Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Donald’s mailbag: You’re not football ignorant!

In my Sunday column, I offered a gently anti-Super Bowl point of view. Someone has to go against the tide, right? I confessed that at the moment of writing the column, I wasn’t even sure which team was playing the Patriots. I also wrote that during the game I’d be on the road, traveling back from a museum-filled weekend in L.A. My favorite reader comment came in the form of a “gotcha” voicemail message that went like this:

You wrote that you’d be driving back in the second quarter. Which means you know how long a quarter in football is. And that proves that you know more about football than you’re letting on.

The reader also came to the conclusion that there’s no way, given my extensive expert knowledge about the real-time length of quarters in the NFL, that I could have gone through all the pre-Super Bowl hype without knowing both teams involved.

Pretty all-or-nothing, right? Either you have a direct feed from connected to your brain, or you are a football teetotaler who scrunches up his fists and sings “nah-nah-nah-nah” every time someone mentions the word “concussion.”

To this I respond: Hey, I was in four years of high school marching band and three years of college marching band. One picks up quite a bit about the game sitting in the stands, just through sheer osmosis. I’m not football illiterate. You can’t be American and not know something about the game. But I steadfastly maintain that I didn’t know both teams while writing the column. (My sincere apologies to my friends at the Seattle Times.) And what did it matter in the end, anyway? The Patriots won. Now, if I can only figure out who Katy Perry is.

What did you think of the Super Bowl 2014 commercials?

Did you have a favorite Super Bowl 2014 commercial? It didn’t really seem like there were many whiz-bang home run commercials this year that made you laugh or were particularly clever. (Between that and the lackluster game I drifted off to the kitchen to make some lentil soup, so maybe I missed some good ones.) Here’s my top three favorites. What about you?

Reliving some 1980s favorites in the Radio Shack commercial was fun:

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Besides sneaking your way into that George Strait show that’s hella sold out.

You can see another country legend (sorta!) — as Johnny Cash tribute Cash’d Out plays tonight. They’re legit — as in they can make Cash’s daughter cry. Then Saturday, S.F.’s Nicki Bluhm comes to play some fun folky music for you. She’s legit too. [More]

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The Super Bowl and the 7 section

What do you do when you’re a theater company with a scheduled performance on Super Bowl Sunday?

Figure out a good marketing pitch. Here’s the Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater pitch for this Sunday’s Good Company Players matinee performance of “Spamalot:”

Very funny. But I’ll tell you this much for sure: The photo above will be the closest this 7 writer gets to the Super Bowl. It’s my Sunday without crowds! Sorry, football fans.

Fres-Know: Did they just say Siabu?

CHECK THIS OUT: Chaffee Zoo Orangutan predicts Super Bowl champs. [ABC 30]

WOAH: Siabu is viralling, getting love all over the Internet, including … [Time]

AND THEN: This Bay Area blogger uses it as a chance to talk smack about us. [SF Weekly]

CONTEST: The Bee wants to see your best photos, Niner fans. [The Bee]

SURVEY SAYS: Fresno is the No. 2 energy-drink chugging city. [Marketing Daily]

LOSER OF THE WEEK: Fresno dude who gets 7 years in jail after 8th DUI. [The Bee]

WE’RE MOURNING: “No Suits, No Ties, No Lies” Guy’s car dealership. [The Bee]

WELCOME TO THE ‘NET: Downtown Fresno Partnership’s blog. [Downtown Fresno Blog]

KICKSTART: Two local mobile food operations. [TasteFresno]

YOU SHOULD BE READING: George Hostetter’s stories about walking the the city. [City Beat]

LISTEN TO THIS: Latest Flowing with Famous podcast. [Fresno Famous]

(DON’T) WATCH THIS: Happy Birthday video to some dude named Fresno. [YouTube]

VINTAGE: “Bobby Salazar” by Brian Kenney Fresno. [YouTube]

SPORTS: Fresno State’s Philip Thomas gets WashPost feature. [Washington Post]

Fresno State grad Gabriel Trevino finalist in Doritos Super Bowl ad contest

Fresno State and Reedley High School graduate Gabriel Trevino is in the running to have a commercial he made be part of this year’s Super Bowl broadcast. His work is one of the five finalist in the “Dorito’s 2013 Crash the Super Bowl Contest.” Voting ends today to see which commercial will be shown during the telecast Sunday.

