Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

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


July 31, 2007
Bag it at Target

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Target

I just can't get enough of handbags!

Lucky for me, Target is bringing in another designer line, this one from Devi Kroell (pictured).

Just like with the company's limited-edition GO clothing collections, Devi Kroell for Target is the first in a series of short-time-only accessories designers that the discount retailer will introduce. It's available now through Sept. 30.

Hobo bags, which still will be a trend this fall, are one of Devi's specialties. Her Target version is $34.99, and it comes in a chic gold tone that's my favorite. (There are two other colors.)

Devi also does totes, clutches and oversized shoppers - just for me!

FYI: If you're making a Target run soon, check out the handbags, but don't forget to peruse the new Libertine fashion collection. There are some really cute separates worth investing in - for now and for fall.

July 31, 2007
The Bee's David Barton at Marilyn's

This one's still more than a week away - but hey, I like to give you plenty of time to plan whenever possible.

So...on Wednesday, Aug. 8, my pal and Bee colleague David Barton will be performing at Marilyn's (908 K St.) as part of that club's weekly Americana Ramble showcase.

Among other things here at The Bee, Dave writes for our weekly Outbound section on Thursdays, but as many of you know, he also used to be the paper's pop music critic. And he's definitely still a music fanatic - I can say this with impunity because it's my desk that David always rifles through on his never-ending quest for new music. (Confidential to David: Finally got that new Spoon record if you want to give it a listen).

Anyway, back to the show: Here's the twist - also on that bill? Sacramento News & Review music writer Jackson Griffith. Griffith, of course, used to write for the now-defunct Pulse magazine and then later served as SN&R's arts editor. These days, he's a freelancer, but still just as passionate about music, new and old.

Both will play acoustic, solo sets.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m., is 21-and-over only and costs $6 at the door. For more info: (916) 446-4361 or Marilynsonk.com.

July 30, 2007
Score one for Channel 13's Kurtis Ming

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We try to be fair at 21Q (maybe the only blog in the 10-year history of blogs that strives for fairness), so when a local TV news stations does something positive, we report on it, as well.

Steve Charlier, Channel 13's news honcho, called today to crow that his "Call Kurtis" investigative team was responsible for "shutting down" the Medical Board of California's ineffective drug and alcohol diversion plan. See The Bee's story here.

Several damning state audits also may have played a huge part. But, yes, evidence from Kurtis Ming's special reports during the last two sweeps periods on the medical board's lack of response against former Sacramento plastic surgeon Brian West was used as evidence in last week's hearing. (That's West, pictured left, being confronted by Kurtis.)

We commend Ming and Channel 13 for its work. But our earlier criticisms had little to do with the story itself. Rather, we had problems with the sensationalized way Channel 13 presented the pieces - scary, synthesizer music; quick-cutting camera shots, and Ming running down a flight of stairs to try to catch the doctor in question.

Here's what we posted on 21Q in November:

Over at Channel 13 at 10 p.m., there was another scare-the-stuffing-out-of-you “special report.” This time, it was Kurtis Ming’s investigation into a plastic surgeon (Brian West) with an alcohol problem who allegedly has disfigured patients but hasn’t been reprimanded by the state medical board.

It was a weird feeling of deja vu. All that talk of flesh-eating infections, the gross video of women’s disfigured limbs, the righteous indignation Ming exuded.
Then it hit me: This was a Channel 13 “special report” from LAST NOVEMBER. Yup, the same story, albeit updated. Back then, they called it “Plastic Disasters.” This time, no catchy name, but Ming recycled (or “repurposed,” as the current journalism catchphrase goes) the report.

The new stuff was that the “drinking doctor,” West, had landed a job in Long Beach. Ming and a Channel 13 photographer stalked him and chased him down three flights of stairs, throwing questions at him. Cheesiest of all, we saw Ming sprint down a hallway to catch West as he was driving out of the parking garage.


July 30, 2007
Radio ratings roundup

The Arbitron radio ratings are out, and KFBK (1530 AM) continues to dominate. It is Sacramento's top station in the 12+ demographic - the only numbers Arbitron releases to the media.

Still, we've learned that, in the advertising-important 25-to-54-year-old demographic, The Eagle (KSEG, 96.9 FM) finished first with a 5.9 rating, edging out KFBK at 5.7. (More on KFBK below.)

Other notable numbers from the Arbitron book:

* Hip-hop station KSFM (102.5 FM) made a huge leap in the overall ratings to No. 2 with a 5.3 rating. A year ago, it was eighth at 3.9.

* The End (KDND, 107.9 FM) continues to show no ill ratings effects from last January's water-drinking contest death. It finished fifth overall and had its higherst rating in more than a year.

* 98 Rock (KRXQ, 98.5 FM) dipped this time around - from third overall last spring to ninth this time.

* In the country music showdown, newcomer KNTY (The Wolf, 101.9) finished with a 1.8 rating and made little headway in challenging established KNCI (5.3).

* The oldies format seems to be showing signs of life in Sacramento, as KCCL (92.1 FM) saw its ratings improve from 0.6 last year to 1.4 after switching to playing the golden hits.

* KFBK seems to have gotten a slight ratings bump with the addition of R.E. Graswich on its afternoon news. In the 25-to-54 demographic for that time period, KFBK saw its ratings rise from 5.2 this winter to 5.4 this spring. It ranks second in the 25-to-54 behind The Eagle. (However, in the previous ratings book, Jay Alan and Kitty O'Neal and the afternoon news were ranked No. 1 in the same demo from 4 to 7 p.m.)

Alan was still anchoring for the first half of the current book, but KFBK operations manager Alan Eisenson says "the third month was the highest of the three months, so it looks like we got a bump with R.E. The bump was probably also due to the Angora fire."

July 27, 2007
A stitch just in time

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Illustration/Mischa Erickson

Pam Pacelli, owner of the Five Figs boutique in Davis, is sooo busy these days.

She'd recently moved the location of her store - although it's still in the heart of town - and, beginning right about, oh, NOW!!!, she'll be hosting what sounds like a really fun event:

Linda McGinley, one of Five Figs' favorite seamstresses, is visiting the boutique for an evening of alterations! In other words, it's a chance to get some of your wardrobe malfunctions up and wearing again.

She'll be exclusive to customers from 4 to 6 p.m., so Pam advises everyone to bring those special pieces you've been wanting to "take in, take up or rearrange."

She'll be serving bubbly and treats, too!

Just in case you don't have Five Figs' new address, it's 231 E St., Suite 3, under the breezeway, behind the new Peet's Coffee. For more information: (530) 756-3500.

Oh, and by the way, the boutique's fall 2007 Babette collection will arrive Wednesday.

July 27, 2007
Now that's comedy

The Catherine Zeta-Jones vehicle "No Reservations" (to see my review, just click here) sprinkles some comedy in with its drama. But, the funniest thing about the film can be found in its production notes.

To backtrack a bit, production notes are studio handouts for critics that include details on the movie's production along with bios of the cast and filmmakers.

Those bios are often sources of entertainment in that they reflect the size of the person's ego. While many Oscar winners take a modest, just-the-facts approach and limit their bios to a paragraph or two, some starlets seem compelled to kill trees on behalf of their People's Choice or Blockbuster awards.

Still, I hadn't laughed out loud at any bio until I saw this one, for "No Reservations" screenwriter Carol Fuchs. It reads, in total:

"Carol Fuchs was named hall monitor (in) 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th (grades), the only person in her school's history to receive that honor four years running. Subsequent to that, she wrote 'No Reservations.' "

July 27, 2007
'Dancing' into town

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Fox

As you may recall, Dominic Sandoval, our local hoofer on "So You Think You Can Dance," told me that a national tour featuring the Top 10 finalists on the show, would be coming to Sacramento. Well, he was right.

This just in: The tour makes a stop at Arco Arena on Nov. 24; tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Aug. 11. (The tour kicks off Sept. 21 in Albany, N.Y., with 49 shows scheduled.)

Anyway, now that we've all gathered our collective breaths, I can say that Thursday night's results show was a real nail-biter.

After Wednesday night's competition, Dominic was in the bottom four, along with Kameron Bink and female contestants Sara Von Gillern and Dominic's new partner, Jaimie Goodwin.

Now, I admit I missed Dominic and Jaimie's Viennese waltz (to "Man of La Mancha," pictured above) because I was at the "American Idol" concert at Arco (see my posting below), but I caught a snippet of it Thursday night and heard the scolding both of them took from the judges.

Ouch!

Of course, those cheesy costumes didn't help much, and I do agree that Dominic's facial gestures might have been a little over the top, possibly - likely - because this dance was out of his comfort zone.

Anyway, the bottom four danced solo one more time before the results were meted out. If you missed it, Dominic's partner, Jaimie, was eliminated.

Then, it was between Dom and Kameron. Tough, tough choice. But our guy lives to dance another week!

Although, no more waltzes, please!

July 26, 2007
'Idol'-mania at Arco

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Sacramento Bee/Bryan Patrick

Did you make it to Wednesday night’s “American Idol Tour” at Arco Arena?

My ears are still ringing!

It ended up being a three-hour concert (with a slight intermission) featuring the Top 10 contestants from Season 6 giving it everything they had – and then some.

It was sort of déjà vu to see them together again after a two-month hiatus from the show’s finale in May. But one thing is certain: all that rehearsal time paid off! They covered every genre of music I could possibly think of: rock, pop, country. There was Maroon 5, Motown, the Beatles and the Black Eyed Peas. More than 10,000 rabid fans packed the arena, waving signs and flashing cell phones.

Up first was my personal favorite, beat-boxer Blake Lewis, who had everyone rocking to “Let’s Get It Started.” He was joined by winner Jordin Sparks, Chris Sligh and Phil Stacey.

That said, I guess the easiest thing to do for those of you who didn’t go – and for those who want to relive the magical, musical night – to offer some of my other highlights:

* Melinda Doolittle and LaKisha Jones in white satin, beaded gowns doing a Supremes medley and a little “Heard It Through the Grapevine.” Chris Richardson joined them at the end.

* Melinda cranking out Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.” And then, the moment - or should I say, the man all the tweeners were waiting for – Sanjaya Malakar, curls flowing, voice in perfect Sanjaya pitch, pulling the bottom part of Melinda’s gown off to reveal a sexy cocktail ensemble.

