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Night Howl
By Karen Reardanz

[whitespace] Clay Butler
Robert Scheer

Tube or Not Tube: Clay Butler is originator, ringmaster and heartthrob of the most creative public-access television program SC has seen, 'Yadda Yadda," which airs Sundays (7pm) on cable channel 71.

Clay Nation:
'Yadda Yadda' proves its creator is much more than Santa Cruz County's answer to Merv Griffin or Johnny Carson

HAWKING SUCH SCHWAG as a heavy-metal polka CD, a new-agey guy with the buckest of teeth rambles on in the typical Home Shopping Network fashion. But this isn't your standard cable shopping fare--it's "WLC" (short for "Whole Lotta Crap"), an installment of Yadda Yadda, Clay Butler's weekly Community Television for Santa Cruz County show on every Sunday (7pm) on TCI Cable Channel 71.

On the air for just over seven months, Yadda Yadda is quickly becoming one of the cleverest shows the local cable-access channel (or TV as a whole, for that matter) has to offer. An eclectic, erratic grafting of talk show variety onto live music showcase, Butler's little-screen creation is wry, smart and pretty much consistently on the money.

Music is as important to the show as Butler and friends' keen sense of irony and humor. The show has recently featured such varied local musicians as Ariel Thiermann, Donovan, Dojo, Matthew Embry and Viola Keeton, a fave who's been on a number of times. Most of the acts come from the What Is Art? scene, but Butler would love to have bands from other walks of life approach him.

Butler's quick to credit a stellar volunteer crew for Yadda Yadda's quirky vibe. "The show wouldn't be the way it is without them," Butler says. "It's as democratic as it can be. There's a great sense of freedom. We just watch and trust that the others will do a great job."

That crack cast of sound, light, camera and set folk features Brendon Constans, Roseanne Valenza, Peter McGettigan, Casey Lippi, Soma Morgan, Sam Plainfield and Edmund McMillian. He grabbed them from other shows and gives his wholehearted thanks to them for volunteering their time to developing the look and feel of Yadda Yadda.

For now, Yadda Yadda airs about three times a month, and whether the crew's taking jabs at other television shows, poking fun at celebs (like the one show's misfire where an Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator pretended to be a flower arranger for the whole show) or just shooting the breeze with locals, they prove that public access means more than City Council meetings and water forums.

Jessica Nemire George Sakkestad


Oops!

Seems there was a little bit of miscommunication in last week's photo credits. I incorrectly identified the wee ladybug. Her real name is Jessica Nemire. We regret the error.

FutureThink

Don't miss the latest installment of What Is Art?'s WomonFolk concert, featuring legions of the best and brightest in local female talent on Saturday and Sunday night.

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From the May 21-27, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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