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December 31, 2007
My Top 10 of everything

So, here's the deal: As a general assignment entertainment/pop culture writer for The Bee, I cover a lot of things: movies, music, books, the Web, fashion, TV, the media. And mostly, that's a good thing. But sometimes, I'll admit, I feel a bit left out when it comes to the year-end Top 10 lists because I don't get asked to contribute.

I know, I know, boo-whatever-hoo.

But just indulge me, OK? Please?

With that, here is my Top 10 of Everything for 2007:

AgentRibbons_3.JPG Top Album
Arcade Fire's "Neon Bible"

This sophomore album was as smart, heartfelt and as adventurous as their first.

Top Album - local
Agent Ribbons (pictured at right) "On Time Travel and Romance"

Gorgeous, sultry orchestral pop

Top Song
Rilo Kiley- "Silver Lining"

If only for the lyrics "I was your silver lining but now I'm gold." Love it so much, in fact, that it's my ringtone. A very close second: Lily Allen's "Everything is Wonderful" for its peppy little cynicism.

Top Song, local
Agent Ribbons - "Chelsea, Let's Go to the Circus."

Again, there were a lot of great local songs this year (from the likes of Mariee Sioux, Lee Bob Watson, Knock Knock, Ancient Sons, etc.), but this one really stuck with me. It's whimsical, melodic and crafted like a fine short story.

Top Local Show
Way too many shows to list, but trust me, the aforementioned Agent Ribbons, along with the Poplollys, Knock Knock, An Angle, Jackpot and the Helper Monkeys, all delivered some magic performances.

Top Show Not By a Local Band

This April show at the Library rocked. I danced all night. Enough said.

Top Film

I almost chose "Juno," but I've seen "Once" twice, just got it on DVD and am dying to watch it again. Plus, the soundtrack was in heavy rotation all year. Just a heartbreakingly awesome film.

Top TV Show

SOOO hard to choose this because I've kind of been a couch potato lately. Runners-up include "The Sopranos," "Flipping Out" and "The Office."

Top TV Show That I Just Discovered
"Ugly Betty"

I seriously watched all of season one on DVD in about a week. Told you I'd been a couch potato lately.

Top New Book I Actually Read
"No One Belongs Here More Than You," Miranda July.

I tend to be cheap when it comes to new books and wait until they come out in paperback, but I bought this new hardback collection of short stories the second it came out and devoured it right away.

So that's it - thanks for letting me vent share. I feel better now and ready to take on 2008 with a refreshed sense of optimism and anticipation. Or, something like that.

December 31, 2007
Best of the 'Best-of' lists: The finale


Let's go out on a happy note, shall we?

Sure, we could dwell on the real and terribly serious top stories of the year: The Virginia Tech massacre, the Bhutto assassination, lead paint in toys, subprime mortgages, the Iraq War, etc.

But, why be depressed on New Year's Eve?

So, we're going all positive and will end our "Best of the Best-of Lists" with MSNBC's "Happiest Stories of 2007."

* Happiest story, chosen by MSNBC editors: Wesley Autrey (pictured) , the New York man who jumped on to subway tracks to save a teen who had fallen.

* Happiest story, chosen by MSNBC viewers: An 11-year-old kid in Decatur, Ala., who sleeps in a trash bin but was named his school's "Student of the Year."

December 28, 2007
There will be bloodshot eyes


"There Will Be Blood" is many things. A Paul Thomas Anderson ("Magnolia") film. An adaptation of an Upton Sinclair novel. A vehicle for yet another extraordinary performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.

What it does not seem to be, at least on the surface, is midnight-movie fodder. Yet "Blood" will play at midnight Saturday in a preview showing at the Tower Theatre. Meaning that viewers of this epic-length Oscar contender will hit the theater's exits around 2:45 a.m.

What's next, a Trash Film Orgy presentation of "Atonement"?

December 28, 2007
Great Performances in '07: Benicio Del Toro in 'Things We Lost in the Fire'

In Sunday's Ticket+, I will be sharing my Top 10 movies of 2007. In the same spirit, I am resuming my "Great Performances in '07" feature for 21Q. (This is an occasional feature - emphasis on "occasional" - praising performances overlooked by most end-of-the-year awards.)


Near the top of my list is Benicio Del Toro in "Things We Lost in the Fire," a movie that disappeared from theaters too soon after its release in October.

One of a handful of American actors who gives a good-to-great performance every time out, Del Toro is downcast yet electrifying in "Fire." His performance as Jerry, a recovering alcoholic trying to resume a semblance of a normal life, plays as a kind of apology. The defeated posture and near-constant wince tell us Jerry is always aware that he has disappointed people.

At the same time, Del Toro shows how much still remains in this guy, who is smart, funny and incredibly magnetic. Of course, the magnetic part might simply be Del Toro, whose charisma jumps off the screen regardless of the role he plays.

December 28, 2007
Carla Meyer's Movie Picks

Movies to see over the sort-of holiday weekend:

3 stars
It’s something like fate that leads the 6-year-old daughter (a quietly expressive Rachel Covey) of a handsome divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) to notice the fairy princess (Amy Adams) knocking on the faux door of a billboard advertising a “Palace” casino. Whereas the lawyer thinks the woman might be loony, his daughter is pretty sure she’s a real princess.
Rated PG

3 stars
Together, screenwriter Diablo Cody and actress Ellen Page have crafted a highly memorable character. A pregnant 16-year-old with a dazzling wit, Juno is funny without being cruel, and hip without being dismissive. Moreover, she is always thinking, and that thinking results in a loquaciousness that is part of a still-emerging sense of self.
Rated PG-13


Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
3 1/2 stars
Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Sweeney Todd’s pie-making accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, can’t carry a tune. Yet she brings such feeling to her singing that her musical moments still compel. She and co-star Johnny Depp lend emotional resonance to characters who could have been only two-dimensional.
Rated R

December 28, 2007
More on Skipper Stu, Diver Dan and O.U. Squid

Stu Nahan as "Skipper Stu"/Courtesy of KCRA

One alert reader - and amateur local-TV historian - who'd prefer to not have his name shouted out here sent a missive to tell us that the Los Angeles Times' obit for Stu Nahan (which The Bee ran) got it wrong.

Well, that's what we at 21Q live for - to right the L.A. Times' wrongs!

Anyway, the L.A. Times wrote of Nahan: "While in Sacramento he was also the host of a children's TV program, appearing as 'Skipper Stu.' He would show cartoons while piloting his boat, the Channel Tender, accompanied by an octopus puppet, O.U. Squid."

No, no , no, says our Sactown TV historian. He writes:

"As I recall, 'Diver Dan,' another kids' show, had the boat named the 'Channel Tender.' He was on Channel 10. (Channel Tender?!...Get it?...Huh, huh?) In real life, he was Norm Bales, staff announcer and morning show host. He later earned a law degree and left television. Sadly, he died a number of years ago. His puppet sidekick was an octopus with the aforementioned name 'O.U. Squid.' (Corny, eh?) O.U. was pretty much just dangled on a string by a production crew member standing on a ladder who also provided the voice."

We found the ocular proof of our reader's claim with this clipping:

Photo courtesy of

December 27, 2007
New Jeffrey Valentine album ready for download

Got an iTunes gift certificate burning a hole in your pocket? Here's a little something to help you spend it that much faster. Helper Monkeys' bassist/singer Jeffrey Valentine has a new album out called "J.V. Bangers."

Sure, you could trek to your neighborhood record store (remember those?) and buy it there. But here's your chance to get all digital and download it from iTunes for $9.99.

Here's the thing - the Helper Monkeys are one of Sac's best punk bands. Valentine's solo stuff, however, is way more diverse than his monkey roots would suggest. Think country, electronica, pop and lots of other good stuff - all topped off with Valentine's quirky lyrics.

Want to preview some of the songs? Visit Valentine's MySpace page.

December 27, 2007
Best of the 'Best-of' lists: Part 9

bens spongeb

Now, this is odd: Of all the movie choices out there for Comcast video-on-demand customers in Sacramento to pick in 2007, the top choice was ... "Night at the Museum."

Yes, Sactown apparently loves Ben Stiller, even if the critics panned this flick.

Anyway, here's Comcast's list of top new movie releases among Sacramento viewers over the past year:

1. "Night at the Museum"
2. "Happy Feet"
3. "Borat"
4. "The Devil Wears Prada"
5. "300"
6. "Norbit"
7. "Alpha Dog"
8. "Blood Diamond"
9. "Freedom Writers"
10. "Barnyard"

And what are Sactown kids requesting from Comcast?
Here's the Top 10:

1. "SpongeBob SquarePants: Bubble Buddy"
2. "Diego: A Booboo on the Pygmy Marmoset"
3. "SpongeBob Squarepants: Walking Small"
4. "SpongeBob SquarePants: I had an Accident"
5. "SpongeBob SquarePants: Scaredy Pants"
6. "Barney: It's Home To Me"
7. "SpongeBob Squarepants: The Camping Episode"
8. "Dora the Explorer: BOO!"
9. "Dora the Explorer: Berry Hunt"
10. "Minnie's Birthday"

December 27, 2007
'Skipper' Stu Nahan, R.I.P.


Stu Nahan, famous for his film work as the sportscaster in the "Rocky" movies but perhaps best known in these parts for being a '50s kiddie TV host, "Skipper Stu," has died. He was 81. Read Nahan's obit here.

Nahan's death comes only a few months after he was given a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

A personal note: In 1983, when I was a painfully young sportswriter for the L.A. Times and in way over my head on the professional hockey beat, Stu (an ex-goalie and very clued in to the game) helped me learn the ropes. Stu, at that time, was a bigtime L.A. sportscaster and didn't have to help some snot-nosed 23-year-old newspaper hack. But he did, and I've always been grateful.

December 26, 2007
First impressions of My925radio


When you log on to the brand spankin' new My925radio (nee, Y92.5 FM) - which went live this morning - up pops the home page asking listeners/users to give personal information and also provide a list of their Top 5 songs.

It's obvious that the newly all-automated KGBY is going for the whole interactive, Web 2.0 thing. OK, fine.

