Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

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


January 31, 2007
'Daily Show' or local TV news: Part 4

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We take you now - live! - to My58TV's Richard Sharp for a breaking story.

That's breaking as in cracking, itching skin. Yes, it's another installment of "Is it 'The Daily Show With Jon Stewart' or a wacky local TV news story?" This time, My58TV led its 10 p.m. newscast on Tuesday night with an earnest-sounding Sharp reporting on how our rainless January has made us reach for the hand cream.

This just in: SACRAMENTANS FORCED TO GO WITHOUT OIL OF OLAY!!!

Yup, John Richards of the Arden Pharmacy told Sharp that they're sold out. Oh, the humanity.

We especially love this woman's baffled sound bite: "I didn't know what was going on, but our whole family has been itching like crazy."

January 31, 2007
Pledge drive raises the stakes

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The things that Capital Public Radio's KXJZ (90.9 FM) will do during its quarterly pledge drives never ceases to amaze.

This week, the station is calling upon the "hidden talents" of its staff. If you pledge a certain amount, you can get a yoga lesson from jazz DJ Gary Vercelli (left), a certified yoga instructor. Or you can take a jewelry-making class from reporter Ellen Ciurczak.

What's next - pledge a hundred bucks and Jeffrey Callison will make haggis for you? Spring $300 and Donna Apidone will mow your lawn for a month? How about Steve Milne working as a DJ at your daughter's Sweet 16 birthday party?

The possibilities are endless.

Personally, I'll pledge $100 if Daniel Schorr will wax my car.

January 30, 2007
The Zone makes a change ...

... but not a format switch, as had been rumored in local radio circles for a while now.

Rather, KZZO (100.5 FM) fired its program director, Max Miller, after another lackluster Arbitron ratings book. The Zone finished 16th overall in the 12+ age demographic.

Steve Cottingim, general manager of the CBS radio stations in Sacramento, which includes The Zone, says afternoon DJ Shawn Cash will temporarily fill in as program director. There's a chance Cash might get the permanent job, too, but Cottingim isn't saying.

Concerning Miller's departure, Cottingim says: "We really felt it was not the right situation with him."

But Cottingim strongly denied that The Zone will change its current contemporary hits format.

"There is not even any consideration of doing that," he says. "The brand for this station is too strong."

January 30, 2007
Say it isn't so

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Vanessa Amezquita, Channel 13's bright-eyed Web producer who lit up the screen every time she appeared on camera during the Channel 13 news or "Good Day Sacramento," is leaving the station. And leaving local TV news, apparently.

Here's the announcement Channel 13's Web guru made on the station's "Tubeless" blog. The best part of the blog entry is the link to the job announcement seeking Vanessa's replacement.

January 30, 2007
Who'll be KCRA's new news director?

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It could be this man - Anzio Williams (right), currently the news director at Hearst-Argyle-owned station WDSU in New Orleans.

Williams, say our sources in the newsroom, toured Channel 3 this morning, a day after Dan Weiser resigned after a little more than three years in the job.

Elliott Troshinsky, president and station manager at KCRA and My58TV, would not comment on whether Williams is a candidate. "We'll do an extensive search and get the best talent available," Troshinsky tells us.

Here's what we do know: Williams, who will turn 35 in February, is something of a TV news prodigy. While in college at North Carolina A&T, he was the producer of the morning news show at a station in Greensboro, N.C., and two years after graduating, he was producing the 6 o'clock news.

Since then, he's had producing and/or news director stints in Cincinnati, Miami and Orlando before his current stop in New Orleans. While there, he guided the station through its award-winning Hurricane Katrina coverage. And he has started a popular 30-minute, late-night news and public affairs program, "6 on Your Side Live," which the Columbia Journalism Review praised for being "pugnacious" in holding public officials accountable.

New Orleans (the 54th largest media market) certainly is smaller than Sacramento (No. 20), so this would be a move up for Williams. His youth and energy also may be a good fit for Channel 3, which remains the top-rated station in Sacramento but has been beset by what many in the newsroom say is low morale in the past few months.

In the past year, meteorologist Patty Souza left to go to News10, anchor John Alston left in a contract dispute, sports director Ron Hyde left for an online venture, and longtime reporter Tana Castro left to spend more time with her family after having her work hours changed. Also, two evening news producers -Cameryn Beck and Carolyn Thomas - have bolted to Channel 13.

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Several newsroom sources say the staff welcomes a fresh start because Weiser (left) "lost the confidence of the troops...The best thing KOVR and News10 had going was that Weiser was the news director here," one of the sources says.

Troshinsky would not address the question of low morale, saying only, "We're in terrific shape going into (February ratings sweeps). All the things we're working on are coming together. We have a great team that continues to be the leader in news."

But Mike Bond, who was among a group of five employees who was laid off Friday, says that move hit the staff hard. Certainly, he says he had no clue that it was coming.

"It was instantaneous," Bond says. "One minute, I'm an employee; the next, I'm shown the door. I sat there in the 3 o'clock meeting and got my story (for that night), and then the news director (Weiser) called me in and gave me the news."

Bond says morale sank particularly low because of the manner that the employees were shown the door. One photographer, for instance, had just come back from family leave after his wife had a child, Bond says.

"And (the) photographer was just sitting on the curb outside the building, waiting for a ride," Bond says.

Bond says that, in his case, he suspects the reason he was laid off had to do with the direction that station management wants its soon-to-be unveiled morning newscast on My58TV
to take.

"I think they're going to go for a goofy copycat of (Channel 31's) 'Good Day Sacramento,' and that's not the kind of reporting that's my strength," Bond says.

Troshinsky, however, has said My58TV's new morning newscast will be an alternative to the "soft" news of "Good Day Sacramento."

January 29, 2007
'Daily Show' or local TV news? Part 3

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Yes, it's time for another installment of our (semi-)new series, "Is it a spoof from 'The Daily Show With Jon Stewart' or another wacky local TV news report?"

We're trying to be fair so, after "featuring" Channel 13 and News10 in the first two postings, we turn our attention to Channel 3 today.

KCRA's Central Valley reporter Rich Ibarra, who normally just covers the latest crime wave in Stockton, blew the lid off the story of how a sea lion wound up at a dairy farm in Tracy. Length of report: 1 minute, 43 seconds.

We'll leave it to you to decide if this report was of enough import to claim so much precious prime-time news real estate. All we know is that we loooove how that quintessential hard-newsman Ibarra gives the report all due gravitas. Check out this sound bite: "The cows, at this point, aren't saying much. Just a lot of long stares and a wondering glance."

(That's long been a pet peeve of ours - cows that give no comments. What, pray tell, are they hiding?)

And it wouldn't be your classic local TV news story without the obligatory pun at the end. Says Ibarra: "Sounds like the seal of approval." (Hmm, we guess saying "sea lion of approval" didn't work.)

January 29, 2007
Low-powered FM station now streaming

KDEE (97.7 FM) in Rancho Cordova, the low-powered nonprofit radio station we first told you about in November, is now streaming its programming online. Check it out here.

