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Photo Recap: Superfriends! AKA Our Returning Artists.

September 23, 2011

Let’s start the photo recap party!

For those who would like another taste, or for those who may have missed the show (shame on you!) we’re gonna take a tour of the artwork displayed by our returning artists. If you would like to schedule and in-person tour, we’re accepting tour/sales requests at for the next week or so. To view more works by the artists you can also click on the artist names for their websites.

Marianne Bland and her interview here.

Marianne Bland's "Social"

Poem Block Set, Each Were $20

Molly Brown and her interview here.

"Rockstar" -- One of My Personal Favorites!

Beautiful Handblown Glass Roses, sold for $20 each!

Andrew Cain his interview here.

"No Regrests" by Andrew Cain -- Sold!

"No Salvation," "Division," "Reapers" (His $20 Series)

Angela Casagrande! Unfortunately, her previous March show predated our artist interviews, we’ll have to rectify that if/when she shows at another Homecoming Show (yes we plan on more!).

Series of Casagrande Photos from Her Visit to the UK

From Her Roswell Series, trunk of her prints ranging from $20-30

Tina Horton and her interview here.

Some Pieces From Her "Hair" Series

$5 Dollar Prints From the Series

Jim Marxen and his interview here.

Jim Marxen, Beautifu Pieces In Our Upstairs Room!


Another Piece, Jim Also Had Various $20 prints.


We hope those of you who attended our 1st Homecoming show had an amazing time, we know we did! See you all in October! It’s rolling up sooner than you may think!


Photo Recap: You!

September 23, 2011

What a weekend!

We continue the Photo Recap with the heart and soul of our Revel shows — you!

Some Guests Enjoying Art in the Main Room

Crowd Gathers to Listen to Music on the Back Patio -- Look Carefully, The Speak Low (Rolando Valesquez) is listening!

A Young Revel Fan Enjoying Some of Andrew Cain's Work!

Discussing Some of Tina Horton's Work

Enjoying the Revel Bar (Proceeds Go to Help Pay for Future Shows)! Definitely Carded These Young Women!

Looking Through Some Casagrande Prints for Sale! Every Artist Had Multiple Pieces for $20 or less!

On the Stairwell Viewing Works by Marianne Bland. Further Up There Was Flash Fiction by David Semonchik and Julia Halprin-Jackson


Family Enjoying Tunes in Our Back Patio


Artist Marianne Bland (Who Showed Upstairs with Jim Marxen) Listening While Enjoying the Comfort of Our Kitchen

Music Sounding Better On the Floor! Enjoying The Speak Low's Set

Two of our volunteers drawing in the crowds from 20th and L -- Thanks Guys!



September 2011 Photo Recap: Catering & Music!

September 15, 2011

While the focus is always on the art, the September Homecoming show saw more than just returning visual artists. The wonderful Jenn Garison returned to donate some of her tasty desserts to the show!

Once again Wildlands Bake Shop made hundreds of pieces of dessert for us, and after we closed our doors, only three remained (one for each Revel staff member!). You can read our interview with owner Jenn Garrison here and order some of her goods for a special occasion (or just because you deserve it!) here. I know I’ll definitely be ordering some of the mint chocolate chip bars soon!

Mint Chocolate Chip Bars

Once again, a big thanks from the Revel staff goes out to Wildlands!

Crowd Gathers to Listen to Music on the Back Patio

The Speak Low also returned to help organize the musical line-up for this show. First up….Wannabe Barnaby!

Next we had the delightful Sandra Dolores.

Stephen March who also played our June Show along with The Speak Low batted third in this line-up.

Then the man himself, The Speak Low played indoors in our final hour! Revel wishes him all the best in his move to further his career in Southern California!

Please support the musicians and caterers in our Revel family! If you would like to learn more about future Revel shows, please join our newsletter! We only send out 3 e-mails per show and will NEVER share your information with anyone else. If you’d like to join please email us at with the subject “Newsletter.”

See you in October!

September 2011 Art Show Preview: Interview with Jennifer Garrison of Wildlands Bakeshop

September 8, 2011

Wildlands Bake Shop Truffles

If you would like to view the full menu and order some goodies from Wildlands Bake Shop please click here. Revel Alvin recently purchased and recommends the Black Bottom Pecan Tart.

As some of you may have heard through the Revel newsletter, our September 2011 show celebrates the first six months of our show, bringing back six of our favorite artists and musicians. Also returning, is Jenn Garrison, owner of Wildlands Bakeshop. When she donated her sweets to our June show we were delighted by the great amount and types of treats she had ready for us. Little did we know, all of them would be in the bellies of our guests and friends long before the night was over! Here is an interview Revel Alvin did with Jenn regarding her passion for baking while enjoying some suds at Pangaea Brewery.

