Let’s be real here: A large part of Sacramento is gentrifying. The downtown area in particular has what I call a growing “douche economy”—I’m talking about clubs and lounges with expensive cover charges, VIP rooms and bottle services that appeal to rich douchebags. I’m afraid it won’t be long before the “cowtown” character we’ve loved to hate for so long makes way for hipsters shopping at Whole Foods and watching indie-rock superstars at the new arena. This week however, there’s still plenty of cowntown-ish stuff happening—literally stuff that Americana-loving cowboys might hella like.
For example, let’s start with the current arena, Sleep Train Arena (even though it’s still Arco Arena to us), where the Professional Bull Riders’ Built Ford Tough Series visits from Friday, January 31, through Saturday, February 1. This competition brings with it the top 35 professional bull riders in the world trying to ride bucking bulls for eight seconds. But first—no joke—it begins with “pyrotechnics, explosions and flames.” Friday, it starts at 8 p.m. and Saturday, at 6:50 p.m. Tickets are $17.50-$102.50 and Sleep Train Arena (www.sleeptrainarena.com) is located at 1 Sports Parkway.
Speaking of the arena, country fans can return on Wednesday, February 4, to see superstar singer-songwriter Eric Church with opener Halestorm. The chart-topping country star is known for his aviator sunglasses and badass persona as well as his rock-influenced sound and support for medicinal marijuana. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets cost $31.38-$67.60.
There’s other cool country-esque stuff to catch elsewhere, too. An exhibit called See That Lonesome Whistle Blow at the California State Railroad Museum (www.csrmf.org) closes Saturday. It’s a wide variety of train-themed collectibles that were once popular in American culture. The museum, located at 125 I Street, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and tickets are $5-$10.
Lastly, an interesting reading event happens on Wednesday, February 4, that a straight-talking cowboy might like to attend. At 7 p.m., a group called the Straight Talk Story Tellers will host a storytelling event at Belle Cooledge Library, 5600 South Land Park Drive. The theme is “Anything Goes,” but there’s no reading allowed; the stories must all be memorized. It’s free and open to adults and high-schoolers.
The following is some other stuff happening this week:
Friday, January 30
If you’ve only recently come across comedian John Mulaney’s work via his recent TV show Mulaney, I get that you might not be convinced—“The ratings have not been good, but luckily the reviews have also not been good,” as he puts it. But the five-year Saturday Night Live veteran’s standup is widely lauded and more importantly, very funny, and a chance to see him at a venue like the Crest shouldn’t be missed. $29.50, 6:30 pm at the Crest Theatre, 1013 K Street; www.johnmulaney.com.
Everything Fun Run
Saturday, January 31
Wacky themed runs are all the rage these days; and, why not enhance an otherwise boring 5K with some zombies or crazy neon colors? What if you could have every fun idea imaginable in one single 5K: mud, costumes, techno, foam, color, straw, barbed crawl wire, zombies? The Everything Fun Run has all of this. You’ll be having so much fun, you won’t even realize you’re running. $15-$42, 8 a.m. at Granite Regional Park, 8181 Cucamonga Avenue; www.everythingfunrun.com.
Polar Plunge: Freezin’ For a Reason
Saturday, January 31
The Sacramento community will come together for a cold swim and benefit event for former Southgate Parks and Recreation lifeguard Nick Rouse. The Citrus Heights resident became a quadriplegic in a rope-swing accident at the Guy West Pedestrian Bridge in 2008. His family seeks support for Nick’s medical expenses related to his injury. Participants will enjoy entertainment, food and prizes. $20, 9 a.m. at Fruitridge Community Center, 4000 Fruitridge Road; www.southgaterecandpark.net.
King and Queen of Carnaval 2015
Saturday, January 31
If you’re a big fan of Brazilian culture or would like to see some live samba, you are hereby summoned to attend this event. This non-profit organization has been putting on live events and trying to add more Brazilian flair to the Sacramento valley for years. Come support the cause and enjoy traditional Brazilian food (feijoada) as well as the country’s ever-so-popular rum drink, the caipirinha. $8-$10, 6 p.m. at Brazilian Center for Cultural Exchange, 3313 Julliard Drive; www.braziliancentersac.org.
Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne: Paris 1880-1910
Sunday, February 1, through Sunday, April 26
For 30 years, Paris was the avante-garde artistic center. This exhibition focuses on the city’s paintings, theatre programs, ephemera and zinc shadow puppet silhouettes and brings together nearly 190 works of Toulouse-Lautrec, Mary Cassatt, Charles Lacoste, the Naturalists, Symbolists, Incohérents and Nabis. $10, various times at the Crocker Art Museum, 216 O Street; www.crockerartmuseum.org.