Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

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


February 28, 2007
Back on the 'Town'

OK, so I meant to post this forever ago, but I was walking past the Town House on 21st, home of what is possibly the largest neon bar sign, ever, and - insert gasp here - it was open. Like, door ajar, people smoking out front, and open.

Now, I don't know what the deal is with that place, but it looks like it's been deserted for ages and then all of a sudden that neon sign lights up and you can practically see it from outer space.

So I asked the door guy what was going on and he said there was a private party inside, but that the bar was going to open again within the next few weeks.

Since it's been a few weeks since I walked past, I won't hold my breath, but hey, that bar is two blocks from my apartment, and you know I'm a fan of stumbling distance.

February 28, 2007
Cry freedom!

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So it's generally felt that the relatively new FM talk-radio format, Free FM radio, has not been a ratings boon to stations, shock jocks Opie & Anthony (pictured) notwithstanding.

But one radio fan in Sacramento so wants the format to come to town that he's built a MySpace page to organize people to lobby local stations.

Right now, the best Sacramentans can do is listen online to the San Francisco affiliate.

February 27, 2007
Another Univision loss

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Word from Channel 19, our Spanish-language Univision affiliate, is that reporter Tatiana Bedoya (pictured with anchor Jairo Diaz-Pedraza) is leaving on Friday after almost six years at the station.

Bedoya joins longtime reporter/anchors Xochitl Arellano and Pablo Espinoza as defections in the past month.

No word yet on why Bedoya's leaving or where she's going, but Univision spokeswoman Carolina Rojas Gore confirmed that Bedoya's last day is Friday.

Stay tuned....

February 26, 2007
On Beyonce, Abigail and Oscar

KNOWLES-BLOG.jpgWorking the Oscars Sunday night - here's proof that I toiled the evening away - mostly meant eating a lot of food, wishing that my office TV had TiVo, and trying to contain the snark as I channeled random thoughts into blurbs.

Some caffeine-fueled brain flashes didn't make it into the paper:

* If Beyonce's as bitter about her non-nomination as all the tabs would have us believe, then the girl deserves an Oscar for Best Game Face. Seriously, Beyonce's winning smile when J-Hud snagged her Best Supporting Actress award made us sorry we'd ever doubted the ever-lovely B-Yon (pictured, right). Also, I think I'm in the minority here, but I liked her seafoam green dress. Then again, she looks great in just about anything. So jealous.

* Watching Ryan Seacrest handle E!'s red-carpet duties just confirmed that he's truly the heir to Dick Clark's genial media throne. Seacrest makes kissing up to celebs and consoling "American Idol" losers look easy. Billy Bush should take notes.

* "Little Miss Sunshine's" Abigail Breslin seems refreshingly normal - especially if you compare her to that other pre-teen phenom, Dakota Fanning. I mean, I kinda liked that Breslin, nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category, looked bored during the ceremony - she even slumped down in her seat at one point. Really - if you were 11, wouldn't you be bored too? (Except for those moments, of course, when say Ryan Gosling or Jack Black saunters by).

* Anna Nicole Smith dissed! What, films such as "Illegal Aliens" and "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" weren't high class enough to earn Smith a spot in the annual Dead Celebrities montage? So not cool.

* BFFs Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts - what were you thinking? Alone, each actress's dress was something of a disaster - Kidman's with that giant bow, Watts' with that sloppy, sloping neckline - but standing next to each other? I'm still recovering from the satorial shock of seeing Kidman's flame red paired with Watt's canary yellow during a pre-show carpet stroll. The horror.

* Gwyneth Paltrow - we get it. You're smart and classy and know how to pronounce words better than we ever will. Fine. Whatever. But stop acting like you already know this and are, just for kicks, rubbing it in. It's just not nice.

That's it, at least until next year - anyone want to start making bets on the 2008 winners?

February 23, 2007
AM in the PM

Last night, I broke what has become an unofficial rule of mine to not patronize clubs unless I'm working. Bars? Certainly, and often. But, there's something about it being socially acceptable for a strange man to rub up against me on the dance floor that makes me want to pass on the whole club thing. I don't know - maybe I'm just overly fond of my personal space.

But last night I hit up The Park, and maybe I won't be so quick to nix that kind of going-out night in the future. First of all, DJ AM was spinning, and I've been wanting to hear him for a long time. Famous more for being the ex-fiance of Nicole Richie than for his spinning skills, I wanted to know if he should quit his day job, and I'm pleased to say the answer is no. He was pretty awesome. I was super-impressed with the deep cuts he busted out, and the way he had an ear for incongruous songs that nonetheless shared a beat, like when he played "Last Dance With Mary Jane" with "Dani California," which, by the way, I just Wikipedia'd and discovered that there's actually a "Don't Look Back in Anger/Imagine"-type controversy there because they are, in fact, so similar.

But I digress.

I interviewed AM about a week ago, which was cool. But what was equally cool is that he brought new girlfriend Mandy Moore to the show last night. She sat with her posse behind a screen just offstage and looked like she was having a pretty good time, though my own posse was pretty crushed that she didn't make an appearance out in the crowd. In case you were wondering, she is really tall and has good hair.

AM is coming back to The Park on March 29 with special guest Travis Barker, so it seems we're starting to get a little celebrity action up in this place. Let's just hope Paris stays home.

