Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

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


May 30, 2008
Gregg Coffin: Big in Korea

Locally based composer Gregg Coffin ("Convenience" and "Five Course Love" at the Sacramento Theatre Company and "rightnextto me" at the B Street") is on fire.

Actually, the modest, hard-working tunesmith is having a nice year, especially in Korea. Gregg reports that after a very successful two-month run at the Chung Mu Art Hall in Seoul, his musical comedy "Five Course Love" continues its Korean sojourn with an open-ended run at a new theater. So basically as long as people continue to come the show will play.

Coffin says the show has moved from its original home in Seoul to the new location in a kind of "theater row."

"The producers of the show have sent me lobby posters, playbills and placards as well as a DVD with about 15 minutes of the show to see," Coffin says. "It's a truly mind-bending experience to hear my music and not understand a word anyone is saying up there."

Gregg says the Korean Web site for the show - www.fcl.co.kr - is also a real treat.
five-love.jpg

"You'll find three hearts on the graphic, besides the logo. The two on the right are to purchase tickets from different online venues; the one on the left is a fan page from an online club called CYWORLD. Select it, and there's a navigational bar on the left of that page and you can click on photos and movies of the production over there."

There's also a Facebook group page at www.facebook.co. Type "FIVE COURSE LOVE" in the search block and you'll find the fan site with pictures from all the productions and videos of the Korean version. Oh, and Gregg adds, "I'm not making this up - the Korean production has figurines. There's a picture of them up on the Facebook fan site."

May 30, 2008
Don't sweat the small stuff

High school graduates are making a fashion statement this year - and it's not with just their caps and gowns. (You'll never wear those again!)

Out and about the other day, I spotted a student at Sac High in Oak Park. They wear a variety of sweatshirts and other outerwear as part of their school uniforms. Mostly in the school's colors of purple and black, of course.

But senior Carlos Roa's (pictured) gray sweatshirt with purple lettering had something interesting on the front. Nothing about the school's mascot, the "Dragons," or anything like that.

It read: high school ... been there done THAT!!!. On the back? East Wing, '08 Seniors. That in reference to the division of the charter school that houses the School of Law & Public Service and the School of Math Engineering & Health Services.

Carlos will graduate Saturday. He plans to attend Sac City, with a goal of transferring to the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

You rock, Carlos, and so does your sweatshirt! Question is: Am I too old for one, circa 1976? I was there, did that in Horsepasture, Va.


May 30, 2008
Roots rock

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Arden Park represent! Here's a band that's so proud of its roots that it's named, well, Arden Park Roots. The group has a strong Sublime sound, with a mix of rock and reggae that's filtered through Sacramento instead of the "LBC" (Long Beach, Calif., that is). So check out "Sunday Single" and the Arden Park Roots song called "The Hard Way."

ARDEN PARK ROOTS
Song: "The Hard Way"
Style: Rootsy rock and blue-eyed reggae
Influences: Sublime, 311, Slightly Stoopid, Pepper
Members: Tyler Campbell (vocals/guitar), Matt Seidel (lead guitar), Ben Jones (bass), Justin Higdon (drums)
Behind the song: "I had this girlfriend and it was a work relationship, which is always, you know, not a good idea," says Campbell. "All of my friends were saying get rid of her, and she had a lot of negative outlooks on life. People always say everything happens for a reason, and I didn't understand that concept at that time in my life. So learning the hard way is what I was feeling at the time about that girl."
See them: 8 p.m. June 7 at the Underground (2401 Olympus Drive, Roseville)

Here's the player to hear "The Hard Way":



On the Web: www.myspace.com/aproots

May 30, 2008
Channel 3 still dominates local news - but shows signs of slipping

May sweeps came to a close last week and, judging by some of the comments left here at 21Q (and similar e-mails in my in-box), a few of you are dying (dying!) to see the results in print.

Everyone take a deep breath now - the world is still spinning on its axis, with just a slight tweak of degrees.

Anyway, yes, folks, the rumors are true: For the first time since the dawn of time, Channel 3 (KCRA) did not take the 11 p.m. news time slot.

And, if we're looking at just the 11 p.m. slot, that win went to News10 (KXTV), with a 4.6 rating over Channel 3's 4.3 rating.

(Ratings chart the percentage of all homes with television; shares measure the number of TV sets turned on at a particular time.)

However, if you want to include the 10 p.m. news when talking about "late night" (and whether you do depends on whom you ask. Or which way the wind is blowing - take your pick), then Channel 13 (KOVR) actually nabbed the win, with a 5.5 rating.

(Oh yeah, and Fox40 (KTXL) also showed up to the party with a 3.7 rating for its 10 p.m. newscast, while Channel 19 (Univision) brought in a 1.0 rating for its 11 p.m. broadcast.)

Still, any way you slice it or dice it, it's a noticeable slip for Channel 3 from its February numbers in the same time slot (5.7).

Channel 3 news director Anzio Williams blames his station's notable dip on its parent network.

NBC's shown a decline in ratings across the board, Williams says.

"When prime-time viewership is down, then we have a harder time," Williams says. "Sometimes, we're the victims of what our networks give us, but I believe we're still in a solid position."

Certainly, there's no reason to cry them a river (yet). Channel 3 easily nabbed the midday news market, with a 3.3 rating over Channel 13's 2.8 and Channel 10's 2.7.

They also owned the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts, with 8.1 and 7.1 ratings, respectively, compared to Channel 13's 3.2 and 2.6 and Channel 10's 2.4 and 3.5.

The real story here, though, is just how poorly most of the stations are doing in the morning news race. While Channel 3 posted a gain at 5 a.m., eeking out a 2.2 rating over February's 1.8, it dipped ever-so-slightly at 6 a.m. (4.1, down from 4.2).

Channel 10 relatively stayed the course at 5 a.m. with a 1.1 rating but slipped at 6 a.m.with a 2.1 rating, down from February's 2.3.

Channel 31 (KMAX)'s numbers were down at 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. (slipping from 2.1 and 2.7 ratings to 1.9 and 2.4, respectively), but up at 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. (3.1 and 2.6 vs. February's 2.4 and 1.9).

As for Channel 13 (KOVR): That station showed no signs of life, dropping to a .7 rating at 5 a.m. - down from 1.0) and to a .99 at 6 a.m., down from 1.4.

Ouch.

May 29, 2008
Benefiting 'Differences'

Erik Daniells' feisty Artistic Differences production company made quite a splash last summer with its production of "Hair." The legendary "tribal love-rock" musical had a perfect mix of scruffy panache and top-flight musicianship, and audiences flocked to The Space at 25th and R streets to see the twice-extended show.

AD has kept a low profile since then, but will re-surface this weekend with a benefit show, at 7 P.M. Sunday at the Benvenuti Performing Arts Center, 4600 Blackrock Drive, Sacramento. It will also be a preview of the upcoming production of "bare" by Jon Hartmere Jr.and Damon Intrabartolo (opening July 25 at The Space).

"We've regrouped and have been restructuring the business side of the theater, trying to get that in order," Daniells reports. He's putting together a board of directors and hopes the company can reach a point where they're doing about three shows a year.

"Our goal is to do smaller, lesser-known works - things you don't typically see," Daniells says. He expects to announce the upcoming season at the benefit.

Daniells - who is currently working with the Willows Theatre Company in Martinez as well, teaching the songs of "Evil Dead: The Musical" (a campy horror movie spoof) to the cast - says he hopes the benefit also will introduce AD to a wider audience. (There will be songs from the company's two previous shows "Falsettos" and "Hair," along some tunes from the new show opening in July.)
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And Daniells is bringing in a couple ringers for the benefit. His sister, Kelly (pictured above, in the middle), who starred in the Las Vegas production of "Mamma Mia!" for a year and half, will sing "An Old Fashioned Love Story" from "Wild Party" (the Andrew Lippa version). Kelly brings along Ian Cullity from the Vegas "Mamma Mia!" cast and he'll sing "Pity the Child" from the musical "Chess" (lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson).

Besides the entertainment, the AD benefit will feature a raffle prize of two tickets and air fare to Las Vegas to see "Mamma Mia!"

For more information for for tickets - $10 in advance, $15 at the door - call (916) 708-3449.

May 29, 2008
Cycling in style

I just want to be the first to say that I'm all for alternative modes of transportation to and from work, to and from other routine trips. Heck, between the meltdowns we all feel at the gas pump and what's coming with the I-5 construction, I'm loving how Sac companies are coming up with ways to allow folks to either work from home or installing bike racks so they can pedal to their desks.

Just one teensy piece of fashion advice. Riding a bike in work clothes does your apparel no favors. On Wednesday, I spotted a woman in a dress, and part of her hem was caught in the rear spokes. Then there was the guy motoring along in dress socks and leather shoes!

Bad fashion statements, yes. But, even though I'm not a cyclist, I figure it's probably not safe, either. Invest in a messenger bag or backpack to carry your work wardrobe essentials.

And, helmet hair can be fixed with a quick trip to the bathroom. Gals: Throw your hair over your head, brush and spritz with a touch of hairspray. Guys - or anyone with shorter hair: Throw a little styling gel in your briefcase.

Meanwhile, if you're walking, I can attest to what happens when you attempt a mile-plus hike home in pointy-toed pumps. You'll be wearing flip-flops for days to come!

May 29, 2008
Channel 3 to temporarily extend morning news show

Channel 3 (KCRA) will temporarily extend its morning newscast by a half hour, Mondays-Fridays. The goal, says news director Anzio Williams, is to offer a guide for those trying to make sense of any I-5 closure-related commuter headaches.

So, starting Monday, anchors Deirdre Fitzpatrick and Walt Gray will take their places behind the news desk at 4:30 a.m. instead of the usual 5 a.m. start time.

"We'll have helicopters out there navigating at 4:30 a.m. so no matter where you're coming from, you'll be able to figure (your route) out," Williams says.

The freeway closure is expected to run through July; the extended newscast will run through at least June 20.

Or, of course, you also could check out The Bee's up-to-the-minute 1-5 site to sign up for mobile alerts and track traffic conditions and routes. Just sayin'.

May 28, 2008
Red carpet turns pink


(Associated Press/StarPix, Dave Allocca)

The "Sex and the City" premiere finally made its way to the Big Apple on Tuesday night. After opening stints in London, Austria and Berlin, Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha walked the pink carpet at Radio City Music Hall - strewn, appropriately, with thousands of Swarovski crystals.

Plus, the four stars (Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall, pictured left to right) were all a-glitter with jeweler Fred Leighton's fabulous gems.

There probably were more "diamond" guards sticking close by than any Oscar parade!

I got an e-mail from New York Tuesday detailing the dresses and jewels. For example:

Parker wore a Nina Ricci gown highlighted by three antique necklaces, including a 19th-century diamond riviere necklace, a 19th-century diamond and pearl fringe necklace and a 19th-century gold diamond snake necklace. Hubby Matthew Broderick probably had to prop her head up to keep her from tipping over!

I loved Cattrall's beaded Vivienne Westwood cocktail dress. It was sooo "Samantha." No shock, the stars have been showing up this week on morning shows like "Today" and "Live With Regis & Kelly." On Tuesday, Cattrall said she was excited to see the film for the first time.

"Even though it debuted in Europe, I wanted to wait until the New York premiere to actually see it," she said.

(Closer to home, or at least your television set at home: Fashionista Meghan Cleary of Missmeghan.com - and a lover of shoes beyond even Carrie Bradshaw - will dish on the premiere and what everyone wore on "Extra" tonight. The show airs later (at 8:30 p.m.) than usual on Channel 3 because of an NHL game. And Cleary is set to hand out the first ever "Sex and the City" shoe award!)

