Equity Lab: Lavender Heights Reopens, In The Heights Premiere


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It’s Wednesday June 30th, 2021 and that’s Alex Yoon-Hendricks.

I dipped my toe deeper in the water of life after the vaccination and entered the heart of Sacramento nightclub culture earlier this month – Lavender Heights, or Badlands, to be precise.

June is Pride Month, which is why it felt almost by accident to Johnathan Cameron, general manager of the gay bar, when it was announced that California’s economy would reopen in the middle of the month.

“It’ll be interesting to see,” Cameron told me. “We don’t use the word drunk, we call it festive. Because legally you can’t have people drunk in a bar. But I think people will forget how to act. We know we’re going to be full, so we’re just going to be very careful with it. “

When I visited a few Fridays ago, I was amused by what a squishy mix of pandemic-era practices and the freedoms of hot Vax summer the Lavender Heights scene had become. The drag show was performed in a former parking lot. The dance floor was filled with tables and chairs. It was still a bar that only accepted cash payments. Dozens of rentable scooters lined the corner.

I was intrigued by how Sacramento will look and feel different this summer. Like the aesthetics of the city itself.

For example, the city’s al fresco dining scene – the decks on sidewalks, barriers along the street parking lots, and cordoned off streets – will be here at least until next summer. The program now has 122 restaurants on board, according to the city, to help them weather the pandemic when indoor eating was banned.

And the city’s slow street program – which limits vehicle traffic on certain residential streets to encourage walking and cycling – will be piloted next month, with the goal of potentially making some permanent. In the spring, when I was particularly sad about the slow introduction of the vaccine and the (then) impossibility of a reopening summer, I lazily cycled the car-free streets near my house. (Streets in Oak Park, Meadowview, and Tahoe Park are currently closed nowif you haven’t checked already.)

For the next several months I will keep an eye on how COVID-19 continues to permeate our lives, both large and small. If you see anything interesting, please let me know! DM at me Twitter, or you can email me at [email protected]

What else you need to know this week:

Must-read stories


    Depending on your income, you may be eligible for a federal program that will install free upgrades in your home.

    These upgrades are designed to limit wasted energy consumption and reduce your impact on the climate.

    “The program is free to homeowners or renters,” said Eric Esquivel, energy director for Community Resource Project Inc. in Sacramento. “The aim is to help poor residents and especially senior citizens with a steady income.”

    [Read more here]


    Folsom residents and visitors to Negro Bar, a California State Historic Park, continue to debate whether the name of the park should include “Negro” in its title.

    Michael Harris is a board member of the Sacramento Historical Society. He says it’s not the word but the story behind it.

    “This place is the last place that can be seen in the context of the gold rush era [Black] People were here, ”said Harris.

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    The former CEO of Fresno’s Black Chamber of Commerce was recently appointed to head the office of Small Business Advocates by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

    As a former small business owner, Gray has worked in small business support for 25 years.

    “We have had a small business crisis across the economy, but the crisis presents an opportunity and I think this is where we are now,” Gray told The Sacramento Bee.

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More interesting reading

What we’re watching (and so should you!)

The movie “In The Heights” (which has a fun, summery splash with glaring flaws) just out in theaters and on HBO Max. But what I recommend is actually an episode of the PBS documentary TV show “Great Performances” about the production of the original Broadway musical.

I remember watching this hour-long episode, aptly titled “In The Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams,” when I was in high school for my Spanish class. It’s hard to emphasize how groundbreaking and exciting “In The Heights” was in 2008, weaving hip hop, samba and salsa and more into a colorful story about family and home.

This was Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first show before “Hamilton” got famous and all that followed. There’s something incredibly charming about seeing Miranda running up and down the theater with an issue of TIME magazine and sharing a newly published article about the musical with everyone he meets.

The PBS documentary interweaves performances from the original Broadway show with a behind-the-scenes look at the choreography, stage construction and show writing. I love vignettes of personal stories that the show’s actors and creators share. They are parents and daughters and former athletes and weirdos. Some are Broadway veterans, others have never been to Broadway. Everyone is simply excited to be part of something new, but also to feel seen and appreciated by a show that is unmistakable. “Latino explosion. “

The full PBS episode was made posted on youtube in several parts.

Where to find us

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Thanks for reading and see you again next week!

Do you like this newsletter? Forward to a friend and help us get the word out. You can sign up here.

Orizo Hajigurban is an engagement reporter for The Sacramento Bee and The Bee’s Equity Lab. She was introduced to McClatchy through the Instagram Local News Fellowship in 2020, where she managed the Charlotte Observer’s Instagram. She studied broadcast journalism and psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University and has a background in television reporting and the medical field.
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