Then, we clicked on the "Listen Live" link, and here are some of the songs that My925radio claims to be "my life, my music":

* They play: Foo Fighters' "Learn to Fly," a Top 100 hit from 1999.

We say: Hmm. Maybe the station is trying to challenge 98 Rock, after all.

* They play: Joey Scarbury's "Theme From 'Greatest American Hero'," which went to No. 2 on the pop charts in 1981.

We say: Whoa. What a head-spinning transition. Maybe the station is trying to go even lighter than former rival Mix 96.

* They play: Deep Blue Something's "Breakfast at Tiffany's," a Top 5 hit in 1995.

We say: OK. We're back on safer pop-rock footing. Sounds like our local "Jack" station.

* They play: Thompson Twins' "Hold Me Now," a hit from 1983.

We say: So, we go reeling back to bad-haircut '80s electronica pop. Kind of a "new" oldies vibe.

* They play: Gavin DeGraw's "I Don't Want to Be," a Top 10 hit in 2004 that was the theme song for the teen TV drama "One Tree Hill."

We say: Got to appeal to that teenage girl demographic, you know.

Our conclusion: Basically, the station is all over the musical map. There are no DJs, and the automated woman's voice that says the artist and the song title sounds uncannily like the woman who gives the time of day on the telephone.

December 26, 2007
Roger McGuinn cancels February show


Time to unmark your calendars because it looks like ex-Byrd Roger McGuinn has been forced to cancel his Feb. 1 appearance at the Mondavi Center.

Reason? Broken wrist. Yeah, ouch.

But, here's the good news: There is a chance that McGuinn may reschedule shows for later in 2008.

Course, you didn't hear that from me. After all, details on the cancellation and any new dates are supposed to be hush-hush.

So - as they say in the biz - stay tuned.

December 26, 2007
Best of the 'Best-of' lists: Part 8

garden-and-gun-3.jpg Cookie_Mag.jpg

Some fancy New York PR firm has released its annual list of "Hottest" magazines. Not the "Best," mind you. You won't find the New Yorker or the Atlantic Monthly here. Rather, it's the most buzzworthy.

Our two favorite "Hot" mags:

* Garden & Gun: "Amazingly the Evening Post Publishing Co. found a way to mix sporting life and Southern landscapes as if it were completely natural. Being Southern never looked so good."

* Cookie: "Increasingly popular among fashionistas who have graduated on to motherhood, Cookie's focus on style, beauty and home décor has resonated with a sophisticated audience."

December 25, 2007
Best of the 'Best-of' lists: Part 7


National Public Radio’s public affairs show “Fresh Air With Terry Gross,” always on my personal best-of list, recently featured its Top 10 Cultural Trends of 2007, as selected by commentator John Powers.

Of particular interest is No. 5 on the list, which Powers and Gross call “The TMZing of America.”

Powers quote:

“(TMZ) is pure celebrity gossip, insider, prying, almost like a paparazzi Web site with delusions of grandeur. It then later became a television show.

“No one in America can turn on their television or go on the Internet without noticing that we now have endless access to the most trivial details of celebrities and pseudo-celebrities and clowns’ lives, that nothing that someone like Britney Spears does is ever happening in private.

Now, at one level you might say this is just because we’re a corrupt nasty culture interested only in trivial people - and that may even be true, partly - but what struck me more about it was that the celebrities constantly on these sites being followed by cameras and having their anrtics shown on the Internet is that they are on the cutting edge of the tranformation in our culture where we’re breaking down the old ideas of what’s public and what’s private.

“What’s spooky is not just that Britney Spears is being followed. Go on YouTube sometime and somebody will actually post something on people having an argument in a restaurant. And they’ll post that argument on a Web site...And these are people who aren’t famous...The idea of there being a zone of privacy we all have around us is being whittled away, often deliberately and happily.”

December 24, 2007
Best of the 'Best-of' lists: Part 6


Google Zeitgeist is an algorithm set up by the popular search engine that charts the "fastest-rising" searches among users for the year.

Bear in mind, this list is not the most searches, by sheer numbers. It's simply those searches that spiked the most times, that gained the fastest over the course of the year.

We find it not at all surprising, then, that four of the Top 10 were social networking sites - five, if you count YouTube.

One other observation: Check out the Google graphic (above) of the fastest gainers by quarter. What it shows is how addicted people are to scandalous behavior.

Look at the huge spikes for Anna Nicole Smith in the wake of her overdose death, Don Imus after his racist remarks, and teen star Vanessa Hudgens after her nude photos appeared online.

We could make some pompous and profound tsk-tsking remark here, but we just can't muster the righteous indignation.

And, if you can't muster the energy to click on the hyperlink to the Zeitgeist page, here is the list:

Fastest Rising (U.S.)

1. iphone
2. webkinz
3. tmz
4. transformers
5. youtube
6. club penguin
7. myspace
8. heroes
9. facebook
10. anna nicole smith

December 24, 2007
My92.5 goes live Wednesday

Say goodbye to Christmas music by this man:


And, come Wednesday, say hello to these gnarly dudes:


This is going to be a shock to the ears of some radio listeners.

For those of you who missed the story: On Wednesday morning, Y92.5 FM (KGBY) switches formats and becomes My92.5, and the frequency will be rocking. No, make that rawwwwkkkin'!

Dude, the station that has been playing sappy Christmas music all month will switch to a "Rock/Alternative Hits" format sans live DJs. Move over Perry Como (pictured above) and Bing Crosby; here comes Def Leppard and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (also pictured)., the radio industry publication, got the inside scoop on the format change. Here's an excerpt from its story:

"The target audience is adults 30-49, college grads, homeowners and families. The station should attract a 55/45 female-to-male ratio, with a core target being a 39-year-old female.

"The buzzwords used in the format tutorial depict a station that's heavy on music and viral listener-interaction, described as "SACRAMENTO'S 'mypod.' Listeners are supposed to drive the programming, and there will be no 'big name talent' hosting 'shows.'

"The station will be jockless for the first 60-90 days and the document hinted that there may not be a need for any air talent at all. On the other hand, there will be heavy Web-interactivity, emphasizing lifestyle and the creation of a MySpace social networking section. Listeners will be encouraged to interface on
Web site photos, videos, music programming ideas and online contesting.

"A strong emphasis was placed on what will not be on the station: 'no cutesy sweepers .... no corny jingles ... no hype, swooshes or bells and whistles' and, of course 'no talent initially.'

"The artists listed in the station's typical playlists range from the late '80s to late '90s; the most recent of the tracks listed was released in 2000. The artists were either Rock, Pop or Alternative-based, ranging from No Doubt and Santana to Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Def Leppard."

December 21, 2007
Best of the 'Best-of' lists: Part 5


We've got two year-end lists for today, both depressing.

(Sorry, but if you want holiday cheer, try tuning in to Y92.5, where they're playing nothing but Christmas music. Oh, wait, they've laid off all the staff...Nevermind.)

Anyway, on with our Best of the "Best-of" Lists:

1. It's sad when the Word of the Year, as chosen by a vote on Merriam-Webster's Web site, is some totally made up geek speak that isn't even made up entirely of letters. It's"w00t" - a gamer's exhortation that means the same thing as "yea!" We say, nay.

But the rest of the online dictionary's Top 10 was interesting. We love the inclusion of the word "blamestorming."

2. The newspaper industry publication Editor & Publisher announced its Top 10 stories.

The good news: The massive industry job cuts wasn't No. 1. It finished second behind Rupert Murdoch (pitcured) buying the Wall Street Journal. Thanks, Rup.

December 21, 2007
Classy exit for Paul Robins

Y92.5 FM Paul Robins' on-air goodbye this morning was heartfelt but not schmaltzy, a fitting way to cap off one of the longest and most successful radio shows. (Beloved sidekick Lori Sacco, as Robins predicted, couldn't make it through without weeping.)

As we reported Thursday, Y92.5 will change formats on Dec. 26. Word is it will be completely automated - no live DJs - and we hear the name is expected to be My925.

The audio from Robins' goodbye will be posted later today on Y92.5's current Web site. Here are some highlights:

* "I'd try to describe what is happening, but that would require me to use radio industry buzzwords that I've been avoiding for two decades."

* "I would appreciate it if you wouldn't be mad at them (management). It does nobody any good and it's not their fault. There's nobody to be mad at."

Well, except maybe a bunch of corporate suits who work in San Antonio.

Too subtle? Here's a more blatant hint:


December 20, 2007
Rough year for reporter Catalina Martinez


Channel 3 confirmed today that its newest reporter, Catalina Martinez (pictured), has been let go. Her last day is Friday.

This is the second time in the past year that Martinez has found herself out of work. In May, she left Channel 19, Sacramento's Spanish-language station. But she was hired shortly thereafter by Channel 3.

Martinez declined to speak with The Bee, citing KCRA's policy that employees must get permission first from management.

KCRA news director Anzio Williams was unavailable for comment.

But station president and general manager Elliott Troshinsky said, "We're making some changes here. We had some things not work out." He declined to elaborate.

December 20, 2007
Y92.5 FM to change formats; Paul Robins' morning show to end


It will be the end of an era in Sacramento radio Friday morning when longtime Y92.5 (KGBY-FM) morning host Paul Robins signs off for the last time.

Robins, who hosted "The Paul & Phil Show" for 18 years and "The Paul Show" for the past year, has confirmed that he and sidekick Lori Sacco have been laid off as part of what is believed will soon be a major format switch for the soft-rock station.

"Anybody who does what I do and doesn’t know that this day is coming and doesn’t plan for it is a dummy," the 49-year-old Robins says. "There’s nobody at any radio station that ought to be thinking, 'I’m going to do this until I’m 65.' So, in that regard, nobody has the right to ever be surprised.

"I’ve always had my eyes wide open in this business and it happens sometimes. It’s very rare you get to pick the time. I know it sounds Pollyanna, but I’m not making it up: My overwhelming reaction is, 'Wow, isn’t it amazing I lasted 20 years?' And it has been really fun."

Neither Jeff Holden, general manager of Clear Channel's Sacramento stations, which includes Y92.5, nor station program director Sonia Jimenez returned calls or e-mails from The Bee asking for information about the expected format change.

