Media Life:Comic’s death brings back Auburn movie memories

Meadow Vistan rocks and rolls in Utah; blues groundbreaker Alice Stuart at Jack's
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The death of actor-comedian Dom DeLuise this past week brings to mind the making of a low-budget movie in and around Auburn in 1991 that included his son, Peter DeLuise in the cast. The younger DeLuise was just coming off four years acting opposite Johnny Depp in the crime drama “21 Jump Street” and landed a part as the slow-on-the-uptake heavy in a movie called “Rescue Me.” Filming in Auburn over three days included shoots along picturesque Orange Street, near Placer High School, in Downtown Auburn’s Bank of California and along Foresthill Road. Because of some behind-the-scenes studio changes, “Rescue Me” languished on a Cannon Pictures shelf for two years before its theatrical release. So the photo of DeLuise, shot by the Journal during a lunch break on the side of Foresthill Road, was perhaps more factual than the photographer or actor imagined at the time. DeLuise, now 42, has since carved out a career on the other side of the camera that has included directing 57 episodes of Sci-Fi Channel’s “Stargate SG-1” between 1999 and 2007. “Rescue Me,” also known as “Streethunter,” vanished quickly from theaters and is probably more known today as the movie with the same name as the Denis Leary firefighter TV series. The film, also starring Michael Dudikoff, Stephen Dorff and Dee Wallace-Stone, never made it onto an Auburn movie screen. ENVIRONMENTAL SPOKESMAN Meadow Vista musician Justin Ancheta is pedaling sustainability on his latest road trip – and that’s no typo. Ancheta, who lives in San Francisco but is known to drop in for hometown gigs at The California Club and Pistol Pete’s in Auburn, is on the road in Utah this week on a bicycle. With sponsorship from in Berkeley – a group of bike-friendly advocates and inventors – Ancheta is spending two weeks in Utah making music at gigs he’s cycling to on Emeryville-based XtraCycles-brand bikes. No cars will be used in the making of Ancheta’s music. Instead, he is taking the California Zephyr Amtrak train both ways and then hopping on bikes with guitar player Gabe Dominquez and cellist Joey Chang. Even the music is pedal-powered. Audience members get on the cycles and the rear wheel is hooked up to a generator to keep the PA system running. is supplying the bike-powered electricity inverters on the stationary cycles. Friday sees Ancheta in Salt Lake City for the Salt Lake City Mother Earth Concert. MOTHER’S DAY BLUES With Mother’s Day on Sunday, it’s only fitting that Constable Jack’s in Newcastle should welcome a musician with a connection to the Mothers of Invention two days earlier. Blues guitarist and singer Alice Stuart was an erstwhile member of Frank Zappa’s band in the mid-1960s and even earned a mention on one of the band’s early album sleeves. One of those artists who just missed rock stardom, she also recorded for Fantasy in the 1970s. More recently, the 70-year-old’s Washington State-based band was in Memphis, Tenn. for the International Blues Competition. Constable Jack’s Tim Looper describes Stuart and her band’s Friday night show as a must-hear, featuring a frontwoman who paved the way for female blues players to follow like Bonnie Raitt. Plenty of more good music coming down the pike at Jack’s according to Looper, including Celtic rockers Tempest on May 15 and the Elvin Bishop Band on June 7. Bishop will be doing a live recording and put on two shows at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. that Sunday. Tickets will be $35 for general admission and $40 for reservations. SORRY WRONG LARRY It was one of those crazier-than-thou media moments we in the biz don’t wish on anyone. Imagine answering your door in pajamas some evening and finding a TV crew on your doorstep ready to shoot away. Auburn’s Larry C. Smith, a retired PacBell employee living near much-debated Shockley Woods, found himself in that situation on Monday. Seems Fox 40 news had picked up on the Auburn Recreation District’s Shockley Park controversy and traveled up to do a story. They thought they’d located the Larry Smith they wanted for an interview. But they had the wrong guy. The other Larry Smith – an outspoken peace activist who has helped organize Martin Luther King birthday celebrations in Auburn – had spoken out against the naming of the park after Shockley at a meeting the week before. Smith – of the middle initial “C” – gave the crew the other Larry Smith’s phone number and address. He later said that he would have preferred if the Fox folk had phoned ahead. Larry C. Smith, by the way, is the father of Mark Smith, who worked as a reporter for the Journal in the late 1990s. He’s now managing editor of “Acoustic Guitar” magazine, his dad reports. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at