Two more "S&TC" references and I'm done: If you're not a Vogue subscriber but want to see some amazing photography (courtesy of Annie Leibovitz) of Parker and her on-screen love (Chris Noth, a.k.a. "Mr. Big"), grab a copy of the June issue. The fashions and the settings are amazing. And it won't irritate Miley Cyrus fans.

Then, on Friday, grab a Ticket section to read Bee movie critic Carla Meyer's review of the movie. I might sneak out early and catch a screening myself before all the women in Sacramento drag their husbands kicking and screaming!

May 27, 2008
More on the changes at Fox40 (KTXL)

Fox40 (KTXL) general manager Bob Ramsey just confirmed the obvious: Not only was Brandon Mercer just named the station's new news directorbut Tom Burke, the guy who previously held that title has left the building.

Ramsey, calling from his office, declined to discuss the specifics of the shake-up, saying only that Burke is no longer with Fox40. Instead, Ramsey focused on Mercer's qualifications - Mercer's last gig was with Channel 13 (KOVR), where he worked as executive producer.

"We're looking to expand our news offerings in the morning and Brandon brings a ton of experience in that area," Ramsey says. "He has an incredible wealth of knowledge of the news market in Sacramento and incredible knowledge of successful news programming."

No word yet, however, on when viewers may expect to see more a.m. offerings.

"Stay tuned," Ramsey says.

May 27, 2008
Brandon Mercer named news director at Fox40 (KTXL)

Tom Burke has been replaced by Brandon Mercer as Fox40 (KTXL)'s news director. Mercer station-hopped over from Channel 13 (KOVR), where he was executive producer.

No word yet on the hows and whys of the change, and a spokesperson for the station has yet to return calls. Stay tuned.

May 27, 2008
California Builder wins magazine award

A while back we told you about Sactown magazine's three Maggie awards. As it turns out, another Sacramento-based publication also won one of the coveted Western Publication Association awards.

California Builder, the California Building Industry Association's bimonthly membership magazine, earned recognition as Best Association publication for its May/June 2007 issue.

Click here for more information on the magazine.

And congratulations..

May 26, 2008
Get ready to 'ROCC'

When was the last time you had a tarot card reading?

Not lately, I'm thinking. I don't really wanna know!

Anyway, there will be a lot more going on this Friday night in addition to looking into your future at the "ROCC Your Body Mystique" benefit at The Spa Simply Skin (across from Loehmann's Plaza, 2625 Fair Oaks Blvd.).

Money raised from the event will go to the River Oak Center for Children, an agency that provides treatment for abused children in the Sacramento area. Last year, ROCC raised more than $75,000.

Besides the tarot card readings, host J.J. Fox Diepenbrock says there will be M.A.C makeup artists, hairstylists, massage therapists, facialists, manicurists, waxing specialists, yoga demonstrations and, get this, astrologists and psychics! More predictions!

An art auction and a fashion show round out the evening and, of course, those fab swag bags!

Paragary's will host the bar; Raley's will donate food from Mama Kim's.

If you've got any energy left, dancing and a basketball hoop are optional.

"ROCC Your Body Mystique" is from 6 to 11 p.m., and tickets are $150 per person. You can order online at www.riveroak.org or call (916) 609-5129.

May 23, 2008
Carla Meyer's Movie Picks

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" isn't the only movie game in town this weekend. Here are some of my other recommendations:

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
3 stars
In a series of touching montage-flashbacks in this decidedly naughty but big-hearted film, we see how Peter (Jason Segel), a composer for a TV crime drama starring Sarah (Kristen Bell), gladly took a back seat to his actress girlfriend. He happily wore the hideous shirts she bought him and generally thought everything was great until the moment she left.
Rated R

Iron Man
3 stars
Scenes set in Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr.) workshop highlight his playful relationship with his assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Downey locks his eyes with Paltrow's in a way that tells us that Pepper might be the one to change Stark's playboy ways. Paltrow looks terrific here, playing her character with a constant hint of a smile that says Pepper is wise to Stark's ways but adores him anyway. Though it's odd to see Paltrow in a supporting role in a comic-book film, she does a lot with it.
Rated PG-13

The Visitor
4 stars
Director and screenwriter Tom McCarthy 's exceptional way with actors doesn't surprise: He recently played the fabulist newspaper reporter on HBO's "The Wire." But he's a marvelous storyteller altogether, injecting humor into his film while exploring the serious topic of the treatment of illegal immigrants.
Rated PG-13

May 23, 2008
Idol Chatter: The 'Davids' have their say


Fox

I think the two "Davids" should form their own group called, appropriately, the "Two Davids."

A day and a half after David Cook (shown right) won "American Idol" Season 7, he and fellow "Idol" contestant David Archuleta each squeezed in a half hour for phone interviews with reporters.

(FYI: The two will join Larry King and take calls - along with the other eight finalists - at 6 and 9 tonight on CNN.)

Anyway, here's some of what they had to say during the phone conference about the season, the upcoming tour and, of course, moving forward.

Up first? Winner David C.

Q: Have you recovered, and how did you celebrate?
A: I had an hour nap yesterday. After the show, I met up with my family and we went to a party. Then I went straight home and called it a night.

Q: From the beginning, Simon Cowell had you pegged as cocky and pompous. Now he thinks you're sincere. Did "Idol" change you?
A: I didn't really change much of anything. I went into this with a different perspective than the others. There were no expectations of what the show could do for me or me for the show. My confidence didn't waver. Maybe Simon saw the work I was putting in, which helped create a positive working environment for everyone.

Q: How did you deal with having to learn three new songs for Tuesday's final competition since you chose to do something new for the last song?
A: It was just a matter of focusing on each song one at a time. There was a teleprompter for us. But, at the end of the day, you can get the words but you have to get the performance. Arch (David A.) did a great job. Based on Tuesday, I felt he deserved to win.

Q: There's been a theory that you would have done better not winning - a la Chris Daughtry. Any thoughts on that?
A: It did cross my mind as an objective point. But it would have been a slap in the face to the other contestants and the thousands who auditioned to say you don't want to win. Daughtry's success is amazing, but I'm not trying to be him.

Q: So what about that first album?
A: I think it will be a mixture of my writing and, hopefully, others. The ideal release date is as soon as possible. The type of record? Probably rock. That's a vague generalization, but I want to put out something that will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck.

Q: What was it like performing with ZZ Top?
A: Those guys were so nice! You hear horror stories about established rock bands - that it's all about being them. But they made it so fun and easy. There were 90 million other things going on that day. I would love to work with them again.

Q: Any thoughts you'll take away from this long ride?
A: The show has been great for my diet! I lost 10 to 15 pounds. It was definitely a progression for me. My vocal coach forced me to break down this defense mechanism I had going since the third or fourth week. That's why I started crying near the end. The intensity was building. After eight months of holding my breath, I could finally exhale.

Next up? David Archuleta

Q: How did you hold up under the pressure of the final week?
A: The final week was the busiest of all. It was tough finding time to rehearse and then I had school. There was never any down time for me. But I didn't want to regret anything after Tuesday night, and I didn't. It was the last impression I gave on the show.

Q:What about finishing school and still pursuing music?
A: I'd like to keep doing school while working on music. I have to go to school after this interview. I don't know how long the music thing will last, or if I can make a living on it. Lately, I've been thinking about the ears, nose and throat doctor thing. It really interests me because they help people who have the same problems as me with hearing, conjestion and my voice.

Q: You obviously know you had a huge fan base. What would you like to say to them? And how do you feel about David C.?
A: It means so much that they appreciate the hard work. I'm feeling great. I felt Cook deserved it. Week after week, we both gave it our all. I wouldn't change anything. Not winning won't limit me from making an album. I have no reason to be disappointed.

Q: Much as been said about your relationship with your father, Jeff. Was it hard to hear your dad criticized?
A: He understood I didn't want to hear anything in the news - good or bad. I wanted to stay myself. Normal teenage David. In interviews, I would hear weird things, like he refused to give me water. I'm 17 - I can go get water. Or that he would make me cry. My family kept me grounded, and my dad's a great guy.

Q: Is there any particular artist you would like to work with? What type of album do you think you'll make?
A: (Working with) Alicia Keys would be cool. She gets so into her songs. You feel her emotions when she sings. I'll probably do the pop thing. I'm still a teenager, and I want to relate to kids my age.

Q: On tour, do you think you'll play the piano?
A: I might. I just have to settle on the songs. It's also about finding time to fit practicing into the schdule. I never considered myself a great pianist. It's a risk, trying to play an instrument and still connect to the song.

Q: Not much time for a girlfriend either, huh?
A: I don't think I'm mature enough for that. I hear friends say, 'Oh, we broke up. I can't live!' And, I'm like, you're only 17. You have school. An infatuation won't support you. All the drama. I don't want to deal with it. Now is the time to focus on making an album and writing songs.


May 23, 2008
West side!

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Throw up the "w" and check out this week's "Sunday Single." It's a track of pure West Coast hip-hop by Sacramento's own C-Dubb. The song's called "Smashin'" and it rolls low and slow with guest vocals from Keak Da Sneak, one of the originators of the "hyphy" hip-hop movement. Yee!

C-DUBB

Song: "Smashin'"
Style: Hip-hop straight outta Sacramento
Influences: "I grew up on Too $hort, E-40, Ice Cube, N.W.A, everything on the West Coast," says C-Dubb. "I know a lot of hip-hop MCs are like you've got to go back to the roots and the East Coast. That's cool and everything but I grew up on West Coast 'mobb music.'"
Behind the song: "It's just about 'let's have some fun,'" says C-Dubb. "It's like let's collaborate with Keak and make a fun song that people can smash to. It's meant to be played loud. I make a point to do some serious from the heart songs, but this one is just about having fun."
See him: May 29 at Yagers Tap House and Grill (727 Trader Lane, Folsom), with Zigg Zagg, First Degree the D.E., Doey Rock and more.

Here's the player to hear "Smashin'"

On the Web: www.myspace.com/eighty8muzik

May 22, 2008
Idol Chatter: The day after ...

I don't know about other "American Idol" watchers - or non-watchers for that matter - but I've got a major Season 7 hangover!

Of course, the results were debated in many workplaces today, including The Bee (between our breaking stories), where the cynics reside comfortably. The talk was that Simon Cowell had to have known the results ahead of time or he wouldn't have done the whole "Boo hoo, I'm sorry thing" Wednesday night to David Cook right before the crowning.

That, and one colleague talked of his 11-year-old daughter being in tears, sobbing at the outcome because David Archuleta didn't win. She might have even thrown something.

And then there's the whole DVR thing. Yes, the show ran over - it always does on the finale. I heard at least five people say they were skipping along, got to the end and heard Ryan Seacrest say, "And the winner of 'American Idol" Season 7 is David ..." and the tape stopped.

Hey, I missed the Quick Fire challenge on "Top Chef" to catch the end.

Anyway, don't cry for runner-up David A.. One thing's for sure: He will do just fine, likely showing up on some Disney hit show. (Gotta get a dance teacher first.) His dad will see to it.

Speaking of which, I bet the "Idol" tour folks (different from the show folks) can't wait to have Jeff Archuleta and his hat collection along for the two-plus-months bus ride!

In any case, I think it was time to have an "old" guy win it. David C., at 25, makes those of us twice his age feel, well, not quite so neanderthal. Besides, dude was lovin' it with the ZZ Top guys Wednesday night.

An interesting stat came in today from AT&T, a major sponsor of the show. The company says it has shattered its "Idol" text messaging record of 64.5 million - with 78 million messages this season. That's the most since texting was introduced as a way to vote waaaay back in Season 2.

