Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

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


November 30, 2007
Sweeps results are in for local TV news

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From left: Channel 3's Lois Hart and Dave Walker, Channel 13's Sam Shane, News10's Cristina Mendonsa, Fox40's Thomas Drayton

There were no big surprises in the local TV news November sweeps, the much-hyped period when stations gauge audience to set advertising rates.

It was another dominating ratings book for Channel 3, especially on the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts. But the late news, considered the "signature" broadcast for stations, has become quite competitive, with channels 3 and 13 battling it out.

(Quick refresher for below: Ratings chart the percentage of all homes with television; shares measure the number of TV sets turned on at a particular time. Remember, people, this will be on the quiz.)

At 5 and 6 p.m., there's no contest: KCRA pulled in a 9.7 rating and a 20 share at 5 p.m., more than tripling the rating of its nearest competitor. (Channel 13 had a 3.0 rating and 6 share; News10 had a 2.9 rating and 6 share.) Then, at 6 p.m., Channel 3 had an 8.6 rating and 15 share, while News10 was a distant second at 3.5 and 6.

For the late news, Channel 13 had the highest rating, with 5.8 (10 share) for its hour-long 10 p.m. broadcast. That figure edged Channel 3, which had a 5.7 rating (13 share) for its half-hour newscast at 11 p.m.

(It is at this point that, as inevitably as Punxsutawney Phil will pop out to check his shadow on Groundhog Day, Channel 3 suits will say you can't compare late newscasts at different hours, and Channel 13 honchos will counter that, oh, yes you can.)

Anyway, at 10 p.m., Channel 13's number easily beat head-to-head rivals Fox40 (3.3 and 6) and My58TV (1.9 and 3). At 11 p.m., News10 (5.2 rating, 12 share) is catching up to Channel 3.

Not much change in the morning news, as Channel 3's local progam and the "Today" show beat Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" in nearly all the hours.

The results were not as good for My58TV's new 7 to 9 a.m. morning show, using Channel 3 talent. It garnered only a 0.5 rating and 2 share in the 7 a.m. hour and 0.7 and 2 at 8 a.m. Those numbers are about the same as those of deposed radio talkers "Armstrong & Getty" when they broadcast a simulcast of their radio show.

Fox40's two-hour morning newscast failed to break the 1.0 rating mark, even thought it has significantly beefed up its newscast.

And, finally, Sacramentans still like Dave & Lois more than Alex Trebek: Channel 3's 6:30 p.m. news (6.9 rating, 12 share) with Walker and Hart beat "Jeopardy!" (5.5, 9).

November 30, 2007
Katie up and down with dos

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Associated Press

OK, before everyone starts with the who-gives-a-flying-fig comments, as a frequent follower of beauty and fashion trends here at 21Q, I just have to ask the question:

Is Katie Holmes under some sort of weird hair spell?

At first, I thought she was trying to channel her inner Victoria Beckham. Now, based on the photo above, where she's shown on the red carpet Thursday in Duesseldorf, Germany, with husband Tom Cruise, I think she's trying to channel her toddler, little Suri.

What do you think?

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Actually, Katie has hair-morphed quite a bit since her engagement to Tom. At that happy event, back in 2005 in Paris, she still had that "Dawson's Creek" look to her. But then, the Cruises and the Beckhams became celeb pals and, next thing you know, Katie was wearing cropped hair much like the signature Victoria "bob."

Hey, I'm all for changing one's hairstyle. I myself do it on a regular basis. There are some people at work who don't recognize me because I keep messing with it.

Anyway, props to Katie for at least smiling through her photo ops. Photos of Victoria B., a.k.a. "Posh Spice," show a woman who never cracks a smile.

November 30, 2007
Carla Meyer's Movie Picks

Every week in the Weekend Ticket section, I review new movies and I recommend previously released ones. Here are my picks among recently released movies:

Beowulf
3 stars
Director Robert Zemeckis' "performance capture" process, which puts sensors on actors for digital enhancement on screen, probably wouldn't work in an adaptation of a David Mamet play. But it suits this tall tale of a Viking hero (Ray Winstone – at least, kind of) who slays sea monsters and battles demons who disrupt mead-and-wench hour at the communal hall.
Rated PG-13

Enchanted
3 stars
Amy Adams is delightful as Giselle, a princess who leaves animated form for the bright lights of live-action New York City. Adams' performance is unironically wide-eyed, even as this Disney film gently spoofs the kind of fairy-tale love that the studio helped establish.
Rated PG

No Country for Old Men
4 stars
As in other Coen brothers movies, some of the most effective moments come from juxtaposing the extraordinary and the banal, the horrifyingly criminal and the workaday polite. But even though it evokes "Fargo" at moments, "No Country for Old Men" establishes itself as something all its own, from the starkness of its violence and Texas landscape to its singular characters.
Rated R

November 30, 2007
Actor at work

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Lezlie Sterling/lsterling@sacbee.com

Sometimes I interview people who give me much more material than I can use in a story. I’d like to think it’s because I ask such good questions, but it’s probably more that these people have a lot to say or they’re just great talkers.

Actor David Silberman is a great talker who has a lot to say. (Check out my story on him - in today's issue of Weekend Ticket - and see a great video on him by The Bee's Andy Alfaro, by clicking here.

On working steadily in a very tough business, Silberman says he’s gotten a few breaks.

“I’ve been able to go from job to job and situation to situation,” Silberman says.
“There’ve been some fallow times in there, which all actors experience, but I’ve been really lucky in a profession where, at any point in time, 90 percent of the union members are unemployed.

"I consider myself really lucky that I’ve been able to carve out a living over a number of decades, doing what I really love doing.”

Other people also had a lot to say about Silberman, including former Sacramento Theatre Company artistic director Mark Cuddy.

“He’s wonderful to have in a production because he not only plays his character in a role, but the role his character plays in the whole thing. He understands that,” Cuddy explains.

“Craft-wise, he has a sensational sense of timing and he’s a very empathic character. He has a big heart. He really shows love for other characters when that’s appropriate on stage. That’s a hard one and he does it without being sentimental, too.”

November 30, 2007
Remembering when TV covered local theater...

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Hector Amezcua/hamezcua@sacbee.com

The other day on "Insight," KXJZ's daily public-affairs radio show, host Jeffrey Callison interviewed playwright Richard Hellesen (above), who in 1987 wrote the script for Sacramento Theatre Company's now-annual production of "A Christmas Carol."

Hellesen's take on the Dickens classic has been widely performed at theaters throughout the country in the past 20 years. In talking with KXJZ, Hellesen recalled that Channel 3 shadowed the Sac Theatre Co. for weeks and aired a one-hour documentary about the production.

That nugget of information got Callison thinking. And he e-mailed his thoughts to 21Q: "I can't figure out if I think that's quaint (because an hour-long documentary was surely overkill), inspiring (because KCRA was dedicating so much time and money to in-depth local coverage) or sad (because it's hard to imagine anything like that getting made nowadays). All three, I guess."

November 30, 2007
Religion and the media, in two parts

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'Tis the season for religion in local TV news.

Here we bring you two recent items of interest involving local media, one serious and one silly.

THE SERIOUS:

Channel 3 reporter Adrienne Bankert spoke about her belief in God in front of the International Students Christian Fellowship at Sac State recently.

Avi Ehrlich, reporter for the school newspaper, the State Hornet, wrote about a mini-controversy stemming from Bankert's remarks:

Others took issue with parts of Bankert's message...One part of Bankert's presentation that (Sac State ethnic studies major Marc) Sorensen was uncomfortable with dealt with religious stereotypes.

As part of her presentation, Bankert asked: "Have you ever met a poor Jewish person?"

"I have never met a poor Jewish person ever in my life! Every Jewish person I went to school with had money, and if they didn't have money literally ... they knew how to get some. The Jewish people founded Hollywood, Jewish people were in banking, lawyers."

Bankert said she, herself, is a Jew in Jesus' name.

"I'm a Jewish person, because I'm saved by the blood of Jesus. He is Jewish, and I want what he's got for me."

Here's the link to Ehrlich's full story on Bankert.

And now, for THE SILLY:

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News10's Dan Adams found a woman in Natomas who has seen the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus on the bottom of her muffin pan.

Arrrgh! Add this to the litany of Jesus sightings that our local TV stations have uncovered - Jesus on a fence post, Jesus and Mary in a pancake, Jesus in a tree stump, etc. ...

Only this time, Adams punctuated his report by doing a stand-up outside The Bee's building, good-naturedly chiding your own 21Q/Media Savvy correspondent for poking fun at the true believers.

My only comment: Maybe the woman should wash out the bottom of the muffin pan before using it again.

Check out Adams' report here.

November 29, 2007
Lancome lights it up in Sac

IMG_4867-bw.jpgIf you're out and about Friday (in particular, at the Downtown Plaza), the Lancome counter at Macy's will be abuzz. That's because national makeup artist Darias (just Darias, pictured) will be in the store for a huge holiday makeup event.

He and his makeup gurus will be doing makeovers, featuring colors from Lancome's holiday collection, Precious Light.

Now, to get up close and personal with Darius - or a member of his makeup team - you'll need an appointment. I spoke with a Lancome sales associate today, and there are still spots available, especially after lunch. Just call (916) 444-3333, ext. 2358 to set it up.

The Precious Light collection is very, very pretty. And, of course, it features one of the hottest shades of the season, red, as in lipstick. (In fact, I just wrote about red lipstick in Wednesday's Scene section. To check out some buying and applying tips, click here.)

Anyway, Lancome, like many cosmetics lines, also has beaucoup gift sets for the season, featuring everything from skin care to fragrance. This year, for the first time, Lancome is offering something called the "Beauty Box," which is filled with a variety of makeup goodies. It sells for $48.50.

November 28, 2007
Lefty talker coming to Sacramento

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This just in: Syndicated liberal talking head Ed Schultz will be doing his show live (9 a.m.-noon) Thursday and Friday from the studios of KSAC (1240 AM).

Plus: If any listeners want to meet Schultz, belly up to the bar at the Blue Gecko (1379 Garden Highway) on Friday between 5-8 p.m.

November 28, 2007
Helio races to victory

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My guess is Helio Castroneves was drinking champagne instead of a gallon of milk Tuesday night after winning Season 5 of "Dancing With the Stars" along with partner Julianne Hough (shown in an Associated Press photo). The IndyCar champ hoisted the impressive - albeit cheesy - mirror ball trophy and admitted he was "shocked" he had won.

A couple of weeks ago, I chatted over the phone with Helio, who was ever the gentleman. And he was upbeat even then: "I never thought it would be this much fun. I'm becoming good friends with the other celebrities. The staff is nice. But it's a lot of hard work. However, I've made a commitment to the show for as long as it takes."

(To read the entire interview, click here.)

It was clear that Spice Girl Mel. B. had made a commitment to learning the dances, too. "Me and Maks have come so far. We are not prepared to throw it all away," she said Tuesday night. "We have to win it for all those people that have been voting for us."

But alas, she and her professional partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, came in second. Hunky Maks has been on most of the "Dancing" competitions, and can't seem to get a break. This was as close to winning as he's come.

The talent was definitely there. Mel B. and Maksim narrowly won on judges' points, but apparently lost out on audience votes after their two dances Monday night. (No word from "Dancing" on how the viewer voting broke down.)

One thing's for sure: Marie Osmond's run on the 10-week competition ended quickly Tuesday after she and partner Jonathan Roberts were eliminated at the start of the two-hour show.

No shock there. Even Marie's huge fan base - including her doll collectors - probably couldn't get past that creepy, "Dolly Dearest," "Bride of Chucky"-type performance on Monday. I know I had nightmares about it.

However, Marie was grateful for the experience, saying, "I'm so pleased to be here at my age. It's been like a Cinderella story, with all the hair and makeup and the stepsisters over there (pointing to Mel B. and Julianne).

"I don't care what you say, I am a dancer!"

Then she and Jonathan peformed their last tango in L.A.

I can't remember if the Season 4 finale was a full-blown two hours, but somehow, ABC managed to fill the time Tuesday night with trips down memory lane: We saw fainting, food poisoning, personal tragedies, shocking departures and lots of Kodak smiles.

The nine dancing pairs who were previously eliminated returned for a final twirl on the dance floor. Two of the "stars" - Wayne Newton and Floyd Mayweather - opted out of performing; Wayne because of a medical condition and Floyd because he's worn out from training for an upcoming boxing match. (I just don't think Floyd enjoys dancing.)

And guest singer Celine Dion just had to perform that sappy "My Heart Will Go On." Sorry, not one of my favorites, but the professional dancers did a lovely job "interpreting" it.

Soap star Cameron Mathison did his Superman dance and, as a final gesture, completely took off his shirt. Real-life lovebirds/dancers Sabrina Bryan and Mark Ballas demonstrated chemistry can take on a whole new meaning when you samba.

But, in the end, at about 10:55 p.m., it was just the diva vs. the driver.

Helio's charm and personality appeared to win over the audience. It also helped that partner Julianne won last season's competition with speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno. And she's one incredible choreographer.

Now, I can be honest: Helio was my pick to win, even though it seemed from the start that it was a female star's season to come out on top.

Certainly, Mel B. has nothing to grouse about. "Dancing With the Stars" has brought her and her Spice gal pals a ton of attention.

So too for the entire Osmond family. In fact, I think brother Donny should consider tripping the light fantastic on Season 6.

Because, with the ratings Season 5 pulled in (the show was consistently in the Nielsen top 10), the dancing can't help but go on - complete with spray tans and flimsy costumes!

November 28, 2007
Memories of KAHI

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My story on Monday about the 50th anniversary of community radio station KAHI (950 AM) in Auburn prompted several readers to share their memories.