February 23, 2007
It's official: Parker quits Fox40

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It had been speculated for weeks now that Jennifer Parker, the anchor for the station's morning-news program since its start in 2005, would not return after her contract expires in late April.

Well today, Parker made it official, informing Fox40 news director Tom Burke that she will leave TV news behind and join the family business. That would be the Parker Development Company, the "master-planned community" builder (think Serrano in El Dorado Hills and Riverlake in the Pocket).

Actually, Parker has not been on the air since late December, when she went on maternity leave. (She gave birth to a daughter, Katherine, in January.) She had been scheduled to return in April.

During Parker's absence, Fox40 has doubled its anchor team to two - Natalie Bomke and Nina Mehlhaf.

February 22, 2007
Tea-tastic

I am, as I'm very fond of declaring, a tea person. I made the switch from coffee, oh, back in 2001, and I've never looked back. Such is my affinity that I carry bags around in my purse like an old lady does Kleenex, and I'm proud to say that I've converted at least two people to the softer side of caffeination. So I'm particularly pleased to see a new teahouse in town, Hina's Tea at 24th and K.

I've been meaning to check the place out, and finally stopped in today. The decor is very zen and minimalist, with sparten white walls and a cool, pebbled floor. I was browsing the selection when I was approached by a delightful saleslady who told me she loved me when I told her that my tea of choice is Irish breakfast. I like being told that I'm loved, so now I officially love her back.

Unsolicited statements of affinity aside, I would have liked her anyway based on her ample product knowledge and clear love of the leaf. I walked away with four ounces of loose leaf Irish breakfast and a smaller bag of green tea with lychee and jasmine, both of which I can't wait to try. Bring on the crumpets.

February 21, 2007
Graswich resurfaces in glossy form

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R.E. Graswich, the former Bee metro columnist who left the paper last month, has been hired by Sacramento magazine to write a monthly column and a twice-weekly blog. The column/blog's name: "Graswich Unleashed!"

This new gig ought to keep Bob well stocked in Hawaiian shirts while he gets his media consulting business off the ground.

In a Sac mag press release, Graswich is quoted as saying, "The readers of Sacramento magazine voted me Best Columnist for seven straight years. It's the only journalism award worth winning, as far as I'm concerned, because it comes from the community. I'm honored to write for them."

February 21, 2007
Police patrol

I know a lot of you out there are excited about the upcoming Police reunion tour (me, I can't stop thinking about how buff and yoga-ed out Sting looks for a guy who could be my dad).

Anyway - there's still no word of a Sacramento stop, but the band is expected to announce any second now the addition of a few new dates including Oakland's McAfee Stadium on June 13.

I suggest you head over to the Police's official tour Web site- if you want tickets, you're gonna have to act fast.

February 21, 2007
KCRA's youngest anchors

A couple of weeks ago, we linked to an anonymous YouTube video of two girls pretending to be the KCRA morning-news team of Walt Gray, Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Adrienne Bankert and Eileen Javora.

The folks at Channel 3 loved the video. As one newsroom wag told us, "Those kids got our station branding down cold." (Yes, the KCRA brainwashing is affecting our young.)

Anyway, we've found out who "KCRA's New Anchor Team" is: 10-year-old Samantha Justice and 8-year-old Sarah Allen, of Sacramento.

These media savvy kids are all over YouTube. Samantha has her own page, where she posts vlogging homages to such Disney Channel faves as "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," "Hannah Montana" and, of course, "High School Musical." Check out Samantha's page here.

Samantha tells us she's been uploading videos for a month now. She's produced 20, in between doing homework and chores at home.

"I want to be a singer, actress and write screenplays," she says. "I'm writing one right now."

Sarah, her acting partner, says she just follows Samantha's directorial advice. "She wants to make a movie, but I don't know how she's going to do it."

OK, all you independent film producers out there with money to burn, step up and fund Samantha's project. Hey, people always talk about capturing the younger demographic. How much younger can you get?

February 21, 2007
Robins on the run

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You know, ever since his longtime morning-radio partner Phil Cowan left, Paul Robins has been trying new things on his self-titled Y92.5 FM show.

And next month, Robins is going to attempt a stunt that will be a test of physical limitations.

Here's the deal: On March 29, at 7:30 a.m., Robins will leave the studio in the middle of his show and run 92.5 miles all over the Sacramento area for charity. The plan is for him to complete the course in slightly less than 24 hours, then return to the studio on the morning of March 30 and finish the show.

His goal is to raise $175,000 for Atkinson Youth Services, which funds a school and group home for special-needs children.

Robins is a marathoner - he's completed 14 - but this is ultra-marathon territory. He's never attempted close to 100 miles. But he's been trainnig hard.

"My long run up to now has been 28 miles," Robins says. "But I did 41 (miles) two weeks ago and I felt pretty good."

Robins has many friends in the long-distance running community. During his charity jaunt, he'll have at least two pace runners at all times. Among the luminaries who'll run legs: local ultra-marathon star Rich Hanna and Bee TV columnist and running fanatic Rick Kushman.

Raley's and River City Bank already are sponsors, but Robins is going hat-in-hand to you, the public, for support.

To donate - and to check out more details on the route - go here.

February 20, 2007
Live bike coverage

Those wanting to see live coverage - right now - of the Tour of California cycling event that's going to tie up traffic in Sacramento at any minute, News10 and KCRA are streaming it live on their Web sites. Check it out here and here.