Y92.5's new format is expected to be in place on Dec. 26, after the station's monthlong commitment to playing Christmas music ends.

There is industry speculation that Clear Channel will do the same thing to Y92.5 as it did to KBIG, another Clear Channel pop station in Los Angeles. That is, change it to an all-automated, slightly harder rock format.

As for Robins, he says he has been given permission by management to make an on-air goodbye. He says his final remarks will come just before 9 a.m., the end of the show. Clear Channel allowed Robins' former morning partner, Phil Cowan, to say goodbye to listeners last month when his KSTE political talk show was canceled and replaced by a syndicated consumer-affairs program.

"We’re not going to make a big deal about it and won’t talk about it until the end," Robins says. "It’s rare in radio that you get to say goodbye, and Phil was very fortunate to be able to do that. And wasn’t it a great goodbye? Similarly, I get the privilege of doing that, too."

In recent weeks, Robins has filled in for soon-departing Kelly Brothers as a host on the morning news on Clear Channel sister station KFBK (1530 AM).

Asked if he is a candidate to fill the spot when Brothers leaves in January, Robins says, "Yes, my name has been bandied about. But you'd need to ask management about (that position)."

December 20, 2007
Ugly is the new awesome, tonight at R15

Tired of being fashionable? Here's an excuse to break out the tacky and dated: Lipstick's Ugly Holiday Sweater Party at 10 tonight at R15 (15th and R streets).

Yes, if it has sequins, sparkles and oversized Christmas trees, put it on and proudly show it off. Bonus points for synthetic fabrics.

Admission is free and, in addition to spinning via deejays Nick, Roger and Shaun, there'll be holiday movies and seasonal drinks.

December 20, 2007
Anchor Sarah Gardner to leave KCRA


Sarah Gardner, a member of the KCRA anchor stable since 1993, is leaving the station after she and management failed to come to an agreement on a new contract. Her last day is Dec. 28.

Gardner has been an anchor on “KCRA News at 10” on sister station My58TV for the past few years and, since the departure last year of anchor John Alston, has filled in as an anchor on Channel 3.

“We had hoped that Sarah would stay, but she decided for personal and professional reasons to move on,” says Elliott Troshinsky, president and general manager of Channel 3 and My58TV. “We couldn’t reach an agreement that was satisfactory to both of us. We wish her all the best in the future.”

Gardner declined to discuss her negotiations with the station.

She did say that she will miss working at KCRA, but needed to make the decision for the sake of her family. She has a son with autism, and she and her husband, Chuck, helped co-found the M.I.N.D. Institute at UC Davis Medical Center. The M.I.N.D. Institute studies the causes, and helps in treatment of, autism.

"I love KCRA and love my job, getting to work with incredibly talented people," she says. "But it was one of those things where I wanted to make sure to give 100 percent to my family and 100 percent to my job, and the way things are now, it's impossible to do both."

Asked if Gardner sought a "flexible" schedule, Troshinsky says, "I don’t know what her reasons are for deciding this wasn’t right for her. But I respect her and like her. I only wish her the best."

News director Anzio Williams says others on the staff will fill in. "We have a lot of folks with talent," Williams says. "You'll be seeing more of Kevin Riggs and Pam Wu."

As for the long term, Troshinsky would not say when the two anchor positions would be filled. In January, Teo Torres will join the 10 p.m. newscast on My58TV, but Troshinsky says he is not a replacement for Alston.

"We do have a plan that will unfold over the next several months, but I’m not going to talk about it," Troshinsky says. "We certainly have a strong team of on-air people to continue doing what they do best."

December 20, 2007
Best of the 'Best-of' lists: Part 4


Each year, one of our favorite media-related lists is the Top 10 PR Blunders, as chosen by San Francisco's Fineman PR firm; see a Forbes story here.

This year's undisputed champ - no surprise whatsoever - was FEMA for its fake press conferences during the California wildfires. Hey, FEMA, doin' a heckuva job!

But we also liked the botched guerrilla marketing stunt in Boston by the Cartoon Network. What first appeared to be battery-operated, magnetic explosive devices (see photo above) turned out to be props to hype the show, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." But city authorities didn't know that at the time. They closed whole swathes - subways, freeways - of the city and called in the bomb squad.


December 19, 2007
You make the news call: Lois or Ellen?

ellen.jpg loishartttt.jpg

Let's pretend you run a local TV station.

You learn just after 2 p.m. that a Sacramento County Sheriff's officer has been shot by a suspect believed to be a gang member. The police have closed an entire south Sacramento neighborhood, looking for the suspect, who is believed to be holed up in a house. Schools are locked down at a time when children are supposed to be let out.

So, what do you do at around 3 p.m., when the story starts to come together?
Stay with regular programming or go live?

Here's what our local TV executives decided to do today:

News10: Stayed with "Ellen" (but had brief cut-ins at several junctures). After all, this was Day 10 of "Ellen's 12 Days of Giving." And she also was making quesadillas!

Channel 3: Preempted "Rachael Ray" and went live, sans commercials, with Dave Walker and Lois Hart anchoring, three reporters on the ground and the station's helicopter hovering.

Channel 19: Stayed with its soap opera, but anchor Jairo Diaz-Pedraza interrupted occasionally with updates.

Channel 13: Stayed with "Dr. Phil" for nearly half an hour before changing to live, commercial-free coverage heading into its regularly scheduled 4 p.m. newscast.

Fox40: Stayed with the game show, "Crosswords."

December 19, 2007
Rose Melberg brings good tidings


If you have yet to completely burn out on holiday music, then here's a little treat for you:

Former Sacramento resident Rose Melberg just put a new holiday MP3 on her MySpace page and it's a sweet little doozy: A cover of the Ramones "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)," recorded with her pal Gregory Webster.

Melberg is, of course, the singer-songwriter famed for her work with the pioneering early '90s band Tiger Trap which, sadly, only released one full-length album. The band earned a loyal, international following for its sweet grrrl group pop sound.

Melberg later played in bands such as the Softies and Go Sailor and now does mostly solo stuff from her Canadian home base.

Anyway, her rendition of the classic holiday punk tune is, just as you'd expect, simple and pretty.

Listen to it here.

December 19, 2007
Channel 3's ratings blizzard


Ohmigawd, people!: On Tuesday, there was water...falling...from the sky...right here in Sacramento! And, in the mountains, snow. Who would've predicted that?

So where do local TV viewers go for extended weather coverage?

Same place they go normally – Channel 3.

Only more so.

Tuesday’s “severe” weather was a bonanza to Channel 3, especially in morning news. Check out these numbers for the 6 a.m. hour (Note: Ratings chart the percentage of all homes with television; shares measure the number of TV sets turned on at a particular time):

Channel 3: 5.2 rating/21 share.
Channel 31’s “Good Day Sacramento”: 3.0/12.
News10: 2.7/10.5
Channel 13: 1.0/4
Fox40: 0.1/1

More impressive: At 5 p.m., KCRA logged a 12.2 rating with a 23 share, demolishing the competition.

No wonder local TV suits do rain dances in their offices this time of year.

December 18, 2007
Trent Lott as savvy media critic

Senate Lott.jpg

Well, the Federal Communications Commission today voted, 3-2, to ease restrictions on allowing a single media company to own a TV or radio station and a newspaper in the same market.

Here in Sacramento, we don't expect any earth-shaking media ownership changes.

But we can't let the controversy pass without noting this cogent media analysis from Mississippi Senator Trent Lott (above). Speaking at a recent Senate Commerce Committee hearing about the FCC proposal, which FCC chairman Kevin Martin says will help struggling newspapers, Lott went off on Martin:

"I don't get why Republicans would be crying alligator tears over newspapers having problems. What? What are you doing? Look. They are losing readership because times have changed. It's technology. It's also because they give so much garbage, people get tired of putting up with it. In my area, we buy (newspapers) to wrap our mullet with."

By mullet, we presume Lott meant the fish, not the hairstyle. But you never know.

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December 18, 2007
Best of the 'Best-of' lists: Part 3


Be on the lookout Wednesday when Time magazine names its annual, overhyped "Person of the Year."

Don't worry. They aren't going to honor us again. By "us," I mean "you."

Remember? Time named "You" - online users - as the POY for 2006. I'm laying down my money this year on Sen. Larry Craig Al Gore.

Meanwhile, for today's Best of the "Best-of" lists:


I'm thankful that I didn't make this list of top media corrections on the Web site Regret the Error. (Not that I haven't made my share of boo-boos this year, just nothing monumental.)

Here are just two examples of the top media corrections of the year:

(1) From Independent Saturday (UK) magazine:

"Following the portrait of Tony and Cherie Blair published on 21 April in the Independent Saturday magazine, Ms Blair’s representatives have told us that she was friendly with but never had a relationship with Carole Caplin of the type suggested in the article. They want to make it clear, which we are happy to do, that Ms Blair 'has never shared a shower with Ms Caplin, was not introduced to spirit guides or primal wrestling by Ms Caplin (or anyone else), and did not have her diary masterminded by Ms Caplin.' ”

(2) And, back in the U.S., Slate magazine:

In the May 25 “Explainer,” Michelle Tsai asserted that an eight ball is about 10 lines of cocaine. While the size of a line depends on personal preference, most users would divide an eight ball into more than 25 lines.
December 17, 2007
21Q: We've moved!

Location, location, location - any savvy-minded businessperson will tell you that that's half the battle to getting noticed and staying ahead.

Not that I - or any of my 21Q colleagues - have had anything against our virtual address at But hey - who doesn't like the chance for fresh digs now and then?

So, our new address is, because "" officially "retires" in a few days to sip frozen daiquiris somewhere in the Bahamas while the rest of us slave away.

But, don't worry. If you forget the new address, you'll still be automatically redirected to the new place. And, except for a few visual tweaks, nothing else is really changing - you'll still find tons of insider media scoops, fashion tips, band updates, movie picks, theater tidbits and other cool local happenings.

And snark. Plenty of snark. We love the snark - it makes our day go by just a little bit faster, you know?

So come on by and stay a while.