This one, from retired history professor Bob McCallum of Earp (south of Lake Havasu):

My friend Jeff March and another friend, Dave Darin, and I worked at KAHI in the early '70s. We were young radio jocks and thought we were God's gift. But KAHI gave us a dose of humility. During a morning newscast, an elderly lady, who was hired to give the news of El Dorado County, was on the phone doing the live newscast to the Auburn station. Suddenly, all of her poodles started barking loudly. She simply covered the receiver with her hand and yelled at her front door, "Come on in, I'll be done with the newscast in a minute." And nobody thought it was funny but me. I was laughing so hard, I had to leave the control room.

And then, there's this from Tony Rohl of Grass Valley:

It's too bad that no one included a brief reference to KAHI's founder, Charles Halstead, whose brother owned a pharmacy in Nevada City a few steps up from the National Hotel. Within months of firing up his radio station, he was at war with Auburn merchants for refusing to buy advertising on his station. He took to saying that he was broadcasting from the Auburn pig farm. As he slowly went broke, he would often leave his station unattended when he went for dinner or to take a nap. He'd put on an LP that in most cases was scratched and would start looping a portion of whatever song the needle got stuck on before he left. All in all, Charles "Charlie" Halstead was one of Auburn's more colorful characters in Auburn in the '50's.

November 27, 2007
Great performances in '07: Keri Russell in 'Waitress'

The start of the holiday season means that other vital and life-affirming annual season is just around the corner. I speak, of course, of movie awards season, which kicks off in early- to- mid-December with pronouncements from critics' groups.

It is the season of "for your consideration," and actors hailed as shoo-ins for Academy Awards before their movies even come out. In that same spirit of stumping, I will call attention to performances that might be overlooked in this occasional 21Q feature.

The first is Keri Russell in "Waitress" (pictured in a photo from Fox Searchlight):

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Regardless of the role she's playing, Russell always looks as if she's thinking. And she's so good at looking as if she's thinking that she involves the audience in her character's thought process - even if those thoughts aren't particularly complex.

In "Waitress," her unhappily married and pregnant character, Jenna, doesn't want a lot. What she does want - and what Russell imparts in a performance that always carries a low- to- medium-level of anxiety - is to not have to be so weary of her creep of a husband. In other words, she wants a regular life.

Russell plays Jenna as the most mild of malcontents. She is devoted to her job and co-workers but still exists apart, her radiance dimmed by the knowledge that when her shift ends, normal life stops.

Russell delivers plenty of funny lines. But she's not playing comedy. The humor comes from Jenna's directness, and the poignancy of the frustration underlying it.

"Waitress" is a wonderful movie that would have been less wonderful had Russell not played the lead role. The depth of her performance offsets some of the film's Southern-fried quirkiness.

If you haven't seen Russell's performance, please check out "Waitress," out today on DVD.






November 27, 2007
Cinderella's Closet open

Closet.jpgThere are five fairy godmothers running amok over at Sac State - doing good deeds, of course.

The students are participating in a formal dress drive to benefit Cinderella's Closet, an organization that provides free dresses, shoes and accessories to high school girls who otherwise might not be able to afford a fancy frock for a prom or school dance.

According to Sac State, the project originated from an assignment in professor Nick Trujillo's communication studies class. Nick felt it was important that the students do something that will help others.

"I'm very impressed with the students who are working on the dress drive," he says in a statement. "They will make a difference in the lives of many girls who will remember their high school formals fondly."

The drive started Monday and will continue through Saturday. Designated dress collection bins can be found in the Sac State University Union, near Java City, the library circulation desk and the River Front Center. Students also will be collecting gowns in the library breezeway from 4 to 6 p.m. this week and 10 a.m. to noon Thursday.

If you can't make it over to Sac State, but have gowns to give, Second Hand Rose Resale Boutique will accept drop-offs. The store is at 1120 Fulton Ave.

One of the Sac State students, DiAnne Armstrong, says once all the dresses are collected, Second Hand Rose will be the pick-up destination for the girls.

"Gift certificates are given to girls who qualify for financial aid and have at least a 2.5 GPA from 16 area high schools," she says. The dresses, shoes and accessories will be displayed in what's known as the Glass Slipper room.

So don't let midnight strike Saturday without your making a donation. For more info, contact Cinderella's Closet at (916) 487-4500.

November 27, 2007
Salute! Niche magazine chugs along

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Starting a magazine is this market is relatively easy; maintaining it is another matter entirely. (Just ask Prosper magazine, bowing out after the December issue.)

So it is relief that we recently received the second issue of Salute magazine, the brainchild of El Dorado Hills resident Rob DeFeo. The cover boy is Italian blues guitar master Zucchero - so big that he’s apparently at one-name status.

In the past, we’ve reported on the genesis of the publication, which focuses on Italian Americans.

An encouraging sign in the second issue is the ads. Yes, they have more than a few. Most interesting ad: A two-page ad for Lasorda Wine. No joke - former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda has turned vintner.

And, no, Giant fans, Lasorda didn't use sour grapes.

Check out Salute’s Web site here.

November 26, 2007
Christine Craft update: Santa Cruz-bound?

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This item about former KSAC (1240 AM) talker Christine Craft , which appeared two weeks ago in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, got our attention.

Turns out that, no, Craft has not bought Santa Cruz's KSCO radio. But she confirms to us that she's taken with the idea of doing just that.

"Michael Zwerling (the owner, pictured with Craft) wants to sell the stations but doesn't want to sell them to a corporate conglomerate," Craft says via e-mail. "It would be my dream to buy them and have a blast for the next twentyplus years programming great radio for the central coast. I've had some interest from investors and am seeking more. Can't hurt to ask?"

Craft would seem to be a natural fit for Santa Cruz, a lefty enclave that makes our own Davis look uptight by comparison.

November 26, 2007
No ratings stunt: KCRA's Edie Lambert's getting married to politico

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For those who aren't routine readers of The Bee blog Capitol Alert - and you really should check it out; it's free now, by the way - we pass along a link to reporter Jim Sanders' news that Channel 3's Edie Lambert will be marrying Assemblyman Lloyd Levine.

November 26, 2007
Even accountants find Sac night life boring

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Courtesy: chinatravelguide.com

Great report this morning by Capital Public Radio (KXJZ, 90.9 FM) reporter Steve Milne on a group of tax collectors from the Hubei Province in China, who have come to Sacramento State to study accounting for a year.

Listen to the story here.

Milne reports that while these accountants enjoy being in our fair city, there is one minor problem.

Laments student Fei Wang: "We are curious about what American people (are) doing in evening (laughs) because we don’t see many people outside. Maybe they are staying at home. You can see people everywhere in China at anytime."

Really? We decided to do a little research, and here's what at least one source tells us:

According to travelchinaguide.com: "If you're in (major city) Wuhan, you'd better try the bar named 'Soho,' which has a very up-to-date music and hot dancing. ... If you prefer the crazy music played by band, go to 'VOX,' where you can watch the live-band shows - although they're not so famous, their music is still pretty good. By the way, the drinks in 'VOX' are also cheaper than many other bars in Wuhan."


November 26, 2007
Media cheating scandal exposed!

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We're shocked - shocked! - by the revelation that surfaced this morning. Not since Rosie Ruiz cheated to win the Boston Marathon has such a sporting hoax been perpetrated on the populace.

Kelly Brothers, the KFBK and Channel 3 reporter who participated in Thursday's media challenge in the Run to Feed the Hungry, has admitted to cheating.

Here he is, unburdening himself in his own words:

My time as reported on 21Q ... was a fraud.

I did the race with a few of my young kids and about 10 minutes in I heard those magic words... "Daddy I need to go to the bathroom...." We took an unauthorized turn on 51st St. and suddenly the 5k race was cut to 3.5k!

We worked our way down H St.... to the bathroom at Starbucks... and then (just like Rosie) sprinted for the finish line! And that's why my time is so seemingly impressive....

In all fairness, if you include the walk to/from the car ... we did do at least a 7k... just not in the "timed" portion.

Mea culpa

Upon further review, we'll let Brothers slide for his transgression. After all, he ran for charity ....

November 23, 2007
Gap gets a local cutie

Dylan 4.jpgNow I ask you: Is this the cutest little boy you've ever seen? Yes, I know. All parents think their babies are darling, but Dylan Barnhart is contest cute.

At only 14 months, Dylan, who lives with his family in El Dorado Hills, is one of five little boys selected as finalists in Gap's search for four new faces for its babyGap and GapKids ad campaigns. The casting call elicited more than 800,000 entries, and Dylan made the judges' cut.

His mother, Nicole Barnhart, chatted with me after receiving the good news. "I’m very excited. It's been pretty crazy, so I really haven’t grasped it yet."

The family received a call the week of Nov. 5 to notify them that Dylan was a finalist in the category of babies ages 4 and under. Last Friday, the Barnharts headed to San Francisco for the Gap photo shoot. That's Dylan (left) in one of the outfits selected for his pictures.

Nicole says he was a little overwhelmed by all the attention.

"There were a lot of people fussing over him," she says. "And there were fans blowing and flashbulbs flashing. But he didn’t cry or fuss. He was looking from person to person. He didn't even mind changing outfits a couple of times. Dylan was a trooper."

Gap's description of Dylan, which obviously came from his mom, reads:

"He's a magician in training. He can turn his face and hair red if you give him a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce."

Says Nicole: "He manages to get all the pasta in his mouth, but there's red sauce in every crevice of his face and head!"

Of course, when asked to describe her youngest child, Nicole says he's the cutest thing in the world.

"I love his bald head and his little cinnamon-roll cowlick. He's got a round face and bright blue eyes, which he got from my husband. He's the happiest baby -as long you feed him."

Nicole was prompted to enter the contest after voting in it last year. When she saw the casting call this year, she entered Dylan.

"It's so easy to submit a photo and the prizes are great. Though I never thought I would get a phone call!"

The Barnharts have another child, Kaitlyn, who is 3. The entire family, plus relatives who live in the Bay Area, went to the photo shoot.

The 20 finalists are pictured on the Gap's Web site. Voting continues until Dec. 15. The four winners will be announced Jan. 28 on the "Rachael Ray Show."

What do they get?

A year's supply of babyGap or GapKids clothing and a Kodak digital camera prize pack. You'll also see their cute faces plastered in store windows nationwide early next year.

Nicole is already getting the word out. "I've gotta tell everyone we know. That's why e-mail is a wonderful thing!"

If you'd like to vote for our local toddler, just
click here.

November 23, 2007
Mark Williams gets new gig in New York

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Mark Williams (at right, yelling with a protester in a past photo), the former KFBK conservative talk show host who is suing his former employer, has landed a new full-time talking-head gig ... but not in Sacramento.

Starting Monday, Williams will be the afternoon guy on WROW, an AM station in Albany, N.Y. According to the industry Web site All Access, Williams will do the first week from his Northern California home before moving to Albany and starting live in upstate New York on Dec. 3.

But Northern California won't be rid of Williams. On his Web site, Williams writes:

"...(I)t is with great pleasure that I announce that as of next Monday, November 26, 2007, I will add to my menu of assignments the duties of afternoon talk show host on AM 590 WROW, which serves New York’s Capital District and Western New England (keeping an eye on Mitt).

That means that MarkTalk.com will be bringing to this life or death election a broad view, from the perspective of each important region. Northern California and the Capital District of New York have much in common but are still two very different places. Having a foot in each offers this site the opportunity to present to you a unique viewpoint, one which you will - I hope - appreciate.

The MarkTalk Podcast will continue ASAP and will have content specific to NorCal and not aired on the New York program."

UPDATE: In an e-mail to 21Q, Williams says: "We'll be splitting time between the cities. Actually a wonderful opportunity to present a unique perspective to listeners in both places during this particular election year. Additionally, Holly (his wife) and I are also both active in the Placer County community and hopefully will have even more to contribute given what will be an expansion of our already broad view.

"I will continue my local column (but will not be able to continue with CBS 13)."

November 22, 2007
Sac's Media Team survives Run to Feed the Hungry

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Well, it was all for charity, so race times don't really matter. Right, boss? I mean, you're not gonna make me put our actual times in the (cough) "Celebrity Media Challenge" at this morning's Run to Feed the Hungry.

Uh, turns out, yes.

Editors!

Some of us did better than others.

Bee TV columnist Rick Kushman (left) won his age group (50-55) with a time of 37:15. So much for the TV-critic-as-couch-potato cliche.

Other results for media team members in the 10K:

* Bee political columnist Dan Weintraub: 37:59

* Yours truly, Bee media writer Sam McManis: 40:51

* Y92.5 DJ Paul Robins: 53:29

* Bee staff writer Mary Lynne Villenga: 55:52

* Channel 13/31 anchor Stefanie Cruz: 56:17

And in the 5K:

* Channel 3 and KFBK's Kelly Brothers: 27:08

* Channel 13/31 anchor Michele Kane: 32:12

* Channel 13/31 anchor Lisa Gonzales: 32:40

Other media notables - not on the official team but impressive finishers nonetheless in the 10K:

* Bee political writer Kevin Yamamura: 38:53

* Bee assistant managing editor Scott Lebar: 42:39

* Clear Channel Radio Sacramento General Manager Jeff Holden: 53:56

* Former Channel 3 news director Dan Weiser: 58:32

November 21, 2007
Burrous on alleged Folsom prostitutes: 'Which is best looking?'

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What now, Chris Burrous? Making fun of prostitutes?

Apparently so.

A few days before he delivered beer to the homeless, the Channel 13 morning anchor asked viewers to weigh in on which of the five women from Folsom arrested on a prostitution charge was the best looking based on their booking mug shots.

Burrous' co-anchor, Stefanie Cruz, was not amused. Here's their exchange (view the entire segment, posted on YouTube, below):

Cruz: "This is your (idea)...I know you wanted to do this segment but (me), not so much."

