LABJ's LA Stories

Back on the Map

The harsh sentence of humiliation by obliteration has been lifted: The Los Angeles Times has reinstated the Ventura County city of Santa Paula to its daily weather map.

Santa Paula residents opened their newspaper one day in January to find their town had been literally wiped off the map. The City Council adopted an ordinance calling for a one-day advertising boycott of the Times, and about 25 picketers protested in front of the newspaper's Ventura office.

Martha Goldstein, the Times' vice president of communications, said that firefighters who provided the Santa Paula weather information were often out on call and the newspaper couldn't depend on them. Ken Chapman solved the problem: The Times now gets the temperatures from a Web site that automatically reads it off the weather station in his lemon orchard.

"It was reliable and it's indeed back on the map," Goldstein said last week.

Steve Silkin



Truce Declared

LAVoice.org's Mack Reed, who had previously issued a scathing critique of LA.com, has revisited the site and awarded it a favorable review.

"A bug or two still mars the mix," Reed wrote earlier this month, "and the style sheet hasn't settled down. But those are tiny blemishes on an otherwise well-constructed portal. Their listings look spot-on for their target audience's sweet spot. And they've secured some more solid-looking sponsorships and partnerships."

Earlier this year, Reed had called the site a "rather pungent bubble of overperfumed and disappointingly airheaded grrrl-power."

LA.com's publisher, Lynda Keeler said Reed's criticism was born of his interest in the medium. She enjoys his site, too. "I like his observations on city life in L.A.," Keeler said. "That's the joy of having all these great bloggers."

Steve Silkin



Mmmm, Beer

A Maryland-based company has put out the call for host cities for a proposed Beer Hall of Fame. As of last week, none in Los Angeles County had answered.

Leisure Technician LLC, which runs the U.S. Beer Drinking Team, as well as the Baltimore-area radio talk show Beer Radio, hopes the hall will feature beer-themed restaurants, exhibitions, an education center and an auditorium.

Four cities, including Chicago and San Mateo, have shown "serious interest," said Joe Gardenghi, chief operating officer of Leisure Technician.

Local responses to the prospect of housing a shrine to the Cold One were lukewarm.

"If they came in, I wouldn't say no, but we'd have to hear more about the concept," said Kellee Fritzal, economic development manager for Culver City, noting that the Helms Bakery site is in the city's redevelopment project area. "They'd both have yeast in common, wouldn't they?"

Danny King



Next!

Gary Walther, acting editor of the Tribune Co.'s glossy bi-monthly Distinction magazine, has left to pursue a career in New York magazine publishing.

Walther, who took the Distinction job to oversee a makeover of the magazine's March/April issue, was recruited late last year to close out the eight-month old publication's third issue after start-up editor Laurie Pike left for Web site LA.com.

Holly Bowyer, president of Angeles Publications, the Tribune unit that publishes Distinction, confirmed the departure, saying "Gary has contributed to the magazine's vision and helped build its momentum as a 'must-read' luxury publication."

Walther's local phone has already been directed to a New York number. Reached on his cell phone, Walther declined to comment on the reasons for his departure or to say what he's doing now.

Pike, editor-in-chief of LA.com, first disclosed Walther's departure on her Web site on April 13, but pulled the posting the next day. She would only say: "It was my decision and not anyone else's."

Pat Maio

The Roving Eye

Fashion Fun

The Del Taco on Highland Avenue isn't known for its sense of style, so it was surprising to see a Glamour magazine party there. But that was the point.

Because the venerable fashion publication it turns 65 this month staged its fourth annual "Don't Party" at the fast food eatery recently.

The "Don't Party" is a tribute to the mag's most popular feature, its "Glamour Dos and Don'ts" which appear on the last page and feature the work of photographers who scour the nation for examples of the right and wrong way to wear polka dots, bikinis or low cut jeans.

Celebrities attending included Carmen Electra, Dave Navarro, Owen Wilson, Minnie Driver, David Spade and Melissa Rivers, said Amy Peck, Glamour's associate director of public relations. Most people in the crowd of 1,200 dressed up in their favorite fashion "don'ts." Peck said Rivers awarded best costume to Glamour's Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive who came as Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl, "complete with wardrobe malfunction" and former publisher Suzanne Grimes who came as Celine Dion at the 1999 Academy Awards, wearing a white tux backwards and matching fedora.

The dinner was catered by Del Taco, and the dessert trays were stacked with lots of other "Don'ts," featuring towers of Twinkies and other calorie-heavy and carb-laden sweets.

Does Glamour (circulation 2.3 million) stage a "Do" party? Nope.

"What's the fun in that?" Peck asked. "That's just another boring party."

Steve Silkin

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