L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

Fish Story

KFSH-FM (95.9), "The Fish," is living up to its name.

The Christian music station's new studio has taken on an oceanic look, complete with sand-colored carpeting, seaweed-print chairs and fish-shaped knobs on the consoles. A large, colorful fish decorates one of the equipment modules and there's a plasma screen with a "virtual aquarium."

"You can't walk in there and go on the air and not have fun," said David Armstrong, vice president and general manager of KFSH.

The station decided to build a new, larger studio in order to accommodate live performances. The project cost less than $100,000 and the underwater theme didn't do much to affect the price, Armstrong said.

So, what do Fish staffers call the new studio?

The "fish tank," of course.

Wachs Squared

Former L.A. City Councilman Joel Wachs, who last year left Los Angeles to head up the Andy Warhol Foundation in New York, is again making news in his old hometown.

Specifically, he now has his own monument: Joel Wachs Square, right next to the Museum of Contemporary Art at 2nd Street and Grand Avenue.

The 30-year council veteran, who left the council last summer after his third failed mayoral bid, was in L.A. recently to dedicate the new square in his honor. Councilwoman Jan Perry, who represents the area, carried the motion to rename the square through the council last fall.

Although he's out of the public sector, Wachs couldn't resist one final jab at his longtime nemesis, City Councilman Nate Holden.

"To be honest, I was a little surprised when the vote was unanimous," Wachs said last week. "Maybe Nate Holden agreed just because he was so glad to see me go."

King for a Day

As the drama in the Lakers Sacramento Kings series built last week, one recent L.A. arrival got an unexpected taste of the budding rivalry.

L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Rusty Hammer, who came to L.A. six months ago from Sacramento after holding a similar post there, discovered he was persona non grata at a downtown high-rise last week.

"I was on my way to a meeting at the Library Tower and when I arrived in the lobby, the security guard asked to see my identification," Hammer said. "My driver's license still has my Sacramento address on it. When he saw that, he said, 'Oh, I'm sorry, I can't let you in. You guys poisoned Kobe (Bryant),'" a reference to the episode of food poisoning the Lakers star suffered after ordering a room-service cheeseburger at a Sacramento hotel.

Fortunately, the security guard was not serious. "After he said that, he smiled at me and then let me in."

Party Crasher

Evel Knievel may have toned down the daredevil leaps, but that doesn't mean he doesn't like a cool machine.

Knievel, who has set records jumping motorcycles over cars, buses, trucks, fountains and canyons, was to appear June 1 and 2 at Galpin Motors to launch a new Ford truck customized with the Knievel look.

The F150 Gladiator pickup, with red, white and blue leather seats, a blue dashboard, and stars-and-stripes on the exterior, is an open-end limited edition devised by Beau Boeckmann, vice president at the San Fernando Valley company.

Beau, whose father Bert Boeckmann owns Galpin, has been an Evel Knievel fan since he was a kid and decided a year ago that it would be great to customize a truck with the daredevil's look.

"Finally this truck began to take shape," said Sean Riley, who worked on the design team. "We drove the truck out to Las Vegas to Evel about three weeks ago. He loved it and decided to introduce it."

While the 63-year-old motorcyclist may love the truck, he won't be using it to do any daredevil stunts.

The Roving Eye

Total Request Lagoon

Last summer, visitors to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach were asked which animals they wanted to see more of. Most requested: sharks. The toothier the better.

On June 14, the aquarium will debut Shark Lagoon, a chance to get up close and personal with more than 150 of the scary looking fishes. The main draw will be a 10,000-square-foot outdoor touch pool with small nurse, bamboo, epaulette and zebra sharks.

"Visitors will be able to see sharks as they've never seen them before," says spokeswoman Cecile Fisher. Larger, toothy sharks, such as sand tigers and nurse sharks, also will be on display. Measuring up to nine feet, these creatures can be seen safely from a tank window.

The permanent exhibit marks the completion of the aquarium's Explorers Cove, which opened last September with Lorikeet Forest, an interactive bird feeding attraction. Developed to satisfy visitors' desire for more hands-on interaction, aquarium officials hope the new additions will generate crowds and revenue needed to bring down the facility's debt load.

Declining attendance and expensive exhibits have caused the aquarium to struggle a bit since its 1998 opening. A restructuring effort made last year transferred ownership to the City of Long Beach.

"This put us in a much better position," says Fisher. "And the Shark Lagoon has two goals to increase attendance, and to increase education about sharks."

Fisher says some species are close to being endangered, partly due to misconceptions. "Sharks," she says, "aren't as dangerous as shown on TV and in movies."

The exhibit, which is free with aquarium admission, opens around the same time Steven Spielberg's Jaws celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Samantha Lee

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