December 17, 2007
Project Blue Canyon Runway: Rating the TV news snow fashion

21Q's resident fashion expert, Leigh Grogan, is away for awhile. So it's left to me, your trusty media correspondent, to gamely take over and review both the coverage and the fashion choices presented by local TV news reporters strutting their stuff on the hoary foothills of Blue Canyon.

First, the coverage. Uh, nothing too scintillating to report here. It's the usual "Gee whiz - it's snowing and it's cold" report. We get the same old shots of motorists putting on chains. (Hey, in these times of dwindling newsroom resources, why not just rerun the old footage?)

Anyhoo, enough about the breathless reporting. Let's get to the really important they looked.

We start with News10's resident Zoolander, Dave Marquis:


A bold choice, Dave, going hatless. Such a dedicated follower of fashion is Dave that he risks hypothermia (heat escapes through the head, you know) for The Look. As for Dave's wardrobe, well, let's just say the official News10 jacket is not slimming. And we've seen oven mitts smaller than those black gloves he donned. But the red with the gold logo screams "serious newsman."

We turn now to Fox40's Kye Martin:


Oh my, Kye, that's such a Hillary Clintonian black hair band. Bravo! We usually like The North Face as a choice of outer garment, but the white stripes going every which way makes the whole ensemble look too, too busy. Kudos for the green fleece underlayer, though. Matches nicely. We didn't know Fox40 paid so well that you could afford such nice duds.

Up next, Channel 13's Rafer Weigel:


Work it, Rafer. Work it! Just adore the beanie pushed back a smidgen to accentuate your blonde locks. Nice accessorizing, having your notes strategically placed in the front pocket. Tres Anderson Cooper! But those snow pants are a touch too baggy, even for the snowboarder chic look.

And finally, here's Channel 3's Brian Hickey:


What a train wreck. Where to start? How about the over-reliance on KCRA branding? It's there on his breast pocket, across his forehead, the microphone he's holding, the graphics on the screen. I haven't seen this many logos since the last NASCAR race. And about the head gear: One or the other, Brian, choose. Either the hoodie or the beanie. Both is overkill.

December 17, 2007
Yes, Virigina, the 'Yule Log' will be back on Fox40

Good news for all you folks who absolutely must watch TV on Christmas morning.

Yup, same as last year, the "Yule Log" is returning to Fox40. The station announced today that the burning hunk of wood, brainchild of New York station WPIX lo those many years ago, will be sandwiched before and after Fox40's morning newscasts.

That's from 5 to 6 a.m. and then again from 8 to 9 a.m., for those who aren't familiar with the timing of the witty repartee of Fox40 morning talking heads Natalie Bomke and Evan Michael every weekday morning from 6-8 a.m.

December 15, 2007
Best of the 'Best-of' lists: Part 2

Mike Peters / Dayton Daily News / King Features Syndicate

Time for another installment of our best Best-of lists out there.

Today, we pass along Time magazine's top editorial cartoons for 2007.

Hmmm. Notice how often Dick Cheney comes up as a subject matter? What will the nation's editorial cartoonists going to do when Cheney retires to some controlled wildlife preserve to hunt quail?

Well, there's always a chance that Bill Clinton might become First Hubby. Lots of material there.

One personal note: Bee cartoonist Rex Babin got robbed and didn't make the top 10. But, for our money, we'll take Rex, day in and day out.

December 14, 2007
Correction: Adrienne Bankert sent a written apology to Jewish leader

CORRECTION: In a blog posting late Thursday, it was incorrectly reported that Channel 3 reporter Adrienne Bankert met with Michal Kohane, executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, to apologize for making derogatory statements about Jewish people.

Kohane, in fact, met only with KCRA management; she says she received a written apology from Bankert.

December 14, 2007
George Strait tickets go on sale Saturday

I have a feeling I'm going to get in a whole heapa trouble if I don't tip you off to this little tidbit.

So, this one's for the kajallion George Strait fans who've been calling and e-mailing me about his upcoming Sac show. (OK, it's really only been about five people, but still....)

Ta da!: Tickets to George Strait's Jan. 31 show at Arco Arena go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday through

Oh, and Josh Turner is also on the bill. Tix will set you back between $54.50-$64.50.

Happy now?

I know I am.

December 14, 2007
'Juno' + Ellen Page + Kimya Dawson = awesome soundtrack

There are a million and one reasons why I love Ellen Page in "Juno" (opening Friday in Sacramento - here's my interview with Page that ran in Sunday's Ticket+), but maybe one of the biggest is that, like me, she's a self-confessed music freak.

"I'm a huge music fan and I get very emotionally connected to music," Page told me during our recent interview.

Which meant that when "Juno" director Jason Reitman asked Page what kind of music her pregnant 16-year-old character might like, the 20-year-old actress (pictured with movie baby daddy Michael Cera) already had it figured out.

"I told him the Moldy Peaches - Jason didn't know who they were so I played him a CD and he just totally fell in love with them," Page says.

Loved 'em so much, in fact, that Reitman contacted Moldy Peaches singer Kimya Dawson to see if she wanted to contribute to the film's soundtrack.

Dawson's solo stuff, like her band's, is part of the so-called "anti-folk" movement - meaning it's soft and acoustic but not exactly sweet, placid, earnest or rabble-rousing.

It is, however, intimate, sassy and smart and perfectly fits the film's quirky nature - and young Juno MacGuff's personality

So much so that Juno gets to sing the Moldy Peaches' "Anyone Else But You" in a scene for the film.

It almost goes without saying that Page was over-the-moon about this opportunity.

"That song's been in my life for years - it's on a lot of my 'Hey, good sir, want to fall in love with me?' CD mixes," she says. "I put that song on the mix CD I gave to my first boyfriend in high school."

And yes, just like Juno, Page can sing and play guitar - she's even done a few coffeehouse gigs in her native Halifax, Nova Scotia.

You know, if this acting thing doesn't work out for her (although Page did just snag a Golden Globe "Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical" nomination for her "Juno" role), it's good to know she's got another talent to fall back on.

Also, the "Juno" soundtrack doesn't come out on CD until Jan. 15. Until then, check out Dawson's music over at her MySpace page.

December 14, 2007
Carla Meyer's Movie Picks

Looking to see a movie this weekend? In today's Weekend Ticket, I review those movies opening this week. But, if you're interested in other options, here are my recommendations for previously released films:


3 stars

A wide-eyed young woman (Amy Adams) in a hoop-skirted wedding gown makes for a curious sight in New York City. But the filmmakers never overplay the fish-out-of
water angle. Giselle is self-confident, whether in the fairy kingdom of Andalasia or in Manhattan; and the prince (James Marsden) who has come to rescue her remains convinced that he's the bravest in the land – even if he now battles buses instead of ogres.
Rated PG

No Country for Old Men
4 stars
The role of a west Texas sheriff seems a bit too much up Tommy Lee Jones' alley at first. But he's actually less solemn than usual here. A brief scene of the sheriff and his wife (Tess Harper) shows why the lawman can maintain a twinkle even after seeing so much ugliness.
Rated R

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
3 1/2 stars
At the heart of Kelly Masterson's relentless script lies that most fraught of subject matters, family dynamics. And things can escalate considerably when two members of that family (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke) decide to rob the family business.
Rated R

December 14, 2007
Channel 3 will simulcast morning news on My58TV

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My58TV's morning show, the ratings-challenged 7-9 a.m. continuation of the popular "KCRA 3 Reports" earlier in the morning, will add a 6 a.m. hour starting Monday.

Actually, it will be a simulcast of the 6 a.m. hour of Channel 3's show, featuring anchors Walt Gray and Deirdre Fitzpatrick. So, essentially, the same show will air on channels 3 and 4 (on most cable systems). At 7 a.m., when Channel 3 switches to the "Today" show, My58TV viewers will continue to get the pairing of Fitzpatrick and Chris Riva.

On My58TV, the simulcast will replace paid programming at 6 a.m. and the reruns of the sitcom "Still Standing" at 6:30. Jami Gertz fans, no doubt, will mourn its loss.

KCRA is hoping that there will be viewer carryover from the 6 a.m. hour to improve My58TV's morning ratings.

In the November ratings sweeps, Channel 3's "KCRA Reports" easily beat Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" and "News10 Good Morning" in the 6 a.m. hour.

But, at 7 a.m., the ratings showed that Channel 3's viewers did not migrate to My58TV, which finished last with an 0.5 rating. ("Today" had the highest rating at that hour, easily beating "Good Day Sacramento, 4.2 to 2.7.) At 8 a.m., My58TV did a little better, beating Fox40's "Andy Griffith" rerun (0.7 to 0.4).

December 13, 2007
'Ready to move on': Jewish Federation meets with Adrienne Bankert, receives apology

Channel 3 reporter Adrienne Bankert has met with local Jewish leaders and apologized for disparaging comments about Jewish people that she made two weeks ago during a speaking engagement at Sac State.

Michal Kohane, executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, confirmed this afternoon that they met with the traffic reporter on Monday and says that her organization is satisfied with Bankert's explanation.

"It was a good meeting, overall," Kohane says. "The conclusion we walked away with was that her comments were not made maliciously."

Bankert could not be reached for comment, and KCRA executives declined to discuss the substance of the meeting.

But Kohane called it "an opportunity not to educate so much as to build bridges and learn about each other."

"It wasn’t a malicious statement," she adds. "In fact, she said she meant it as a positive thing. But for a variety of reasons, it came out not sounding positive. Everybody in the room realized it was not her intent."

Kohane says her group had not sought Bankert's firing or any action against her.

According to a story by the State Hornet, Bankert made her comments during a meeting hosted by the International Students Christian Fellowship and attended by 10 people.

On Dec. 3, KCRA management issued a statement saying that the station "does not condone or endorse any comment that was made." Anzio Williams, news director at Channel 3, also said that they have "taken steps to address the matter internally." He did not elaborate.

Bankert issued an apology later that same day.

Kohane says that Bankert's apology to her and other Jewish leaders was "a lot more heartfelt."

