Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

The Bee's guide to events, activities, arts and entertainment

September 29, 2006
Wagging the finger back


News10's Ryan Yamamoto took my Wag o' the Finger at his report on cheerleaders scarfing down doughnuts in good humor. In fact, he gave me the (wag o') the finger back.

In an e-mail, Ryan writes: "I agree Krispy Kreme flaky crumbs look good in high defintion. I bought a dozen myself...took me a full day to eat it...(but then again, my life is in Standard Definition).

"Keep watching... I'm just getting warmed up!!! By the way, I'm surprised the previous week, with 300-pound lineman running 40-yard sprints (in slow motion), didn't irk you."

September 29, 2006
More NPR 'believers'

The Sacramento area must have some great writers - and I'm not talking about at The Bee. (I'd never stoop to such self-serving backslapping).

No, it turns out that, on Monday, we'll have our second local appear on National Public Radio's essay segment, "This I Believe." Back in July, we told you about Sac resident Cynthia Santana Sommer.

Now, it's Davis resident and Sutter Medical Center (in Sacramento) chaplain Susan Cosio, who will read her essay, "A Daily Walk Just to Listen," on "All Things Considered (4-6:30 p.m. Monday on KXJZ 90.9 FM).

"This I Believe" producers say they've had more than 15,000 entrants from around the country, so having two from our verdant valley is impressive.

September 29, 2006
The shoe lady arrives


Designer Michelle Kelchak (pictured) of the Michelle-K brand of shoes always puts her best feet forward - and they never ache. That's because she's come up with something called the "24-Hour Shoe."

"Before this line, I was trashing my own feet traveling," Kelchak says. "Especially in Europe, where I was rushing around, walking cobblestone streets. After designing shoes for 18 years, I saw the need to create stylish, yet comfortable shoes."

Well, let's say Kelchak's FEET felt the need.

The L.A.-based designer will be making a special appearance from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Nordstrom Arden Fair, where she'll showcase at least three different shoe styles and how they fit with a woman's lifestyle, i.e., career, casual. The 24-Hour Shoe collection retails for about $70 to $90.

The secret to the comfort factor, Kelchak says, is multi-dimensional: the shape of the shoe, a flexible and lightweight outsole, and an insole with a memory-foam footbed.

But comfort does not mean it can't be fashionable. Recently, Kelchak says she's been going crazy for embellishments. "It's really fun for me to design sporty shoes and then make them more whimsical - I use everything from studs and sequins to velvet and leather."

If you've got achy-breaky feet, check this event out. It will be sort of a mini fashion show in the shoe department.

September 29, 2006
Tip o' the hat, wag o' the finger


Everything I know about media criticism, I learned from Stephen Colbert. So, I'm not stealing one of his signature bits - call it a homage....

A Tip o' the Hat to ...

Channel 3's Dave Walker and Lois Hart for their stern and dogged interviewing Thursday night of 4th Congressional District candidate Charlie Brown and a former Congressman, Doug Ose, who was representing Rep. John Doolittle (R-Roseville).


The subject was Brown's attack radio ads accusing Doolittle of tolerating forced abortion and sex slavery by supporting disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff in his defense of the garment industry in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

After Brown made his case, Dave and Lois threw it over to Ose to respond. But Ose was vague, evasive and attacked Brown back. Lois would have none of it.

"You're not answering the question," Lois (looking like a school marm in her new glasses) scolded. "Did Congressman Doolittle know about this (abuse)?"

More tap dancing from Ose, who then started speaking directly to Brown on the split screen. "Are you running for the Congressional 4th District of California or the Mariana Islands?" Then he started to list Doolittle's accomplishments for the district, but Walker slapped him down.

"Not to interrupt," said Walker, interrupting, "but the issue tonight is whether John Doolittle knew about this."

Way to go, Dave and Lois. You won't see them cowed by politicians.

But, a Wag o' the Finger to ...

News10's normally solid sportscaster Ryan Yamamoto, who chose to devote his three-minute "Friday Night Game of the Week Challenge" (prep football, version) segment Thursday night to seeing how fast cheerleaders at Sheldon and Laguna Creek high schools could scarf down a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.


"Cheerleaders do eat!" Ryan gushed, as if viewers just figured they all suffer from anorexia. Then he proceeded to interview the girls about being an oppressed group ("Cheerleading really is a sport!") before putting the box of doughnuts on the sidewalk and unleashing the girls to eat them as fast as possible.

My, what good use News10 is finding for its its high-definition cameras. You could see every flaky crumb on the cheerleaders' faces.

September 28, 2006
Music, music and nothing but ...

Sacramento Bee/Paul Kitagaki Jr.

So Wednesday night, I had to TiVo "America's Next Top Model" to go see Mariah Carey at Arco. (Read my Carey review here.) I finished it at 3:30 a.m., thank you very much.

Tonight, it's the Strokes show at UC Davis' ARC Pavilion. (Read my Q&A with Drew Barrymore's guy and Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti here.)

And after the show? That's right. I'll be coming right back to write the review. It'll be on first thing Friday a.m.

When's a girl to sleep? Energy drinks, here I come!

September 28, 2006
Still on 'Top' - well, OK, more like somewhere in the middle

Whew! For a few minutes there, we thought that Sacramento's own A.J. was putting her pretty little head on the chopping block in the latest episode of "America's Next Top Model."

After all, the 20-year-old contestant got dangerously pouty during her makeover, making unhappy faces after the stylists lightened her "Goth" hair and calmed down the spikiness.

Complained A.J.: "I'm not a smooth girl - I like spikes."

Sweetheart, you tried out for "America's Next Top Model" - what did you expect?

This, after last week's confidence crisis - and, frankly, we thought A.J. might sink to the bottom two.

But, for better or for worse, she wasn't the only one who got upset. Melrose, Monique and Jaeda also were unhappy with their new looks and all four of them got a dressing down by set stylist Mr. Jay.

When all was said and done, Ms. A.J. pulled it out for her photo shoot - which, ironically enough, had the models outfitted in wacky hairpieces that covered up the drama-inducing new dos. As such, A.J. seems to have skated her way to the middle of the pack - the judges praised her look, but questioned her presence.

The ousted model? Pixie-haired Megan. We liked her personality, but it's true - those photos were anything but fierce.

Stay tuned.

September 28, 2006
Fleet Street


Good news for Fleet Feet's fast-of-foot female customers: The J Street store is opening another store right next door to its current location. The new store, at 2315 J, will be called Fleet Feet Outdoor. Its market? Women seeking both outdoor and lifestyle apparel.

Jan Sweeney, a co-owner, says work is well underway on the new store, which should open in late October or early November. She adds that she and her husband, Pat, have been toying with the idea of expanding for about four years. But they definitely wanted to keep the two stores close.

"When the business next door closed, we immediately contacted the landlord about taking it over," Pat says. "We knew we didn't want to have another store that wasn't close to the original."

He says the new store will continue Fleet Feet's tradition of offering top-notch workout wear: "We'll still have running apparel and shoes in the original store. The new store is where we'll bring in more lifestyle-friendly lines."

Some of those lines include Stonewear, out of Boulder, Colo. (shown above and left), and familiar lines such as Horny Toad and Life Is Good. Because working out has transcended just a jaunt along the bike trail. It's about exercising, then moving on to daily or weekend routines, i.e., shopping, having lunch, chauffering kids around.

"We've always done well with lifestyle apparel, but there was only so much space we could devote to it in the one store," Pat says. "Now we can also beef up the men's casual-attire inventory."

I'm not a runner myself, but I'm all for comfort clothing. It's like comfort food. What's not to like?

September 28, 2006
Not such a 'Good Day'



So it has come to this for Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento":

Two of the featured stories this morning were Mark S. Allen leaning back and seeing how long he could balance on two legs of a chair, and Tina Macuha stacking pancakes for no apparent reason.

Boy, wouldn't you love to sit in on a "Good Day" story planning meeting? ....

Executive producer: "OK, what cheap stunts do ya got for me today?"

Producer 1: "How about if we get Stefanie Cruz to crush grapes in a short dress and bare feet?"

Executive producer: "C'mon, that was Tuesday's show. We need something fresh."

Producer 2: "Well, we could send Doug Brauner up in a small aircraft with no training and watch him fly it."

Executive producer: "It's been done. People, people - let's get some forward thinking. Surely there are stupid TV tricks we haven't done yet."

Producer 3: "Brainstorm! We see how long Mark can teeter on a chair. Now there's must-see TV. And how about Tina seeing how high she can stack pancakes?"

Executive producer: "Brilliant! Anything else?"

Producer 1: "We could spike Marianne McClary's coffee cup with diesel fuel and see if she notices."

Executive producer: "Great, but let's save that for the November sweeps."

Yes, yes, this is an imagined conversation, but the grape-crushing and the airplane-flying scenarios really did take place this week. In fairness to "Good Day" (and sometimes we do try to be fair), it does have five hours to fill, five days a week.


They won't have to worry about killing time Friday, though. Dr. Phil is going to be in the studio, plugging his show, which airs on channels 13 and 31.
The "Good Day" staff will be taking him on the road with an appearance at the Galleria at Roseville at 11 a.m. and the Downtown Plaza at 2 p.m.

No word yet on whether they are going to make Phil lean back in his chair to break Allen's record.

September 27, 2006
Shopping frenzy!


OK, so I had suggested in today's Looking Good on Scene's Page 3 that if shoppers were headed to San Francisco on Thursday, they might want to check out the opening of the new Bloomingdale's in Union Square.

What was I thinking?! The store's motto is "Like no other store in the world," and apparently the entire city of San Francisco - and perhaps then some - wanted to find out how true those words might be - a day early.

I was speaking earlier today with a colleague at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in the city, who tried valiantly to get to the store (in the refurbished Emporium building), only to find a line that snaked, as she put it, "a block and a half from the front door."

"I couldn't even SEE the end of the line, it was so long," she says.

Apparently, those waiting were Bloomie's credit-card holders, who were being offered a sneak peek. Plus, the store is giving away free umbrellas and special promotional shopping bags for the event.

