Gus Thomson's Media Life appears Fridays in the Auburn Journal

And the Media Life awards for 2008 go to …

...some of the most intriguing stories chronicled in the weekly column
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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They may not be the Oscars, but in their own way, these “Lifers” are a deserving way to end the year with some local honors, in a Media Life kind of way. So join us now at the exclusive Ritz Supper Club as we bestow a glittering array of trophies and awards to the area’s finest: “The Gnarliest Catch” Diamond Crusted King Crab Claw Trophy Brothers Todd (of Lotus) and Doug (of Roseville, formerly of Ophir) Stanley finally had their Emmy ship come in after several nominations for their camera genius over the past three years on the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch.” In September, their videography team stepped up to win the Emmy for best cinematography. One-And-Done Consolation Prize, With Elephant Dung Clusters Jill Larson, a former Granite Bay resident with relatives in Auburn and Loomis, snagged a spot on the “Survivor: Gabon” TV show but her stay was brief. Other team members kicked her off during the debut episode in September. The elephant dung clusters? One of the reasons for her ouster had to be her contention that her team could survive by finding nutrients in pachyderm plop. The Order of the Bronze Fig Leaf Cluster KMAX “Good Day Sacramento” personality Mark S. Allen took Auburn Journal reporting on the nude beach vs. rafters issue one giant step further by visiting the newly opened stretch of the American River near Auburn and stripping down to nothing but a toothy smile, Crocodile Dundee hat and sunscreen for a segment that aired in May. Allen was his usual zany self as he braved the beach and then kept his in-the-buff look for a live segment from the Highway 49 bridge. Good Timing Medallion Placer High grad Jeffrey Schlaman released new novel “Subprime Factor” on the Synergy Books imprint just as the mortgage meltdown was in full swing in early October. Now living in England, Schlaman paid tribute to his hometown, by writing several settings – the California Club, the American River Canyon are two prominent examples – into the book. The Worth-the-Wait Gold Watch Prize Partly made in Colfax, with scenes shot on the community’s Main Street and in the Colfax Theater, “The Independent” can’t be lumped in with the direct-to-DVD crowd. The film, which stars Jerry Stiller and features cameos by Ron Howard, Roger Corman and Fred Williamson, was filmed in 1998, screened for a limited, short run in a scant few art houses in 2000, and then disappeared. Until early last year. Allumination FilmWorks released the DVD to critical acclaim. The George Malley Memorial Golden Apple The award goes to Old Town’s Linda Robinson for persevering and holding an anniversary reunion for the 1995 filming of “Phenomenon” – a movie filmed mostly in Auburn locations that stars John Travolta and Forrest Whitaker. The late-October reunion resulted in a small plaque being placed in the blacktop near the spot where Travolta’s George Malley character undergoes a miraculous change in IQ. And Tony Genaro, one of the movie’s featured players, even made it back to the event to shake some hands and sign some autographs. The Silver Wrong-Hotel-Wrong-Time Punch Bowl Colfax’s Joshua Reis, who found himself barricaded in a ballroom at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel during November’s terrorist attacks. A cinematographer now based in Los Angeles, Reis was in India to film a travelogue with celebrity fashion photographer Daniela Frederici. He and others used curtains and tablecloths tied together to escape from a second-story window. Media Life Certificate of Class Artist Thomas Kinkade sat down for more than half an hour with his 20-year-old painting “Auburn Centennial” to provide many hitherto-unknown details of the making of an iconic Auburn image that now is displayed at the Placer County Courthouse. The painting was created before Kinkade’s incredible rise to prominence as “The Painter of Light.” Kinkade, 20 years later, continues to be excited about his art, including the work he painted for a $10,000 advance when he still lived in Placerville. Comeback of the Millenium Prize Auburn artist Martin Ramirez is finding his place in the pantheon of 20th century artistic greatness, despite dying in obscurity at the DeWitt State Hospital in 1964. This past fall, the American Folk Art Museum debuted a new exhibition of newly revealed works that had been stored unknown to the art world in an Auburn garage. The Inaugural Media Life Platinum Guitar Pick To Tesla’s Brian Wheat, Frank Hannon and Jeff Keith for giving former manager Steve Clausman a worthy sendoff during a tribute to the late Foresthillian at Auburn’s Pistol Pete’s in March. “Clausie” died in late 2007 and the band performed a blues-metal farewell at a tribute to a man who discovered the teenage wunderkinds and set them on their way to international fame and fortune. Thanks Media Life started out almost four years ago to provide an opportunity for stories to be told that may slip through the cracks of the editorial process. Thanks to all who have provided tips and stories over the past year and to all you others, keep an eye out for potential Media Life items. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at `