Short Cuts

The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn will not be Tomorrow or The Daily Show. Make no mistake: Kilborn is in control. "Total control, which is dangerous," says Kilborn. "They're listening to me too much." The set will look like his home in the Hollywood Hills: hardwood floors, a liquor cabinet and a rolling liquor cart -- "Because I know young people like to look at alcohol," Kilborn says. Will guests drink? "I'll break some FCC rules," he says.

The show will be more Kilborn, less script. Unlike The Daily Show, there will be no correspondents. Yes, he'll do "Five Questions," the silly bit wherein he asks the guest some hard, some easy, some answerable, some facetious questions. Kilborn will do an opening monologue, there'll be an "average of 2.5 guests a show" and, on Friday nights, the show will feature music.

Although Kilborn has moved on from sports, he's still a junkie homing in at home on his favorite, the NBA, with his satellite dish. This is one of his favorite trivia questions: In the NBA, who since 1980 are the six white guys who averaged at least 25 points a game for an entire season? Kilborn claims he named all six when he was asked this the first time. The answer? Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Chris Mullin, Tom Chambers, Kiki Vandeweghe, Kelly Tripucka. The last two are hard to believe but true.

Kilborn, who was born in Kansas City and grew up in Minnesota, now has what he wanted, even more than he wanted. "All I ever wanted, which was actually a lot, was my own show," says Kilborn. "It didn't have to be on CBS. It could have been on late-night radio in San Francisco, but it's pretty amazing to be on CBS." His advice? "Be sure to watch the first show. It's going to be funny." Don't think he was being facetious. No, of course not. (DJW)

CHASE SCENES: The Chase Park Plaza isn't quite buffed to its former high shine, but the first of the redevelopment project's new offerings to open is the Chase Park Plaza Cinemas, a five-screen theater that premieres on Friday, March 26.

Run by Harman Moseley, who also operates the Kirkwood Cinema, the Chase will occupy the same niche as the Plaza Frontenac, Hi-Pointe and Tivoli theaters, but Moseley doesn't believe St. Louis is "overscreened" when it comes to such art houses because "the audience for these films has broadened." Nor is the Chase an art house in the strictest sense. The opening lineup of EDtv, Shakespeare in Love, Life Is Beautiful, Gods and Monsters and Six Ways to Sunday provides a clear indicator of the theater's basic mix-and-match approach. And Moseley says he will adjust to his audience's desires and try to satisfy "the interests of the neighborhood, which is a little bit different than other parts of St. Louis." For example, Moseley plans to "target" the Central West End's gay population by offering commercial runs of films that might otherwise only appear at the St. Louis International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

The theater sits on the Lindell side of the development with its own lobby space -- a long, sparely but tastefully appointed space with concession stand -- behind a glass wall that separates it from the main lobby. A marquee will be installed by mid-April on Lindell, and Moseley says, "It'll be mammoth. Because it's on an 11-story building, for the right scale, it has to be enormous."

The five auditoriums -- which feature Dolby SR sound, with "absolutely no bleed-through," and comfortable seats -- are "themed" with trompe l'oeil murals created by St. Louis artist Dick Godwin. His goal, says Moseley, is to create "a modern-day atmospheric theater. Most modern theaters are just drywall boxes." The largest house, with stadium seating, will hold about 200 people and re-creates the look of a "baroque movie palace." It features "full-blown, six-channel stereo," and Moseley says that when they ran the Dolby test film, "you could feel the sound." Three smaller houses seat about 125; two of them sport murals inspired by Italy and France, and the third is an "alternative auditorium" that features Times Square and the San Francisco Bay Area. The smallest house, seating about 100, conjures the St. Louis of old with scenes from the World's Fair and a riverboat.

The Chase will initially be open in the evenings only on weekdays, with matinees added on the weekends, but within two weeks Moseley plans to be "open seven days a week from 12 to 12."

Parking -- often a problem in the CWE -- has been addressed. Free lots are available directly across Lindell on either side of the Vencor Building. The lot that fronts Euclid is open all day; the lot that borders Kingshighway is available after 5 p.m. Valet parking for $3 at the Kingshighway entrance is also an option, and free valet parking is offered before 4 p.m. In addition, a 460-car garage, with free parking for the theater, is targeted for a late-'99 opening.

But whatever the future brings, it's already show time for Moseley and his theater. (CF)

FLOTSAM & JETSAM: Okay, it's one thing to report on an allegation of assault on a student by a teacher in Venice, Ill., even if the main evidence is fingernail scratches on the child, but to lead the 10 o'clock news with it, as Channel 30 did last week, and herald it as an exclusive? Cool your jets, please. ...When Tim Russert of Meet the Press told guest Bob Dole on Sunday that he wanted to talk about "ED," Dole quickly took that to mean his wife, presidential hopeful Elizabeth Dole, and not erectile dysfunction, the subject of his advertisements. Toward the end of the interview, Russert asked Dole whether those commercials might have an adverse effect on his wife's campaign. Bob said, no, there might even be a big "Viagra vote" out there. Love that Bob; you just can't keep a good man down -- or can you? ... Look at Steve Forbes and think: Bill Haas with lots of money and fewer workable ideas. ... Campaign 2000: George W. Bush vs. Al Gore -- the battle of the fortunate sons. (DJW)

Contributors: Cliff Froehlich, Wm. Stage, C.D. Stelzer, D.J. Wilson
Email us at shortcuts@rftstl.com.

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