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Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008 05:21 pm

CAP CITY

art5183
Jake Gyllenhaal
Rosalia Lombardo

A GOOD PLACE TO PLAY DEAD

Say you're a hotshot Hollywood producer/director/writer/editor looking for a domestic set that can double for Palermo, Italy. Obviously you're gonna head straight for Springfield, right?

You are if you're seeking to depict the embalming of a body as it was done a century ago. Springfield's Museum of Funeral Customs (possibly the city's most underappreciated museum), stood in for the home and laboratory of Dr. Alfredo Salafia, a chemistry professor who gained fame around the turn of the century for his fantastic embalming techniques, for a National Geographic documentary on Salafia.

The local museum provided the set and actors to re-create the preparation and funeral of Salafia's most famous client, a 2-year-old girl named Rosalia Lombardo. Getting a toddler to play dead was the trickiest part of the shoot. Local actor Rick Falzone, playing Salafia, imitated Sesame Street characters to get the little actress to feign sleep. "I talked to her like Bert and Ernie and made the snoring sound the entire time she was in the box," Falzone says. "Turns out, she's got a [Sing 'n' Snore] Ernie doll. She really did a great job in the end."

The documentary will air in early 2009.

A CUT ABOVE

Everything we really needed to know about life, art, and journalism we learned as kindergarteners at Cap City Elementary School. But our magnum opus, "Principal Waterston Has a Cold — and Eats His Boogers," wouldn't have been possible without the necessary accoutrements of crayons, glue sticks, glitter, and a presidents of the United States pencil box (yeah, we were doing multimedia long before it was en vogue), all donated to the school by generous local citizens.

Understanding the kindheartedness of Springfield residents, as well as the correlation between the success and growth of students and the well-being of our community, the University of Spa & Cosmetology Arts and the University of Spa & Massage Therapy will conduct a Cut-a-Thon 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15.

The proceeds benefit Stuff the Bus, District 186's annual school-supply donation drive. Haircuts cost $5. Manicures, facials, and half-hour massages range from $5 to $10. From Mohawks to mullets, patrons can get just about any cut they want, says director of operations Jamie Kauffman — just "no elaborate hairstyles." Kaufman adds that the school hopes to make the Cut-a-Thon an annual event.

WHAT A WASH

Most people wouldn't touch the city's dirty laundry with a 10-foot pole, but two central-Illinois companies went head to head for the honor at Tuesday's finance-committee meeting.

UniFirst Corp., based in Bloomington, offered a bid that was $24,000 lower than that of its competitor ($211,324.50 for two years), Springfield-based Aramark Uniform Services, and will provide its services if they are approved by the council on Aug. 19. But Aramark — which says it's washed the city's linens and uniforms for 50 years — argues that UniFirst's numbers aren't legit and that that company got an unfair advantage from the purchasing office.

For some aldermen, such as Ward 2 Ald. Gail Simpson, the case was open-and-shut: UniFirst turned in the lowest bid and appropriate samples, so what's the problem?

Others, like Ward 7 Ald. Debbie Cimarossa, say the local company deserves a second chance.

The aldermen will ask the purchasing office to come clean next week before they make a final decision.

EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION, RESISTANCE

After exposing Will Reynolds to such "enhanced interrogation" tactics as prolonged sleep deprivation, stress positions, forced nakedness, and waterboarding, we finally got him to cough up the names the next two Liberty Brew & View films — and a little bit of blood.

Rendition, which explores the inner turmoil of a CIA agent (portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal) over the existence of U.S. government-run secret overseas detention and torture facilities, will be featured at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19, at Capital City Bar & Grill (3149 S. Dirksen Pkwy.). The Central Illinois ACLU will lead a discussion after the film.

Showing in September, which also happens to be the first anniversary of the monthly movie club, is Meeting Resistance, an account of the U.S. occupation of Iraq from the perspective of eight insurgents.

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