Media Life: And the Media Life “Meddi” awards for 2009 go to …

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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It’s the start of the awards season and there’s no reason that Media Life again can’t wedge itself into a throng that’s already crowded with Oscar, Emmy, Tony and a plethora of other glitzy statuette assemblages. But we’re keeping things simple this year, what with the recession and all and down-sizing from the exclusive Ritz Supper Club in Clipper Gap to a new location at downtown Ophir’s cozy Tivoli Ballroom. The crowd is seated and waiting. So without further adieu, the envelopes please. And make room for the Meddies: THE MADE IN AUBURN BRONZED COUGAR STATUETTE One of the lesser-known nuggets of Auburn trivia was dug up in April with the news that the 1986 Demi Moore-Emilio Estevez flick “Wisdom” was finally out on DVD. Footage was shot in and around the Auburn area, including the Foothills Motel at the Foresthill exit, the one-way tunnel under the Union Pacific tracks at Newcastle and a building that now houses the Grass Valley Highway Radio Shack. THE FALCON HEENE COMMEMORATIVE MYLAR MICROPHONE Former Auburnite Devlin Murphy earned this one for taking October’s “Balloon Boy” phenomenon to new musical heights. Murphy’s piano-vocals tribute to 6-year-old Falcon Heene – penned hours after the story began to become a media circus – became a minor YouTube sensation in the days following the fake flight, logging 20,000 listens. COMEBACK OF THE YEAR SEQUIN-CRUSTED BICYCLE HORN The State Theater, with honorable mention to Auburn’s cycle-riding ambassador Gilbert Ortega. The State’s resurrection in Downtown Auburn moved forward, with completion of a new stage, numerous concerts and a popular film series, among other highlights. 2009 was jubilantly topped off in December by three sold-out shows of a live, locally produced “It’s A Wonderful Life” radio play. Ortega was housebound this summer but, buoyed by an outpouring of support, returned smiling and honking his familiar horn on his regular route, among friends along the streets of the city. THE LOOKS AREN'T EVERYTHING BLUE RIBBON OF HONOR Pabst, a boxer rescued in Auburn, blew the judges away in June at the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma. Pabst and owner Miles Egstad of Citrus Heights became an item six years ago after Pabst was found running loose as a pup in Auburn and taken in by a rescue group. THE PLATINUM-PLATED "THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES" STEAK BONE The sad news came in May that the Gibson, the World’s Tallest Dog, was battling cancer and had to have a front leg amputated. By the end of the year, a Nevada County dog who spent many hours at Auburn-area events was dead. Rest in peace, big guy. DIAMOND CRUSTED KING CRAB CLAW CLUSTER Brothers Todd (of Lotus) and Doug (of Roseville, formerly of Ophir) Stanley were hoping for classy bookends this year when their “Deadliest Catch” videography team was nominated again for an Emmy. Winners in 2008, the two didn’t sail home from Hollywood with the hardware but did see their show get wider exposure with syndication. Which brings us to … THE HUELL HOWSER CALIFORNIA GOLD BRICK Doug Stanley put his community pride on his sleeve and co-produced “Experience El Dorado,” a series of programs with segments on some of El Dorado County’s most interesting visitor destinations. The series ran monthly on Sacramento’s News10 and actor Perry King, a Cool-area resident, provided some star power as an on-air host. THE JAMES BROWN HARDEST-WORKING-MAN-IN-TITLES MEMORIAL CERTIFICATE OF HONOR Gareth Smith, who grew up in Auburn, was again on the cutting edge in the oft-ignored but dazzlingly innovative world of title sequences. He was onboard with Jason Reitman for the opening credits of “Up in the Air,” starring George Clooney. Earlier in 2009, you could see his work in the movies “The September Issue,” Post Grad” and “Jennifer’s Body.” THANKS Just a final word for 2009. Media Life started out almost five years ago with the goal of letting readers in on some of the Auburncentric nuances and day-to-day accomplishments that sometimes get passed over in the charge to produce a newspaper. A very sincere thanks to all who have provided tips, stories and encouragement over the past year. And now, let’s see what the 2010s will bring … Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at 530-852-0232 or