Pocket Life

By Corky Mau
July 2019

Star Turn

She’s ready for her close-up at age 96
An actor’s big break can come at any age. Just ask longtime Pocket resident Annie Joe who recently made her acting debut at age 96 in a locally produced film called “Honest Abe: The Backstory.” She plays Grandma Zhou, owner of a Chinese apothecary in the Delta town of Locke.

Here’s how the production website sets up the mystery-comedy miniseries: “Annie Abramson’s father was the most well-known PI in Sacramento. Now he’s dead, leaving Annie with a box of files and a request to destroy the files. And thus, a bad week begins.”

Intrigued, I met the writer and director, Tom Miller, to learn more—especially about Annie Joe. Miller moved his Pretty Good Productions film company to Sacramento from the Portland area. He has produced many community advocacy films and believes Sacramento is ideal for cultivating movie productions.

After meeting several people in the local theater and film industry, Miller was inspired to write a pilot using a local cast and crew, and filmed entirely in the Sacramento region. He wanted his script to draw on his two theatrical loves—mystery and comedy.

Production started in September and just wrapped up. The actors and crew all volunteered to work without pay. The film features Kennedy High School graduate Kalaine Lee as Grandma Zhou’s granddaughter.

“It was a long day filming in Locke,” Joe says. “It was interesting to watch all these people at work with their cameras and I had fun playing Grandma Zhou.”

How did Miller cast Grandma Zhou? The director knew Joe’s real granddaughter, and she suggested Joe for the part.
“From the moment I met Annie, I knew she was perfect for the role of Grandma Zhou,” Miller says.

Joe was one of eight kids raised in Stockton. The family ran a small store and Joe’s father traveled to Groveland, Jamestown and Tuolumne selling vegetables to restaurants. Joe moved to Sacramento about 30 years ago. She has no ambitions to continue her film career, but for the right money she might consider it. She’s an inspiration.

To learn more about “Honest Abe: The Backstory” visit www.honestabetheshow.com.


Kick off your July Fourth festivities with a Fun Run hosted by Matsuyama Elementary School. The 5-kilometer run and walk starts and finishes at the school. The route takes participants along the Pocket-Greenhaven greenbelt.

Check-in is from 7 to 7:45 a.m., and the event starts at 8 a.m. A registration fee of $20 supports sixth-grade students as they raise funds for their annual trip to Sly Park Environmental Science Camp.

For information, call (916) 395-4650 or email chairfunrun@gmail.com.


Sacramento City Councilmember Rick Jennings is proud to present this year’s Fourth of July Celebration with a parade starting at 10 a.m. from Lisbon Elementary School. The theme, “Unity in Our Community,” celebrates the diversity of Pocket and Greenhaven.

The parade, featuring handcrafted floats, will go down Windbridge Drive toward Garcia Bend Park. Radio announcer and broadcaster Matias Bombal will serve as emcee. A community festival will follow at Garcia Bend Park with SactoMoFo food trucks, a pet costume contest, music and fun family activities.

For information, call Jennings’ office at (916) 808-7007


Learn the duties of firefighters, greet Sparky the Fire Dog and see fire equipment in action at Fire Station 11’s annual open house on Saturday, July 20, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Fire Station 11 is at 785 Florin Road (Florin Road and Havenside Drive).


Three jazz concerts will take place in community parks on Friday evenings this month.

Jose Hernandez and the Mo’ Better Jazz Band will play July 12 at Seymour Park and July 19 at Garcia Bend Park. Doug Martin will perform July 26 at Marriott Park.

Bring your low-back lawn chairs and a picnic dinner. All concerts begin at 6 p.m. and are part of the “Jazz in July” concert series sponsored by Councilmember Rick Jennings.


Kids in grades K-6 are invited to a series of hands-on cooking classes in celebration of healthy eating. The Food Literacy Center will help participants make and taste a different kid-friendly recipe each week.

Classes are on Thursdays, July 11, 18 and 25, from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library. Pre-registration is not required.


Speaking of healthy eating, Will Cannady will share plans for the long-awaited Community Garden project on Tuesday, July 9, at 6 p.m. in the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library.

Cannady is president of the Pocket/Greenhaven Community Association, which is sponsoring the meeting. For more information, visit pocketgreenhaven.org.

Corky Mau can be reached at corky.sue50@gmail.com. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month.

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