January 28, 2007
Sentimental SAGs

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Chris Pizzelo/Associated Press

The SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards are almost a copycat of the Golden Globes because they honor both movies and television. The difference is, the awards are voted on by members of the guild. You know, one actor to another.

And, the stars, while obviously there for the viewing public via the red carpet, are in a different element, sitting mostly at elementary school-type cafeteria tables, their milk replaced by expensive champagne and wine.

I personally like this show because, well, there really are no pretenses. And so, I've deviated from 21Q's usual M-F "coverage" to share my thoughts on tonight's fashions, which covered the spectrum from pantsuits to multiple strapless looks.

But, without a doubt, actress Helen Mirren (shown above) stood out for her fashion sense and graciousness. She truly is royalty, so to speak.

I also liked Kyra Sedgwick and a lovely Anne Hathaway, who presented a Life Achievement Award to her "Princess Diaries" co-star Julie Andrews. I shed a tear during the "Sound of Music" recognition.

Nominee Cate Blanchett was stunnining, as was winner Jennifer Hudson, who might just be getting overwhelmed with all the adulation. America Ferrera won for "Ugly Betty," and looked anything but. This young lady knows how to deliver a fabulous acceptance speech.

Meanwhile, a couple of stars were, literally, coming out of their dresses, although I suppose they can get away with it on this night. But come Oscar time, ladies, you'll need to find some double-sided tape.

January 26, 2007
Channel 3 layoffs

Five editorial employees of KCRA (Channel 3), including reporter Mike Bond, were laid off today in a newsroom restructuring tied to the announcement that sister station My58TV will start a new two-hour morning news show in late March.

Elliott Troshinsky, president of KCRA and sister station My58TV, says that the station will make some new hires for a My58TV newscast, slated to air from 7 to 9 a.m., but that it was necessary to eliminate several current positions.

“This new newscast will need a different type of staff than what we currently have,” Troshinsky says. “So this will free up some positions for the new morning news.

"We had to find the spots. We’ll find ways to continue to do our (Channel 3) newscasts with the rest of the staff.”

Among those laid off were two photographers and a videotape editor. A night assignment editor was also told that his contract would not be renewed when it expires at the end of February. Bond had been working as a weekend reporter for KCRA for several years.

Additionally, Carolyn Thomas, producer of Channel 3’s 11 p.m. news, announced she soon will be leaving the station to become an executive producer of Channel 13’s morning news. Troshinsky says he will hire a replacement for Thomas.

January 26, 2007
On her own at SAGs

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When it comes to fashion, the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards fall each year somewhere between the Golden Globes (party time) and the Academy Awards (behave yourself). Oh yes, and don't forget the Grammys, which is a true study in wardrobe changes. (They're on Feb. 11).

This Sunday, Melissa Rivers (shown above) will host the SAG red-carpet show at 3 p.m. on the TV Guide Channel. And she'll be doing it sans mother, Joan Rivers.

Over the phone from L.A., Melissa says she enjoys the SAGs - "fun from a fashion perspective" - but she admits she has mixed feelings on shows where "we're honoring each other."

And, like with the Golden Globes, both movie and TV accomplishments will be honored.

"I know everybody votes for themselves, but then you ask about it and it gets awkward, kind of like in high school," she says.

Still, Melissa says awards junkies should keep in mind that the SAG Awards are important.

"They are a major awards show," she says, "just a little bit looser."

For Sunday's show, Melissa has already selected a "pretty dress from Prada." And, yes, she's pondering that all-important gown for the Oscars on Feb. 25. As for the Grammys, she says she enjoys watching the wardrobe trucks pulling up ahead of the celebs.

"Anything goes there, from jeans to gowns."

You can catch the SAG Awards telecast at 8 p.m. Sunday on both TNT and TBS.


January 26, 2007
Big changes at My58TV

Starting March 26, say goodbye to the TV simulcast of Armstrong & Getty's radio show on My58TV.

And, in its place, say hello to ... more news!

Elliott Troshinsky, president of KCRA and My58TV, won't divulge too many details of the new show, but he did confirm it will be news-oriented (as opposed to the fluff on "Good Day Sacramento") and it will be produced by KCRA.

As for who will be the on-air talent? Troshinsky played coy. When your correspondent asked if it would be Walt Gray and Deirdre Fitzpatrick, the anchors on Channel 3's morning news from 5 to 7 a.m., Troshinsky backpedaled.

"We're still working out the details," he says. "We think we have a great opportunity in that time period to give people a news option using the best resources in the market."

And what about A&G?

Well, Armstrong & Getty are talented guys and their five-hour show brings in great ratings on KSTE (650 AM). But the simulcast has been a ratings flop - in most Nielsen books, it's below a 1 rating. (The "Today" show and "Good Day Sacramento" routinely pull in ratings in the high 3s.)

In other Channel 3 news: That makeshift set is almost history. Troshinsky says the station's new HD-compatible set will debut next week.

January 25, 2007
LiberalViewer update

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Tuesday's Media Savvy column on the YouTube vlogger LiberalViewer (real name: Allen Asch, of Sacramento) has resulted in a spike in the number of subscribers to the media critic's work.

He had 1,578 subscribers to his videos on Monday. But as of this morning, it's up to 1,696.

This talented guy deserves a wider audience. Check out his YouTube channel here.

And here's his latest video, smacking around Fox News' Bill O'Reilly.

January 24, 2007
Well, that was fast

This just in: Well, Ok, it's not just in, but it's close enough. Twisted 88s, the much-adoed new dueling piano bar, will play no more. After just a couple months throwing out all the Billy Joel that Sacramento could apparently take, Twisted 88s has been transformed into Azukar, a purportedly chic, Miami Beach-inspired lounge at the J Street location. The limited grand opening is this weekend, and unless I'm otherwise engaged, I'll be there with bells. Or, at least, a cocktail.

January 24, 2007
State of fashions

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Chuck Kennedy/MCT

It was politics as usual at Tuesday night's State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. And, it was quasi-predictable what the politicos would wear. (And you know there are those of us who can't help but take in the looks as well as the verbage.)

That said, here's the state of the fashions we saw:

* Among the men, there were plenty of red ties and blue ties. President Bush opted for Carolina blue. Dark suits. No surprise there.

* First lady Laura Bush arrived in royal red, while Lynn Cheney opted for white. Both wore suits - side by side. Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton, with multiple eyes on her, went with a charcoal gray suit, a pinkish top and Barbara Bush-like beads. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice looked somber in all black.

* And, for her first State of the Union speech as Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (shown above) looked, well, a little blah in varying shades of ecru - or was it pale, pale green? I certainly was hoping for something a bit more eye-catching because she certainly could have out-dressed VP Dick Cheney, sitting next to her wearing, of all things, a pink tie!

Pelosi redeemed herself today, though, when she opted for a periwinkle blue suit and pretty jewelry for a D.C. mayors conference.


January 24, 2007
Adorably affordable

I'll admit it - I like the cheap. Thrift store clothes and flea market finds, used record bins, the super-duper sale rack at Macy's (where the stuff's gotta be at least 50 percent off the regular price before I'll even browse).