Now, would that be enough to stand in line for hours? I know some folks will stand in line for the sake of standing in a line. Not me. Freebies notwithstanding. (By the way, the famous Bloomingdale's "Brown (shopping) Bags" are supposed to return when the store officially opens Thursday.)

Here's hoping the shopping fervor quiets in, oh, say a year or so.

September 27, 2006
Beauty's best bets

clinique mascara.jpg

I can finally leak the news. Allure magazine let me take a sneak peek at the winners of its Best of Beauty survey, which is the centerpiece of the October issue now on newsstands (and, if you're a subscriber, somewhere in your home.)

Allure beauty editor Victoria Kirby provided the inside scoop, including the best bets for everything from eye shadow and eyeliner to lipstick and lip gloss. In fact, a couple of the winners were mentioned in my story today on mascara.

The magazine says that a whopping 8,000 beauty products were introduced in the past year. That's a ton of testing. The survey factors in the editors' picks as well as the "readers' choice" awards.

For mascara, the editors chose Cover Girl LashExact for daytime use. For night, they opted for Clinique High Definition (shown above). Readers picked Maybelline Great Lash (shown right) for daytime; Lancome Definicils for evening.

I saved one more tidbit of information for 21Q, because Allure and I agree - hands down - that the best eye-makeup remover has to be Almay Moisturizing Eye Makeup Remover Pads (shown left). Unlike baby oil, these one-use pads remove mascara, brow pencil, liner, shadow - everything - without leaving you feeling like you're swimming in olive oil. A good bargain, too: A jar with 80 pads is $5.49. They’re hypoallergenic and leave the eye area moisturized after cleansing. And they travel well.

Most of the winning products are readily available in local department stores, Sephora, supermarkets, drugstores and mass-market retailers.

September 26, 2006
Remembering Rush

Liberal radio talking head Christine Craft (KSAC, 1240 AM) read today's Media Savvy column, which mentioned that Rush Limbaugh participated in a point-counterpoint commentary segment on Channel 13's newscasts in the late '80s.

"I actually was the first to hire Rush for TV, when I was (news director) at KMAX (Channel 31)," Craft says. "Let's just say Rush wasn't very telegenic back then."

September 26, 2006
Special lobby

It's not often that we get e-mail from reality-show contestants looking for an official newspaper endorsement.

But that's exactly what Rafael Siegel, who is vying for one of two host spots in a My58TV online talent contest, did recently. You may better know Siegel as Raffy, the guy at the River Cats games who does on-field emcee duties.

We can't tell you which person to vote for, but we can applaud Siegel (pictured) for his gumption. So far, Rafael has made it to the final six.

Check out his bio and those of the others here.

Siegel, by the way, has done some reporting for rival Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" weekend show. Wonder what "Good Day's" producers think of one of their freelancers trying out in the most public of arenas for a job at another channel?

September 26, 2006
Wedding countdown: A tux by any other name ...

... is called a suit. But first....

Today on the "Today" show, we all learned the outcome of America's choice for Molly Mouchka's dream wedding dress and, lucky for her, it was the one she wanted. (How terrible would it have been to have to wear some gross dress you hated for your wedding that will be viewed by millions?) The very smart viewers chose a lovely lace Christos gown, strapless, A-line and with the most precious train. Naturally, I think it's a fabulous choice because that's the one I voted for, but I would have been happy with the very chic gown that I have to think came in second and that I would wear, if only to own something by Oscar del la Renta, who makes the most beautiful dresses that I would only be able to purchase if I won the lottery and that always make me sigh with both bliss and envy and about which I can rhapsodize in blog posts for way too long.

Anyway, Sac native Molly expressed some hesitation about its unforgiving fit, and though that girl is totally slim, I don't know any gal who is compeltely sure she can pull off what is basically a really expensive nightgown. So.

This morning, we checked out the various suit options for fiancé Jason, and I hereby encourage you to go to the show's site and vote for the last one. You could totally tell that's the one Molly likes most, and we all know who makes the real decisions when it comes to the groom's attire, and it ain't the groom.

Meanwhile, for those of you looking ahead, here's the schedule for the rest of the show's voting segments:

Wednesday: Bridesmaids dresses
Thursday: The cake
Friday: The ring
Monday: Molly's hairstyle
Next Tuesday: The honeymoon, Part 1
Oct. 4: The honeymoon, Part 2
Oct. 5: The rehearsal
Oct. 6: The wedding!

We'll be back here at 21Q to update and dish. And look for our upcoming story in Scene, where we talk to some of Molly's friends and family.

September 25, 2006
Moving on

EDCLAUDIO.jpg Sunday night at the sold-out Elly Awards ceremony, Ed Claudio not only picked up his first Elly for directing the outstanding production of “Glengarry Glen Ross” (after being nominated 15 times, he said) - read the story here - but he also announced his bittersweet farewell to Del Paso Boulevard.

Claudio will close the Actor's Theatre of Sacramento at the end of the year, completing 10 seasons at the complex creatively known as The Building. But as the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens, and Claudio will be opening doors in Old Folsom.

Claudio is to be a partner and artistic director with Mikon Productions (owned and operated by Mike Jimena and Connie Mockenhaupt), running a new theater at 717 Sutter St. in Folsom. For their first show, they’ll be bringing back the sensational Alexandra Ralph in the one-woman song cycle by Andrew Lloyd Webber, “Tell Me On Sunday.” The show will open Nov. 3 in an intimate, 49-seat Actor’s Theatre of Folsom, as it will be called.

Claudio says he will continue to operate a teaching studio in Sacramento and should have that location firmed up soon.

September 25, 2006
Partying publishers



A gaggle of magazine publishers is scheduled to hit town Thursday for a long weekend of deep thinking and chin-pulling about the state of the industry.

Yes, it's the bi-annual gathering of the City and Regional Magazine Association. And while there will be panel discussions on branding, paid vs. non-paid circulation and something exciting called "Selling to interactice agencies and clients - a tactical approach," there will be plenty of frivolity, according to the CMA Web site. Check it out: Lots of golf, lots of cocktails, four-star dining at the Firehouse and Spataro, plus a trip to the auto show (with cocktails).

SacMag_Mike OBrien.JPG Ah, being a publisher sure has its perks.

"Sacramento was chosen to be the host, and I think that says something about how Sacramento Magazine is viewed in the industry," says Mike O'Brien (pictured), co-publisher of our monthly periodical.

September 25, 2006
All aboard - well almost


Good news for travelers! As of Tuesday, the government will be partially lifting its band against carrying liquids and some toiletries onto airliners - this just in from the Associated Press.

Passengers who pass the airport security checkpoints will be able to purchase liquids at airport stores and take them on the planes. (A sigh of relief from fans of Starbucks - and you know who you are!)

Travelers also will be allowed to carry on travel-size toiletries (3 ounces or less) that fit in one - mind you, one - quart-size, clear plastic, zip-top bag. Hooray! That means a bit of moisturizer to get your parched face from here to there, wherever there is.

Now, while that's not a full-size lotion, there are ways to make it work better. Local aesthetician Shana Beals says getting a microdermabrasion treatment before traveling removes the gunk (read: dead skin cells) that keep treatment products, i.e. moisturizers, from getting through.

"Microdermabrasion has been around for years, but the technology is even better," Beals says from her new salon (shown above) at 2025 P St. "Combined with a good skin-care routine at home, it really offers anti-aging benefits." And, unlike a harsh chemical peel, microdermabrasion doesn't leave the skin red and flaky. And it only takes about 45 minutes.

With Beals' opening, she's offering a free microdermabrasion with the purchase of any other skin-care treatment service. For more information: (916) 446-4449.
(For other beauty tips from Beals, who also is a makeup artist, check out her eyelash tips in Wednesday's Scene section.)

md skincare.jpg Looking for other items that are OK for carrying on board? Check out MD Skincare's Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel packets (shown right). Each packet is single use and can be applied anywhere - even from an airline seat. They're immediately disposable. A box of 30 packets sells for $75 at Sephora, Nordstrom and select spas. I've tried these and, if you can't make it for an in-salon facial, this two-step system does the trick.

September 25, 2006
Wedding countdown: You may now dress the bride

Sac native Molly Mouchka was on the "Today" show this morning in the first of a two-weeks-long segment in which viewers get to plan all the details of her wedding, and they started things off big by revealing the four dresses that folks can vote on for her to wear.

Hard to imagine leaving such a huge decision to people who are probably wearing pajamas as they watch the show (or is that just me?), but them's the rules and props to Molly - who just recently had a birthday, by the way - for braving it.

The four dresses were selected for consideration by the gal behind The Knot and, if my opinion counts, which, ahem, it does 'cause I voted, I say viewers should go for the simple elegance of the Oscar de la Renta shift or the lovely lace Christos gown. The other two? Not cute, I say. And it looked like Molly might agree.

If you want to put in your two cents, go here. And tune in Tuesday for the choosing of the regrettably not-as-fun tuxedo.

September 22, 2006

Nearing the eve of the Elly Awards, it was a happy chance Thursday to run into John Beaudry, who has meant so much to local theater.

Beaudry has been living in Korea the last few years, teaching English while studying and developing his spiritual awareness. But before that, he, along with business and artistic partner Ivan Sandoval, ran The Show Below at the Geery Theater on L Street. The pair was known for an uncompromising approach to producing truly professional-oriented theater with people who mostly went unpaid. They also took home a bunch of Ellys.

When they closed their doors after producing more than 50 plays since they opened in August of 1987, my predecessor at The Bee, Peter Haugen, wrote “what sets The Show Below apart among small theaters is its unwillingness to say ‘good enough.’

“To accomplish what they have - and it has been considerable - the team of Beaudry and Sandoval has asked a lot of their non-union actors," Haugen added. "The people who worked at The Show Below have been asked to put in professional-level effort even though they made their livings doing other things.”

When I saw him Thursday, Beaudry was sitting with long-time friend and director Adrienne Sher, who often worked for him at the underground theater. They traded “war stories” about the old days, waxed philosophical on the current state of Sacramento theater, and seemed optimistic about the future.

