It's going to be a lively weekend...

It's going to be a lively weekend in Salem, IL, as the town kicks off its 6th annual Days Fest. More than 18 states will be represented at the three-day event, says festival chairman and vice-president Barbara Schooner. Steve Blackwood (Bart) will perform at a blues/jazz concert Friday evening. Fans can catch Blackwood, Arianne Zuker (Nicole) and Austin Peck (Austin), who is stepping in for Bryan Datillo (Lucas), at the free outdoor festival on Sat. 16. Jason Cook (Shawn-Douglas) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe) round out the weekend with appearances on Sun. Sept 17. Lorraine Zenka, author of Days of Our Lives: The Complete Family Album and Days of Our Lives: A Tour Through Salem, will be on hand to sign copies of her books on both days. "There's a lot of activites, raffles, look-alike contests, auctions and autographed items from studios available," promises Schooner. For last-minute information, call 618-548-087 read more

	General Hospital may be...

	General Hospital may be losing a powerful daytime duo, but its spin-off, Port Charles, is welcoming in a new team. Barbara Esensten and James Harmon Brown have signed on as headwriters for the 3-year-old soap. "We're excited by Barbara and Jim's vision for Port Charles, and I believe the fans are going to love what we have planned for the show," says Angela Shapiro, president, ABC daytime. Their stories will start to air in the first week of December.

	Esensten and Brown first began their collaborative effort in 1988, writing together for the primetime series Dynasty. They were part of the award-winning writing team on Guiding Light in 1993, before their appointment as headwriters of Loving. The team also wrote for the fast-paced cutting-edge serial The City. They returned to Guiding Light as headwriters in 1995.

	Current PC headwriters Barbara Bloomand read more

Donna Swajeski, former headwriter...

Donna Swajeski, former headwriter of Another World and past director of daytime at NBC and ABC, is penning a new soap — on the Internet. She has created an interactive one-minute soap titled 4o'clock4play for "It's time to find ways of telling stories in a different way," says Swajeski. "I think the audience no longer wants to just watch, they want to get involved. It's an on-going soap with all the traditional elements of love and romance, and everyone can take something away from the show that's more than just the story."

	The show follows the lives of four characters in the virtual town Harbor's Edge, two of whom meet when they are sold the same apartment. "One character, Destiny Blair, she's sort of the Erica Kane of the digital age," explains Swajeski. "She's really unpredictable, wild, a lot of fun to watch, outrageous. And everybody is in love with somebody else."

Site users will not only be able watch and d read more

For all of you who have been itching...

For all of you who have been itching for more Robin Strasser since she left the daytime canvas, hold on to your hats! The talented soap veteran is moving to Passions, where she will play the role of Hecuba.

	Strasser was last seen on One Life To Live, where she played popular villanness Dorian Lord, a role that earned her an Outstanding Lead Actress Emmy. She appeared as Christina Karras on All My Children and originated the role of Rachel Davis on Another World.

	Passions came to Strasser with the idea of joining the cast. While there are only a few details available about Strasser's role, according the show's web site, Hecuba will be "like nothing you've ever seen on daytime." Could Strasser's character be somehow related to Tabitha, armed with her own bag of supernatural tricks? "Strasser seems happy with the direction of her character," says the actress's spokesperson. Look for Strasser to strut into Harm read more

Dear Soaps, How many women have...

Dear Soaps,
How many women have played the role of Opal? I say two but my mom says three. Which one of us is right? —DebDebco

Dear DebDebco,
I hope you made a bet with your mother, because you win this one! Two-time Emmy winner Dorothy Lyman originated the role in 1981 and played her until 1983. When the show decided to bring the popular character back in 1989, they cast Jill Larson, fresh from her successful run as OLTL villainess, Ursula Blackwell. (DD)

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Dear Soaps, I am trying to remember...

