Monday, February 11, 2008


Did the News-Press give the recently concluded Santa Barbara International Film Festival the cold shoulder?

Sure, there was pretty much a front page story on the film fest every day during its run but compared to past years the News-Press' volume of coverage didn't seem to measure up to what it had been.

Take Richard Mineards, aka "London Britches," the paper's gossip columnist. I'm told he indeed was issued a press credential for the film fest. I even understand that he took in a movie or two. But as far as I can determine he failed to write so much as one word about the festival.

So, when some of the biggest names in Hollywood drop in for the film fest, the News-Press' biggest name dropper drops out. What's up with that?

Surely, as one of the Queen's subjects I thought he would show up to cover the red carpet arrival of Julie Christie or Cate Blanchett two of the Queen's other subjects who were honored. Did he really have something better to do those nights?

Apparently he wasn't interested in getting within a "tiara's toss" of them.

News-Press correspondent Ted Mills, did a good job of covering the film fest with daily news stories but where was the "beyond the velvet rope angle" that you would expect a columnist to provide?

Or perhaps Mineards was just taking orders from above?

In past years the News-Press had been one of the sponsors of the film fest. Not this year. With The Independent the Daily Sound and even Casa participating in the sponsorship program that made the News-Press the only major local newspaper that didn't sign on as a film fest sponsor.

Last year Wendy and Arthur were spotted at a few film fest events. Arthur was at the special screening of Borat which featured a Q&A with Sacha Baron Cohen and both were spotted at the big Saturday night party at the Biltmore.

Not this year. The only film fest sighting of "Santa Barbara's best kept man" was at the 10-10-10 student film competition where his son was one of the entrants and Wendy was not to be seen at all.

Perhaps the News-Press wanted to keep their distance this year out of fear that "Citizen McCaw" was going to be screened there. As it turned out, the documentary movie wasn't finished in time to be shown at the film fest (it will instead premiere Friday March 7 at the Arlington) but I was assured by higher-ups at the film fest that they would have been willing to include it in the festival had it been ready.

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Blogabarbara is doing away with anonymous comments. Beginning this Saturday readers at one of Santa Barbara's most popular blogs will have to either use a Blogger ID or create a "Nickname" if they wish to leave a comment.

I say it's a good idea. The responsibility of policing comments is the main reason I don't have them here on my blog. Hopefully it will reduce the amount of time "Sara de la Guerra" has to devote to administering Blogabarbara as well as give us an idea of how many different "voices" are actually participating in the discussion.

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Former News-Press editor Jerry Roberts will be one of the panelists discussing "Ethical Dilemmas in Journalism" on March 11th at Monterey College. The featured speaker that night will be Carl Bernstein, who along with Bob Woodward, reported on the Watergate scandal for the Washington Post.

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According to the Hot Property column in yesterday's L.A. Times, blues guitarist Robert Cray and his wife, playwright and filmmaker Susan Turner-Cray, have bought a five-acre Santa Ynez Valley ranch.