September 22, 2006
Today's windy TV news coverage

We're in a conciliatory mood today, so we feel duty-bound to report that Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" preempted its regular program to spend several hours covering the high winds and small brush fires in Yolo County.


You may recall a previous item, in which we took "Good Day Sac" to task for doing a vapid segment with Mark S. Allen instead of showing President Bush's speech at the U.N. This time, though, the producers went too far to the other extreme - repeating the same information (or lack thereof) over and over and over and over again.

And speaking of going too far, did we really have to be subjected to the extreme closeup of the inside corner of reporter Chris Burrous' right eye, where black soot had "gathered." Later, Burrous (pictured) breathlessly reported that even though the power was out at a gas station/mini-mart in Woodland, the owner handed him a flashlight so that he could use the restroom.

September 22, 2006
In defense of advertorials

News10 general manager Russell Postell, apparently a loyal 21Q reader, took issue with our previous posting about "Sacramento & Co.," his station's paid-program-disguised-as-talk show.

Postell agrees that the show is advertising-driven and not at all journalistic, but he says that is what it was designed to be. He disgrees that "Sac & Co." is trying to sell itself as news.

"It's a commercial program," says Postell, who adds that "Sac & Co." is popular with local companies wanting to promote their goods and services. "It screams commercial. We don't hide that fact. Every segment's sponsor is labeled. If I have to put the Home Depot logo on our hosts' foreheads to make it clear, I would."

Stay tuned. Sponsorship tattoos on anchors might be a coming trend.

September 22, 2006
No place to Lounge


Midtown's J Street continues to evolve as a major shopping destination. But, alas, one of its most fun shops - 23 Lounge - apparently has shut its doors there.

There's a 'Closed' sign at the boutique's location (2316 J, shown left), with instructions for delivering mail to another address. There are still clothes in the window. But as of Friday, the "For Lease" sign that had been up is down, so perhaps another business is preparing to open.

Anyway, the Lounge has a storied retail history. It first opened in August 1998 as Reality Boutique. Owner Lacy Scatton (she's since married) was an instant success. Then, in March 2000, right across the street from Reality, brothers Todd and Jeff Bartell opened a boutique called Vertigo. And in November 2003, the two stores, plus a space next door, merged into the Reality space and became known as 23 Lounge. Two years ago, the boutique added something called "Beauty Lounge" in the back for salon services.

I've interviewed the brothers and Lacy quite a few times and have used their clothing for several stories in The Bee. I haven't been able, however, to reach any of them. I'm sad that they might be gone and I'm sure their loyal fashion friends are, as well.

In the meantime, Swanberg's on J needs a new neighbor.

September 21, 2006
Jingle Ball time is a swell time

Just in case you weren't tuned in to The End (KDND, 107.9 FM) this a.m., let me be the first to tell you about the station's Jingle Ball 2006 that's scheduled for Dec. 9 at Arco Arena.

PUSSYCAT-DOLLS.jpg Because I know you can't wait to see the Pussycat Dolls.

Don't be embarrassed - I totally sing "Don't Cha" in the car...Oh wait, did I just admit that? Moving on....

In addition to the Dolls, the Jingle Ball will also feature Nelly Furtado, Natasha Bedingfield and JoJo. Look for more acts to be announced in the coming weeks.

Tickets ($20, $28 and $38) go on sale Friday, Sept. 29, via

September 21, 2006
Well now, we love Katie - so far


They are calling it the Couric Effect.

That is, the positive ratings bump that Katie Couric has given local CBS stations since she settled into the anchor chair as host of the "Evening News." In 16 of 21 markets with CBS-owned -and -operated stations, ratings have soared both for the national news and the local news that follows.

In Sacramento, ratings for the "Evening News," at 5:30 p.m., are up 44 percent since The Perky One arrived. The audience has steadily grown since the shaky first night.

It's also helped Channel 13's 6 p.m. local news, which has seen a 16 percent ratings jump the past month. (Actually, we're not sure if it's Couric or the appearance of KOVR Web goddess Vanessa Amezquita that has made a difference.)

However, Channel 13's 5 p.m. news has not seen a rise in viewership, leading into Couric; Channel 3's news still dominates that time period.

As for the "Evening News," there also have been ratings jumps in Los Angeles, of 68 percent; New York, of 67 percent; Chicago, 65 percent, and San Francisco, 33 percent.

September 21, 2006
Davis boy gets Sirius


Davis residents know Bob Dunning (pictured) as the acerbic, contrarian columnist for the local paper who pricks pretensions in that most liberal of small cities. Some may also remember him as a former late-night talk show host on KFBK in the early '90s.

Now, Dunning has landed a gig with Sirius satellite radio's new Catholic Channel 159 as a host of a weeknight, three-hour call-in show, "Across the Nation with Bob Dunning." The show will air from 5 to 8 p.m.

Obviously, it will have a religious bent, but Dunning tells a reporter from his own newspaper in a front-page story published Thursday afternoon that he'll spout his opinion on secular matters as well - such as baseball scores.

September 21, 2006
Wanna be on 'Top'

Ah - it's not a new TV season until there's a fresh "cycle" of "America's Next Top Model."

Now, don't roll your eyes at me - this show is great. Any reality show with "challenges" that involve stilletos, kohl eyeliner and the wrath of host Tyra Banks, well, count me in.

If you happened to tune in to Wednesday night's two-hour season premiere, then you obviously got a glimpse of Sacramento's own A.J., whom my colleague Leigh Grogan first wrote about for 21Q. The 20-year-old college student not only made it to the final 13 but was also, happily, not the first to be eliminated from that group. (That unfortunate distinction went to Christian, the South Carolina bank teller who copped all the "Tyra" poses).

In fact, the pretty, quirky brunette seemed to do pretty well despite a strange little last-minute emotional meltdown. (Note to A.J.: The judges clearly picked you for the show because you're different.)

Own it.

The show airs in Sacramento at 8 p.m. Wednesdays on Channel 31, with a repeat showing at 9 p.m. Sundays.

September 21, 2006
'Idol' chatter


Well Sacramento, we might just have another "American Idol" contender in our midst. I just got word that Ryan Hernandez is taking the bird to L.A. on Friday for a second audition - presumably for the TV judges, a.k.a. Simon, Randy and Paula.

Hernandez, 22 (pictured at left), is a Sacramento waiter who also happens to sing. And, encouraged by his friends and family to audition back in August with, oh, about 10,000 other "Idol" hopefuls, he hitched a ride with another local woman and her mom to Los Angeles for the tryouts.

"It was a three-day process," Hernandez says when reached by phone. "We were packed into the Rose Bowl. I'm not sure how many they picked, but I think I was about the 20th person that made it out of about 500 seated in my section."

Hernandez sang for the show's producers. Twice, no less. "I sang a song by Sam Cook ("A Change is Gonna Come"), and then they asked me to sing one more time, so I performed Gavin DeGraw's 'I Don't Want To Be.'

"My nerves were jumping, but the producers told me they were moving me on to the next round," Hernandez says. "They gave me some pointers and told me not to be too nervous."

Hernandez is no newcomer to performing. He's been singing - mostly Saturdays - for the past five months at the Sartory Coffee Company in El Dorado Hills (near Masque Restaurant). In fact, the cafe is hosting a good-luck party for him around 7 tonight. He'll perform (although not too much - gotta rest those vocal chords), and there'll be a champagne toast before he takes off for Southern California.

When I asked him what he planned to sing there, Hernandez says he's been toying with a variety of songs. He's always been a fan of soul music (think Taylor Hicks and his Soul Patrol), the blues and R&B with a contemporary style.

"I'll probably decide right before I go in. Different songs put me in different moods."

And, just so he's prepared for anything, Hernandez says he bought the DVDs from the first four seasons of "American Idol." "I never made it a weekly thing to watch. I've seen a lot online."

His thoughts on the fact that millions and millions - and millions - of people will likely tune in to the show once it starts airing early next year?

"I think I can stand up to the test."

So OK, Ryan, prepare to meet another Ryan. That would be Seacrest.

September 20, 2006
Distillery shaken, not stirred

For those of you who heard that the Distillery got closed down this weekend, here's the deal, according to police: Officers checked in on the bar on Thursday night and found that the business was in violation of a couple provisions on their entertainment permit. The bar didn't have at least two licensed, uniformed security guards and didn't have a person present who is on file with the police as the permit holder.

They issued a warning, but were called back on Saturday due to music that was apparently so loud it was setting off car alarms. The bar was given a ticket and told that the venue would be shut down if it didn't lower the volume, which it did.

So, there you have it. I called the day bartender, who said she hadn't heard about the to-do, but that the bar was definitely open for business.

September 20, 2006
Headline: 'Local Girl Wins Dream Wedding'


Local Reporter Very Happy For Her!

For those of you who missed it this morning, Molly Mouchka, a Sacramento native, and her fiancé, Jason Waggoner (pictured), have won a dream wedding on the "Today" show. (Read my earlier Q&A with them.)

The couple beat out six other couples in a very entertaining series of competitions that involved Molly and Jason dressing up as Sonny and Cher to sing a rousing rendition of "I Got You Babe," learning to salsa dance and actually taking it public, playing a version of "The Newlywed Game," modeling first-date attire in a fashion show, tearing through a wedding-themed obstacle course and decorating a wedding cake.

The two garnered enough votes to win the big prize, and starting Monday, will appear on the show every day as viewers vote on the tiny, inconsequential details of their big day like, oh, the dress, the cake and the honeymoon. No biggie.

Molly, who gave the most adorable little shriek when Matt Lauer pronounced them winners, called me from the airport tarmac on her way back to Playa Del Rey, where she and Jason will have just a couple days to pack and get ready for the events leading to their wedding on Oct. 6. She was elated and says the fact that they've won hadn't sunk in yet, although she wanted to thank everyone here in Sacramento for voting for them over the last several weeks.

Tune in to the show on Monday morning for the first of the big decisions - Molly's dress. And check back here at 21Q - I'll be blogging as things progress 'cause, well, who doesn't love a wedding?