"(Bankert) explained what she said. She didn’t get up and say, 'The Jews are rich, therefore it’s bad. Let’s take all their money,'" Kohane says. "But in her experience, she was fortunate to meet Jewish people who were fortunate. That’s not necessarily an accurate picture of all Jewish people all over the world.

"Her theology is, if God loves you, you’ll be successful and here’s an example of people who are successful. She saw it as a good thing. I truly believe that’s not how she intended it to come across. ... We are ready to move on."

December 13, 2007
The Bravery in Sacramento, Jan. 28

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Hmm, for some reason, the Bravery decided to book a local show and not really tell anyone.

Well, except, maybe their most loyal, diehard fans.

But even if you're just a casual listener - hey, sometimes I get "An Honest Mistake" stuck in my head - here's the skinny:

The New York-based modern rock band is going to be at the Boardwalk (9426 Greenback Lane, Citrus Heights) on Jan. 28.

Tickets aren't on sale to the general public yet, but if you visit the band's Web site, you can get in on a special pre-sale.

There's a four-ticket limit and they're $16 each.

December 13, 2007
Tangles tangles with Aveda


Have you ever been to an Aveda salon? There's always that lovely smell!

If you've still got shopping to do, especially if you live in Davis, check out Tangles Salon Spa's (630 Second St.) holiday open house tonight from 6 to 8 p.m.

Owner/stylist John Hausler is setting up the shop with all sorts of goodies: free chair massages and, of course, music and refreshments.

Here's my shopping tip: Aveda products will be 15 percent off, and those of you who sign up as Pure Privilege customers (for $10) will receive waterproof makeup bags made from environmentally friendly EVA resin (not PVC).

What's inside? All sorts of good stuff, including Shampure shampoo and conditioner and both Hand Relief and Foot Relief.

Retail manager Marne McGinness also has been busy putting together gift packs, which will be available for $22.

The free chair massage alone - and the Aveda whiff - are worth the walk (or drive).

December 13, 2007
Golden Globes; tarnished hopes

The small but powerful Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which announced its Golden Globe nominations this morning, is certainly inclusive. And that can be a bad as well as a good thing.

The shutout of my beloved "Into the Wild" in the best-drama category would have been hard enough to take if the category contained the typical five slots. But this year, the HFPA included seven movies, and still didn't find room for "Into the Wild."

Oh, the picture did get two nominations. Both in music categories.

That stings, Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Whoever you are.

Sometimes, the inclusiveness is wonderful. Awards for musical-comedy as well as dramatic categories means recognition for worthy performances usually ignored by the oh-so-serious Oscars.

This year, I'm particularly pleased by the nominations for the wonderful Amy Adams from "Enchanted" and Nikki Blonsky from "Hairspray." These actresses elicit a smile every time you think of them.

I am puzzled, however, by the inclusion of Marion Cotillard in the musical/comedy category. There are songs, of course, in "La Vie en Rose" because Cotillard plays Edith Piaf. But her fully immersive performance has to be the most dramatic of the year.

Plus, I would hate to think that Cotillard took my beloved Keri Russell's("Waitress") spot in this category. And no, I won't just give it up already.

The Golden Globe best-actor fields, dramatic and comedy-musical, are rich with talent. But I have a feeling (bolstered by critics' awards) the Oscar race will come down to George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" and Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (opening in Sacramento in January).

This would be such a fascinating matchup. Whereas Clooney seems to embrace his role as a Hollywood insider, Englishman Day-Lewis is rarely heard from between films. And the films themselves aren't frequent.

I have seen both films, and Clayton and Day-Lewis' approaches could not be more different. Day-Lewis' portrayal of a turn-of-the-century oil man is highly stylized - a daring actor's gambit like the one he made with "Gangs of New York." Clooney's turn as an embattled law-firm "fixer" is far more subtle, and its power not fully evident until the end of the film.

The great part - and what makes the men's acting race so juicy - is that each is a truly superb performance.

December 12, 2007
Bloggers take on Adrienne Bankert's Jewish comments


Channel 3 reporter Adrienne Bankert's remarks about Jewish people are bouncing around the blogosphere, where commentators have not been shy about weighing in on the matter.

At TV Spy, a news gossip site, a thread debating whether Bankert should be fired for her stereotypical comments at Sac State two weeks ago is going strong.

At rival NewsBlues, blogger "Surly Editor" included Bankert's "I've never met a poor Jewish person" among his top quotes of 2007.

At Soupcans, a post opined, "Not exactly the most enlightening thing to say to an audience, large or small, especially if you're a television personality." Then, it linked to a video of Bankert stomping grapes for a KCRA story.

But conservative blogger and radio host Debbie Schlussel says that it's futile to condemn Bankert. "The Jewish community of (Sacramento) - instead of shunning her -wants to 'educate' her. Puh-leeze. She doesn't like us Hebes. Get a clue. That won't change. It's like thinking you've changed Mel Gibson's mind. You haven't. And you won't."

Then there's blogger Too Sense, who identifies himself as "America's Worst Nightmare: A light skinned black man with a yarmulke."

He writes: "I've met quite a few Christians who like to talk about how much they love Jews. Here's some advice: DON'T. It's really (expletive) creepy. What really weirds me out is when black folks do it, since the last thing I wanna hear from someone I've just met is how much they 'love' black people, and most black folks I know feel the same way."

December 12, 2007
Where's Tony Kushner?


In a different world, this blog post would be reminding you to watch the brilliant documentary on one of the most fascinating artists of our time, playwright Tony Kushner.

Kushner (pictured above), who spoke at a well-attended appearance at UC Davis last spring, is the smart, funny, thought-provoking, Pulitzer Prize-winning, Tony Award-winning writer of such works as “Angels In America,” “Caroline, Or Change” and “Homebody: Kabul.”

The documentary, “Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner” by filmmaker Freida Lee Mock, will be shown at 9 tonight on most public television stations across the country. Most, but not all. One station not showing the program is our local affiliate KVIE (Channel 6). It's not showing the documentary tonight, and it’s unclear if it's planning on showing it, ever.

Apparently, the station doesn’t think anyone in the Sacramento region would be interested in a revealing portrait of one of our most important living playwrights. The station is, however, showing a “Chanukah Celebration,” starring “The Nanny” Fran Drescher, which is interesting, considering that the Jewish Festival of Lights ends at sundown, before the program airs.

December 12, 2007
Best of the 'Best-of' lists


We're enterting prime list-making season in the media world. It's a hoary tradition for news organizations to fill space inform the public by wrapping up the year. As a public service, we here at 21Q will check in occasionally to review the best of the best-of lists.

The New York Times Magazine had an intriguing "Year in Idea" issue on Sunday. But, we're not blogging about that. No, we're going waaaaay lowbrow with the light-as-air Web site Popsugar and its "Best Celebrity Mug Shots."

There, you can vote on the best-looking celebrity booking mug. The leader, as of this writing, is former Disney Channel actor Shia LaBeouf, who was arrested at a Chicago Walgreens for refusing to leave the store. (Just today, charges were dropped against the actor, who will be starring with Harrison Ford in the latest Indiana Jones pic. How's that for news you can use?)

Anyway, feel free, dear readers, to pass along other best-of lists you encounter - the weirder the better.

December 12, 2007
Peter Case postpones two Sac dates


It's time for a change of plans if you were thinking of attending today's Peter Case in-store at R5 Records. The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter has postponed that performance as well as Thursday night's show at Marilyn's.

In a post on his blog, Case explains that a "family health situation" forced him to cancel the last few dates of his North American tour.

There are plans, however, to reschedule all shows for sometime early next year and, in the meantime, refunds are available at place of purchase.

December 11, 2007
End of an era for Humor Times


Well, gang, we knew this day was coming.

The Humor Times (known for most of its 16-year existence as the Comic Press News) has just published its final free monthly magazine. December's issue (see cover above) hits stands today. Come January, the Humor Times switches to a subscription model.

No more free rides, dude.

Publisher James Israel says declining advertising revenue and rising publishing prices forced the change.

How much coin will we have to fork over? Not that much: $17.95 per year. For more info: click here.

December 11, 2007
My least favorite word: Old!


On Monday, I opened a package with a new book titled "How Not To Look Old." The minute I saw it, I felt, duh, old!

That, in spite of the subtitle: "Fast and Effortless Ways To Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better."

The book's author, Charla Krupp, says "Aging sucks!" on the inside jacket. But if looking hip (on a daily basis) is "critical to every woman's personal and financial survival," I'm doomed.

Charla has the cred to write such a tome. She's a veteran beauty and style expert, having done stints on the "Today" show, and she's worked at several fashion magazines, including Glamour and InStyle.

She currently pens a fashion column for More magazine - the publication devoted to women 40 and over. So, I'm definitely her target audience.

However, I'll have to peruse the book some more before I'm sold on it, especially the section titled "10 things you can do in the next 10 minutes to take off 10 years." Does that mean I can leave my desk?!

Charla also wants me to shorten my skirts. But if I do that, I'll have to restock the self-tanner.

"How Not To Look Old" doesn't hit bookstores until Jan. 2, just in time for those obnoxious New Year's resolutions. I vow to eat more black-eyed peas and collard greens in 2008. That's about it.

Anyway, if you're up for it, the book is from Springboard Press, costs $25.99 and contains 232 pages of information.

Looking younger? Priceless!

December 10, 2007
Dollison and Keezer are 'Lifted'


Sunday night’s performance at Savanna’s by vocalist Julia Dollison and pianist Geoffrey Keezer was an exquisite look at modern jazz through the lens of contemporary songwriting.

Pianist Keezer is simply a young master with a wealth of experience and knowledge at his disposal along with a tremendous depth of feeling, which elevates his playing to often stunning moments. His solo rendition of Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” was a nonstop revelation of swinging, soulful ideas articulating the composer’s noirish romanticism.

And, that was just the beginning. Once Dollison came on, the pair worked back and forth through her repertoire for two intriguing sets. There were some classic songs creatively interpreted, such as Duke Ellington’s “In A Mellotone” and Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” reconfigured as “Nite Daze.” But the heart of both sets was given over to the reconstruction of newer songs from modern pop sources, such as the band Death Cab for Cutie and heartthrob John Mayer.

