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As the story goes, Schmidt was busted by FBI agents in July after Cruise claimed the former Valley PR flack offered to not publish a series of stolen wedding photographs from TomKat's 2006 marriage in exchange for more than $1 million. The actor called in the G-men. This isn't the first time that Schmidt, who's built a career out of peddling celebrity sex tapes and helping fame whores like Tonya Harding get naked in skin rags like Playboy, has approached celebrities and offered to disappear some embarrassing material. Nor is it the first time he's seen the inside of a jail cell, as Schmidt did several stints in state and Maricopa County lockups for (among other charges) aggravated harassment of an ex-girlfriend over their children. This just in: In August, Schmidt entered in to a plea agreement, and now faces two years in the pen and a $250,000 fine. Let's just hope that this time, we won't be hearing about him for a long, long time.
It was a laughable attempt at a legal smackdown, since no one in their right mind thought they were going to the Heart Attack Grill for medical attention (other than clogging their arteries). The brouhaha got worldwide media coverage including appearances on Fox News, 20/20, Geraldo Rivera, and German and Japanese television where Basso made like Hustler founder Larry Flynt and maintained the issue was one of free expression (albeit a rather salacious one) versus a misuse of power by the government. Eventually, the state backed off and Heart Attack Grill was free to keep slinging greasy beef and sexual innuendo at its new location in east Phoenix (the Chandler location closed in June). While we're not particular fans of Basso's burgers (they're really quite so-so), we dig the fact the dude's willing to stand up for free speech.
"I guess I just try to keep their eye off the ball," he replied.
That's pretty much how most PIOs around these parts do their jobs spinning, delaying, dancing, weaving, and keeping the likes of us at bay for as long as legally possible (and even after that, in certain, well-documented instances). Lord knows, we are loath to say anything too nice about a PIO, but if it's right, we write. Cari Gerchick works for the Supremes (no, not Diana Ross and company, those other big shots in the black robes).
An attorney herself (ASU College of Law, class of 2000), Gerchick is helpful to the max about the status of cases, where those cases may fit into the big scheme of things, and most attentive to our ever-impending deadlines. She's also super-friendly, and not in that phony way we reporters know too well. Gerchick has a terrific memory for detail, and consistently remembers to pass along the update she promised six months earlier. We like that!
These days, however, Carillo's scribblings are eyeballed by a much larger audience, to the tune of several million readers daily, as F Minus is syndicated to 125 newspapers across the country. Carrillo got his big break in 2004 when the strip won a contest sponsored by MTVu (a subsidiary of the music video giant aimed at college campuses) and nabbed a six-month developmental deal with United Features Syndicate, which eventually became a full-fledged gig in the funny papers.
Move over, Bil Keane, there's a new circus in town.
The cats at Bob Corritore's jazz and blues joint turn out some quality posters plugging their upcoming gigs. These promotional placards are so eye-catching, you'll wanna hang them on your wall after the show. For instance, the poster for a Robert Johnson Memorial Jam last November features a pulchritudinous portrait of the legendary bluesman strumming a guitar while taking a drag on a smoke. Another great one has rocker Ian Moore striking a soulful pose, while an ad for sultry singer Candye Kane uses an amusing caricature of the beyond-buxom blues artist in white-trash wear.
Then there's our favorite poster created for Corritore's 50th Birthday Gala where the studly Rhythm Room owner is decked out like Hugh Hefner, sporting some honeys in Playboy Bunny outfits under each arm. Some guys have all the luck.
The video which splices clips from Outkast's video with footage of Weddle performing the song has been viewed more than a million times by people all over the world, including as far away as Australia and Japan.
It gained enough attention that local radio station The Edge 103.9 started playing the song and booking the band to play its shows, including the station's annual Edgefest. This led to a slew of high-profile shows for Obadiah Parker, like opening slots for the Gin Blossoms and Lifehouse, as well as an upcoming December gig alongside alt-rock pioneers the Violent Femmes. Google the words "Obadiah Parker 'Hey Ya!'" and you'll get more than 23,000 hits, most of them from Web pages in which someone's singing the clip's praises.
But perhaps the biggest impact of the YouTube clip has manifested itself in the form of radio crossover Obadiah Parker's version of "Hey Ya!" was the most-requested song at Chicago radio station Q101 during the month of February, and they were a featured band on Tucson's KMFA 92.1 and Phoenix's Free FM 101.5.
Thanks to that YouTube clip, the band's even popped up on radar-wrangler Web site www.last.fm.