REVEL: What sets Wildlands apart?

As much as possible I get everything local. I have an egg guy who can deliver to me, most of my stuff I get from farmer markets or from really high-quality sources. However, that aside,  I have these science degrees, and everyone says baking is chemistry, and it is! If you can understand that chemistry you can create stuff that’s outside of the norm.

Now that you know the rules, you know how you can bend them.

I can look at a recipe, and sometimes you just have to try it flat out, and other times you can tweak if you know what each ingredient is doing in the recipe. So, I just made this zucchini coconut bread, kind of tastes heavy, kind of tastes green. I ended up adding flaked coconut and coconut cream, did some alterations to ratios, ended up with a white cake that looks more like a pound cake, high, flavorful, with this flavor you may not point out as coconut; it’s just really lush. Stuff like that, to me it’s easy.

But ultimately,  we live these really busy lives, and we never seems to treat ourselves to sweet — one of my taglines is “Everday Goodness and Special Occasions” I like to provide things for people that’s a little decadent a little lush, add something sweet, truly sweet to their day.

Have you found that the more experimental, “bending the rules” recipes sell better or is it more of the comfort sweets?

Some of it is definitely comfort. For the longest time people would give me recipes from their moms, their aunts, their great-grandmothers. In those there’s no guarantees how it’s going to turn out, there’s a bit of that.

Last Thanksgiving I made something like 100 pumpkin pies. My take is a pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate ganache on the top. That’s my version — some people like that, some people don’t.  My Mexican hot chocolate brownies, I made it for people who love that spice, it’s one of my best selling items. So I think people do like the “thinking outside of the box.”

But people can be picky also, you have to state things you neverthought you had to state. Like, “my brownies are more fudgey gooey, than cakey.”


 There are very firm camps.

No! You have to have the gooey ones! Cakey is no fun, it’s just dry.

My brownies if you pull them apart you can see the sugar strings. I no longer buy brown sugar. I make my own, depending on the recipe I have four different brown sugars (also 3 different cinnamons, Sri Lankan, Chinese, Standard). I have a special molasses I get from the deep south, the same that my grandmother and great-grandmother used to use and based on that and different sugar ratios I make my own brown sugar.

It’s like a savory cook and salts.


It does really adds something. I’ve made a bunch of different truffles, especially near Christmas. I go after high quality boozes like Four Roses Bourbon and it’s mostly because I was traveling along the bourbon trail with my sister and we came across it. We had never heard of it so we stopped in, and it had such an amazing flavor, this had hints of vanilla and oak. 

I also make one truffle that I take crystallized ginger and let it sit in the cream overnight.Ernest Hemingway had a drink he loved called the Dark and Stormy and this truffle is based on that. The truffle is a hit of rum, a hint of ginger, I toss it in very fine almonds — I can’t keep those in stock. A lot of things I make have some sort of sentimentality base. I’m inspired by my friends, my neighborhood, my travels.


What does baking mean to you, how did you start getting interested in it, or when did you take it from an occasional thing, but really develop it and make your own mark.

One of my jobs in college was to work as a night baker for a restaurant, so I made 10 different types of bread, cheesecake, and cookies. It would be late at night, the music would be on — no one would be there. Quiet. It was the only true quiet I would get in my day — there was something about that.

Fast forward a few years, I would ask people what they would want for their birthdays. I baked for friends and family, and a year ago, last Thanksgiving I heard loaves and fishes needed donations, so I posted on facebook that I was going to take orders on pie. I asked “who wants pies,” listed six, and said “get your orders in now.” I received 200 some orders, so (1) it was profitable, but (2) I was able to use the profits to donate about 70 pies to loaves and fishes. And that was the impetus for all of this. Then people started to ask for stuff!

Is there a receipe that’s special for you?

I made these cupcakes for friends of mine, based on ones I made in a dream. I used bulted salted caramel and put it in each cupcake and put old school cocoa frosting on them.

Each time I write a recipe, I share a recipe (on her website), there’s a story behind it. The story is what makes those recipes special to me. But ultimately it’s the process of baking and providing something — when people reflect give feedback that it’s a big deal to them, that they enjoed it, it means a lot to me. Cooking for me is like the one true me time. When the business gets really going, people are always over, they come and hang out…it reminds me of college. They’ll bring magazines or we’ll set up the Scrabble board, it definitely becomes more communal. I want the same feeling when I open up my own place.

Why Sacramento?