I'd hate to see the bills next month. Unless, of course, you've got the unlimited plan.

And to my "Idol" buddy Dana Hess over at KFBK: You've been fun to watch the show with, even through e-mails. Hope you enjoy that stack of books you're about to tackle now that the show is over. You've got eight months to finish them!

For your final fix, check back to 21Q Friday to read interviews with both "Davids."


May 21, 2008
Idol Chatter: Shocker, or did the voters rise to the rescue?

American-Idol-Finale.gif
Associated Press/Kevork Djansezian

Once I pulled myself off the floor, I thought, "This is how it felt when the hanging chad decided the 2000 presidential election in Florida."

David Cook, 25 (shown right), in what has to be called a "what the..." moment, took the title of "American Idol" tonight over rival teen idol David Archuleta, 17.

It probably won't sink in for days because Cook, like myself and a gaziillion other "Idol" fans, seemed OK and even upbeat with the possibility of him coming in second.

But, after more than 97.5 million votes were cast, Cook took the title by 12 million. Host Ryan Seacrest clarified the enormity of the record-setting vote by schooling us that it still wouldn't have equaled the combined populations of Canada, Spain, Ireland and Australia.

"It smashed the previous record by 23 million votes," he said.

Wednesday night's show paid homage to this season's Top 12, who reunited for several songs. And then there were performances by current and past musical stars eager to soak up a moment in the spotlight on one of TV's highest-rated reality shows. And, of course, to promote new albums and concerts.

Things got started with a "Get Ready" medley by the Top 12, accompanied by the current stars of their sister series, "So You Think You Can Dance?"

The two Davids did a nice song together, "Watching Us Fly Away."

(Somewhere, in the middle of everything, was a huge promotion for Paramount's new movie, "The Love Guru," starring Mike Myers as a totally new character beyond his Austin Powers personna. Okaaaay.)

But, I digress. Back to the show.

Seal joined No. 3 contestant Syesha Mercado on "Waiting for You"; No. 4 Jason Castro sang one of his best songs, "Hallelujah," and the No. 7 and No. 8 contestants, Carly Smithson and Michael Johns, sang "The Letter."

My highpoints?

The group performances: The Top 6 girls getting it on with a Donna Summer medley, eventually to be joined on stage by the queen of disco herself. The Top 6 guys rocking with Bryan Adams, where Cook was in his element, even putting his arm around the singer at times.

The solos: David C. in hog heaven with ZZ Top; David A. in his element with One Republic.

Loved Brooke White crooning and strumming with Graham Nash on "Teach Your Children Well." Sorry kids, but the only thing missing from the Jonas Brothers is Sanjaya Malakar as a back-up singer. Ugh!

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel took a few more swipes at judge Simon Cowell. And, in the annual homage to the season's really horrendous auditions, we got an onstage performance by Renaldo Lapuz, whose "I Am Your Brother" was accompanied by the entire USC marching band and cheerleaders.

Last season's winner, Jordin Sparks, left me yawning with "One Step at a Time," but hand the stage over to Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood, the newly crowned best female artist at the recent Academy of Country Music Association awards. Her "Last Name" performance proves she reigns as the best of the "Idol" winners - so far.

Before the results were announced, singer George Michael delivered a poignant "Prayiing for Time," which left Paula Abdul totally verklempt. Michael, who is about to launch his first tour in 17 years, deserved the platform. It was one of the best performances I've seen from him in oh, 17 years.

Left only with the judges' final remarks, I expected the usual "You guys were great, blah, blah, blah and (a 'heartfelt') nothing to be ashamed of." Instead, Simon fessed up to what he believed was an egregious error on his part on Tuesday night's show. Here's what he said tonight:

"Congratulations both of you. Last night was a terrific show. But, after watching the tape, I don't think it was so clear-cut. I think I was verging on disrespectful of you David (Cook). And for that, I apologize. You're both triers, nice people. And, for the first time, I don't care who wins."

At that point, it was time for the big announcement. And what could David C. say but "Thank you" and blame his brother for getting him into the competition to begin with? Then, he sang the season's winning song, "Time of My Life."

On Wednesday, I said I thought David C. might have held back in order to finish second and get on with it after the tour.

But I will, without hesitation, say that I've liked him from the start. Perhaps because I appreciate a good bartender who can sing. Or maybe because he makes me want to dance and wear jeans and cowboy boots. I've downloaded his songs and mop floors to his music. Folks, he's that good. Even so, I predicted David A. would win.

Heck, I was wrong, and I have no problem admitting it. You rock, David Cook!

I'll be talking to both Davids on Friday as part of a teleconference. Check back to 21Q to see what they have to say.

May 21, 2008
Capital Stage's new season

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Capital Stage Artistic Director Stephanie Gularte (pictured above in this year's "Fool For Love") has chosen her company's 2008-09 season and it shakes out like this:

The season opens with "First Person Shooter" by Aaron Loeb (Sept. 20-Nov. 2). The 2007 winner of the Bay Area Critics Award for best new play deals with the connection between a violent video game and a schoolyard shooting.

Then, there's "Every Christmas Story Ever Told" by Michael Carleton, John K. Alvarez and James Fitzgerald (Nov. 20-Dec. 28), a three-ring circus comedy that returns for its third tour of holiday mania.

In 2009, Cap Stage will produce the Sacramento premiere of award-winning playwright Theresa Rebeck's "The Scene" (Jan. 17-Feb. 22), a comedy about dating and popular culture.

And the spring brings a classic from George Bernard Shaw, "Mrs. Warren's Profession" (March 21-April 26). In Shaw's (pictured below) thorny morality play, a conservative ingenue learns that her first-class education was financed by her mother's illegal occupation.

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In May, a politically topical black comedy, "Back of the Throat" (May 9-June 21) by Yussef El Guindi is another Sacramento regional premiere.

The season will close with the world premiere of a play (July 11-Aug. 16) from Capital Stage's "Playwright's Revolution" competition.

May 21, 2008
Michael Savage, Armstrong & Getty and Ted Kennedy

Those of you who tuned into Tuesday afternoon's Michael Savage show on KSTE (650 AM) were subjected to the conservative talk show host's not-so-charming reaction to the news that Sen. Edward Kennedy has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

First, the San Francisco-based Savage, whose show airs from 3-6 p.m. on 650 AM, played some "Kindergarten Cop" audio clips featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger declaring "It's not a tumor."

Nice.

But, wait, there's more. Unfortunately. Declaring that he was showing respect for the senator, Savage played "California Uber Alles."

Yes, that would be a song by the Dead Kennedys.

Never mind that DK singer Jello Biafra has said that the band's name isn't actually (as many people believe) a reference to the senator's assassinated brothers, John and Bobby Kennedy. After reading lyrics from the song, Savage went on to say: "No gloating today, no laughter, all serious. You don't joke about a man's cancer."

Except, he just did.

Contrast this to local KSTE hosts Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty, who also took on the subject during their radio show this morning but with - and I never thought I'd say this - a million times more tact and respect.

While the duo didn't shy away from discussing Kennedy's 1969 Chappaquiddick scandal, in noting the differences in media coverage then and now, Armstrong and Getty managed to avoid any cheap jokes.

Actually, they didn't make any jokes at all - even so-called jokes dressed up as "tributes."

And to that, I'm not afraid to say, good job.

May 21, 2008
Idol Chatter: Local songwriter tastes fame


Charr Crail

The day after his - and certainly, his song's - big "moment" on "American Idol," Ryan Gillmor is sitting in Pollock Pines, having just wrapped a couple radio shows and still basking in the glow of having his tune performed on national television by one of the "American Idol" finalists. (For my take on the show, see my blog item below.)

Ryan, whose band, Gilmoor, has made the rounds in Sacramento and throughout Northern California, entered this season's "Idol" songwriting competition. It paid off. David Archuleta, who seems primed to take the title tonight, sang Ryan's "In This Moment."

When asked if he knew ahead of time that David A. would be singing it, Ryan says he had heard from the "Idol" folks at the end of last week and told that his song had made it into the songwriting competition's Top 10; he also learned that there was a possibility it would be performed Tuesday night.

"But I had no clue (that it actually was being performed) until I got a text message from my cousin in Florida, who watched the show on East Coast time," Ryan says. "He said 'David Archuleta is singing your song, and Andrew Lloyd Webber is talking about you!' "

Cool.

Family and friends quickly assembled to watch the show during its West Coast airing and, after listening to it about 10 times since, Ryan says he thinks David A. did a fantastic job.

"I've never had anyone else sing my songs other than me," Ryan says. "But to have it sung on 'American Idol' - David has a phenomenal voice. And I was so excited that they gave me a plug. Thirty million people heard my name on the air!"

Ryan admits he was nervous about how they would whittle down his four-and-half-minute song. But he appreciated the arrangement and that it was performed in the same key as the original. "I thought the vocal changes David made were great."

He doesn't know what happens next - did his song win? But, no matter - Tuesday night was a big coup for this local songwriter, who could shoot right out of the "Pines" if he gets a track on an "Idol" album.

"It could be my big break."

When asked what he thought of the judges' critiques after David A. sang, Ryan says he's grown used to hearing Randy Jackson saying that "Arch" can sing the phone book. But he thought Simon Cowell's comments were great.

"The part about the 'egotistical lyric' and that David (A.) picked a better song than Cook - that's perfect," Ryan says. "But to be honest, it wasn't written as a pompous lyric, but more self-empowering."

So what was the lyric that so moved Simon?

Staring through windows at my own reflection;
How can a window encompass perfection.

Ryan says he wrote the song about his first experience in New York. He was walking down Fifth Avenue and looking at his reflection in all the store fronts.

Ryan says he'll be in contact with his manager and lawyer soon, and hopes to talk to David A. personally. "In This Moment" already is on one of Ryan's CDs, but he says he would relinquish the song and not perform it anymore if David A. picks it up.

"It would become David Archuleta's song. I would get credit, but it would mean bigger things for it to be on his album than my own," Ryan says.

As for tonight's live, two-hour results show (beginning at 8 p.m. on Fox40), Ryan says he's bailing on a dinner party to watch. And he'll keep 21Q posted on the aftermath.

Let's hope good things happen to those who can write songs!

May 20, 2008
Idol Chatter: Simon calls it a 'knockout'

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Fox

Where is Laila Ali when you need her?

Oops, wrong reality show. (This boxer/cha-cha gal was on "Dancing With the Stars.")

Still, Laila would have fit right in with the theme of tonight's "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre. The goal? To pit two heavyweight singers against one another in a singing three-rounder.

Dum, dum, dum, dum.

I could have done without the whole boxing set-up and the "Rocky" theme song. Then there was David Archuleta (pictured at right above, weighing in at 100 pounds soaking wet) and David Cook (weighing in at 180 pounds) opening the show in Vegas bout attire. And then the announcement: "Let's get ready to rumble!!!"

I would have preferred Ryan Seacrest belting out, "THIS is 'American Idol' "!

But, I digress.

The finale was, for me, a bit of a letdown. The "Battle of the Davids" turned into what to me was a thrown contest by David Cook. I have no proof. It's just his song selection hinted at a very talented singer who, after the summer tour, will just break away on his own. (Remember, neither of the two Davids has been in the bottom 3. He's already a winner.) Before the first song, David C. even said he thought the competition was already over. "Tonight, it's just for fun."

Can you croon Chris Daughtry?

The two Davids sang three songs each: One chosen by uber-music exec Clive Davis, one from the Top 10 songwriting contestant entries - Note: local angle; more on this below - and one of their own choice, which could be new or something either guy already had performed this season.