The pair debuted new songs (“Dreamland” by Sidsel Endresen and “Wild Horses,” written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) from her project “Lifted,” which features Keezer, and interspersed such tunes as “All The Things You Are” and “Autumn In New York” from her first album “Observatory.”

Though “Observatory” features a fine ensemble, Keezer’s sublime empathy with the material makes it difficult to think that there is a stronger way to present the singer and her songs. Dollison’s voice is a wonderfully refined instrument, and Keezer’s supporting textures give ample space and depth for her inventive soloing and harmonizing within the songs.

The second set on Sunday finished with a flourish - including new songs “Stars” and “Safe and Sound” sandwiched around Dollison originals “Forward, Like So” and “Observatory.” Throughout, the interplay between musicians was continuously subtle, spontaneous and breathtaking.

Dollison and Keezer are recording “Lifted” through the Web-based music production site ArtistShare; see Dollison explain how it all works by clicking here.

December 10, 2007
One woman vs. Comcast

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We begin the week with a heartwarming story about how the Little Guy (or, in this case "the Little Gal") can, after all, triumph against a large, soulless corporation.

Let me start at, well, the start.

For about two weeks, life was miserable for a Davis woman I like to call Mrs. Media Savvy. And when Mrs. Savvy ain't happy, ain't no one in the house is happy.

See, her favorite TV network, the Weather Channel, had stopped giving the "Local on the 8s" forecast, as well as the continuous temperature scroll at the bottom of the screen. It was curious that the Weather Channel's very raison d'être was the one thing the station wasn't providing.


So Mrs. Savvy called Comcast, her cable provider. We will now recreate the conversation between Mrs. Savvy and the Comcast representative:

Mrs. Savvy: "Hello. Is there any way you can contact the Weather Channel to get them to run the local weather again?"

Comcast rep: "The Weather Channel? Do we have that? Is is channel 100 or something?"

(Is it any wonder why people get so frustrated with Comcast that they start Web sites, such as "Comcast Must Die," as Advertising Age columnist and NPR's "On the Media" host Bob Garfield recently did?)

Anyhoo, Mrs. Savvy is not going to be ignored.

Oh, no. She did what Comcast didn't do and contacted the Weather Channel directly. And, guess what? She got results.

Here's the e-mail the Weather Channel sent to Mrs. Savvy:

"After a simple rebooting of their Intellistar computer unit did not correct the problem, our technical account managers have decided to send a replacement computer unit to Comcast Cable (head-end #22410) in Davis, California, in an attempt to rectify the recent problems with their local weather experience on the eights of the hour.

"Later today, we will send a replacement WEATHER STAR computer unit to Comcast Cable in Davis; that will arrive tomorrow (Thursday, December 6th). Once the unit is installed correctly, the problems you have encountered with your local weather experience will cease. Tomorrow afternoon, one of our technical account managers will contact Comcast Cable and offer assistance with the installation of this hardware.

"We greatly appreciate your patience as we work with your Comcast Cable provider to correct this situation.


Chris Hoitsma

The Weather Channel"

So again, Davis residents can find out the exact wind chill reading before heading out on their (city-required) bicycles. And, at last, peace has been restored to the household. Because, if Mrs. Savvy is happy, then everybody's happy.

Kudos to the Weather Channel for good customer service.

December 9, 2007
'Paparazzi & Pumps' a shining success

Cole Garcia photograph

A standing-room-only crowd of fashion-hungry folks were treated to what can best be described as a "Wow!" show Friday night at Faces nightclub in midtown.

That's when the work of five local designers took to an elevated catwalk at the "Paparazzi & Pumps" show. (I was told more than 700 tickets had been snapped up for the event, which was sold-out.)

If you didn't snag a seat, you were either standing around the stage or watching from overhead - or headed home.

And, yes, there was plenty of "paparazzi" to go around. Photogs and videographers took in every model's step. The show, co-hosted by recording artist T.C. Ellis and an exhuberant, scantily glad Golden, a poet, was fast-paced, even though it took past the 7 p.m. start time to get all the attendees checked in.

The five holiday/winter collections were each unique and, very much like the season-ending finales of "Project Runway," the designers - Tomicko Abella, Dee Aguilar, Monte Christo, Richard Hallmarq and Steven Willey - told stories through their fashions.

For example, Willey's "interpretation" of the colors and whimsy of "Alice in Wonderland" was perfect, opening with a sweet blue and white dress (albeit shorter than what Alice might have worn!). His green, "caterpillar" ensemble was stunning. My personal favorite was the "Queen of Hearts" black leather swing skirt with a red heart on front. Willey turned traditional winter white into something both elegant and holiday-appropriate.

Aguilar's promise of darling dresses for New Year's proved one of the show's highlights. Her attention to detail turned neutral tones, including black and white, into fashions that are sure to sell - and quickly. Perfectly embellished and well-accessorized, Aguilar knows how to finish an outfit from head to toe. Not sure you could wear her dress as modeled? Try them with a pair of jeans.

I haven't seen Christo's work in a few years, so it was a treat to see what he's been up to. I can say that one of the first outfits he debuted - a short sequin ensemble with the back dropped out - was a show-stopper. Christo has a knack for creating the perfect chemise, a silhouette prone to looking sack-like if you're not innovative. Much of what he offered could move comfortably into spring 2008.

Abella stuck to her fashion game plan, and with success. She opted for sexy, flirty fashions for the holidays, including fanciful bustiers and numerous pieces that could easily translate from daytime to nighttime. In particular, her use of embroidery demonstrates a hand-sewn touch that requires time and discipline. Like Aguilar, Tomicko also does the cocktail dress in styles you won't see on anyone else at the office soiree.

The show ended with designer Hallmarq's myriad take on red and black houndstooth. He had given us a sneak preview of one the dresses last week but, on Friday night, he continued the theme with a beautiful mix of styles - using the same fabric. The models get kudos for interpreting the looks in different ways. Only Hallmarq could come up with enough patterns - and ideas - to use up a bolt of material.

(And kudos to the five local salons that particpated. The models' hair and makeup were stunning.)

I spoke with Hallmarq on Saturday, and he was pleased with the show - especially the efforts of all the designers.

"It speaks to their individual strengths and also to how much Sacramento has grown in terms of wanting shows like this and the fashions that result from all the hard work," he says.

As for the collections, he says each designer will decide which pieces will be sold at DV8 Boutique (1050 20th St.) in the Marrs Building.

"I think everything will be ready for customers by Tuesday," he says.

Stay tuned to 21Q: I'll give you updates from the store, as well as hours when the designers' fashions will be available.

December 7, 2007
'Sex' and the teaser

When I heard they were finally making a "Sex and the City" movie," I felt the kind of elation that "Star Trek" fanatics must have experienced when they first heard that series would be coming to the big screen.

Carrie Bradshaw is my Capt. Kirk, boldly going into the New York dating world the way he did into space. (And in her voiceovers, making bad analogies like the one I just made).

When Sarah Jessica Parker and friends left HBO in 2004, I immediately missed them. But knowing they will get new life on the movie screen in May gives me hope. So does the teaser trailer above, which promises an even glossier "Sex" than the HBO version.

December 7, 2007
'Paparazzi & Pumps': It's (nearly) show time!

Florence Low/

Well, one thing's for sure. Some of the models for tonight's "Paparazzi & Pumps" fashion show are getting pompadours and ponytails (I couldn't make that up) even as I blog.

Checking in earlier this afternoon with the various local participating salons working on the show's makeup and hair, the hairspray was flying all over town!

And, some good news: As of right now, there still are a smattering of tickets available for the holiday show at midtown's Faces nightclub, 2000 K St. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the show starts at 7.The cost at the door is $15.

A tip: If you can make it to either Prevues Peekaboo Fashions (2417 K St.) or Phoenix Framing & Gallery (enter on 18th Street between L and K streets) before 6, any tickets left will be sold at those two spots for $12.

The show will feature the designs of five local designers - Tomicko Abella, Dee Aguilar, Monte Christo, Richard Hallmarq and Steven Willey (shown above) - plus a bonus show from Prevues. Check out my story about them, which ran Wednesday in Scene.

On Monday, see my review of the show - and how the fashions fared in it - right here at 21Q.

December 7, 2007
Funny end to a rough week

Hey, your 21Q media correspondent is a little bummed.

Why? Well, just look at what I've had to blog about lately - a radio host indicted on child porn charges, a local TV reporter offending Jewish people, "Good Day Sacramento" asking people to show off their scars, and Don Imus.

What's needed is a good laugh on a Friday afternoon.

So we present this hilarious YouTube offering poking fun at overheated Web 2.0 geniuses, who basically are trying to bury us "old media" types in the newspaper biz.


December 7, 2007
Carla Meyer's Movie Picks

Looking to see a movie this weekend? In today's Weekend Ticket, I review those movies opening this week. But, if you're interested in other options, here are my recommendations for previously released films:

American Gangster
3 stars
Director Ridley Scott brings a brisk pace to the picture, which keeps things lively and lends special emphasis to those moments when things do slow down. Like when future drug lord Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), on the day of his mentor’s funeral, notices that a rival set down his drink on a nice wooden table. Frank very pointedly offers a coaster. It’s an act of hostility cloaked in civility – an act that only Washington, equal parts menacing criminal and disapproving high school principal, can pull off.
Rated R

3 stars
Directed by Kevin Lima, this film maintains an appealingly modest quality while deftly mixing new-school effects with hand-drawn animation. Giselle’s (Amy Adams) tiny chipmunk sidekick, Pip, generates plenty of laughs in CGI-enhanced live-action form.
Rated PG

No Country for Old Men
4 stars
Woody Harrelson plays a mercenary hired by a drug- trafficking kingpin who conducts business from a top floor of a Dallas high-rise. It’s always tough to buy Harrelson as someone smart (blame his fine work on “Cheers”), but he seems savvy here. Part of that might be his J.R. Ewing get-up.
Rated R

December 7, 2007
Seconds to shop!

Donna Asch.JPG

Tomorrow is Second Saturday in Sacramento. And you know what that means: Shopping, shopping, shopping! From downtown to midtown, there will be plenty of hustling and bustling, from art galleries to boutiques, in this monthly artwalk/cool-stuff-to-do event.