It’s hard to get into a groove to figure out why we live here, a lot of people they don’t want to be here, it’s a stopping point for them. You’re going to have to tie me up, bind me, gag me, throw me in a trunk of a car to get me to leave this town. I love this town. And it’s not because it’s “amazing and wonderful” – it’s because Gunther’s has been in business for since 1940. It’s because you can hit Fox & Goose for trivia night. It’s Magpies, it’s because it’s bike friendly. There are really good people in this town. I could live anywhere, but I truly truly choose to live here.

September 2011 Art Show Poster! Our 1st $20 Homecoming Show

August 31, 2011

Please check out this event on our facebook site in order to invite friends and family!

The REVEL staff have talked about this event internally since before our 1st show in February. REVEL Aaron had always wanted to do a $20 show since the original incarnation of the Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center’s Second Saturday shows. The final show developed further when REVEL Alvin interviewed artist Marianne Bland and discussed making are more accessible to people. Besides wanting to include her, the show became a way to revisit some of our favorite artists. Some of the artists will be showing past pieces, all will be showing new works, and each artist will have some prints or originals for $20 or less (they will also have works and originals sold at a normal price point).

Final Artist Lineup! You can learn more about each artist by clicking on their names:

Marianne Bland

Molly Brown

Andrew Cain

Angela Casagrande

Tina Horton

Jim Marxen

The Speak Low will also be back. Many of you got to enjoy the line-up of musicians he brought with him to the June show, and this Homecoming show will be no different!

The Speak Low

Stephen March

Sandra Dolores

Wannabe Barnaby

Last but not least is Wildlands Bake Shop (the dessert course of this blog post if you will)! Jenn Garrison will be bringing back her sweets once again to REVEL. I’d love to describe to you all the great treats she brought last time, but of the three REVEL staffers, only one got to try a single piece before our June guests wiped out her supply of over 300+ dessert. A pretty good measure of how tasty they were I’d say!

August 2011 Art Show Preview!

August 10, 2011

Here’s the poster!

Artists: Beverly Burris and Lily Moon

Flash Fiction: Authors David Semonchik and Julia Jackson will be displaying some flash fiction on the stairwell space

Free Goodies! Provided to us by The Green Pig

As always we’ll also have some alcoholic beverages for purchase at the REVEL bar, with deals like 2 for $5 beers. Come join us for a great time!

July 2011 Art Show: Interview with Jim Marxen

July 9, 2011

How did you get started? I see that you’re self-taught.

I painted all my life, I actually became a writer, was a journalist, a reporter in southern California for a long time.

Were these regarding art?

No, but I always kept in the back of my mind the art. Writing was something I happened to be good at, so it really absorbed my time. About five years ago I decided I needed to get professional about painting, I have a friend who is a fairly well-known artist, I called her up and said, “what does one need to do, how does one break-in?” She was pretty hard on me, she’s in a gallery here in town,  fairly well-established.

Art became a second job for me, on weekends this is what I do, you have to really work at it — you’re always looking for improvements. I’ve learned how to pace myself, how to schedule my time.

Have you seen a major difference in your brushwork and what you like in your paintings compared to five years ago?

Definitely. Even five weeks ago, and five months ago, I see things — colors that don’t like. You notice your flaws, things that others may not notice or say anything about. When I look at my work I see where my flaws are, what I need to work in. It’s a continuing process.

Your colors are very bright, with kind of a surreal imagination of real life.

It’s fun to take a scene and add something that wasn’t there, a color that wasn’t there. I start with something that inspired me when I was first there and build on it. I always used color as a main driver in the work that I do. I was a news reporter — I covered a lot of nasty things in my life, it just seems to me that we have a lot of exposure to negative things and I think if we’re gonna live and move on and be better at who we are, we have to have some sense that we can be better, there has to be some optimism that we can do that.

Do you usually sit out in front of your subject painting, or do you take things you notice and you’re in your studio collaging those images?

I don’t do Plein Air. I need to have the imagination take over, I’ll take a photograph or a sketch [of the subject].  At home I’ll do about twenty sketches; I’ll keep sketching until I get the movement and the shapes where I want them.

Are there certain cities in California that tends to draw your attention for your cityscapes?

San Francisco. It’s not so much the buildings but the people there, the movement and colors — the assault on your senses. Beach stuff I like, this last show I had, I did pieces all along the Sacramento River.

What’s your ideal Saturday?

Mainly I do a lot of work in the garden, landscaping. I like to hang out with friends, I always try to get out have a good time. The only time I get some real relaxation is Saturday night, but I try to paint also. It’s that time of the year where it’s nicer to be outside.