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Best of Sacramento 2011

(page 5 of 7)

PEOPLE

Best Maloof

Once upon a time, Joe and Gavin Maloof were kings among men in this town. But the fun-loving brothers went from Maloof to Magoof when they tried earlier this year to take our once-beloved basketball team down south to Anaheim. Who would have guessed that the best Maloof of all would be a tiny, blond-tressed, stiletto-heeled Beverly Hills Housewife? On her Bravo TV show, ADRIENNE MALOOF charms us with her no-nonsense, anti-mean-girl approach to life in the 90210. In Season 1, she brought her fellow housewives to town (via private plane, natch), where she treated the ladies to a meal at Grange. Afterward, they all trooped out to Power Balance Pavillion to shoot hoops, then catch a Kings game from courtside seats. Adrienne may have a private chef, a plastic surgeon husband and gazillions in the bank, but this is one down-to-earth gal. Mwah!  

Best Debut Novelist  
When a Sacramento-based author gets a first novel published, it’s cause for celebration. When that same author makes The New York Times best-seller list within two weeks of publication, it’s reason to have a parade. Such is the case with VANESSA DIFFENBAUGH, author of The Language of Flowers, a tale of a young woman named Victoria who ages out of foster care and has nowhere to go. Through her knowledge of floriography, the 19th century study of flower symbolism and meanings, Victoria finds love, forges a career and heals her past. Diffenbaugh, a longtime foster parent, used funds from her book deal to form Camellia Network, a nonprofit organization aimed at helping young adults transition out of foster care. Now living in Massachusetts with her family, she returned to Sacramento in late August to launch the nonprofit with a fundraiser, as well as promote the novel, which was written in midtown cafes and analyzed in local writing groups. Diffenbaugh is still beloved in Sacramento, if the rousing applause she received at her Tsakopoulos Library Galleria reading and book signing is any indication. “It’s exciting to be here, where I’m surrounded by people I love,” she said.

Best Local Maestro
MICHAEL NEUMANN knows how to make beautiful music. For 33 seasons, he’s taken bows as artistic director and conductor of the Sacramento Youth Symphony, leading the group in performances throughout the world. In 2004, he opened the Folsom Symphony’s first season as music director and conductor. Today, he juggles both symphonies with aplomb. According to Folsom Symphony board president Bruce Woodbury, the maestro brings exceptional talent to Folsom. “His vast network of connections and his overall expertise in music bring so much to our stage,” says Woodbury. “His reputation and style bring high-caliber musicians to the area. Performers love to work with him.”  

Best Local Leap to Hollywood
ANALEIGH TIPTON, former El Dorado Hills resident and St. Francis High School graduate, is redefining “triple threat”: A championship ice skater as a tween, she went on to be a finalist on “America’s Next Top Model” in 2008, then moved into acting. In 2011, she had roles in The Green Hornet and Crazy, Stupid, Love, working alongside box-office powerhouses Seth Rogen and Steve Carell, respectively. Her performance in Crazy, Stupid, Love as a teenage baby sitter with a crush on her employer garnered her an appearance on New York Times’ film critic Karen Durbin’s “Faces to Watch” list. It also landed her a starring role in Samaritan, scheduled for release in 2012. Last month, Season 3 of HBO’s comedy series “Hung” featured Tipton as a schizophrenic pimp, and she can be seen in the comedy Damsels in Distress alongside fellow Sacramentan Greta Gerwig.

 

Next page: Arts + Entertainment

(page 7 of 7)

CIVIC LIFE

Best New Infrastructure
“Bringing the outside in” was the central theme for the newly opened TERMINAL B at Sacramento International Airport. Through a well-thought-out mix of design elements, artwork and concessions, the masterminds behind Terminal B’s development have achieved their thematic goal. Designed by Corgan Associates, the new $1 billion terminal is divided into two parts: landside, where travelers check in, claim baggage and reunite with loved ones; and the airside concourse, where planes await at 19 gates to whisk people away for business or pleasure. A two-car “people mover” train transports up to 62 travelers between concourse and landside, with less than a minute between trains. Terminal B uses less energy, thanks to airy ceilings and large glass panels, filling the airside terminal with natural light during the day. Other eco-friendly elements include low-flush fixtures in the restrooms and trims made of recycled wood. The majority of the artwork commissioned for the terminal comes from Northern California artists, with pieces from Gregory Kondos, Joan Moment and Suzanne Adan representing Sacramento. But executing the theme didn’t stop with the building’s design: Travelers can nosh at locally based concessions that include Old Soul, Esquire Grill and Cafeteria 15L, while “Good Day Sacramento” and The Sacramento Bee host retail shops. Seating areas at each gate are comfortable and come equipped with USB ports and outlets for business travelers. With a terminal like this, it’s almost worth a security pat-down.