Both Davis and Andrew Lloyd Webber sort of mentored the guys for the final round.

Said Lloyd Webber: "It will come down to which one is prepared to dare a little bit more."

Well, David Cook dared. I'm not sure the audience cared.

First up, Davis' selections:
* David C. sang U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," a noble pick.
The judges said:
Randy Jackson: "It was a great way to start ... but I'm not sure you did everything with it."
Simon Cowell: "I could see at the top of the show you were tense and emotional. It's understandable.Taken all together, I thought it was phenomenal."

* David A. sang Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," a predictable pick.
The judges said:
Paula Abdul: "I have chills up and down my arms. The sun won't go down on you!"
Simon: "Last week you were OK. Tonight's performance was arguably the best you've done so far."

Round 1: David Archuleta

Second song: The contestants picked from the Top 10 songwriting contest entries. Bear in mind, these are songs no one has heard unless you voted at americanidol.com.

* David C.: He sang "Dream Big."
The judges said:
Randy: "The song was just OK for me. But you were singing your face off!"
Simon: "It was a bit of a lightweight, I thought. it didn't feel like a winning moment for me.The good news is, you get a third song."

* David A.: Pick me up off the floor! David A. chooses the song by Sacramento/Pollock Pines songwriter Ryan Gillmor, "In This Moment." Stoked is not even the right word. I love this song.
The judges said:
Paula: "It was just another heartfelt performance. You're on fire tonight."
Simon: "I loved the egotistical lyric. Fantastically self-centered. You definitely chose the better song. It was in keeping with the night."

Round 2: David A.

The final song - contestant choice.

* David C.: Honestly, I think this is where I really came to the conclusion that this David was in it to not win. He sang "The World I Know" by Collective Soul. Beautiful song, but so off the beaten path for voters.
The judges said:
Randy: "One of the cool things about you is that there's a lot of different sides of David Cook.This is the kind of record you could definitely make." (Without the yearlong "Idol" contract.)
Simon: "You're one of the nicest, most sincere contestants we've had. But it was completely and utterly the wrong song choice. You should have sung 'Billie Jean' or 'Hello,' " (two songs David rocked earlier in the competition).
(Afterward, David said the show was a progression, so "why sing something I've already done. But I understand.")

* David A: He sang "Imagine," which he performed early in the competition. Well, who isn't going to vote for cute-young-guy-almost-in-tears singing John Lennon? I ask you?
The judges said:
Paula: "You've left me speechless. This is what it's all about."
Simon: "In my opinion, you came out here tonight to win. What we have witnessed is a knockout."

The show ended with David C. winking and nodding to David A. He knows.

OK, so I agree with Simon: it's David Archuleta. You can take off the boxing gloves now. Wednesday night's two-hour season finale will reunite the Top 12, with numerous other appearances, show-stoppers and, of course, the mandatory confetti drop. It starts at 8 p.m. on Fox40.

And, take note: Come back to 21Q on Wednesday for my interview with Ryan Gillmor to get his reaction on having his song sung by the possible winner of Season 7.

May 20, 2008
Idol Chatter: Just a few hours to go


Members of the print media (including myself), who have been covering "American Idol" since January (nuts!), were scheduled to have a quick phoner with the two finalists - David Archuleta and David Cook - Monday, before tonight's competition (at 8 p.m. on Fox40).

It didn't happen.

However, Fox apparently snagged them between rehearsals (and maybe throwing up), so here's what the two "Davids" had to say:

Q: Is it going to be different singing on the stage at the Nokia Theater compared to singing on the "American Idol" stage?
David A.: I don't think it'll be too different because the audience is still going to be big on the other side of the camera, watching on TV, so while there's more people live, I don't know. I guess I'll have to see once I go and rehearse and stuff.
David C.: You know, it's interesting. I've always been really kind of confused by the idea, like the smaller the crowd for me, the more nervous I tend to get. Having the Nokia full should be great. But you know, win or lose, I think we both win, so for me now, it's just kind of enjoying the moment.

Q: Are you getting a lot of advice? Does the experience match what you expected?
David A.: Every single person always has something good to say, from (David) Cook to the people helping us out, to family, to friends, to just people you meet and fan mail.
David C.: It's busier than I thought it was going to be. And so for me, the learning process has just been kind of like watching the stuff that takes place that people never get to see - more than anything, just kind of the relationships that form. I remember at the beginning of the season, I always wondered why we all cried when people went home, and it's like, you know, some of these people we've known almost a year now, so it's definitely been an experience for sure.

Q: Is being an "American Idol" finalist anything like you thought it was going to be?
David A.: No it's not, because I didn't even think I would be a finalist so that's already the difference right there. And then, just how crazy and busy it is. And tiring. I thought I'd have time to prepare for the finale, and this is the week where we've gotten the least amount of time to really prepare and it's like the most tiring on your voice. Hopefully it will all pull together.
David C.: You know, to be where I was at before, now to be standing on the finale stage and have a 50 percent chance of my name being called, is pretty heavy. So for me, it's just, either way, I'm content.

Meanwhile, Fox also alerted me this afternoon about tonight's song lineup: It will be a song of each finalist's choice, a song picked by record producer Clive Davis (who's probably itching to sign one or more of the Top 10), and one picked by online votes. Don't know where that leaves the winner of the songwriting contest.

Just FYI: A completely unofficial survey of Bee employees picked David Cook to win. Not that the paper has any inside track or anything. Just sayin'.



May 20, 2008
Nordstrom goes eco-chic

Nordstrom is catching up to the whole eco-chic trend with its new reusable shopping tote. I checked one out. It comes folded up (7 inches by 6.25 inches), but, with one quick pull, turns into a full-size, hobo-shaped shopper.

Of course, it will collapse back into its original shape. This makes it perfect for tossing in your handbag and using for quick trips to the supermarket or drugstore.

The tote is made of metallic brushed linen and features a cityscape illustration by artist Ruben Toledo.

It's available at Nordstrom stores (Arden Fair and the Galleria at Roseville) and online. Just click here. Each tote costs $21.95.

May 20, 2008
Anti-NBC protest really and truly happening at Channel 3 today

It's come to our attention that the pro-Hillary Clinton/anti-NBC protest we told you about Monday is actually happening today.

Protest organizer Tanya Clarke blames the wrong date on crossed wires but assures us they'll be out at 3 Television Circle at 5:30 p.m.

And, judging by the number of comments the last post generated, I'm guessing there's high interest in this demonstration - which is also happening at other NBC affiliates nationwide. Stay tuned.

May 19, 2008
Jen and Faith

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Jennifer Smith, News10 anchor, e-mailed me after my recent post on Broadway actress Faith Prince. Prince, who has been living occasionally in Sacramento with husband Larry Lunetta and their son Henry, was nominated for a Tony Award for her work in the new musical "A Catered Affair." The production already has won the Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Musical.

Anyway, Jennifer wrote: "Faith and I grew up together in the town of Lynchburg, Va. We were both active in the community theater there as kids. In high school, I branched off and started working in television, and Faith starred in all the high school productions at E.C. Glass High School."

Jennifer adds, "I had the pleasure of seeing Faith in her Tony-winning Broadway performance in 'Guys and Dolls' (above). In this photo (below), Faith are I are sitting side by side on the front row as children in a wonderful production of 'The King and I.' (I'm on the end .. she's to my right.) I believe we were in the 6th grade."
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May 19, 2008
Hillary Clinton supporters to protest at Channel 3 today

Hillary Clinton supporters are set to demonstrate outside the Channel 3 (KCRA) studios (3 Television Circle) at 5:30 today as part of a nationwide protest against NBC.

Members of the HillaryClintonforum.net, allege that NBC displays an "anti-Hillary" bias in its news coverage; protests are planned at NBC affiliates across the country today.

Channel 3 news director Anzio Williams declined to comment on the impending protest other than to say, "We're a television station and we cover (all the politicians) in an equal way."

A representative for the protest could not be reached for comment.

May 19, 2008
Kevin Johnson and Heather Fargo to appear on 'Insight'

They're not billing it as a debate, per se, but we're certain some political sparks will fly when mayoral candidate Kevin Johnson and Mayor Heather Fargo sit down for an in-depth interview on today's "Insight" radio show.

Hosted by Jeffrey Callison, the show airs from 2-3 p.m. on KXJZ 90.9 and will focus on Johnson and Fargo's visions for Sacramento.

Callison, who covers everything from music and movies to books, current events and politics on his show, is an interesting and provocative interviewer so it should be good one.

For more information, visit the "Insight" Web site.

May 19, 2008
Idol chatter: And then there were 2


Fox

Tuesday night's "Battle of the Davids" on "American Idol" should be a humdinger. (To repeat a word used last week by judge Simon Cowell.)

Yes, it's the Season 7 finale, with the contestants singing for viewers' votes for the, whew!, last time. (The show is at 8 p.m. on Fox40.)

And hey, I predicted it would come down to the two Davids back when the judges picked the Top 24. Well, I had a hunch.

Question is, who will appeal to a larger fan base? David Archuleta, 17, definitely has the tweener vote and a good chunk of what Simon calls the "granny" vote. David Cook, 25, is tight with the 20somethings, but I think his strong suit definitely is with rockers and women in their 40s and 50s. (That would include me. No bias, just an opinion.) To me, David C. is certainly more versatile and, perhaps, more marketable.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see which song won the songwriting contest. Last season's "This Is My Now" was, well, not one my favorites - mostly because the title would never be something anyone would actually say, let alone sing. So I'm hoping for a song that will challenge both finalists' creativity.

But, what "Idol" honchos will really be thinking about is the future. This season saw viewership drop by as much as 10 percent for some episodes. The Nielsen numbers have been hovering around 22 million or so for each show - a far cry from numbers in past seasons that topped 35 million!

Of course, the show still leads in the ratings each week. It will likely come down to either tweaking parts of the show next year (read: changes you won't notice), or overhauling chunks of it (not showing the auditions, changing judges).

In the meantime, there are two Davids with butterflies in their stomachs, one interfering stage father (Jeff Archuleta) and a gaggle of girls ready to scream.

May 16, 2008
Show time at the Lofts

When fashion gives back, it's always a good thing. And tonight, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., a show titled "Fashion for Autism Charity Show" should be a great event.

Hosted by local designer Michael Lopez, it will be held at the 1801 L (street) Lofts in midtown.

Who will be showing? Among others, M. Lopez Designs, Martini Kisses, Pretty Trashy, Emily Rose, Paola Hernandez and Porkchop.

In an e-mail, Michael says, "We are putting this event together because we feel that fashion needs to be brought into the midtown atmosphere, but most of all, autism needs to be recognized and looked at as something that needs help."

Tickets for the show are available today for $4 at Bows and Arrows boutique, 1712 L St.. Or you can pay $6 at the door tonight. Food will be provided by Urban Kitchen, Buckhorn Grill and Old Soul Coffee Co.

May 16, 2008
Sacramento News & Review's managing editor is gone

After just a year and pocket change on the job, Matt Coker has been fired as managing editor over at the Sacramento News & Review.

SNR president and CEO Jeff von Kaenel confirms that Coker, who came here from the OC Weekly in April 2007, was dismissed May 7.

von Kaenel also confirms that the paper's arts editor, Jonathan Kiefer, has resigned.

von Kaenel declined to offer additional info, other than to say that longtime SNR editor Melinda Welsh will serve as managing editor until a permanent replacement is found.

"(Melinda and I) have worked together for 20 years and we'll continue to make sure we're putting out a great paper," von Kaenel says.

