Media Life: Auburn nude beach attracts nakedly ambitious KMAX reporter

Zydeco tops summer amphitheater bill; North Auburn army hospital site logs screen time
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The latest foray of Mark S. Allen into all things Auburn is perhaps his boldest. The KMAX “Good Day Sacramento” personality was on the road and in the buff on Monday for an onsite report from the American River’s nude beach in the canyon below Auburn. The stretch of river just downstream from the Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge has been below most people’s radar for decades because boaters weren’t allowed on the whitewater run through the Auburn dam site. That changed this year when the river was opened for boating – exposing an entrenched nudist and gay gathering place on the shoreline. Allen was on air and live just after 8 a.m. to doff his clothes but keep his Crocodile Dundee hat on as he navigated a dirt trail down to the beach for a report. The link to the Website video page is: One of the rules Allen posted during the segment was “Get Dressed Before Leaving the Beach,” but he didn’t follow that one. Instead, for another live segment, the still-unclothed correspondent reported from the Highway 49 bridge as morning traffic passed by. Only a section of steel bridge railing separated the TV viewing audience from Allen’s birthday suit. And the presence of a TV camera didn’t deter one fan from stopping to snap a camera-phone shot of the intrepid TV guy. Allen’s list of Auburn stunts has included rolling a car at the Gold Country Fairgrounds and undergoing a full-body stunt-burn, both under the watchful eye of Auburn movie stunt director Gary Davis. This time, Allen was on his own, creating a zany segment for a morning program known for its off-the-wall attitude. Media Life surmises Allen may have spent a wasted childhood watching too many episodes of “Saturday Night Live” and reruns of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” And the world’s a more mirthful place for it. The challenge for Allen now is to convince KMAX to poll viewers to see which member of the “Good Day Sacramento” crew should be the next to investigate the nude beach at Auburn. And here's the link to the original Journal story that inspired the KMAX trek into the foothills: ZYDECO AT AMPHITHEATER The Bay Area’s Zydeco Flames could provide the most intriguing sounds on the Auburn Summer Series palette this coming July. Zydeco makes the Flames’ world go round and you can’t help but love a group that features a percussion rub board as well as bass player, guitarist and drummer. Marking its 20th year, the Summer Series at the Library Garden Amphitheater lawn starts out with a local treasure, Fred Morgan’s Big Band on July 6. The Zydeco Flames take the stage July 13. Billed as the West Coast’s premier zydeco band, the swampy Louisiana groove-makers provide an entry point into music made famous by the likes of Clifton Chenier, Buckwheat Zydeco and Queen Ida. The quartet is a fixture at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, with appearances there for the past 10 years. The Stardust Cowboys, one of the series’ early acts, will return July 20. The finale will be July 27, when Auburn-based Dr. Bach & the Jazz Practitioners swing some Dixieland. All concerts start at 7 p.m. The address for the amphitheater is 350 Nevada St. That’s right next to the Auburn Library. NEW LIFE, OLD BUILDINGS Grass Valley’s Gold Creek Productions found the soon-to-be-torn-down old hospital buildings at the Placer County Government Center in North Auburn to its liking for shooting its new “The Bill Collector” movie. The indy production company, which is making the feature-length picture in association with Pacific Crest Media of Loomis, was able to fashion six sets at the location for its psychological thriller. The movie is being produced entirely in Placer County, with filming in Auburn, Loomis and Roseville. One of the locations took advantage of the atmosphere inside Downtown Auburn’s Auburn Jewelry & Loan. Last Sunday, the century-old West House Bar adjacent to the Roseville Rail Yard was turned into a movie set. Auburn private investigator Don Treco was among the cast for the Auburn portion of filming. Roseville’s Jason Bortz, who has worked on past independent productions in the Auburn area like “Take it to the Limit” and “Bullet Over Fives,” took on the role of the plum, bad-guy role. Bortz said he’s also awaiting word on a script he co-wrote with Kevin Haskin called “Floored” that is under consideration for filming soon by a major motion picture company. A rookie to films, Granite Bay’s Lloyd Moseby has a featured role as the bad guy’s trusting friend. Moseby, whose early schooling was at the Auburn Montessori School, describes “The Bill Collector” as a great starting point for a possible leap into acting. He’s the son of retired Toronto Blue Jay and Minnesota Twin Lloyd Moseby Sr. Peter Oakes, producer and director of the film, had praise for Bortz and his co-creators of movie magic. “As a low-budget motion picture, we have one of the best cast and crew I have ever worked with,” Oakes said. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at (530) 852-0232 or