Enter local jewelry crafter Handmade Luck. With whimsical names such as "Hearts Afire," "Starry Night" and "Sleep With the Fishes," the bracelets, necklaces and earrings are crafted out of brightly colored beads, trinkets and wire. Check out the rocker-chic guitar pick earrings ($6.50).

The prices are already criminally cheap - $5-$15 - and now through Feb. 11, you can enjoy a special Valentine's Day sale: $1 off each item. Visit the shop's MySpace page for more shopping info.

January 24, 2007
'Daily Show' or local TV news? Part 2

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Gosh, we didn't think we'd find the second installment of our new series, "Is it a spoof from 'The Daily Show With Jon Stewart' or another wacky local TV news report?" so soon. But so be it. (BTW, read the first installment here.)

This time, News10 gets the honor for its report on egret poop in Turlock. It featured, we kid you not, no less than six close-ups of the bird droppings. Gotta have the visuals, folks!

Intrepid reporter Cornell Barnard, sans hat or kevlar vest, braved the conditions in a Turlock park, apparently ground zero for the strafing of bird business. "If you come here," he intones, "you've got to take your chances."

And Barnard handled the report like a real pro, keeping a deadpan expression as he interviewed locals. The highlight: a representative of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce - a prime target of the egret attacks - gave a sound bite wondering what could be done to stop the birds.

Quick cut to visual of a shotgun being locked and loaded. Classic! "The Daily Show" couldn't have done it better.

Watch the report here. And stay until the end to hear anchor Dale Schornack's witty anchor banter.

January 23, 2007
'Good Day Sacramento' reporter arrested, charges dropped

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Doug Brauner, the longtime “Good Day Sacramento” reporter known to viewers as the “Car Czar,” was arrested Saturday on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic violence against his former girlfriend and mother of his child, but he will not be charged, officials said today.

Brauner, who writes a freelance column on cars for The Bee’s Wheels section on Fridays as well as hosts a Sunday morning radio show on KHTK (1140 AM), declined to comment this afternoon.

Sacramento Police spokesman Matt Young said Brauner on Saturday reportedly kicked in the screen door of his former girlfriend’s Sacramento home and pushed the woman and his child. Neither were injured. Brauner was arrested at his Sacramento home later that day, police say. There had been past reports of domestic disturbances involving the couple, according to police.

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s office has declined to pursue the case because of lack of evidence, district attorney’s spokeswoman Lana Wyant said today.

Hired by “Good Day Sacramento” in 1995 as a car commentator, Brauner also covered news and feature stories for the show. Steve Charlier, vice president for news for channels 13 and 31, would not comment on Brauner’s job status. “I haven’t met with Doug yet, but I plan to do so,” Charlier said.

January 23, 2007
Candidate of couture

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ABC News

If I'm counting right, there are 18 - count 'em 18 - folks who've tossed their chapeaus into the political ring to be the next president. Nine Republicans, nine Democrats - only one of them, obviously, a woman.

But we've been seeing a lot of her. After recently going public with her candidacy, Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has been here, there and everywhere, making the media rounds in the two days leading up to tonight's State of the Union address (at 6 p.m.)

According to the Associated Press, Clinton has covered health care, Iraq and more. That includes at least four TV interviews, a news conference, a Webcast and a "forceful" appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee, where she appealed for better equipment and security for troops. “The Humvees are turning into death traps,” she complained.

And, while all of her world/national concerns are central to the campaign, we think one other will surface, if it hasn't already. Because, just as in the days when Bill Clinton was vying for the White House, we predict that the way Hillary Clinton dresses and does her hair will become a hot-button issue.

From our perspective? Well, looking at Monday night's newscasts (an ABC clip is shown above), we think she's definitely got more style these days. There are those of us who can go back to 1992 and remember when she was wearing a headband while standing by her man.

Today, she's on her own two feet and looking great. Love the hair, love the makeup - love the confidence. And isn't it super that she can wear any color - not just red, white and blue - and gray?

To the other 17 candidates (with, perhaps, the exception of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama) find a stylist - fast!

January 23, 2007
Sullivan grows his audience

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Gee, you just never know where multi-platform media star Tom Sullivan (right) is going to turn up next.

He already has a financial news gig at Channel 3 and an afternoon conservative talk show on KFBK (1530 AM). And, nationally, he's even filled in for Rush Limbaugh.

Now, Sullivan's one-minute financial updates that you hear on KFBK will be syndicated to six California stations - KQKE in San Francisco, KSMA in Santa Maria, KVEC in San Luis Obispo, KION in Monterey, KIXW in Victorville and KHTY in Bakersfield.

January 23, 2007
Good time to be an Entercom lawyer ...

Entercom, the parent company of KDND (107.9 FM), certainly has its hands full with the lawsuit filed by the family of Jennifer Strange, the Rancho Cordova woman who died in the station's ill-conceived water-drinking contest.
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And, yeah, the family (pictured), via its lawyer, also wants the station's license revoked, which means the petitioning of the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC, you may recall, is already quite familiar with Entercom's Sacramento stations.

To wit:

The former owner of KWOD (106.5 FM) has petitioned the agency to get this Entercom station's license revoked. Ed Stoltz, the former owner, has been fueding with Entercom for years, going back to the deal he made in 1998 to sell the station to the Pennsylvania-based radio behemoth. (Stoltz lost in court, but his FCC filing is still pending.)

And, the FCC fined the "Rob, Arnie & Dawn Show" $55,000 in 2004 - the maximum allowed at the time - for on-air indency. Since then, area resident James Peak, who filed the original complaint that led to the fine, has filed other indecency complaints against this Entercom station. The FCC has yet to rule on the complaints.

Of course, the water-drinking contest and resulting death is serious business and has gotten the most attention. (Although early word in the industry is that no one really thinks the FCC will revoke KDND's license.)

But there are other legal and tactical issues keeping Entercom - which reported a 27 percent decline in income and revenue in the third quarter - and its lawyers hopping. We had some free time so, rather than surffing YouTube, we looked up Entercom's activity in just the past three months; here's what we found:

* In late December, the company agreed to pay a $3.5 million (plus another $750,000 for costs to the state for investigating) settlement to the New York Attorney General's office as part of a radio payola scandal in 2004 and '05. The AG's office charged that Entercom had solicted bribes from record labels and traded air time for songs for a multitude of promotional items, including trips.

As part of the settlement, Entercom also agreed to hire a compliance officer and do internal monitoring of promotion practices. In other words, they've promised to clean up their act and stop doing the pay-for-play practice.

* The New York AG's office is considering turning over its payola evidence to the FCC for possible fines or license revocations. One mandate the FCC is mulling is to force stations to allot a certain amount of time to playing music from independent music labels. (So Entercom's bad behavior, backhandedly, might improve radio, after all.)

* In mid November, Entercom bought several Austin, Texas, stations and abruptly started significant layoffs.

* An Entercom-employed shock/talk jock, John DePetro, was fired in early November with no severence pay by WRKO in Boston for calling a Massachussets gubernatorial candidate a "fat lesbian." DePetro's lawyer told the Boston Herald that the fired DJ is considering a lawsuit.

* Later in November, the same station, WRKO, laid off its entire news team - seven people - and eliminated news altogether on the station.