Best Volunteer Idea
Caring for public parks throughout Sacramento has been low on the city government’s priority list for several years, with budgets being slashed dramatically and maintenance crews dwindling. But that doesn’t mean the parks have been forgotten: In neighborhoods throughout the city, residents are establishing volunteer corps to ensure their parks stay well-groomed and clean. One group, LAND PARK VOLUNTEER CORPS , keeps the area’s busiest public park looking good, with monthly volunteer crews coming through William Land Park to perform tasks once handled by park employees: planting, trimming, pond cleanup, etc. Another group, FRIENDS OF FREMONT PARK, reclaimed its park from drug dealers and prostitutes by convincing the city to lock the public restrooms. These cleanup crews are doing a great job—and they’re happy to do it. As Land Park Volunteer Corps founder Craig Powell says, “It’s fun, it’s healthy, and it helps our community.”

Best Urban Revival Project
It’s been a heckuva year for K STREET MALL. The opening of Pizza Rock, Dive Bar and District 30 made K Street Mall a new hotspot for eats, drinks and dancing. New hanging planters, benches and other landscaping features have added to K Street’s beauty quotient. But this month, the return of cars to the previously pedestrian-only mall may take the area to a whole new level of hustle. While the area has seen more foot traffic in the past year, the addition of cars opens up the space to many more people, according to Lisa Martinez, director of marketing and outreach for Downtown Sacramento Partnership. “It’s part of our long-term vision,” says Martinez. Next up: developing the 700-800 block of K Street, where a mixed-use project includes the addition of 100-plus residential units with ground-floor retailers and a live music venue.

Best Green Idea
Thanks to a federal grant, Priority Parking president Aaron Zeff was able to install ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS charging stations in two publicly accessible locations in Sacramento last year. The stations are part of the ChargePoint Network, which uses mobile apps to help EV owners find free or low-cost charging anywhere in the country. EV drivers visiting downtown can juice up at Harv’s Car Wash at 19th and L streets or at the Priority Parking garage at Ninth and L. Business was slow at first, says Zeff, but now there’s someone charging his or her car every day. One user is Stockton resident Catherine Kearney, who frequently charges her Nissan Leaf at Harv’s while she attends meetings nearby. When her car is fully charged, the ChargePoint system notifies her with a text message, so she can move her vehicle and allow another EV driver to “refuel.” “Sacramento is on the verge of taking the next step and really contributing to the planet,” says Kearney. “I’d love to see it become the green city it could be.” Expect to see more EV charging stations installed throughout the city in the coming year.

Best Civic-Minded Blog
Sometimes, the best ideas come under duress. In 2008, when business reporter Jon Ortiz was approached by his editor at The Sacramento Bee to come up with a blog concept focused on state workers, he resisted. “I thought it would beso narrow, and I wasn’t a big believer in blogs,” he admits. By choosing to focus on how state politics affects state employees, Ortiz laid the groundwork for The Bee’s STATE WORKER BLOG. A little over three years later, the blog has established itself as an information resource for the 220,000-plus state workers it serves. “It consistently is one of our best-read blogs,” says Bee executive editor Joyce Terhaar. Ortiz’s e-mail overflows with messages ranging from complaints about stinky colleagues to tip-offs on fraud. When he’s on vacation, his readers use the comments section as a virtual town square where they can share information, which is just fine with Ortiz. “I view myself as a conductor, and the people using the blog are the ones who drive it.” blogs.sacbee.com/the_state_worker/

Best Idea To Get Sacramento Reading
Anyone who wants to quickly launch a project can learn a thing or two from the Sacramento Public Library. At the end of February, the library received a grant from the California State Library to purchase and circulate E-READERS to library patrons. By April 10, the e-readers were loaded with content and ready to be checked out. Early response was staggering, with hold queues surpassing 200 requests within a couple of weeks of the program’s launch. Currently there are 300 e-readers in circulation, all of them dedicated to a specific genre or interest, such as Best-sellers, Biography, Teen and Science Fiction. Each e-reader is preloaded with 20 books, though the Best-sellers e-readers include more than 40 titles to account for new releases. When a second batch of e-readers was added, the library system set aside 60 of the devices to serve as “Lucky Day” items, giving patrons visiting a branch the opportunity to check out an e-reader without having to place a hold. The program’s success has made the Sacramento Public Library a leader among libraries nationwide: The team behind the project is now educating other library systems on how to implement e-reader lending programs of their own. Sacramentans wanting to request an e-reader can stop by their local branch or visit the website and search for Nook. saclibrary.org

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