Burrous: "...I don't really care about the question...I just wanted to look at the picture...."

Cruz: "Honestly, I really find it to be a sad situation for these women...Whatever situation they're in, it's a desperate one. So I don't find it trivial."

Burrous: "I'm not saying it's trivial ...."

Cruz: "Well, you were asking which one was the best looking, so ...You ask, I tell. OK? Don't ask."

As Channel 13 intones in its promos for Burrous: "The future of news is here!"


November 21, 2007
Carla Meyer's Movie Picks

In honor of the long holiday weekend, here's a special dysfunctional-family edition of my critic's picks.


Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
3 1/2 stars
When a film’s title derives from an Irish toast that goes, in part, “May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead,” one can assume a certain level of cynicism about human nature. Such cynicism pervades this picture, with duplicity present, to some degree, in nearly every character. Most duplicitous, hands down, are two brothers (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke) planning a robbery of their parents’ jewelry store.
Rated R

Beowulf
3 stars
Mom (Angelina Jolie) is devoted but a tad promiscuous. Dad thinks you’re a monster. Everybody drinks too much honey wine. Typical holiday.
Rated PG-13

Dan in Real Life
3 stars
Widower Dan (Steve Carell) meets the woman of his dreams (Juliette Binoche), only to discover she is the girlfriend of his brother (Dane Cook). Talk about awkward. This beats having to comment on the cranberry sauce still shaped like a can.
Rated PG-13

The Darjeeling Limited
3 stars
No matter how small your mother’s house begins to feel this weekend, just think: You could be sharing a cramped sleeping car with two neurotic siblings.
Rated R

November 21, 2007
'Good Day' beer-to-homeless video hits YouTube

Well, here it is, the video of "Good Day Sacramento" reporter Chris Burrous' now-infamous stunt on Monday, giving beer to a homeless woman.

Note, at the end, that Rich Wetzel, the CHP officer who gives traffic updates, did not approve. "A soft drink or water would've been great," says Wetzel, obviously embarrassed.

November 21, 2007
Oprah's faves are my faves

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"The Oprah Show"

Oh to be from Macon, Ga., when Oprah Winfrey decides to bestow some of her favorite things on some of its luckiest, happiest citizens!

I caught Oprah's annual "My Favorite Things" show Tuesday. And, as usual, she tricked her audience into thinking she was in Macon as part of a "tour." As she put it, "I was lying my tail off!"

Macon was selected because the city has had the highest viewer ratings since the show went national in 1986. According to Oprah, about 45 percent of the city's populace is glued to her show every day! It also helps that Macon is the birthplace of the kazoo.

Anyway, the lucky Macon fans attending the show were honored with no less than 20 of the most incredible gifts - ranging in price from less than $30 to $4,000! I couldn't help but take note that Oprah always manages to include some great beauty and fashion gifts. But, then again, that's why I'm paid to watch.

Here were some of my favorite things:

* The super-warm, super-cute UGG sweater boots for all the gals in the audience. Love those! And Oprah told them not to wear socks with their UGGs.

* The ToyWatch, which Oprah says both Al Gore and Madonna strap on their wrists.

* And it's not fashion, not beauty, but, oh, how I would have loved to bite into one of chef Sam Godfrey's Perfect Endings cupcakes from Williams-Sonoma, especially the red velvet with white icing, a traditional Southern favorite.

gifts_oft_kai_350x263.jpg*Next: As Oprah puts it, "Bathing is an art form and nobody enjoys it more than I do." So bring on the incredibly scented Kai body butter and body buffer (pictured). I've smelled the Kai fragrance oil and it's to die for, so I know the butter is worth slathering on.

* And what a treat: Oprah handed out the outrageously expensive Clarisonic Skin Care System, valued at almost $200.

* If you can't get to Portugal from Macon, don't worry. Oprah gave everyone a hefty supply of Claus Porto giant soaps, handmade for 117 years abroad.

* And finally, OK, I admit I hadn't heard of designer Rachel Pally, but when Oprah changed outfits and she and her staff modeled these uber-comfy, stretchy tops and bottoms (pictured above) in great colors I had to look them up on the Internet. And hey - guess what? - Nordstrom carries the line!

The show featured FedEx "elves" delivering the goodies to audience members and, yes, a lot of appreciative tears.

But the audience was also treated to something that didn't come in a box: a special holiday performance by Josh Groban, who has a new holiday CD out, "Noel."

Macon, Ga., is one happy city today. Now, if we can only get Oprah to fall in love with Sactown. It's gotta be one of her favorite things!

November 20, 2007
Everyone's a critic...

Reader Richard Bell of Grass Valley, apparently inspired by today's story in The Bee listing 10 reasons why local TV news doesn't stink, made his own list.

We'll share it and invite readers to add their own lists. Just click on the comment section below.

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"Five More Reasons to Watch the Local News," By Richard Bell

1. The Sarah Gardner Show, AKA Channel 3 Reports at 6. This show has special appeal to anyone in my demographic category (i.e., males from age 16 to age 95, or from any guy who just got a driver's license to one who may lose his soon). Her reading of the news is top-rate as is that of others on her show whose names escape me at present.

2. Channel 13's own Not Ready for Prime-time Players. The newscast where comedy - unintended though it may be - rules the day. From Sam Shane, whose voice bears an uncanny resemblance to Al Franken's Stuart Smalley, to Kurtis Ming's Chevy Chase consumer segment (I'm Kurtis Ming and You're Not), this show can mesmerize. Both Pallas and Brandi can shake their heads in disgust and "Titch, titch" with the best in town. Rumor has it the station will seek to expand its Latino audience with a series of special reports concluding with a blockbuster spring segment: Los Doce Daves de Cinco de Mayo.

3. Danny Pommell's Metaphors. He's like the kid in junior English who discovers metaphors for the first time. His teacher encouraged him, and he's been at it ever since. He drops occasional pearls of wisdom like " Daunte Culpepper's now slower than your grandmother's '83 Buick goin' north on I-5."

4. Mark Finan in the Severe Weather Center. There's something eerie involved here. Hard not to imagine Finan proceeding to a special elevator and heading down to a combination underground silo/wine cellar. Like the proverbial mail carrier of old, neither rain, sleet nor MikeTeSelle burying himself in a snowbank can stop Finan from firing up Doppler and allowing it to do whatever Doppler does to create all those colors on a weather map.

5. The New Guy: Damany Lewis. Channel 3 just had to get a reporter who bears a resemblance to Cuba Gooding Jr., both in voice and appearance. So, I have no guilt or remorse in saying to Channel 3, "Show me DaMany!"

November 20, 2007
'Good Day' statement on beer-to-homeless incident

brunoooonew
Bruno Cohen (left), president of channels 13 and 31, has released a statement about reporter Chris Burrous' "Good Day Sacramento" stunt of giving a homeless woman a case of beer:

"We have reviewed the situation and discussed it with Chris. He has a good heart, but clearly made a mistake and we sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by his actions.”


November 20, 2007
'Dancing' and disaster

DANCE.jpgFor two of the remaining four couples on "Dancing With the Stars," last night was a perfect night out on the dance floor.

Of course, I'm speaking of Spice Girl Mel B. and her professional partner, the devilish Maksim Chmerkovskiy (pictured left in an ABC photo), and the always-smiling Helio Castroneves and his bubbly partner (and the show's best choreographer) Julianne Hough.

Both couples earned 30 points for each of their two dances and would appear destined for next week's "Dancing" finale.

But hold your quicksteps: Reality TV has been anything but predictable this fall. (I'll get to "The Bachelor" in a moment.)

Marie Osmond pretty much had most of the Osmond brothers she could manage to get front-row seats for sitting in the front row for her mambo with partner Jonathan Roberts. Marie pulled out all the stops on this dance, paring down her overly ruffled skirt to pretty much fringe at the end and concluding the dance in her brothers' laps!

At night's end, Marie and Jonathan are only four points (56) from the two couples with perfect scores! Jennie Garth and partner Derek Hough wound up in the middle with a combined 58 points.

So, who goes home on tonight's results show (9 p.m. on Channel 10)? Well, like many "Dancing" bloggers, I'm tired of predicting. Honestly, I think Jennie's lack of self-confidence will be her undoing. (Even partnering with Mickey Mouse last week at Disneyland wasn't much help.) And I'm not sure of her fan base.

But hey, the costumes are getting smaller as the finale approaches!

110716_0193.jpgAnd, speaking of finales, what the heck was up with Brad Womack (pictured right) on "The Bachelor" last stand last night?

Here's one bar owner who probably needed a stiff one after stiffing both of the women he hand-picked as potential brides. Jenni and DeAnna arrived at the oceanside throne hoping for that Chopard diamond Brad snagged earlier that day. Alas, both left in limos - one in tears (Jenni) and one, well, really p.o.ed!

DeAnna had every reason to think she was the chosen one. After all, Brad told her he had already said adios to Jenni. So, that only leaves her, right?

Wrong!

Brad ends up deciding neither woman is right for him. "I'm just not in love with you" - or you. Yikes!

Anyway, he's left sitting on the big hunk of rock, ring in hand. But hey, the show's not over yet. Brad has to return next Monday to face the music, er, wrath of the two rejects. If I were him, I'd let twin brother Chad take the heat.

This all points to the horrific rate of marital success on this show, and its companion reality series, "The Bachelorette." I read on MSNBC.com that, as of last night's finale, there's been only one marriage in 14 - that's 14 - seasons of the two shows.

Can you remember that far back?

It was December 2003, when "Bachelorette" Trista Rehn wed her firefighter Ryan Sutter.

So, all you single girls in Austin, Texas, heads up: Brad Womack is back!


November 20, 2007
Bruce! Bruce! Bruce! At Arco Arena, April 4

APTOPIX Springsteen E Stree.jpgAs a lady of a certain age, I still remember Bruce Springsteen's ""Born in the U.S.A." tour and how I couldn't get tickets and then the day after the show all the cool kids in school were wearing their Bruce t-shirts.

So, now, maybe I'll get a chance to fix that high school bummer: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, April 4 at Arco Arena.

Yes, the Boss, who recently released his 23rd album, "Magic" (which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart, thank you very much) just announced a new set of dates. The 27-city jaunt builds on the first tour's first half which covered several North American cities and much of Europe.

And, not surprisingly, the folks over at Rolling Stone and the Washington Post have pretty much done cartwheels over those earlier shows, so you know you're going to get something pretty awesome.

Me? I'm gonna finally get that T-shirt.

Anyway, tickets are currently set to go on sale Jan. 19. Stay tuned for more details.

November 20, 2007
'Good Day Sac' reporter gives beer to the homeless

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Jay Henderson, a reader from Folsom, writes to say he was stunned on Monday morning to see "Good Day Sacramento" reporter Chris Burrous (left) give a case of beer and a bag of McDonald's food to a homeless woman during a live segment.

The Bee has confirmed that Burrous made the on-air gesture (beer of choice: Bud Light) while reporting from the homeless camp in Natomas set up by bounty hunter Leonard Padilla.

Is it proper for a TV news anchor to give beer to a homeless resident?

No answer from Channel 13.

Steve Charlier, vice president for news for channels 13 and 31, did not return phone calls. Brent Baader, the Channel 31 executive in charge of daily operation of "Good Day Sacramento," referred all calls to station president Bruno Cohen.

Cohen returned a reporter's phone call but agreed only to an off-the-record conversation.

Burrous also did not return phone calls.

But Henderson, who says he is a fan of "Good Day," says he was shocked by Burrous' actions.

In an email to The Bee, Henderson wrote, "I could not believe what I was watching. Apparently Mr. Burrous is unaware that alcoholism is prevalent in the homeless community, and is also one of the causes of homelessness. He has a record of insensitivity to their plight, but this example was over the line, in my opinion. I am still stunned at his actions."

Henderson says he emailed his concerns to station management and on-air talent. He says the only response he received was from Stefanie Cruz, Burrous' co-anchor on the Channel 13 morning show. Henderson shared Cruz's email response with The Bee.

Cruz wrote:

"Hi Jay,

Thank you for your e-mail and for watching Good Day. I really appreciate your feedback and I understand why you were offended. All of us did have a conversation about the segment. We agreed it was not the best decision. His intent was to have a little fun and not put down or make fun of the homeless people. I assure you we take these issues seriously and the last thing we want to do is offend or insult anyone.

Best wishes.

Sincerely,

Stefanie"

Though Channel 13 personnel would not talk to The Bee about the beer incident, on this morning's Channel 13 news -- co-hosted by Burrous and Cruz -- the anchors referred to the beer incident during a conversation with radio DJs Pat & Tom from KNCI.

Talking about the Thanksgiving parade the radio pair annually host, Tom Mailey said to Burrous: "We understand you're buying McDonald's and beer, so we want to thank you for that."

Partner Pat Still then asked Burrous: "How'd that go?"

Burrous: "Really well."

Cruz: "Not so much."

November 19, 2007
Jennie meets Mickey

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AP Photo/Disneyland, Paul Hiffmeyer

If her gig on "Dancing With the Stars" doesn't pan out (read: she gets the heave-ho), actress Jennie Garth might push Minnie Mouse out of the house and take up with Mickey.

Last week in Anaheim, Jennie performed with the big mouse for Disneyland guests in front of Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle (pictured). The taped segment is likely to air on tonight's competition show at 8 p.m. on Channel 10.

The dancing fest is down to four couples: three female stars (Jennie, Mel B. and Marie Osmond) and our favorite speed racer on the dance floor, Helio Castroneves.

Now, is it just me, or has the Osmond family resurfaced and reinvented themselves via Marie's success on the show. The loss of the brothers' and sister's father was indeed painful. But, even before that, Marie and Co. started showing up on everything from "Access Hollywood" to "Extra!"

