News & Features » Miscellany

We bestow wet ones on some of the city's most kissable people, and a few who are not so.

Big Smooch

Michael Shutterly for making Richmonders look good on national television An adoring smooch goes to Richmond's most impressive ambassador this year. It was not a politician or a police chief or a power broker. It was a game-show contestant. Michael Shutterly, a 47-year-old attorney from Henrico County, took his arcania-filled cranium to New York and coolly pocketed a half-million dollars on the TV phenomenon, "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." While some other contestants have sailed toward a million with relatively easy questions, Shutterly earned his bucks when he pulled out one of the most obscure facts that is still knowable — the real name of Pope John Paul I, the Roman Catholic pontiff who occupied the position for only 34 days in 1978. (The answer is Albiano Luciani, if you are that intensely curious.) Then, showing very Richmond restraint and poise, Shutterly walked away from the million-dollar question: Who won the first Grammy ever given in the Hard Rock/Metal category? Shutterly, a Jethro Tull fan, thought it was too improbable to be Tull. Of course, that's why the question was asked, but Shutterly knew when to fold 'em and walked off with enough money to put his three sons through college — and then some. So how has life changed for the Shutterly family since last August when their lives became inexorably linked to that of a man named Regis? Not all that much, the sweetly shy Shutterly says. He remains "obsessed" with the show and has missed it only once when he was on a "Millionaire" press tour in Pasadena, Calif. He continues to work at Capital One, though he says he knows people have muttered about why he's still working. (C'mon people, it's only a half million ...) [image-1]Photo by Chad HuntOh, he did buy a new car, though. The 9-year-old car he'd been driving around "died" shortly after he won the money. Shutterly says it was "neat" to be able buy a car without hassling over price. So what marvel of modern machinery did the half-millionaire choose? "A Camry," he says. "Used. I got it at Carmax." Rene Croan for her diva's talent without the diva's disposition A melt-in-your-mouth kiss for jazz diva Rene Croan, whose too-sweet-to-be-believed success story could renew your faith in love. Though she showed promise as a teen-ager, she put off a singing career until her last child graduated from college. Finally stepping into the limelight in 1997, she has since skyrocketed to regional prominence. She led a tribute to Duke Ellington last fall with the Richmond Symphony and collected rave reviews as Ella Fitzgerald in the Barksdale Theatre's "Ella and Her Fella Frank." Her first CD, "Renaissance," is already a hard-to-find commodity, and her new collection, "How Can I Keep From Singing," is due out in early May. With a smooth-as-honey voice, remarkable range, and a sunny stage presence that draws fans like flies, she remains unassuming and unpretentious off-stage. Despite her likely rise to greater notoriety, this may be the last time you see the name Rene Croan. The singer is officially changing her name to Rene Marie. A rose by any other name Richmond city officials for cleaning up the animal shelter, both literally and figuratively [image-2]Photo by Stephen SalpukasThe Richmond Animal Shelter is a much nicer place to be these days. Just ask employees, including Animal Control Officer Alvin Jones.We couldn't be any happier than to be able to lay a big, fat kiss on City Hall this year for doing the right thing and cleaning up the Richmond Animal Shelter. Sure, it came at the cost of three years of torturous (and tortuous) fighting, politicking, evasion and expensive lawsuits and investigations — not to mention the suffering of God knows how many animals. Bygones. The operation is back on track with new management and a newly forged relationship with animal welfare groups. Animals are being fed, medicated and humanely euthanized. The place is clean and employees are happy again. On a personal note, Style is especially thankful to have all that print space back. Jimmy Sneed for his gift of gab An oh-so-sincere double air kiss goes to Richmond's own "celebrity chef" Jimmy Sneed of The Frog and the Redneck for his relentless self-promotion. It's this ability that got him noticed by Restaurant Marketing, an industry magazine for "dining innovators." Sneed is pictured on the cover of the January/February issue as the subject of an article which touts these very same skills as one of the keys to Sneed's success. "Not only did Sneed enter this venture with a well-known reputation as a top-notch chef, he also had in his repertoire the gift of gab," the article says. "... Since the restaurant has not run any paid advertising since it opened, public relations means a lot." Does it ever. And look, here we are, talking about Sneed, and The Frog and the Redneck, once again.