September 20, 2006
Runaway madness

top model.jpg

Tonight, the runway opens its arms to, as host Tyra Banks meows, "13 glamorous new reasons to watch." That is, the seventh cycle of "America's Next Top Model."

The two-hour premiere is at 8 p.m. on The CW (Channel 31). And there's a local connection. One of the 13 hopefuls is "A.J." (just A.J., shown right), a 20-year-old student from Sacramento.

I wasn't able to talk to A.J., though, because, unlike "American Idol," "Top Model" allows no interviews until the contestant is either kicked off or wins the competition.

However, I checked out the network's Web site,, and A.J. just happened to be one of the models profiled. Just a snippet, mind you, but it's a bit of a window into what type of model-aspiree she might be:

"I hear they're gonna make it (the show) sober, and I hope they don't make me too normal. I'm weird!"

OK - so maybe she'll shake things up a bit. The other 12 contestants come from all over: Fargo, N.D., Columbia, S.C., Homestead, Fla., Keller, Texas, Chicago and Parkersburg, Iowa - wherever that is. Two are from San Francisco and at least four from Southern California.

Hope they're all ready to walk the walk, and to put their best pout forward.

September 20, 2006
Cartoon pop

Remember last month when I told you about local group Deathray's two tracks on the upcoming "Open Season" soundtrack? (The animated film is due in Sacramento theaters on Sept. 29).

One of the songs, "Wild as I Wanna," is a Paul Westerberg cover and the other, "I Wanna Lose Control (Uh Oh), is a Deathray original.

Now you can watch the video for that track at the Lost Highway records Web site. Of course, it's a bunch of animated clips from the film and doesn't actually feature any smiling Deathray faces - but it's still pretty cool.

Actually, the movie itself looks kind of cute - we might have to temporarily adopt a kid to go see it with...

September 20, 2006
Sound bites while caught in traffic

arm and getty.jpg
Even when stuck in traffic on the freeway, we're working for you. Scanning the radio dial this morning, here's some sound bites we've captured:

* Armstrong & Getty (pictured at right) on KSTE 650 AM were in full rant mode on one of the hosts' favorite subjects - political correctness. They lamented the fact that people on both the left and the right will jump on anyone in the media who dares to be controversial.

Says Getty: "Self-righteousness is scary. And I should know, because I'm self-righteous."

Later, after a caller whined about how poorly men are portrayed in prime-time programming and in commercials, Getty muses: "Is there a dumb woman on any TV show? Just one?"

Two words, Joe: Paris Hilton.

As for sitcoms, you've got to consider Courtney Thorne-Smith's character as pretty dumb for marrying Jim Belushi's character on "According to Jim." In real life, no way that happens.

* More high-brow entertainment from Rob, Arnie & Dawn on 98 Rock (KRXQ 98.5 FM): Arnie went on an NC-17 rant against the new Elmo doll, with sound bites too bawdy to be repeated here. Here's one comment we can print: "Hey, is this the anatomically correct Elmo?"

* Speaking of high-brow, local NPR morning host Donna Apidone (KXJZ 90.9 FM) informs us that you can now "buy a watt" to support the station. Cost: $150.

There's not much you can do with the watt, other than brag to your friends. But still ....

September 19, 2006
Underneath it all


Emma Luna, show us your panties!

OK, not really. But there is an art show currently happening at Five Figs Couture in Davis titled "Emma Luna Shows Her Panties."

According to Pam Pacelli, Five Figs owner, the underwear is actually ceramic sculptures that local artist Luna has created. "Emma has so much fun with her art that it's hard not to enjoy it, too," Pacelli says.

Luna, a native of the Dominican Republic, also has exhibited her artwork at the John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis.

"Panties" will continue at Five Figs Couture (803 Second St.) through Oct. 12.

September 19, 2006

Ahoy ye scurvy landlubbers! Today be National Talk Like a Pirate Day, and methinks it's the best idea for a random holiday that ever sailed the seven seas! In addition to affixin' a blusterin' 'yarg!' to every utterance, thar be a local outing in the works that I'll bet me peg leg will be a yarg of a good time. The Sacramento Walking Sticks Volksmarch Club will be havin' a couple o' walks this evenin', a 5K and a 10K that start between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. in Olde Sacramento, a port full of knaves if ever I laid my one eye on one. Any of you wenches and mates that want to join need only practice yer best 'avast!' and yer in. All the scurvy walkers are meetin' at Joe's Crab Shack, and don't ye be late or it's the plank fer ye! Pirate attire is encouraged and thar'll be plenty o' booty along the way.

Fer more information on Talk Like A Pirate Day, or fer a few suggestions on how best to speak with a silver tongue and a hook to match, go here.


September 19, 2006
Bush league antics on 'Good Day'

OK, it's official: Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" this morning abandoned any pretense of being a news show.

At 9:15 a.m., when President Bush was speaking at the United Nations, the wacky gang at "Good Day" was "interviewing" a space alien - actually reporter Mark S. Allen pretending to be an alien, replete with a digitally elongated head.

The anchors and Allen yukked it up (though the lame humor, including Allen's obligatory slam at KCRA anchor Walt Gray's hair, totally escaped us). Meanwhile, on My58TV, the Armstrong & Getty Show went live to the president's address, as did ABC's "Good Morning America."

If "Good Day" wants to be considered strictly an entertainment show, fine. But don't pretend that the show gives up-to-the-minute "breaking news," as it often claims. It seems the only time "Good Day" breaks in for news is when it's following a high-speed car chase in Dallas or some other far-flung locale.

Stefanie Cruz, "Good Day's" capable news anchor, is totally wasted on the show. Here's a plea to channels 31/13 honchos to liberate Cruz and let her be a "real" anchor on sister station Channel 13.

September 18, 2006
Howlin' on the air

Sacramento's "other" mainstream country radio station, The Wolf (KNTY 101.9), has been on the air since July with automated programming.

But now, it has hired a stable (or maybe we should call it a "pack") of DJs.

Heading the morning crew will be Wingnut (that's not really his photo above) and Amy King. Wingnut, whose photograph was not available, had been the night DJ at country station KKWF in Seattle since January. Before that, he worked nights at KUPL in Portland. King was the morning newsreader at KUPL.

Other talent: Nikki Landry (middays), Big Rich (afternoons), The Lia Show (nights) and Danny Wright (overnights).

September 18, 2006
And down the stretch he comes


Be sure to check out The Bee's Scene section on Tuesday for Media Savvy's take on why - on weeknights - most of our local stations essentially blow off sportscasts. (Short answer: ESPN and the Internet.)

Ah, but on weekends, the stations ramp up the coverage; full details will be in Tuesday's story. But we can tell you that former "Good Day Sacramento" sportscaster Gary Gelfand (pictured) has been hired to co-host (with Arran Andersen) on Channel 13's new half-hour sports wrap-up shows on Saturday and Sunday nights. The shows debut after the late news on Sept. 30.

Gelfand spouted sports for seven years at Channel 31, gaining notoriety for always wearing shorts on-air. He also had a two-year gig as a talking head at CNN. He currently is the voice of the Sacramento Harness Racing Association (hence our pun in the headline).

September 15, 2006
'Synergy' or shilling?


Have you caught News10's latest station promo?

It's hyping an upcoming half-hour, (almost) prime-time program extolling the wonders of high-definition television, practically begging people to buy HD sets.

Coincidentally (wink, wink), the station happens to be moving heavily into locally produced HDTV programming. News10's prep football and travel segments have just started being shot with fancy HD cameras.

The program, which will air at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 22, will be hosted by "Sacramento & Co." hosts Kristen Simoes and Guy Farris - you know, the two "infomercial" faux journalists who try to act fascinated during paid-programming "interviews" with reverse-mortgage bankers or home-siding salesmen.

Oh, and did we mentioned that the upcoming HD-themed show, "The Future is HDTV," is sponsored by - yup - Comcast?

Here's the text of the News10 promo: "Thinking about getting HD but not sure where to start? Wanna know more about what you need? Your hosts from 'Sacramento & Co.,' Guy Farris and Kristen Simoes, will walk you through the different TVs, services and programs available right now. So before you get HD or if you already have it, join us for 'The Future is HDTV on News10."

September 15, 2006
Give her hug - and a diamond


Not that EVERY day shouldn't be Wife Appreciation Day, but jewelers can't resist designating a specific spot on the calendar for husbands to acknowledge they can't live without us.

That day is Saturday.

So guys, get out your checkbooks, credit cards, debit cards or take out a loan. That's because Master IJO Jewelers, whose baubles are carried in several local stores, have come up with five little luxuries in honor of "the sacrifices they (wives/moms) make for their husbands and children."

I'm all for it. Saturday is also my son's 14th birthday, and I'd like to be honored for sweating it out every weekend when he plays goalie in a soccer game.

Anyway, there are three stores that carry the Master IJO collection. For example, one of the rings is the "Haley" (shown above), which features three multicolored diamonds and sells for about $2,280.

The retailers are: David Jeffrey Jewelry Services, 3400 Watt Ave.; Max's Gallery Fine Jewelry & Design, 8375 Elk Grove Blvd., and DJ's Jewelry, 680 Cottonwood St., Woodland.

Or, you could just get her a nice card and mow the lawn.

September 14, 2006
Federated forges ahead


I was cruising along I-80 (east) near El Camino Avenue when I spotted one of Macy's, er Federated Department Stores', new ads announcing: "Way To Shop ... Sacramento." (A no-particular-city version is shown above.) You've probably already noticed other changes in the print and TV commercial blitz that the company launched last week as part of its "rebranding" of Macy's.

According to Federated's Web site, the company is blanketing the nation as more than 400 former May Department Stores are officially turned into Macy's.

So, if you're in Denver, you'll see "Way To Shop ... Denver," and Houston and Los Angeles and San Francisco, and so forth, from coast to coast. A 54-page Macy's "magalog" (a glossy magazine/catalog) also is being sent to 3.8 million customers in the new markets.

As for the company's TV ad, I liked it. Tons of energy. And, to be honest, at first I thought it was a Target ad. It's set to the classic Motown hit "Dancing in the Streets." There are all these hip, well-dressed folks basically dancing across the shopping streets of the United States. (The California connection is shown below.)