Channel 13, with no helicopter, took a pass on coverage. It did, however, do a live streaming from Anna Nicole Smith's hearing.

February 20, 2007
KCTC's strange FCC request

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We hear that sports fans are delighted and liberal talk fans depressed over Entercom's impending change from Air America to ESPN programming on KCTC (1320 AM), scheduled to take place Monday.

Soon, however, not many people outside of downtown Sac and West Sacramento will be able to hear the station (featuring nighttime jock Jason Smith, pictured).

At least, that will be the case if Entercom has its way and is allowed by the Federal Communications Commission to move its nighttime transmitter from the Natomas area.

KCTC, currently at 5,000 watts, will plunge to 500 watts if the FCC approves the proposed change. (Check out the coverage map here. Note: The proposed night coverage area is in red; the current night coverage is in green and the daytime coverage is in blue.)

The proposal seems counterintuitive. Why would a radio station want to decrease its power?

John Geary, general manager of Entercom stations in Sacramento, responded via e-mail, saying, "The change...involves our eventual moving of our nighttime site, as we have considered selling the land. It would reduce our nighttime coverage, probably most affecting Placer County."

KCTC wants to change its license to West Sacramento under the FCC proviso that it would serve "community interest." A dictate in the Communications Act "authorizes the relocation of a facility to another community when doing so will provide a fair, efficient and equitable distribution of radio service."

In other words, because there's only one other station - noncommercial educational AM station KSMN - in West Sac, this change would help the community.

But it won't help nighttime radio listeners. Entercom admits in the FCC filing that the proposed night service will reach only 370,645 people. So, if you live, say, in Roseville or Elk Grove, good luck trying to get ESPN Radio at night.

February 20, 2007
Everything's just wonderful - no foolin'!

ALLENLILYCD.jpg I've been listening to that Lily Allen record nonstop lately - the British garage-pop/hip-hop sprite, of course, is the MySpace sensation-turned-real-world Cinderalla story.

So, as I sit here at my desk unable to get the song "Everything's Just Wonderful" out of my head (sample lyric: "All my magazines they talk about weight loss/ if I buy those jeans I could look like Kate Moss"), I'm thrilled to be able to tell you that Allen's making an April Fool's Day Sacramento stop on her new world tour.

Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Tickets go on sale Saturday. You can check out the Crest site for more info on how to snap 'em up.

Not sure what the hype's about? Check out Allen's MySpace page to check out tracks.

February 16, 2007
Media wedding

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It was a match made ... on assignment.

Last year, News10 photographer Anita Patton was out on a story, some fire. She met Christian Pebbles, the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District's public information officer. (That's Pebbles, standing next to gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides.)

Fast forward six months: The two will be married on Sunday.

Who says the media and PR people can't get along?

February 16, 2007
Air America grounded for good?

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The small but loyal Air America following in Sacramento is casting about, trying to find a place to listen to Randi Rhodes (pictured) and other lefty talkers now that KCTC (1320 AM) has announced it's going all-sports as of Feb. 26.

One place Air America probably won't turn up is on rival liberal station KSAC (1240 AM). This is not a surprise. There are some bad feelings between management.

"Probably not gonna happen," says Paula Nelson, owner of KSAC. "You just don't burn bridges like that. I just don't see it, but I suppose you can never say never."

You may recall that Air America programming originally aired on KSAC, but the syndicated company jumped ship in November 2005, ostensibly because KCTC offered a bigger signal to reach areas outside of Sacramento. After Air America left the KSAC airwaves, Nelson filed a claim saying she was owed nearly $1 million from the company. The claim is pending, Nelson says.

Meanwhile, KSAC cultivated its own left-leaning syndicated talkers, including Ed Schultz. Nelson says she believes her lineup is superior to the old Air America lineup - especially since Al Franken has left the air to run for the U.S. Senate.

Might KSAC nab some of KCTC's local lefty talkers, such as Enid Goldstein and Scott & Sims, and use them to supplement afternoon drivetime talent Christine Craft?

"Oh, I don't know," Nelson says. "It's too soon to think about that. It's just sad what (KCTC) did."

February 16, 2007
'Til Tuesday

This one's still a few days off, but what with the extended weekend (extended, that is, if you're lucky enough to get President's Day as a holiday), we thought it'd be good to give you an advance heads-up.

On Tuesday, Feb. 20, local author/poet/screenwriter Terry A O'Neal will visit Franklin High School to help the school celebrate and observe Black History Month.

Born and raised in Stockton, O'Neal is the author of several children's, young adult and family-oriented books, such as "Ev'ry Little Soul" and "Sweet Lavender." O'Neal is also the founder and executive director of Lend Your Hand Inc., Educating The World's Children, a nonprofit organization aimed at helping kids across the globe.

O'Neal will speak to students from 8-11 a.m. at Franklin High (6400 Whitelock Parkway, Elk Grove). For more info, call (916) 714-8150.


February 15, 2007
No fooling ...

My favorite indie underground (literally) art/music space has a lot coming up in the coming weeks.

Just consider the calendar for the Fools Foundation (located in a basement at 1025 19th St.).

Tonight, get psyched with provocative Texas rock band Charalambides. Also on the bill, two Seattle bands, Climax Golden Twins and Factums. The all-ages show starts at 9:30 p.m. and is $8 at the door.