* An Entercom country station in Kansas City is taking action against another country station, alleging that the rival station used the intellectual property (the name of a DJ) in a "Turkey Day" promotion.

* The "Morning Zoo" team at Entercom station WNVZ in Virginia was yanked off the air Jan. 3 because it complained about not being able to play enough music. The station suspended the jocks.

* Finally, some potentially good news for Entercom: This month, Entercom entered the San Francisco radio market when it received three Bay Area FM stations from Bonneville International Corp. in exchange for four stations in Cincinnati and three in Seattle. Entercom also received a $1 million payment from Bonneville.

The company could probably use the money.

January 22, 2007
Building blocks

Need a new music fix? Check out Davis' own Buildings Breeding; the electronica-tinged indie pop band has a new CD in stores Tuesday.

The self-titled record, out on Mushpot Records, was mixed, in part, by Aaron Prellwitz (Sun kil moon, Hella) at John Vanderslicke's Tiny Telephone studio in San Francisco.

So far I've only heard a few of the band's songs on their MySpace page. But, hey, so far, so good - songs such as "Stars are Smitten" and "Emmawood" are pretty without being precious.

Buildings Breeding is planning a tour, as well as a stop at this year's South By Southwest in March.

Check 'em out.

January 22, 2007
'Daily Show' or local TV news?

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We're starting a new occasional series in this space: Is it a spoof from "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" or another wacky local TV news report?

Our premiere entry is thanks to Channel 13, reporting on a 13-year-old who sold marijuana-laced "hash brownies" at her Stockton (it's always Stockton, isn't it?) junior high school. View the story here.

From the punny "Baked Sale" graphic to reporter Dennis Shanahan (pictured) holding a brownie square in front of his face as if it were a dangerous weapon, we love this sensationalized story.

January 22, 2007
Big trip to the Big Apple

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Four days fly fast when you're having the time of your life in New York City.

Remember the "Couturshion" girls and their fall fashion show to raise money for a trip east?

Well, they went - the day after Christmas - and I just caught up with their mentor and sponsor, Kitty Griffin, to find out all about it.

"I was quite pleased with our adventure," Griffin says. "The girls got an opportunity to see so much in four days." (Next time, she says, she'd need eight days to wedge it all in!)

Here's a brief look at what the 11 middle and high school girls - and four chaperones - took in:

* Metropolitan Museum of Art: "If I was to say what was the most exciting part of the trip, it would be the Met," Griffin says. "We saw the fashion exhibition. The girls wanted to stay all day, but we could only spend two hours."

* Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Instead of seeing the Broadway show "The Color Purple," the group visited the Alvin Ailey theater (shown above) and met some of the dancers. "I wanted to give the girls a true fine arts experience, so they also got to see a show."

* Saks Fifth Avenue: If you're from Sacramento, department stores usually go two, maybe three floors. But Saks in New York is a staggering 12 floors. Kitty's daughter, Katrina Griffin, who works there, took the group on a tour, from bottom to top. "It was breathtaking," Griffin says. "They were able to see designer clothing that caters to their age group, and a whole lot more."

The girls were given cameras and journals to chronicle their trip. Each girl also received a Visa card with $150 on it. Some of the more fashion-oriented girls came back with about 50 cents on their cards; others had up to $60 left.

"They learned to stay on a budget and manage their money on the trip," Griffin says.

One student, who is interested in a career in architectural engineering, spent much of her time taking pictures of different buildings from different eras. Griffin says she, along with the fashion and theater students, "came alive while they were there."

The subway was an adventure all its own, and the girls had their share of culinary delights, from Greek to Mexican food to eating in a diner down the street from Malcom X's home. They made it to Rockefeller Plaza (although it was too crowded to get on the "Today" show), and took a horse ride through Central Park.

They loved the energy and beauty of the city and got together each evening to recount the day's events.

Griffin, who is the founder and director of Progressive Women of Excellence Inc., says she's planning another fashion show in March to raise funds for another trip - possibly to Paris. "We're going to be studying and reviving looks from the 1950s and '60s."

I'll keep you posted on a specific date and location for the fashion event.

January 22, 2007
Delivery by Fox40 anchor

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Fox40 "Morning News" anchor Jennifer Parker has given birth to a 6-pound, 9-ounce daughter named Katherine.

Parker is on maternity leave until late April. She had been enjoying sleeping in during her leave - until now, that is.

"Didn't I say I wanted more than four hours sleep a night?" she asks via e-mail. "Oops."

January 19, 2007
Park - and work out

BALL AMAZON.JPG Land Park is known for its trees and the zoo. But, it's also got a gym just for us girls.

Body & Soul, at 2733 Riverside Blvd., has been around more than a year. And so, because it's time to honor those 2007 resolutions, the B&S staff thought it would be a good idea to invite women from the neighborhood - and beyond - to check it out.

This Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the gym is offering free stuff, including fitness assessments, chair massage, mini classes, body-fat analysis and "healthy" refreshments.

There is circuit training plus classes, which often feature that fun fitness ball we all love to roll around on.

For more information: (916) 446-SOUL (446-7685) or check out the Web site, www.bs30fit.com.

January 18, 2007
'Idol' stylings

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Michael Becker/Fox

A well-sung song won't work if you're not fashionably put together, and vice versa.

That's why, as your fashion voice here at 21Q - as well as the blogger charged with feeding Idol Chatter, The Bee's newest blog on all things "American Idol"- I feel it's my responsibility to weigh in on the show's fashion statements, or lack thereof.

Certainly, the first two nights of auditions yielded little in the way of haute couture. I actually was more impressed with the two guys wearing Uncle Sam get-ups than with most of the contestants in street clothes.

For example, Wednesday night in Seattle, we met Darwin "Misha" Reedy, 27 (shown above). Ryan Seacrest dubbed her the "Blonde Bombshell." And that much I agree with. She was blonde and she bombed, especially fashion-wise. Cat glasses, oversized lamé top, blah-blah black skirt and tights, rounded off with gray sneakers?

Misha called this her "sexy look." It didn't help that her mother - almost a clone of her daughter, but with jet-black hair -was dressed equally bad.

Her song choice, "Don't Cha," by the Pussycat Dolls, didn't help, either. It left me wondering, "Don't cha have something else in the closet, girlfriend?"

OK, catty I am. But even the girls desperately blow-drying and curling their wet-rat locks (it was Seattle) in a bathroom didn't ultimately knock my socks off with their looks.

Of course, Simon Cowell isn't going to win any fashion kudos for his endless supply of tight-fitting tees, but here's hoping Tuesday's stop in Memphis holds more stylish possibilities.

And, just think, when the finalists get to the "Big Show," they get a clothing allowance! Wish I could be there to help them shop.

January 17, 2007
Falstaff follies

Sacramento City College rolls out the heavy hitters (faculty actors) for its current production of Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”

For the first time in memory, Christine Nicholson, Kim McCann-Lawson and Luther Hanson (as the bumbling seducer Falstaff), are on stage together under the direction of Lori-Ann DeLappe-Grondin. The cast also includes Martha Kight, Cheantell Munn and Floyd Harden.

