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The Film Issue 08, SoWat TV

chipifestChip & Jeff Dinnell/SoWat TV

Who needs SNL when we have two local guys with a serious manbrows poking fun at Santa Cruz politics—and more—under the guise of hosting a show about the arts in Santa Cruz County? When it first debuted on Community Television back in 2004, the bi-monthly talk show—and, really some would just call it, plain ol’ bi—known as “SoWat” spotlighted locals making a difference in the arts community. It still does that, but in the course of three years, the popular show has added a number of curious elements. It’s now morphed into a modern day “Late Night with David Letterman” by way of a more youthful—or is it euphemized?—“John Stewart.” Hosts Jeff Dinnell (a local actor with delicious wit) and Chip (an über supporter of local arts) work off each other with such a graceful splash of inventiveness, you can’t but be taken in by their

offerings. Their comedy is often beautifully underplayed but can’t escape the feeling that, at any moment, something wild is about to crawl under the covers with you—mentally that is. Incidentally, for newbies, the SoWat in the title refers to the South of Water Street district. But the duo’s creative libidos reach far beyond that. Sam Farr recently popped up in a short filmed stint. Santa Cruz Mayor Ryan Coonerty followed similar suit. (Proving that some politicians aren’t afraid to show their sense of humor.) In other filmed segments for the show, Dinnell and Chip can be found parading around various art and film fests—a shameless montage of Dinnell’s David Arquette/Pee Wee Herman interview stands out. Actually, their most recent if not scandalous endeavor finds them trying to recreate every imaginable Annie Lebowitz photo—note the picture above in which the duo do (in)justice to A.L.’s famous Yoko Ono-John Lennon shot. However you want to spin it, at the very least SoWat TV is one of the most inventive offerings to hit local TV since … (Is it rude to stop there?)  Catch them both (clothed) Wednesdays and Sundays at 8 p.m. on Community TV, Channel 25, 26 or 27 or 71, 72 or 73. | Greg Archer
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