Then, next Friday, Feb. 23, as part of its weekly film series (co-sponsored by the folks at Shiny Object), the Foundation hosts a Media That Matters film festival featuring 15 shorts - each one clocks in under 8 minutes - that cover everything from race and sexism to food choices and, yes, the media. Each film was produced by a young and/or indie filmmaker. The set starts at 7 p.m. and costs $5.

The Fools Foundation also has a new weekly Sunday film series; on Feb. 25, check out "The Most Dangerous Game." This intense 1932 film starring Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong is about what happens to the sole survivor of a yachting accident.

It also happens to be the same film that figured rather prominently in the Zodiac serial killer case. Yes, the same case that's the subject of the upcoming Jake Gyllenhaal/Robert Downey Jr./Mark Ruffalo film "Zodiac" - that movie opens on Feb. 23, two days before this screening. Could make for a good movie-going weekend. (Read my previous "Zodiac" post).

"The Most Dangerous Game" screens at 3 p.m. (which means you could still make it home in time for that night's Oscar broadcast) and costs $5.

Check out the Fools Foundation's Web site for info on additional shows, movies and art exhibits.

February 15, 2007
A full plate

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Bravo

I'm all for expanding your horizons, but it certainly will be interesting to see how Tim Gunn (pictured) micromanages his time in the next several months.

It's all over the TV/fashion news that Gunn, best known for his mentoring talents on Bravo's "Project Runway" and also his years-long position as a department chair at Parsons The New School for Design in New York, is taking on not one, but two huge assignments:

This week, it was announced that Gunn has signed a fat pact to be the new chief creative officer of clothing giant Liz Claiborne. This means he'll be the head honcho in terms of design for labels such as Kate Spade, Lucky Brand and DKNY jeans and Juicy Couture, which certainly could use a boost from its velour-hoodie image.

And, just last month, Bravo revealed that Gunn also signed a deal with the network for a new TV series titled "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style," which is based on an upcoming book he's written for, according to Bravo, "the fashion-weary." Bravo seems hesitant to reveal when this new show will air or what Gunn's exact role will be on the upcoming (we hope) Season 4 of the wildly popular "Project Runway."

According to Variety.com, Gunn hasn't yet officially signed up for "Runway." The Web site adds that the Claiborne announcement "is fueling speculation that his departure from Parsons might impact his role on the show."

I'm thinking it would be difficult for such a vivacious man as Gunn to give up any of his assignments and would likely try to keep some type of relationship with Parsons, which, obviously, has a connection to "Runway." Gunn joined Parsons in 1982, and was named department chair in 2000.

Of course, he'll be great for Liz Claiborne as far as his keen insight into fashion. He'll be a terrific host for a new show on style. But, I just can't see anyone else assuming the "mentor" role on "Project Runway."

Let's just hope there are enough hours in the day for the duties.

February 15, 2007
Cheesiest local TV news promo ...

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... So cheesy, in fact, that we love it.

There we were, glued to the set watching Desmond's flashback, er, flashforward, er, mind-bending experience on "Lost" Wednesday night when, during a commercial break, up pops the character of Sawyer doing a promo for News10's upcoming 11 p.m. newscast.

He looks into the camera with that Sawyerian smirk and says "Don't trust 'The Others.' Watch News10."

The viewer can easily detect the barely disguised ennui actor Josh Holloway (Sawyer) was nursing, having to do promos for every ABC affiliate from here to Baltimore.

Quipped one friend of 21Q: "Yeah, Henry Gale is totally a KCRA guy."

If you're a "Lost" fanatic, you'll get the reference.

February 15, 2007
Airing it out for Air America

We reported here Tuesday that KCTC (1320 AM) is soon planning to switch to an all-sports format featuring ESPN Radio. That would mean the demise of Air America in Sacramento. (Already, local liberal talkers Scott & Sims and Enid Goldstein have been let go, as has KCTC's program director Charlie Weiss.)

Air America listeners, sponsored by a group called the Town & Country Democrats, have planned a rally for Friday at 9 a.m. outside the Entercom studio on Madison Avenue to protest impending format change.

It'll be interesting to see if the protesters have better luck getting a response from John Geary, Entercom's top suit, than your humble Media Savvy correspondent has had. Geary's been ducking our calls for weeks.

February 14, 2007
'Making Nice' for the pledge drive

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Here's yet another reason why we love KVMR (89.5 FM), the Nevada City public radio station that's to the left of the dial, if you know what we mean:

The station ended its seven-day pledge drive this week by playing the Dixie Chicks' Grammy Award-winning song "Not Ready to Make Nice" for 45 straight minutes during program director Steve Baker's morning show.

Baker did it to tout KVMR's noncommercial status. He told listeners that many stations run by conglomerates wouldn't play the Dixie Chicks, even once, after their anti-Bush remarks.

"It's a perfectly crafted country pop song," Baker told listeners. "We're playing the Dixie Chicks over and over this hour...Why? Because we can."

Baker later said the station's phones rang off the hook and KVRM easily reached its pledge goal.

February 14, 2007
Love songs and cupcakes

It's Valentine's Day and if you're not already maxed out on your fill of all things romance, flowers and chocolate (as if), then how about a suggestion for some ultra-cool Sweethearts Day festivities?

Tonight, Old Ironsides (1901 10th St.) hosts its annual Crooning Couples show, featuring Sacramento's finest musical couples performing sweet and/or saucy love songs.