And then, there was the somewhat uncomfortable moment on a recent Larry King interview in which Larry brought up Marie's son's stint in rehab.

"How did you know about that?" she asked, completely befuddled.

Well, you guys (and gal) are back in the limelight again, and things have changed in medialand since the days of "One Bad Apple" and "I'm a Little Bit Country, I'm a Little Bit Rock 'n' Roll." Now, there's TMZ, YouTube and photographers with really impressive lenses.

Hey, just ask Brit and Paris!

But, back to "Dancing." I think Marie has a really good shot at winning because of her ever-widening fan base. Do I think she's the best competitor? Not really, though I probably couldn't have done the rhumba in that ensemble.

Tonight, the four remaining couples get to perform two dances of their own choosing: one Latin, one ballroom. Remember: keep the heels on the floor when they're supposed to be on the floor! Judge Carrie Ann will be watching!

The results show is Tuesday night at 9 p.m. May the best waltz win!

November 16, 2007
Here's one local radio station actually hiring

While the contraction of local radio continues with Phil Cowan's departure from KSTE (see posting below), here's some heartening news:

KXJZ (90.9 FM), Sacramento's public-radio station, continues to add reporters. A few months ago, it hired Ben Adler and now news director Joe Barr tells us KXJZ is going to beef up again by hiring an anchor for local portion of NPR's "Morning Edition" as well as a health reporter.

The morning news anchor will augment -- not replace -- morning host Donna Apidone, Barr says.

November 16, 2007
Phil Cowan out at KSTE

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Sacramento talk radio lost another local voice today when Phil Cowan left the air.

Cowan's conservative talk show (10 a.m. to noon) on KSTE (650 AM) had struggled for ratings. The big problem is that Cowan went against the mighty Rush Limbaugh on sister station KFBK (1530 AM). Cowan had hosted the call-in show for several years. He's best known, of course, as part of the morning duo on Y92.5's Paul and Phil show, which Cowan voluntarily left a year ago.

Replacing Cowan in the 10-noon spot will be syndicated consumer talker Clark Howard.

His departure makes Bruce Maiman (KFBK's evening guy) as the lone local talk-show left. Remember, KFBK's Tom Sullivan has moved to New York and been syndicated.

The past year has seen a procession of departures -- Mark Williams, Eric Hogue, Christine Craft, Enid Goldstein, Scott & Sims. (KSTE's lone local voice now is the morning team of Armstrong & Getty, more variety than overtly political.)

"As we've been working to realign KSTE to counterprogram KFBK, we realized we had to make this move to provide the listeners something different," says Jeff Holden, general manager of Sacramento's Clear Channel stations, which includes KSTE and KFBK. "Rush is such a dominant force that it was hard to break through."

Holden said Cowan's low ratings did play a part in the decision to cancel the show. "If it had shown a dramatic increase (in the last ratings period), it might have made a difference," he said.

But he had nothing but praise for what he termed Cowan's "professionalism." Holden says the station plans to stream Cowan's last 15-minute segment, during which he said goodbye, on the KSTE Web site later today.

November 16, 2007
A harvest of goodies

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The Sacramento Harvest Festival is the place to be this weekend if you're looking for gifts or just to experience a one-of-a-kind shopping venture.

And there's good food, too!

The festival has been going on for 35 years. New to the event this year is an organic skin-care line called Isabella's Dream (pictured).

Lisa Dedmore, a Bay Area mom, was eager to find all-natural products for her newborn daughter, Isabella. So, two years ago, fed up with what she found on store shelves, she opted to create her own line, named, appropriately, after her child.

Isabella's Dream contains no harsh chemicals, no synthetics, no parabens (preservatives) and no sulfates. And, because she's always in a giving mood, Lisa donates 5 percent of her overall profits to organizations in the Bay Area that support young folks, including DoSomething.org.

Be sure to stop by Lisa's booth at Cal Expo and sample her "Dream" products.

The Harvest Festival runs today until 7 p.m.; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors 62 and up, $4 for teens 13 to 17 and kids 12 and under get in free. For more info: click here.

Also, L Wine Lounge & Urban Kitchen, 1801 L St. in midtown, will be the setting for tonight's Red Cross Fashion Rescue, a runway and trunk show plus a silent auction to benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

The show will feature apparel from many of my favorite local boutiques.

Check out the list: Britt Steele Designs, Felicia Strati, Wildflower Boutique, Fuffy J Couture and Four Paws Boutique & Artchestra. And hey, you can even buy right off the racks after the show!

The event is from 7 to 10 p.m. Advance tickets can be purchased up until show time for $10 at any of the participating retailers or at www.brittsteele.com. Can't get them sooner? Tickets will be $15 at the door.

Channel 3's Adrienne Bankert will serve as emcee. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres and a no-host wine bar round out the amenities.

November 16, 2007
Great ad libs in local TV news

Tv Project Runway Klum.jpg werner.jpg

So Fox40 devoted about two minutes last night to the Victoria's Secret models getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

After the requisite cheesecake shots and Mensa-type interviews with the models, including Heidi Klum(left), the segment ended and segued directly into ... Kristina Werner(right) and the weather.

Werner looked sheepishly into the camera and cracked: "I just can't believe how unattractive those girls are."

You could hear laughter on the set, to which Werner was quick to add: "I'm soooo kidding!"

Over at Channel 3 last night, Leticia Ordaz had wrapped up a story on Ripon High School cheerleaders who were suspended from school for writing the school letters -- Indians No. 1" -- on their backsides. Dave Walker slyly looked over to co-anchor Edie Lambert and said, "Probably not the end of this story."

And, finally, a cautionary note about ad-libbing: It's best for reporters doing live stand-ups to rehearse what they will say.

When Channel 3 went live to Damany Lewis for a fan reaction piece on Barry Bonds' perjury indictment, here's the verbatim transcript of Lewis:

"Dave, I can tell you, you know, this debate has been going on for four years. The investigation started four years ago and fans, well, the debate has been going on for that long. If Barry Bonds is innocent or guilty, well, tonight the debate continues."

So, to recap: There's a debate and it's been going on for four years. Got that?

November 15, 2007
Carla Meyer's Movie Picks

Every week in Friday's Weekend Ticket section, I review new movies and I recommend previously released ones. Can't wait to read it? Well, this feature now appears at 21Q each Thursday afternoon.

My picks among recently released movies:

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
3 1/2 stars
In casting so perfect it almost brings tears to your eyes, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the older brother and would-be mastermind of a robbery of his parents' jewelry store, and Ethan Hawke the sibling he cajoles into actually pulling off the job. Shots of the two brothers standing nearly nose to nose, one of them burly and bullying, the other lanky and uncertain, underscore the degree to which childhood roles can follow us into adulthood.
Rated R

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Dan in Real Life
3 stars
It's one of the rare movies depicted gatherings of extended families in which the interaction seems authentic. Dan (Steve Carell) has some quibbles about his brother (Dane Cook), who happens to be dating the woman Dan loves (Juliette Binoche). But mostly he just loves his sibling and doesn't want to hurt his feelings.
Rated PG-13

Into the Wild
4 stars
Beautifully and breathtakingly photographed by Eric Gautier, "Into the Wild" presents an America just waiting to be explored, from South Dakota farmlands to the Southern California desert to unspoiled Alaskan terrain. Songs by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder accentuate the imagery perfectly.
Rated R

November 15, 2007
Boot camp without the sit-ups

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Kevin German/kgerman@sacbee.com

So you shelled out for an expensive video camera. Now what?

This weekend's Aspiring Filmmakers Boot Camp will offer how-to instruction on writing, producing casting and directing films.

Director Joe Carnahan is one of the instructors. Carnahan ("Smokin' Aces"), the Sacramento film community's most visible success story, will offer insights from 1-3 p.m. Saturday.

The boot camp is the brainchild of independent film producer Larry Meistrich ("Sling Blade"), who also will hear pitches for projects.

The boot camp runs from 6-10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in room BS-129 at Cosumnes River College, 8401 Center Parkway. Cost is $395 ($150 for college students at Cosumnes and elsewhere). Participants can register here or at the door. For information, call (916) 600-6477.

November 15, 2007
Oh, that's right, John, blame the media

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Brian Baer/bbaer@sacbee.com


If this isn't a perfect metaphor for John McCain's struggling (and financially ailing) presidential campaign, I don't know what is. His black SUV broke down during a campaign stop in Sac, and he was forced to leave the Sheraton in a taxi.

Turns out the "Straight Talk Express" makes a few stops, after all.

And Channel 3 was there to provide the hilarious raw footage on its Web site. The raw video shows McCain fussing -- nay, obsessing -- about his luggage and blaming the media in a jocular fashion for "sabotaging" the car. "It's probably one of those reporter guys," he grouses. Later, while waiting for the taxi, McCain waved to passersby on the street and yelled to them, "Get rid of these jerks" -- meaning reporters and photographers.

Here's a question anchor Walt Gray didn't answer during the noon news: Was McCain planning on taking the taxi all the way to San Francisco, his next campign stop.

If so, no wonder his campaign coffers are empty.

November 15, 2007
'Project Runway' off and running

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Bravo

Well, I made it to 10 p.m. last night for the debut of "Project Runway Season 4" and, as usual, I wasn't disappointed. Though I didn't see much difference between the 15 designer's old digs (the Atlas) and their new living arrangements at the New Gotham.

It still looks like a dorm to me.

Anyway, personalities abound with both the guys and the girls producing quirky, egotistical, manic behavior. Yeah!!!

From the get go, however, it was Elisa Jimenez, maker of marionettes and a "I'll-do-yoga-in-the-corner" kind of gal, that tells me she will easily becoming either a punching bag for the more self-centered designers - or she'll just return to Jupiter.

The show's first challenge, "Sew Me What You Got," had the 15 contestants racing across Bryant Park in New York toward three tents filled with $50,000 worth of fabric. Host Heidi Klum told them they were to create a frock that demonstrates their personal creativity.

Now, based on my conversation with Heidi and mentor Tim Gunn, I was expecting great things because they called the Season 4 bunch the most talented ever. And, interestingly, they got to work with fabric - expensive, beautiful fabric - not garbage or plastic lawn chairs.

Needless to say, I expected more. There were some winners, including episode winner Rami Kashou, who is truly an experienced designer. (He's worked with Jessica Alba.)

Dress.jpgBut, it was clear from the get go that Simone LeBlanc (shown above), 32, was not connecting with her fabric. Even Tim thought she was headed for a runway crash and burn.

But it was kooky Elisa's turqoise gown with the train wreck train that I thought would have her packing her yoga mat and granola bars and heading home.

However, when a judge utters the words "dull and poorly constructed" - in Simone's case - I knew it would be her one day in, one day out. Judge Michael Kors described the mismatched mess (shown right) as "dressing in the dark." Yikes!

I liked winner Rami's gray silk georgette gown, but agreed with Michael (Kors) that the budding flower was a little too mother-of-the-bride.

And, because TV ratings are so, so important, Bravo announced today that the fourth season premiere of "Project Runway" was the highest rated premiere in the network's history in the 18 to 49 demographic and among total viewers. More than 2.8 million fashion fanatics tuned in.

That said, I'll keep you posted as the show progresses. If you have your own "Project Runway" comments, post them below!


November 15, 2007
Stop the madness

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It's bad enough that News10 and Fox40 both reported last night on the so-called blue ghost that "mysteriously appeared" on a convenience store surveillance tape -- hey, wasn't that a plotline on "The Simpsons"? -- but Fox40 took it a step further.

Later in the newscast, it reported on a woman in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (where else but Florida?) who claims she saw the images of Jesus and Mary on her pancake. Naturally, they sold the pancake on eBay.

Fox40 seems to have an affinity for Jesus images. A couple of months ago, it sent a reporter out to Lodi to do a story on a woman who saw Jesus on her backyard fence.

November 14, 2007
Mariee Sioux's 20th century playlist

When I interviewed Nevada City native Mariee Sioux (read my story in Weekend Ticket and listen to a
podcast), I wasn't really surprised to learn that the 22-year-old singer-songwriter doesn't own an iPod.

Sioux's folk-pop music sounds like it comes from another time, so why would she be a part of the digital age?

In fact, Sioux told me she doesn't even really own any CDs - she's more of a vinyl kind of girl.

"I mainly have records," Sioux says. "But sometimes when I'm on the road, I'll listen to a CD or tape."

So, while she couldn't really answer my "what's on your iPod?" question, Sioux did share with me the four albums she's got in current, heavy rotation:

"Saturate Before Using" - Jackson Browne
"After the Gold Rush" - Neil Young
"Ladies of the Canyon" - Joni Mitchell
"Line on the Paper" - Kate Wolfe

In case you hadn't noticed, none of these albums was released before the 21st century.

"Yeah, it's mostly just all of the good, old stuff," she says.

Also on Friday: Check out Sioux's album release show (and yes, you can buy "Faces in the Rocks" on CD) at the Center for the Arts (314 W. Main St., Grass Valley). Show time is 8 p.m. and costs $15 at the door. For more info, visit the venue's Web site.

November 14, 2007
When local TV reporters attack

This sweeps month has seen its share of aggressive local TV news reporting. Course, our local correspondents aren't shrinking violets under normal circumstances, but they appeared to have taken their interview steroids Tuesday night.

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First, we go to Channel 13's newest reporter, David Begnaud (left), who had an Abbott and Costello "Who's on First?"-type exchange with John Erickson, a teacher's aide from Alta accused of kissing and fondling students. As Erickson is walking back to his house, Begnaud engages him:

Begnaud: "Did you actually confess to them (neighbors)?"

Erickson: "That was a no comment."

Begnaud: "I know, but can you tell me ...."

Erickson: "Was that a no comment?"

Begnaud: "Did you really touch some girls?"