The production, set in Windsor, Calif., in the mid-50s, is presented by the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival and City Theatre at Sacramento City College. Performances are in the Art Court Theatre at SCC, 3835 Freeport Blvd., at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Jan. 28. There is one 2 p.m. Thursday matinee on Jan. 25, and two Saturday matinees - at 2 p.m. this Saturday and Jan. 27.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for students with ID, seniors, SARTA members and people with disabilities, and $10 for all matinees.


January 17, 2007
What's next for The End?

chrisk2_01.png

While public outrage continues over the radio water-drinking contest on The End (KDND 107.9 FM), which resulted in the death of a 28-year-old Rancho Cordova woman, the station remains on the air without popular DJs Trish, Maney and Lukas.

Wednesday morning, the time slot that had been filled by The Morning Rave team - ranked seventh in the lastest Arbitron ratings - was taken over by disc jockey Chris K, who usually works the afternoon drive-time shift (3 to 7 p.m.).

But this is only temporary and, perhaps as soon as Monday, Chris K (pictured) will return to afternoons.

"We’re going to be appointing an interim morning personality," says station spokesman Charles Sipkins. "We’re still looking at it. We’re actively engaged in putting something together for that time slot. We’ll be rebuilding the team at all levels and we’re committed to staying with the same format."

Sipkins would not reveal which DJs the station is talking to. Speculation is that The End might go with a syndicated team, as sister station KWOD (106.5 FM) does with "The Adam Carolla Show."

One available DJ who says he has not been contacted is morning radio veteran Jeff Jenson, who was fired along with the rest of the on-air staff at the erstwhile Flash (92.1 FM) before it switched to an oldies format. Jensen tells us he has been talking to stations in town about part-time work, but not The End.

January 16, 2007
Party animals!

couple.jpgAfter the Golden Globes were handed out Monday night, the partying began - or so it did for most. From the look on The Donald's face (shown left), it appears he might have gone a few more rounds with Rosie.


Golden-Globes-Arrivals2.jpg His wife, Melania, seemed to be having a good time, however. She was all turned out in blue at the NBC, Universal Pictures and Focus Features soiree. Still, if you ask me, it clashes with what looks to be a bad dye job for Donald. Maybe that's why he's in a sour mood.

Meanwhile, wherever Donald goes, so follows daughter Ivanka, who was out last night in a one-shouldered white dress. Guess I missed the memo that said everyone at this year's Globes was expected to wear white. Note: I still think it's too soon for white/white.

My pick for one of the best dressed? "Ugly Betty" winner America Ferrera in a royal purple gown (shown right) from designer Brian Reyes. She even helped design it!

January 15, 2007
Can we leave now?

GG_Pitt_JoArrivals.jpg I hate to say it, but the much-anticipated red-carpet appearance by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for tonight's Golden Globes was a great big letdown. Oh sure, they looked movie star-like, but it seemed like she would have preferred to be on another continent than standing on a podium making idle chitchat with "E!'s" Ryan Seacrest.

Kudos to Brad for answering the assortment of questions, which ranged from what the family had for breakfast that morning (cereal) to how many more kids they would amass (enough for a World Cup soccer team).

One thing's for sure - Angelina looked gaunt. I mean, really thin. Plus, the gray strapless gown and matching wrap were lovely, but, look close, and you'll see the telltale signs of all those tattoos from the Billy Bob Thornton era - and beyond.

Check Tuesday's Scene section for more on the Globes, and my thoughts on its fashions.

January 12, 2007
For the love of Liz

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Sacramento Bee/Jose Luis Villegas

She's known anecdotally as the "lady in white," but Liz Carlson is also somewhat of an icon at the Tower Cafe on Broadway. Meeting up with her a day after her story ran in Wednesday's Scene, Liz - who doesn't operate in the world of computers - says she was amazed to find that her life's story is floating around - globally.

She's received calls from friends and family she hadn't heard from in some time. Even someone in her parents' native Switzerland invited her over for a visit. It has been somewhat overwhelming for this petite lady, but she's grateful that folks of her "age" are finding inspiration in her life.

"When my son in L.A. called to say his friends were reading my story on the Internet, I was stunned," she confides as she ate breakfast at one of her favorite Tower tables.

But what she's most happy about - in addition to getting a nice print of her picture as it appeared in the paper - is that a friend found a VHS copy of one of her favorite movies, which she had loaned out but feared would never get back. It's the 1986 made-for-TV film "Love With the Perfect Stranger," starring Marilu Henner and Daniel Massey. It's the story of a wealthy American businesswoman who meets an eccentric Irishman on an Italian train. He sets out to "woo" her, and then, well, you'll have to ask Liz what happens next.

Anyway, she's delighted to have the movie and is now passing out good-luck Chinese New Year's coins to her favorite friends. Word to the wise: Don't spend them! She'll find out!


January 12, 2007
Shop now!

Retail Sales.jpgI know those holiday bills are rolling in, but I would be remiss in my shopping duties if I didn't alert all you clotheshorses (and shoe/handbag lovers) out there that there are deals and steals going on in your favorite stores - and online.

I checked out several of my favorite Web site shopping destinations, and found -and I really need this, mind you - a long, silk satin ball skirt from Ann Taylor, marked down to $39.99 from $168.

Meanwhile, if you received something flannel as a gift from Victoria's Secret and want something, say, a little more sexy, the store's unmentionables are 50 percent, and more, off. Go to their Web site, www.victoriassecret.com, and you'll also get a far, far, faraway glimpse at what's coming for the 2007 swimsuit season.

It's too darned cold to be thinking about a bikini!!

January 12, 2007
Media baby

mwoods

Those who followed News10 meteorologist Monica Woods' pregnancy - she was gettin' pretty darn big there near the end, huh? - will be pleased to know that she gave birth to a 6 pound, 15 ounce boy on Thursday.

Monica's hubby is also her morning rival, anchor Walt Gray of Channel 3.

Monica and Walt nearly have enough offspring for their own news team. The new addition is Joseph Timothy, who joins sisters Abby and Kelly.

January 12, 2007
He wants to ride his bicycle

Check it. There's a fundraiser going on at Faces tonight that sounds like a good time for a good cause. It's for a guy named Kyle Bryant, who has a muscular degenerative disease called Freidreich's Ataxia. Though it affects his coordination and speech, he, unlike most people with the disease, doesn't have to use a wheelchair and he's celebrating that fact by biking across the country to raise awareness and, hopefully, some funds.

That's where Brennon Moore comes in. A local singer who recently auditioned for "American Idol," he organized the fundraiser after meeting Kyle through a friend. So. For $5, you get a performance by Moore; proceeds will go to Bryant's trip.

The whole thing goes from 5 - right about now - to 9 p.m., and though I never need a good cause to raise a glass, it doesn't hurt to have one.

January 12, 2007
'Soft rock' makes big ratings noise

The fall 2006 Arbitron ratings for local radio were released to non-radio folks like you and me this afternoon (just for age 12+, not the demographic breakdown). And, no surprise, KFBK (1530 AM) was first overall, again.