Among the scheduled acts: Tim & Gerri (of Baby Grand), Amber & Sam (Spider Silk Dress), Kortnee & Ted (The Devastates), and Sonny & Lynn (Daycare/The Skirts).

The 21-and-over show starts at 8:30ish and costs $6 at the door. Oh, and we hear that the club's lovely mainstay Kim Kanelos is baking cupcakes for your Valentine's Day noshing pleasure. Sweet!

February 13, 2007
KCTC dropping Air America?

Lefty radio listeners are wondering what is going on at KCTC (1320 AM), our local Air America affiliate. The morning team of Scott & Sims has been off the air as of Monday, and afternoon drive-time host Enid Goldstein is gone, too.

John Geary, GM of the Entercom-owned station, did not return phone calls today, seeking an explanation. Geary has not spoken to the media since the water-drinking death at another Entercom station, KDND (The End).

But sources in the industry say that KCTC will soon - maybe within a week - drop Air America and switch formats to ... sports. KCTC will carry programming from ESPN Radio, the sources say. ESPN, not coincidentally, has stopped being used at soon-to-be rival station KHTK (1140 AM).

February 13, 2007
'48 Hours' comes to Sacramento

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The CBS true-crime TV show "48 Hours Mystery" will feature the Christie Wilson murder case this Saturday (at 9 p.m. on Channel 13). The show will feature the first post-conviction interview with Mario Garcia (left), who was found guilty of first-degree murder last November.

We've watched an advanced tape of the program. Check out our review of the show in Thursday's Scene section.

February 13, 2007
KFBK's Rick Stewart in serious condition

Rick Stewart, the longtime KFBK (1530 AM) broadcaster who most recently anchored the noon news, is in a local hospital with a serious kidney ailment.

A fund to donate blood for Stewart has been set up. Donors can go to any blood source facility and ask that their donations go to account number P757.

Stewart has been broadcasting on Sacramento radio since 1974, first at erstwhile Gold Country KRAK and, since 1992, for news stations KSTE (650 AM) and KFBK.

He's perhaps best known to many as a voice on traffic at KFBK.

February 13, 2007
Another huge Univision loss

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Less than two weeks after longtime reporter and "Voz y Voto" host Xochitl Arellano left Channel 19, her colleague Pablo Espinoza (right) has announced he will be leaving the Univision affiliate at the end of the month.

Arellano left to take a position with state Sen. Gilbert Cedillo's (D-Los Angeles) Sacramento staff, working with the Latino Legislative Caucus.

Now, Espinoza says he's going to work for Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D- Los Angeles) in the Speaker's Office of Member Services (SOMS). Espinoza will assist in promoting the Democratic Caucus' legislative agenda.

"It's the right time to move on," Espinoza says. "I've always had the feeling that I wanted in my career to not only just ask the questions but to answer them and help find solutions. It will be a great challenge to help with public policies and help (elected officials) craft a message."

Espinoza will stay at Channel 19 through the end of February - sweeps month.

Pedro Calderon, Channel 19's news director, was not immediately available to comment on Espinoza's departure or the future of the popular weekly public affairs program, "Voz y Voto," which now is without a host.

"I hope they continue to have the show," Espinoza says. "It's an important voice for the community."

February 13, 2007
Live triple...HD!

To much fanfare, Channel 3 unveiled its new high-definition newscast and set on Monday night.

"This is an extraordinary day for Sacramento-area television," KCRA President Elliott Troshinsky said in a statement.

The station, of course, went into full branding mode, repeating the initials "HD" almost as many times as it does "Live Triple Doppler." The station even had one of its best reporters, Lynsey Paulo, hyping the technology like an infomercial huckster.

Hype aside, this is, in fact, an innovation for the Sacramento market. If News10, Channel 13 or Fox40 had unveiled it first, those stations certainly would've hyped it, too. Then again, if you don't own an HD set - and have an HD hookup - you won't notice anything different.

But that didn't stop main anchors Dave Walker and Lois Hart from touting the innovation between real news stories. Walker kept talking about how the anchors now have "belly button" marks on their desk to show them where to sit. If they were to move into the wrong position, apparently, the HD camera angles would explode or something. (Frankly, I stopped paying attention when Dave mentioned his belly button - TMI, folks.)

Now, about the new set: it's nice and all. Sleek. A mix of blue background and wood paneling. But when they go to a shot of Dave and Lois, the all-blue background with the swirling "whooshes" gives me flashbacks to Channel 13's too-blue fishbowl background, which Channel 13 eventually altered by adding some red.

February 12, 2007
Mary Youngblood on the road

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Lest you think that the Grammys are only littered with the Diddys and the JT's of the world, Sacramento was represented at the who's who of music fests on Sunday night, and with a coveted gold statuette, to boot. Local flutist/singer Mary Youngblood won the second Grammy of her career for best Native American music album ("Dance With The Wind").

For Youngblood, of Fair Oaks, it was a career-affirming honor that only meant that much more because she got to share it with her family - her fiance and four children.

And she was still ecstatic the day after.

"The true gift of this was being there with them," she says on the phone earlier today while making the drive back to Sac. "The whole experience was like a big smile. And I'm still smiling."

This being her second win (and her third nomination), Youngblood has experienced the glitz and glamour of the Grammy scene before. For Sunday night's gala,Youngblood - who is half Chugach Aleut and half Seminole - wore a black ensemble by Native American designer Dorothy Grant with accents of her tribal colors of red and black.