The commercial he wrote, directed by Mark Freiburger, features a father heading out to play football with his buddies. He’s stopped by his young daughter who wants him to play princess with her. His objections are countered when the little girl offers him some Doritos. Soon all the football buddies are involved in the playtime.

“The idea came to me because I just became a new dad. It’s about the crazy and kooky things a father will do for their children — and Doritos,” Trevino says.

This isn’t the first Doritos commercial for Trevino, a communications major at Fresno State, as he was one of the writers behind the “Swing Baby” Doritos commercial that aired during last year’s big game.

Not only did he write this year’s entry, Trevino produced the commercial that cost $300 to shoot, far below the $5,000 spent by some on other contest entries. Trevino could keep the price low because all of the actors and crew were friends. The biggest expense was the cost of renting the largest wedding dress they could find.

Trevino doesn’t make commercials for a living. Along with working for a company that places promotional advertisements for Disney products in major outlets, he’s done some improv work.

The director was informed their commercial was a finalist in a phone call from director Michael Bay. The man behind the ‘Transformer” movies was involved in narrowing down the more than 6,000 entries into the finalists.

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The Super Bowl commercial that really mattered to Fresno

There’s no shortage of people on the Internet today talking which Super Bowl commercials were good, bad, funny, offensive, etc. But how many blogs talking about the commercial that really mattered?

I’m talking, of course, about the Own A Car Fresno ad that made the local Super Bowl rotation. Now I’ve been critical of Own-A-Car’s spots in the past, but I didn’t totally hate this new one, produced (as always) by local company Blare Media.

First off, it features local musician Trey Tosh. Second, the storyline is bringing people downtown, which I can get behind. The annoying quasi-British voice is still there, but not at the center of the ad. And it actually makes Fresno look cool, instead of trying to make it look like something it’s not.

So what do you think, Fresnans: Still douchey or decent?

Entertainment this weekend


It’s a super weekend for entertainment.

“Super Bowl XLVI,” 3 p.m. Sunday, KSEE (Channel 24.1): The New England Patriots and the New York Giants meet in the annual big game being held this year in Indianapolis. The official starting time is 3 p.m. but you can watch Super Bowl coverage all day long. If you only watch the game because you are at a party, there will at least be some interesting commercials and a half-time show by Madonna that you might find fun.

“Big Miracle”: This is a family-friendly tale of three whales who get trapped in the ice in Alaska and the efforts by an odd group to save them. The story, based on true events, is sentimental and embraces that sentimentality with a fever. Take some tissues as this one goes straight for the heart.

“To Kill a Mockingbird”: To mark the 50th anniversary of this amazing movie, a commemorative limited edition collector’s series Blu-ray combo pack is being released. The digitally remastered and fully restored version offers clearer images, but this film, based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, is already powerful because of the writing and performances. This is one of the finest works by Gregory Peck in a career filled with memorable performances.

FTW Moment of the Day

After Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime performance, it looks like the people of the world see the Black Eyed Peas for what they truly are — a bunch of no-talent cornballs with a gimmick that’s overdue to expire.

An poll asked the nation to grade the Peas’ performance. As you can imagine, I’m pleased with the results. For a nation that’s so often divided, it’s nice to see us come together for the important things. Like hating Fergie.

beppoll.PNGPREVIOUSLY: The Black Eyed Peas make me want to take my own life

Who do you want to win the Super Bowl?


Since this is the first time I’m interested in the Super Bowl, I’m curious to know who you’re rooting for — and where you’re watching the game.

Most of you already have a spot, but just in case you don’t, here are a couple of restaurants to consider:

  • Red Caboose Cafe: The pre-game party starts at 1:30 p.m. Your ticket Includes a tri-tip sandwich lunch, an appetizer buffet, soda or tea, and one draft Bud Light or Coors Light.