At the end of the month, WE TV is debuting a series called "Unwrapping Macy's." Apparently, it's an effort to show shoppers how the largest department store in the world makes it happen every day. You'll see how buyers decide what will be on the shelves, even how the Thanksgiving Day Parade is executed. The first episode, "Image is Everything," airs at 7 p.m. Sept. 30.

TV_MACYS.jpgAnd, if all this weren't enough, this Saturday, all Macy's stores will host a Shop for a Cause day. Macy's is selling $5 "donation tickets" to help local and national charities.

Federated isn't disclosing exactly what all this is costing, but Women's Wear Daily puts the effort somewhere between $90 and $100 million.

When all is said and done, I still don't think that outfit that twice-ousted "Project Runway" designer Angela Keslar designed for Macy's I.N.C label (for which she won a competition) has done well at all. No, no rosette, I say.

September 14, 2006
More Jennifer Parker, less Barney Fife


Hey, we think that's a great trade-off.

Not that we have anything against reruns of "The Andy Griffith Show," which have been airing for years every weekday morning at 6:30 on Fox40.


But, we had to cheer when the station announced that it is expanding "The Morning News" with anchor Jennifer Parker (pictured) to 90 minutes, starting Monday. It now will run from 6:30 to 8 a.m.

"That's the most important 90 minutes in the morning," says Fox40 news director Tom Burke. "That's when everybody's up and getting ready for work, so we think it's important to have the news on."

More news is good news, at least to us. But fans of Andy, Goober, Thelma Lou and Barney need not fret. "The Andy Griffith Show" will air from 8 to 8:30 a.m.

September 13, 2006
Good news. No, really


The media always get a bad rap for reporting depressing and negative stories. But news outlets can do the positive, up-with-people stuff, as well.

Each year, the Sacramento chapter of American Women in Radio and Television (which spans from Bakersfield to Redding and includes San Francisco) presents its "Good News Awards," and this year's radio winner is KXJZ (90.9 FM) reporter Steve Milne for a piece on the status of revitalization efforts in Oak Park. Milne (pictured) reported for a series produced by KXJZ News called “Oak Park: Signs of Life.”

Missed the report? Here's the link.

Another local winner was KVIE (Channel 6) producer Sorrell Fowler for "TV Magazine Good News" reporting. Fowler reported on the Heart Gallery's portraits of children in foster homes waiting adoption. "It was the best good-news story I've seen in four years we're had this award," said AWRT president Jann Tabor.

September 13, 2006
Global glamour


For nail polish lovers, the release of any OPI collection is an event. And this latest is especially festive because it marks the California-based company's 25th anniversary lacquering women's tips around the world.

It's also auspicious for another reason. This particular collection is the first to eliminate a chemical ingredient that has been banned in Europe and is targeted by watchdog groups and Prop. 65 advocates in our state. As I reported in The Bee today, OPI is one of three nail polish manufacturers who have or are in the process of removing dibutyl phthalate (or DBP) from its products.

This 25th anniversary collection from OPI is the company's first without the ingredient, which is primarily used to make the polish shiny and chip-resistant.

But more about the colors, which I haven't talked about. The 12 shades, which are the brainchild of Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI's executive vice president and artistic director, are suitable for fall, right into the holiday season. They cover the spectrum of colors, from warm and earthy to opulent jewel tones. Weiss-Fischmann says she drew her inspiration from periods in history: Victorian, Jazz Age, even the crazy '80s.

What every woman in Sacramento wants to know is, what are the "names" of the colors? That's where OPI always shows its creativity. Well, here they are:

1. Who Comes Up With These Names? (toffee brown)
2. Did Someone Say PARTY? (spicy cinnamon)
3. Decades of Shades (trendy brown)
4. OP-I Love This Color! (rich maroon shimmer)
5. Birthday Babe (satiny silver)
6. Happy Anniversary! (glittery silver)
7. Mauve-lous Memories (purple pink)
8. 25 Colorful Years (vibrant red)
9. Quarter of a Cent-Cherry (cherry red)
10. It's a Doozi, Says Suzi (glowing burgundy)
11. All Lacquered Up (brown red)
12. OH... To Be 25 Again! (dark brown)

And, there are three companion lipsticks and lip liners to go with the polishes.

So, happy anniversary OPI, and thanks for making a safer product.

September 13, 2006
The waiting just got shorter for those with deeper pockets...

As mentioned in Tuesday's Coming Distractions column, that Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers show has finally been confirmed for Oct. 20 at Raley Field.

Tickets ($58.50 and $85.50) officially go on sale Sept. 23, but if you belong to the Tom Petty "Highway Companions" club, you can get a crack at seats starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19.

For more pre-sale info, visit Petty's Web site for more info.

Of course, not only does membership have its privileges, it also has its price. Your cost to become one of Petty's highway travellers? $30.

So, if like some of us you're more on the broke side and already balking a bit at the high ticket price, then you can get your tix (after Sept. 23, of course) via the
Raley Field box office (400 Ballpark Drive, West Sacramento),, or by phone: (916) 649-8497.

September 13, 2006
Channel 13, graphically challenged

Channel 13's problems with graphics continues, with truly bizarre results.

Two weeks ago, as we reported, the newscast identified a transvestite as Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo in a graphic during a report on the Rainbow Festival.

And then, last night, while teasing to an upcoming story on the pending release of the convicted murderer of a UC Davis student in 1980, anchor Sam Shane read a straightforward tease:

"She was a UC Davis co-ed murdered..." (Cut to a photo of the deceased woman).

"Coming up, why her killer may go free..." (Cut to tape of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at a podium, with the graphic in bold letters underneath: "Killer Go Free?")

Whoa - we knew Arnold had done some controversial things in his younger days, but not this.

Actually, the Guv was part of the story only in that he will determine whether the convicted killer, Daniel Wehner, will get paroled this Friday. The family of the murdered woman, Robin Ehlman, is lobbying against parole.

September 12, 2006
Storm front

“Tropical Depression (there are no Kates involved)” was the title and/or theme of Sunday night’s hugely enjoyable 29 1/2 Hour Playwriting Festival. The event, now in its seventh year and sponsored by City Theatre at Sacramento City College and Synergy Stage, is just what it advertises.

Plays are written, rehearsed and performed in the time it takes most of us to come up with half of an idea. There were eight plays in all, including “Casting Slouch” by Lorne White, “What’s in a Name?” by Jes Gonzales, “Cause and Kate-fect” by Nina Breton, and “Underwater” by Crom Saunders. And they are short - most ran about 10 to 15 minutes.

The idea is mostly for fun, but there’s a lot of craft being learned and put on display as well (go ahead - try and write a 10-minute play; take a whole day). Performers and the standing-room audience alike had great times.

After the final play, festival coordinator Luther Hanson called the actors on stage for a deserved curtain call. He then brought out the writers, directors and, finally, the behind-scenes contributors. It was a master stroke of inclusion by Hanson, who deserves much credit for putting this together along with assistant coordinator Christine Nicholson, Lori Ann DeLappe-Grondin and Mariam Helalian.

September 12, 2006
'Fashion' faux pas?


OK Sacramento, I need your help. Could someone other than me tune in for at least one episode of the outrageously campy TV show "Fashion House"? The local ratings for the My58TV (Channel 4) deluxe drama are abysmal. The other night, it only got a 1 share. That's according to my media colleague Sam McManis.

It got beat out by "According to Jim," "House" (with angry doctor), a rerun of "Veronica Mars" and an ancient "Law & Order" on TNT.

Sam doesn't watch. Neither does TV Columnist Rick Kushman. But because I cover fashion, I felt a need to at least catch one episode - the opener last Monday. So the acting is sketchy (I didn't recognize anyone other than Bo Derek), and the script is, well, sketchy. But I tuned in every night (it's on Monday through Friday) and found myself loving the fashion shows and the clothes.

It's sort of "Queer Eye" meets "Dynasty" with a slight hint of "Project Runway."

My58TV is pairing "Fashion House" with another show called "Desire." "Fashion House" is at 8, "Desire" at 7. It's dubbed "passion in primetime."

"Fashion House" promised some sort of altercation between divas Derek and Morgan Fairchild, she of "Knots Landing" fame (natch). Anyway, I don't want the show to end until one of them puts the other's head in that cake (shown above). I know it's going to happen. Thus far, the only sighting of Fairchild I've witnessed are her lips moving as she talks over the phone. She's up to something! I have to know what it is.

I also must find out if the young, impressionable fashion designer (Michelle) realizes her sketches have been copied by the desperate Derek, who must save her company from an evil empire.

Great shoes, great cheekbones, nasty models, catwalks and catfights. What's not to like? Check it out. Please.

September 12, 2006
Protesting 'Good Day Sacramento'

This ongoing garbage strike is trying the patience of many, not the least of which the striking sanitation workers.

Tuesday morning, Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" sent reporter Doug Brauner out in a station truck to pick up the garbage at four houses in Sacramento County affected by the strike. It was a funny piece - maggots and ants got in the truck, apparently - but it drew the ire of the striking workers.

They have vowed to picket the West Sacramento station, according to Bruno Cohen, president of channels 13 and 31.

"A number of sanitation workers have called us to complain," Cohen says. "This was not a pro-union or anti-union report. We just decided to go to four houses - four houses out of the thousands affected by the strike! - and pick up their trash. It's not like it cut into their business."

What is it about the CBS-owned stations that draw picketers? Religious groups recently protested Channel 13's airing of a 9/11 documentary that had profanity and, just last weekend, Cohen says a Methodist group picketed out front against CBS' plan to air "Survivor" with "tribes" determined by race.

September 12, 2006
Watch out, Pallas Hupe and Sam Shane

Vanessa Amezquita

The ascension of Vanessa Amezquita as a local media star continues. The former school teacher in Tracy-turned-Web drone at Channel 13-turned-on-air talent now has reached "reporter" status. So all of those callers and e-mailers who rave about Amezquita to Media Savvy will be happy to know that they'll be seeing more of her both on Channel 13's news and on "Good Day Sacramento" on sister station Channel 31.

