Citizen Kane Remake

The estate of Orson Welles has denied rumors that a local media consultancy has procured the rights to digitally insert Sonoma Valley brand names into an upcoming re-release of the director’s masterpiece, Citizen Kane. Sonoma-based VinSpin had hoped to place several “posthumous product placements” throughout the film, including an edit of Welles’ iconic utterance of “rosebud,” which opens the film (spoiler alert – it’s a sled!). “What if we replaced ‘rosebud’ with ‘Ravenswood?’” asked VinSpin CEO Mick Robins, who also suggested a Citizen Kane remake before realizing he could “digitally recycle” the existing film. “What if we changed Welles’ character to ‘Citizen Kunde?’” Rubins reminded that he has no relationship with either of the companies he mentioned, just a lifelong love of Welles’ oeuvre, which includes several late-career television commercials for Paul Masson wine. “Welles only had a few years to sell wine when he was alive, but he’s got an eternity now that he’s dead.”

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Three's a crowd.As the self-appointed Media Czar to Sonoma Valley, my life is rife with responsibility. Not only must I sacrifice many of my waking (and working) hours to endure an endless stream of wine-related events, frequent fetes and the adoration of tens of wine industry people, I’m also called upon to “write the wrongs” perpetrated against the Valley in the media. Or at least apologize for the ones that I, myself, have inadvertently created by indulging my enthusiasm for the Valley’s many delights (and varietals). Given the vigilance of my esteemed readership, I know that the three of us can preserve Sonoma’s media integrity – to wit, I urge you not to read the under-reported stories below and forbid you to share them with your friends via a mass e-mail or through links on your wine-themed blog. Together we can make a difference (and a small human pyramid).

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A border skirmish erupted between Napa and Sonoma Counties in the Carneros appellation last week. The grape-growing region, the only appellation shared by the two counties, was the scene of an emotionally charged conversation that turned violent between brothers Seth and Cary Oskea, who had run their late-model Audi out of gas on the county line. Cary, who was seated in the backseat in Napa County, reportedly made a verbal denunciation of his brother Seth’s ability to plan. Seth, who was behind the wheel in Sonoma County, retaliated by attributing the failure of Cary’s romantic life to a fixation with a college girlfriend, who had also once been his college girlfriend. Cary then put his brother in a chokehold and attempted to drag him into Napa County. Seth thrashed back and likewise tried to pull Cary into Sonoma County, but only managed to tear his brother’s shirt – the shirt, Cary reminded, that had been given to him by the mutual ex-girlfriend. Seth countered that the shirt was actually his and that Cary had mistaken it for another, similar shirt acquired during a road trip the brothers had taken to Joshua Tree. Cary agreed that indeed might be the case and added that the Joshua Tree experience had been a “good experience.” Seth concurred that the experience had been good for both of them and brought them closer together after their parents divorce. Cary began crying, followed by Seth, who added, “I love you, man.” Cary reciprocated his brother’s affection and suggested that they depart to Joshua Tree that very moment. They high-fived. Then the brothers remembered that they were out of gas.

In Wino Veritas

Three's a crowd.As the self-appointed Media Czar to Sonoma Valley, my life is rife with responsibility. Not only must I sacrifice many of my waking (and working) hours to endure an endless stream of wine-related events, frequent fetes and the adoration of tens of wine industry people, I’m also called upon to “write the wrongs” perpetrated against the Valley in the media. Or at least apologize for the ones that I, myself, have inadvertently created by indulging my enthusiasm for the Valley’s many delights (and varietals). Given the vigilance of my esteemed readership, I know that the three of us can preserve Sonoma’s media integrity – to wit, I urge you not to read the under-reported stories below and forbid you to share them with your friends via a mass e-mail or through links on your wine-themed blog. Together we can make a difference (and a small human pyramid).

• • •

The estate of Orson Welles has denied rumors that a local media consultancy has procured the rights to digitally insert Sonoma Valley brand names into an upcoming re-release of the director’s masterpiece, “Citizen Kane.” Sonoma-based VinSpin had hoped to place several “posthumous product placements” throughout the film, including an edit of Welles’ iconic utterance of “rosebud,” which opens the film (spoiler alert – it’s a sled!). “What if we replaced ‘rosebud’ with ‘Ravenswood?’” asked VinSpin CEO Mick Robins. “What if we changed Welles’ character to ‘Citizen Kunde?’” Rubins reminded that he has no relationship with either of the companies he mentioned, just a lifelong love of Welles’ oeuvre, which includes several late-career television commercials for Paul Masson wine. “Welles only had a few years to sell wine when he was alive, but he’s got an eternity now that he’s dead.”