She's hoping the double accolade of two Grammys will present opportunities to work with artists she admires, such as Sting and Anoushka Shankar. She is just beginning work with a new ensemble called Mary Youngblood and the Sisters of the Earth. She continues to give flute lessons locally and is looking forward to releasing a new album at about this time next year.

"It's really wide open at this point," she says. "It's a really exciting time."

To read more of The Bee's coverage of the Grammys, go here.


February 9, 2007
'Daily Show' or local TV news: Part 5

WARNING: Images and subject matter of the following posting may be too intense for young vewiers - and those with any sense of decorum. In other words...eeeeeewwwwwwwwww!!

Welcome back to another edition of "Is it 'The Daily Show With Jon Stewart' or is it local TV news?" And this week, we use the word "news" loosely.

"Good Day Sacramento" on Channel 31 crossed yet another good-taste line by showing a minute's worth of Mark S. Allen's crotch, accompanied by romantic acoustic guitar music and, in one instance, a "boiinggg!" sound effect. (Don't believe me? Check out GDS' Web site for yourself.)

How much tackier can you get? Well, it is sweeps month. Excuse me - I've got to go take a shower now to wash off the slime.

February 9, 2007
Exclusive! KCRA's new anchor team

YouTube gets the scoop ...

February 9, 2007
The Bomb's hip-hop summit

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Hip-hop radio station KBMB (103.5 FM) and several hip-hop artists will kick off a discussion at 4 p.m. today, when they will talk about the images of hip-hop culture. Davey D (pictured) is the moderator.

The discussion, which will be broadcast by the station, came about after a hip-hop event at the Hard Rock Cafe was apparently cancelled because of "safety" concerns.

Davey D has long been outspoken about how hip hop is inaccurately portrayed.

February 9, 2007
Smart hearts

With Valentine's Day coming fast - and perhaps a wedding in your future - here are a couple of local events worth noting:

* If you got engaged over the holidays and still haven't found that perfect wedding dress, Belazio Galleria will host the 2nd annual charity Bridal Gown Sale, which happens today and Saturday at the galleria. The event, in partnership with Bridal Perfections, gives brides-to-be the opportunity to shop for name-brand and designer gowns donated by bridal shops, manufacturers and some individuals.

More than 1,000 gowns will be on the racks, priced from $49 to $599. (Some are valued at more than $4,000). It's a fun time, but more than that, the two-day event is for a good cause. All of the proceeds go to the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation.

Here are the times: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Belazio Galleria is at 6243 Fair Oaks Blvd., in Carmichael.

* Madam Butterfly boutique in Pavilions has got plenty of fahionable Valentine's Day gift ideas, especially jewelry. This holiday, the store is offering customers an Argento Vivo sterling silver necklace free with any purchase of $200 or more. Hey, that's an extra gift for a loved one on your list. Or - dare we say it? -for yourself!

February 9, 2007
Sporting fashion

RB-BLOG-Fashion-50s.jpg
Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

Our very own Sacramento River Cats are hitting the local fashion scene. On Wednesday, the team unveiled its new logo at a packed show - Project Home Runway - at Spataro Restaurant and Bar. Following the unveiling, a packed audience was treated to a fashion show featuring the work of eight local designers, including Michael Sommerfield, co-owner of Miosa Couture, and Casey Sue Douglass.

Starting today, at 9 a.m., about 13 pieces from the show, including tops and dresses, will be auctioned by the River Cats, including Casey Sue's baseball-swinging dress (shown above). Gabe Ross, director of media relations for the Cats, says the auction likely will run about three weeks - "until the bidding slows."

To check out the fashions up for bid, visit www.rivercats.com and click on the "auction" link. Gabe adds that all proceeds raised from the auction will go to River Cats Independence Field, a baseball/softball field in Sacramento designed specifically for adults and kids with disabilities. Funds will be used for Phase 2 of the field's development, including dugouts.

And, keep your fashion eyes on the calendar: All of the designers will be honored - and their designs displayed at a River Cats home game - early in the 2007 season. The River Cats' first game is April 5.

Plus: I'll be writing more on Wednesday -- see Scene's Page 3.


February 8, 2007
GOOOOOOAAAALLL!!!!

soccer

Football season is over. That is, American football.

But futbol season never ends. And Wednesday night's Mexico vs. USA game scored big ratings for Channel 19, our Univision affiliate. The match, according to Nielsen numbers, garnered a 4.6 rating during its telecast (6:15 to 8:30 p.m.) It beat out News10's hit sitcom "The Knights of Prosperity" (3.2 rating) and Channel 3's "Deal or No Deal" (3.5) and "Friday Night Lights" (4.4).

A Channel 19 spokeswoman says the telecast delivered the highest rating for a U.S.-Mexico match in the station's history.

By the way, the U.S. beat Mexico, 2-0.

February 8, 2007
More departures from KCRA

Another big behind-the-scenes loss for KCRA was announced today.

Kirsten Wolff, the executive producer of the afternoon news and a newsroom stalwart for 15 years, is leaving to accept the assistant news director position at Hearst-Argyle-owned WESH in Orlando. Wolff's husband, senior assignment editor Frank Wolff also will be leaving the station.

Jim Stimson, Channel 3's assistant news director, confirmed the departures. But he declined to comment about how the loss will affect KCRA's news production.

Just two weeks ago, nighttime producer Carolyn Thomas left Channel 3 to become the executive producer of the Channel 13 morning news.