"She's exactly the demographic we're trying to draw," says news director Steve Charlier. "We're trying to get young people to go to our Web site and we'll develop her presence over time."

Check out Amezquita's bio on Channel 13's Web site.

Meanwhile, the revolving door at Channel 13 continues. Only this time, people are coming in the door, not going out.

The station has made two new hires in the past week - Steve Large, a general assignment reporter who formerly was an anchor in Santa Maria; and Annie Hong as a weekend news anchor. Hong, formerly of the CBS station in Fresno, replaces Patti Lee, who left the station three months ago.

September 12, 2006
Great radio

Media consumers were inundated with Sept. 11 remembrance reporting on Monday. But KFBK (1530 AM) was the only local outlet that sent a reporter to the site of the World Trade Center, and it showed in the station's coverage.

Actually, it wasn't a reporter - it was senior editor Judy Farah, who usually is behind the scenes writing copy for the anchors to read and running down breaking news.

But Farah went in front of the mike because this story is personal to her. Five years ago, she happened to be vacationing in New York City when the terrorist attack hit. She reported from the scene that day and in the immediate aftermath. Her remembrance a year after the attack won a 2002 Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in writing.

On Monday, Farah provided live reports in the morning, on the noon news and chatted it up in the early evening with host Jay Allen.

September 11, 2006
Joker's wild

I don't know much about poker (I've played before but that's not really saying much), but I do know the basics of funny, ha-ha, so therefore I'm expert enough to tell you that you should check out "Poker with Jokers."

The event, which takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Lucky Derby Casino (7433 Greenback Lane, Citrus Heights), features a dozen comedians from the Sacramento/Bay Area region - all competing in a comedy poker tournament. Some of the notables on the bill: Dennis Gaxiola ("Latin Kings of Comedy) and Sacramento comedian Del Van Dyke.

Hosted by SF-based comedian/author SpiritWalker, the event marries comedy and poker for the chance for one lucky contestant to be crowned "Best Sacramento Comedian Poker Player." Yes, there is a niche for everyone.

Here's how it works: the funny people in question will not only riff during the game, but each is required to turn out a five-minute routine when and if he or she drops from the game.

Admission is free but seating is limited. Call (916) 726-8946 for more information.

September 11, 2006
Sampler platter


Five Figs Couture in Davis is wasting no time thinking about spring 2007. And that would be right in step with what's happening at Fashion Week this week in New York. I'm not there (Ivana Trump is sitting front row instead), but I understand it's chilly and they're showing collections for next spring.

Back home, Five Figs is doing the same thing with a sampling of designer Lynn Mizono's spring looks (shown left) for next year. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (and by appointment, too) Tuesday and Wednesday, owner Pam Pacelli will preview the Mizono collection. Attendees can peruse the fashions, take notes and start building their spring wardrobes.

Five Figs Couture is at 803 Second St. in Davis. For more information: (530) 756-3500.

September 11, 2006
Sactown, represented

So, I was watching "Friends With Money" the other day (the Nicole Holofcener-directed film starring Jennifer Aniston, Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand and Joan Cusack) and noticed that Sac got a shout-out. Well, sort of.

SCOTT-CAAN.jpg It happens in that first scene with uber-jerk Mike (Scott Caan) and Olivia (Aniston). If you haven't seen the film, I won't give anything away except to say, wow, creepy guy - but that's not the point here. The point is that Caan's character is wearing a Deftones T-shirt. Check it out: Caan is wearing the shirt in question in the picture on the left, but you have to squint to make it out.

Seeing that got me trying to think of other films with similar, subtle Sacramento references. And, aside from a shot of Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong wearing a Groovie Ghoulies T-shirt in the VH1 "Driven" special, I came up blank. I know there's got to be some movie with either a Cake shirt or poster and I need someone to refresh my memory.

If you know of any such pop culture-centric Sacramento movie (or TV) references, e-mail me and I'll write about it an upcoming post.

September 11, 2006
Not exactly panhandling on the street


For those of you wondering what has happened to Mark Williams, the ousted conservative talk radio host on KFBK (1530 AM), he is not destitute and hanging out under the Tower Bridge. Nor is he guarding the border with the Minutemen.

So what is Williams (pictured) doing?

He answers the question with an e-mail.

"For an out-of-work bum, my cup is filling up with loose change like crazy," he writes. "Got three national TV appearances this week: Today on Court TV (the Catherine Crier Show) on a 9/11 panel with Curtis Sliwa and Bill Press;
(Tuesday) on MSNBC with Tucker Carlson on "Tucker"; Wednesday on Fox News Channel (I do this segment every Wednesday at 7:20 AM Pacific).

"On the radio side, I have racked up nearly 200 hours of radio talk shows (done from a studio in our Lincoln home) since mid-June. By way of comparison if I was still at KFBK, I would have done around 170-180 hours of shows in that same period of time, not taking into account a two-week vacation that I had scheduled and never got to take. Plus, all but around 20 hours have been either individual major-market radio stations or network shows (two weeks on Westwood One radio hosting the nationally broadcast Jay Severin Show). Stations in Atlanta, San Francisco, LA, Washington DC and San Diego have all used me.

"That stray 20 hours was in Kansas City, which offered a dream local talk job but I had to turn it down...Holly (his wife) and I couldn't get past the geography issue."

September 8, 2006
Channel 3 veteran reporter resigns

This is Tana Castro's last day at Channel 3, after 12 years as a reporter at the station and countless stories covered.

Castro, who has reported from such far-flung locales as Bosnia, India and Mississippi (in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina), says she wants to concentrate on starting a family. We hear she asked management for a reduced workload or job sharing, but it didn't work out.

It is not an unusual situation for local TV news reporters and anchors. In recent months, several others have left high-profile on-air jobs because of family considerations. In Tuesday's Scene section in The Bee, we will have more on Castro and examine why newsrooms aren't "family-friendly" workplaces.

September 8, 2006
Sheeeee's back!


There's nothing better than delivering good news at 21Q. And I've got some to share.

Local fashion icon Olivia Coehlo is back in business. After a devastating fire almost two weeks ago at her midtown boutique, Olipom, Coehlo just signed a lease for a new location for her business. And she says she hopes to be up and running in a week to 10 days.

So, where is the address for the new Olipom? (FYI: She's keeping the name.)

"It's next door to my husband's skateboard shop, Flatspot (21st Street between L and K streets)," Coehlo says. "It was a complete fluke that the previous tenant left. I talked to the landlord and signed the lease on Wednesday.

"I'm so grateful that I found reasonable rent so quickly, and it's a good deal being next to my husband," she says.

The original Olipom, at 19th and Capitol, sold vintage and handmade clothing. Coehlo says she was able to salvage a lot of the merchandise from the fire; her shop suffered mostly smoke and water damage.

"The firefighters were so impressive," she says. "They threw tarps over my merchandise...some clothing items, depending on the material, held on to that smoke smell."

Coehlo adds that many of the designers whose work she sold have offered to restock her new store, including Trisha Rhomberg, who creates the Pretty Trashy clothing line.

"Trisha showed up the next day (after the fire) without calling and helped me move everything," Coehlo says.

More than anything, Coehlo says she's been moved by the community support. She's received hundreds of e-mails encouraging her to open her store - again. Proceeds from several benefit events also have helped the tenants who lived in the apartments upstairs. They pretty much lost everything.

Coehlo says she's "calling in all my favors, putting paintbrushes in people's hands to get the new Olipom ready to open."

In the meantime, she's selling some of her merchandise in Flatspot and just outside, on the street. Two of her loyal customers, LaPorscha Wynne and Sherree Hall, stopped by Thursday and made purchases.

And this weekend, Coehlo and Olipom will once again host the popular Sellout Buyout clothing and art sale, which will feature more than 20 indie designers and "utilitarian artists." The event is from 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Fools Foundation, a basement gallery in the alley behind 1025 19th St. There will be Olipom T-shirts for sale, and Mike and Olivia are getting into the spirit by painting skateboards.

And for those of you concerned about the Olipom mannequins that were a sidewalk fixture at the previous location, don't worry.

"They'll be back out on the street, playing out their soap operas."

September 8, 2006
A new angle

RP-CHRIS-ANAYA-STEPS.jpgFans of local indie rock band An Angle (singer Chris Anaya, pictured left) should take note - the band's got a keen new marketing, uh, angle.

Fire up your mobile and send a text message with the words ANANGLE followed by your name to the numbers 66937. What'll you get in exchange? Band updates and access to free An Angle MP3s via (The song "I Promise You (We'll Be Okay)" is the band's current offering).

Of course, in a classic case of nothing-really comes for free, your cell phone carrier's normal text message rates apply.

September 8, 2006
Putting the 'My' in My58TV

Not many people are watching those nightly soaps ("Desire" and "Fashion House") on the new My58TV. (I think, locally, the Nielsen folks counted one dude in Roseville and a pair of sinster sisters in Woodland who've tuned in.)

So why, then, is My58TV - the erstwhile WB 58 - creating so much buzz locally?

It's an Internet thing, naturally. To drum up interest in the channel, which was cut adrift after WB and UPN merged to form the CW (on Channel 31, locally), the station's marketing whiz, Jessica Rappaport, came up with the idea of staging a contest to select two hosts for the network.

So they sent out a casting call, and 500 aspirants showed up. The number has been winnowed to 12, and each week, two more hopefuls will be eliminated (via online vote) before the winners are announced on Oct. 9.

"We'll give them a year's contract with the station," Rappaport says. "They'll do promotional spots on TV between shows and during commercial breaks, and they'll be on our Web site and make (personal) appearances."

Voting is going on now at My58TV's Web site. You can watch the auditions of the finalists and judge for yourselves.

Finalist Ana

Me? I think it would be a crime if these four didn't make it to the Final Four: Jeff from Sacramento, Ana from Davis, Kelly from Fair Oaks and Scott from Sacramento.

Finalist Jeff

September 8, 2006
Mad for plaid


Attention brides-to-be: If you're still desperately seeking a unique wedding gown - and you've been all over heck and half of Georgia - consider checking out this weekend's Bridal Expo at Sunrise Mall (outside of Macy's South).