    Raffle prizes and a Nintendo Wii are part of the party. Advance tickets are $20; tickets at the door are $25. For more info, call (559) 297-9545.

  • And since I’m a Who Dat girl, I couldn’t resist telling you about this one: Sequoia Brewing Co. is showing the Super Bowl at both locations with a New Orleans-themed menu: crawfish pasta, jambalaya, shrimp gumbo, fried shrimp, oyster shooters and oyster po-boys.

    There’s no cover charge. Call (559) 434-2739 for more information at the North Fresno location, or (559) 264-5521 for the Tower District restaurant.

Zack Follett: Linebacker, fundraiser, blogger


Zack Follett, the Clovis-bred linebacker for the NFL’s Detroit Lions, is doing his part for Haiti relief — auctioning off his pair of Super Bowl tickets.

The story has been covered from the pages of The Bee to the Detroit Free Press. Follett, who is currently back in the Fresno/Clovis area for the offseason, figured his Super Bowl tickets had legs as a fundraiser. He’s working with to auction them. As I write this, they’re at $3,025 with two days and nine hours left in the auction.

In addition to football, Follett is also a woodworker, so he created a custom Super Bowl XLIV piece that includes a game-used ball and gloves that’s included in the auction.

He’s been chronicling the everything on his blog — Does this make him the first pro athlete in the Fresno blogosphere? He is totally NOT invited to Blogger Olympics.

Weekend Rewind: Ghosts of blog posts past


A few things on my brain on this came-to-soon Monday morning …

HOLLYWOODS: The new-look Fresno Yosemite International Airport got some Twitter props from reality TV star/Playmate Holly Madison, who flew in for her appearance at The Den, Tachi Palace’s nightclub. She liked the trees. That’s her Twitpic –>>>

RED(ZONE)EMPTION? So I went to Red Zone Sports Grill yesterday. This may come as a shock, I know. I got invited to a football-watching party there, which Red Zone had donated for a cancer fundraiser. (That was nice of them). I didn’t actually buy anything, so I don’t feel like I totally sold out. Not sure I’d go back on my own, but I will say that I had a good time — and some of the Red Zone grub was tasty.

FIGGA IT OUT: Local show promoter Faddafigga, now infamous on The Beehive for his MySpace meltdown — warning: all links from here on have NSFW language — has taken his rants and raves rants to Twitter. Once again, he is taking shots at local musicians. I honestly don’t know why bands and other promoters in Fresno put up with this guy.

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“Top Chef” cooks Super Bowl fare


If you read my column on Friday, you’ll know that Ryan Scott, a season 4 contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” is at Whole Foods Market tonight.

I promised a couple of his recipes on this blog, so here goes:

Chicks in a Blanket
Makes 16 pieces

1 pound bulk chicken sausage
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
10 ounces fresh spinach
1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg, beaten
10 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
1/2 cup butter, melted and divided

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Weekend Rewind: ‘Glee’ gets a Globe, a visit to Fresh & Easy, and lackluster ’24?’


A few things on my brain on this quiet Monday morning …

GOLDEN: Props to Clovis’ Chris Colfer and his “Glee”-mates for winning best TV comedy or musical in last night’s Golden Globes. It topped regular award-show faves such as “The Office” and “30 Rock.”

FOOTBALL FOLLIES: I’m SO not a football prognosticator. My playoff picks went 1-3 this weekend. I even had the gall to call The Chargers a “lock.” So, I’m now officially picking the Jets and the Vikings for the Super Bowl, in hopes that my picking them makes them lose.

BLAH BLAH BAUER: Was it just me or was the “24″ season premiere last night a little boring? Someone in charge of CTU doesn’t believe Jack’s (and Chloe’s) theory, so the two of them have take matters into their own hands? Haven’t we seen this before? Like every season? In fact, the whole two hours seemed pretty familiar. I’m holding onto hope that tonight’s second part of the premiere impresses me.

HELLA FRESH: So I finally got over to Fresh & Easy this weekend. Very cool. I like the selections and prices, plus the prepared food looks yummy. Not even the picketers are going to keep me away.

YOUR TURN: Anything good happen to ya over the weekend? Spill it in the comments.