May 15, 2008
News10 to lay off eight employees

News10 (KXTV) is laying off eight newsroom employees, Russell Postell, the station's president and general manager, has just confirmed.

Actually, that's not quite how he put it.

"It's a realignment of resources - I don't call these layoffs," Postell says.

Whatever you call it, eight people will be "transitioned" - Postell's words - out of their jobs between now and November.

All of those positions will in the master control and graphics departments, and no on-air talent, reporters or producers are affected, Postell says.

Reason? In a move that echoes Channel 13's layoffs in March, new technology is being blamed.

"We'll be installing new technologies that allow us to produce more efficient newscasts," Postell says. "It's not about finances - it's about the development of technologies that (allow us) to continue to provide quality content."

More specifically, some of News10's graphics will be outsourced to a Denver-based hub that also will provide art for other Gannett-owned stations.

Viewers won't notice any changes, Postell says, other than "except maybe higher-quality graphics."

He declines to discuss severance packages or if the station is planning any future layoffs. Or, for that matter, realigned resources.

May 15, 2008
Friday's Etta James show has been cancelled

Due to illness, the Etta James show scheduled for Friday evening at the Radission Hotel has been canceled.

Ticket refunds are available at the place of purchase.

For more information, go to the Radisson Web site or Ticketmaster.com, or call (916) 920-7310.

May 15, 2008
Idol Chatter: Bright lights for Syesha

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Fox

Finishing third on "American Idol" is nothing to feel bad about. It just depends on how a contestant handles the offers - because there will be a horde of producers, record execs, etc., eager to pounce once the summer tour ends. Maybe even before.

For Syesha Mercado, she's not going to let any grass grow. Not this gal! She did take time out today, though, to do a phone conference with reporters about what's ahead. Here's some of what she had to say:

Q: Maybe more than anybody, youíve symbolized the real "Idol" journey. How did that work for you?
A: I consider myself a hard worker. I'm always rehearsing, trying to improve. I was in a little shell at first, thinking nobody sees who I am. That was harming my performance. So I got my mind right again, like at the audition. And I got comfortable with performing and the stage. I just enjoyed myself more every week. The goal was to feel satisfied after every show.

Q: Judge Paula Abdul said on Tuesday that you sang songs that didnít define you. Your thoughts?
A: Everyone says I'm a mix of a lot of things. "Oh, sheís Broadway. A black Christina Aguilera." I love pop, R&B. I'm growing as an artist. People can see the transition I went through. You just learn so much. Everyone will know who I am when I put out an album.

Q: A follow-up question to Tuesday night: Were you puzzled by the producers' choice of song for you, "Hit Me Up?"
A: I knew that song. My nieces and nephews love "Happy Feet." They watch it over and over. I couldnít change it. When something comes thatís a challenge, I try to turn it into a positive. It wasn't a singer's song. Most of it is back-up singing. It was weird.

Q: What did you learn on "Idol," and what was the best piece of advice you received?
A: A lot! That thereís a fine line between over-rehearsing and just doing what you need to do. Sometimes I worked so hard, I couldnít enjoy myself. I learned to relax, read and deal with stress. Of the mentors, Andrew Lloyd Webber encouraged me to perform my song the way I wanted. To be animated. That helped me break out of my shell even more.

Q: Was it a roller coaster being in the bottom three or bottom two so often?
A: Every week is new. I never packed my bags. They ("Idol" brass) told us to, but I didnít. If you want to be Top 3, youíll be Top 3. (Now), whichever David is most passionate will win.

Q: Speaking of the two "Davids," what do you think is special about each of them?
A: Theyíre (each) really unique. David Archuleta has that beautiful smile and good connection with the younger audience. Girls go crazy over David Cook. Even older women love him. I've been both little sister and big sister, with just the three of us. We just had fun. The competition could go either way. I wish them both luck.

Q: It's come up a bit, from other departing female contestants, that this season there seems to be a preference among voters for the male singers. Any merit to that?
A: I never focused on the voting. It will be obvious at the end. It is what it is. Whoever wins is supposed to win. Being the last girl standing is an honor.

Q: What are your plans after the tour?
A: I tell people I want to do everything. I'm very goal-oriented. I want to make an album, star in a film, go on Broadway, open an organic restaurant! I write all my goals down. I'll look for the best opportunity and just live in the now.

May 14, 2008
Idol Chatter: Great to be a 'David'

I'm not surprised by the outcome, and neither should "American Idol" fans: For those of you who predicted that "David" will win, you're right!

But the question remains, which one?

After more than 56 million votes were cast Tuesday night, David Archuleta and David Cook are left to face off in a "Battle of the Davids" (which may or may not include David A's father, Jeff - just sayin') on Tuesday in the Season 7 finale.

That means a guy vs. guy for the first time since Season 2, when Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard sung it out for the title.

It also means we say goodbye to Syesha Mercado - well, until at least the "Idol" tour hits the road - who truly gave it her all in the last couple weeks. No regrets from her, just a simple "Thanks!"

(Don't forget: Tickets for the tour, which is set to hit Arco Arena on July 9, go on sale Saturday.)

Judge Simon Cowell said if it turns out the way he thinks, the finale will be a "real humdinger." Never heard him use that word before.

Tonight's show featured the annual sojourns back to the Top 3's hometowns. I don't recall as much crying in past seasons, but, what the heck. A baby thrown in your arms and a mayor with a handlebar moustache will do that to you.

David A. went to Murray, Utah, Syesha to Sarasota, Fla., and David C. to Blue Springs, Mo. (and Kansas City). There were cheerleaders, screaming teens, basic screaming, parades, appearances on "Good Day, (fill in the blank)," helicopter rides and one really sweet surprise as David C. brought flowers to his elementary school music teacher.

Low moment of the night?

A really, really raunchy - yes, I said raunchy - performance by Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino, who hit the stage with newly dyed, bright red hair and three back-up singers who might or might not have been sporting Under Armour.

Fantasia, clearly winded after the performance, should be grateful Simon wasn't offering a critique because he was shaking his head (and not in a good way) at the end of her "act."

Hope everyone stuck around for Syesha's encore performance of "If I Ain't Got You." It's one to remember.

Moving on, Tuesday's finale will feature the winning song from the songwriter's contest. Cross your fingers it won't be anything like last season's sappy, no-one-would-ever-actually-say-this "This Is My Now."

Also, rumors were running amok today that David A's father was not happy that "Idol" producers seemed more taken with rival David's performances Tuesday night.

Guy needs a new hat - and a new attitude. OK, I don't like him.

May the stronger David prevail.

May 14, 2008
Sactown magazine wins three Maggies

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Sactown magazine nabbed three Western Publication Awards - a.k.a. the Maggies - last week, besting some impressive competition, including Mother Jones and Sunset magazines.

The honors: Best Series of Editorial Photographs/Consumer for Max Whittaker's Afghanistan photo essay in the June/July issue; Best Overall Design - Consumer, for the April/May issue, and City & Metropolitan/Consumer for the August/September issue.

Whittaker's winning photo essay, by the way, also has been chosen to appear in the upcoming "Photography Annual for the Communication Arts." The book also will feature photos from the likes of Time, Newsweek and Rolling Stone magazines.

May 14, 2008
Eco-exhibition with a fashion twist

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Hybrid autos, solar panels and other things "green" aside, I'm glad I wrote about eco-friendly fashions back in April. (To see the story that appeared in the Scene section, click here.)

It's becoming a super-hot topic.

Right after the story ran, I got word from UC Davis that an exhibit titled "Fashion Conscious" was set to open Thursday at the school's design museum. Curators Susan Taber Avila and Julia Schwartz have put together an amazing look at sustainable fashions, including garments and textiles.

To coincide with the exhibit's opening, there will be a free symposium from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday titled "Designing With Conscious". It will be held in the UC Davis Technocultural Studies Building (just south of the Art Building).

Target audience? Design students and professionals, retailers and consumers who want to know more about sustainable fashion beyond hemp. The overall goal: to find alternatives to commercial cotton and all the pesticides associated with producing it.

The symposium will feature at least seven speakers, including a designer who works with recycled cashmere and an environmental analyst at Patagonia in Ventura.

To register for this free event or for more info on the exhibit, which runs through July 13, click here.


May 14, 2008
Idol Chatter: David vs. Goliath?

For a while on Tuesday night (well, only after one song), it looked like the last girl standing on "American Idol" might give the two "Davids" a run for the finale.

But then Syesha Mercado's own song choice and the one picked for her by the show's producers fell flat, likely setting up next week's season ender with David Archuleta singing against David Cook for the confetti drop and Season 7 "Idol" title.

No great shocks, right?

Well, at least song selectiion was not entirely the fault of the contestants. They performed three songs - each judge picked one, the three contestants each picked one, and then those pesky producers got involved with certainly two of the worst choices this season.

Here's how it broke down:

* David A. got his judge's pick from Paula Abdul, who chose Billy Joel's " And So It Goes" for the teen. It always gets a little tricky when the other judges do their critiques. Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell thought it was very good. "Predictable, no surprises," Simon said.

* Syesha's song came from Randy - Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You." Great choice and definitely her best performance of the night, though Simon wished the "Dawg" had chosen "something so you wouldn't sound like the original."

* David C. received a text message from Simon with his song, which was a stunner: Roberta Flack's "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." And, as usual, David's arrangement, especially the high note at the end, was amazing. Round 1? Cook and Cowell take it.

The contestants' own choices were odd at best, leaving the middle round "just OK" in Simon's opinion.

David A. sang Chris Brown's "With You." Syesha did a chair dance to Peggy Lee's "Fever," and David C. rocked "Dare You To Move" by Switchfoot.

But the final round - the producers' picks - was, in my opinion, a big, fat flop.

David A. sang a wishy-washy version of Dan Fogelberg's wishy-washy "Longer." I didn't like that song 20 years ago. (No disrespect to Dan.) Simon agreed, calling the performance "gooey."

Syesha got stuck with "Hit Me Up" from the "Happy Feet" soundtrack. She would have been better off with penguins as back-up singers. And it was sweet Paula who delivered the bad news: "I'm not sure it's good enough to get you into the finals."

David C. closed it out with Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing," an uber-predictable performance that likely will get him into the finals. Simon declared he definitely had "won the night."

Dialidol.com put the red-light prediction on Syesha. Of the two Davids, Archuleta certainly would be the most vulnerable. But don't count on it.


May 13, 2008
'Idol' dad gets thumped

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Fox

The Top 3 perform tonight (at 8 on Fox40) on "American Idol": three songs for three finalists seeking a shot at next week's Top 2 finale.

And let's hope young David Archuleta has found some semblance of a backbone hidden behind that big voice of his and has told his father (for lack of better words), "Butt out!"

Sounds disrespectful? Well, if you've been a fan of Season 7, you have to have picked up on David's vulnerability to his old man. Jeff Archuleta has been dubiously dubbed the worst stage parent of all time, reportedly badgering his son and bullying his way into rehearsals and other places a guardian isn't needed.

According to a variety of reports - from the Associated Press to TMZ - the elder Archuleta has officially gotten the boot as far as attending "Idol" rehearsals, where, unless he's a music teacher, he has no business.

No one at "Idol" will go on the record but apparently Jeff talked David into changing a lyric on last week's "Stand By Me", one of two songs David performed from the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Reports say Jeff was duly warned to stay out of the rehearsal, but David ended up performing the song by adding a verse from Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls," , clearly a violation because the Hall doesn't allow lyric changes. "Idol" apparently incurred the wrath of Cleveland (Hall's home) and a nice, fat fine.

You're probably wondering why it was OK for Brooke White to change a word on her version of Neil Diamond's "I Am, I Said" two weeks ago. Well, he wrote it, he was the mentor and he told her to do it!