* As some of you might remember, I thought the Bon Jovi competition week was one of the season’s best. So, Phil’s “Blaze of Glory,” Blake’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” and the entire group's “Livin’ on a Prayer” received what I thought were deserving standing ovations.

* LaKisha, propped up on a sofa, belting out “Lady Marmalade,” with Gina Glocksen and Haley Scarnato, and all sporting funky feathered headdresses.

* Jordin and Chris R. doing a Rascal Flats duet, complete with guitars. (Speaking of instruments, as all “Idol” fans know, the contestants weren't allowed to play them during the competition, but there was no shortage of guitars, drums and electric pianos Wednesday night.)

* The five guys singing a crowd-pleasing – and crowd singalong – version of “Hey Jude” that saw the butane lighters of concerts past replaced by flickering cell phones during the “Na Na Na Na Na Na Na - Heeeey Jude” chorus.

* Phil, who still is a proud member of the U.S. Navy, singing “America the Beautiful” in his dress whites, with several of the females serving as backup singers. Not a dry eye in the house.

* Chris S. and Gina rocking to Fall Out Boy’s “Thanks for the Memories.”

* Melinda singing “Natural Woman,” and LaKisha - bagging judge Randy Jackson’s admonition during the compeitition about not singing Whitney Houston songs – bringing EVERYONE to their feet with “I Will Always Love You.” Even Dolly P. would have been proud. You go, girl!

And alas...

* My least-favorite moment? Sorry folks, but as much as I love her, Jordin’s signature song, “This Is My Now,” is STILL as sappy as it was the night she won. I’ll take my licks here at 21Q, thank you.

Before the concert, I spoke with five of the “Idols,” and didn’t detect any letdown in their enthusiasm. Chris R., Phil, Melinda, Haley and Gina (who still has her beloved tongue ring) agreed the tour – though tiring at times – is what they’ve all worked for.

“I was so glad to hook up with the other finalists, who are like family to me,” Chris says. “And the best part is, we get a chance to sing songs that represent us as artists.”

He’s already writing some songs for Blake, Phil and Jordin, and he let me in on the fact that the guys have been traveling on this tour in a “boys’ bus” (the genders travel separately, except for flights), where there are mini “studio set-ups” with all manner of equipment.

Phil says he misses his wife and two daughters, but “I’m having the time of my life.”

Meanwhile, Haley says her wedding plans remain on hold until after the tour, which doesn’t wrap until Sept. 23.

Gina was most excited because she can “finally be who I want to be. I can dress like myself.”

And last but not least, Melinda was as genuine and as full of praise for her “Idol” compardres as she was during the competition.

“They still are my babies!” she says. And then, she let me in on a little secret. Remember those wigs she wore during the season? How she named them? Well, Wednesday night, after getting hair and makeup done, she says she was going to perform the Sacramento show in her trademark “Whitney” wig.

I predict there will be big things for most of these finalists - Blake, especially. Dude is a totally different performer when he actually has instruments.

As for me, I’m counting the months – and days – until January and Season 7 of "American Idol" begins!

July 26, 2007
We need more shoes!

KG ACCESSORIES 3.JPGWell, and who doesn't?

In any case, I'd like to give my good buddy Noah Schwartz a shout-out as he puts his funky, fun shoes on sale because, as you all know, Noah has two Shoefly stores open, and they're both participating in his "they've-got-to-go!" sale.

The big sale starts Friday at the midtown and Granite Bay locations (2418 K St. and 5540 Douglas Blvd., respectively.)

What's in it for your feet?

Well, Noah is knocking 30 percent to 70 percent off everything. And, get this: If you buy three pairs (and you know you will), you'll get a fourth pair for a penny! Just stop by one of the stores and grab a sale card to redeem at purchase.

The sale lasts through Aug. 12. Your feet will love you!

July 26, 2007
Stan Atkinson: the early days

Hey, want to see some embarrassing early footage of Sacramento news legend Stan Atkinson?

Of course you do.

That's why Stan himself alerted your media correspondent to this YouTube post from Channel 50 in Santa Rosa, where Stan and some business partners developed a newscast in 1972.

Notice the sports guy? Yup, that's Jon Miller, the Giants broadcaster. (He was going bald even then.)

But what's up with Denny Ryan, the weather guy and that mustache? That is LOL funny, as is the weather map that falls apart.

Says Stan, via e-mail: "Ahhhh...those were the times. Guess I like this piece so much...cuz I’m never funny. But...this is!"

July 26, 2007
'Nunsense': The show will go on

During Tuesday’s opening-night performance of “Nunsense” at the Wells Fargo Pavilion, actress Alyson Reed, who plays Reverend Mother, felt something pop in her left leg. Though she completed the performance, Reed knew something was seriously wrong, which a doctor's examination confirmed on Wednesday.

She can’t put any weight on the leg. Thus, Reed performed Wednesday night’s show from an electric cart, which necessitated some restructuring of the show for her and her four co-stars Allison Blackwell, Taryn Darr, Michele Ragusa and Erin Maguire.

And yes, the expectation is that, for Reed’s protection, she’ll complete the show’s Music Circus run in the cart.

By the way, you can check out my review of the show here.

July 26, 2007
Capital Public Radio wins two national awards

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Competing against stations with bigger staffs and budgets, Capital Public Radio's KXJZ (90.9 FM) news department has won two awards in the annual Public Radio News Directors Inc. awards.

"Dina's Diary," an account by cancer survivor Dina Howard, won first place in the documentary category. (The series was produced by KXJZ senior editor Paul Conley.)

In the Best Series category, KXJZ capitol bureau reporters Marianne Russ (left)and Jenny O’Mara finished second for their four-part series, "All About Bonds," before the November election. KUOW in Seattle was awarded first place in that category.

July 25, 2007
Where the news comes first?

Not judging by this shameless exploitative piece of drivel story that Channel 3's sister station, My58TV, aired today about a Tracy mother of four who appears in Playboy's "Hot Housewives and Vicious Vixens" photo spread.

The biggest surprise is not that KCRA, whose brand "Where the news comes first," has descended into "Good Day Sacramento" territory - it's that one of its more respected reporters, Rich Ibarra, did the story.

The woman, Felicia Crowton of Tracy, tells Ibarra: "I'm definitely going to look back on this and be proud of myself."

Too bad that KCRA's news department won't be able to say the same thing.

Morning anchors Chris Riva and Deirdre Fitzpatrick seemed downright embarrassed to be introducing the story.

Oh, and if you can't get enough of the Tracy mom, Dave and Lois will interview her live at 6:30 tonight on the Channel 3 news.

July 25, 2007
J.Crew on the move

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I've blogged before about the new stores coming to Arden Fair mall, including Aeropostale, Skechers, M.A.C Cosmetics and Abercrombie Kids.

Well, now, I've finally snagged a date for the launch of the much-anticipated J.Crew store. It's set to open its doors on Tuesday, Aug. 7.

Here's something you might not know. I found out a couple of weeks ago that the J.Crew store in the Downtown Plaza is closing today in anticipation for the big move. (There's a J.Crew in the Galleria at Roseville.)

I don't know what all my shopping friends out there think, but it seems to me like it's going to be slim pickins' downtown - unless you do all your shopping at Macy's.

Many of the other stores in the plaza also can be found in other area malls. J.Crew was the exception for folks who live in the downtown area.

It will be interesting to see two things:

* What will happen to the shopping space at the Downtown Plaza?

* Will the Arden Fair J.Crew carry more of the clothing options (and accessories) that are found online and in the catalog? I'm hoping so.

I'll check out the new store after it opens and report back here at 21Q. But feel free to send me your thoughts!

July 25, 2007
A chat with Dominic Sandoval

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Fox

Between yawns, hip-hop dancer and hometown favorite Dominic Sandoval (pictured) says, "It's definitely a blessing and an honor to have made it this far."

For those who don't know, Dominic, 21, is our local contender (Top 10, natch) on Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance." I was able to chat with him for about 20 minutes this morning, right after he woke up, right before he starts prepping for tonight's big competition.

After surviving weeks of rumbas and jives with his original dance partner, Sabra Johnson, tonight Dominic will partner with someone new. Here's some of what he had to say:

Q: So, do you have any jitters about dancing with one of the other female contestants?

A: Actually, I'm not too scared about it. I love Sabra to death, but going into this competition, I formed a bond, a chemistry, with each of the girls. That's because I knew I would have to switch anyway. Having danced so much solo during my career, I now love to dance with partners because I can learn more.

Q: The judges sometimes make a big deal about how you are an untrained dancer. If so, has that been an obstacle for you?

A: It's true I haven't had much training, technique-wise. I kind of notice each week, especially with fewer people (contestants), that sometimes I'm the last one to pick things up. It just makes me have to work harder. I practice a lot on my own time. When the others are getting snacks and drinks, I'm still dancing!

Q: Is there a particular choreographer(s) on the show you have enjoyed working with?

A: I loved working with Mia Michaels in Las Vegas. And Wade Robson. They both take dance past an actual movement. They take it to a spiritual level where it includes mind, body and soul. They push that emotion in you.

Q: How tall are you, and has it been tough adjusting to wearing "Dancing" shoes?

A: I'm 5'8" with shoes! I had to wear one-inch heels when we danced the rumba. It's awkward for me to wear any kind of heels.

Q: Which dance style would you say you've felt the most comfortable with?

A: The dance that I drew that I think I got the quickest was the rumba. Initially, I had no clue what the dance was, but it came out all right. Sabra and I looked back at the tapes from last week's jive and thought our technique was sooo off!

Q: What's a day/night like for you and the other contestants? It must be similar to what happens to the "American Idol" finalists.

A: It's about eight hours' of work a day, and that doesn't include the rehearsals. For that, you're on your own to find a space - I've even been to a parking lot to rehearse! When we're working with the choreographers, it's in a studio.

As for the rest of the time, we barely watch TV. There isn't a lot of down time.

Q: You have an affiliation with the Dance Gallery 2 in Roseville. Is that where you got rolling with the break dancing?

A: I lived at the studio the last few years, but (owners) Miss Lucy and Doug (McLemore) probably could tell you I have a hard time showing up for class! Yes, that's where I did most of the hip-hop stuff, and I am learning a lot about choreography.