February 7, 2007
New Spanish language station

KVIE V.bmp

For years - no, decades - public television has missed out on a big Spanish-language audience.

But starting March 5, all that will change. A new Spanish-language network, V-me (pronounced veh-meh), will debut in partnership with local PBS affiliates throughout the country.

So, in Sacramento, you can catch KVIE V-me on Comcast Digital Cable 192 and also on KVIE's digitial TV station, 6.3.

The network says it will debut in about 24 million homes and hopes to expand to 50 million in the first year.

KVIE will produce "localized elements," such as documentaries.

"Adding KVIE V-me helps us further realize our vision of digital television - more service to the community," said KVIE president and general manager David Hosley in a prepared statement. "...We will be filling a strong need for a growing community."

February 7, 2007
Thomas Drayton, will you be my valentine?

Here's something unusual, at least for Sacramento TV....

On Valentine's Day (that's next Wednesday, for all you clueless guys out there), Fox40 is turning over its advertising time on its morning news show to viewer valentines.

Station personnel will be at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday to tape the video love notes from folks to anyone they want - yes, even to anchor Thomas Drayton.

Cost for the "ad" is $35, and all proceeds go to BloodSource, a local blood donation agency.

Questions? Check it out here.

February 7, 2007
Yes, I would like some cheese with that

L Wine windows.jpg

I can think of about 47 things that Sacramento doesn't need more of, but another wine bar ain't one of them. So yay for a new one that's set to open in March on L and 18thish called The L Urban Wine Lounge. I got a peek inside and it looks to be a cozy, cool option for the the vine-inclined, and I can't wait to give it a try.

February 7, 2007
Another Alston sighting

johnny

"Hey," an alert reader breathlessly tells your humble correspondent on the phone, "John Alston now is working for Channel 13. I saw him myself on the noon news."

So, we checked it out. And it's true ... but also not true.

Alston, the former KCRA anchor who left the station a few months back in a contract dispute, has covered a couple of breaking-news stories for Channel 13 and sister station Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento." But he's not under contract.

We talked to Alston, and he confirmed it's strictly a freelance gig.

"From time to time, they ask me if I'll cover something," Alston says. "So this morning I went out to cover a grass fire in Suisun City."

Alston is looking for a full-time anchor gig, in Sacramento or elsewhere.

"But life is good," Alston says. "I'm enjoying myself."

February 6, 2007
The Big Man

KLEBER.jpgThe tremendously talented actor Rick Kleber is in serious condition at Sutter General Hospital. Kleber's colon ruptured last Monday and he went into emergency surgery on Tuesday.

Kleber (left), has been a mainstay at the Children Theatre of California over the last couple of years and always brings a positive energy and generous spirit to everything he does.

An online message system has been set up for him at www.carepages.com, where you can also find information about his condition. Use the name "kleberonthemend" to find the latest on how he's doing.

February 5, 2007
Bee minus

Just got back from a screening of the upcoming film "Zodiac" starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo.

The story, to bring you up to date, is based on the chilling saga of the Zodiac Killer - a serial killer who terrorized citizens of San Francisco, Vallejo, Benicia and Napa between Dec. 1968 and October 1969. The Zodiac Killer case stretched out much longer than that, though, as the killer sent a series of jeering letters to the press throughout the '70s.

One frequent recipient of the letters? San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery, who just happened to work at The Sacramento Bee during the '80s.

I couldn't help but laugh out loud during the screening when a crusty news reporter-type makes this snide remark about Avery in the movie: "It's an honor to leave the Chronicle and go work at The Sacramento Bee. Dare to dream."

Avery died in 2000 and, while I don't want to take anything away from the film - and it is a good one - I think it's hilarious (if not quite funny ha ha) that Sacramento still gets jammed into S.F.'s shadow.

Check out the Zodiac site to learn more about the film, which is scheduled to hit theaters on March 2.

And keep a watch out for our Ticket+ cover story, coming soon.

February 5, 2007
Williams named Channel 3 news director

anzio

Anzio Williams, top newsroom executive at WDSU-TV in New Orleans (pictured), was named news director at KCRA (Channel 3) today – exactly one week after Dan Weiser resigned the position.

KCRA’s president Elliott Troshinsky, who made the announcement in the newsroom, says Williams will begin his new job leading Channel 3 and sister station My58TV in early March. He toured the newsroom last Tuesday.

"In every position he's held, he's demonstrated exceptional leadership, especially in guiding the station in New Orleans the days, weeks and months after Hurricane Katrina," Troshinsky says. "His understanding of the changing newsroom landscape and the ability to present news on multi-platforms is essential."

Williams, who will turn 35 this month, is considered something of a 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 directing stints in Cincinnati, Miami and Orlando before his current stop in New Orleans.

Heath Allen, longtime anchor at WDSU, tells us Williams will be missed in New Orleans.

“He is a big thinker, not afraid to suggest and then tackle big projects, even those others might think are not doable,” Allen says. “...And perhaps more than anything else, he wants and allows journalists to be journalists. He wants reporters to ask the tough questions and not be satisfied with an inadequate answer.”

February 5, 2007
'Super' snip to 'Criminal Minds'

CRIMINAL MINDS.JPG

My colleague, Bee TV columnist Rick Kushman, files this missive, which will be featured in his Wednesday column....

...And now, we come to the matter of “Criminal Minds” (photo above) and Channel 13 on Super Bowl Sunday.