But the eye-opener was Mix96 (KYMX 96.1 FM), the soft rock station. It edged out country powerhouse KNCI (105.1 FM) for second place. Mix96's 5.6 rating was up almost two full points from the fall 2005 (3.7) ratings book.

Other ratings to note:

* "The Wolf" (KNTY 101.9 FM) garnered a 1.5 rating, down from 2.3 a year ago when the station had an oldies "Boss Radio" format.

* "The Flash" (KXCL 92.1 FM) bottomed out at 0.9. Last year, it was at 1.0. It's no wonder, given those ratings, that the station switched from '80s to oldies two weeks ago.

* KSFM (102.5 FM) has reasserted itself against hip-hop rival KBMB (103.5 FM). KSFM had a 4.8 rating - fourth overall - while "The Bomb" was ninth, at 3.7.

January 11, 2007
A political fashion plate

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We couldn't agree more with Mr. Blackwell's list of worst-dressed celebs, which appeared on Page 3 in Wednesday's Scene.

But even more so, we here in the state of California loved that he included our own Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, on his list of women who get it right when it comes to their wardrobes.

On Wednesday, Pelosi marched out of the White House dressed in a bright red suit with a beautiful matching wrap. She definitely stood out, especially as the male politicians in tow were in their usual somber attire (read: black and gray).

Pelosi, from San Francisco, surely has no shortage of skirts and jackets, but this particular outfit was stunning and brightened what looked like a dreary day in Washington.

We'll keep our eyes peeled for Pelosi at the the State of the Union address, which is scheduled for Jan. 23. It will be the first time a woman has sat in one of those big chairs behind the president as he delivers the good word.


January 11, 2007
Hartmann 'left' out

Hartmann.jpg
Several loyal listeners of liberal talk radio station KSAC (1240 AM) are honked off that lefty-midday-syndicated talking head Thom Hartmann (pictured) has been dropped.

The reason? Ratings - what else? Station general manager Paula Nelson-Redfield says, "We're not NPR. We don't get a nice big check from the government. We have to worry about ratings. And for some reason, everything fell off with Hartmann."

Ratings are much better, apparently, for talking head Ed Schultz, who has moved his show into the 9-to-noon spot "in order to go head-to-head with (Rush) Limbaugh," Nelson-Redfield says.

Who's in Hartmann's noon-to-2 p.m. slot? Syndicated investment guy Dave Ramsey. Those who miss Hartmann can catch him on the weekends on KCTC (1320 AM).

January 10, 2007
Back in the weather game ...

lynn

... just not on TV.

Former News10 meteorologist Elissa Lynn, who left the station almost a year ago to pursue other interests, has been hired by the California Department of Water Resources, Division of Flood Management, to, as a press release states, "assist in forecasting and media operations during emergencies." She also will do flood education and outreach.

Let's all hope that we will never have President Bush visit Natomas, stand in hip waders and proclaim, "Elissa, you're doing a heckuva job!"

January 10, 2007
Coverage of the State of the State of the State address

State of the State.jpg
Monday night, all three local television stations interrupted regular news coverage of crime, crime and updates on John Garamendi's daughter and her DUI arrest to bring us - "Live! Right Now!" - coverage of the Guv's State of the State speech.

The highlight?

News10, trying to spice up the visuals, decided to use a split screen at certain points of the speech. When Schwarzenegger spoke about his health-care proposal, News10 showed the Guv's talking head on the right side of the screen; on the left, it showed a baby getting a vaccination at a clinic.
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Problem was, News10 didn't mute the sound from the B-roll of the baby and we heard, in stereo, Ah-nold's words and the cries of the baby mixed with baby talk by the practitioner administering the shot.

Waaaa! Call it a State of the State mash-up.

Other coverage thoughts:

* Channel 3 devoted the most time and resources to the address. Kevin Riggs (at the Capitol) co-anchored with Edie Lambert and did live interviews with lawmakers on the floor. Pamela Wu interviewed a panel of experts on each issue the Guv touched upon. Nice to have experts with instant analysis.

* Channel 13 once again used Rob Stutzman as its sole political analyst, even though he is a well-known conservative strategist and Schwarzenegger's former communications director. Where's the balance, Channel 13?

* News10 got a live one-on-one interview with Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. No crying babies during that interview.

January 9, 2007
'Catching Out'

I haven’t read very much of Sacramento-based writer William T. Vollmann’s work, but what I have read is fairly stunning. Vollmann was awarded the 2005 National Book Award for fiction for his novel “Europe Central,” and he has written a great deal of literary nonfiction as well.

The New York Times Book Review described Vollmann’s novel as: "His most welcoming work, possibly his best book…part novel and part stories, virtuoso historical remembrance and focused study of violence.”

The Times literary supplement called him “one of the most important and fascinating writers of our time.”

So he’s got some impressive credentials. But what matters most is if an artist speaks to you through his work. Does he illuminate the world in a way that makes it both new and familiar? Vollmann did that for me.

The piece I read is his most recently published “travel story,” which appears in this month’s Harper’s as a feature called “Letter From a Freight Train: Catching Out - Travels in an Open Boxcar.”

The piece follows Vollmann’s recent experiences riding freights - often starting in and around Sacramento - going wherever the train takes him. Vollmann often makes these travels with a friend he just identifies as Steve (another Sacramentan and a longtime personal acquaintance of mine).

I had heard of the train trips for years and had seen many of Steve’s photo albums of the trips, as well. Vollmann’s writing is a whole other vision, and a rather brilliant one, into a dark, anachronistic world.

The writer told me the piece is the abridged opening chapter of his latest book, which he just finished and which will be published sometime next year. Much of it takes place in and around Sacramento, Roseville and Marysville as Vollmann and friends try to catch out.


January 9, 2007
Better late than never

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Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer

OK, so we had a nasty computer virus that wreaked havoc around here on Monday, so 21Q basically had to take most of the day "off."

But, even though the inaugural was Friday, I felt compelled to finish what I started regarding Maria Shriver's wardrobe while she was in town.

I blogged about her cool outfit for Thursday's kickoff event, with its "green" theme, as well as her ensemble for the swearing-in on Friday. (Go here.)

Her Monique Lhuillier copper-gold gown for the inaugural ball was, as many of the local fashion experts were predicting, strapless - or so it seemed in our photographer's pictures. However, Maria and the hobbling governor only stayed a few minutes at the gala so, aside from appearing with Paul Anka, the gown got the short end of the wardrobe stick.

Too bad. The gown was lovely, though I could have done without the belt. Meanwhile, Maria opted for a quasi-curly coif instead of the straight hair she wore earlier in the day.

I think both she and the governor were exhausted from all the glad-handling and speeches because not much has been seen from her since - fashion or otherwise. Like I've said, it would be nice to see Maria make her way to the capital more often. I appreciate watching her wardrobe come to life.

January 8, 2007
Tune in tomorrow ...

everett
Sacramento Bee/Carl Costas

Check out Tuesday's Scene section for a "very special" Media Savvy on a radio host who should be much better known than he is.

His name is Doug DeSalles, but on the air at KDVS (90.3 FM), he uses the moniker "Douglas Everett." If by chance you live in parts of the area that don't pick up KDVS, you can catch Everett filling in for host Jeffrey Callison on the public affairs program "Insight" (KXJZ, 90.9 FM) this Thursday at 2 p.m.

