. “This is my first restaurant; my first time around,” muses Craig, “And it’s nice to have a group of people in Sacramento where not everything is competition.” He recognizes that our cultural identity here is different from that of the Bay Area, and that of LA, and believes in helping Sacramento create great food, whatever the variety, with a strong sense of camaraderie. At Binchoyaki, the expert ownership and the importance placed on countless tiny details amount to a concept as bold and basic as “Good food made well”, which, when it comes down to it, is as authentic here on the corner of 10th and W as it is novel.



Krazy Mary's and Heart Boutique:...My True Love Gave To Me

Krazy Mary's and Heart Boutique:...My True Love Gave To Me

Of course there are those of you that have accomplished the seemingly impossible task of crossing everyone off your list... Kudos! But to the hesitant/indecisive/lazy rest of us.  You have nothing to fear. Just stand up straight and tall, grab the keys, and head out into the damp December air. Good customer service and specialized local shops were invented for just these situations.

Let’s take a large demographic of gift-givers as an example and give you some pointers: Guys, are you looking for something spectacular to give your wife, girlfriend, or significant other? Here are two local women's boutiques in Sacramento that have unique, quality clothing and gifts to offer. If you do a little homework before-hand, and take advantage of the personalized service that small shops offer while you are there, then you’ll have a really happy lady come gift-opening time!

Krazy Mary's

Krazy Mary's

Krazy Mary's

Ladies love Krazy Mary’s. (It’s located at 3230 Folsom Blvd. Run!!) Founded 15 years ago by Mary Kawano, a strong businesswoman with a fashion forward buying sense from Carmichael, her small shop is now a well-known and much larger boutique. They receive new shipments on a daily basis and only order 6 units per style which will make your gift really unique. You’ll need to go armed with some clues to help you. Dailee, a longtime staff-member and store manager at Krazy Mary’s suggests that you “Come in with a certain color that your wife might like or even a photo that you saw she liked.” What’s great is that Dailee has complete knowledge and understanding of their inventory and will give you one-on-one service to help you pick out a few items. There are lots of price points too, from $5 rings to items under $30 to much more elaborate gifts that will, “punch you back in the face when you open them.” (in a good way!) as Dailee puts it excitedly. Use your local resources and track down a piece that will really speak to her.

Heart Clothing Boutique

Heart Clothing Boutique

Heart Clothing Boutique

Heart Clothing Boutique

Heart Clothing Boutique

Heart Clothing Boutique

Or, if midtown is closer to you, Heart Clothing Boutique is another great option located at 1903 Capitol Avenue near the corner of 19th Street. Owner Vanessa Lopez is a true Sacramento native with a successful career in the fashion business and extensive knowledge of the contemporary clothing market. After studying in San Francisco at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and working for years in the industry, Vanessa opened Heart in 2010. It’s a small location but it’s packed with fun stuff! There are bold colors on the racks and large statements on the t-shirts. From locally made jewelry to internationally recognized brands, this “petite” boutique has so much to offer at various price points and in styles from casual to fancy. The week before Christmas is definitely when she sees a lot of the guys come in, but thankfully Vanessa is extremely friendly and knowledgeable about trends, so if you are a terrible gift-giver to the eclectic girl in your life, go ask for help! Your gal will be pleasantly surprised that you did.  Check out their website at

Best Boutiques in Sacramento!

There are also gift certificates available for both places, as well as the possibility of phone orders. So feel free to give them a call or check Facebook for a sampling of their offerings. Follow HEARTBOUTIQUE or KRAZYMARYS_SUGARSHACK on Instagram and see if your gal has reposted or liked anything online. In addition to purchasing a useful gift and beautiful piece of clothing that expresses her personality, you will show her that you put time and effort into a trip to the store just for her. The clothing at Sacramento’s local clothing boutiques is full of unique pieces that she’s sure to get compliments on... and when she does, she’ll think, “Wow, my guy is such a grand supporter of the local economy and hey, he knows my style as well!”