As part of the wedding gown fashion show, you'll see four dresses from European designer Joyce Young, who creates wedding gowns for a label called By Storm with a Touch of Tartan. In other words, the collection is subtitled "Dressed To Kilt."

Even if you don't have any Scottish blood coursing through you, these gowns will make you think twice about all white for the big day.

Richard Markel, president of the local Association for Wedding Professionals, was instrumental in bringing Young's gowns to the United States for the first time.

"These gowns are so unique. We saw them in New York at the market shows and wanted to give Joyce the opportunity to have them tour in this country," Markel says. "The gowns are priced at about $1,000, which is slightly above the $800 average price tag for wedding dresses in the U.S."

And no, this isn't Renaissance Fair attire. And yes, the wedding gowns are different. But what bride doesn't want to stand out? Even on the moors!

The Bridal Expo is free and open to the public. Here are the times: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

September 7, 2006

This local TV news madness has got to stop! (See, it's already gotten me to overuse exclamation points, a journalistic no-no.)

What madness, you ask?

It's the feeding frenzy all of our local stations are having over two pieces of way over-the-top videos: (1) The dad in Stockton who ran onto the field and flattened a youth football player, and (2) the San Diego TV reporter beaten to a pulp by a subject on whom he was reporting.

I can understand showing the tapes once - OK twice or three times, even - but I'm not exaggerating when I say that the footage has been aired at least 15 times on every station in the past two days.

Stop the madness!

Local TV news does a lot of good things, but it keeps its reputation as sensational newsmongers with stunts like this.

September 7, 2006
Disappearing DJ

Listeners at KNCI (105.1 FM), Sacramento's highly rated "new country" station, are wondering what happened to popular afternoon drive-time host Freddie Bueno, who abruptly left the air this week.

Well, station executives are wondering the same thing. Apparently, Bueno (pictured at right with a dog) dropped off a resignation letter with program director Mark Evans, saying he was leaving the station immediately for "personal reasons." Steve Cottingim, president of Sacramento's CBS stations, says Bueno wrote that he was not leaving for a gig at another Sacramento station.

Cottingim says he hopes Bueno, who has been at the station for almost three years, will reconsider and eventually return to KNCI. In the meantime, nighttime DJ Dan Cheatham takes over Bueno's 2:30-7 p.m. time slot.

September 6, 2006
Weathering the storm


Gosh, we never knew Channel 3 weather forecaster Julie Watts had so many fans concerned about her welfare.

Several viewers called me in the wake of last Saturday’s morning newscast. It seems anchor Mike TeSelle was teasing Watts about her recent engagement. The reason: Watts' fiance had yet to produce a ring. So, TeSelle ribbed Watts about it all morning, bringing out a Hula-Hoop, cigar band and even a bagel to put on Watts’ finger.

Viewer Rosalind Deutsch was shocked - shocked! - by TeSelle’s “insensitivity.”


“It was rude and harassment against Julie,” Deutsch says. “I can’t believe they let that on the air. He has no right to make fun of her engagement, just because the guy can’t afford a ring. Maybe (TeSelle) was trying to be irreverent, but it was just mean. That nice Ms. (Pamela) Wu (weekend anchor) doesn’t do that.”

Not to worry, Rosalind. We checked with Watts and she found TeSelle’s antics hilarious.

“My engagement is kind of the running joke around the newsroom,” Julie writes in an e-mail. “We've got the date, the dress, the guest list...but no ring.

“My fiance, Sam, is in the jewelry business, so it's not as easy as walking into Guzzetta's and picking out a ring. He had to have the diamond cut, the ring designed, yadda, yadda, yadda. Needless to say, Sam's having a lot of fun with this. He's stringing me along because he wants the 'actual proposal' to be a big surprise. So TeSelle is egging him on.

“I'm actually surprised to hear people are upset. I've been getting a ton of positive feedback from viewers.”

September 6, 2006
Feel the Burn. No seriously, feel it

Well guys, I did it. I finally went to Burning Man. Been thinking about it for years, talking a mean game about how I was TOTALLY going to go this year and omg it was going to be so awesome. And then the end of summer would roll around and there would be no Burning Man in my datebook, if I were organized enough to carry such a thing. Part of it was because I'm kinda lazy, but I also had a nagging little suspicion that I would either love it or hate it, and there aren't too many worse places I can think of to be miserable than in the middle of the Nevada desert, choking on playa dust, reeking of Porta Potty and looking at the saggy parts of aging hippies. All of which I did, by the way.

So I'm particularly delighted to report that I came, I saw and I'm a total convert. I heart Burning Man, and The Man hearts me.

I went under the auspices of work - something I do not recommend and probably won't do again. It is just too hard to work in an environment like that, and my notebook started to feel like a mean little shackle. I thought working while at bars was distracting, but there aren't 5 million absolutely bizarre and fabulous things to see and do at the local dive.

AOC_BurnMan_0289a.jpg I wanted to make my own tutu, do yoga with bellinis and windsurf the playa, and I wanted to do it immediately.

So I worked, but I found time to play. A Bee photographer (to view more of Autumn Cruz's photo gallery go here and I stayed at a theme camp called Kairos - a wonderful, welcoming, friendly, naughty, fun, random theme camp organized by some guys down in San Diego. The best part was the food, which was absolutely gourmet and, best of all, not prepared by me. Power bars do not a meal make, and when I'm roughing it in every other aspect, I want a thick slice of pork loin for dinner, dammit. With ice cream cones for dessert.

Having arrived alone and friendless, with no time to rally my peeps, who do not have an extra $300 lying around for admission, I was initially concerned I would be bereft of companionship and flying a sad sack solo. Not even Partner in Crime, who is bound by marriage to accompany me on such excursions but currently bound by a broken foot to the couch, could attend.

I needn't have worried. The instant community of Burning Man enfolded me, and I spent the rest of the week running around with The Brooklyn Boys - three hilarious and entertaining fellas who were not, to my knowledge, from Brooklyn - and The HoneyBurners, two fabulous Canadians who came south for their post-wedding celebration. I almost cried when we had to say goodbye.

It's a funny thing, really. I formed these incredible connections and never knew a single person's last name. I would be riding my bike by myself (one of my favorite things to do there) and people would just usher me into their camps, offer up a drink or a story and send me on my way. Gifts and favors are exchanged like greetings, and "the nice thing to do" is always the default rather than the exception. At the risk of waxing poetic for too much longer, Burning Man is kinda like a party full of only people you like. And that's a rare thing.

Two more points and then I will wrap up The Longest Blog Entry Ever. First, the city. Coming into a vast, teeming, crazy city of 40,000 people is like nothing I've ever experienced. My first ride out to The Man was a lesson in disorientation, and the distance between my camp and the outer playa seemed hopelessly long. I got there surprisingly fast and learned how distance and time meant nothing there. And then I turned around and realized I had no sense of where I'd come from, or where I should go from there. I should note, by the way, that the very first thing I did when I set out was get completely lost from my group, and with not the smallest shred of hope of finding them, was on my own. Which turned out to be the best thing that could have happened, as this is how I learned the delight of the solo bike ride. Anyway. It's funny how that first glance back at the city was like peering over the edge of something dizzyingly tall. Then, as I spent more time there, the fact that I was in a city (the fifth largest in Nevada, by the way) finally hit me. I knew, for instance, that the guitar/hammock guy was a block and a half down the way from my camp, that my camp was located between the giant red heart and the twinkle-lit tree, and that the non-nasty bathrooms required a bike ride and five minute's notice from my bladder. It's funny how quickly you adapt.

AOC_BurnMan_0223a.jpgFinally, the most incredible thing about Burning Man is what it brings out of yourself. I was going through some stuff, as so many who make their pilgrimage there are, and Burning Man provided me a surprising forum to work it all out. I drove out of there with a clarity that had been eluding me for months, and it had nothing to do with the art or the music or the naked people or the all-night parties. It's as if there was so much stimuli that my brain was able to go silent for awhile, allowing the rest of me to figure things out.

Now that I'm back, I'm still cleaning playa dust off of my bike and out of my ears and seeing and smelling traces of it on everything I own. But I'm not throwing away the irreparably dusty pair of boots that kept me going out there in the desert. I'll be walking in them next year.

September 6, 2006
Katie bombs in Sac

Well, the overnight ratings are in, and Katie Couric's debut Tuesday night as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" finished far behind "The NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams" in the Sacramento market.

Tale of the tape: Williams (pictured at left) pulled in a 9.9 rating and 19.9 share, Couric a 4.1 rating and 8.2 share. Oh, by the way, that Charles Gibson guy on ABC? He garnered a 3.3 rating, 6.7 share. Univision's network news got a 3.2 and 7.0.

(Obligatory jargon explanation: Ratings chart the percentage of all homes with TVs; shares measure the number of TV sets turned on at a particular time.)

Good news for news junkies, though: All the newscasts beat reruns of Fox40's "King of the Hill" (2.3, 7.0).

Bruno Cohen, president of the CBS-owned stations (channels 13 and 31) in Sacramento, was philosophical about Couric's numbers.

"We’re still in the shadow of the strength of KCRA (at 5 p.m.)," Cohen says. "There’s four decades of strength there. It could’ve been Dave (Walker)and Lois (Hart), but it could’ve been you and me as a lead-in for KCRA, and we’d do a 9 rating. But the thing that’s encouraging is that our audience built for 4 o’clock up until 5:30 (when Couric debuted). Our 4 o'clock news got a 5 share, and it went up to a 6 share at 5 (o'clock) and then 8 for Katie."

Nationally, Couric beat Williams in the ratings race. She garnered a 9.1 rating, 17 share, Williams 5.3 and 10.

Says CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus in a statement: “We’re encouraged by last night’s numbers, but what’s more important is what the audience will be six months and a year from now.”

And now, for the really important Couric news, here's my fashionista colleague Leigh Grogan....

September 6, 2006
Why white at night?


OK, so her ratings weren't so great in Sacramento (see above), but how did CBS anchor Katie Couric come across, fashion-wise, in her evening-news debut?