January 5, 2007
Capital couture

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Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer

It was yet another fashion victory for first lady Maria Shriver as she swept into town for the inaugural festivities. She participated in Thursday's kickoff outside the State Capitol appropriately turned out in honor of the event's "green" environmental theme, wearing a green leather coat, jeans and boots (see above). Even though Gov. Schwarzenegger didn't make it to this gathering because of his broken leg, Maria held her own amidst all the celery plants.

BB-GOVERNOR41383.jpgThen, earlier today at the Memorial Auditorium for the governor's swearing-in, we think she outdid everyone in a lovely princess-cut coat (shown right). The ruffled collar was perfect for her neckline and hair. (By the way, loved that coif, blown straight and flowing.) And despite the chilly weather, her peep-toed pumps signaled that she was stylishly sans hosiery. Good for her!

I liked that Maria opted for a fitted, full-length coat instead of a traditional and stuffy jacket and skirt. Not that she couldn't have pulled that ensemble off without looking "congressional."

For those who missed the televised proceedings, emcee and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown took note of the first lady's look and quipped that she was both "foxy and sexy."

"I've waited a long time for that," Brown said, and "he (Arnold) can't catch me."

As for the gala at the Convention Center tonight, we'll keep an ongoing fashion vigil. We've heard the name "Valentino" bandied about. That would be, of course, the famous Italian designer known for his exquisite ball gowns, many of which have turned up on Hollywood's red carpets on such stars as Keira Knightley and Cate Blanchett.

It wouldn't surprise me if she opted for black, as was suggested by Sharon Anapolsky of Julius clothing store in Pavilions. I wrote about the store's Armani Collezioni strapless gown in a story in Wednesday's Scene.

And get this - when I spoke with Sharon today, she told me that someone, indeed, will be wearing that Armani tonight, if not Maria. The store sold the gown to someone else planning to attend the ball! Lucky lady!

January 5, 2007
Goodbye Wink

The Sacramento fashion scene bids adieu to another boutique, Wink, in midtown - to be specific, at 1903 Capitol Ave. The store, which opened last spring, was tiny but intriguing, with local designers being the main attraction.

The stretch of real estate - between 18 and 19th streets - has seen its share of movement, with several businesses opening and others closing.

But clothes-conscious shoppers are not to worry: Felicia Strati Boutique continues to hold court on the corner of Capitol and 19th.

January 5, 2007
Fashion on the radio

MAJ LEIGH GROGAN.JPGOur resident fashionista, Leigh Grogan (left), will appear today at 2 p.m. on 90.9 FM KXJZ's public affairs show, "Insight."

Don't miss Leigh - and her adorable honey-dipped Southern accent - bloviating about Maria Shriver's sense of style on inauguration day.

January 5, 2007
Local TV News Sweeps: Update

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The local TV news sweeps of November seem like some distant bad memory. But, this week, the ratings in (repeat the cliche after me...) the "all-important, advertiser-friendly" 18-to-34 and 25-to-54 demographics were announced by Nielsen Media Research.

And the big winners, once more, were Channel 3 and Channel 19.

KCRA, which won the overall ratings released in early December, easily beat the competition at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. in the 25-to-54 demo. (In a mild upset, Channel 13 drew slightly higher ratings than News10 at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.)

Univision, meanwhile, continues to dominate in the 18-to-34 category. For the third straight November sweeps period, Channel 19's news ranked first at 6 and 11 p.m. And Univision didn't do too badly in the 25-to-54 demo, either. It ranked second to Channel 3 at 6 p.m. in that category.

Here's the statistical breakdown:

ADULTS 18-34 6 P.M. NEWS
1. Channel 19 2.1 rating
2. Channel 13 1.0
3. tie Channel 3 and News10 0.6

ADULTS 25-54 5 P.M. NEWS
1. Channel 3 3.8 rating
2. Channel 13 2.1
3. News10 1.4

6 P.M. NEWS
1. Channel 3 3.9 rating
2. Channel 19 2.8
3. Channel 13 1.9
4. News10 1.5

10 P.M. NEWS
1. tie, Fox40 and Channel 13 3.0 rating
2. My58TV 0.8

11 P.M. NEWS
1. Channel 3 3.6 rating
2. News10 2.4
3. Channel 19 1.9

January 4, 2007
Oldies return to Sacramento airwaves

Oldies fans in Sacramento can once more get their fix starting Friday.

The ratings-challenged '80s music station, "The Flash" (92.1 FM), which fired its entire on-air staff earlier this week, will change formats Friday at noon and bring back the oldies to the local airwaves after more than a year's silence.

"The Flash" will morph into "K-HITS" - playing hits from the '60s and '70s - and even change its call letters to KCCL. (Until August of 2005, KCCL 101.9 FM was the only station in Sacramento that played "cool oldies" but it since has switched formats twice and now is a country station, "The Wolf.")

In a press release from Dallas-based First Broadcasting, the station's owner, president Gary Lawrence said, "Oldies stations across the country are so successful in part because the music appeals to people of all ages and the presentation is both advertiser- and- family-friendly."

And what will "K-HITS" play? First Broadcasting listed artists such as the Beatles, Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Stevie Wonder, the Supremes, the Eagles and Chicago.

January 4, 2007
Hooray for Hollywood

Our pal, Sacramento expat Amber Kloss, has a new online gig. Kloss, who recently moved to L.A. - she tells us she's now living in Punky Brewster's old Silverlake home. Awesome - to pursue a career in show biz.

Here in Sac, Kloss is probably best known for her work with the I Can't Believe It's Not Comedy troupe. Now, the B-movie horror fan is angling to become Hollywood's next Scream Queen.

In the meantime, in addition to the usual spate of commercials and print ads, Kloss is starring, with co-host Miles Miniachi, in a weekly Web program, The Movie Review Show.

It's a mix of film reviews, Hollywood gossip, interviews and just plain silly fun. Among the people and topics covered in the first episode: Nicole Richie, Tori Spelling, "Borat," and Mel Gibson.

Yep, we love it already.

January 4, 2007
Nostalgia tripping on satellite radio

Hey, remember KXOA, the boss early '60s Top 40 station that played stacks of wax back-to-back?

Well, it's back.

But for one day only.

That day is Friday. For five hours, starting at 1 p.m., XM satellite radio is paying tribute to KXOA as part of its “Sonic Sound Salutes” on its all-'60s music station, Channel 6. Host Terry “Motormouth” Young will spin records that KXOA actually played back in the day, interview former DJs, and play tapes of commercials and station IDs from that period. He'll even take calls from listeners wanting to wax poetic about the old days.

Yeah, you've got to be an XM subscriber to get the show in your car. But here's a way around that. A free, three-day trial of XM Satellite Radio is available online here.

January 4, 2007
Pampering 101

TRAVEL INDIA21.JPGWhen the word "massage" comes up, we know there are those in the camp who have massages all the time, and those in the camp who haven't had one in, oh, a gazillion years. That would include me. (And no, I've never stretched out on a table like the one shown at left.)

