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[whitespace] Randall King, Susan Shick
Joint Meeting: Redevelopment director Susan Shick passes a tobacco 'joint' to San Jose Stage Company's Randall King during a skit based on 'Easy Rider.'

Public Eye

Manic Monday

Chatting up KEN YEAGER just before this week's annual Monday Night Live show, Eye thought the San Jose councilman didn't seem so enthusiastic about his role in one of the sketches. Of course, none of the polerati who gently skewer themselves as part of the annual fundraiser for San Jose Stage really should be enthusiastic, but some roles are better than others. Yeager's, it turned out, wasn't. In a faux children's show, he played "Kenny Kindness," along with fellow newbie councilcrats "Caring Campos" and "Friendly Forrest," and fictional councilman "Umberto Unity." Wearing T-shirts emblazoned with their first initials, the four then thrust their hips back and forth in a tightly choreographed number in which they lined up as various combinations of U, C, K and F. Yeager participated sheepishly, perhaps wondering whether it would show up on a mailer. "He didn't know what it was about until the night before when he came down for rehearsal and was flabbergasted, but he agreed to go along with it," one insider tells Eye. The show has been evolving in recent years, incorporating healthy doses of off-color humor and the type of language that you only see in family newspapers like Metro but less of the personal ridicule with which the performers once skewered the region's political elite. Perhaps it has become less biting over the years out of a sense of not wanting to leave tooth marks in the hand that the theater troupe hopes will feed it a new facility up the street in the old Dimensions/Goldeen's building. Or maybe it is because the performers and the mayor's office get to approve the script. ... First lady-in-waiting and garbage company flak GUISSELLE NUÑEZ looked smashing in matching cranberry skirt, top and pumps. In between school in Hawaii and a tough summer in Tahoe, jet-setting Shannon Smith drew lots of attention in a slinky sleeveless figure-hugging pink cotton dress. Don't get any ideas, boys, her entourage includes Sheriff Laurie Smith and burly ex-cop B.T. SMITH, a.k.a. Mom & Dad. (Yes, her mother really wore combat boots.) Food was better this year, with plates of smoked fish provided by Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme.While the production never ventures over the line anymore, production values have gone up. It now incorporates video clips, a tight house oldies band and a large professional cast to keep the show moving. Another highlight of the show was Harley-riding Redevelopment Agency wizard SUSAN SHICK, in her debut MNL performance. She went for a ride with two Easy Rider knockoffs up to Communications Hill, where the trio relaxed around the campfire with a faux joint. When the stoned Fonda figure saw a UFO, his Nicholson buddy informed him, "That was just the Palladium plane taking off--in the middle of the night, just like United Artists." As usual, Big GEORGE SHIRAKAWA outdanced his rhythmically challenged colleagues. Sometimes reality intruded on fiction. Three mayoral wannabes--CHUCK REED, DAVE CORTESE and CINDY CHAVEZ--played courtiers to an actor portraying godfather AMY DEAN, the powerful labor boss and political kingmaker. As the lights dimmed, and the ambitious trio returned to their seats, the real Dean locked her arms around Chavez in a warm embrace. Du-uhh. Wonder which of the three can count on big union checks as 2006 approaches?

The Two Peters

State Sen. BRUCE McPHERSON (R-Santa Cruz) got a laugh Friday at the groundbreaking ceremony for Calpine's Metcalf power plant, but those who caught the joke politely held back their guffaws. Speaking to a crowd of local and state officials, 225 guests and Calpine CEO PETER CARTWRIGHT, McPherson thanked those who made the new plant possible. Unfortunately, the senator, who is trying to unseat Lt. Gov. CRUZ BUSTAMANTE this fall, flubbed Cartwright's name. He instead thanked PETER CARTER, the San Jose public relations exec who worked extensively on media and political strategies for Calpine's project. But if Carter's name was fresh in McPherson's mind, it could also be because of that June 12 fundraiser Carter organized at his Los Gatos home, which netted Bruce about $35,000. "I don't know that he knew he said it, or if anyone really noticed," reports one Eye operative. One attendee who did hear the slip was Calpine mouthpiece LISA POELLE. "We caught that; it was humorous," Poelle admits. "But people were very gracious about letting it slide." McPherson spokesperson ADAM MENDELSOHN says the minor goof was an honest mistake by a guy who's having a lot of sleepless nights on the campaign trail. "And Bruce McPherson knows good and well the difference between Peter Carter and Peter Cartwright."

Dear Frontier

South Bay old-timers who pine for the days of yore when Frontier Village was the pinnacle of regional amusement park offerings can take in all the nostalgia they want this weekend. Obsessed devotees of the long-closed attraction will gather where the park once stood for an informal picnic (that means bring your own lunch) featuring a few fights by the old costumed gunslingers and a raffle of some park memorabilia. MAT LINDSTEDT, who's putting the event together, is part of a foursome of fans keeping the flame alive on the web at www.frontiervillage.net. "We get about 100,000 hits a month. People send me pictures and souvenirs, and I get email every day from people all over who remember it." Lindstedt, 36, along with ELLIOTT FONG, ALLEN WEITZEL and KIM PEDERSEN, keeps the website up with donations. They started their remembrance two years ago, on the 20th anniversary of the park's closure. "It was just a bunch of guys who got together and went down to the old site." The picnic is becoming an annual event, and the crowd is growing. The picnic is Saturday from 11am to 4pm at Edenvale Garden Park, and the gunfighters face off at noon and 1pm. For the uninitiated, the Old West-themed amusement park opened in 1961 at Monterey Road and Branham Lane, but after encroaching suburbanites blocked expansion plans and Great America opened, it was forced to close at the end of the summer of 1980. "I'm just a diehard for it," Lindstedt muses. "It was a great place to go as a kid. Things were so much simpler back then."

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From the June 27-July 3, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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