Dear Soaps,
I am trying to remember the name of Patch and Kayla's daughter on Days of Our Lives. And where is she right now? Is she with Kayla and did Kayla marry Shane? Or is her sister, Kimberly, married to Shane? I've been trying to remember but now I think that I am draining my poor brain! —Aim Liz

Dear Aim Liz,
Give that cranium of yours a rest! Patch and Kayla's daughter, who was born in February of 1990, was named Stephanie. Nine months later, Patch was killed. In 1991, Stephanie was kidnapped by her nanny, but was later recovered in Australia. She is currently living with her mother, Kayla, in Los Angeles. Shane isn't married to Kayla or her sister, Kimberly. He is living in Europe. (DD)

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Dear Soaps, I have been very impressed...

Dear Soaps,
I have been very impressed with head writer Claire Labine and company on Guiding Light. The dialogue has improved dramatically and it appears they are reviving the old families. Finally the veteran actors are getting the time they deserve! Do you think Guiding Light is on its way back or is it just wishful thinking? —Valerie

Dear Valerie,
It's too early to tell. I hope it's not wishful thinking. Labine and company have embraced the Reva/Josh couple which I'm glad about. The announcement that Patti D'Arbanville (Selena) is leaving was a surprise. The character was a fan favorite and worked extremely well with Justin Deas's Buzz. Whenever a new writing regime comes in, I look for history to be honored. Case in point: the Billy/Holly pairing is terrific, but have they addressed how the two were once related via the marriage of Billy's sister Trish to Holly's brother Andy? Wouldn't it be great read more

Dear Soaps, Hasn't As The World...

Dear Soaps,
Hasn't As The World Turns had a story about fake paralysis before? Didn't Craig Montgomery pretend to be paralyzed in order to prevent Betsy (played by Meg Ryan) from leaving him? I like the story and can't wait for Andy to be found out. —Tracymid

Dear Tracymid,
This is definitely a case of déjà vu. In 1983, Craig went to stunt school to learn how to fall down stairs so that he could trap his wife Betsy, who was in love with Steve Andropoulos, into staying with him. But when Craig's sister, Margo, was in danger, Craig knew what he had to do and saved his sister's life, not caring about the ramifications. Craig was sent to jail for his many nefarious deeds. Though the story's been done before, it's a good one. It's always fun to see how far a man will go to get what he wants, even if it is a bit twisted. (Delaina Dixon)

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Dear Soaps, My husband and I have...

Dear Soaps,
My husband and I have a disagreement as to whom Genie Francis (Laura on General Hospital) is actually married to in real life. I say she is married to Captain Picard (I don't know his actual name) from Star Trek: The Next Generation. My husband says she is married to Captain Picard's "number one" (I don't know his actual name either). Put us out of this misery and then we can see which one of us wins the bet! Ciao Bella! —Laurice

Dear Laurice,
Hope this doesn't make you miserable, but your husband's correct. Genie Francis is wed to Jonathan Frakes, who played Commander William Riker, the "number one" to Patrick Stewart's Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Francis and Frakes worked together on the short-lived prime time soap opera Bare Essence. She was Patricia "Tyger" Hayes. He was Marcus Marshall. (Michael J. Maloney)

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Dear Soaps, I have three quick...

Dear Soaps,
I have three quick questions about my favorite soap, The Bold and the Beautiful. Where is Giovanni? Has he left the show or is he going to be on it every now and then? Is Lauren Fenmore related to Stephanie and where is she now? When was Felicia last seen? Thanks! —Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,
By my count, it's more like five questions, but the more, the merrier. Here are the answers: Victor Alfieri, who plays sexy photographer Giovanni, was switched to recurring status, but he still appears on B&B every now and then. Lauren is not related to Stephanie. Her parents are Joanna Manning and the late Neil Fenmore. Lauren was a friend of Stephanie's until she slept with Stephanie's husband, Eric! Lauren recently returned from Paris to help Mac get ready for her prom on Y&R. Felicia last came back to Los Angeles to support Ridge during his attempted murder trial in 1997. (MJM)

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