First off, if you were watching, and thought you got cheated out of an ending, that’s not actually what happened. Sacramento viewers saw the whole episode, but got cut off from the tease to Wednesday night’s concluding episode, as well as the credits.

It was an honest mistake on the part of Channel 13. ... You gotta give them a pass.

Here’s how Channel 13’s general manager Bruno Cohen explains it:

The station had its A team working Sunday, since the game would draw, it turns out, 93 million-plus viewers. Because the time for a football game is fluid, CBS had to wait until the game finished to send its station what is called an “out time.” That’s when “Criminal Minds” would end and Channel 13 could start the news. (It was 8:26.53 p.m.)

Cohen says his people, rechecking everything as they are supposed to, called the West Coast CBS people. And maybe there was confusion on the CBS end, maybe the Channel 13 people asked the question badly, but the CBS operators said, “Criminal Minds” would end at 8:25:42.

That’s what Channel 13 put into its computer. It turned out, 8:25:42 was the exact end of the action - that last scene in the cornfield was really the last scene of a cliffhanger - and the remaining 1:11 was for the promo for part two and the credits.

“But people didn’t know that,” Cohen says. “It appeared that we cut away from action and people were justifiably upset.”

If you don’t believe him, or if you just want to see the Sunday episode, CBS is repeating it Wednesday night (at 7) before the concluding episode (at 8).

February 5, 2007
Sacramento's newest blogger

LH CASH AND JENSEN 1.JPG

For those wondering what's happening with Jeff Jensen (foreground, at right) - the out-of-work morning-radio personality who had the distinction of being canned by both The Zone (KZZO 100.5 FM) and The Flash (92.1 FM) - look no further than the Internet.

Jensen has a new gig - as a blogger for Sacramento magazine. Check out his entries here.

Here's a sample of Jensen's wry humor. (Let's just say Jeff has a lot of time on his hands these days):

"This unemployment thing isn't all it's cracked up to be. When I got fired last month, I had visions of spending the coming days lounging in bed, showering on odd Thursdays and drinking my way through afternoons of 'Green Acres' marathons. Unfortunately, unemployment has turned out to be a real buzz killer. How am I supposed to sleep in when my body's used to waking up at 3 every morning and refuses to let me sleep past 6? How am I supposed to enjoy drunken TV marathons when I don't drink? (Trust me, watching 'Green Acres' sober is about as pointless as watching baseball sober.) There's nothing to do but sit around filling out job applications and remembering the good old days when I actually contributed something to society."

February 5, 2007
Big loss for Channel 19

Arellano_3.jpg

Xochitl Arellano, a fixture on our local Univision affiliate, Channel 19, has left the station.

A reporter at Channel 19 since graduating from CSUS in 1988, Arellano's covered migrant farm workers and labor issues, often going out to the fields. She has been a host of "Voz y Voto," a weekly current affairs program, almost since the show began in 1999.

Pedro Calderon, Channel 19's news director, would not comment on Arellano's departure, citing Univision's policy regarding personnel matters. Arellano did not return phone calls.

Though we don't yet know the reason for Arellano's exit, we do know this: Channel 19 has lost one of its finest - and its most experienced - journalist.

February 2, 2007
Still no Brauner on 'Good Day'

It's been almost two weeks since "Good Day Sacramento" reporter Doug Brauner was arrested for domestic violence against his former girlfriend (The Sacramento County District Attorney's office declined to prosecute Brauner due to lack of evidence.)

But Brauner, best known as the "Car Czar," has yet to return on the air. Steve Charlier, vice president for news for channels 13 and 31, declined to comment on Brauner's job status. His photo and bio still appears on the station's Web site, though.

Attempts by us to reach Brauner were unsuccessful. But a source at the station tells us that Brauner has requested a leave of absence and that he might not return for two months. Whether "Good Day Sac" will want him back is another matter, of course. The source says management is concerned that a "family-oriented" morning show doesn't need the adverse publicity Brauner's arrest has spawned.

Then again, anchor Mark S. Allen pleaded guilty of a DUI and he still is on the air ....

Stay tuned.

February 1, 2007
Seeing red

Check your closets and accessories drawer for something "red." That's because Friday is National Wear Red Day.

The once-a-year event is to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke among women. There are star-studded fashion shows planned, especially in New York. But you can do your part in Sacramento, too.

A red dress, red suit or even bits and pieces are perfect, e.g. a red handbag, red jewelry, a red scarf or red shoes.

And hey guys, you can particpate, too. Got a red tie in your closet?

To learn more, go here to learn about The Heart Truth campaign, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

February 1, 2007
Let there be 'Potter'

It's official - the seventh and final (boo!) Harry Potter book just got a release date.

J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" will go on sale Saturday, July 21.

The list price is a hefty $34.99, but I've already pre-ordered my copy from Amazon for just $18.99. Last time (way back in the olden days of 2005), I bought my copy at the now-shuttered Tower Books on Broadway. I imagine, however, that even with Tower gone, you can still find that I'm-standing-in-line-at-midnight-with-other-Potter-maniacs feel at local bookstores.

Me? I'm fine with letting the postman do the heavy lifting. That way, I can save my energy for some marathon reading. (As you may recall, I chronicled those sessions for The Bee.)

No page count for the latest book has been released yet, but I'm guessing this final tome is gonna be gin-nor-mous.



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