Friday, May 10, 2013

Around the Office: Lip Syncing Makes a Comeback

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Don't say we don't work hard around here. The buzz around the office today was all about the Lip Sync-Off between John Krasinksi ("Jim" on the Office) and Jimmy Fallon.

Jimmy leads off with an impassioned version of Melissa Manchester's "Don't Cry Out Loud" only to be topped by Kraskinki's performance of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" that reeks of many hours practicing moves in front of a bedroom mirror.

And make sure to watch all the way through so as not to miss Fallon's syncing of an over-the-top version of "Over the Rainbow" by Star Search reigning champion Sam Harris (remember him?)

Of course, multiple views of the competition only serves as a reminder of the original lip-syncing competition and my absolute favorite show when I was ten years old, "Putting on the Hits," hosted by Allen Fawcett, he of the blue twinkle-eyes and permed mullet. The show offered up wacky, and often bizarre, renditions of popular songs of the day.

Here are some choice performances from a show that put competitive lip-syncing on the map, the show that let "everyday people shine like the stars they've always wanted to be."

Stacy, Debbie and Stacy do "Crush on You" by The Jets

Tony and Susan doing "Angst in My Pants" by Sparks

Creepy Baby Man

Umm, and here's Kato Kaelin, at the time a "mild-mannered salesman from Milwaukee, Wisconsin" but who eventually became most famous for living in Nicole Simpson's guest house on the night she was murdered, doing a baffling and terrible performance of "Born to be Wild."

Happy Friday!

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A Little Oversight Goes a Long Way

Citizen Journalism: not always a great idea

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 12:21 PM

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The internet: A glorious place where everyone is connected to everyone and anyone can say anything. Arguably the best expression of freedom of speech the world has ever known. But with freedom comes a lot of free nonsense.

Take some of the local blog posts on Patch.com.

For those who aren't familiar with Patch, it is a collection of hyperlocal websites all over the United States owned by AOL. Each individual site covers roughly one town and has one editor managing the content for that site. At its core, it is a news site like any other.

According to Patch:

Simply put, Patch is an innovative way to find out about, and participate in, what's going on near you.
We're a community-specific news, information and engagement platform driven by passionate and experienced new media professionals. Patch is revolutionizing the way neighbors connect with each other, their communities, and the national conversation.
We want to be the most trusted, comprehensive, and relevant news and information resource in your community. What can you do on Patch?

But the better question would be: "What can't you do on Patch?"

Take Patch blogger Cathy Gumina Odom. Her post on Healdsburg Patch's site: I'm Stoned When I Can't Connect My Bluetooth Keyboard is a fabulous example of Patch being the “most trusted, comprehensive, and relevant news and information resource” around.

Or... not. It is, however, a great example of what can happen on a news site with little to no editorial control. Really, read the thing. It's utterly bonkers.

Now just because there's one crazy blogger out there doesn't mean everyone who blogs for Patch is a stoned lunatic. But oftentimes there's no vetting process for what goes up and what doesn't go up. This is true for many sites; Patch is just a great example.

The editors of these sites are responsible for getting a certain number of posts up a day (as per their contract) and may not have time to worry about what is or isn't being covered by freelancers and bloggers. While this may not seem like a big deal, the fact that Patch is branding itself as a relevant news source makes it kind of a big deal.

(To be fair, many if not most of the editors who work for Patch are qualified journalists. Take Petaluma Patch editor Karina Ioffee, who went to UC Santa Cruz and studied at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. She worked for the Arizona Daily Star, the Stockton Record and two of the world’s largest wire services, the Associated Press, and Reuters.)

Not everyone who writes on the web needs to have a graduate degree in journalism. There are tons of blogs out there on relevant topics being written by all sorts of people. Food blogs, music blogs, gardening blogs, parenting blogs...the list goes on and on.

But for a site whose founders claim to want it to be trusted, and claim to present relevant news, and then let anyone at all write for it unedited (and, might I add, not get paid)—to me, it seems a little odd, and takes that old citizen-journalism idea a little too far.

Once again, it's up to the consumer to filter out the garbage to get to the gold.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dierk’s Midtown Now Open

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2013 at 11:05 AM

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Fans of the always crowded but always delicious “parkside” location now have another option for upscale breakfast at decent prices. Dierk’s Midtown Café (1422 Fourth St., Santa Rosa) is now open for breakfast and lunch.

They’ve been open a week so far, and the buzz hasn’t caught on yet. Dierk’s Parkside is one of the most consistently

It’s a good time to get Dierk’s thick bacon, poached eggs or goat cheese in any of the breakfast dishes without having to elbow for position in line. Plus, the jam they put out on each table is as good as ever, and there can neer be too much on a slab of toast. Think of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, swishing around his knife on the White Rabbit’s pocket watch, getting jam everywhere. Now imagine that watch as a piece of toast about to enter your mouth. That’s my kind of toast.

Dierk’s expansion has been planned for a few months now. It’s taking over the former Midtown Café, a well-intentioned dining spot that just didn’t catch on. The small space is full of light, making a great atmosphere for reading a newspaper like the Bohemian during breakfast. In case it isn’t obvious, I might still be on a bacon high from this morning’s breakfast. Does that count as "Gonzo" journalism?

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Taking Plagiarism Out of Journalism, One Story at a Time

The Sunlight Foundation creates tools to keep the media on their toes.