Q: Judge Nigel Lythgoe mentioned you being from Sacramento last week. Your Roseville fans would like to claim you as their own. What do you think?

A: I was born in Sacramento, and my family moved to Roseville. So, I guess I'm from both cities.

Q: Tell us more about the groups you dance with here.

A: There are two groups. One is a dance/comedy group called Step Boys. My breaking group, which is from Sacramento, is called Flexible Flave.

Q: What do you plan on doing with a dancing career? Do you want to be in videos or perform as a backup dancer?

A: At the beginning of the show, my goal was to get an agent out of this experience. I didn't know I would make it this far. Now, I kind want to do film work.

Q: Have you heard whether or not the "So You Think You Can Dance" tour will come to Sacramento?

A: Absolutely. I don't know the date yet, but we'll be performing at Arco Arena.

So there you have it. Dominic and his new partner (mums the word on that) will dance at 8 tonight on Fox; the results show is at 9 p.m. Thursday.

Again, keep your toes crossed for our hometown hoofer!


July 24, 2007
'By Design'

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Sacramento Bee/Autumn Cruz

I find that covering fashion for The Sacramento Bee is not just about the fashions - the shoes, the handbags, the shades - but also about the designers.

And no, I'm not on a first-name basis with Ralph Lauren or Vera Wang, but then, I don't have to be. That's because there are some incredibly gifted designers living in our midst. They're fun, funky, hip, happy and truly passionate about sticking with their sewing machines - even if it means holding down multiple jobs and going to school while spending hours and hours sketching and making patterns.

Some are up-and-comers; others are established and have been in multiple local fashion shows, selling their creations to boutiques and buyers.

I'd like everyone to meet these folks, so in Wednesday's Scene section, I'll be introducing an occasional series called "By Design." First up? Vesna Miksic (pictured), a recent graduate of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

At age 26, Vesna's spent the past four years in academic "boot camp," pushing herself to earn a double major in fashion and textile design.

She's a delight and a true talent, with lofty dreams I'm sure she'll fulfill.

Check out the story and let me know what you think - you can leave your comments here at 21Q.

In the meantime, check out this audio slideshow by Bee photographer Autumn Cruz. It'll give you a taste of what's coming in The Bee on Wednesday.

July 24, 2007
LiberalViewer skewers Fox News

We haven't checked in with our hometown YouTube vlogger LiberalViewer (a.k.a. Allen Asch) for far too long. He's still plugging away, although until recently, without using clips from Viacom shows. (He's in a three-way copyright tiff with YouTube and Viacom.)

Anyway, he broke his "Daily Show" ban to comment on "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening's interview with Jon Stewart. Groening had told Stewart that Rupert Murdoch has forbidden the show from parodying Fox News because "the Fox viewer might confuse our cartoon with actual news."

LiberalViewer had a field day with that. Enjoy the clip.

July 23, 2007
Tower of Power/David Sanborn show cancelled

Just in case you were planning on attending Thursday's Tower of Power and David Sanborn show at the Radisson - bad news, it's been cancelled.

Or, at least, postponed indefinitely.

Here's the skinny: Sanborn, currently on tour in Europe, is suffering from sort of a flu ailment and is unable to travel. Word is he's expected to be fine - but you know how it is when you're feeling sick - the last thing you want to do is get on a crowded, noisy plane.

The powers-that-be are hoping to reschedule the show at a future date but, for the time being, ticket refunds are available at place of purchase.

July 23, 2007
Former KCRA anchor in paradise

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This one goes out to all of those e-mailers out there who keep asking me, "Where did Channel 3's Grace Lee go?"

Read about Grace in the Honolulu Advertiser.

July 23, 2007
Remembering Pete Wilson's Sacramento years

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Bay Area news anchor (KGO/Channel 7) Pete Wilson died Friday night of a heart attack while undergoing hip-replacement surgery. Wilson, known for his cutting asides and exaggerated sighs during news stories, was hugely popular both on local TV news and radio in San Francisco.

He was 62.

Before moving to the Bay, Wilson did a three-year stint in the early 1980s as the anchor at Channel 40 (KTXL, now called Fox40). His counterpart at Channel 3, Stan Atkinson, remembers Wilson as a "super guy."

"(Pete) was (Channel 40's) first major effort to get into the news business in a serious way," Atkinson says. "I remember Pete experimenting with a 'sit-down' newscast - sitting in a spartan armchair - doing the show. It was interesting, but didn't stick. But Pete was trying to get them on the map."

Cal Bollwinkel, the program manager at Channel 40 when Wilson anchored the news, says he was not surprised that Wilson quickly moved to a bigger market.

"He made quite an impression in the short time he was here," Bollwinkel recalls. "He had a very strong personality."

Atkinson says Wilson never forgot his time in Sacramento.

"He was thoughtful enough to mail a properly done rip about me retiring,
which was read at my swan song event," Atkinson says.

July 22, 2007
Potter Blog: The end

That's it. Done.

Absolutely done.

Sadly, done.

It's hard to believe it's really the end, but the end it is.

And, yes, I teared up. Several times, in fact. For many, many reasons. I also let out several more shrieks. Again, for many different reasons.

There were also plenty of "A-ha!" moments and several "Wait, what just happened?" parts, too.

Sorry, I'm just not going to tell you how it all wraps up. True Harry Potter fans, I think, want to get there on their own. For the rest who are merely curious - keep movin' along; nothing like that to see here.

I will say this: The book definitely exceeded my expectations - both as a superfan and as an objective critic.

I'm curious to see what the rest of you think - feel free to post comments here at 21Q. But, for the love of all that is J.K. Rowling, please:

NO SPOILERS!

But I didn't really have to remind you of that, now did I?

Also, on Monday, check out the Scene section in The Bee or sacbee.com's Harry Potter page for my review.

Final tally:

Hours read: Roughly 16.
Coffee consumed: Nine cups.
Diet Cokes consumed: Three.
Sugar consumed: Too much to count.

Finally, this Harry Potter read-a-thon is officially dedicated to my cat Sophie. I know she can't wait to find out how it all ends and she's the only pers-, er, living being that I'm going to tell.

July 22, 2007
Potter Blog: The final countdown of pages

IMG_0067a.JPG Grrrr. Not enough sleep.

I swear, the only thing keeping me going is a) the thought of knowing how it all finally ends, and b) the thought of a nap.

Because, yes, I'm old like that.

OK, I've got my coffee and my book and I'm ready.

I do have to say, however, that the closer I get to the end of the book, the more I keep getting a glimpse of You-Know-Who's snake on the back dust cover.

Creepy.

Onward! Must. Finish. Book.

July 22, 2007
Potter Blog: Beginning of the end...of the book

OK, here we are, page 608 - which means I have 151 pages left to go.

Can I just say that this is the most action-packed "Potter" book yet?

Can I also just say that I'm really exhausted and my brain feels all slurry - if that's even the proper use of the word. If it's even a word.

Also, I'll admit that in one crucial scene, I jumped ahead to the end of a paragraph because I was dying to know the outcome. I let out a cheer of approval and than hastily backtracked.

As I mentioned before, there's not a ton of backstory in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." It's clear that Rowling, when writing this book, wasn't about to be bothered taking up precious space with various explanations. Which means I've spent quite a bit of time at sites such as The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet, trying to figure out the who-what-when-why-and-wheres of a few people and events.

That's been kind of fun, actually. It's like a game, trying to fit together the puzzle based on my own recollections, fan sites and Rowling's writings.

Finally, one last thought before I head to bed (finally!): I accidentally saw the title of the epilogue and my heart sort of skipped a beat. It gave me an idea of what might be in store. Part of me is a bit annoyed that I read the title and the other part of me is intrigued and curious. We'll see what it all really means.

Diet Cokes consumed: Two.

Hours read in this last go-round: Five and a half - although minus about an hour or so that was lost to a quick power nap and various snacks, bringing us to a grand total of roughly 12 hours of reading.

And this is really my last thought for the night, er, morning: Apparently reading makes me very, very hungry. OK, not quite hungry - craving sugar, to be more exact. I'm guessing I've gained a few pounds in just the last 24 hours. It's one of the perils of the job, kids.

Once again, good night for now.

July 21, 2007
Potter Blog: Oh. No.

Page 475: Yes, I actually yelled. Out loud. I wasn't expecting that at all. And I'm horrified that it happened.

Wow.

OK, deep breath. Must read 125 more pages tonight - it's time to hunker down and get serious.

But, still, wow....

July 21, 2007
Potter Blog: Recharged and ready

Wow, food really does wonders, doesn't it? I'm fed and I'm ready to read.

Two hundred more pages to go before I can call it a night. At the rate I'm going, that's at least four hours. But, factor in another break or two, and we're probably looking at something more like five or six.

The good thing is that my husband's going to go out for the night. Not anything against him, of course (no, really!), cos the fewer the distractions, the better.

Besides, he keeps asking me, "What's happened now? Anyone die?"

He's just going to have to wait and find out that for himself. Sorry, dear.

July 21, 2007
Potter Blog: What's the deal with Dumbledore?

Page 400. Whew. More than halfway through now...some answers but a lot more questions.

Like...what's the deal with Dumbledore? That's the thing that perplexes me the most. It's kind of upsetting. I'm very curious to see how that all shakes out.

Some very nail-biting moments, too. That one with the Horcrux? Yikes.

My eyes are pretty bleary now - time to go home and eat some dinner and recharge before diving back in. The goal is to reach page 600 before I go to bed. That would leave just a few more hours of reading Sunday morning.

Cups of coffee consumed: Two.

Total hours read so far: Eight and a half.

July 21, 2007
Potter Blog: Back in black (coffee)

IMG_0066.JPGNow, that's better. The break took a little longer than I anticipated, but I'm now freshly showered and hunkered down at Espresso Metro.

I'm armed with a giant mug of hot coffee, some water, free AC and, of course, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

The goal: to read another 150-180 pages in the next three hours. And then, home again for another five hours of reading.

Before I left the house, my husband wanted to know if "anything big" had happened since I'd last updated him the night before. Not really anything major, I told him, but we seem to be working up to something.

So, onward.

July 21, 2007
Potter Blog: Break time

I think I'm going to have to rethink this whole 60-pages-an-hour calculation. It seems like I'm only doing about 50 pages an hour. Not sure why there's a slowdown this time around, but there you have it. I'm only 250 pages in!