Erickson: "Was that a no comment? (Then, pointing to the reporter's notebook.) There's my attorney's (phone number) right there."

Begnaud: "So why did you violate the trust of kids?"

Erickson: "There it was right there. No comment."

Begnaud: "What would you tell parents who are watching?"

Erickson: "No comment."

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Then, on Fox40, another new reporter, Michelle Liu(right), tangled with the lawyer for the Roseville cop Sacramento County cop Chris Guerrero (21Q stands corrected) accused of getting preferential treatment for a DUI offense.

After the lawyer prattled on about a police video that shows that his client was not impaired, Liu testily asked: "Can we see this video if you say it proves he was not driving drunk?"

To which the lawyer, Joseph Hougnon, responded, snippily: "We're not going to try this case in the public. I'm pointing these facts out to you to bring some fairness to what's been reported."

November 14, 2007
'Daily Show' or local TV news: Part 17

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Yes, it's come to this. Mark S. Allen sets himself on fire this morning on "Good Day Sacramento."

There's nothing to add.

November 14, 2007
News10 first to report on News10 scoop, first seen, er, on News10

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Local TV news stations can be excused for touting their scoops - especially during sweeps month - but News10 went way, way a wee bit overboard Tuesday night when reporting the latest about Kings' center Justin Williams.

Teasing the story at the top of News10's 11 p.m. show, anchor Dale Schornack intoned: "We break the news to the Sacramento Kings' Justin Williams that he will not face criminal charges...."

Then, in introducing sports guy Bryan May with the story, anchor Cristina Mendonsa crowed that News10 broke the story online, on TV and to Williams - as if we forgot what Schornack had said just a few minutes before.

And then, May comes on and talked about breaking the news to Williams: "He was pleasantly surprised is a good way to describe it, when our camera crew showed up. Justin Williams was at his Natomas home tonight when he found out - from us - that the Sacramento County District Attorney's office had decided not to file criminal charges (in a sexual assault complaint)."

And then...Williams gives this sound bite: "You're the ones who gave me the news, so I just had to call my lawyer to make sure."

This much is sure: No one will accuse News10 of being overly modest in its Kings reporting.


November 14, 2007
Pinback, Louis XIV and Rogue Wave at Empire

OK, this just in: I've been a little sleep-deprived lately, so that's my excuse for listing the wrong venue in Tuesday's Coming Distractions column for the Pinback, Louix XIV and Rogue Wave show.

The show is at Empire (14th & R streets).

And, here's a bonus - it's all-ages. So bring your kid sister and swear her off the Hilary Duff forever. She'll thank you later.

Oh, and here's some new info that zipped into my e-mail box: The three-fer is being billed as this year's KWOD 106.5 holiday show with the dare-to-dream name of "Indie Blog Heaven."

Actually, I kind of like that - it's non-secular but kind of dreamy, too. You can check out Kwod.net for more info on that.

Anyhoo, all the other details remain the same:

Tix ($19.99 advance, $20 show) are available through The Beat, R5 Records, Armadillo Music (Davis), Tickets.com outlets (located in select Raley's and Bel Air supermarkets) and online at Tickets.com.

November 14, 2007
Heidi Klum is 'Lucky'

lucky.jpgLucky magazine is, indeed, lucky.

The shopping publication snagged supermodel Heidi Klum for its December cover (shown left). The story is about what she's learned from "Project Runway," which debuts at 10 tonight on Bravo. I spoke to Heidi (and mentor Tim Gunn) about the new season for a story that appears today in The Bee. Click here to read the interview.

In the magazine, Heidi says: “Doing the show ('Project Runway') has given me such a sincere respect for the process of fashion and design. Being a designer is a really hard gig.”

The December cover was shot in L.A., where the 34-year-old model and mother of three perused an assortment of bright, feminine clothes:

“I can sometimes be a little quiet in my personal style. If I’m doing a job, I want to look the part no matter what, but when I’m just dressing for me, I want to feel comfortable and like myself,” she says in a magazine blurb about selecting her outfit for the photo shoot.

She ended up wearing a gold satin crepe "Casida" dress from Dior by John Galliano. And there was the requisite golden, delicious jewelry for ears, neck and arms. The makeup? From Heidi's new beauty collection, now sold at Victoria's Secret.

And, speaking of Victoria's Secret, while it's not holiday viewing for tots, Heidi will appear in the store's lingerie show, set for Dec. 4 on CBS.

November 13, 2007
Local TV News Sweeps: The Good/Bad, Part 2

Another installment of the semi-popular blog series: We watch local TV news during sweeps, so you don't have to.

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The good: Channel 13's Mike Dello Stritto (pictured, left) delivered an interesting feature report about a Sac State professor who's spent five years working on a DNA identification project in Tanzania. Great reporting by Dello Stritto, mainly because he just got out of the way and let the professor tell the story herself. We'd like to see our local TV news stations do more news features that aren't crime- or- personal-safety-related.

The bad: Channel 13 led its late news Monday night with a Steve Large (right) report on the car accident that claimed the lives of two UC Davis students on the crew team. (A third passenger is "clinging to life.") larrrgee.jpg Fine, but Channel 13 had a significant sin of omission. Neither Large nor anchors Sam Shane and Pallas Hupe told us that the accident happened on Friday morning. It's OK to do a follow-up on an accident, but be sure to say that the news is three days old - especially if it's leading your newscast.

The good: Channel 3 took a stab at citizen journalism Monday night by using photos from a passerby, Dorian Dunlap, to show how Countrywide Home Loans left stacks of loan documents outside a mailbox in West Sac - a situation ripe for identify theft. KCRA's Damany Lewis took the citizen tip and material and talked to post office spokespeople and got a statement from the company.

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The bad: On Thursday night, Lewis reported live from the oil spill in San Francisco. Apparently, desperate to spice up his stand-up report, Lewis picked up a plastic water bottle and showed it to the camera: "We took an unscientific test here of the water at Crissy Field. No one knows as of now what exactly is in this." Well, Damany, here's a guess: Two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen - and probably a little crude oil.

The good: Fox40 sports guy Jim Crandell (right) never minces words. On Friday, reporting on the Sac State basketball team's slaughter at the hands of Top 25 Kansas State, Crandell told viewers: "Now, I understand why Sac State will play at Kansas State, but - you know what? - it makes no sense. They have no chance."
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The bad: On the same sportscast, Crandell threw out an obscure reference that no one I know has ever heard of. To wit: When describing how a tall Cleveland Cavalier player grabbed a rebound away from the Kings, Crandell said, "It's like playing Annie, Annie Over, for crying out loud." Annie What? Here's the definition from www.gameskidsplay.net.

The good: On Friday night, News10 anchor Cristina Mendonsa told the engrossing story of a Navy psychologist - and former Fair Oaks resident - who wrote a book about her experiences counseling soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mendonsa also practiced full disclosure by saying on the air that she has known the woman, Heidi Kraft, for a long time. (On her blog, Mendonsa added that the two were on a high school cheerleading squad.)

The bad: Transitioning out of the report, Mendonsa turned to co-anchor Dale Schornack and said: "An incredible woman." Schornack countered: "Let's go to another incredible woman ..." and then turned to meteorologist Patty Souza. Cringe. Souza: "Thanks, Dale. We've got some incredible news about rain coming in."

November 13, 2007
Helio (Castroneves) is heck on heels

I don't about you, but I wasn't going ape over Helio Castroneves' canary yellow suit Monday night.

However, I do feel safe in predicting that he will be looking good after tonight's results show of "Dancing With the Stars."

On Monday's show, his second of two dances with partner Julianne Hough was the quickstep, and he was anything but heavy on the pedals. The IndyCar Series driver drove around the dance floor like he had just hit the fourth turn at Indianapolis - light on his feet, good technique, plenty of teeth.

The fancy footwork earned Helio and Julianne a perfect 30 points from the trio of judges. One of them, Bruno Tonioli, had this comment: "That's what I like to see! The boy from Brazil is going bananas!"

This morning, I got a chance to get in on a conference call with Helio, who has spent the entire two months of "Dancing" in Los Angeles.

Q: How would you sum up your experiences so far on the show?
A: I never thought it would be this much fun. I'm becoming good friends with the other celebrities. The staff is nice. But it's a lot of hard work. However, I've made a commitment to the show for as long as it takes.

Q: What's it like partnering with last season's professional winner, Julianne? How tough is her choreography?
A: I took it as good news that I drew Julianne. She knows everything that it takes to win. I'm not trying to be a professional dancer, just have fun. Her choreography is amazing. Step by step, hopefully we can go all the way.

Q: What's the difference between preparing for dancing vs. preparing for racing?
A: I'm not using my upper body as much for dancing. It's my legs! Unlike some of the other competitors, I haven't lost much weight. Actually, I've gained in terms of muscle. It will help me with the pedals (during racing). I hope I don't have trouble breaking them!

Q: What about those 10s! Do you feel safer now?
A: The 10s blew my mind away. But it's about consistency, not being up and down. The judges push us. And it's certainly not just about the dancing. Sabrina (Bryan) was voted off, and she's a great dancer. The fan base is really, really important, too.

Q: Is it getting easier to learn the dances or more difficult with two a week?
A: I rehearse as long as my feet hold up! I just want to keep going. After I learn the routine, I focus on the details. I think my brain is finally working faster to learn the dances now.

Q: Are you getting ribbing or support, or both, from your racing buddies?
A: The drivers are being very, very nice. They're sending messages and support. Most importantly, they're voting! They're saying, "Man, you're really good." It's great when you hear from Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson (both NASCAR drivers), too.

* My prediction for tonight's results show: Well, Marie Osmond received the lowest number of judges' votes, but she's definitely got a huge fan base. Don't get mad, but I think it might be Jennie Garth's going-away soiree.

The guest performer tonight is Gloria Estefan. The show airs at 9 p.m. on Channel 10.

November 13, 2007
Lenny Kravitz and The Zone's Little Christmas Show That Could

BRITAIN KRAVITZ.jpgSo, here's a little holiday show that slipped in under the radar:

Unless, of course, you're a big fan of KZZO 100.5 FM. Otherwise, you might not have heard about the radio station's Little Christmas Show on Dec. 13 at the Memorial Auditorium.

The lineup features Lenny Kravitz (pictured), Vanessa Carlton, Mat Kearny (confidential to The Zone - y'all spelled his name wrong. It's Mat with just one "T"), Blue October and Pat Monahan (Train).

But you can't buy this present just yet - unless you're one of those aforementioned diehard Zone fans (who had access to a special presale today).

So, stay tuned for ticket info - or point your browser over to www.radiozone.com.

In the meantime, here's hoping Kravitz busts out with some "Run Rudolph Run."

November 12, 2007
Getting chatty with Susan Sarandon

srandon_enchanted.JPG Susan Sarandon was getting over a cold when she called to discuss her new film "Enchanted," but the 61-year-old actress hardly phoned it in during the interview. OK, well, technically, she phoned it in because she was calling from L.A., er, on the phone - but you get my drift.

In the film (which is part animation and part live action), Sarandon plays a wicked queen out to destroy the pretty princess (played by Amy Adams), who had just managed to take a not-so-fairy tale detour to New York City. (By the way, "Enchanted" also stars Patrick Dempsey, whom I also spoke to, and opens Nov. 21. Check out my story in Sunday's Ticket+. And see my colleague Carla Meyer's review in Scene on Nov. 21.)

Anyway, even though Sarandon was probably on her millionth interview and nursing a sore throat ("Forgive me if I start coughing"), she gamely chatted about the film as well as some upcoming roles, including one in "The Lovely Bones."

That Peter Jackson-directed film, scheduled for a 2008 release, is based on the Alice Sebold novel about a young girl who watches from the afterlife as her family deals with her brutal murder and rape at the hands of a neighborhood killer.

Sarandon plays the deceased girl's grandmother and, while some Hollywood types might not like the idea of sliding into a new age range, Sarandon says she was thrilled.

"This is my first grandma role - I'm pretty happy about that."

In fact, she says, she's pretty pleased about how her career's been going lately. True, there are fewer leading roles for women of a certain age (yes, even Oscar-winning women; Sarandon snagged a Best Actress statue for 1995's "Dead Man Walking"), but supporting roles can be just as rewarding.

"There are some very rich parts out there - of course, they're not all leading parts, but I don't feel compromised," Sarandon says.

"I would rather play an interesting part than a boring lead," says the actress, who can also be seen in the upcoming "Speed Racer." "It's actually kind of nice because, sometimes, those roles just take a few days or weeks.

"If I was just looking for a huge salary, then maybe I'd be in trouble."

November 12, 2007
News flash! John Alston returning to KCRA!

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Sure, it's for one night only. And it's not on the 11 p.m. news, which erstwhile anchor John Alston left a year ago in a contract dispute.

Rather, Alston will do a thespian turn Tuesday night on "Law & Order: SVU" (at 10 p.m. on Channel 3).

So which is Alston going to be - the victim or the perverted homicidal suspect?

Uh, neither. Our sources tell us Alston will play ... a reporter.

We called Alston, who still chills in Sactown. But, apparently, he's gone totally Hollywood and didn't call us back. Maybe his people will.

November 12, 2007
Fashion markswomen

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Olivia Coelho (pictured) is definitely doing her part to keep the Sacramento fashion scene alive and thriving. This fashion maven never slows down!

In addition to owning midtown's Olipom boutique (1115 21st St.), she's now partnered with local designer Trisha Rhomberg to open another boutique, Bows and Arrows, which is about four blocks away from Olipom, at 1712 L St.

(By the way, Olivia is also the founder of Sellout/Buyout, a local fashion market and trade show.)

Bows and Arrows opened its stylish doors Nov. 1 in what can only be described as a cavernous space.

It's huge!

Plenty of room for everything from couches to couture (vintage, that is.)

