Keep it Simple

The Port of Los Angeles has decided to drop its fancy marketing name, Worldport L.A. The reason? Widespread confusion. "People thought it was two different ports," says port spokeswoman Barbara Yamomoto. "We decided to get back to basics." Henceforth, the Port of Los Angeles will be known as "The Port of Los Angeles." And "Worldport L.A.," adopted in the 1980s as part of an international marketing campaign, will be retired forever unless, quips longtime port-watcher George Cunningham, some port authority in Louisiana (LA) wants to adopt it.

But Does He Drive a Trans-Am?

When actor Oleg Vidov, who now runs a Studio City animation production/licensing company, defected to the United States in 1985, the national press pulled out the superlatives to describe him. Seeking to make the Russian actor recognizable to Americans, U.S. newspapers dubbed Vidov "The Robert Redford of the Soviet Union." Most U.S. newspapers, that is. In Salt Lake City, however, Redford apparently isn't as big as another well-known star.

"'Burt Reynolds' Of Russia In Hollywood," read the headline of the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Hong Kong Night

Where better to enjoy the transfer of Hong Kong from British to Chinese hands than the Hollywood Park Casino?

Yes, the casino plans to host a June 30 event featuring more than 2,000 guests to watch a live broadcast of the "Transfer of Sovereignty" festivities.

Since the event corresponds to Hong Kong time, the fun will begin at the early hour of 6:30 a.m. and continue until the handover at 9 a.m. PST, with televisions throughout the venue broadcasting activities live from the Far East in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.

But organizer Leo Chu, who sits on the board of the Hollywood Park casino, cautions any would-be party goers that the event will be anything but festive.

"It's not a celebration. It's just a witness to what's going on over there," he said.

As if to drive home his message of "no merry makers allowed," the big handover at 9 a.m. will be followed not by a party, but rather by panel discussions, seminars on immigration and a trade show.

And no, there won't be gambling.

Chair Politics

While it is expected to cost $215 million to retrofit Los Angeles City Hall and more than $50 million to move its occupants during construction City Council members are dealing with a less expensive but more contentious issue: chair placement.

The council chambers in City Hall East could be arranged in the standard horseshoe-shape-facing-the-audience format, but council members have other options.

They could sit in two semicircles facing each other, sit in a horseshoe facing the audience or sit in two semicircles that allow council members to face the audience and each other at once.

Of course the last two options would force council members to actually acknowledge guest speakers, including high-volume gadfly Leonard Shapiro, rather than do what they usually do when gadflies opine: talk to each other, read the newspaper, eat pastries and talk to reporters.

Godzilla Returns

In one scene in the Universal Pictures release "The Lost World: Jurassic Park," a group of Japanese tourists is seen running away from a Tyrannosaurus Rex that is on the rampage in San Diego. They don't say anything in the U.S. version, but according to a radio report, the film will be dubbed with an added joke when it is prepared for Japanese release.

"This is what we left Japan to get away from," one of the tourists will grouse, a reference to the "Godzilla" movies in which monsters destroy Tokyo.

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