Posted By on Tue, May 7, 2013 at 5:08 PM

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This is pretty freaking brilliant.

In newsrooms all over, reporters get press releases by the bushel. There are services like PRWeb and PR Newswire that reporters can use to find story ideas. They can even subscribe to get e-blasts on specific topics, such as healthcare or banking. Or media ethics. Press releases provide a way for the government, businesses, labor unions and anyone who has something to say to get in front of a reporter. In of itself, this is not a bad thing. It is a useful tool.

But... sometimes... a story that comes out sounds a whole lot like the release it comes from. Sometimes it's word for word. (Which kind of, but sometimes not exactly, could be called a free advertorial. Just sayin'.) Other times, direct quotes, or sections of the release, are copied and pasted into the story. Sure, copying a quote from a press release means the quote will be exact—yet often they're taken out of context.

Churnalism is a product launched last week by the Sunlight Foundation that enables media consumers to conduct a side-by-side comparison of news stories in American media and press releases they (may) come from. The project is modeled after a similar British product that came out a couple of years ago.

One thing I think is exceptionally cool about this is that in addition to press releases from a variety of places, it also compares the articles to Wikipedia. As a reporter, I have no problem looking at a Wiki site to get source IDEAS, but copying and pasting from Wikipedia? Sorry kids, that is just plain ol' plagiarism. And will very possibly be wrong.

Check out the tutorial by the Sunlight Foundation to see how it works. Too bad this wasn't around in the days of Jayson Blair—it could have saved the New York Times a lot of embarrassment.

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Friday, May 3, 2013

'20 Feet From Stardom' Augments BottleRock

Posted By on Fri, May 3, 2013 at 5:43 PM

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With BottleRock just about ready to boom, Napa’s other wide-eyed fest, the Napa Valley Film Festival, is getting in on the action early with some music-centric sneak peak screenings. Monday, May 6, taps the organization’s alliance with BottleRock for a fundraiser/screening and Q&A of the documentary Sound City, Dave Grohl’s (of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame, who will be in attendance) directorial debut. Tuesday, Sundance favorite Twenty Feet from Stardom will get its Napa debut at the building formerly known as COPIA. Music is also on the mind in this flick, which brings the stars-behind-the-stars to the forefront. Rock legends like Sting, The Boss and Mick Jagger wax about how below-the-radar backup singers like Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer and Judith Hill (now forging her own tracks on Season 4 of The Voice) helped define the sounds of the time. Director Morgan Neville will be on hand for Q&As after both screenings, and Fischer, making a pit stop off her tour with the Rolling Stones, will perform live following the 5:30PM screening. Looks like Napa is most definitely ready to rock. The 5:30pm screening is $20 and includes a wine tasting; 8:30pm screening is $10. 500 First Street, Napa, www.nvff.com.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Zach Braff Saves the Rio Theater in Monte Rio

Says He "Can't Wait to See a Movie There"

Posted By on Wed, May 1, 2013 at 10:18 PM

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You might think Zach Braff is a destitute hobo, the way he was begging for money on the internet last week. But no! Zach Braff is in fact a very famous and wealthy actor, screenwriter, producer and director, and Zach Braff is also the donor who just pitched in enough money to save the Rio Theater in Monte Rio.

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That's right: the star of Scrubs and Garden State put the Rio's fundraising efforts over their $60,000 goal just today—meaning that the cutest little Quonset hut theater in Sonoma County will be able to buy a digital projector, thereby appeasing the big-movie-studio ogres and staying open to bring life and love and entertainment to the deep reaches of West County.

On Facebook, Braff testified about the Rio Theater that he "Can't wait to see a movie there!"

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Congratulations to the Rio Theater, which opened in 1950 and has become a favorite of ours here at the Bohemian. The quaint one-screen is a true small-town gem, refreshingly removed from the moviegoing experience at huge megaplexes. With its hand-picked music, personalized slides, and fabric from Christo's fence hanging from the ceiling, it's a beloved staple of the West County community. (For the full story of the Rio Theater, see Stephen Gross' history of the place, here.)

May the Rio last another 63 years or more—and you can bet that sometime soon, they'll be showing Braff's upcoming film, Wish I Was Here.

GRAPH: JOHN DESALVIO
  • Graph: John DeSalvio
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Award Tour

Bohemian wins two CNPA awards for excellence in journalism

Posted By on Wed, May 1, 2013 at 11:35 AM

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At the annual California Newspaper Publishers Association awards luncheon on April 27, the Bohemian was honored to take home two awards. Competing in a category with 35 other weekly newspapers statewide, staff writer Leilani Clark won second place in the Best Feature Story category for her cover story detailing the crackdown on medical marijuana growers and dispensaries ("Smoked Out," May 2, 2012). In addition, the Bohemian staff won second place in the Special Section category for our Best Of issue spotlighting longstanding local businesses that have thrived for 40 years or more ("Best Of: Legends," March 21, 2012). Furthermore, Blue Ribbon certificates were awarded to William Smith and Sara Sanger for their Bohemian work in illustration and photography, respectively.

This marks three statewide awards and seven national awards that the Bohemian has won in the last five years for excellence in journalism. Frankly, we're honored, and will continue to work hard to bring you the best paper possible.

—The Ed.

Blasting Sonny Rollins in Joy

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