"The new store is a little more upscale (than Olipom)," Olivia says. "We offer fine vintage clothing - and furniture!"

Both men and women will find an eclectic mix of fashions.

Trisha, who has her own fashion line - Pretty Trashy - and Olivia have big plans for Bows and Arrows.

"We are going to start a buy, sell, trade program," Olivia says, "because we want to stockpile good vintage clothing. Sellers won't have to drive all the way to San Francisco to sell their stuff. They can come here."

A walk through the boutique (the word sounds "small" in comparison to the size of the store) yields darling knitted ponchos, a rack of must-have little black dresses and, if you're searching for boots with a real kick, Bows and Arrows puts feet first.

The high, high hot pink boots that we saw in the window (if they're still there) have that "Wow!" factor.

IMG_2966_3.jpgAnd as I said, Olivia and Trisha are now in the furniture business, too (pictured right). "We're carrying a furniture line by Andrew McGeary and Mark Fahey," Olivia says. "Mark used to own a store called Time Bandits. The line is quite beautiful - sort of mid-century modern with a Hotel Regency style from the '60s and '70s."

Oliva certainly has turned things around since a devastating fire in August 2006 destroyed her original Olipom store in midtown. The new store opened a couple of months later, next door to husband Mike Rafter's skateboard shop.

In fact, for those of you who travel on two wheels, Mike and some of his buddies will be putting in a moped shop in the back of Bows and Arrows. There also will be an art gallery in one of the rooms.

I told you it was big!

Bows and Arrows is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Check it out!


November 9, 2007
Monika Diaz update: She's headed to Big D

News10 reporter Monika Diaz (see blog item below), who has been with the station since 2003, will leave on Nov. 18 for a job at WFAA in Dallas.

This marks a huge jump in status for Diaz. Dallas is the nation's fifth-ranked TV market; Sacramento, 20th.

"She's that good," says Stacy Owen, News10's news director. "We'll miss her."

This is News10's first opening for a reporter in about three years.

November 9, 2007
News10: Unclear on the sweeps concept

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Here it is, local TV sweeps month, prime time to scream at and frighten viewers, and News10 leads its newscast Thursday night with the latest toy recall.

OK. So far, they're with the program. But wait ... what's with the lousy sweeps-mentality execution?

First, they didn't use the requisite word "scare," as in "toy-recall scare."

Then, reporter Monika Diaz (pictured) was woefully unclear on the whole tabloid approach that she was to adopt. Her tone was actually measured. Plus, no eerie synthesizer music played. Sure, she quoted concerned parents, but also found parents who aren't paranoid. She talked to officials and merchants and presented a balanced picture.

Sheesh. What a disappointment.

Worse, Diaz broke a cardinal rule of local TV news reporting at the end of the package when she told anchor Cristina Mendonsa that her advice to parents was: "Just don't panic."

Ohmigawd, Monika! How do you expect to reap ratings gold with comments such as that?

View her report here.

November 9, 2007
It's in the bag

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We all know Parisian women have a keen eye for fashion, so if they're wearing it or - in this case - carrying it, it's worth a mention.

Here in Sacramento, the easiest way to go French with your fashion (without buying a plane ticket) is probably a trip to Le Petit Paris boutique in midtown. Owner Tassina Placencia is constantly going back and forth from Sactown to Paris to bring back the latest trends.

Her latest find? The handmade Un Jour Un Sac (translated: one day, one bag) handbag line (shown above), which has been popular in France for almost 10 years. Un Jour Un Sac was created by designer Francois Renier. The concept is: bags made of paper, fabric or leather that come with interchangeable straps in a mix of colors. So, depending on your fashion mood on a given day, your bag can coordinate with your ensemble.

Tassina says she visited the Un Jour Un Sac boutiques on her last shopping tour to Paris.

"I met with Monsieur Renier at his showroom, where he explained his unique concept to me," she says. "He explained that it's really about playing a game - the game of having fun (while selecting) your personalized bag. With each change of the handle ... you can completely change the look."

Now, your game plan should be to attend Tassina's trunk show at 6 p.m. Saturday to see if Un Jour Un Sac is Sacramento's hottest handbag! (And how could something called "Sac" not be a hit in Sacramento?)

Check it out at 1221 19th St.

Also on Saturday, if you're headed to the Galleria in Roseville, Macy's will unveil several of its newly expanded departments, including the women's INC fashion area and the housewares area. And what better way to mark the occasion than an INC fashion show?

General seating for the free show will start at 1:30 p.m., with the show starting at 2. So, if you're in the store and seats are available, grab one! And here's the bonus for shoppers: All INC apparel will be 20 percent off the entire day.

November 8, 2007
Michael Moore peels off 10 Benjamins

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Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

KVMR (89.5 FM), Nevada City’s crunchy-granola public radio station, recently completed its “Autumn of Love” pledge drive and raked in a record $110,000, according to program director Steve Baker.

Among the contributors: a baseball cap-wearing dude named Michael Moore (pictured at a rally last summer at the Capitol), the acclaimed documentarian and flaming leftist.

Moore dug deep, kicking in $1,000. Plus, during two airings of an hour-long interview with Moore, the station raised $7,500. And wait – there’s more! Moore donated 100 DVD copies of “Sicko,” his latest doc, to give to new subscribers.

Why does Moore care so much about a cool, but small, community-funded station? Well, his sister lives in Grass Valley, and Moore has said he often listens to the station online.

November 8, 2007
Carla Meyer's Movie Picks

Every week in Friday's Weekend Ticket section, I review new movies and I recommend previously released ones. Can't wait to read it? Well, this feature now appears at 21Q each Thursday afternoon.

My picks among recently released movies:

American Gangster
3 stars
Steven Zaillian’s script contrasts cop Richie (Russell Crowe, pictured below) crowe
and drug dealer Frank (Denzel Washington) in interesting ways. Richie is a womanizer and an inattentive father whose saving grace is his professional honesty. Frank, on the other hand, holds things together quite well in his criminal and personal lives until his affection for the one-time Miss Puerto Rico (Lymari Nadal) leads to an action that seems out of character and proves to be a mistake.
Rated R

Bee Movie
3 stars
This animated film really springs to life when the buff pollen jocks let puny Barry (voiced by Jerry Seinfeld) tag along for a flight through the park. An extended sequence in which Barry experiences city life from a bee’s-eye view offers an amazing display of animation. An interaction with a mosquito (a hilarious Chris Rock) teaches Barry a thing or two about survival in the big city.
Rated PG

Lars and the Real Girl
3 stars
This heartfelt film focuses on the sweetest romance ever to involve a blow-up doll. As a seriously shy young man whose efforts to fit in are a bit unorthodox, Ryan Gosling shows why he is one of today’s most sensitive and talented young actors.
Rated PG-13

November 8, 2007
Now, these reporters know how to dance

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Memo to News10's Ryan Yamamoto, who is still getting guff for his dance moves in a promo for his advertorial story on the ABC show "Dancing With the Stars":

Ryan, check out the "ladies of 'Good Day Sacramento,'" bustin' moves on this morning's show in a segment on football. I hear traffic reporter Courtney Dempsey (above) gives lessons.

November 8, 2007
Dressing up, dressing down

APTOPIX-CMA-Awards-Press-Ro.jpgDon't know if you caught Wednesday night's Country Music Association Awards show (all three hours of it!) but, aside from an overwhelming number of performances, including the Eagles (one of my favorites), there must have been two sets of invitations sent out with two different dress codes:

Guys: Wear jeans (holes optional), a cowboy hat (if possible) and a two-day beard (unless your significant other objects), and

Gals: Wear designer gowns (best bet) or something tight.

CMA-Awards-Press-Room.jpgFor example, double winners Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley (shown in AP photos) were a startling contrast in attire. She wore a vintage-inspired, blush-colored tulle Badgley Mischka gown with gold beading and embroidery. He had on, well, jeans and a cowboy hat.

I know it's a little bit country, but the women looked like they were headed to the Oscars and the men to a honky-tonk, though I'm sure those ripped jeans weren't cheap.

Just a thought.

Oh, and I found out via the wires this morning that it's been six years - that's right, six - since a woman or female group has been nominated for the prestigious entertainer of the year award. (Kenny Chesney won it for the second consecutive year.) You gotta go back to 2001, when the Dixie Chicks were nominated to find any women on the list.

Talk about your dude ranch!

I think my "American Idol" winner Carrie should have at least been nominated this year. Oh, and by the way, she once again thanked the show that got her all this country fame and fortune.

Way to go, Carrie!


November 8, 2007
Call Kurtis: The Sequel

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Today in The Huffington Post, the popular online news site, blogger Trevor Butterworth (who heads an organzation, STATS.org, which examines how the media covers science and statistics) takes recent reports on "toxic mattresses" to task. Among those reports was "Call Kurtis"; Channel 13's Kurtis Ming (pictured, right) aired his story Friday.

Step-by-step, Butterworth (pictured, left) dismantles the legitimacy of the TV reports - which originated at Channel 13's sister station in Chicago - and scolds reporters for failing to mention that the man making the claims has a huge conflict of interest.

Here's an excerpt:

The real evidence that reporters are asleep on the job does not come from the jumble of junk science about chemical poisoning, but the fact that People for Clean Beds is run by a rival mattress manufacturer with a hefty economic stake in scaring people about buying mattresses that meet the new regulations.

Mark Strobel founded "People for Clean Beds" specifically to oppose the new fire-safety requirements. He manufactures beds, which are exempt from the regulations and, as a consequence, can only be purchased with a doctor's prescription. He has no apparent scientific background beyond a BS degree. It's also not clear that anybody but Mark Strobel is involved in running "People for Clean Beds."

What is clear is that if you scare people into thinking that the new regulations will cause them harm, you raise the odds of more people getting a prescription for a Strobel Bed.

Conflict of interest anyone?

Strobel, by the way, is quoted extensively in the "Call Kurtis" segment.

On a positive note, Ming did give credit to "our sister station in Chicago" for the interviews, which he didn't do when airing a report from San Francisco station KPIX on online ripoffs the other day.

Butterworth, whose journalism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and Salon.com and other publications, goes into more depth in debunking the mattress story in an article posted in STATS.org's Web site.

November 8, 2007
Channel 3 hires San Francisco reporter

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Channel 3 has hired Teo Torres to anchor its 10 p.m. newcast on My58TV. Torres, according to a press release issued by the station, will also do general assignment reporting for KCRA.

He begins in January.

Still no word on when Channel 3 will announce a replacement for 6-and-11 p.m. anchor John Alston, who left the station a year ago last week.

Here's Torres' bio from his current gig as morning news anchor at KRON in San Francisco.

November 8, 2007
Local TV News Sweeps: Leonard Padilla edition

Just in time for sweeps, noted Sacramento bounty hunter Leonard Padilla made a grand gesture - thumbing his nose at county officials, actually - by offering his fallow land in Natomas to the homeless.

Now, Padilla has never met a camera he didn't like, and the local TV media lapped it up. Fox40 and News10 ran straightforward stories, basically taking Padilla's offer at face value, but quoting County Supe Roger Dickinson as saying Padilla is violating a zoning ordinance.

However, channels 3 and 13 didn't give the gadfly bounty hunter a free pass.

At 6:30 Wednesday night, KCRA's Lois Hart and Dave Walker grilled Padilla in a live interview. It was great TV, classic no-nonsense Dave & Lois reporting and, frankly, about time somebody called Padilla on his grandstanding.

Here's an excerpt of Lois bringing the hammer down on Leonard (and check out the YouTube clip above):

Hart to Padilla: "You're not suggesting that we should leave those people living in squalor in that neighborhood?"

Padilla: "Well, one person's squalor is another person's home."

Hart: "Oh, it's all garbage and feces. It's terrible."

Padilla: "You can go into houses sometimes where people in upper middle class America have been doing drugs and all that. And I can show you feces and terrible bedrooms...."

Later, Walker and Padilla had a testy exchange:

Walker: Some are saying, Leonard, that you just want to keep your name out politically here."

Padilla: "Then don't put me on the air, Dave."

Then, at 10 p.m., Channel 13 deserves kudos for its scoop on Padilla's legal problems on that very 60 acres of land. Reporter Mike Dello Stritto obtained court documents showing that the government is foreclosing on Padilla's property because he owes the IRS more than $2 million.

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Dello Stritto (right) had his own testy exchange with Padilla, confronting him with the documents, dated June 1, that states Padilla had 30 days to give up the property. When Dello Stritto told Padilla he no longer owned the land, the bounty hunter shot back: "I own the property. They've just got a lien on it."

Dello Stritto: "So you're really just making a statement (with the offer to house the homeless)?"

Padilla: "Kicking a-- is what it's called."

All told, Sacramento's four local TV news directors should send Padilla a nice flower arrangement as thanks for giving them some juicy material during sweeps month.


November 7, 2007
Irvine Foundation taps Cap Stage

The Capital Stage Company, now in its third year, announced today the receipt of a two-year, $40,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation in support of its new Playwright’s Revolution project.

The playwright's project is set to debut in the spring of 2008. It is expected to spawn a series of readings and workshops, with the ultimate goal of creating plays for the company to produce.

“It’s been one of our goals to get new original work on our stage,” says Capital Stage managing director Peter Mohrmann. “It really comes down to, Where can we get some money to support artists in Northern California who we’d like to work with?”

Other local theaters already have programs that nurture new writers and works, including River Stage, the B Street Theatre, the Sacramento Theatre Company and Foothill Theatre, Mohrmann says.

“The way for us to step up with the other companies is to be a place that is germinating our pieces,” Mohrmann says.

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Certainly, the Irvine grant is an added boost to the growing company, which started the year strongly with its successful staging of John Patrick Shaley’s political farce “Dirty Story.” The production starred Capital Stage's artistic director Stephanie Gularte (pictured between Timothy Orr and Harry Harris). "Dirty Story" showed a marked increase in audience support for a season-opening production, and subscription sales are on the upswing, as well.