[image-3]Photo by Stephen SalpukasJimmy Sneed's gift of gab gets him a big, smarmy smooch. Recently touted in an industry mag for not using any paid advertising, Sneed is the master of self-created buzz. We love your $32.50 jumbo lump crab cakes, Jimmy, but we'd rather you were in the kitchen whipping them up than whispering your latest accomplishment in our ear. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden for setting spring evenings to music Kudos — and kisses — to the folks at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden for opening wide the gates to one of Richmond's greatest treasures and welcoming music lovers to its new Groovin' in the Garden concert series. A lineup of high-quality acts such as Buckwheat Zydeco and the Seldom Scene paired with the beautiful setting made for some very pleasant Thursday evenings last spring. But while the folks at Lewis Ginter did everything right, including exposing many new people to the gardens, many of the guests could use a lesson in concert etiquette. There's nothing wrong with socializing at such an event, but when the music starts, could you please keep it down? To those who were gabbin' in the garden, a big kiss-off. And to Lewis Ginter, keep up the good work. Eddie Weaver for leaving behind a joyful noise The Wurlitzer's sound rose and swirled and spurted music like a sorcerer's spell. But behind the giant pipe organ, surprisingly, there was no mighty Oz — just a simple wizard at the keyboard, Eddie Weaver. For 40 years Weaver indulged Richmond moviegoers with the thrill of the Wurlitzer, adding punctuated surprise to the mix that made theaters like the Byrd and Loew's something of fantasy getaways. To Eddie Weaver, who died last month at 92, we give a kiss of thanks and remembrance for piping music not only into our movie houses, but into our hearts. [image-4]Eddie Weaver The state of Virginia for so efficiently executing its inmates Used to be, Virginia's Death Row was a place to linger, to while away a life incarceration between endless appeals. But no longer. Years of meetings with attorneys and clergy? No longer. It's Meet Your Maker time in Virginia, which has carried out 75 executions since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Only Texas has us beat, so far. Virginia executed two inmates — both of whom were convicted for murders they committed when they were 17 — in the first two weeks of 2000. Some say justice has taken a back seat to efficiency in wake of Virginia's 21 Day Rule. Illinois has declared a moratorium on executions to double check that no innocent prisoner is executed, and only five states other than Virginia allow so little time to introduce new evidence — possibly life-saving evidence — after a defendant's trial has ended. Only Virginia refuses to grant exceptions. Unless the governor can be convinced to intervene, all the evidence in the world cannot save a person from execution. How long before an innocent person is put to death? We'd rather see the 21 Day Rule suspended than find out. Sarah Jessica Parker for bringing more than just sex to our city Now we know why the usually cool David Letterman gets so weak-kneed whenever she appears as a guest on his show. We understand how Mr. Big and legions of hunky New Yorkers fall head-over-heels in love (and into bed) with her on "Sex and the City." And we know what her godmother Phyllis Katz means when she says, "Her generosity is just incredible." By gracing us with her presence for a weekend this past December, Sarah Jessica Parker showed Richmond the true meaning of "star power." Not only did she use her celebrity to raise about $70,000 to help Katz's organization, LINC (Legal Information Network for Cancer), but she did it with the grace and charm of a true professional. When Parker praised Richmond, saying, "This city can compete with any great metropolitan city I've ever been to," and really seemed to mean it, it was all we could do to keep from jumping onstage to give her a great big smooch. After all, that just wouldn't be cool. But that won't stop us from doing it now: Smack! Thanks, Sarah Jessica, for caring enough to visit our humble city. Priscilla's and Taboo for spicing things up in suburbia [image-5]Photo by Scott ElmquistEverything the oversexed suburbanite needs or wants can be found on West Broad Street, conveniently located near Target and Arby's.Let's plant a wholesome, neighborly kiss on the salty young things who work some of the weirdest retail jobs in Henrico County, selling hot lingerie and sex toys to endless clusters of giggling coeds, unlikely-looking suburban couples, sweaty guys in trucks and, presumably, everyone but your mother. The neon-bright storefronts of these two Broad Street emporiums offer all sorts of novelties from the now-tired chocolate body parts to never-boring leather whips and paddles, and shudderingly industrial-looking nipple clamps and metal leashes. Original rabbit pearls (huh?) guarantee orgasm in under three minutes, are sold at the front register, and go for $125.99. Watch as the clerks don't flinch, again, when asked whether the stuff really works, ha ha, and would you show me how this looks on, ha ha. Yes, there's a market for gummy boobs and latex butts and "beaver fever" dolls and furry handcuffs. Yes, you can get this