"Ornate" and "sweeping" only begin to describe the Crest Theatre, whose rich history extends back to 1912, when it was opened as a vaudeville house. Within its gargantuan auditorium, plush seats perch in subtly curved rows while elaborate lights and a sea-blue ceiling wash the space in ethereal hues. Moviegoers settle into the elegant confines to take in both new and classic films, reading the subtitles in a whisper to stuffed animals that forgot their glasses. Out in the lobby, a richly patterned carpet and bronzed floral motif cover the sprawling space as visitors belly up to the bar and snack on high-quality goodies.
Now celebrating its 17th anniversary, the Sacramento Art Festival continues to blossom as one of the country's top cultural jubilees with its periphery-stretching array of creations. This year's festival features 225 artists working a myriad of techniques, including painting, sculpting, ceramic making, printmaking, photographing, metalworking, stone crafting, and pyrokinetic blacksmithing. Forty-two painters display their works in oils, pastels, watercolors, and acrylics, while 25 ceramic artists unveil porcelain masterpieces. Meanwhile, 18 woodworkers whip out their exotic carvings, 12 sculptors find malleability in bronze, and 40 jewelers forge and fuse adornments. To boot, most of these artists are happy to share their tricks of the trade with attendees. The spirit of competition also adds to the glee of gawking, as all art is reviewed by a jury.
Throughout the day, art fans can feast on Restaurant Row's variety of Greek, Indian, and American grub while taking in the sounds of GG Amos Blues Bands and the Kurt Ribak Jazz Quartet. After eating, guests can watch the comedy jugglers and marvel at their ability to keep balls in the air without breaking any pottery.
After searching Sacramento to no avail for a venue where kids could explore their creative impulses, two moms took the matter into their own hands and set about constructing their ideal children's art space. Eschewing the formalized, expensive art classes they found elsewhere, the duo opened ArtBeast with the goal of providing kids aged seven and younger with a mind-opening playground. In the three-level building, children can roam free, playing musical instruments, splattering paint, or dressing up in a constantly rotating wardrobe of costumes. Regular classes inculcate un-self-conscious expression with more structured activities, helping toddlers create their own works of art based on favorite pieces of lint or introducing them to ballet in dance classes. Complimentary organic coffee keeps parents as energetic as their offspring, and the studio's month-long passes encourage guardians to stick around and bond with fellow caretakers of insane miniature people.
Each year, the Mainstage troupe stages seven challenging, emotion-evoking plays in an intimate theater setting. The current production, Old Love (running Aug. 1–Sept. 12), jumps back and forth through 25 years in the relationship of a salesman, Bud Mitchell, and his boss's wife, Molly Graham. The illicit infatuation is portrayed through scenes of sporadic encounters interspersed with heartfelt monologues and comedic moments both light and dark. Adult tickets for Friday-, Saturday-, and Sunday-evening shows are normally $30 (senior and student tickets are $28); Tuesday-, Wednesday-, and Thursday-evening shows are normally $25 (senior/student $23); and Wednesday matinees are normally $22 (senior/student $18). Check the schedule for showtimes, and put on your play-watching pilot's goggles for an evening of stellar stagework at B Street Theatre.