The threat of rain wasn't going to keep Monkey and the gang from supporting St. Baldrick's in Sactown Monday night.
Last night was the annual St. Baldrick’s head-shaving jamboree, where women and men, boys and girls undergo “bold acts of baldness” to raise money to fund childhood cancer research. A terrific cause, a big event, and of course another excuse to party Sactown style.
What does a Sactown-style party entail, you ask? Well, nine times out of ten you start at (or end at) Mulvaney’s, or in this case Mulvaney’s Next Door, the event space next to Mulvaney’s proper that hosts weddings, work parties, and some epic pregame events. I made a mad dash straight from work Monday evening (with a quick detour home to pick up my Sun Basket box, which had been baking on an unseasonably hot porch for several hours by that point).
Then it was off to Mulvaney’s, to be greeted by the the ever-present chalkboard sign out front, this time announcing the “St. Baldrick’s ‘Shave’ Fest” (not sure why “Shave” was in quotes but I bet it’s something kinky). Chef Patrick Mulvaney saw me and shouted out, “Are you gonna shave?” and I shouted “Yes!” to a rousing round of woo-hoos before I added, “but not my head,” which led to some amusement, some confusion, and some worry, I’m sure—but seriously, no one wants to see my giant, lumpy head unveiled. Trust and believe.
After locking up my bike I joined friends at the bar, where they were taking donations in exchange for some refreshments. Dan Mitchell, the best bartender in Sac (more on him later, and sorry other bartenders, I love you all), was sporting a magnificent silvery ‘fro that he had fluffed to dandelion-puff perfection.
In and around Next Door, two rival fundraising factions had set up camp: Sactown Baldies, with Patrick Mulvaney and crew, and Balds Deep from de Vere’s Irish Pub, who won the prize for best name IMHO (sorry, Patrick). I surreptitiously purchased a Balds Deep t-shirt because the design ruled, but when the time came to march the three blocks west to de Vere’s for the shaving showdown I was firmly in the Sactown Baldies camp, and we fell into a steady pace timed to some raucous call-and-response chanting.
Sac PD had blocked off L Street in front of de Vere’s, where a stage was set up, and Tamera Berg (local weather hottie for KCRA) was making with the chatter while groups of “shavees” marched up for their shearing to shouts of encouragement from the crowd. My friends and I set up camp and enjoyed some adult beverages, the fries with beer cheese and fried chicken sliders were tasty, and I snapped a pic of a rainbow that appeared briefly (which cracked me up with all the leprechaun-themed swag in circulation).
Everyone was waiting for the main event, Sactown Baldies vs Balds Deep, but the wind picked up and you could tell a storm was blowing in. Tamara assured everyone it wasn’t going to rain until later, but when fat drops started to fall I swear I saw her fleeing the scene up L Street in off-camera comfy shoes.
Spirits were not dampened, though, and I haven’t heard the final tally yet, but the rivals raised a crazy amount of money, with Mulvaney’s bringing in around a quarter mil. After Dan’s dandelion puff hit the ground I asked if he was going to make a silver merkin, but he scooped the locks into a plastic bag and hinted at some fantastical hirsute creation he was going to showcase at the restaurant later, made up of several years’ worth of St. Baldrick’s shavings…I shudder to think, but you know I will be checking on that shortly (keep an eye on the #midtownmonkey Instagram feed).
As the event wound down my friends and I headed up a blustery K Street on a warm, not-quite-spring night to meet a friend at Brasserie Capitale, who introduced us to an awesome chick originally from Australia who gave us kangaroo jerky then, after we had all tried it, said she would never eat the stuff because kangaroo were too damn cute (BAZINGA). The rest of the night involved excellent cocktails; amazing pommes frites (beef fat?), fried Brussels sprouts (beef fat?), and the best cassoulet, juices sopped up with crusty bread; ribald jokes and belly laughs; and genuine bonhomie until 11 on a school night.
A school night. Crap. We parted ways with the Brasserie crowd and hotfooted it back to Mulvaney’s, where I picked up my bike and dropped off another friend, then my final friend (who is also my neighbor) and I walked slowly home, chatting amicably while dodging snails that were out in force for a rainy constitutional. Seriously, so many snails. And many didn’t make it home to their families that night, I’m sorry to say.
We passed a low stone wall on 23rd and N and I paused to shine my bike headlight on what Tiger and I have dubbed the Widow Wall. Just a short, tumbledown rock retaining wall that’s filled with FREAKIN’ BLACK WIDOWS. Sure enough, with the warmer weather there were three of the little nightmares ranged along the wall sippin’ raindrops. In summer we’ve counted as many as a dozen.
Attention Sacramento locals: if you see a stone wall near 23rd and N Streets DO NOT WALK NEXT TO IT. It is full of nightmares. And sometimes those nightmares string webs ONTO THE SIDEWALK…Okay, I need to move on before I gag, but I hope I’ve done my due diligence here.
Home at last, I hugged my wonderful friend goodbye and rushed to get myself into bed, lay my giant, lumpy, unshorn head on the pillow, and dread the sound of my alarm clock.
That’s all for now, folks. Hope you enjoyed the tale. Make sure you follow this blog so you don’t miss any future merkin stories (I feel like there will be others) or other important Monkeyesque announcements. I appreciate YOU and your support.