stuff and an Arby's roast beef sandwich without leaving the block, and no, the clerk doesn't particularly feel like it tonight after a long shift stuffing cyberclone dildos into plastic bags for blank-eyed patrons. It's work and somebody has to do it, even in Henrico (the county where XXX video stores were strictly regulated last year, massage parlors are all but extinct, and residents are afraid to reveal their inner dominatrixes because a supervisor might be watching) — the jokes must get awfully tiresome, and the prospects of meeting Mr. Right on the job surely have dwindled to zilch. So here's to a little romance that doesn't involve a 13-inch wham-banger ... or anything that's cherry-flavored. Doug Wilder, for proving the former governor has two faces The ever-kissable Doug Wilder deserves two smooches — one for each side of his face. He displayed the other side of dual nature last June at the opening of the Canal Walk when he stood in a canal boat and saluted the Confederate flag. Isn't this the same guy who compared the Museum of the Confederacy's costume ball several years ago to Nazism?[image-6]Photo by Stephen SalpukasHey, Doug! The Confederate flag — how ya feel about it today? The State Song Committee for conveniently passing the buck Can we hear this next smooch in D minor, the saddest of all keys? This singin' smooch goes out to the State Song subcommittee who couldn't get it together enough to pick one stupid song from eight stupid songs to become the stupid song no one will ever hear, know or sing. During this convoluted process, there were charges of influence peddling, favoritism and unfairness. In the end, the committee, in its infinite wisdom, decided not to decide — to abandon the one task it was charged with: picking a state song. Well, we'll pick one for you. "Cum on Feel the Noize." There. Settled. WTVR-Channel 6 for shaking things up A can't-win-for-losing, sympathetic smooch on the forehead goes out to Newschannel 6. The South's first television station remains last in the local ratings race, and the past year offered few signs that may change any time soon. Memorable moments: the departure of 15-year prime anchor Charles Fishburne in June, and a greater-than-usual turnover among others throughout the year; the bizarre Aug. 23 performance of anchor Crystal Jackson, which ended up being her last broadcast; and the manic antics of executive producer Jack Pagano (brought in last summer to shake things up, gone by December), who admitted making a fake 911 call — from inside Henrico's 911 center — to "test" the county's new emergency communications system. But while the Nielsen's may not be kind, and the parent network, CBS, remains a brass medalist itself, Channel 6 has assembled the best-looking male anchors in town, which is as good a place to start as any. There's rarely been a dull moment at the scrappy affiliate, and its new general manager, Mark Pimentel, seems determined to keep shaking things up until viewership heads that way, too. Fontaine Minor, for her relentless promotion of The Dress In smooching socialite Fontaine Minor, we'll be sure not to breathe anywhere near the dress she bought at auction which belonged to Princess Diana. Haven't heard about that? Goodness, dear, where have you been? Minor has been everywhere trotting the dress out at everything from private shindigs to Junior League fund-raisers for the past two-and-a-half years. At its Bizarre Bazaar Preview Gala, according to a press release, the Junior League, "with the permission of Mrs. Minor," auctioned off an "opportunity to wear the headband that matches the dress and be photographed wearing it." We mean no disrespect to the saintly, dead princess but enough already, Mrs. Minor. Staring at Diana's dress won't get us any closer to heaven. Patricia Cornwell for being a dog's best friend[image-7]Photo by John EarleCornwell A wet and sloppy lick (that's good in dog kisses) to Patricia Cornwell for her $10,000 donation to the Richmond Police Department to outfit its K-9 dogs with bulletproof vests. Cornwell continually proves, though she's a national figure, her heart resides in Richmond. Noah's Children Pediatric Hospice for making every moment count We smooch Noah's Children Pediatric Hospice for helping families with terminally ill children make the most of the days, weeks or months they have left together. Whether it's providing pain medication, taking siblings to the park, preparing meals, offering spiritual counsel, or responding to other physical and emotional needs, Noah's Children staff and volunteers are there to make sure these families have the highest quality of life possible at a time when every moment counts. We also salute Noah's Children for the support groups it provides for children and adults who have lost a loved one or have a family member coping with a chronic illness. To give those who are suffering a chance to find out they are not alone, share their story with others who understand their pain, begin the healing process and start to live again, is truly offering a gift of light to those in the darkest corners of despair. Jump to Part 1, 2,Continue to Part 2