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Village Chat: 02/01/2010

Village Chat for February 1, 2010

Besides providing much-needed drought relief, this wet weather brought the usual headaches as well. Kari and Gordon Holmes, who live along Warm Springs Rd., really dodged a bullet when a huge oak tree fell down right alongside their newly remodeled house. The branches were literally brushing against the windows. Kari says that the day before she saw a beautiful double rainbow right over her yard. It was obviously a good omen, considering what might have been!

An oak tree just barely missed the Holmes’ house. This photo was taken from their water tower.

Kenwood’s own Allison Caetano can be seen by millions, flying though the air in a Velveeta Cheese commercial that began showing on Jan. 25. The gimmick is that the recipe literally “blows you away.” Allison is the third customer, and explodes backward into her lawn chair. Allison also had a short speaking part in a recent episode of “Make It or Break It,” a series about a new U.S. Olympic Gymnastic Team. Allison started learning gymnastics at the age of three. You can see the ad on Facebook at

Even though those of us who frequent the place don’t think of it that way, Café Citti is going to be featured on Guy Fieri’s Food Network show, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” It’s certainly not your average greasy spoon diner after all, and the other two categories just don’t apply. Anyway, Lucca Citti was happy to oblige the flamboyant Fieri who has known of and wanted to feature Café Citti for a while now. He pulled up in his red convertible last month and spent two days filming at the restaurant. Together he and Lucca cooked up the café’s signature ravioli with tomato cream sauce, pizza with proscuitto, and crispy fried polenta with porcini mushrooms (one of my favorites!) Lucca’s wife Linda said that it was really gratifying to get this affirmation that they are doing things right, even after 20 years in business. We’ll let you know when the episode will be airing, probably a few months from now.

Food Network’s Guy Fieri (2nd from right) with Citti clan, (from left) Daniele, Linda, Isabella and Lucca.

George and Diane Frankenstein of Kenwood went to Singapore during the holiday season, and they sent in this photo from their trip. Thanks! We’ve never been to Singapore before.

George and Diane Frankenstein in Singapore.

I got in my car on Sunday morning (Jan. 24) and when the radio came on I heard a very familiar rendition of the Jackson 5 song “I want you back.” But it wasn’t the original; it was a cover by the group SONOS, and it was being performed live on NPR’s Weekend Edition with Liane Hansen. This was pretty exciting since Ben McLain, who grew up in Kenwood (and used to babysit my kids) is one of the six fantastic singers in the group, along with Jessica Freedman, Chris Harrison, Rachel Bearer, Katharine Hoye and Paul Peglar. Jessica and Paul were classmates of Ben’s at Maria Carrillo High School. SONOS has a new CD called SONOS Sings, and they are touring right now. (I think they’re in London.) It is fun to follow Ben and Company as they pursue their dream.

Jeannie Malahni took 10 years off from her career as a stuntwoman (it’s very hard on the body, to say the least), but last year she decided she was ready to go back to work. She started out with the TV show “Trauma,” and recently landed work in the movie “Hereafter,” directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Matt Damon. Jeannie was sitting around on the set chatting with some of the crew about how she started her show biz career on “Bonanza” when she was 11, and later decided to become a stuntwoman. “To my right, with a low whisper, I hear ‘stuntwoman?’ That’s when I noticed that Mr. Eastwood sat himself next to me.” Jeannie was completely star-struck, but she says she soon felt comfortable enough to talk to him about action films before special effects. (She also knows Buddy Van Horn, Eastwood’s stunt double from his earlier acting days.) She let him know that she ended her career 10 years ago on his movie “True Crime,” and here she was making a comeback on another Clint Eastwood film. “He said I was ‘loyal.’ His words are few but meaningful.” Jeannie says that Clint Eastwood is mellow; he is polite and efficient and he has a friendly crew. “I’ve worked with a lot of celebrities and I can truly say I got a rush of long-lost adrenaline having lunch with Clint. He’s a class act.”

We were among the many people who gathered at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church to say goodbye to Reg Alexander, educator, family man and true hero, who died last month. As Pastor Richard Gantenbein said, when someone is as old as Reg and draws a crowd that big, he must have really gotten it right. We will miss Reg stopping by our office to say hello when he picked up his mail. He was a great guy.

That’s all for now. As I write this, the sun is shining, so let’s all get out there and enjoy it while we can. And remember, if you have an item for Village Chat, you can email it to, or call 833-5155 and chat me up! – A.Q.

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