• • •

A border skirmish erupted between Napa and Sonoma Counties in the Carneros appellation last week. The grape-growing region, the only appellation shared by the two counties, was the scene of an emotionally charged conversation that turned violent between brothers Seth and Cary Oskea, who had run their late-model Audi out of gas on the county line. Cary, who was seated in the backseat in Napa County, reportedly made a verbal denunciation of his brother Seth’s ability to plan. Seth, who was behind the wheel in Sonoma County, retaliated by attributing the failure of Cary’s romantic life to a fixation with a college girlfriend, who had also once been his college girlfriend. Cary then put his brother in a chokehold and attempted to drag him into Napa County. Seth thrashed back and likewise tried to pull Cary into Sonoma County, but only managed to tear his brother’s shirt – the shirt, Cary reminded, that had been given to him by the mutual ex-girlfriend. Seth countered that the shirt was actually his and that Cary had mistaken it for another, similar shirt acquired during a road trip the brothers had taken to Joshua Tree. Cary agreed that indeed might be the case and added that the Joshua Tree experience had been a “good experience.” Seth concurred that the experience had been good for both of them and brought them closer together after their parents divorce. Cary began crying, followed by Seth, who added, “I love you, man.” Cary reciprocated his brother’s affection and suggested that they depart to Joshua Tree that very moment. They high-fived. Then the brothers remembered that they were out of gas.

Outhouse, Gummo and the Ring

Knock, knock.Dear Columbia University, below are further examples of Nomaville journalism that might have been overlooked by the Pulitzer Prize committee (yup, we’re still awaiting word on our last dispatch – also, did you get the cannoli?). These stories are, for the most part true-ish, which is to say, I only made up the untrue parts. Enjoy, DH

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A Kenwood teenager is suing his parents after he finally discovered that his room in their wine country home is actually an outhouse. Seventeen-year-old Kenneth Lodger spent the better part of his youth in the so-called “addition,” convinced that the slim structure was merely an example of shabby architecture, not a rustic water closet. He is also no longer confused as to why he had a window that looked into the ground instead of the surrounding scenery. Lodger learned of his parents’ deception when he sneaked a girl home for a make-out session, only to have her deride him for attempting to seduce her in a restroom. When he explained that the terms “bedroom” and “restroom” were synonymous, his date promptly corrected him. Talk about a crappy day.

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Sonoma jewelry appraiser Evan Smeagol claims to have uncovered the one ring to rule them all. The discovery occurred on the popular PBS program, “Antiques Roadshow,” when New Jersey resident Jeff Baggins asked to have the ring appraised. The ring’s inscription intrigued Smeagol, who was told by Baggins that he had always thought the family heirloom was inscribed with a line from a Celtic poem. The jeweler recognized the script as Elvish and translated it as “One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” He then declared it his “precious,” put it on and turned invisible. The ring later showed up on eBay, where it was purchased by a user with the handle Sauron93. Smeagol had shipped the stolen property before authorities could collar him. Now, according to Tolkien scholars, the Fourth Age is totally screwed.

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Gummo Marx, the only Marx Brother said never to have appeared on film, has turned film scholarship on its head this week. Researchers at the Sonoma Cinema Preservation Society discovered a reel of film dating back to 1919, a decade before the Marx Bros. debuted in “Coconuts.” In it, Gummo is depicted as “Le Menton Noir,” French for “the Black Chin,” for his greasepaint goatee. The Black Chin proceeds to murder three of his brothers in a fit of rage over their abuse of his pet duck, Waldo. The resulting carnage, billed at the time as “the most sensational vision of violent gore unleashed on this mortal earth” was censored by French authorities, and Gummo was subsequently remanded to La Verrière, the asylum most noted for imprisoning the Marquis de Sade. Film scholars said it was unlikely that Le Menton Noir would ever be released to the public due to its graphic violence, which one researcher said transcends anything in contemporary cinema for its sheer evil. However, it was leaked on YouTube within 24 hours, where it has enjoyed only mild success.

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Vegetarians beware! Biologists have discovered a man-eating plant on the southernmost shore of Bodega Bay. The carnivorous flower is said to resemble a shark in most ways except, insists biologist Ramsey Cutler, it’s a plant. Cutler is said to have discovered the plant while strolling along the beach with his assistant Ralston Peters, both of whom were eating native mushrooms picked earlier that morning. Peters apparently ran into the sea, exclaiming he wanted to “embrace the great love suckle,” which promptly ate him. Cutler immediately recorded his findings, remarking that the plant’s underwater agility is likely due to its fins and tail. He also noted that the plant has several rows of teeth and seems to be attracted to blood. Cutler named the plant “The Doorstep Lens” in honor of his colleague, who was fond of saying the phrase that day.

Shall We Play a Game?

Prior to its 25th anniversary DVD release, seminal cinematic hacker homage WarGames returns to selected big screens throughout the nation – for one night only – July 24. Those of a certain generation will recall the pre-“Ferris Bueller” Matthew Broderick, who hacks his grades, hotwires a payphone with a beer can pull-tab (two technologies rapidly headed toward extinction) and nearly starts World War III with PC leftovers found while dumpster diving (so take that, Real Genius).

The original trailer… Continue reading “Shall We Play a Game?”