Which means that (times 10, carry the one), I have roughly 10 more hours of reading left.

That's totally managable, right? My review isn't even due for another 26 hours. I think I can even squeeze in a nap later today. I wonder if it's just Muggles who nap - you never really read about Harry or Ron taking a power snooze.

Also, I should look on the bright side: the book is about 25 pages shorter than I thought it would be (759 pages instead of the widely reported 784), and I'm now approximately one-third of the way done.

(An aside: Very interesting development on that R.A.B. thing, don't you think?)

Cups of coffee consumed so far: Three, or roughly, one per hour.

Time for a shower - I'm feeling grimy.

July 21, 2007
Potter Blog: Up and blacking out

Was that really the alarm? OK, I'm up, I'm up. And tired. But, ready to read. But, not ready to read any Potter-related stories. I'm officially on a self-imposed media blackout.

I don't even want to run the risk of reading between the lines and figuring something out just from how a story is reported.

But enough chitchat, I'm sure some kid somewhere has already started to re-read "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," so it's time for me to get moving.

First things first, though: Coffee!

July 21, 2007
Potter Blog: And we're off with a bang

I'm almost 100 pages in but seriously starting to lose focus. I had to reread the last page a couple of times for comprehension before realizing it was a lost cause.

But, this is what we have so far: A lot of action. Those of you (OK, me) expecting the usual chunk of backstory that Rowling typically starts her books with - well, not so much here. Very little, in fact. It's like she's saying, c'mon kids - we've been through this together for 10 years now, I expect you to keep up!

Also: There's already been some major death and mayhem. That's all I'm going to say on that little matter, however.

Goodnight for now.

July 21, 2007
Potter Blog: The midnight hour

avidreader1.jpgOK, well that kind of took longer than I thought it would. We arrived at the Avid Reader at approximately 11:40 p.m. And since I'd already paid for my copy of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," I headed over to the "pre-paid" line to pick up my pass.

Number 162!

I swear, there were at least four times the amount of people than when I did this two years ago.

It was kind of a chaotic scene - the folks at the Avid Reader had been showing one of the Potter films and kids were running around all crazy-like with the special glow-stick wands that came in the goody bags the bookstore was handing out.

Anyway, we finally got herded into one of four lines - the last line, of course - and after what seemed like forever, we finally got to head toward the bookstore entrance so that I could nab my copy.

That process was actually pretty fast, but what really surprised me is just how heavy J.K. Rowling's final Potter book feels in my hands. I mean, I knew it was 784 pages, but now the reality of having to read this whole thing by Sunday afternoon hits me like a giant brick.

Or a giant book - take your pick.

hpbookcover.jpgOn the way out, we ran into a friend who's come by to pick up the book for his wife and son. I donated my goody bag to him because, well, frankly, I won't have much time for coloring and stickers this weekend.

Too bad.

All right - 784 pages. Judging by my past experiences with these books, I think it'll take me approximately 13-14 hours (at 60 pages an hour) to read this one. Throw in some sleep, a shower, some food and I'll be golden.

At least that's the idea.

OK, it's 12:53 a.m. - time to get crackin'.

July 20, 2007
Potter Blog: The preamble, part 2

OK, just one hour left! I know, I know - if I were a true Potter fanatic, I'd already be in line down at the bookstore, ready to call dibs on my copy of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". But c'mon, I'm not a kid anymore - I need to rest up for these kinds of things!

Speaking of which, I just finished an iced coffee and I'm thinking some sugar would be good. All in all, however, I don't know if I'll stay up much later than 2 a.m. - it's just been that kind of a week.

Anyway, I'm heading over to the Avid Reader in just a half-hour. Hopefully I will survive the hysteria.

And, no, I am not wearing a Potter-themed costume, but thanks for asking.

July 20, 2007
Open the trunks

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Rebecca Taylor is one of my favorite designers, so if my hair appointment gets done early Saturday, I'm going to try and stop by Serendipity Boutique on H Street (5362, next to Selland's Market) and check out the store's fall trunk show.

Owner Barbara Lym is sure to have picked the cream of the crop for next season. I'm particularly interested in both dresses and jackets - two of Rebecca's specialities.

And, if you can make it, there also will be a Gorjana jewelry show.

While you're browsing, check out the Chilewich and Haley Corina (pictured) handbag collections. Sandy Chilewich is a New York designer who came up with a signature textile, woven vinyl fabric that she uses to create totes, zips and travel accessories. They're simple, but boy, will one of these bags take you places!

Haley Anthonisen just graduated from Rio Americano High School and will attend the University of Redlands, where she will continue to make her one-of-a-kind bags.

The Haley Corina collection began two years ago, when Haley's father cleaned out his closet and gave her his "I-don't-want-these-anymore" ties. She began sewing the ties together to create unique handbags

They sell for $125 each, and Haley donates a portion of the sales to the nonprofit Women Empowerment of Sacramento, which provides support and assistance to homeless women looking to get back on their feet.

The boutique is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. See you there!

July 20, 2007
Sims back at KWOD

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Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

It's official: Andy Sims (pictured) is the new midday DJ at KWOD (106.5 FM). Sims had been a fill-in for the past month after Hill Jordan left the station, but he officially got the gig this week.

It's a return home for Sims, who took a brief detour about a year ago to go to sister station KCTC (1320 AM) to become a leftie political morning host. When KCTC switched its format to all-sports in February, Sims was out of a full-time gig, though he filled in on weekends at KWOD.

Now, Sims' midday shift ends at 3 p.m., when his old KWOD morning co-host Rubin starts his four-hour shift.

In another move, Andy Hawk is taking over Jordan's music director position at the station.

July 20, 2007
Potter Blog: The preamble

potterlibrary.jpgWell, Harry Pottermania has clearly taken off in the Sacramento area, and with less than 12 hours until the book goes on sale, it seems everyone's got "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" on the brain.

In fact, I just got back from a trip to my longtime vet, the lovely Dr. Rose at Midtown Animal Hospital. And as Dr. Rose looked through my cat's chart, she said, "Hey, I read in the paper that you're going to be reading the whole book this weekend and blogging about it."

Yep.

Then she asked the obvious question: "Shouldn't you be at home asleep right now?"

Yep.

Actually, I'll be napping later this afternoon so that I'm bright-eyed come midnight (12:01 a.m. to be exact), when I pick up my copy over at the Avid Reader bookstore on Broadway.

Believe me, I'm pretty excited about finally adding the seventh and final Potter book to my collection but even though I've done this whole read-the-book-in-a-weekend thing twice before, the pressure's a little heavier this time around.

In previous years, I haven't had to file my review until Monday afternoon. This year? My review for that 784-page book is due by 3:30 on Sunday.

Sunday!

So, yeah, wish me luck and check back here over the course of the weekend to read my real-time book updates.

P.S. Dr. Rose and her husband will both be reading the book over the weekend, too. They're getting separate copies, in fact, so they don't have to deal with that pesky sharing issue. Smart move, I say. Lucky for me, my spouse is still a few books behind.

P.P.S. My cat, Sophie, is doing fine - just dealing with a few issues, the kind that seem to strike ladies of a certain age. Lucky for all of us, she's a real trooper.


July 20, 2007
July goes for GLBT

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Associated Press

June might be designated as official GLBT pride month, but July is making a pretty good case for itself at local theaters. An unusual number of gay - or gayish-themed - movies open today in Sacramento.

These films range wildly in tone and content, from Sacramento French Film Festival opener "Les Temoins,", a moving drama set during the onset of the AIDs crisis in France, to the Hollywood comedy "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry," in which Adam Sandler and Kevin James (pictured above) play firefighters posing as gay for the domestic-partner benefits.

Right. Because gay people get all the great benefits.

While "Chuck & Larry" seeks a broad audience, the unrated "Boy Culture" sounds happily niche. The independent drama, which focuses on a male hustler, will play for one week at the Crest Theatre.

The wild card is "Hairspray," about which there is nothing overtly gay, as star John Travolta has pointed out. But given that Travolta plays a drag role associated with Divine and Harvey Fierstein, and the musical's origins as a 1988 John Waters film, we'll call it an honorary gay film.

To read my review of "Hairspray," click here.

July 20, 2007
Take our news quiz...

...and win valuable prizes!!!

OK, here's the deal: A few days ago, Michael Langley, the assistant news director for new media at News10, posted a scathing blog entry taking to task a rival station for what he called a lapse in journalistic decorum. It's called "An Open Letter to Journalists."

I'll give you a few minutes to click and read Langley's blog post. ... ... ... ... ... ...

OK, that's enough time to read Langley's screed.

The thing was, Langley didn't name the station that violated the family's privacy on the motorcycle story. But your local media correspondent has sussed out the station's identity through sheer investigative grit.

Now, comes the contest: If you can name the offending station - click on the "comments" link below to make your selection - you'll be eligible for a limited-edition, autographed 8x10 glossy of the 21Q crew. (Second prize is two autographed photos).

Hey, they'd fetch a lot on eBay.

July 19, 2007
Jive dancing!

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Fox

Hope you caught Wednesday night's "So You Think You Can Dance" competition. Sacramento/Roseville's very own Dominic Sandoval and his dance partner, Sabra Johnson (pictured), were fabo dancing the jive!

They were the first of six couples to perform and, afterward, received huge praise from the three judges. Nigel Lythgoe (a.k.a. "Mr. American Idol") even asked Dominic about being from Sacramento!

So folks, be proud. We got a shout out!

Tonight at 9 on Fox, the elimination show will send one male and one female dancer packing, narrowing the competition to 10. Then next week, the dancers will be paired with different partners, so no more Dominic and Sabra.

If Dom makes it - and I'm sure he will - he, like the Top 10 on "Idol," gets to go on the "So You Think You Can Dance" tour. And you know they'll be hitting Sactown.

Also, I'm hoping Fox is going to allow interviews with the Top 10 dancers, so I can talk directly to Dominic about his toe-stopping experiences.

Stay tuned to 21Q for more.

July 19, 2007
You and the night

Barnyard1.jpg

The enterprising, industrious young people in the Barnyard Theatre of Yolo County are gearing up for their fourth summer production, which opens Friday.

This year, they bring Bertolt Brecht’s “Galileo” to the Schmeiser Barn, at 35125 County Road 31. To give the production just that much more verisimilitude, Barnyard Theatre will perform in the barnyard itself, placing Galileo’s explorations under an actual night sky.

