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WESTSIDE WATCH

University High Comes of Age in New TV Drama

March 27, 1994

University High School is almost ready for prime time.

Scenes from "My So-Called Life," an ABC drama expected to premiere later this year, are being filmed on the campus.

The series isn't about University High. Instead, it is a look at the world of 15-year-old Angela Chase (Claire Danes) who attends Pittsburgh's Liberty High and copes with the usual assortment of coming-of-age problems.

Wilson Cruz, who portrays Angela's half-black, half-Latino bisexual classmate, Rickie Vasquez, praised University High for its beauty and having "a lot of character."

Playing an androgynous character has drawn a few questions from University students, Cruz said, including some who have asked, "Is that a dude?"

"The answer, of course, is yes," Cruz said. "But I got that on a personal level when I was really going to high school, so that's fine. I guess the eyeliner thing really throws them off."

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PRIMARY PICK: Rep. Jane Harman (D-Marina del Rey) has no challengers in the June 7 Democratic primary, but she's trying to boost the fortunes of one in another race.

She's backing Torrance Councilman George Nakano in his bid to unseat state Sen. Ralph Dills (D-Gardena), whose Sacramento career dates back to the 1930s, in the redrawn 28th District.

"George brings a new vision and would be the first Asian American ever in the state Senate," she said. "I thought it was something that I believed in and wanted to help with."

Dills' team, however, calls it a risky move for Harman, who in the fall will have to shore up both Democratic and Republican support in a congressional district that leans GOP.

Nakano is Dills' strongest primary challenge in two decades. He plans to spend more than $200,000 on the race.

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NO SHOW: West Hollywood Mayor Sal Guarriello was missing from West Hollywood's main election forum recently--a closed-studio debate taped for later broadcast on the city's cable television channel.

Guarriello, a City Council member serving a one-year turn as mayor, is one of 10 candidates running for three seats.

It was noteworthy when he didn't show for the event, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.

Now Guarriello is accusing the chamber, with which he has clashed in the past, of trying to sabotage him by not telling viewers he had a prior commitment to host a leukemia benefit.

"They just want it to look bad for the mayor--that's the way they do things there," said Guarriello, who criticizes city funding for the group.

Chamber officials say producer Melinda Tremaglio simply forgot to explain Guarriello's absence at the show's start, and planned to do so at the end. But the forum was unexpectedly cut short by the cable TV staff and she never had the chance.

"Yes, we screwed up. There were a lot more things that we wanted to say," said forum organizer David Welch. "We were just cut off."

Few may notice the absence. By late last week, the forum had aired once--on Saturday at 9 a.m. Was your alarm set?

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