Just a thought, but maybe "Idol" should up the age requirement to 18 and rid themselves of overzealous parents.

Geez, what a headache this guy has been!

Given all the hoopla, it will be interesting to see how David handles the pressure tonight. If (and it's a long shot) he gets the boot on Wednesday, it will be a long drive back to Utah.

May 12, 2008
Mark S. Allen vs. cow = 'Good Day Sac's' 15 minutes of viral fame

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Fine. You win, "Good Day Sacramento," you win.

We tried - tried hard - to avoid blogging about Mark S. Allen's run-in with a cow at the Dixon May Fair - and this, despite a prediction that the cow-patty clip would end up on this here blog. It all just seemed too, well, easy.

But then the rest of the world caught wind - sorry - of Allen's smelly bovine encounter (Lucky us that "GDS" is not Smell-O-Vision equipped - yet) and, well, here's to the 15 minutes of fame that Allen's long-ago Comedy Central stint didn't earn him.

Seriously, TMZ (I know, right?!) and Dave Barry blogged about the clip.

Gives new meaning to the term "viral video."

May 12, 2008
KUVS Univision 19 leads in local Emmy wins

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The Northern California Area Emmy Awards were handed out in San Francisco Saturday, with several of the shiny statues going home with Sacramento winners.

KUVS Univision 19 was the big local winner, taking home 38 statues in 13 categories, including Feature News Report - Light series; Continuing Coverage, and Public/Current/Community Affairs - Feature Segment.

Perhaps even more impressive, reporter Santiago Lucero (pictured in a photo courtesy of KUVS) snagged five awards, including a nod for Specialty Assignment Report, to make him the most-honored individual overall.

Other Sacramento area winners include Channel 13 (KOVR) for Informational/Instructional Feature Segment, and Channel 6 (KVIE) in the Writer/Program category.

For a complete list of winners, visit EmmySF.tv.

May 12, 2008
A beautiful 'first' bride

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Associated Press/The White House/Shealah Craighead

Well, first daughter Jenna Bush tied the knot Saturday at her family's 1,600-acre Prairie Chapel Ranch, just as the sun dipped around 7:30 p.m.

And, while few details about the ceremony have eeked out, I did find out via Vogue magazine and other news services that Jenna, 26, wore what she described as a ďvery structuredĒ Oscar de la Renta organza gown when she wed longtime beau Henry Hager.

So, for those wedding fashionistas expecting a mile-long train, a la Princess Diana, it didn't happen.

However, having seen the pics, I think Jenna made a lovely choice. Heck, you simply can't go wrong with a de la Renta gown. Even with a simple one, the attention to detail - the lace, the beading - is exquisite. And no giant veil to obscure the groom's view!

This is certainly not the first time the Bush family has called on de la Renta for fashion advice. As you may recall, all the Bush women - Jenna, mom Laura and twin sister Barbara - all wore "Oscars" for the second inaugural ceremonies in January 2005.

The day after his daughter's big day, President Bush told the AP, ďThe wedding was spectacular. Itís just - itís all we could have hoped for.Ē

Barbara Bush served as her twin's maid of honor and the other 14 "house party" members (that's Texan for bridesmaids) were attired in pastel-colored, short chiffon dresses by designer Lela Rose.


May 12, 2008
Are you up for an audition?

The Event Foundation in Sacramento is looking for talent - good talent, they say - so that cuts me out of the hunt. Anyway, the group is hosting a mega fundraiser, "From Film to Fashion," on Oct. 4 at Raley Field.

The auditions run the gamut. That's because the event will feature everything from theatrical acts to dance performances and lots and lots of music.

So, here's what they're looking for:

* Dancers: A ballet performance will be performed during dinner.

* Orchestra: Musicans are needed for an orchestra that will perform several movie scores during the runway fashion show.

* Theater/drama: Performers are needed to reenact scenes from several movies, including "Indiana Jones" (male lead and five to eight extras).

* Vocals: Vocalists are needed to perform "Summertime" (female), "The Music of the Night" (male), and the theme song from "The Phantom of the Opera" (one male, one female).

There are two ways to audition. You can submit a performance DVD or schedule a live tryout. With either option, you'll also need to submit an application - deadline is Friday. Click here to print an application form out.

Address:
The Event Foundation
930 Alhambra Blvd., Suite 80A
Sacramento, CA 95816

or call (916) 440-9703 for more information.

No, you probably don't need Michael Crawford's voice, but as close as possible wouldn't hurt!

And remember: You have to be available Oct. 4, the night of the event. Duh.


May 9, 2008
Carla Meyer's Movie Picks

Wondering what to see this weekend?

In today's Weekend Ticket, I review movies opening this week. (Check out what I have to say about "Speed Racer.") But if you're interested in other options, here are my recommendations for recently released films:

Iron Man
3 star
Industrialist Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr.) plan to halt weapons
production encounters resistance from Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), No. 2 man at Stark Industries. Sporting a beard and a shaved head and a
manner alternately soothing and menacing, Bridges is perfection as the
ambitious guy behind the guy, comic-book edition. He's a combination of
Karl Rove and Dick Cheney as filtered through the WWE.
Rated PG-13

The Visitor
4 stars
Richard Jenkins ' poker face starts to crack when his emotionally
stagnant character, Walter, sees new acquaintance Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) practicing his African drum. Frankly, even the Sphinx would have trouble suppressing a goofy grin with Tarek around. Lent a winning ebullience by
Sleiman, Tarek is a generous guy who encourages Walter to try the drum
himself. Director Tom McCarthy is generous as well, allowing his
lead actors to shine in this beautifully observed tale of unlikely
friendships.
Rated PG-13


Forgetting Sarah Marshall
3 stars
Heartbroken Peter (Jason Segel) finds pals in a sympathetic bartender (Da'Vone McDonald), a pothead surf instructor (Paul Rudd) and a newlywed (Jack McBrayer, from "30 Rock") seeking escape from the sexual demands of his honeymoon. The bit players add to the overall fun, but the main attraction at this Hawaiian resort is front-desk employee Rachel (Mila Kunis). Assessing sad sack Peter's situation upon his arrival, Rachel installs him in an expensive suite, gratis.
Rated R

May 9, 2008
Playing everywhere soon

pangea

Can a film bring the world together? Probably not, if we're talking about "What Happens in Vegas."

But a bunch of well-made films chosen for their educational and/or inspirational value, shown all over the world at the same time, actually might make a dent.

That's the goal of Pangea Day, an event that on Saturday will offer 24 short films over the course of four hours via television, computer and cell phone. And at least one of the short films - India's "Dancing Queen," pictured above - actually was shot on a cell phone.

Conceived as a way to promote cultural understanding through the medium of film, the event, starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, will include live gatherings in several cities and talks by CNN's Christine Amanpour and Queen Noor of Jordan.

The event will be streamed live on the Pangea Day Web site and broadcast on Current TV.

May 9, 2008
A rare shot at jewelry

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OK, so you're down to that last-minute Mother's Day gift. Well, you can't go wrong with a beautiful bauble.

Why not make a stop either today or Saturday at Arareity Jewelry & Art Glass Gallery, 1021 R St. The store is hosting trunk shows both days featuring the Masriera collection, which has been around a loooong time, first produced in 1839 in Barcelona, Spain.

What will you find? Lovely pieces - including earrings, brooches, rings - in 18 karat gold and enamel, very reminiscent of the Lalique line. In fact, the Masriera collection has been featured in New York's Museum of Modern Art and will be heading to an upcoming exhibit in Amsterdam.

Arareity's show today ends at 5:30 p.m.; Saturday's is from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information: (916) 446-1535.

After shopping, stroll down the street a bit and enjoy some fine dining and a cold beverage at Fox & Goose, 1001 R St.

May 8, 2008
'Good Day Sacramento' vs. Armstrong & Getty

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OK, so I've kinda been avoiding posting about all things Armstrong & Getty lately, and I already wrote about the folks over at "Good Day Sacramento" once this week....

But....

Honestly, this really feels kind of cheap and easy - like shooting talking fish in a barrel.

But, again....

What the heck? I'm not going to editorialize, I'm just going to set up the premise and then let you draw your own conclusions (or make your own jokes).

The deal: On Wednesday, KSTE (650 AM)'s Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty were doing their radio show and also watching Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" (with the sound off) when one of them made a comment along the lines of "I don't know who freaking watches that mindless crap."

After professing love for "GDS' " Mark S. Allen, Nick Toma and Chris Burrous, the pair went on to speculate that people who willingly watch early TV shows much be a) fat, b) somehow physically limited, or c) stupid.

OK, so the "GDS" folks - alerted by a loyal watcher - weren't too happy by the characterization, obviously. And after much harumphing about how Jack & Joe used to have a morning TV show, but obviously that didn't work out and blah blah blah, they challenged A&G to a paintball battle.

And then, this morning, to reiterate their points (and the challenge), they lugged their cameras into the A&G studio to "confront" the duo.

All of which kind of makes me think this is just sort of in-cahoots sweeps stunt.

But hey, I said I wasn't going to judge....

Watch the "Good Day Sacramento" clip and decide for yourself.

You also can listen to the original A&G remarks here, or today's comments here.

Like I said, cheap and easy. I feel so dirty now.


May 8, 2008
Mayoral makeovers a must

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Hector Amezcua/hamezcua@sacbee.com

Let's put politics aside for the moment in the race for Sacramento mayor, and talk about the really important stuff. Like style. Or lack thereof.

After Wednesday night's debate, the seven candidates seem strong enough to take pot shots from each other - and from the voters - so I thought I'd lob a few fashion salvos their way, as well.

I watched the debate in between catching the live results on "American Idol." And I was stunned. This was TV. A live broadcast. Do or die.

And I'm talking about the clothes worn by the candidates, not the "Idol" contestants. (The latter whom were appropriately dressed.)

Bottom line: If you're campaigning to be the mayor of the capital city of one of the largest states in the country, you can't, can't, dress as if you were dumpster diving at the nearest thrift store. Or appear like you'd rather be a back-up singer for ZZ Top or Lynyrd Skynyrd. Or wear black (with a bad tie) because you think you're channeling your inner Charles Bronson.

Yeah, it makes you a standout, but not in a good way.

To candidate Adam Daniel, I'll leave you alone because you dropped out of the race during the debate.

To everyone else, when you're trying to represent us, especially outside the city limits, i.e., during confabs with the likes of Michael Bloomberg (mayor of New York) or Shirley Franklin (mayor of Atlanta), you can get away with talking the talk (even if it is about chickens) but, if you dress inappropriately, that just solidifies the notion that California is, indeed, the land of fruits and nuts.

Trust me on this one: Appearance does impact your credibility. So, call me if you need someone to help you shop.

And, by the way, a trim here and there wouldn't be a bad idea, either.

May 8, 2008
Divas alert! Tina Turner in Sac, Madonna in Oakland

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Legendary singer Tina Turner's hitting the road again with those fabulous gams of hers (and, of course, vocal pipes).

The show, scheduled to arrive Oct. 22 at Arco Arena, will showcase the highlights of Turner's enduring, influential career and will include a full band with flashy choreography and lights.

Awesome.

Tickets ($57.75-$150) go on sale at 10 a.m. May 19 through TicketMaster.com.

And, speaking of awesome, another enduring diva is packing her road trunk.

Yes, the one-and-only Madonna is launching her globe-trotting Sticky & Sweet tour this summer.

But you're gonna have to make the 90ish mile drive for that one, cos she'll be in Oakland, Nov. 1 at the Oracle Arena. Tickets ($55-$350) go on sale at 10 a.m. June 1 through LiveNation.com and TicketMaster.com.