Audience members should bring insect repellent and warm clothes for cool nights. Performances begin at 8:30 p.m., and the show runs Friday through Sunday nights - July 20-22, July 26-28 and Aug. 2-5.

Seating is limited. Tickets are $7 and $12 in advance; $10 and $15 at the door. For information, call (530) 574-1318 or check out their booth at the Davis Farmers Market on Wednesday nights.


July 19, 2007
Deep Shallow media thoughts

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Congratulations to "Insight," the daily public affairs show hosted by Jeffrey Callison (pictured, left) on KXJZ (90.9 FM), on its third anniversary today. To celebrate, the station will air a very special "clip" show with greatest hits from the past three years - interviews on water issues, redistricting, the homeless and tax reform.

Nah. Just kidding. "Insight" actually will air a compilation of its best live, in-studio music performances today, including a song or two by Jackie Greene. If you, like, work for a living and can't tune in today at 2 p.m., you can listen to the archived version on the station's Web site.

* A thumbs up, too, to Matt Coker, the editor of the alt-weekly Sacramento News & Review for bowing to public pressure and adding the wildly popular "Ask A Mexican" feature to the rag's lineup.

* So I'm inching along on the Yolo causeway this morning on a hellacious daily commute and I see that a Channel 31 satellite truck is parked on the levee bank. And I noticed this: It's been a year and the trucks still have the old UPN network affiliation emblazoned on the side. C'mon, guys: spend the money and spray paint CW on the side.

* It's not official yet, but the popular "Radio Parallax" Thursday-night radio show on KDVS (90.3 FM), hosted by Sacramento physician Douglas Everett, will be expanding to the AM dial on KSAC (1240 AM) on Saturdays. Word is, it will be a different show (not a replay), but in the same vein as the KDVS show.
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* Best publicity stunt of the week goes to KDND (The End, 107.9 FM) and its new morning show, “The Wake Up Call with Jason, Kelly and Gavin.” (These are the folks, by the way, who replaced the crew that sponsored that ill-fated and fatal water-drinking contest last January.)

It seems Gavin is going on vacation in August, and the crew has extended an offer to Kevin Federline (pictured, right) to fill in. No word yet from K-Fed, who recently met with L.A. radio execs, looking for a job.

* Mark Williams, the conservative talk-show pundit fired from KFBK, continues to find work on cable TV. He's been on Fox News three times in the past week - talking about border issues, John Edwards and John McCain.

July 18, 2007
Making of a model

NYIMG_00166.jpgSo you could never bring yourself to audition for "America's Next Top Model" because ... spending all that time with Tyra Banks wouldn't be worth the effort.

Well, I've got good news for aspiring models (and actors) in the Sacramento area. A Phoenix-based company called ProScout is coming to town Thursday for free, open-call interview sessions. The sessions are at 6 and 7:30 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, across from Arden Fair mall.

I've never attended one of these calls, but if you're looking for validation, I spoke recently with Lindsay Frimodt (pictured), 26, who was discovered at a ProScout outing 13 years ago in Sacramento.

She's now living in New York, basking in a very successful career that has taken her to more than 40 countries. She's walked runways from New York and Milan to Paris and London. And she's appeared on numerous magazine covers, including Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire and Harper's Bazaar, as well as advertising spreads for Christian Dior. She even appeared in a music video with Justin Timberlake.

And all because she begged and cajoled her parents to let her attend the ProScout audition when she was a teen.

"I wouldn't be a model today without ProScout," she says from New York. And she probably wouldn't have the newly purchased villa she found in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

"It was the only way I would have been introduced to the people and agencies I otherwise would never have met," she says.

So how does the ProScout process work? Well, everyone who shows up is given a brief introduction and told how the interview process will run. You only have a short, short amount of time to show you have what it takes. So be prepared! Pictures aren't required, but personality is uber-model important.

If you want more info, the company has a Web site. Just click here.

Lindsay advises not to be discouraged if it doesn't work out for you the first time. "I've been turned away by agencies in the past," she says.

She is now with the Next NYC agency.

Growing up in Sacramento, Lindsay says she used to hang out at Arden Fair, though I haven't seen many model sightings on the escalators as of late. After her career, she hopes to take a year or so to travel - sans stilettos, makeup or hair dryer. Just jeans, tank tops and a backpack.

Her favorite mentor models? Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford. She also loves Giselle.

As for "America's Next Top Model" (and I love this!), Lindsay says she's vaguely familiar with the show, but that none of the girls "are really going to be models."

"Actually, the fashion industry watches it and laughs."

So take that, Tyra!

July 18, 2007
Summer movies? Why yes!

Birds.jpgAugust tends to be a lackluster month for Hollywood movies, especially as it wears on. As parents' and kids' thoughts turn to the new school year, the studios' thoughts turn to burning off their non-starters.

The Sacramento film scene thankfully has taken compensatory measures. First and foremost is the Sacramento International Film & Music Festival Aug. 8-12 at the Crest Theatre. (Just
click here for more details.)

The event opens with "When a Man Falls in the Forest," a Sharon Stone-Timothy Hutton drama from Redwood Palms Pictures of Folsom. The festival also will feature an evening with homegrown director Joe Carnahan ("Narc"; "Smokin' Aces") on Aug. 10.

And for cinema lovers who prefer to bring their own seats, there's the free Screen on the Green outdoor film series on Saturday nights, presented by Councilman Steve Cohn. (All films start at sundown.)

On Aug. 4, Screen on the Green will offer "Ghost Busters" at East Portal Park, followed by "E.T." on Aug. 11 at Grant Park and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" on Aug. 18 at Babcock Park.

The series concludes Aug. 25 at Glen Hall Park with Alfred Hitchcocks's "The Birds." (Tippi Hedren pictured.) The outdoor setting should increase the talon-on-the-head, chill-down-the-spine effect of that last one.

July 18, 2007
WELCOME TO 21Q: VERSION 2.0

Now that we've blown out the candles on our virtual birthday cake and we're a year old, 21Q, everyone's favorite blog for all things Sacramento, has some changes to announce.

(Wait. The marketing department says they are exciting and innovative changes. And those folks are right.)

We have a new resident at 21Q: Bee movie critic Carla Meyer. Carla is no stranger to multi-platform journalism - she appears regularly to talk film on KFBK (1530 AM) - so it's only natural that she join the blogosphere. Not only will Carla give you the 411 on movie news and scuttlebutt around Sacramento, but she also will provide the early scoop on upcoming movies - the good, the bad, the ugly.

You can check out Carla's bio over there on the right of our main page.

In fact, all the residents of 21Q have updated bios, chock full o' fun facts about ourselves, because, you know, last year's bios were sooooo 2006.

Another exciting and innovative change: We're making it easier for you, the readers, to e-mail us by placing a one-click link directly below each posting. Notice, too, that there's also a comments section for you to tell us what you think about our views.

And, finally, some melancholy news (which the marketing department wants us to downplay). You'll notice that 21Q resident and night life diva Lisa Heyamoto has moved out of the neighborhood.

She hasn't gone far - just down to the second floor of The Bee's world headquarters to become a member of the hard-hitting and (repeat after me) exciting and innovative metro reporting staff.

Meanwhile, the tireless crew here at 21Q - which, by the way, has not missed a single day of blogging, holidays included - will continue to dig into Sacramento's rich cultural landscape.

July 17, 2007
'Mythbusters' to bust a move in Davis

Word up, science geeks.

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, that wacky duo from the Discovery Channel show "Mythbusters," will be coming to the Mondavi Center on Nov. 10 (at 7:30 p.m.).

For those who don't know, this is a show that appeals to the science- and- technology-challenged, as well. The duo debunks urban myths (the stolen kidney in the hotel room, anyone?) by showing viewers why they can't be possible.

Tickets are on sale now for $37.50 and $52.50 through the Mondavi box office, www.mandaviarts.org or by calling (866) 754-2787.

July 17, 2007
Our golden girl

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A Visual Group/Joseph Pier

She's baaaack!

Mrs. California, Tracie Stafford of Sacramento, returned Sunday morning after competing last week in the Mrs. United States pageant in Las Vegas.

Alas, Tracie didn't win the ginormous crown but, as she puts it: "My goal was to shine brightly, and that's what I did!" (The winner was Mrs. Michigan.)

And, ever the graceful competitor, Tracie even helped backstage with the Top 10 contestants as they nervously prepped for the competition. She also attended a reception afterward because, after all, "I'm still representing California."

Now, I know you're all wondering about the evening gown that Tracie chose to wear in the pageant. To help, The Bee even conducted a gown poll recently for readers, giving them four choices and asking them to pick the one they'd most like to see Tracie wear.

Nearly 400 readers weighed in, and the winner was announced on July 4 here at 21Q and in Scene's "Looking Good" feature on Page 3. It was the Golden Goddess, one of two gowns that Tracie did indeed take to Vegas.

The other gown? Well, on the Friday before the pageant, Tracie flew down to Los Angeles and found a Claire's Collection gown (pictured above) that, as Tracie puts it, "encompassed everything the readers said I should look for."

It was certainly reminiscent of the winning gold gown. For example: It had the color and similar styling of the Golden Goddess, but it had strong points similar to those of the other three in our poll, as well: it had a sexy ruffle like the Green Goddess gown; the sleekness and beading of the Beaded Black gown, and the leg baring of the Lovely Layers gown. Plus, it had the added benefit of a sweetheart neckline, which Tracie felt strongly about having.

"I covered it all in that one gown," she says. "If the Sacramento Bee readers could have designed a gown, it would have looked like this. I really do appreciate all the input because it enabled me to put this gown together."

swimsuit.jpg As for her hair, Tracie wore it up for a more elegant look - for both the evening gown and swimsuit (pictured right) portions.

But all wasn't cool in Vegas. If you weather hounds will recall, it was darn sweltering last week. And Tracie says the heat caused problems for some contestants (three fainted), including several who were pregnant!

"We all just helped each other get through it," she says.

Tracie will continue to represent the state as Mrs. California. Her next big assignment? The grand opening of the State Fair in August, where she'll appear with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Sneak preview: And speaking of "Looking Good," here's a look at what's TK on Scene's Page 3 on Wednesday: A new line of clothing at Target and advice for folks who are allergic to gluten.