Well, for me, the white jacket was a little - no, a lot - glaring paired with her black tank and black skirt. Yes, the calendar still says summer, but don't you think she might have opted for a less harsh color?

She should have, says Karen Sanders, women's buyer for Polo Ralph Lauren in Pavilions shopping center.

"I question the choice of a white jacket," Sanders says. "I agree it's a harsh color on air and certainly not a very 'serious' look. Going into fall I would have opted for a more muted tone, such as light gray or a soft green."

You said it. While white was white hot in the spring and summer, wearing it now made Couric look like she was falling backward seasonally. Sanders also notes that, dress-wise, there's definitely a different expectation for an evening anchor's attire versus a morning personality.

"She doesn't have to wear all black," Sanders says, "but she certainly wants to be taken seriously."

Couric seemed to avoid over-accessorizing - no clunky jewelry. Let the news be the story. Of course, her perch on the desk at the end of the newscast let the world know she's going to continue to keep a leg up on NBC.

September 5, 2006
More 'Minor' delays

Those of you waiting to see the Sacramento film "Her Minor Thing" in theaters will have to keep on keeping on. The Jim Meyers-produced romantic comedy, directed by Walter Matthau's son, Charlie Matthau, has been in the can for more than a year but still can't secure U.S. distribution.

Still, it's not all movie gloom and doom. "Her Minor Thing," starring Estrella Warren ("The Cooler") and Christian Kane ("Angel") and featuring notable bit parts by the likes of Rachel Dratch (ex-"Saturday Night Live") and comedian Kathy Griffin, is earning plenty of acclaim for its story about a computer specialist in love with a TV reporter.

In a recent e-mail, Meyers touted the film's success at the Phoenix Film Festival, where Kane nabbed a Special Jury Prize for his performance. It'll also be featured in the Kansas City Film Festival Sept. 18.

If you can't make it to Kansas, check out "Her Minor Thing" on the web or on its MySpace page.

September 5, 2006
Hey, it's News10 calling

If you just can't live without Dale and Cristina at your beck and call 24 hours a day, News10 can help. The station announced Tuesday it is offering news, sports, weather and those heart-rendering "committed and connected" stories on your cell phone.

For a price, of course: $4.99 a month. Go to for more info.

(Actually, News10 has already offered weather on your cell for a while now, but this is something new. In fact, you can get 79 other local TV news shows on your cell, just in case you pine for the news from Bozeman, Mont., or St. Louis.)

In other media technology news, News10 editorial czar Stacy Owen says the station will tape its Friday night prep football coverage - as well as its weekly travel stories - with high definition cameras.

“We’ve found the No. 1 reason people buy HD sets is for sporting events,” Owen says. “And we want to give that same importance to Friday night football.”

September 5, 2006
The Real Heather Fargo?

Nice report Channel 13 had on the Rainbow Festival on Sunday night, replete with interviews with gay and lesbian activists as well as just plain (actually, fabulously dressed) folks.

Imagine viewers' shock, though, when KOVR interviewed a transvestite and flashed this identifying graphic: "HEATHER FARGO, Mayor of Sacramento."

Oops. That graphic went with the next interviewee at the festival, the actual Mayor Fargo (pictured).

September 4, 2006
White out


In that great Southern movie, "Steel Magnolias," actress Olympia Dukakis remarks that "our ability to accessorize is what separates us from the animals."

Tastefully, of course.

It's Labor Day, and the fashion police are out in force, issuing warnings to Sacramentans that this is the final chance to prance around in white shoes. Now, some might quibble that it's still in the 90s, weather-wise, and why shouldn't we still wear white after Labor Day?

I don't make the rules; I just try to keep you folks out of fashion jail.

Let's face it: White dress pumps are clunky. They draw attention to your feet, and that's not always a positive thing. Wear them with dark hosiery and you've got a true fashion don't.

Now, with the NFL season upon us, the only exception to this edict might be the occasional white shoes worn by a football player. Former star Billy "White Shoes" Johnson got away with wearing white shoes because he loved dancing around when he made a great play. Fans of the Houston Oilers loved it!

But, unless you're a pro football player, you've got just a few hours left before Labor Day is history. And so is the white. Well, until next year.

September 1, 2006
Seeing stars


The California State Fair has gone Hollywood - sort of. If you've got plans to visit the fair on Sunday, the next-to-the-last day of its run this year, the finals of the "State Fair Star" talent competition are on tap at 7 p.m.

The general public - that's you and me - will get an earful from 13 contestants (ages 17 to 27, from all over Northern California), who will compete in a singing contest. The winner will get a prize package that includes: $1,000 cash, a makeover, vocal lessons, a shopping spree and a round-trip ticket to - but what else? - a nationwide singing competition, courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

Let's see, hmmm, and which of those auditions are currently taking place? Well, there's "American Idol's," of course! According to the fair, most of the 13 contestants say they'll take the plane ticket and book it to Seattle; the "Idol" audition there is set for Sept. 19 at Key Arena.

The two other singing auditions taking place are "Nashville Star" and "America's Got Talent."

Here's how it will work on Sunday: A panel of judges (not Simon Cowell) will select the top three contestants, and the audience will crown the overall winner. The song stylings: a range of adult contemporary (read: Elliott Yamin) to country (read: Kellie Pickler) to R&B (read: Chris Daughtry). The show is free with fair admission and will take place at the Golden1 Stage at Cal Expo.

September 1, 2006
Gunning for Sacramento


After watching Wednesday night's Episode 8 of "Project Runway," I wanted to hear mentor Tim Gunn's thoughts on the series of events.

To refresh your "PR" memory, the competition for the seven remaining designers was to create a hip, international outfit for a jet-setter - and to be modeled by the designers themselves. No models. (FYI: The guest judge was Francisco Costa, who, at the time the show was filmed, had just won the Council of Fashion Designers of America award as womenswear designer of the year for Calvin Klein. Big honor for him. So we know he knows what looks good.)

Anyway. Gunn's podcast goes on to pretty much take us back to what the judges had to say. For example, Angela's rear-end rosettes were ripped, Kayne was told he looked like Elvis, and Uli - who did the Uli flowery, uber-colored thing - was told her dress wasn't "international" enough. Good for the South of France, Caribbean, South Beach. Just not New York.

Where the podcast got really interesting was Gunn's account of the designers being told they would now take their creations on the road - by way of a flight - to see how well their outfits would hold up. With their e-tickets in hand, the designers were ecstatic, eaching pondering a variety of destinations:

Maybe Milan, maybe London - maybe Moscow.

Gunn, amused at their musings, pipes up on the podcast: "What makes you think we're not going to Pittsburgh or Sacramento?" (No, they actually went to Paris.)

So, for the sake of having a little fun with Gunn, who's a super nice guy (I chatted with him before the season started), we suggest all sorts of fun places to test designer clothes in Sactown: dining alfresco in midtown, walking across the Tower Bridge, riding the River Otter water taxi in Old Sacramento.

So hey, next time "Project Runway" needs a fashion destination, Tim, we'll roll out the red carpet and take you all to the mall.

September 1, 2006
What's in store for Stephanie?


It's been almost two months since Stephanie Nishikawa left her reporting job at Channel 13. And she's now a full-fledged entrepreneur. In other words, she's a business owner.

Today, she is celebrating the grand opening of her new store, The Paper Garden, in Town & Country shopping center, which my colleague Sam McManis first did an
item on for 21Q.

Nishikawa, who had worked at KOVR for eight years, chatted with me just as the doors to her boutique flung open.

"I'm very excited, and the response is great," she says. It helps that her handmade cards and stationery (shown above) are really, really unique - and pretty. "And we're giving away free hot dogs today."

Paper products and dogs: A winning combination.

Nishakawa says that, in addition to perusing the paper products of her own design, shoppers also can "make their own personalized stationery." And get this - Marcy Valenzuela, another former Channel 13 personality (who has since moved to Arizona), painted the mural on one of the walls in the store.

If you're out and about this holiday weekend, check out Nishikawa's store; it's next to Noah's Bagels and Carousel Toy and Party, and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Phone: (916) 48-PAPER (487-2737).

September 1, 2006
The stork visits Channel 13


Channel 13's morning news anchor Lisa Gonzales (pictured at right) may be on maternity leave - she gave birth this week to her first child, Ashley Juliette (7 pounds, 5 ounces and 19 1/2 inches) - but that doesn't mean she's still not waking up early.

"I just talked to (Lisa) yesterday at 4:15 a.m.," says co-anchor Michele Kane. "She calls me at the station and says she's up, feeding the baby. She's exhausted, but she says, in this case, getting up in the middle of the night is so worth it."

Expect Gonzales back in the anchor chair in November - just in time for sweeps.

September 1, 2006
Can you download a shout-out?

jonah.jpg A while back, I wrote about the Fort Minor single "Where'd You Go." To bring you up-to-date, I'd been hearing the song all over the radio, but didn't realize that Sac expatriate Jonah Matranga (pictured) was singing back-ups (along with Holly Brook) until I finally caught the video.

Fast forward to Thursday night, when I'm watching MTV's Video Music Awards (while getting ready for the Frank Black show at Harlow's), and guess who wins the VMA for "Ringtone of the Year"?

Yep, Fort Minor's "Where'd You Go." (And yeah, who knew there was even an award for that? Leave it to MTV).

Long story short: Matranga finally got his national due when singer Mike Shinoda (of Linkin Park fame) gave Matranga a shout-out from the stage, not once, but twice.

I still think he should get more prominent credit for the song, but you know, whatever. It's pretty cool, so congrats to all.

More on Matranga: I got a chance to hear an advance of his forthcoming split vinyl-only 12-inch single with Frank Turner (due Sept. 5 on Welcome Home Records. Matranga's contribution is a cover of one of my favorite songs, ever: Billy Bragg's "A New England." Here, the tune is sweet and sensitive soft-core emo - in other words, 100 percent Jonah Matranga. He also covers Babybird's "All I Wanted." (Turner, formerly of the band Million Dead, turns in covers of the Lemonheads' "The Outdoor Type" and the folk-country classic "You Are My Sunshine.")

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