Then there are those folks whose significant others offer to, say, "get the kinks out," but give up after a couple of minutes.

If you're someone who would like to learn to give your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend a massage in the privacy of your own home - and have it have some effect - Anna Simpson, who owns Body & Soul fitness center in Sacramento, has an event this month that might hit the spot, so to speak.

She and her husband, Phil, are offering a "hands-on" massage class from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 27 at the business, which is at 2733 Riverside Blvd. The cost is $40 a couple and space is limited, so reservations are necessary.That's why we're getting the word out early.

In an e-mail, Anna says that her clients have complained that home massage is a wasted effort. But she says the problem really isn't a mate's unwillingness to help - it's that they don't know what they're doing.

In the class, couples can learn something called "proper body mechanics" so that they are able to give a better massage. And get this - the two-hour class includes champagne and chocolate. That should get everyone in the proper mood!

Don't worry - everyone will remain fully clothed during the class, so participants should wear comfortable, lightweight clothing.

When you get home, you're on your own.

Apparently, this type of class is quite popular on the East Coast, especially in New York, and Anna says she's eager to bring it to Sacramento.

For more info: (916) 731-5700.

January 3, 2007
Wednesdays, you're in love...

If you haven't checked out the new True Love Coffeehouse (2315 K St.) yet, here's another reason to. Tonight, singer-songwriter Anton Barbeau moves his weekly showcase to Wednesdays. The showcase was previously held on Monday nights, which, in my humble opinion, are one of the least best nights to go out - what with still recovering from the weekend and all.

Just a note of caution: If you haven't already been to the new digs, well - they are a bit on the small side. The building itself is actually quite large (and the back patio is downright ginormous), but when it comes to the room where bands and artists play, it's a rather odd set-up in a room that's smaller than many bedrooms I've had. It's also kind of closed off from the rest of the cafe.

Basically, what I'm trying to say here is, get there early if you want to get a decent seat. If you're not actually in the music room, then you'll be listening from afar.

That said, here are the details: Anton Barbeau performs at 8 tonight. The show is free and all-ages. For more info, check the cafe's MySpace page.

January 3, 2007
Voice of America calling Sacramento

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Sacramento's only daily public-affairs radio program, "Insight" on KXJZ (90.9 FM), soon will be losing its senior producer and the show's behind-the-scenes prime mover.

Benjamin Jonas-Keeling (pictured, left) will leave Capital Public Radio at the end of the month and, on Feb. 5, become the staff director of the Persian radio and TV service offered by Voice of America in Washington, D.C. The service airs news reports, delivered in Persian, throughout Iran.

It was an offer, Jonas-Keeling says, that he could not pass up. He formerly worked at Voice of America - as well as other public radio and commercial stations - before coming to Sacramento in 2004 to help launch "Insight."

"It's a tremendous opportunity," Jonas-Keeling says. "It's an opportunity to bring uncensored and unbiased news to countries whose only outlets are tightly controlled state-run news."

It's a common misconception that Voice of America is a United States propaganda tool, Jonas-Keeling adds.

"It's actually written into the VOA charter that the service remains independent, accurate, objective and comprehensive," he says. "So the administration cannot interfere with the content. And, since 1942, I'm sure there have been some administrations that have tried."

VOA's service into Iran is not new, but Jonas-Keeling says that it has received major funding recently. Currently, TV broadcasts in Persian are only four hours a day, but that soon will double to eight. "Eventually, it'll be 24 hours," he says.

And what about "Insight"? Jonas-Keeling says the show, hosted by Jeffrey Callison, will do just fine without him. Assistant producer Jen Picard will be the interim senior producer until a permanent replacement can be hired.

"I'll miss Sacramento and 'Insight' very much," Jonas-Keeling says.

January 2, 2007
Change of tune for TV news

Hey, if your favorite local newscast is playing a different theme song, it's all because of a copyright case too complicated (and tedious) to detail here.

So, as faux pundit Stephen Colbert might say, "all you need to know":

The familiar theme songs for Fox40's 10 p.m. newscast and the newscasts of Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" and Channel 13 have changed. (Those three stations used songs composed by Stephen Arnold Music, a key figure in the copyright dispute.)

"We had to decide by the end of the year whether to keep the music or change it to avoid additional charges," says Audrey Farrington, Fox40's honcho. "We sort of knew this was coming, so we were prepared. I don't really think it sounds that much different."

Judge for yourself whether Fox40's new theme is similar to the old; go here. (Just click on the music note to hear the old "News Matrix" song and the new "In-Sink" song.)

Over at channels 31 and 13, news honcho Steve Charlier says the new themes that the stations are currently using are "just placeholders" until permanent themes are finished. Charlier has hired local music composer "Bongo" Bob Smith to write new music.

"We aren't thrilled to have to change music after spending so long getting the right sound for (Channel 13)," Charlier says. "But we just couldn't get a definitive answer as to how much additional we'd have to pay for licensing."

January 2, 2007
Another radio layoff

As if the purging of all on-air talent at The Flash (92.1 FM) - see my earlier posting, below - wasn't sobering enough for those in the radio biz, news comes this afternoon that Y92.5 FM has let go afternoon drive-time DJ Dana Hess.

Hess has been at the station for 18 years, dating back to when it was called KAER-FM.

"We've eliminated that (Hess') position entirely," says Jeff Holden, general manager of Sacramento's Clear Channel stations, which includes Y92.5. "It's a choice we made to bolster the station."

Hess, in an e-mail, tells us with almost gallows humor that, "on the bright side: no more wall-to-wall Christmas music!"


January 2, 2007
Flash! Disappearing DJs

Last Friday, the ratings-challenged '80s rock station The Flash (92.1 FM) laid off all of its DJs and let go of several administrative workers. The station now is fully automated, still playing '80s songs but without DJ banter.

Among those out of a job is morning drive-time DJ Jeff Jensen, who was laid off five months ago from The Zone (100.5 FM). Jensen, a longtime Sacramento radio staple, tells us he's wondering whether this is a sign that he should find another line of work.

"Wow, this might be a record...fired from two gigs in one year. Mom's gonna be SO proud," Jensen writes to us in an e-mail from his new e-mail address, jeffgotfired@yahoo.com.

Well, at least he still has a sense of humor.

For more on The Flash's on-air purging, pick up Wednesday's Scene section.

January 1, 2007
Polish off

Hansen_Polish.JPGI never thought I'd see any hotter trend when it comes to beauty products than the 1994 release of Chanel's Vamp nail polish.

It was the color to have. So much so that it sold out - and then some. Fast forward to 2006, and Vamp-like polishes re-emerged, including another version last summer from Chanel called Black Satin. The trend continued through fall, with many celebs sporting short, short nails with cauldron-black polishes. Even usually colorful OPI offered its versions of after-hours colors, including Lincoln Park After Dark and Black Onyx.

So, here's the New Year's resolution for all us nail polish lovers: Make January the final month for polishing with witchy-woman hues. Come February - when all those spring colors will start hitting counters - we're switching to something a little less, say, somber.

Pinkie swear?

Until then, I hope you've had your fingers wrapped around a forkful of turnip greens and black-eyed peas today.

Happy New Year from 21Q!




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