July 17, 2007
What did he say?

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You know how, sometimes, you're sort of watching TV, but actually doing two other things at the same time, and then you hear something so outrageous that you think your ears are deceiving you?

Happened to me Monday night while I was watching Channel 13.

It was a 15-second teaser for the station's morning show featuring tech-savvy anchor Chris Burrous (pictured). I thought I heard Burrous say (while pointing to a computer monitor): "Did you know that more lesbians live in this part of Sacramento than anywhere else? Neighborhood secrets revealed!"

Nah. Couldn't be what he said.

But, noooo. He said it. Channel 13 re-ran the teaser four times during its late news and then during David Letterman's show.

July 16, 2007
TV news honchos in political hot seat

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Sacramento Bee/Jose Luis Villegas

It was open season on local TV news earlier today at the Capitol.

The event: the Commonwealth Club of California’s Voices of Reform Project roundtable.

The debate: the "potential for better coverage of public policies" in TV news.

Representing local TV: news directors Anzio Williams (pictured, above) of channels 3 and 58 and Steve Charlier of channels 13 and 31, as well as political reporters Marcy Brightwell of News10 and Kevin Riggs of Channel 3.

Among those representing political interests: Pablo Espinoza, former Channel 19 reporter-turned-deputy director, Speaker’s Office of Member Services; Bob Jimenez, former NBC reporter and current communications director for state Sen. Ron S. Calderon, and Jeff Macedo, the governor's deputy press secretary.

Moderator: Steve Swatt, former Channel 3 reporter, now a public relations consultant.

First, let's hear from Williams and Charlier.

Williams called covering state politics a "challenge," especially when a typical "long" story on KCRA runs 1 minute 45 seconds. ("And I'm trying to get it down to 1:20.") He said TV avoids "process" stories and must find a way to "put a face" on an Assembly bill. "If Kevin (Riggs) doesn't leave this two-block radius of the Capitol, then that's missing the point (of a story)."

Charlier, whose stations do not have regularly assigned Capitol reporters, said he assigns stories based on merit and that any number of his reporters can cover state government. He said his station will not cover a story just because politicos have sent out press releases.

That got Jimenez going.

"You can't just send anyone down (to the Capitol) to report," he said. "Those are the kind of people who get manipulated or may even get the story wrong...."

Both Jimenez and Espinoza noted that TV news has a public trust (it's part of the FCC license), but that networks care primarily about the bottom line.

Espinoza told the story of standing outside a Capitol conference room where a meeting about the growing budget stalemate was taking place.

"No one (from the media) was there at all," he said. "Then I saw two cameramen whizzing by, going upstairs. When they came back down, I asked (the cameramen) where they'd been and they said it was a hearing on Sen. Calderon's porn tax. I mean, OK, that's good legislation, but there was nothing new on that story that day."

Charlier and Williams' made the point that, for better or worse, TV news outlets are for-profit businesses, and that ratings matter. (Several studies have shown that politics rates low on viewer preferences.)

But Williams' remark comparing coverage of politics to coverage of auto mechanics drew some grumbles from the crowd. Williams added that politicos who complain about lack of coverage are no different from the gripes of non-profit groups or of religious groups with whom he recently met.

Charlier was more blunt: "Would you watch 45 days of budget coverage every evening?"

Said Jimenez: "I don't think the news should be a popularity contest. We still teach (journalism students) in college that you need to give people what they need to know..."

Espinoza: "I don't think anyone is asking TV stations to do something that's not going to be good for business. What I'm asking for is open-mindedness in the newsroom."

So, who "won" the roundtable discussion?

I'd have to say it was Stacy Owen, news director at News10, who wasn't there.

July 16, 2007
Review: 'War Made Easy' at the Crest

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Five nights a week on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” you can see the words of politicians come back to haunt them in news-clip montages that expose their perceived hypocrisy with biting hilarity.

Nothing is funny, however, about “War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death,” a new documentary narrated by actor Sean Penn that will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Crest Theatre. Tickets: $10.

Left-leaning filmmakers Loretta Alper and Jeremy Earp use the same style of juxtaposing the harsh realities of the Iraq war with alternately sunny Bush administration sound bites made in the run-up to the conflict.

Indeed, it’s a documentary style used effectively in recent years by filmmakers Michael Moore and Robert Greenwald. In fact, many of the same clips trotted out here are those in Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.” There’s President Bush’s “yellow cake uranium” sound bite, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Seussian “There are known knowns...,” and Vice President Dick Cheney’s “we’ll-be-greeted-as-liberators” line.

But this documentary ratchets up its own agit-prop a notch by also putting sound bites of a smirking Rumsfeld talking about the humanity of U.S. “smart bombs” up against images (culled from foreign news footage, by the way) of Iraqi and Afghan children maimed by those same bombs.

What makes “War Made Easy” worth watching is not the charges of propaganda leveled against the government. Rather, it’s how the mainstream media, particularly cable TV news stations, played a major role in making the case for war.

Judging by the news clips pieced together, the media comes off as either co-conspirators or dupes, and seem little more than mouthpieces.

Alper and Earp wrote “War Made Easy,” but its inspiration - and much of the material - comes from progressive media critic Norman Solomon, whose voice is heard almost as often as Penn’s.

Solomon, a pundit for progressives, makes no pretense of objectivity. But using the mainstream media’s own words and images against them, he makes a persuasive argument that a “drumbeat media echo effect” helped sell the war to the American people.

Fox News’ pro-war coverage is taken as a given in this documentary. But Solomon comes down hard on CNN and MSNBC, as well, for stoking pro-war sentiment. Plus, the three networks and major newspapers, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, do not go unscathed.

Solomon, for example, excoriates a CNN news chief for boasting – on air – that the retired generals it was using for “expert analysis” got the “thumbs up” from the defense department.

Late in the documentary, clips of TV and print reporters issuing “media culpas” about how they should have been more skeptical is compared to clips of reporters saying the same thing in the latter days of the Vietnam War. “The media establishment,” Solomon says, “is always way behind the grass roots.”

July 13, 2007
August Wilson and STC

Sacramento Theatre Company's Mark Standriff called today to say that on Monday, STC will announce a dramatic programming initiative. Standriff, the company's newly appointed managing director, says STC plans on producing all of August Wilson’s 10-play Pittsburgh Cycle in chronological order.

The Seattle-based Wilson, who died in 2005, wrote 10 full-length plays centered on the African American experience in the United States - one play set in each decade.

Standriff hopes STC can open the first play, “Gem of the Ocean,” in the spring of 2009. “Gem” was produced at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco last spring and a production currently runs at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.

Standriff says as a former artistic director, he believes theaters sometimes worry too much about the short term and don’t think enough about the long term. He also says that, as a managing director, announcing a 10-year commitment to producing Wilson’s works gives STC an opportunity to court supporters for a long-term commitment to diversity in Sacramento professional theater.

Wilson hasn't been produced professionally in Sacramento since the late '80s. Under artistic director Mark Cuddy, STC did both "Fences" and "Joe Turner's Come and Gone."

July 13, 2007
A little bit of Paris in Sacramento

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Le Petit Paris

Bonjour! Saturday is Bastille Day. But don't fret. You don't have to be French to celebrate French fashion in Sacramento.

That's because the local boutique, Le Petit Paris - at 1221 19th St. - will be hosting a strolling fashion show starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, which will catwalk the streets of midtown.

"I have always dreamed of bringing a bit of Paris home," says owner Tassina Placencia, who travels to Paris three times a year to meet with designers and hand-pick the fashions she carries back to her Sacramento store.

So what will you see as a part of this French day of freedom?

There will be food, there will be wine and, of course, there will be French fashion!

That includes clothing from designers Antoine et Lili and Anitsa Paris, both of whom are tres chic in the City of Lights. Tassina is also introducing the Grain de Pastel collection of soap, body milk, fragrance and body balm products.

For more info: (916) 446-3639.

And remember: The colors of France are the same as ours - red, white and blue.

Anyone up for a chorus of "Les Marseilles?"

July 13, 2007
Steve Earle, Chuck D come to KSAC

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Weekend programming on many local radio stations, especially on the AM band, is typically a vast wasteland.

But KSAC (1240 AM) has just added some new Air America shows to spice up the weekend - and two on Sunday are particularly provocative.

Alt-country icon Steve Earle hosts a music/agit-prop issues show (aptly named "The Steve Earle Show") from 7-8 p.m. Sundays, followed by rapper Chuck D with "On the Real," dubbed as a look at "under-reported" news stories with some hip hop thrown in.

Earle's eclectic guest list has ranged from Ben Folds to Patti Smith to Dick Cavett to Colin Firth to Devo. They talk politics, art and music, play songs live and fight the man.

Chuck D's format is similar, with more chatter. He's had the likes of Jamie Foxx, Spike Lee and, strangely, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys in studio.

July 13, 2007
The Sports Guy 'interviews' the fading starlet

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Your cranky media correspondent has long railed against radio hosts who endorse products and services with on-air testimonials for everything from credit unions to Lasik eye surgery. It's especially irksome when reporters and anchors on news stations do the spots.

It's an ethics thing - separation between editorial and advertising and all that.

But I've learned to stop grinding my teeth about it. Really, I have. (In fact, let my tell you about my dentist, Dr. Shiny Tooth, who's offering a special deal to new customers this week. I've been seeing Dr. Shiny Tooth for four years now and let me tell you, I haven't regretted it ....)

Uh, sorry. I almost succumbed to that testimonials thing.

Anyway, KFBK (1530 AM) has scaled back - a bit - on testimonials by its talent (a.k.a. on-air personnel), but I heard something distrurbing Thursday during the afternoon news with Kitty O'Neal and R.E. Graswich. It was - dare I say it? - an "advertorial" trying to conceal itself as an "interview."

Kitty and R.E. paused for a break and, suddenly, here is sports reporter Pat Walsh (pictured above) acting like a talk show host being "joined by" D-list actress Tanya Roberts.
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But Walsh didn't ask Roberts (at left) about "That '70s Show" or "Charlie's Angels" or whatever thespian endeavor she's currently pursuing. No, all the "questions" revolved around Tahiti Village, a timeshare owned by Consolidated Resorts Inc. in Las Vegas.

