By Breannah Charles

It’s Thursday night. Are you like me? I’m dreaming of the times we dressed up and headed out with friends, gathered at the Crocker Art Museum to listen to captivating music, get creative, down a cocktail (or two), dance like fools, and get inspired by the bold performers of Sacramento? Instead I’m changing from my daytime sweats into my nighttime pajamas, and curling up on my couch with a glass of wine to watch the next movie on my ever-growing list.

Working in Education at the Crocker, I have seen plenty of ArtMix themes. There is a recipe to the magic of these nights: A dash of fine art, a scoop of rocking musicians, a heavy sprinkling of fiery dancers, acrobats, or actors — maybe even a burlesque showcase if you’re feeling spicy — and a bucket of the night’s signature cocktails.

ArtMix: Dark Cabaret. Photo by Skye Bergen

Sacramento has a wealth of uncommon visual and performing artists, and I’ve had the privilege of working with many of them to create unforgettable nights. So now as part of our Thursday Nights In series, I would like to bring a little bit of ArtMix to your evening.

The Recipe

First, we need some tunes to set the mood! Unfortunately, we don't have a DJ tonight. However, we do have a Spotify playlist, here. Now you can dance like no one is watching, because it’s true!

Next, we need a cocktail – how about a quarantini? I can feel spring breaking through those gray winter clouds and that makes me want one thing — citrus! I'm inspired by the Italian classic, an Aperol Spritz. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 ounces of Prosecco
  • 2 ounces of Aperol
  • 1 ounce of soda water
  • Orange slice, for garnish

Simply mix all these ingredients in a glass with ice — or mug, no judgement here — and Bam! Boozy spring-time delicious-ness is in your hand.

We’ve got our music and our drinks. What’s missing? Our artists! Every year we work with more than 150 different visual and performing artists for ArtMix alone, so I asked a few to share with us what makes them awesome. (The following interviews were edited for length and clarity.)

Kat Boston, Rebel Aerial

Kat Boston at ArtMix Kinetic. Photo by George Young.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m Kat Boston; third generation Sacramentan, business owner, professional aerialist, and firefighter.

Rebel Aerial is my aerial entertainment company, and when I perform at the Crocker I collaborate with fellow professional aerialist, Monica Padilla.

What do you do?

— What do I do... That is such a simple question with a complex answer. The short of it is I am an aerialist. My favorite apparatus are the aerial silks and chain. I find myself inspired every time I am invited for an ArtMix theme. My goal is to make the audience feel something while they’re watching, and to connect with them from the ground to 30’ in the air.

Where can folk see more of your work?

Due to the current pandemic all Rebel Aerial works in progress are on hold. But past creations and photos taken by awesome Sacramento photographers can be found on the socials, @rebel_aerial and @kbostonstrong_aerial, as well as my website.

My goal is to make the audience feel something while they’re watching, and to connect with them from the ground to 30’ in the air.

Being an art museum, we’ve got to ask, do you have a favorite artist or kind of art?

I have a lot of favorite artists! My top two would be Obey Giant (@obeygiant) and Tara McPherson (@taramcpherson)!

Favorite stories from the Crocker?

The Crocker isn’t just a Sacramento museum, it is a hub for supporting local artists and getting the community involved. I can say with all sincerity that each ArtMix is a vivid memory for me. One that was particularly electrifying was performing “Zombie” on silks for ArtMix Kinetic. That audience was so pumped, and so loud it felt like the ground shook.

What animal would you be?

If I were to be an animal it would be a feline variety. They’re kind of the best all around in my opinion.

The Big Poppies

Image courtesy of the band

What is your art and what inspires you to do it?

There is something unique about the raw feeling being on stage giving the sound your all and working as a team to create something bigger than the individual. Being able to channel emotions and energy through our instruments and each other gives a feeling of connection between us on stage and the people who are enthusiastic about the progressive blues rock we perform.

Where can folks hear more of your music?

Currently you can find The Big Poppies music on most platforms, like Spotify and Apple Music, and Bandcamp, where you can find more information about our records.

Do you have any favorite stories from the Crocker?

At a previous ArtMix [ArtMix: Wonderland] event, we couldn't help but be shocked and joyful from how many members were in costume with the theme.

It makes us happy and proud a community can come together, creating a social norm to celebrate in a style that doesn't limit individuality, but celebrates every unique aspect a theme can conjure within different people.

Do you like pineapple on pizza?

We like pineapple on pizza, but really love goat cheese, just maybe not together.

The Big Poppies are composed of Max Van Dyke on guitar and vocals, Julian Dean an all rounder with keys, guitar and trumpet, Chris Preston on drums and Ari Schwartz on bass. We hail from Winters and Davis, and have slowly migrated to Sacramento. The Big Poppies were slated to play at ArtMix: Snap!

Chacha Burnadette, The Darling Clementines

Portrait by Chris Morairty Photography

Who is ChaCha Burnadette?

ChaCha is a spicy New Mexican transplant living in Northern California, and leader of the burlesque and variety show The Darling Clementines, in the capital city of Sacramento. She is hilarious on the mic as The Darling Clementine’s emcee and main squeeze and uses her stage time to inspire people to feel good about themselves, fight the patriarchy, and support causes near and dear to her heart. She is also an educator and has been teaching burlesque and movement for several years in hopes to spread the fulfillment and transformative power of burlesque to her community.

Tell us about your art.

I am a seasoned burlesque performer, emcee, standup comedian, photographer, and event producer in Sacramento. I am also proud to work for Mondavi Center in the artist services department. Performance and art is all around me and is truly my passion.

My art consists of movement and visual story telling through the art form of burlesque. I strive to create an atmosphere that is open minded, supportive, and accepting of all our diversity.

The many times I’ve worked with the Crocker has always resulted in connecting with more folks in our community and an evening of utter delight.

Favorite artist or artwork?

I LOOOOVE FRIDA KAHLO! Being a queer Latina from the Southwest I can’t help but identify and love Frida and her incredible work.

Favorite Crocker stories?

Every time we perform at Crocker it’s a different experience which is what makes ArtMix so fun! I’ve performed acts inspired by actual art pieces in the museum and have had the honor to host and emcee for other fabulous local talent. The many times I’ve worked with Crocker has always resulted in connecting with more folks in our community and an evening of utter delight. It is a gift to have an institution like Crocker making such an effort to showcase and support local artists.

There you have it! While we may not be out discovering new experiences tonight, I hope you can appreciate all thejoys artists have brought to your life. Let’s raise a toast to the talented artists, musicians and performers of Sacramento. Bottoms up!

Top Image: ArtMix Combust Runway, 2020

About the Author: Breannah Charles works as the Public Programs Coordinator at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California where she coordinates ArtMix and the Museum’s other music programs such as Jazz Night and AudioMuse. She holds a B.A. in Art Education from Sacramento State University, and previously worked as an Educator in Crocker Art Museum’s School & Teacher Programs team.