When Aurora native Josh Ackerman first heard Christina Aguilera sing, he said he knew she was bound for pop-singing stardom.
“I remember when Christina Aguilera's audition tape came in, she was singing like Whitney Houston,” Ackerman said about his fellow Disney's “Mickey Mouse Club” alum. “I knew that she more than anybody was going to be a mega star.”
Ackerman, who moved from Colorado to Orlando, Fla., when he was 11, answered an open casting call for the famed “Mickey Mouse Club,” and landed a place on the show. During his tenure there (he was the only male cast member who stayed on from the pilot to the last episode when he was 18), Ackerman performed alongside Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling and (Highlands Ranch native) Keri Russell.
But Ackerman's show business career shifted from in front of the camera to behind it. He learned the basics of what would become his craft by hanging out with editors and producers to learn the intricacies of their jobs.
About five years ago, Ackerman and his business partners built Bodega Pictures from a garage-based fledgling start-up to a full service production house with more than 50 employees and five network deals including shows in development with AMC, E! and the Cooking Channel.
At the end of last month, his show “South Beach Tow” on TruTV returned with a new season. On Sunday, the Bodega-produced show “On the Rocks” premieres on the Food Network. “On the Rocks” features host John Green, founder of a bar consulting company, as he travels around the U.S. in his quest to turn around failing bars.
“He can change little things that can bring in big dollars for the owners,” Ackerman said. Ackerman said he hasn't returned to Denver for seven or eight years — “I've been building my business,” he said.
Just two guys
I told you recently about Broncos linebacker Von Miller's fundraiser for his charity Von's Vision, which gives glasses to kids in need.
Many of Miller's teammates showed up to mix and mingle with fans, sign souvenir footballs and serve a multi-course dinner at Ocean Prime on Larimer Square.
Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who was mobbed by admirers, spoke briefly to me about his short stint on the reality series “Eric & Jessie: Game On,” a show on E! about wide receiver Eric Decker and his new bride Jessie James in the weeks leading up to their wedding.
Thomas, whom Decker calls his best friend on the team (hence the moniker “Black and Decker”), appeared in the episode on Decker's bachelor party in Lake Tahoe where the manly men vied for the title of MVP.
I asked Thomas about his appearance on the show-and-tell show where the gang golfs and drinks beer and goes out on a boat and drinks beer.
“He's a buddy so I thought I'd do it for him,” Thomas said about his brief show biz stint. As to the episode? Thomas said he hasn't seen it.
There's a bumper crop of restaurant tidbits to share with you this week. Heading up the noshing news is the newly released 27th edition of the “Gabby Gourmet 2014 Restaurant Guide,” compiled and written by Pat “Gabby Gourmet” Miller, with a little help from her foodie friends.
The iconic paperback guide serves as the resource for restaurant information in the metro area (from Denver to Littleton, Lakewood, Golden, Arvada, Aurora, Westminster and beyond) and mountain communities. But Gabby doesn't purport to be the be-all and end-all last word in restaurant critiques. Rather, she offers ratings — from the tip top To Die For to a low rating of three pigs — based on a five-pig scale.
Making the coveted To Die For list this year? Barolo Grill, Frasca Food & Wine, Fruition, L'Atelier (Boulder), Linger, Mizuna, Oak at Fourteenth (Boulder), Old Major, Rioja, Root Down and Shanahan's.
The book is on sale (for $18.95) at area bookstores and select restaurants and grocers. For more restaurant ruminations from Gabby, visit www.gabbygourmet.com.
Ex-Rocky reporter honored
Former Rocky Mountain News reporter Katie Kerwin McCrimmon has been named Media Representative of the Year by the Colorado Healthcare Communicators.
Since the 1970s, the Colorado Healthcare Communications has honored communications professionals across the state. Every year members nominate a representative of the news media who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to health care reporting. McCrimmon is a writer for Solutions, a project of the Buechner Institute for Governance at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver.
More information: www.healthpolicysolutions.org/2013/11/04/congratulations-katie/.
The 13th annual Developmental Disabilities Resource Center Holiday Bazaar is scheduled for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Dec. 5 at 11177 West Eighth Avenue in Lakewood.
The bazaar benefits people with developmental disabilities and there will be unique gifts, handmade crafts and baked goods for sale. There also will be entertainment and admission is free, though canned food donations would be appreciated for the DDRC emergency needs pantry.
For more information, call DDRC Volunteer Services at 303-462-6585 or visit www.ddrcco.com/.
Eavesdropping on a man: "Biked to Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield; (it) was like biking in Vermont. Not that I've ever biked in Vermont, but very pretty, and stopped for an Old Mill Pilsner in the Old Mill Brewery in Old Town Littleton ... and after biking 45 miles, I'm feeling old myself."
Penny Parker's “Mile High Life” column gives insights into the best events, restaurants, businesses, parties and people throughout the metro area. Parker also writes for Blacktie-Colorado.com. You can subscribe and read her columns (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) at www.pennyparker.blacktie-colorado.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-619-5209.