Sacramento, We’re Ready For Your Close-up

Our little corner of California has been pretty busy lately dishing up some major league talent to the world of movies, television and music.

By kncitom on January 24, 2018

By Tom Mailey

I was kind of spacing out the other day–which happens frequently–when it dawned on me: our little corner of California has been pretty busy lately dishing up some major league talent to the world of movies, television and music. Once I re-focused, I decided to put together this list, and it is pretty impressive when you realize all of these Sacramento area natives have just sort of come into their own nationally over past few years. Here ya go….

The wonderful movie “Ladybird” is up for 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and a Best Director nod to St. Francis grad Greta Gerwig–who says she has more stories about her hometown that she wants to tell, and we can’t wait to see them.

Three young friends from Carmichael will be making their big screen debut as themselves on February 9th in Clint Eastwood’s 15:17 To Paris. Apparently, one of Hollywood’s biggest badasses ever thought what boyhood friends Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler did to thwart a terror attack on a French train was so badass nobody could play them better than they could play themselves.

With a Golden Globe award and two Academy Award nominations, Actress Jessica Chastain, a 1995 graduate of El Camino high school, has done an amazing job solidifying her place as one of Hollywood’s finest young actresses after her breakout performance in 2012’s Zero Dark Thirty.

A graduate of Jesuit, Chris Sullivan is a co-star in one of TV’s biggest shows (ratings AND cast-wise), This Is Us. On it, he plays Toby, which is quite a stretch from his previous gig: the voice of the Geico “Hump Day” camel.

Meanwhile, on the music front, Dixon’s Jon Pardi will play a homecoming show February 8th at the Golden One Center, opening for Miranda Lambert. And then, just announced this week, he’ll stay out on the road this spring and summer as part of Luke Bryan’s What Makes You Country tour (no Sacramento dates yet but we’ll keep ya posted).

Also in music, Yuba City’s Tyler Rich just signed a recording deal with one of Nashville’s hottest labels, Big Machine Records (home to folks like, oh, Justin Moore, Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift). A female country trio, Auburn Road, has been signed to play Stagecoach and rumored to be closing in on a Nashville record deal. Although she grew up in the Bay Area, we could also claim Cam, given that she studied at UC/Davis and worked as a waitress on one of the old riverfront riverboats. And of course Orangevale’s Devin Dawson just released his debut album Dark Horse this past week, and to excellent reviews; Apple Music says he has a “keen ear for turning a phrase”, Sounds Like Nashville declare that it’s “altogether an outstanding release” and none other than Rolling Stone said it’s a “simmering mix” of country and R&B. Meanwhile, his first cut from that album, “All on Me” just reached the country music top ten.

Throw in our Farm-to-Fork ethos, our amazing craft beer scene, and the fact the aforementioned Golden 1 Center was just named one of the top 15 venues in the United States and one of the top 40 in the world and suddenly we’ve kinda gone from Cow-Town to Now-Town.

Sorry, that was super corny. That also came to me while I was spacing out.

Of course the Sacramento region has produced plenty of high profile citizens in the past– Max Baer Jr. (Jethro on Beverly Hillbillies), Levar Burton, Sam Elliot, Timothy B. Shmidt, Lee Greenwood, Colin Hanks, Joan Didion, Adrienne Barbeau, Lynn Anderson, the late Kevin Sharp, just to name a few. And that’s not even including athletes (Urijah Faber, Teddy Bruschi, Bill Cartwright, Mark Spitz, etc, etc)!

But this? Right now?

It feels different. It feels like Sacramento and the surrounding region is finding its footing as a place both culturally and artistically. It feels like there’s been a lot of good things simmering here for awhile (given our summers, that could almost be taken literally) and at last, the rest of the world is finally getting a taste. And that’s pretty damned cool.



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