Don't know about you, but I actually really like her new album "Hard Candy" - especially the title track and the "4 Minutes" single.

Oops, now that song's going to be totally stuck in my head again.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go hyperventilate into a paper bag at the diva awesomeness of it all.

May 8, 2008
Idol Chatter: No rest for weary Jason

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Fox

Jason Castro really is Jason Castro.

What do I mean by that? Dude is just as laid-back over the phone as he was during his incredible ride on "American Idol."

In a conference call with reporters today, Jason says his busiest days are ahead of him. And the thought of singing three songs next week, had he stayed? He's happy that it's not happening.

Here's some more of what he had to say about his experience on the show:

Q: You seemed utterly relieved when you were eliminated last night. Is that accurate?
A: I was as happy last night as when I made the Top 24. It's just really been hard. I had been thinking ahead to next week and three songs. I couldn't even do two! There was some freaking out about all the work. But the pressure is off, even though I loved my time on the show.

Q:After the results show, there were rumors flying that Simon Cowell thought you deliberately forgot the words to "Mr Tambourine Man" because you wanted to get the boot. Any truth to that?
A: No, I didn't do it on purpose. That's such a popular line that's written on your soul. When I got on stage, I was really rushed, my mind was in a blur. I just forgot where I was in the chorus.

Q: At one point, the judges said you weren't the same Jason they brought into the competition. Do you think your lack of experience, which you mentioned, hindered you?
A: The lack of experience really showed when we doubled up on songs. I was not connecting to the songs, I couldn't fall in love with them. But it also has everything to do with song selection and then finding time to rehearse. As the show progressed, there was less and less of that.

Q: Do you feel like the show portrayed you as you really are - super mellow?
A: I think it (the show) very much did. I am a goofy person. I'm an awkward conversationalist, as you guys can probably tell. But I am kind of grounded. What you see is what you get.

Q: Quite a few of the other contestants have professional backgrounds. Did you see yourself as the guy who just wandered in and was having a good time?
A: Hey, I made it farther than I ever imagined. And I did just kind of wander in. But, then I thought, "Hey, I'm here. I might as well be in it to win it." Every week I wanted to give it my best.

Q: There's no doubt you were very popular with the female viewers. You even got kissed in Las Vegas! Are you uncomfortable with the fame?
A: I don't really get it yet. I've never been starstruck, but I think it's cool because it means they like you. Actually, we (the contestants) don't go out at all. I had dinner once a week with my parents and tried to be inconspicuous.

Q: Do you have a girlfriend?
A: I do. She just finished school and is headed back to Texas.

Q: Are you looking forward to getting back to the Lone Star State?
A: I wish I was there now. But I hear I'm not going home. Instead, I'm headed to New York and then I come back here (L.A.) for the finale and rehearsing for the tour.

Q: What have you learned about yourself from your experience? And what do you think about the remaining three contestants?
A: I've learned I can do a lot more than I thought. And I did it for a few months straight - on TV! Everybody left is strong, especially the "Davids." And Syesha has been really working hard. Every week you're on there are more chances, but no guarantees.

May 7, 2008
Idol Chatter: Jason didn't 'dread' his departure

Jason Castro had every dread locked into place tonight - even after being eliminated on "American Idol."

His thoughts? "Three songs next week? I don't know what I would have done!"

So, that leaves "Idol" viewers with their Top 3: David Archuleta, David Cook and Syesha Mercado. This, after close to 51 million votes were cast after Tuesday night's competition, the highest this season.

This week's Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame selections - a virtual vault of the best music ever performed - didn't impress the three judges. Simon Cowell said tonight that he "was surprised at the disastrous song choices."

But the Final 4 contestants didn't have much time to worry about Simon's musings. They received a private 737 plane ride to Las Vegas as guests of honor at a Cirque du Soleil performance of the Beatles' sold-out "Love."

They got gussied up (David C. got his first manicure), and Jason was ambushed by girls and a dolphin in the hotel pool.

Tonight, viewers also were treated to performances by Season 4 runner-up Bo Bice and one of my favorite groups, Maroon 5, set to launch a worldwide tour.

* Worst moment of the night? The Final 4 Ford video featuring Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and the contestants in uber-tight matador pants. UGH!

* Best moment of the night? Before the elimination, Jason was asked his thoughts on Tuesday's performances:

"Somebody told me yesterday that I shot the tambourine man. I screwed up."

This in reference to his two song choices: Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" and Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man."

Next weeK? Three songs, like Jason said. And trips to the Top 3's hometowns.

Check back here at 21Q Thursday for a Q&A with Jason.

(And, if I'm in a particularly sporty mood, I'll offer a fashion assessment of our fair city's mayoral candidates. This, after tonight's televised debate. You won't want to miss this.)

May 7, 2008
Lots of fashion doings this weekend

Hey, with another nice forecast this weekend, there's no reason not to take advantage of all the shopping options in midtown and thereabouts.

Oh, and OK, and to check out some of the galleries, too, during the popular monthly Second Saturday artwalk.

Of course, Mother's Day is Sunday. So this also could be your chance to pick up that last-minute gift for mom, your partner's mom, your wife the mom, a mom-to-be - or, heck, for yourself if you're a mom!

Here are some ideas:

* Lululemon Athletica, a yoga-inspired apparel company based in Vancouver, B.C., is having a special Sacramento grand opening from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; the store, at 2310 J St. in midtown, will feature complimentary yoga classes and demos.

The store's manager, Lorena Beightler, e-mailed that she's looking forward to the store becoming sort of midtown yoga hub, with, according to press materials, "yoga and fitness classes."

"Yoga as a fitness activity is growing stronger in Sacramento and is taking its place alongside other popular outdoor activities, like running and cycling," she writes.

The Lululemon store will officially open May 16, and will only be open from 2 to 7 p.m. Fridays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. On Wednesday evenings - from 7 to 8 - Lululemon will offer a free yoga class at McKinley Park.

To get a sneak peak at the apparel for both women and men, or to get more more information, click here.

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* Felicia Strati boutique will host a fashion show Saturday featuring spring/summer European collections. The event will begin at 7 p.m. at the shop's Capitol Avenue and 19th Street location; Apartment 19 will be styling the models' hair, so you can anticipate "fierceness."

* Madam Butterfly boutique in Pavilions (off Fair Oaks Boulevard) is hosting a trunk show Thursday through Sunday featuring Junior Drake handbags. But don't stop there. If you find the perfect gift, Madam Butterfly will wrap it for free while you nibble on canapes.

Note to you: One special mom I know just asks for the chance to sleep in this Mother's Day. Keep the breakfast warm!

May 7, 2008
Idol Chatter: Simon sez?

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Fox

If "American Idol" voters even come close to listening to judge Simon Cowell's opinions Tuesday night, there will be no big shocker on tonight's results show (at 9 on Fox40).

Jason Castro may have dreaded (no pun intended) hearing it but, after his second song, Simon threw down the gauntlet: "I'd pack your suitcase."

Yow!

The Final 4 performed two songs each from the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. However, after last week's flub with Paula Abdul, host Ryan Seacrest told the three judges they would critique after each song.
"Everybody got it right?" he asked. (Camera pans to Paula.)

David Cook surprised me (and apparently the judges) with both his songs: Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" and The Who's "Baba O'Riley." (Most folks might remember this song as "Teenage Wasteland.")

The judges definitely preferred the latter song. Randy Jackson said "Hungry" was an "OK choice," but "Baba" was great.

Syesha Mercado went all Tina Turner on us with "Proud Mary" first: shiny, short dress, hips swaying, working the band.

Randy said, "It was the third week in a row Syesha was in the zone!" However, Simon put a damper on the performance, saying it was a "shrieky version."

Her second song? A heartfelt rendition of Sam Cooke's 1964 "A Change is Gonna Come." Randy, however, said Syesha was trying for "things" that weren't there. "It was disconnected and fell flat."

Paula and Simon took sides against Randy, both loving it. Syesha was brought to tears by their praise - and also by the emotion of the song and its connection to the Civil Rights movement. While she cried, the judges bickered among themselves, to the point that Ryan warned that "Hell's Kitchen," which follows "Idol," was going to start any minute.

And then there was Jason, strummin' and chillin' to two "Bobs:" Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" and Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man."

Dreadlocks notwithstanding, Jason wasn't the bomb. He just bombed. He dropped the lyrics on the Dylan song and was told by Simon that the Marley song was one "you don't touch!"

"Stand back. That was utterly atrocious!" he said.

That left young David Archuleta (pictured), who seemed to have put a lot of thought into his selectiions, starting with Ben E. King's "Stand by Me," on which Paula said he delivered. Randy said he thought David A. was trying to win the whole thing. (Simon took another swing at Jason, who had just sung, saying, "David, you could have whistled better than the last song." Ouch!)

David's last song was Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender," one of the best arrangements I've ever heard. Randy said he "caressed each word." Paula said it was one of her favorite performances. And then, this from Simon: "You didn't beat the competition tonight, you crushed it!"

In the end, Ryan warned voters/viewers to not let down their favorite contestant by not voting.

"Remember, Tamyra Gray (Season 1) and Chris Daughtry (Season 5) both went home in the fourth spot," he said.

Predictions: Dialidol.com wasted no time putting the "red light" on Jason, polling him as definitely headed home. I won't argue with that. But, his lock on the female vote could be a stunner for, say, Syesha.

I'm sticking with my two "Davids" for the finale. What do you think?

May 6, 2008
Park supervisors crack down on 'Good Day Sacramento'

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So "Good Day Sacramento's" Mark S. Allen was in Davis this morning, shooting a hard-hitting piece about a kid trying to catapult a Curious George doll through the city's Slide Hill Park.

Aside from the burning questions as to why someone would want to do this and why the heck you'd even send a reporter out to cover it, that's not what caught our attention.

Here's the deal: Park supervisors weren't too keen on the kid's plan and apparently called in police for backup. The police, however, weren't really sure if it's a crime to catapult a stuffed monkey, admitting that the action fell into a legal "gray area."

So, as the police tried to figure out the ins-and-outs of the doll-launching laws, Allen decided it was time to hurry up with the show and just shoot the damn thing already.

Not so fast. Turns out the park supervisors really didn't like the idea and decided to stand in the direct path of the unlucky plushie.

So, Allen, not wanting to invite a possible lawsuit, trotted off to ask them to move.

And, get this - they refused. The nerve! Seriously folks, Allen is peeved, protesting "We're on live TV right now!" Meanwhile, back at the "Good Day Sac" ranch, things go from stupid to embarrassing when anchor Nick Toma gets really put out by the whole affair, going as far as to fake-snore (because park supervisors bore him?) and even boo loudly.

A few other Toma gems:

"Is there any wonder why people make fun of Davis?"

and:

"Kinda makes me want to hit (the park supervisor)." (C'mon, Toma - even Mark S. Allen didn't think that was a good idea.)

and:

"I'm looking up another word for 'Jerky McJerkestein.' "

Huh?

Watch the clip and decide who the real Jerky McJerkestein is.

May 6, 2008
Teddy Geiger and Hilary McRae, June 13 at the Empire

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Here's a show that slipped in past the deadline for today's Coming Distractions column: Teddy Geiger and Hilary McRae, June 13 at the Empire (1417 R St.).

Geiger is a 20-year-old pop phenom (and occasional actor: TV's "Love Monkey" and the upcoming flick "The Rocker") - he reminds me of a young Rufus Wainwright.