Mohrmann says the company had planned to pursue a Playwright’s Revolution project whether or not it received any funding. But getting the initiative off the ground - and some interesting playwrights involved - should now be easier.

In an unrelated gift, the Irvine Foundation recently awarded $4.1 million in grants to be divided among 15 Central Valley arts organizations, including five in the Sacramento area. They are the Sacramento Philharmonic, the Sacramento Ballet and the Crocker Art Museum, which is to each receive $325,000; the Sacramento Opera, a $250,000 grant; and the Magic Circle Theatre of Roseville, a $200,000 grant. The $1.4 million in grant money is to be used over a three-year period.


November 7, 2007
Call Kurtis ... uh, Anna

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I enjoyed Kurtis Ming's special report Tuesday night on how some online shoppers get bilked by an outfit called Webloyalty, Inc., which disguises monthly charges on a user's bill.

I also liked the nearly identical report by KPIX investigative reporter Anna Werner, which aired on Nov. 2. Channel 13 has yet to post the video from Ming's report on its Web site, but, trust me, it's pretty much the same as Werner's package, only with Ming's voiceover.

(UPDATE: Channel 13 now has posted the video online. View it here.)

Throughout, Ming throws out phrases such as "the people we interviewed" and "Fernandez told us...." Turns out, it was Werner, not Ming, who did the asking. Introducing the piece, Ming boasted: "Let's see if I can figure out what's going on..."

Silly me. I thought this was actually reporting by Ming.

Sure, KPIX is a CBS sister station to KOVR, but it seems to me a reporter's got to acknowledge that his work came from another station. Example: When The Bee runs a story written by a Fresno Bee reporter, it credits the Fresno paper, right there in the byline.

But Steve Charlier, vice president of news for Channel 13, defended the use of Werner's report.

"We work with KPIX on multiple stories daily," Charlier says. "We have an open feed. Probably in a day we'd share two stories each way with KPIX. Anna and 'Call Kurtis' work together all the time and sometimes split shoots."

But what would it have hurt if Ming had added one sentence to his intro, something along the lines of "Anna Werner of KPIX filed this report"?

Charlier's response: "I resent what you're implying. We run about 200 stories a year in which a person calls Kurtis and it's strictly local and probably another 25 that the premise might come from another CBS O-and-O (owned and operated station) and we'll go out and localize.

"Then we'll probably run another 15 or so that, from a legal standpoint, the company will say, we prefer you air their story." Charlier says Tuesday night's Call Kurtis report fell into that category.

"To compare newspapers to TV in this case would be wrong. The advantage of having an O-and-O station is that you can share stories."

OK, this isn't as bad as Channel 3 recently running a video news release without attribution, but still....


November 7, 2007
Pre-'Project' show

Project-Runway-tv.jpgI like to keep the lines of communication wide open between me and the folks at Bravo. That's because some of my favorite shows (read: on fashion) are on the cable network.

Anyway, as I mentioned Tuesday in a Scene story, the four-disc DVD of "Project Runway Season 3" is out, with the fourth season set to launch next Wednesday. (I'll have an interview with the show's Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum that day, also in Scene.)

But, enough of that. Check this out: The Bravo folks tell me that, for the first time since the show's been on the air, the designers (of Season 4) held a pre-show fashion show Tuesday at Lincoln Center. It was a show for fans of "Project Runway."

It was also a chance for me to catch a glimpse of what some of the designers might have up their creative sleeves. I saw some photos of their work and thought 21Q fans would like to see them, too.

Pictured above is contestant Jack's take on black-and-white prints. Jack, 38, is a Cal grad who went on to the Parsons School for Design in New York. For the past four years, Jack has been the design director at Weatherproof Active Wear.

Project-Runway.jpgAnother designer is Kit, 26, who is from Los Angeles and has spent time soaking up the culture of Florence, Italy. She now designs mostly for private clients. Several of her designs are pictured right.

So, what do you think?

By the way, among the attendees at Tuesday's show was "Project Runway" judge Nina Garcia, along with Tim and Heidi, and the cast of "The Real Housewives of Orange County," which launched its new season Tuesday night on Bravo. (OK, enough about Bravo.)

Except for this: If you want to see a video of the Lincoln Center show, click here.

And, if you just happen to make it over to Bravo's Web site, there's an actual clock ticking down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to the Season 4 debut.

Hey, with this whole Hollywood writers strike going on, a fashion competition might just be the TV ticket!


November 7, 2007
Take that!

logofinalsm2il1.jpgSometimes, revenge is a dress best served hot on a catwalk.

That's certainly the attitude of local fashion designer Cyndi Rose.

Cyndi, 24, will debut The Sweetest Revenge clothing line at the stroke of midnight Friday at the Empire Club, 1417 R St. I chatted with her the other day about the inspiration for her collection, and it has everything to do with her desire to make it as a fashion designer - and to send a message to a guy who once did her wrong.

"My company is called The Sweetest Revenge because it was all about finding inspiration from a broken heart," she says. "My boyfriend and I were friends through high school and then we developed a relationship - until he left me in 2004. It was a rocky, rocky breakup."

To top it off, the guy left Cyndi with this parting shot: "You'll never be successful."

So, Cyndi enrolled in the design program at UC Davis. She took a break this year to do her collection, which she's been contemplating and sketching for about three years.

"This particular line is a fusion of club wear with vintage fashion," Cyndi says. "The first part of the collection features the bright pinks, then it progresses until you get to the wines, berries and, eventually, black."

Fifteen models will show the line. And, get this, Cyndi auditioned them by asking if they've ever had their hearts broken or experienced a huge disappointment.

"I was encouraging them to express that, to take something painful and turn it into something beautiful," she says.

Cyndi has big plans for the future: a Valentine's Day collection, for example. And she hopes to start a Sweetest Revenge blog soon.

She says she chose the Empire for her big night because it's a hot party venue and, well, this show is all about celebrating a now-mended heart.

Want to go? Doors open at 9 p.m. Friday. The cover charge is $15 for folks 18 to 20, $10 for those 21 and over.

As for the ex-beau? Cyndi says he now lives in San Diego.

She admits that at one point after their breakup, she headed to SoCal and spent three weeks looking for an outfit, just in case she might run into him!

"I didn't," she says, "but that's when I decided, heck, I've always wanted to be a designer. From that point forward, you can see my ex in my clothes - your exes would want you back if they saw you in them!"


November 6, 2007
'Dancing With the Stars' in Sacramento

What? No Heather Mills?!

Nope, that "Dancing With the Stars" alum won't be among those featured when "Dancing With the Stars - The Tour" moseys its way into Sacramento, Dec. 20 at Arco Arena.

But here's who will be on foot: Wayne Newton, Cheryl Burke, Sabrina Bryan, Drew Lachey and Joey Lawrence - not to mention dancing pros Karina Smirnoff and Kym Johnson.

Tickets (ranging from $50.50-$160) go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday through Ticketmaster.com or by calling (916) 649-8497.

November 6, 2007
Nostalgia: Leslie Nielsen shills for 'TV40'

Last week, we showed you an old KZAP commercial, but this week's trip down memory lane comes from the TV archives via YouTube. It's the most brilliant, kitschy TV promo out there.

It's from 1986, and it features actor Leslie Nielsen (pre-"Naked Gun" movies) extolling the virtues of "News Star 40," the state-of-the-art (back then!) hulking satellite truck used by "TV40" (now Fox40).

From the cheesy opening scene of the guys in the booth stressing because the live shot fell through ("I know we shouldn't have tried to go live ... beyond the Nut Tree") to Nielsen's mock serious intonation ("Yes, beyond the Nut Tree"), it's pure gold.

This was a time, remember, when live shots from anywhere beyond Vacaville was darn near impossible.

Enjoy the video.

November 6, 2007
Shopping kicks off in El Dorado Hills

MAJ DERMALOGICA.JPGDuFault's Beauty Boutique in El Dorado Hills isn't waiting for "Black Friday" - you know, that manic shopping day that comes the day after Thanksgiving? - to bust out its holiday goodies.

The boutique, in the El Dorado Hills Town Center (2356 Town Center Blvd., Suite 114), is hosting a holiday reception from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday. What you'll see? A preview of great gift ideas and beauty items.

And hey, there will be co-hosts, including Franco Ferrini Shoes and Mon Bijou Jewelers. 'Tis the season to be charitable, so there will be raffle drawings, too, to benefit the El Dorado Women's Center.

As with most of these open house-type events, food and beverages are a must.

Owner Jeffrey DuFault sent an e-mail saying, "We're kicking off the holiday season in grand style with fun gift items, great food and wine. Most importantly, guests will enjoy the good company of neighbors, friends and local merchants."

See, I told you there would be refreshments!

Some of the featured beauty items, which the boutique carries, will include Jan Marini Skin Research, Dermologica (pictured) and bareMinerals makeup.

While you're there, you just might be enticed to make a beauty appointment. Always pays to think ahead during the holidays. For more info: (916) 933-2233.

November 6, 2007
Ryan Yamamoto busts a move

NEWS--10.jpg

I know I should get all huffy and indignant when local stations waste precious air time, sending reporters onto the sets of popular prime-time shows that just happen to be broadcast on the same network.

But I'm having a hard time getting outraged by News10's Ryan Yamamoto, who will report tonight from the set of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." That's because I'm too busy ROTFL at Yamamoto's dance moves on this funny promo the station played Monday night.

Ryan, Ryan, Ryan.

Put some funk into it, dude.

November 6, 2007
Thursday is the new Friday: Kate Gaffney at Marilyn's

kategaffney_toddcrawford.jpgI know you're looking for something to do Thursday night (scientifically proven fact: Thursday night is the new Friday night - look it up) and, also, I totally meant to put this in today's Coming Distractions column, but didn't. So, here ya go:

Thursday night, head over to Marilyn's (908 K St.) and check out Kate Gaffney's Rock 'n' Roll Show.

The East Coast-native-turned NorCal homegirl has a new CD due out in January, "The Coach," produced by Barrie Maguire (The Wallflowers, Natalie Merchant), and featuring an all-star cast that includes Jackson Browne and Jackie Greene.

So hey, get a sneak preview at Marilyn's. The 21-and-over show starts at 9 p.m. and costs $7 at the door. Liani Moore is also on the bill..

For more info, hop on over to Marilynsonk.com.

November 5, 2007
And in this corner...

brunocohen.JPG Elliott Troshinsky.JPG


First there was Rosie O'Donnell vs. Donald Trump. Then 50 Cent vs. Kanye West.

Now, it's Bruno Cohen vs. Elliott Troshinsky.

Yup, in the current edition of the well-read TV industry trade publication, Broadcasting & Cable, Channel 13/31's Cohen (left) flings down the gauntlet to Channel 3/My58TV's Troshinsky (right).

Here's a sampling from the story:

KCRA has long been the big dog in Sacramento, but the CBS-owned KOVR appears poised to stop that. With new news sets, overhauled sales operations and a revamped approach to programming on both KOVR and sister CW station KMAX, the CBS duopoly is on top of its game.

“KCRA still outbills us, but if you look at how the duopoly performs, we substantially outbill them,” says KOVR/KMAX President/General Manager Bruno Cohen.

Read the entire story here.

November 5, 2007
'Oprah' and the hair makeovers

I cut out early on Friday to catch “Oprah” because a) I’m probably the only living soul in Sacramento without a TiVo, and b) local stylist Keinya Beasley appeared on the show, which airs at 4 p.m. weekdays on Channel 3.

Keinya, who owns Modern Hair & Day Spa in Rocklin (5961 W. Oaks Blvd.), called earlier in the week to fill me in on the details.

She was asked to accompany celebrity hairstylist and friend Kimberly Kimble,, one of five nationally known stylists asked by the show to come and do 100 makeovers in 48 hours on women (and one guy) in various stages of their lives. The show’s title was “The Great American Haircut.” And, I have to admit, it was pretty great.

The show opened with Oprah whacking off actress Hilary Swank’s hair to donate to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths campaign for women going through cancer treatments. Then, the celebrity stylists took over. Besides Kimberly, there was Ted Gibson, Rita Hazan, Harry Josh and Ken Paves.

They – and their teams – had their own studio “salons,” where they were met with a host of hair challenges. For example:

* A woman who hadn’t cut her hair since 1974.
* A woman who went prematurely gray in her 20s but wanted a change in her 40s.
* An award-winning teacher whose students were on hand to see her transformation.
* Eric, a.k.a. “The Caveman,” who hadn’t cut his hair or shaved since, well, living in a cave.

There were tons of smiles after the makeovers, mixed with tears. As Oprah put it: “Hair is emotional.”

Some women had their hair cut; some got extensions. But, more than any makeover procedure, the majority of them got new color.

On Saturday, I happened to be at the Laura DuPriest Salon & Day Spa in Roseville. Some of the women getting their hair done had seen the show on Friday and were eager for a possible new look. Yours truly included.

To read more about Keinya's experiences, check out my previous posting. Just
click here.

November 5, 2007
Love, love, love

lovedoc.jpg

Rarely have a film and a venue seemed so predestined. "The Love Documentary," playing at 7:30 tonight and Thursday at the Crest Theatre, bills itself as a "Nick and Jim Let's Make a Movie and Show It at the Crest Production."

Locally made by Nick Shelley and James Schanning, the documentary also features Crest general manager Sid Garcia-Heberger among the many women-, men- and- children-on-the-street interviewees attempting to answer the question "What is love?"

Other local lights include Winko Ljizz of the roaming Acoustic Sanctuary, leading revelers (pictured above) in a spirited rendition of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" inside his van.

Tickets are $10 general ($5 for children 13 and under) and are on sale at the Crest or through Tickets.com by calling (800) 225-2277 or clicking here.

