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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
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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
Best Way To Add Sizzle to Your Life
SIZZLING SIRENS, a sensuous all-woman dance troupe, has been bringing va va voom to Sacramento since 2008, performing everywhere from the Crocker Art Museum to Harlow’s. Make a night of it and check out the The Siren Show at RESTAURANT THIR13EN, which features live jazz and blues from the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, themed cocktails and an optional themed dinner. Another option? Fishnet Friday, a burlesque-themed dance party that takes place every first Friday at Marilyn’s on K. Want to get your own sizzle on? Take a class at Burlesque Academy. Private and group lessons are available. sizzlingsirensburlesque.com
Best Way To See Artistsin Their Natural Habitat
To the layperson, art making can be a mysterious process. CAPITOL ARTISTS' STUDIO TOUR gives Sacramentans a chance to see what an artist’s life is like behind the scenes. Held every September by the Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, the free, self-guided two-day event allows you to tour 150 working artists’ studios and see for yourself how the magic happens. The art on display covers a wide spectrum, with textiles, furniture and sculpture among the offerings. “There’s something for every style,” says CCAS board member Cheryl Holben. The center encourages attendees to start their art collections by purchasing original works, many of which cost less than framed reproductions at major retailers. (916) 498-9811; ccasac.org
Best Alternative to the Multiplex
Sacramento isn’t a top-tier city when it comes to attracting independent films. So Robert McKeown and his wife, DeeAnn Little, started MOVIES ON A BIG SCREEN to bring documentaries, indie flicks and the occasional cult classic to town. Screenings have been held at different venues over the past five years that MOBS has been in existence, but for now they’re on Sunday nights at Oak Park’s Guild Theater. Tickets to most films are just $5. McKeown cites positive audience feedback as a reason why MOBS endures. “Our tagline is ‘We’re 5 years old and it’s all your fault,’” he says. The pair hope to add a second movie night. moviesonabigscreen.com
Best Band To Watch
When we first heard the name SISTER CRAYON, we thought we’d stumbled upon a children’s band. But one listen to the band’s ethereal, sometimes haunting
music and we were properly schooled. The band—Terra Lopez, Dani Fernandez and Jeffrey LaTour—put heart, soul and sometimes sweat into their live appearances. They have a solid fan base in Sac, and they love their fans back. Sister Crayon posted the following on its Facebook page after one Sacramento appearance this summer: “Thank you, thank you, thank you Sacramento. You never disappoint. Truly humbled and honored for your energy and support tonight. 916 got moves.” The Sammie-award winning band is currently touring, so you might not catch it here until next year. In the meantime, check out Bellow, its first full-length album under the Manimal Vinyl Records label.
Best Splashy New Arts Center
Not too shabby for a theater that was conceived as a gathering ground for students to show off their performance skills. Since its opening in February with A Chorus Line, THREE STAGES AT FOLSOM LAKE COLLEGE has drawn the Joffrey Ballet, Hal Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight!, Gloria Steinem, Harlem Gospel Choir, Rosanne Cash and other top touring acts. The complex also is a venue for professional groups closer to home, such as the Sacramento Ballet and Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, and youthful productions such as those of El Dorado Musical Theatre and Northern California Dance Conservatory. With three performance spaces—847-seats, 207-seats and 95-seats—there’s enough room to fulfill the original mission of showcasing college performances. This season, expect to see FLC’s Afro-Cuban Funk Band’s Jazz After Dark (Nov. 18), Monty Python’s Spamalot (Nov. 17 to 19) and Folsom Symphony’s A Joyful Celebration (Dec. 11) among other inspiring shows.
Best High School Touring Company
We’re busting with pride that MIRA LOMA HIGH SCHOOL was invited to perform at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival this past August. It’s not an easy gig to get: The school was one of 1,500 U.S. schools nominated and, following an arduous audition, one of only 50 nationwide selected to attend the fest. In Scotland, Mira Loma’s thespians performed Almost, Maine by John Cariani, “a romantic comedy with magic realism,” according to the school’s theater instructor Nikki Schallig-Weil. “It’s very American, which is why we decided to bring it.”
Best Usable Art
Fans of TWO ACCORDIONS quilts should be grateful that founders Joe Gallegos and Ruth Hansen met. The duo creates handsome, streamlined designs with a retro, ’60s mod feel, featuring abstract patterns in vivid colors. “Our goal is to keep our quilts simple and original,” says Gallegos, who was inspired by a tattered quilt made years earlier by his grandmother. Once he and Hansen started dating, he shared with her his vision for crafting modern, usable quilts. And these quilts are most definitely usable: Yoga mats and picnic quilts are among the styles they offer. Gallegos performs what he calls the “construction process,” which includes cutting and piecing the fabric, while Hansen sews the pieces together and adds their signature stitch design at the very end. The quilts can be found only at Scout Living on 18th Street while the quilting duo works on building up an inventory. twoaccordions.com
Next page: Civic Life