McRae (pictured, photo by Henry Diltz) is an up-and-coming pop-jazz vocalist - and the first new, developing artist to be signed to Starbucks' Hear Music label. Yes, that's her debut album "Through These Walls" that you see every time you order that double-whip, half-caf frappucino.

Tickets ($10 advance, $12 door) for the all-ages show go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday through the Beat, R5 Records, Dimple Records, Armadillo Music, all Tickets.com outlets (inside select Raley's and Bel Air Supermarkets) and Tickets.com.

May 6, 2008
Idol Chatter: Ready to rock 'n' roll?

AI7_Final4_004.jpg
Fox

Tonight's version of "American Idol" will feature the Final 4 (pictured) - one competition away from the Top 3. (Notice how we go from Final to Top?)

Yes, there are major perks to advancing.

The last three standing traditionally get a private plane ride to their hometowns, maybe a parade, a mall appearance, a key to the city, a street named after them.

And then it's back to L.A.

But, I'm jumping the gun a bit. We've got a show tonight (at 8 on Fox40). Syesha Mercado, David Archuleta, Jason Castro and David Cook don't have many more opportunities to woo fans away from each other. Forget what the judges say - or mumble! (Let's just hope Paula Abdul didn't attend dress rehearsal.)

They'll perform two songs from the vaunted collection that is the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame. What does that mean? Anything from Madonna to Mick Jagger.

Yes, the judges harp ad nauseum on song selection, but I seriously can't think of a week when it will count as much. David C. could go mellow and then rock it, or rock it twice. David A. could just go mellow/mellow. With Brooke White's mellowness gone, Jason can't count on those dreads if he, too, goes mellow/mellow. For me, Syesha is the one to watch because she can mix it up with the best of them.

If not, find a spot for her in "Dreamgirls."

May 5, 2008
The trailer's the thing


Movie trailers can be aggravating, giving away key moments and plot twists. The trailers for "Baby Mama" and "Made of Honor," for instance, revealed their respective films' funniest moments (and in the case of "Made of Honor," only funny moments).

But, just as I was growing melancholy over the state of trailers, along comes this one for August's "Hamlet 2" (above, via YouTube), a comedy about a high school drama teacher (Steve Coogan) who launches an un-PC sequel to the Shakespeare play.

I hadn't heard of "Hamlet 2" until I started researching my summer movie preview, which runs this Sunday in The Bee's Ticket+ section. But after watching the trailer several times, I now count "Hamlet 2," along with "Sex and the City" and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," among the films I most look forward to.

Check it out and see if you agree. (And by the way, the version above is the cleaned-up one. There's also a "red band" trailer).

May 5, 2008
Local fashion update: "Adas" are on more arms than ever

AOC_Ada.jpg
Autumn Cruz/acruz@sacbee.com


It's been just a little more than a month, but there's been a lot of change since I wrote about local handbag designer Ada Komorniczak-Deferrari (pictured) and her incredible accessories. (To see the article that ran in Scene, click here.)

Anyway, over calamari and cool drinks on Friday, Ada filled me in on her recent trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where her handbags, belts and wallets are designed andl handmade.

"After people saw the bags, especially the croco one in The Bee, I had to increase orders from once to twice a month, and I've extended that croco line to include new shapes and sizes and new fabrics, such as metallics," she says.

Ahh, sweet success!

Ada, whose collection is, well, simply called "Ada," traveled to Argentina in
April with her husband, Gaston, who's also her business partner and a native of that country. (I asked if they had spotted the "Today" show's Matt Lauer, who was there last Monday on the first leg of his "Where in the World" tour. "No, but I'm sure he had a good time with the dancing and the dining," she says.)

Anyway, what's in the works for Ada's upcoming collections?

Well, her portfolio of fabrics tells an interesting story. Customers will see textures like anaconda, and the fall collection will focus on deep plums with reptile and a mixture of patent leathers.

This summer, Ada is also putting together a tote-bag collection to benefit a women's shelter in Buenos Aires. She found out about the shelter on the recent trip, where she met women who were making beautiful heart keychains to raise awareness about abuse. Now, Ada is creating a signature tote (in multiple colors) that will include the keychain, with a percentage of the sales to go to the shelter.

"They're earning a living to support their families, so I see it as a chance to contribute to their well-being," she says.

To find out more, check out Ada's Web site here.

Besides Argentina, Ada and Gaston traveled to Dallas and Chicago, where they found the markets mixed.

"Chicago is more conservative in terms of fashion," she says. "Dallas tended to embrace my suede bags in purple and green, and white is big for summer."

Another thing Ada is learning? Fashion trends definitely enter from the two coasts and then move inland. And, there's always a demand for both classic and trendy looks.

For those of you who gotta-have-an-Ada, here are some local boutiques that carry her line:
* Morgan Lain, 613 Munroe St. in Sacramento
* Five, 2580 Fair Oaks Blvd. Sacramento
* The Pink House, 1462 33rd St. in Sacramento
* Sandra D's Fashions, 3941 Park Drive, Suite 60, in El Dorado Hills

May 2, 2008
Carla Meyer's Movie Picks

Wondering what to see this weekend?

In today's Weekend Ticket, I review movies opening this week. (Check out what I have to say about "Iron Man.") But if you're interested in other options, here are my recommendations for recently released films:

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
3 stars
Mila Kunis is so different from her whiny character on "That '70s Show" that she's almost unrecognizable. Part of it's the tan and heavy eye makeup evoking a 1960s-era Elizabeth Taylor. The rest is good acting. Self-assured yet down-to-earth, Kunis' character, Rachel, seems like a grown-up compared with most other characters. A front-desk employee at a luxury hotel, Rachel is exceptionally nice to sad-sack guest Peter (Jason Segel), but he can't tell if her interest is professional or personal.
Rated R

Nim's Island
3 stars
The adorable Abigail Breslin taps the same game spirit she displayed in "Little Miss Sunshine" but in a more physically demanding context. When island dweller Nim investigates a volcano, Breslin really appears to be climbing jagged rocks.
Rated PG

Shine a Light
3 stars
Martin Scorsese, who has used Rolling Stones songs prominently in his movies, brings an obvious fondness for the group to this concert film. He also seems to recognize that the Stones' history is by this time well-known. The group's longevity, as manifested through its still-electrifying performances, is the story now Ė one that captivates a boomer audience who can see, through the Stones, that it's possible to get older and still maintain an edge. Or, more specifically, that it's possible to be Keith Richards and continue to stand up.
Rated PG-13

ALSO: "Monster From Bikini Beach," a film that touched hearts and changed lives when it premiered in January, returns to the Crest Theatre tonight, Saturday, May 9 and May 10. Made locally by Trash Film Orgy Productions, "Bikini" will titillate and terrify mature audiences at 10:30 p.m.each night.

May 1, 2008
Call to readers: It's sweeps again; what's stupid?

May is sweeps month - that time when broadcasters try to grab your attention (and, thus, more advertisers).

Sometimes, this can be a good thing, with stations adding interesting content. And, sometimes, well, not so much.

Which is where you come in. If, during your daily channel surfing, you come across anything particularly weird, outrageous or just plain stupid in local broadcasting, send me an e-mail (and please include your name and city of residence).

But, please, local stuff only - there's no way I can even try to keep up with the Heidis, Paulas and Dr. Phils of the world.

Your suggestions may or may not end up as part of a future 21Q post - but just think if you do - finally, a chance to be Internet Famous.

Thanks in advance!

May 1, 2008
RadioMatthew calls it a day

Bummer news in the Sacto blogger realm: Local online media scribe RadioMatthew has called it quits, blog-wise.

In an entry posted today, RadioMatthew (a frequent 21Q commenter, btw), explained it thusly:

I was offered a competitive position at a local Sacramento television station that I believe deserves my focus now. The position will start out as an internship and hopefully grow to be something more, though time will tell on that one. I look forward to this exceptional opportunity the station has given me to prove myself to them.

In the meantime, I intend to take this free time away from the blog by spending it with the people who matter the most to meópeople who have been very supportive during my blogging career and understood the sacrifice in time and presence I needed in order to keep this running daily.

Good luck, but hopefully this doesn't mean RM will be permanently MIA from this part of the Interweb. One thing's for sure: RadioMatthew posts will remain archived at the site and you can still check out his other venture, the SactownMedia forum and wiki pages.

May 1, 2008
Idol Chatter: No more tears for Brooke

cry.jpg
Fox

What a difference a night without any sleep makes. You're too TIRED to cry anymore!

"American Idol's" latest eliminated contestant, Brooke White, put all her vulnerability out there Wednesday when she got the bad news. (See my posting below.) But, in a conference call today with "Idol" writers, she was back to being happy Brooke. So, she was definitely composed and eager to talk about her experiences on the show and about moving forward.

Here's some of what she had to say:

Q: Last night was quite emotional for you. Did you think being eliminated would be that tough?
A: I kind of anticipated it. At that moment, I thought I was strong. Then, boom! It hit me that itís over. The finality of it was sad. There's a fear of going back into the real world, of whatís to come. I had hoped I could have been stronger. Iím emotional and passionate. And I felt vulnerable every time. But it's been an amazing journey.

Q: It has been a journey. How do you think you dealt with the pressures, and did your faith help?
A: I didn't have a choice. It was just something within me. When you feel like youíre sinking, you say, "OK, swim." You have to make the best of it. Even with the challenges, I thought I could do it. Yes, there were two of us who are Mormon. It's just part of our lives. My faith definitely helped me make some decisions.

Q: What are you looking forward to?
A: I actually had an interview with Carly Simon this morning, and she gave me a lot of support and the hope that I can make it happen. She told me it was OK to be different. People appreciate it.

Q: What kind of album would you like to make?
A: I want to be a singer/songwriter. I would love to co-write and build an album around that organic sound, playing the piano and guitar. I want to connect with people on an honest level.

Q:You were upset about Carly Smithson going home last week. Was there any guilt because you had to stop and start your Andrew Lloyd Webber song?
A: I was grateful (I got to stay). The voting process is very interesting. You never know what will happen. I had to see past my mistake of forgetting the words last week. Iíve been packed (to go) for two weeks. Ever since Michael Johns went home, I wondered, "How long do I get?" I hoped for the Final 2. I also tried to set goals: Top 24, Top 12, Top 10, Top 5.

Q: Can you talk about judge Paula Abdul's incident on Tueday night? And how did Jason Castro feel afterward? Did it impact him?
A: Itís live television - anything can happen. I had to start and stop again last week. Human moments happen on the show. Things can change very quickly. Paula probably got lost in the moment. Sheís a good-hearted woman. Jason is a very laid-back guy. Heís great. We've all learned to fly by the seat of our pants.

Q: This week's mentor, Neil Diamond, told the contestants last night not to listen to Simon Cowell. How do you feel about Simon now?
A: It was quite a challenge. I always give my best. But there was always this place of vulnerability. Sometimes Simon's delivery is plain mean. He can be harsh and blunt. But he wants to push you do to your best.

Q: We always ask about your relationship with the other contestants and, of course, who you think has the best shot at winning?
A: I had great friendships with the contestants. And I'm looking forward to going on tour together. There was always a lot of sitting in rooms and waiting for something to happen. Weíre very different from one another. Itís what people like. As for predicting a winner, each contestant is really special. It just depends on what America wants. The boys are awfully popular and charming this year. They get stacks and stacks of mail!

Q: Your husband, Dave, pledged not to cut his hair as long as you remained on "American Idol." Any idea when will he cut it? How great was it to have him for support?
A: He'll get a haircut whenever I get around to it. Iíll be the one doing it! Maybe 3 a.m. He likes to hear me sing. Dave is a laid-back fellow with a great perspective. I was very fortunate to have him hang with me.





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