The sad part is that the faux interview wasn't much different than, say, an entertainment segment on "Good Day Sacramento." Anyway, at the end of the spot, Walsh gives the phone number as any good talk show host would.

Then, Kitty and R.E. came back and tossed it to ... Pat Walsh for a sports report.

Ugh!

July 12, 2007
Makeover Saturday

5416513.jpgIf you've never tried Trish McEvoy cosmetics - and you're game to work in a little clothes shopping this weekend - I would make plans to hit Serendipity Boutique.

Serendipity owner Barbara Lym and regional makeup artist Alex Adell - with makeup artists in tow - are hosting a makeover event featuring the Trish McEvoy line from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the boutique, 5362 H St., next to Selland's Market.

What's so special about Trish? Well, she really knows the how-tos of applying makeup. As a makeup artist in the 1970s in New York, she figured out that most women had the cosmetics, they just didn't have the proper tools, especially the brushes. So, a good set of brushes was one of the first things she came up with.

5399713.jpgMuch of Trish's line includes palettes of color (some just for lips, some just for eyes, some with everything you need).

After you have your makeup done Saturday, check out Barbara's great supply of cotton tees, breezy dresses and skirts, plus one-of-a-kind accessories and jewelry.

Heck, then have a cool drink at Selland's. And take dinner home. Don't cook. After all, you just had your makeup done!

To make an appointment for the makeover event (space is limited): (916) 454-2900.


July 12, 2007
On the move

FiveFigs2978-200.JPGFive Figs women's boutique has found new digs. The store is staying in Davis, but owner Pam Pacelli is eager to celebrate the move, and I certainly want devoted shoppers to know exactly where to find her!

The new location is 231 E St., Suite 3, under the breezeway behind the new Peet's Coffee in downtown Davis.

To mark the move, Pam is having a celebration from 7 to 10 tonight. There will be refreshments, music and a special preview of the boutique's upcoming Sidewalk Sale, which will be Friday through Sunday.

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays. For more info: (530) 756-3500.

July 12, 2007
Lucky you: Henry Rollins tix on sale

Henry-Rollins.jpgOK all you Henry Rollins fans - this Friday the 13th is gonna be a lucky one for you. That's cos that is when - at 10 a.m. specifically - tickets for the iconic artist's Nov. 4 date at the Crest Theatre will go on sale.

Rollins, of course, used to be in the legendary punk band Black Flag and also has fronted his own Rollins Band. He's a prolific writer and poet and hosts "The Henry Rollins Show," a smart, funny and provocative mix of talk and guests that covers everything from politics and current events to movies and music. You can find that at 8 p.m. Friday nights on the Independent Film Channel.

His Crest show, btw, is part of Rollins' upcoming "Provoked Spoken Word Tour."

I've interviewed Rollins a couple of times and I have to admit that the first time, I felt plenty intimidated - I mean, come on - he was in Black Flag! He's also super-political and outspoken. You just don't want to trip up and say something stupid when you're talking to him, right?

Actually, wrong. Rollins, as it turns out, is a super-nice and polite guy. Which is not to say you don't want to be up on your current events and all when you talk to him - but, either way, his mama apparently brought him up right.

For example, Rollins once called in for an interview on his cell phone - he was on tour and phoning from the middle of nowhere. The connection was bad but he was game - which is more than I can say for a lot of celebs who get frustrated with bad cell connections and act like I'm in evil cahoots with their wireless carrier. (Hello, Lily Allen!). After we eventually got cut off for good, Rollins actually sent me a follow-up e-mail, apologizing for the technical difficulties and with the offer to answer any more questions via e-mail.

Like I said, nice guy that Rollins.

Anyway, the 411 on tickets: Like I said, they officially go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through the Crest box office (at 1013 K St.; call (916) 442-7378 for more info.). Or, get them via Tickets.com.

But, if you are a super-savvy fan, you might just want to head on over to that Web site, uh, now. Because maybe we've heard something about an Internet-only presale that's going on at this very second.

Which means that maybe today is actually your lucky day.


July 11, 2007
It's 'Dance' night

06-sandoval.jpgDominic Sandoval (pictured) is back on his feet. After a week off from his "So You Think You Can Dance" duties, Dominic returns to the show tonight to compete as one of the Final 14.

During his break, Dominic returned to Roseville, where he participated in a series of shows (June 29-30) put on by his home studio. Dance Gallery 2 was so excited to have him take the stage with his fellow hoofers, and he and the other performers received standing ovations!

Now it's back to competitive business. I got word from Fox that if Dominic makes it to the Top 10, the network likely will allow interviews. So keep your eye on this space for that.

In the meantime, if you want to find out how he's doing, watch the show (at 8 tonight for the competition; 9 p.m. Thursday for the eliminations) on channel 40 - and keep your toes crossed that he makes the dance cut.

Good luck, Dom!

July 11, 2007
A.J. Stewart is still on 'Top' to us

top model_AJ.jpgIt's been nearly a year now since A.J. Stewart was eliminated, but we're still smarting over the Sacramento native's untimely dismissal from "America's Next Top Model: Cycle 7."

Lucky for us fans, the one-time art student continues to log plenty of time in front of the camera. In fact, as her proud mama Robyn Boyer tells us, she's making a steady climb in the modeling world.

In addition to a slew of recent gigs in Asia (where ANTM is wildly popular), Stewart's featured in the July issue of "Supermodels Unlimited Magazine." It's a quarterly trade pub outta NYC and we're trying to get our hands on a copy to check out the article and images.

Stewart's also been busy trying to raise awareness about HPV - the human papillomavirus that can lead to cervical cancer. Stewart was diagnosed with HPV at age 18. You can watch Stewart talk about her experiences in a video over at the Cervical Cancer Facts Web site.

So Tyra Banks and Company may have kicked our hometown girl to the curb, but the rest of the world totally sees her potential. And we think that's fierce.

July 11, 2007
But wait, there's more ...

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In addition to Charlotte Fadipe's departure (see item below), we've just learned that two other reporters are leaving Channel 13.

Weekend weather forecaster Angelique Frame (pictured) announced today that she is leaving the station, and Bora Kim has been replaced as the station's Stockton reporter.

"We're sorry to hear that Angelique is leaving," says Steve Charlier, vice president for news at channels 13 and 31. "I understand her husband got a good job in San Diego."

Charlier would not comment about the firing of Kim.


July 11, 2007
Fadipe out at Channel 13

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Charlotte Fadipe, one of Channel 13's most-experienced reporters with nine years at the station, is leaving at the end of the July when her contract expires.

A former British Broadcasting Company (BBC) reporter who was educated at Oxford and earned a master's degree in communication at UC Berkeley, Fadipe was known for her lilting English accent and her versatility in reporting everything from crime to politics to features.

Fadipe would not say why the station declined to renew her contract. Steve Charlier, vice president for news at channels 13 and 31, would not comment on Fadipe's departure, other than saying, "I believe she wanted to get out of TV news."

"There are some new opportunities out there for me, and I'm excited," Fadipe says. "I think it might turn out to be the best thing for me."

For the time being, Fadipe will stay in the Sacramento area, where she owns a house. She is not immediately looking for another TV reporting job, she adds, saying, "I've got roots here, especially in the African American community. There has been some interest elsewhere in the media field."

Fadipe is the only African American reporter at Channel 13 (Courtney Dempsey is a traffic reporter at sister station Channel 31 and Ron Jones is a weekend anchor), and one of the few in the Sacramento market.

July 10, 2007
Kevin Sharp gets in the (Capitals) game

Kevin-Sharp.jpgIf you're headed out to Wednesday night's Sacramento Capitals event at Roseville's Westfield Galleria, here's a bonus: Redding native-turned-Nashville country singer Kevin Sharp will be kicking off the evening with a concert.

Sharp, in case you didn't know, is the survivor of a rare form of cancer who has balanced a steady music career with stints with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Hard not to like the guy, y'know?

He'll be performing at 6 p.m. and the tennis match, against the Houston Wranglers, starts at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10-$99; go here gocaps.net for more info.

July 10, 2007
Fashionable Sacramento cause

Do you have a closet (or chest of drawers) in need of a summer purge? Well, I've found a great way to clean out that closet and help others at the same time.

One of my favorite local boutiques, Dara Denim, is partnering with midtown's swank Mosaic Salon to collect clothing, shoes, accessories and gift cards to donate to WIND Youth Services in Sacramento.

WIND is a nonprofit agency that assists our area's homeless, runaways and street youth and their families.

Here's how it works: Dara Denim is collecting the goods at both its stores - 2404 K St. in midtown and 5530 Douglas Blvd. in Granite Bay. Among the items needed: men's and women's clothing (all sizes, from youth to plus). You can also donate gift cards, i.e. for Target, Wal-Mart, movie theaters, Jamba Juice, etc.

Donations will be accepted through July 18.

Then on July 23, Mosaic Salon and Dara Denim will have a "boutique day" at the youth center, 710 Dixieanne Ave. The teens will receive clothing and have their hair and makeup done, while a DJ spins waaaay hip tunes and refreshments are served.

For more information: (916) 444-1188.

Start filling those Hefty bags now!

July 10, 2007
'Daily Show' or local TV news: Part 9

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Nothing like a smokin' hot babe who is also a criminal to get local TV news all in a lather.

One of the top stories on Fox40 Monday night was the arrest of a credit union teller in Carmichael who allegedly stole the PIN numbers of clients and then withdrew vast sums for her personal gain. We've got no problem with the story placement - it was sort of a slow news day, after all.

But the way normally judicious Fox40 reporter Teri Cox introduced the story was cringe-worthy: "Her customers say she is absolutely adorable, but police say she is absolutely a thief."

What, we wonder, do looks have to do with this report?

Had the teller been a man who was easy on the eyes, would Cox have begun her report: "He may look as hunky as George Clooney, but police say he's hunkered down as a thief"?

Can you say double standard, folks?

July 9, 2007
A charmed life

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Associated Press

Well, I sweated out the weekend with hours and hours of Live Earth performances, switching channels periodically to see if anything was moving on Eva Longoria and Tony Parker's fab wedding in Gay Paree. Alas, all any of us got - I think - were shots of Eva's "Desperate Housewives" co-stars and their comings and goings from the hotel to the church and then off to the reception.

