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Nov 20

“90210″ heartthrob Luke Perry heats up Paso Robles

 Luke Perry, Gary Busey among guests at this weekend’s Paso Robles Digital Film Festival

Luke Perry starred as a lottery winner in the short-lived TV show “Windfall”Paso Robles is about to get hotter — thanks to a certain “Beverly Hills, 90210″ star.

Luke Perry, who played troubled hunk Dylan McKay on the popular 1990s soap, is slated to appear tonight at the Paso Robles Digital Film Festival.

Perry will be on hand to promote the documentary “The Challenge of Champions: The Story of Lane Frost and Red Rock,” about the famed PRCA World Champion bullrider. He portrayed Frost in the 1994 movie “8 Seconds.”

“If all the girls here hear Luke Perry’s coming, we could have a riot,” joked festival founder Benford Stanley. “He’s a great guy. He really is.”

Perry joins a celebrity lineup that includes actors Gary Busey, Kathleen Quinlan and Robert Carradine. California Congresswoman Diane Watson and Ken Kragen, executive producer of TV’s “We Are the World,” are also slated to appear.

Now in its second year, the Paso Robles Digital Film Festival features a weekend of film screenings, concerts and panel discussions, with a special emphasis on music, digital filmmaking and children’s rights issues.

Last year’s festival drew the likes of actor-musician Kevin Bacon, folk legend Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood and his composer son, Kyle Eastwood.

Perry, whose career includes recent stints on the shows “John from Cincinnati” and “Windfall,”  is definitely the biggest draw at this year’s film fest.

He’s slated to appear at “The Challenge of Champions” screening at 7 p.m. tonight at Via Vega Vineyard and Winery, 2378 Adobe Rd. in Paso Robles. The movie also screens at 9:30 p.m. at La Quinta Inn and Suites, 615 Buena Vista Drive in Paso Robles.

Read on for more festival highlights:

TODAY

Singer-songwriter Jack Tempchin performs at 1:30 p.m. today at Sylvester Winery, 5115 Buena Vista Drive in Paso Robles. He’s best known for writing more than a dozen hits with The Eagles, including “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Already Gone” and “You Belong to the City.”

Actor Robert Carradine (“Lizzie McGuire”) joins in for the musical tribute “Remembering Nigel.”

Looking for something a little more sinful?

Wine lovers won’t want to miss the intoxicating comedy “Sideways,”  screening at 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday at Franklin Hot Springs 3085 Creston Rd. in Paso Robles.

SATURDAY

Get ready to boogie.

The film festival pays tribute to the music of yesteryear with appearances by guitarist Sonny Curtis of The Crickets and singer-songwriter Chris Montez, who’s worked with the likes of Sam Cooke, The Platters and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

An afternoon-long concert at Sylvester Winery coincides with screenings of “The Buddy Holly Story” and “Las Nueve Vidas de Ezekiel Montanez: The Chris Montez Story.” 

Concertgoers may even catch a glimpse of Gary Busey, who received an Oscar nod for his turn as bespectacled rocker Buddy Holly. Busey’s eccentric behavoir is show business legend — it even inspired a reality show, “I’m With Busey” — so this appearance should be no exception.

SUNDAY

“The State and Fate of Children” is the subject of a day-long conference at Paso Robles High School,  801 Niblick Rd. in Paso Robles. Topics include autism, child abuse and homelessness.

In addition to appearances by Congresswoman Diane Watson and actress Kathleen Quinlan (“American Graffiti,” “Prison Break”), there’s a special tribute to Ken Kragen, the man behind the television specials “We Are the World” and “Hands Across America.”

The festival also pays tribute to Morro Bay music educator Dr. Wachtang “Botso” Korisheli, who founded the San Luis Obispo County Youth Symphony. He’s the subject of the documentary  “Botso: The Passion of Music, The Power of Art.”

On Sunday, Korisheli will receive the festival’s Ignace Paderewski Lifetime Achievement Award, named after the classical pianist, composer and statesman. Last year’s recipient was Oscar-winning film editor Joel Cox (“Gran Torino,” “Million Dollar Baby”).

MONDAY and TUESDAY

As Sunday’s panelists share their wisdom with Paso Robles High School students, festival goers have a full slate of shorts and feature-length films.

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The Paso Robles Digital Film Festival runs today through Tuesday at various locations throughout Paso Robles. For more information, call 323-850-8919 or visit the film festival online.

Festival passes can be purchased via the Paso Robles Swim & Tennis Club, 2975 Union Rd. in Paso Robles.

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