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By the Seat of Our Treasure Island, it’s Acme

yolo archiveyolo archiveyolo archiveSummers are busy for Acme Theatre Co., the Davis nonprofit run by high school students that promotes “serious theater, for the fun of it.” In August the 31-year-old troupe is staging Treasure Island, plus its annual By The Seat of Our Pants, the set of short plays they write, stage and present in 36 hours. You can detect the “serious fun” DNA in this interview with four members of Acme: Jake Kelly and Margaret Starbuck, center, who talk about the play, Acme itself, and related topics: and Eden Tomich, far left, and Emmett Barnes, who read a scene from Treasure Island for Davisville. Tomich plays lead character Jim Hawkins. Barnes plays Ben Gunn, a marooned pirate unhinged by years of isolation. Tomich and Barnes recorded the scene in one take; you can hear it about halfway in. You might think you're hearing more than two voices, but you're not.

The $642 schools tax: Possibly Davis' boldest political idea of the year

yolo archiveThe Davis School Board eventually chose a smaller number, but for several weeks board member Richard Harris galvanized the town—at least, the part that pays attention to Davis schools and taxes—with his proposal to place a parcel tax of up to $642 per year on the local ballot this November. That’s at least two times larger than any schools tax previously approved in Davis, including the one voters endorsed just a few months ago. The board opted instead for a November tax measure of up to $446. But the issues that drove Harris to suggest the higher figure still apply, and on today's Davisville he explains how he came up with $642; what it would pay for; why he thinks it’s necessary; and how it connects to the statewide tax initiative also appearing on the fall ballot (if it passes, this tax shrinks). He’s not seeking re-election, and the discussion wraps up with his advice to whoever succeeds him. And yes, he really believes that in Davis, a $642 tax could have passed.

Venture mixes art, commerce to revive a sleepy downtown corner

yolo archiveThe second floor of Court ’N Cedar on G Street near Third has been one of downtown's neglected corners, but that’s changing. On Davisville this week, Michael Bisch, co-president of the Davis Downtown Business Association, and artist Marieke de Waard discuss the Open Door Art Studios now taking shape at that location.

Davis TweetUp: Working to bring Twitter into mainstream Davis

yolo archiveAmong social media, Twitter has less impact than Facebook, but is much more than just another online flavor of the month. A recent Pew Internet/American Life Project study says 8 percent of Americans use Twitter daily. If that ratio holds true for Davis, then we’ve got more than 5,000 daily tweeters in our town.

Davis has linked the health of its parks to Measure D

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Today on Davisville we talk about Measure D, a parcel tax renewal on the city’s June ballot that would raise $1.37 million per year for parks maintenance in Davis. It is the second tax measure in the city this year, the first being the school tax that voters approved in March. The guests are Charlie Russell, a local businessman and chair of the city Recreation and Park Commission, and David Luckscheider, park manager for the city. Among other subjects, we look at why the city kept the rate at $49 per house, how the city ended up supporting park maintenance this way, and what the money pays for.

Spiders are all over Davis; might as well get to know them better

yolo archiveToday’s Davisville looks at spiders in Davis and Yolo County, with a focus on the Explorit Science Center’s “Spiders in Your World” community science project for 2012. Explorit board President Lars Anderson—pictured here with a properly capped black widow display jar—explains why they chose this project and what they want to accomplish. Of course, we talk about the little carnivores too. Spiders are never far away. Nor have we discovered more than a fraction of the types that exist in the world. Explorit hopes to conduct solid research on spiders in Yolo County by enlisting the public, all while acquainting us with the roles spiders play beyond lurking in the corners of garages. The project includes attitude surveys, home experiments, and a website for posting spider sightings.

Davis author writes the book about ‘Peanuts’ pianist Vince Guaraldi

yolo archiveyolo archiveSan Francisco jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi (right, with characteristic handlebar moustache) wrote music for “Peanuts” specials, influenced countless musicians, and created one of the top-selling Christmas records ever (“A Charlie Brown Christmas”), but in-depth appraisals of his career are scarce. Davis author Derrick Bang has fixed that with “Vince Guaraldi at the Piano,” an account of Guaraldi and his music. Bang holds a copy of his book, left.

Picnic Day—the biggest show in town—returns, on Davisville

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Picnic Day returns on April 21. For the last two years, the event has meant two things. One is the traditional UC Davis open house, with attractions like the chemistry magic show, dachshund races, parade, music, and booths like the splash tank pictured here. The other is a surge in drunken and obnoxious public behavior, mostly in and near downtown. The campus and city have acted to curtail the trouble while preserving the better side of Picnic Day, and although last year still had problems—some downtown retailers reported “a lot of mayhem,” and the number of arrests and citations rose—conditions generally seemed better in 2011 than in 2010. The question now is what to expect for 2012. Two members of the student board that runs the event, Picnic Day chair Jennifer Mappus and publicity chair Achsa Rothe, came by Davisville to talk about the attractions and plans for 2012. The board intends to reduce the bad side while sustaining and improving the good, and Mappus and Rothe discuss how they’re pursuing that goal.

Meet Lindsey Black, a Disney vet who came to Davis for her degree

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Lindsey Black, 20, is a Regents Scholar and transfer student who is studying the classics and history at UC Davis. She’s also a veteran of the Disney Channel series “As the Bell Rings,” a high-school comedy presented in 5-minute episodes. She played Lexi in 2008-09—in the cast photo she’s holding here, she’s third from our right. This year she appears in “16-Love,” a movie that Variety called a “lightweight, tween-targeted indie sports drama.” On today’s Davisville, Black talks about why she chose Davis for college, why history engages her, life on campus, her pursuit of an academic career, advice for others who want a shot at Hollywood—and what it’s like to work in an industry that’s so focused on appearance, she felt it prudent to ask her manager if it was OK to grow bangs.

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