That would include actress Brenda Strong (pictured above), who "plays" the voice of Mary Alice Young, the hit show's narrator.

My hunch is - and it's entirely speculation - that a periodical, a la People magazine, has scooped everyone and will have the "rare, exclusive" photos of the wedding/reception in its next issue. That means the rest of us will have to wait to see Eva's wedding gown, which I'm assuming was oh-so-beautiful.

According to the Associated Press, Eva wore a silk, scoop-back mermaid gown embroidered with silver metallic, complete with a 5-foot-long train and designed by Angel Sanchez.

bracelet.jpgWhile we're all waiting to see the photos, here's a bit of news you can - maybe - use: Eva and Tony reportedly treated all their female guests to a Van Cleef & Arpels Sweet Alhambra bracelet (shown right). The bracelet is based on the French designer's iconic design and is 18K yellow gold with a miniature mother-of-pearl clover charm.

The Van Cleef & Arpels Sweet Alhambra collection will be available in the United States beginning in October. So, if you didn't get to the wedding, here's your chance to grab (kinda) a little piece of it; start saving now!

July 6, 2007
It's tea time

SL TEA POT4.JPGIf you're out and about Sunday (and let's hope it will be cooler by then), the Sacramento Art Deco Society is hosting The Golden Age of Fashion beginning at 1 p.m. at 916 2nd St. in Old Sac.

The event will include an afternoon tea and fashion show featuring what the society is calling "the vintage elegance of the art deco era," which would be the 1920s, '30s and '40s.

Tickets are $25, plus tax and gratuity. The society also is raffling off its signature Ida Lindsey china tea set (pot - not pictured - two cups and saucers, sugar bowl, creamer and tray). What's the value? A toasty $350!

For more information or reservations: (916) 447-4tea (447-4832).

July 6, 2007
The apocalypse comes to Sacramento ...

... courtesy of Anderson Cooper.

On Thursday night, on his "360" news magazine on CNN, Cooper ran a special report called "Edge of Disaster" that, essentially, turned Sacramento into one huge lake.

Here's a partial transcript of reporter David Mattingly's report, which included "re-creations":

Mattingly: "This is the scenario. It's been raining for days. The normally dry, hard ground is near saturated. But the California sun is out now, peeking through the clouds in Sacramento.

"A rain cloud has at last lifted and the streets of the capital are busy again. People enjoying the outdoors. Then suddenly, a few hours later, the storms return. The wind kicks up and the Sacramento River, already swollen from the earlier rains, now surges. Lashing at the 2,400 miles of aging, crumbling levees that snake around much of Northern California.

"Here the water rises higher and higher. This is the city most vulnerable to flooding in the entire United States. Even more so than New Orleans. But the real danger is beginning to unfold just over there, beyond the capital dome and the skyscrapers of downtown.

"In sprawling tracks of suburban housing built right up to the edge of the levees, people are anxious. Can the levees hold back a flood?....

"And as the water rises, anxiety turns to fear. But the worst is yet to come. A powerful earthquake strikes. And the decrepit water-soaked levees begin to shake and start to dissolve....

"Homes alongside the levees are instantly under water. Owners who haven't evacuated, swept away in a rush of muddy torrents. Thousands drove or were airlifted to shelters scattered across the northern Sacramento region.

"In downtown Sacramento, city streets are swamped, important government buildings are cut off. And as waters continue to surge, the affects of this catastrophe are just beginning."

Whoa. That sure scared the stuffing out of us. Only after that overwrought report did Mattingly add: "Though our scenario is fiction, it describes a genuine and terrible risk, punctuated by recent and very real levy failures and floods."

It certainly got our attention.

July 6, 2007
TV news smackdown

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Wow! Here's something new to fill the dog days of local TV news...

Usually, the 30-second promotional ads that air during newscasts fall into one of three categories: (1) the scary "exclusive report" type, with eerie synthesizer music, (2) the chest-thumping, back-slapping, reporter-on-your-side dreck, and (3) the obligatory weather and traffic gambit.

Rarely do we see one station going after another.

But Channel 13 Thursday night ratcheted up the rhetoric with an openly disdainful promo attacking Channel 3. They never use KCRA's name in the spot, but the meaning is obvious.

It opens with "Good Day Sacramento" gadfly Mark S. Allen tossing tennis balls up and down. Then he starts to go on about how boring tennis is as a sport and recommends that people tune in to the weekend edition of "GDS" instead of watching Wimbledon.

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The spot closes with Allen smirking into the camera and saying, "News comes first? Yeah, when they're not playing tennis."

Snap!

Obviously, "GDS" sees an opening to improve its ratings Saturday and Sunday morning, because Channel 3's weekend news will be pre-empted by the tennis coverage.

We love the viciousness of the promo, but we've got to wonder whether the move might backfire. See, we had totally forgotten that the Wimbledon finals are this weekend. Doh! Now, we'll be sure to tune in!

July 5, 2007
This was inevitable

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Channel 31's wacky "Good Day Sacramento" has a MySpace page.

And here's some info about the show you probably didn't know: It is male, 34 years old and a Libra.

Funny, we always figured "GDS" as female, 11 years old and a Cancer.

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* In other terribly important media news, Channel 3 anchor Dave Walker last night revealed his super-secret hot dog recipe on the air: split the hot dog down the middle, add cheese, wrap it in two slices of bacon, grill.

We (and probably Lois, too) worry about your cholestorol level, Dave.

July 5, 2007
Provocative Prosper

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So the new issue of the relaunched Prosper magazine is out. And it reminds me of that exchange between Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in "Annie Hall."

Keaton's character asks Allen's if he's read this penetrating and insightful look at China in the New York Times Sunday magazine. Allen quips, "No, I didn’t read the piece on China’s faceless masses. I was, I was, checking out the lingerie ads."

In that same vein, I couldn't get past the cheesecake cover shot of tennis player Anna Kournikova on Prosper's cover. Actually, it's just a shot of her lower half.

It's provocative, I'll give you that. Many would say exploitative of a female athlete, too. The only thing preventing the photograph from being suitable for a Maxim cover is the masthead that partially obscures certain details.

What's next for this once-conservative, button-down business publication? A brown paper wrapper?

If you'd actually like to, you know, read the story that goes along with the va-va-va-voom cover photo, click here. It's a fine piece about how your average investor can become a professional sports owner, albeit in "minor" sports.

July 4, 2007
Crown this gown

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Sacramento Bee/Florence Low

I'm eagerly waiting to hear from Tracie Stafford as to whether she'll be taking one of the four gowns we had showcased in The Bee and online to Las Vegas next week for the Mrs. United States pageant.

Actually, I'm really hoping she'll take the Golden Goddess gown (pictured) with her when she competes in the pageant as the reigning Mrs. California.

The gown recently received 180 yays out of more than 380 votes in our highly unscientific Bee poll. Ukranian designer Oksana Mukha created the Golden Goddess, which Tracie found at the Diamond Bridal Gallery in Granite Bay. Today's Scene section (page E3) has the latest story and tally; click here to see.

If we're keeping it real, though - and that's what we do here at 21Q - the even bigger deal would be if Tracie came back home to Sacramento with a big ol' shiny crown, scepter and satin sash.

Stay tuned; we'll keep you posted on how she does.

Meanwhile, it is the Fourth of July , so if you're checking us out today (as your fashion source), be sure to wear something, anything, red, white and blue - or any combination thereof. With sunscreen.

And stay cool!

July 3, 2007
Let's hear it for the 'Boys'

In case you haven't heard, the Musical That Previously Couldn’t Be Named in Broadway Sacramento's 2007-08 season is the multi-Tony Award-winning phenomenon “Jersey Boys.”

The show will kick off the season and run at the Community Center Theater Sept. 7-22; single-show tickets go on sale Monday, July 30.

Currently, tickets are available to Broadway Sacramento subscribers and to groups of 12 or more. For more information, go here.


July 3, 2007
KXJZ to expand morning news

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Here's some good news in these days of shrinking newsrooms and journalistic retrenchment: Our local public radio station, KXJZ (90.9 FM), is actually hiring reporters, not laying them off.

News director Joe Barr says that the station is looking for a reporter to anchor the local news during "Morning Edition," leaving local host Donna Apidone free to tell us the weather forecast, report on traffic snarls, and list the underwriters.

"The plan is for the news anchor to create additional news content for newscasts and other segments and be responsive to breaking news in the morning," Barr says. "Meanwhile, the host (Apidone) will be even more on top of traffic and weather and other important information contained in the breaks.

"This staffing model is in line with many other large market public radio stations and even NPR."

For us, the change is good. One of the few - very few - gripes we have had with KXJZ's coverage is the lack of traffic updates in the morning. Strangely, its main competition for the National Public Radio audience, KQEI (89.3 FM, a satellite of San Francisco's KQED), gives more Sacramento traffic than the station headquartered at Sac State.

But it looks as if that soon will be rectified.

These are your pledge dollars at work, listeners.

July 2, 2007
Big girls don't cry...

... Jersey-Boys.jpg

...but you might if you don't make plans to order up some tickets to see "Jersey Boys" at the Community Center Theater in September.

"Jersey Boys" is the show that couldn't be named earlier by the new Broadway Sacramento organization because of its contract with the touring company, but with the announcement made today, now you - and everybody else - knows.

For more information, go to the California Musical Theatre Web site.

July 2, 2007
A new face for Tresor

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Lancome

Where better to shoot a fragrance commercial than in the City of Love? But good thing for Tresor lovers, you only have to go as far as your nearest department store to own a bottle of Lancome's signature scent.

Word is out that actress Kate Winslet (pictured) is the new face of Tresor, which was launched in 1990 with the lovely Isabella Rossellini as the original spokesmodel.

Kate, who is such a familiar face on the big screen ("Titanic," "Finding Neverland," "Little Children") also represents sort of the "every woman." She's an actress, yes, but she's also a wife (married to director Sam Mendes) and a mother of two small children.

In a statement from Lancome, Kate says she accepted the job because "I didn't feel that I was just being asked to be the face of something. It was me as a person...and my message to women - about being real in who you are and comfortable in your skin."

The commercial as well as the print ads were shot in the heart of Paris on the Pont des Arts by renowned fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh (that's him kissing Kate's hand). They will debut on national TV and in fashion magazines in September.

Good timing: new fall shows, new fall fashions, new Tresor face.



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