November 5, 2007
Our 'Dumb ... Sacramento'?

bookcover_onion.jpg

Oh, those wacky "journalists" at The Onion. Such kidders.

The editors of the satiric Web site, podcast, videos, newspaper, etc., now have produced its first atlas - "Our Dumb World: The Onion's Atlas of the Planet Earth, 73rd Edition" ($27.99, Little Brown, 256 pages).

And, yes, Sacramento get a mention.

On the "map" of California, there's a star next to Sacramento and this identifier: "Voted third most arbitrary location for a state capital."

Don't you feel a swell of pride? For The Onion's snarky take on San Francisco and Los Angeles, you'll have to pick up the book yourself.

(And, no, the "atlas" did not say which cities are the first and second most arbitrary locations for a capital.)

November 2, 2007
Torch Club plays the blues tonight for a possible cure

Rick Byrd has had epilepsy all his life, but the seizures have gotten worse in recent years.

So the 49-year-old local musician - he used to sing with the Ronnie Montrose rock band Montrose and currently does time with Mick Martin & the Blues Rockers - is set to undergo experimental brain surgery at UC Davis.

And you can help.

Tonight at the Torch Club (904 15th St.), catch Byrd with Mick Martin & the Blues Rockers. The 21-and-over show starts at 9 p.m. and all proceeds will go toward Byrd's medical bills.

So, you know, feel free to donate more than the $8 cover charge. For more information, call (916) 443-2797 or visit www.torchclub.net.

November 2, 2007
It's 'Shu' time at midtown's Mosaic

SHU-UEMURA.jpg

When you get a salon exclusive in Sacramento, you simply must brag about it on 21Q. And that's what I found at Mosaic Salon in midtown (2700 J St.)

Owner J.C. Allen stopped by to show off the newest hair-care line that debuts today at her salon. It's the Shu Uemura Art of Hair collection from Japan, and her salon has an exclusive on the 10-piece line, which includes a hair foundation, a shape paste, a silk oil and a micro-fine finishing spray. These are styling and treatment products for both sculpting and holding a look.

So, how did J.C. pull off such a coup?

Well, Mosaic also carries the Kerastase line of hair-care products. In fact, her salon was the No. 1. Kerastase seller back in May, nudging out the salon at Caesars Palace in Vegas!

Kerastase recommended Mosasic to Shu Uemura, and the deal was done.

"Actually, the two product lines pair nicely," J.C. says.

Each product is $30. And, of course, you don't have to be a Mosaic client to test drive the Shu Uemura line. Give them a call at (916) 558-2700.

November 2, 2007
Another Channel 13 reporter is leaving

bransonserene.jpg

This time, it's Serene Branson (pictured), who will be departing Sacramento's CBS affiliate after the November sweeps.

Branson, who has been at Channel 13 for two years, has told news director Steve Charlier that she will head to Los Angeles to try her hand in the nation's No. 2 market. She already has some freelance stories lined up for KCBS.

"(Los Angeles) has always been my goal," says Branson, who grew up in Southern California and attended UCLA. "I worked in Palm Springs and Santa Barbara to get my feet wet. When the opportunity presented itself up here in Sacramento, people told me that Sacramento is a great news market and that people in L.A. will take you seriously from Sacramento.

"I came up here and was very honest with Steve from the start that I was hoping to use Sacramento as a stepping stone, for lack of a better term."

Charlier says "we encouraged Serene to grow and spread her wings from here. I hope it works out for her. She's got a good opportunity at KCBS."

Branson's departure comes a week after Bridget Cannata left the station for personal reasons.

"The one thing we tell our reporters, especially as we brought people in to rebuild the station, is that we're a large company and we want to help our reporters stay within the company and go to a bigger market. That's a sign we're doing our job," Charlier says.

November 2, 2007
T.J. Maxx bound for Lincoln

T.J.-Maxx.jpg
The city of Lincoln doesn't have a T.J. Maxx store. But it will on Sunday. The Framington, Mass.-based company, which touts itself as the nation's largest off-price retailer, will open for business in Lincoln Crossing.

(It will be the 11th store in what's considered the Sacramento market.)

At a whopping 30,000 square feet, the new T.J. Maxx will open its doors at 10 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on opening day. Regular store hours will be 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.

I didn't realize it, but T.J. Maxx opened its first store 30 years ago! And, with the Lincoln opening, there will something called a "Maxx Moment." In a release from T.J. Maxx, spokeswoman Sonya Cosentini writes: "It's that minute of euphoria when a shopper finds that amazing piece of merchandise at an amazing price!"

Well, heck, bring on the bargains. And get this: Each week, the store will rake in more than 10,000 new items. So no stale merchandise.

* Also this weekend, Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa will be the setting for something called the Dockers Style Sessions, from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. It's an opportunity to check out the new Dockers collection for women, receive mini-makeovers from a Sephora team of makeup artists, and get your fill of hors d'oeuvres.

Style expert Katie Rice Jones, who has appeared on the Style network and the TV Guide Channel, will be at the event, as well as experts from Glamour and Lucky magazines. There are one-on-one style appointments available, esspecially between 3 and 4 p.m.

To RSVP, e-mail dockersrsvp@condenast.com.

The event is free, so if you're up for a fashion-filled Saturday afternoon, check it out! The club is at 1220 Arden Hills Lane.

November 2, 2007
'Beowulf' at Imax

Fans of epic, ancient poems in 3-D are in luck: "Beowulf" will open at the Esquire Imax theater on Nov. 16, the same day it opens everywhere. This marks a rare event for Sacramento, where it can take weeks for big releases to appear in Imax form. (The film will play in non-Imax 3-
D at some other theaters).

As he did in "The Polar Express," director Robert Zemeckis uses a motion-capture process to create realistic-looking animated versions of actors, including Angelina Jolie , who plays the seductress mother of the monster Grendel.

Seeing Jolie in motion capture won't be much of a stretch. She has looked slightly computer-animated to me ever since "Tomb Raider." British actor Ray Winstone, who plays Beowulf, is a different story.

Here's Winstone in "Beowulf":

winnie

And here he is in the 1997 film "Nil by Mouth":

raywin.jpg

Granted, Winstone has had a decade to hit the gym and lay off the ciggies, but something tells me his new, chiseled look had more to do with Zemeckis' technical wizardry.

November 2, 2007
Local TV News Sweeps: The Good/Bad

14481350_240X180.jpg
Courtesy of KCRA
A local Toyota Tacoma driver tells Channel 3's Lynsey Paulo that his vehicle is unsafe.

(Note: In case you didn't notice, the local TV news sweeps period began Thursday night. We'll be checking in from time to time on the good, the bad and the just over-the-top in the late news - the big battleground.)

The good:
All four stations had interesting and relatively restrained "special reports."

Channel 3's consumer reporter Lynsey Paulo reported that the Toyota Tacoma has a "surging" malfunction (although the automaker won't call it that.)

Channel 13's Sam Shane reported on how the roofs of new houses are in greater danger of collapsing during a fire because they use metal trusses rather than nails. (But, Sam, did you have to carry around that metal slab throughout the newscast?)

News10's Cristina Mendonsa went to Reno to report on a special school for gifted children and how, in California, we tend to neglect our most gifted students in underachieving GATE programs.

And Fox40, which doesn't label its reporting as "special reports," had a thorough and detailed political piece by Lonnie Wong on the ballot initiative that could change the way California's electoral votes are distributed.

The bad:
Channel 13 proved once more that it's not above scaring viewers just to get them to tune in.

Right before the conclusion of "Without a Trace" - a show that scares most parents in its own right - anchor Pallas Hupe delivered this "teaser" for the 10 o'clock news: "Parents and cops are afraid there may a shooting tomorrow at a local school...."

And now, back to "Without a Trace."

What?!

If that's not the most blatant trick to get people to tune in, I don't know what is. It was total manipulation. Of course, we waited a half hour for Channel 13 to present its story. It turned out to be a follow-up on the teen and his father found murdered in their North Highlands home.

Reporting on a prayer vigil, Ron Jones quoted teens as they speculated that the shooting might have been gang-related - but without a speck of facts to back that up. Then, Jones interviewed a mother of one teen, who refused to be identified on camera, who said she was going to keep her child home from school - the same one that the murdered boy attended - because she feared "retaliation."

What was drastically downplayed in the report was that police have not linked this case with gang activity.

Contrast Channel 13's sensationalistic coverage to that of the competition:

Fox40's Kye Martin and News10's Monika Diaz struck just the right tone, interviewing friends and witnesses but not engaging in wild speculation. Chanenl 3's Richard Sharp, though not as over the top as Channel 13, did interview the same concerned mother whom Jones queried, but at least Sharp didn't dwell on one woman's idle speculation.

November 1, 2007
Carla Meyer's Movie Picks

hirsch-holbrook

Every week in Friday's Weekend Ticket section, I review new movies and I recommend previously released ones. Can't wait to read it? Well, this feature now appears at 21Q each Thursday afternoon.

My picks among recently released movies:

Dan in Real Life
3 stars
Steve Carell negotiates his character’s elation, defeat and embarrassment quite handily, and the film’s multigenerational setup showcases his versatility. Convincingly overprotective of his rebellious teenage daughter and tender toward his youngest child, Dan is still boyish enough to earn – and heed – gentle scoldings from his mother, played by Dianne Wiest.
Rated PG-13

The Darjeeling Limited
3 stars
Jason Schwartzman, who co-wrote the film with cousin Roman Coppola and director Wes Anderson, is a bit of a poker face. But he provides some fun moments as his character, Jack, flirts with a train attendant (a winning Amara Karan). Jack appears to embrace his role as kid brother and screw-up.
Rated R

Into the Wild
4 stars
Sean Penn’s breathtaking and compassionate film so fully imparts its wandering hero’s (Emile Hirsch, pictured above with Hal Holbrook ) quest for freedom that even a scene in which he burns money makes its point. Though it’s hard to let go of what the money represents, it is, ultimately, just paper.
Rated R

November 1, 2007
Radio nostalgia: KZAP on YouTube

I found this old commercial for erstwhile Sacramento rawwwk station KZAP on YouTube and just had to share.

Now, KZAP left the airwaves long, long before my time, but old-timers say it was (and note the ironic use of '70s lingo here) a "bitchin' " free-form experimental station. Had it stuck around, KZAP would've turned 40 next year.

Duuuuude!

Anyway, here's a Wikipedia entry on KZAP for the uninitiated.

November 1, 2007
Rocklin stylist to be on 'Oprah'

kbeasley-web.jpgOK, I'm going to see to it that I'm home by 4 p.m. on Friday. Why? Could be that I'm probably the only living soul in Sacramento without a TiVo!

And I simply must catch "Oprah." That's because local stylist Keinya Beasley (shown left in a picture courtesy of Vivian Brassell) will be appearing on the show, which airs on Channel 3.

Keinya, who owns Modern Hair & Day Spa in Rocklin (5961 W. Oaks Blvd.), called to fill me in on the details.

She was asked to accompany celebrity hairstylist and friend Kimberly Kimble, one of five nationally known stylists asked by the show to come and do makeovers on women (and one guy) in various stages of their lives.

(Kimberly's clientele includes Mary J. Blige and Beyonce, and Keinya carries Kimberly's hair-care products and extensions in her salon.)

"At first, I asked Kimberly how long it would take," Keinya says. "And she said, 'Hey, it's Oprah!' So, we hopped on a plane for Chicago on Oct. 14 and started shooting the next day."

Keinya was - to put it mildly - overwhelmed by what the Oprah team had assembled. Each of the stylists - and their teams - had been told to bring everything they had in their hair arsenals.

"We did about 35 of the makeovers, and we had our own salon built right in the show's studio," Keinya says. "These weren't just average women. Some of them were cancer survivors who wanted to look and feel like themselves again.

"In fact, one woman we did was crying after she saw her new look," Keinya says. "She survived ovarian cancer. She told us, 'God saved my life, you saved my hair.' I've never experienced anything like it. I expected it to be great, but it was over the top. We actually changed lives."

Of course, Keinya got to meet Oprah. "She was in the hallway, barefoot and carrying her shoes in her hand. She greeted everyone and said, 'Let's get to work.' "

Oprah herself wielded some cutting shears, I'm told. While checking in on the stylists, Oprah apparently whacked off actress Hilary Swank's locks to donate to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths campaign for women who have lost their hair because of cancer treatments.

"We taped two shows," Keinya says. "In December, Oprah will bring the celebrity stylists back ... to talk about the makeovers, which also included audience members."

Check back here at 21Q for more on that.

In the meantime, because of her experience on "Oprah," Keinya says she now plans to do makeovers in her Rocklin salon at least once a month. For more information, call (916) 663-6255.

November 1, 2007
Change of fashion venue

I just got a call from Cyndie French, whose Magnum Opus Fashion Show - scheduled for Saturday night - now has a change of venue.

"It's now going to be held at the Clarion Hotel (2600 Auburn Blvd.) instead of the Hard Rock Cafe," she says. "Everything is still the same - start time, designers, etc."

If you've already purchased tickets, they'll be honored at the new venue.

The fashion show is an opportunity to raise funds for Derek's Wish Foundation, which Cyndie organized after the death last year of her son, Derek Madsen, from a rare form of cancer.

If you missed my earlier blog on the show, here are the details.

* Doors open at 7, with a buffet dinner to follow.

* There will be at least 10 local designers participating, including RJ Designs, AY Clothing, Nicole Zambolla, Venus Creations and Allen Tram.

* And there will be dancing till 1 a.m.

Tickets are $40; VIP tickets go for $55. They're available at IKON Boutique in Downtown Plaza or at the Magnum Opus Web site. Just click here.

For more information about Derek's Wish Foundation, click here.



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