Just a matter of days after a high-profile pre-festival event
was cancelled, organizers of the Santa Barbara
International Film Festival
announced some big
name attractions
for this winter’s 22nd annual
extravaganza. Actor Forest Whitaker (pictured) of Platoon, Fast
Times at Ridgemont High, and The Last King of Scotland fame will
receive the American Riviera Award on February 3, while former Vice
President Al Gore and director Davis Guggenheim will come to town
the night before to accept this year’s Attenborough Award for
Excellence in Nature Filmmaking for their collaborative effort An
Inconvenient Truth.

Santa Barbara News-Press workers and
will hold a candlelight vigil
outside the Biltmore Hotel this Saturday evening, where owner Wendy
McCaw and her fiancé and copublisher Arthur Von Wiesenberger will
be handing out Lifetime Achievement Awards to three prominent local
philanthropists. One of the recipients – Sarah Miller McCune – has
been attempting to purchase the News-Press from McCaw since
reporters and editors began resigning this summer. The founder of a
scholastic publishing company, McCune has been supportive of
News-Press workers in their campaign against McCaw and has been
under considerable pressure not to accept the award, but she does
not want to alienate McCaw.

The Santa Barbara District Attorney is asking the California
Supreme Court to reverse a Court of Appeal decision removing senior
prosecutor Ron Zonen from the Jesse James
Hollywood case
. Zonen was removed earlier this year
because he gave filmmakers working on a movie about the slaying
allegedly masterminded by Hollywood unprecedented access to
information about the case. Zonen has denied accusations that he
was starstruck, insisting instead that he pulled out the stops to
bring a fugitive to justice. Acting as Zonen’s attorney, prosecutor
Gerald Franklin argued that the appellate court ignored state law
governing involuntary recusals of prosecutors. Hollywood’s attorney
James Blatt filed a similar motion with the Supreme Court, arguing
that no attorney working in the Santa Barbara DA’s office should be
allowed to prosecute Hollywood.

More than 450 young conservatives are expected
to convene at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort this weekend for the
sold-out West Coast Leadership Conference. Featured speakers
include Michael Reagan, son of the late president; radio talk show
hosts Mark Larson and Larry Elder; Frank Donatelli, Reagan’s
political affairs assistant; and former Corporation for Public
Broadcasting chair Ken Tomlinson, who will receive the Torch of
Freedom Award. Young America’s Foundation, which operates the
Reagan Ranch Center on lower State Street, is sponsoring the

Just one day before national elections, former Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright exhorted a packed house
at the Arlington Theatre to embrace bipartisanship, something she
said is now sorely lacking in American politics. Still, when
pressed during a question-and-answer period following a short
lecture on her new book, The Mighty and the Almighty,
Albright conceded that she hoped voters would sweep Democrats into
control of both houses of Congress. Albright’s appearance – the
second time UCSB’s Arts and Lectures program has managed to wrangle
a former Secretary of State (they got Colin Powell in
February) – appeared to go over well with the audience, who gave
her a number of long ovations.


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