Downtown Skating

L.A. city officials are preparing to unveil Rockefeller Center West in downtown.

That's right. Just as the landmark Rockefeller Center in New York has a holiday ice-skating rink, the L.A. Parks and Recreation Department is setting up an ice-skating rink next month in downtown's Pershing Square. The rink is being sponsored by the Los Angeles Kings, some of whom will be on hand at a press conference on Tuesday announcing the rink. L.A. City Councilwoman Rita Walters also will be on hand.

The rink, dubbed "Los Angeles Kings 'Downtown on Ice,' at Pershing Square" will open Dec. 1 and run through Jan. 3. The 50-by-80-foot rink is the same one that Universal Studios Inc. had set up at its CityWalk retail center during previous holiday seasons.

Like Rockefeller Center and a similar holiday rink at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, ice skaters will pay for the privilege of skating in the shadow of Bunker Hill. The city of L.A. is charging $5 to skate for an hour and $2 to rent skates.

Prized Pen

So how much does a fountain pen cost these days? If you're News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, try $30,000.

"The Boss," as Murdoch is sometimes known, won a fountain pen during an auction at the Fullfillment Fund's fourth annual Stars of Tomorrow dinner at the Beverly Hilton. The organization helps disadvantaged students build self-esteem. Murdoch was being honored for his support of the group.

The items actually auctioned off were 10 tickets, which were then randomly selected from a bin for prizes ranging from a Mercedes ML320 to a fountain pen. Murdoch's ticket was chosen as the "lucky" winner of the pen.

In a Former Life

Steven Ehrlich, the architect who designed DreamWorks SKG's new animation campus in Glendale, is putting the finishing touches on his firm's new office building in Culver City.

He bought the circa-1920s building about 18 months ago, then completely gutted and transformed it. Catering heavily to entertainment tenants, Ehrlich is no stranger to "adaptive reuse," which generally means turning old warehouses into edgy office space.

But Ehrlich's building was formerly a mortuary. He's particularly proud of the rotunda-like portion of the fa & #231;ade, which he has clad in raw steel. It's the exterior of what is now Ehrlich's main presentation room, where he does client pitches.

That same room was formerly used for presentations, as well, when bodies were put on display there for loved ones.

Grocery Celebrity

There is a new star in Hollywood Ron Burkle.

His name is enshrined at the Ralphs supermarket on the corner of La Brea Avenue and Third Street, near Hollywood.

As part of the store's show-biz motif, a large "Hollywood Walk of Fame Star" bearing Burkle's name is emblazoned on the wall, right in front of the checkout counter. It's an unusually high-profile spot for a notoriously low-profile executive.

But neither the store's manager nor a Ralphs spokesman knows how or why Burkle's name got there in the first place.

Store manager Dan DeLarosa speculated that the name was put up as a sign of respect by employees when the market was remodeled a couple of years ago.

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