For example, Serendipity (5362 H St.) is hosting a trunk show featuring jewelry designer Donna Asch (above) and her PUR_0001.JPGMagnetix magnetic collection (necklace shown). The show is from noon to 4 p.m. at the store, which is next to Selland's Market.

You can then hop on over to Pavilions shopping center, where both Franco Ferrini and Pavilion Salon Shoes have their semi-annual sale underway - just in time to pick up some fancy, schmancy Stuart Weitzman sandals or comfy UGGS for the holidays.

If after that you're not exhausted, head back to midtown for a holiday open house at Le Petit Paris, that fanciful French boutique that sells, well, all things Parisian - handbags, accessories, designer children's apparel, even Paris flea market finds! Owner Tassina Placencia's event will feature a trunk show by another jewelry designer, Carolyn Cozad of Studio Work in Sacramento. Carolyn specializes in one-of-a-kind wearable art using a combination of Thai silver and precious and semi-precious stones.

After all that, you'll be famished, so Tassina will also have French teas and Parisian macaroons for feasting. And music, too, from local musician Eli Ray. The open house is from 6 to 9 p.m. at the boutique, 1221 19th St.

* Meanwhile, if you don't have plans for tonight, the Student Fashion Association at Sacramento State will present their Midwinter Nights fashion show at 7 p.m. in the University Ballroom.

More than 45 models will participate in the show, which will feature the designs of nine Sac State student designers, who are studying apparel marketing and design.

There's no "extra credit" for the show, except that half the proceeds will benefit a worthy cause, the Sacramento Children's Home. Tickets are $5. For more info: (916) 606-3166.

December 7, 2007
Former KFBK talker indicted on charges of possessing child porn


Popular KGO (810 AM) liberal radio host Bernie Ward - who was the afternoon host on Sacramento's KFBK (1530 AM) in the late '80s - was indicted in federal court in San Francisco Thursday on two counts of possessing child pornography.

Read the full story here.

Historical footnote about Ward, whose San Francisco-based show can be picked up by many Sactown folks on KGO: He left KFBK in March, 1990. He was replaced by Christine Craft.

So, guess who'll be filling in for Ward tonight on KGO?

Yup, Craft.

December 7, 2007
Boffo reviews for Adrian Tomine's graphic novel


Sactown native Adrian Tomine, who now calls Brooklyn home, is getting great reviews from writers in three countries for his first graphic novel, "Shortcomings."

The New York Times named it one of its 100 Notable Books of 2007. The Toronto Globe & Mail raved that Tomine "tackles ethnicity, love and pop-culture obsessions in a visual stew that would make Philip Roth proud."

And there's this from the London Times last Saturday:

"It seems unlikely that a story about the relationship problems of an aggressive second-generation Japanese American, with a secret hunger for Caucasian women and contempt for women of his racial group, could be original, convincing and unputdownable.

"But Tomine's latest book is all this and more. It is rendered with uncluttered beauty, the dialogue is so convincing that you can almost hear the characters speak, and it is alight with truth."

The most thorough review appeared recently in Salon.

As my 21Q colleague Rachel Leibrock reported a while back, don't look for Tomine to return to Sac any time soon.

Yo, Adrian, where's the love for Sactown?

December 6, 2007
Some local Jewish leaders want to meet with Adrienne Bankert

Carl Costas/

Some Jewish leaders in Sacramento say they don't want Channel 3 reporter Adrienne Bankert fired in the wake of disparaging comments that she made about Jews in a recent talk to students at Sacramento State.

But they do want to meet with Bankert to try to educate the reporter, who told a Sac State Christian organization that she has "never met a poor Jewish person ever in my life" and opined about how Jews founded Hollywood and were prominent in banking.

Bankert later issued a statement, saying in part, "I apologize if anyone was offended by remarks."

Michal Kohane (pictured), executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, says her organization considered issuing a press release denouncing Bankert and asking for sanctions.

"But the feeling was, it was a little disproportionate to what happened," Kohane says. "What we’re going to try to do is have a personal meeting."

Kohane says she has contacted the station, but has yet to hear back.

"Her commentary teaches more on the commentator than the issue," Kohane says. "(Bankert) demonstrated her lack of knowledge. I don’t feel she said something personally against me where I have to go and prove my bank account over it or bring every Jewish person in town to judge her."

However, at least one Sacramento-area rabbi, David Wechsler-Azen at Beth Shalom, says he was personally offended.

"As somebody who has been a poor Jew, as someone regularly approached by poor Jews for help, it’s just so factually inaccurate," Wechsler says. "It’s just really offensive for someone to portray Jews that way.

"She really needs to be made aware of all the Jewish philanthropies that make sure everyone’s taken care of. That’s the underlying Jewish premise: reach out your hand to the needy."

Rabbi Sheryl Nosan-Blank at Temple Or Rishon, in an e-mail, called Bankert's comments "shocking." Nosan-Blank was not aware of Bankert's comments until told of them by a reporter because she's been visiting relatives in Los Angeles. However, after reading Bankert's statement, she questioned the sincerity of the written apology.

"It is most unfortunate that Bankert's follow-up statement neither corrects her mistaken remarks nor directly apologizes to the Jewish Community," Nosan-Blank writes.

"Hopefully, this season of light will be one which helps all of us become more enlightened, building on our commonalities as people of good faith rather than building walls of hurtful bias and harmful stereotype."

December 6, 2007
Channel 19 hires CNN en Espanol vet as news director

Channel 19, without a news director since the September departure of Pedro Calderon, has hired CNN en Espanol producer Isabel Gonzalez for the Univision station's top newsroom spot.

She starts in January.

During her time at CNN en Espanol, Gonzalez was part of a Peabody Award-winning team for that station's Hurricane Katrina coverage. She also produced a CNN report on the 2004 Asian tsunami, which won a DuPont/Columbia University Award.

In addition, Gonzalez, who could not be reached for comment, has been a producer for Telemundo, TV Azteca and MVS in Mexico City.

In the November Nielsen ratings, Channel 19's 6 p.m. news finished with a 2.3 rating, just behind third place Channel 13 (at 2.7). At 11 p.m., Noticias finished a distant third (1.6) behind Channel 3 (5.7) and News10 (5.2).

December 6, 2007
Bitten by 'Project Runway'


It's been two weeks since "Project Runway" designer Victorya Hong (shown above) had her triumph in the design-something-for-Sarah-Jessica-Parker's-Bitten-clothing-line challenge.

Despite Wednesday night's fiasco (more on that below), things continue to look up for Victorya. I just got word that her winning outfit for SJP's well-priced collection (nothing is supposed to be over $20) is now available at the Steve & Barry's store in San Francisco.

Bitten1.jpgPictured, the trapeze dress (in burgundy and black) sells for $19.98 and the shrunken vest is $14.98.

This isn't the first time an outfit from a "PR" challenge has made it to store shelves while the competition's still ongoing. In Season 3, the designers worked in teams of three to come up with an outfit for Macy's INC collection in select stores. Angela Keslar won with her three-piece pant, top and cropped jacket ensemble. That outfit made it to the Macy's in Roseville's Galleria. Alas, overall sales were, well, threadbare.

But you can't beat the pricepoint on the Bitten ensemble.

Here's what Sarah Jessica told Bravo after seeing Victorya's dress: "I loved the design immediately when I saw it during my appearance (on the show). And I'm excited Bitten shopers will have the opportunity to add our interpretation of the dress to their closets."

So, get yourself to S.F. Just in case you're wondering, I've been keeping my fashion ear to the ground when it comes to the progression of Steve & Barry's stores. They're opening two this month in San Jose and Hayward, so hopefully, Sacramento isn't far behind.

Oh, and would it to be toooo much to ask for an H&M store as well?

But, we digress.

Back to Wednesday night's show: The remaining 12 contestants were split into groups of three to interpret 12 outdated, horrific fashion blasts from the past (think: shoulder pads, pleather and underwear as outerwear).

It was beginning to look like Victorya was gonna top out. But, despite waaay too much drama between her and teammate/team leader Ricky, both survived to sew another week.

December 6, 2007
Negative? Here's negative


OK, so I've been accused by some local TV news folks of being overly negative about the state of their news coverage (even though I recently wrote a glowing "10 Reasons Why Local TV News Doesn't Stink" cover story in The Bee).

But I'm here to tell you that I'm a Pollyanna compared to former TV news veteran Mike James, whose Web site, News Blues, is infamous among TV types.

James recently gave an interview to another blogger, and check out these quotes about TV news:

"TV news, and those who draw paychecks from it, have become lazy, sloppy, and too willing to trust consultants rather than their own instincts. The industry no longer delivers news. It falls back on formulas. Content has become predictable. It takes the easy way out. It tries to fill an ever-increasing news hole with artificial preservatives.

"Someone needs to clean the kitchen, discard the spoiled meat and rancid vegetables, scour the cupboard, expel the vermin, hose down the joint, and chug a big jolt of reality. TV news has lost its way. Forget the excuses. No one cares that your bosses are asking you to fill more time with fewer resources. The business is contaminated. The content is fetid and foul, shallow and pointless. Get a job selling time share. Drive a bus in Reno. Do anything but continue foisting polluted, noxious news feces on the superficial American public.

Television news (if you believe it is a form of journalism) has the ability...the capture and preserve the moments, the events, that pass through our daily lives. Instead, it has fallen back on trivial weepies and frothy feel-goods, on medical "studies" and video news releases, or political spin and opinionated shoutfests, hypothesis, rumor, and supposition. TV news is no longer in charge of itself. It deserves to be shot at sunrise."

December 5, 2007
The hazards of Web streaming


News10 and Channel 3 - right now! - are streamingthe California Hall of Fame ceremonies on their Web sites.

But News10 took it a step further, having entertainment reporter Jonathan Mumm go live from the "red carpet" before the event.

What a disaster.

I watched for eight minutes as Mumm and his photographer stood there, well, doing nothing. Just waiting. Oh, occasionally, Mumm would mumble something and point out Clint Eastwood's wife or some lesser known personality as the photog scanned the room.

But when the Guv and Maria finally made the scene, Mumm had to wait some more as California's first couple gave an interview to ... Channel 3.

Oh, snap!

Mumm kept looking back to the camera, sheepishly, as viewers on the Web stream could hear the Guv answering questions from KCRA - and even a KFBK radio reporter.

At one point, Mumm turned his head and told viewers: "I'd piggyback on what they (Channel 3) are doing, but Brandon (his photographer) doesn't have the shot. So we'll stay here."

At last, Mumm got his turn.

But compelling TV, it wasn't.

If anything, it shows how tedious a reporter's job usually is - you often just stand around, waiting a lot, and then grovel for a few minutes with the subject.

Advice to prospective journalism students: Go into welding.

December 5, 2007
'Daily Show' or local TV news?: Part 18


Close call for "Good Day Sacramento" this morning. The show lost audio in the 9 o'clock hour and was forced to act silly - and without sound.

Among the highlights: Mark S. Allen takes another shot at Channel 3's Walt Gray (see above); Tina Macuha holds up a "Quiet" sign, and Marianne McClary does the old disappearing thumb trick. They also brought in a white board and wrote out what was coming up on the show. Tres old school TV.

Fortunately, sound was restored in time for a memorable segment that qualifies for inclusion in our continuing feature, "Is it 'The Daily Show' or Local TV News?"

The segment featured Cody Stark hitting the streets of Sacramento to ask people to show him their scars. (FCC take note: One dude flashed a scar on his right buttock.)

The topper, though, was a man named Daniel.

"I got sucked into a boat propeller about two months ago and it did a number on me," the man tells Stark.

Then, he lifted up his shirt to show a hideous disfigurement that runs horizontally across his abdomen.

"See, that's where my intestines fell out," Daniel added.


Stark was smitten. But in the studio, anchor Stefanie Cruz had her head in her hands. (This thought bubble should've been over Cruz's head: "I once reported from Ground Zero on Sept. 11 for a Hartford station; now I'm reduced to this.")

Our editors won't let us post the scar-on-the-butt screen grab. Some things are too gross even for 21Q. But here's the link to "GDS's" report.

December 5, 2007
Hip hairstylist, er, heads to Sac

Bravo/Vivian Zink

Remember the Bravo reality show "Blow Out"?

It first aired during the summer of 2004 (and ran for three seasons). The show centered on Jonathan Antin, a big-time Southern California hairstylist juggling two salons - in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills - while trying to launch his own hair-care product line.

OK, let me jog your memories a bit more. Jonathan liked to handpick his style team and, on the show, one of his real-life stylists was a guy named Brandon Martinez (shown above in a scene from the show).

I always liked Brandon because he was sort of the "rebel" on the show. He rode a motorcycle, had multiple tattoos, loved the night life and could really, really cut hair.

(A quote from Brandon's Bravo bio reads: "I picked the life, man. I got into hair and I hit the jackpot. What do I get to do? I get to dress up, ride my bike, flirt with girls and do their hair.")

Alas, Jonathan and Brandon just didn't click and, ultimately, Brandon was shown the back door.

Well, fast forward to 2007 and Brandon is doing just fine, thank you very much. He's still in the clip business, cutting high-powered coifs from Beverly Hills to the Bahamas. He's worked fashion week in New York and, get this, he's developed his own line of hair-care products, B. The Product.

More importantly, he's coming to Sacramento on Monday!

Brandon will spend the day, from 9 a.m. to about 6 p.m., at Total Beauty Experience (2929 Arden Way). He'll be doing complimentary haircuts - by appointment, of course. That's probably about $200 worth of free scissoring apiece!

"Anyone interested should know ahead of time that Brandon cuts hair dry," store co-owner Debbie McCain tells me. "And his styles can best be described as progressive, contemporary and cutting edge." No pun intended.

If you're not looking to lop off your locks, it might be fun for you to just swing by anyway. Brandon is very entertaining. And you can check out his product line, which Total Beauty Experience is carrying.

Debbie says that the way the event likely will work is that Brandon will line up five "clients" at a time, cut their hair and then have a team of assistants follow up.

For more information or to make an appointment, call the store at (916) 481-7994.

I'll definitely be there because I'm all about the hair!

December 4, 2007
Sacramento's urban shopping alternative

Because I feel it's my duty to help you stay out of the malls this holiday season, here's a tip on what promises to be a great shopping alternative. On Saturday, the Sol Collective arts and cultural center is hosting Urban Mercado, a vendor fair featuring music, food and art.

The event - admission is free - will run all day, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., at 2010 Del Paso Blvd. Bonus: DJ Crush Delight will spin tunes while you browse - in other words, no having to listen to the umpteenth instrumental version of "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer."

Visit the Sol Collective site for more information.

December 4, 2007
Billy Joel in Sacramento Feb. 26

MUSIC JOEL2.jpg OK, don't try to pretend you're all hipper-than-thou - I know you're, like, way excited to learn that Billy Joel is playing Arco Arena on Feb. 26.

Hey, it's OK to love the Joel.

Anyway, the Piano Man will be the star of one of those very special "An Evening With ..." type of shows (meaning no opening act, just you and B-Jo).

Tickets ($41.25-$96.75) go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday via

December 4, 2007
Joan Rivers talks her way into Cache Creek

jr black full -- cwb.JPGI'll admit it - I have a spot in my heart for good ol' Joan Rivers. A hard, barbed wire-covered, snark-filled little spot.

So, yay, Joan "Can We Talk?" Rivers is coming to Cache Creek on Jan. 19!

Yes, the mean queen of comedy (not to mention reigning Dowager of Plastic Surgery - hey, even she'll say it), is bringing her stand-up act to the casino's Club 88 stage.

Good thing, because ever since the folks at E! kicked her to the TV Guide Channel, which then kicked her to the curb, I've really been missing Joan's weirdly inappropriate red carpet act. You know, those not-so-subtle digs at celebrities, the mangling of names, the confusion about who-played-who-in-the-what-now.

The details: Tickets are $59 and $69 and available through For more info, visit the Cache Creek site.

December 4, 2007
This man runs a Sacramento news station: Part 3


First, it was Bruno Cohen, then Michael Langley. Now, it's channels 13/31 vice president for news Steve Charlier doing on-air stunts. Charlier gets shot with a paintball gun by "Good Day Sacramento" reporter Lisa Gonzales.

Here's the link.

OK, so which corporate suit will be the next to appear in a bizarre fashion on the air, Channel 3's Anzio Williams or Fox40's Tom Burke?

December 4, 2007
A 'Secret' worth sharing

Associated Press

You might want to encourage an early bedtime for your tweeners tonight. That's because the annual "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" airs at 9 p.m. on Channel 13.

(That's an hour earlier than in other CBS markets because our local affialiate has an early prime time.)

Anyway, it's an hour of tops and bottoms - and legs. And, from a perusal of some of the pics from the show (which was taped last month), it also looks to be a mix of both bras and Broadway.

There are elaborate sets and musical performances, including singer Seal, who performs with his wife, VS model Heidi Klum (shown above in an AP photo).

And, hold on to your horses: The elaborate production will be marking the TV debut of ... the Spice Girls!

Two things: Here's hoping Victoria Beckham, a.k.a. Posh Spice, can muster up a smile. And here's hoping that Melanie Brown, a.k.a. Scary Spice, has recovered from her runner-up status on "Dancing With the Stars."

BLOG_VICTORIASECRET.jpgCBS executive Jack Sussman told the Associated Press that "this is really an event that's anchored in a fashion show."

"The notion that we pander to men ... is ludicrous," he says. "Maybe 2 percent of our customers are men. Women shop us every day...Guys come in twice a year: Dec. 24 and Feb. 14."

You keep thinking that, Jack. In any case, I have a feeling that some parents' feathers (and there are always feathers on the show) will be ruffled if their little darlings catch a sneak peek of the peek-a-boo fashions.

This year's $10 million show will feature - count 'em - 61 Victoria's Secret outfits worn by more than 20 models. It was staged at the Kodak Theater in L.A., home base for the finale of one of the most family-friendly shows on TV, "American Idol."

Truth be told, I've got a little of the green monster lurking in me. Hey, I'm jealous of those taut tummies and mile-long legs.

But I should knock it off because, after all, it's just underwear. Right?

December 4, 2007
No Imus in Sacramento

Associated Press

Your 21Q media correspondent has received several cyber missives and phone calls asking which Sacramento radio station(s) has picked up Don Imus' new show on WABC in New York.

Answer: None. Zip. Nada.

Imus' erstwhile CBS radio show - the gig he ignominiously lost amid the racially charged comments about Rutgers' women's basketball team - hadn't been broadcast in the Sacramento market for several years.

And as of yet, no one has picked up the syndicated feed of Imus.

Of course, you can listen to Imus online. Here's the link.

December 3, 2007
KCRA management on Bankert's Jewish comments

This just in: Anzio Williams, news director at Channel 3, has given 21Q this response to reporter Adrienne Bankert's's derogatory comments about Jewish people - originally published in a Sac State newspaper article:

"(KCRA) does not condone or endorse any comment that was made. We require all of our on-air talent to refrain from engaging in any outside activities or manners that impinge on our reputation of fairness, balance and accuracy.”

Asked whether Bankert has been disciplined, Williams says: “We’ve taken steps to address the matter internally and to make sure it doesn’t occur again.”

UPDATE (1:55 P.M.): Bankert, through KCRA management, has released the following statement:

"I have been made aware that certain remarks that I made to a small student
group at Sacramento State last week could be regarded as offensive
stereotyping to some individuals and the community at large. I never
intended any of my comments to be hurtful or to stereotype any particular
group. I am well aware of the harm that stereotypical comments can cause to
specific groups and our society in general. I apologize if anyone was
offended by remarks."

December 3, 2007
This man runs a Sacramento news station: Part 2


Maybe it's time to start a new 21Q feature, "Local TV News Suits Behaving Bizarrely."

Our first installment, as you may recall, was on Bruno Cohen, honcho of channels 13 and 31, doing a disco dance on the air.

Now, here's News10's assistant news director Michael Langley (above).

Check out the video.

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