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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Economic Outlook 2002 v What’s in, What’s Out

Economic Outlook 2002 What’s in, What’s Out

2001 was a year of changes, but some trends came and went more quickly than others. Here are a few to follow.

In: Barry Diller

Out: Rupert Murdoch

After years on the interactive fringes, Diller returns to mainstream Hollywood as head of Vivendi Universal’s entertainment unit. And Diller’s empire could expand rapidly, with Vivendi agreeing this month to buy a $1.5 billion stake in EchoStar, which in turn is buying DirecTV. Meanwhile, Murdoch seems almost as preoccupied with his newborn daughter than with his business empire. The 70-year-old poppa has dumped $105 million in News Corp. stock since Grace Helen’s birth in November, not exactly instilling shareholder confidence. He blew the DirecTV deal, letting EchoStar’s Charlie Ergen steal the day. And possibly worst of all, he’s running the Dodgers into the ground the team lost $69 million last season, more than any other club.

In: Clippers

Out: Lakers

The average Laker fan this year is paying almost 90 bucks to see what they already know: the team’s going to win. Yawn. The real drama at Staples Center these days is at Clippers games, where fans pay only $43, on average, and never know the final outcome in advance. Thus far, this team of talent-packed youngsters (with an average age of 24.9 years, they’re the NBA’s youngest) are showing early signs of playoff contention. And with a team salary of $33.7 million, they’re also the lowest paid.

In: Caipharinas, Mojitos

Out: Red Bull and vodka

Two deceptively strong Margararita-like drinks from Latin America are what to order in 2002. The latest is the Caipharina, a concoction of cachaca (a rum-like Brazilian liqueur), fresh lemon and lime juices, a couple of sugar cubes and sugar cane garnish. Over ice. The similar Mojito is an exotic blend of lime, rum and mint a Cuban staple since the 1920s. Hans R & #246;ckenwagner’s Rock in Marina del Rey serves a mean Caipharina, while Ciudad downtown tosses up a nice Mojito. Red Bull, meanwhile, has gone the way of the dot-com and stockbroker hordes who popularized it. Not satisfied with the drink’s own mysterious jolt, they would add a shot of vodka, then stay up all night writing business plans.

In: Peasant blouses

Out: Capri pants

A curious throwback to the hippie days of three decades ago, these ruffled tops have become all the rage with designers and celebrities, including actresses Julia Roberts, Renee Zellweger and Calista Flockhart. Meanwhile, after two or three years, the calf-bearing Capri pants craze is finally running a course a good thing given that only twenty-somethings over 5’8″ seemed to carry them off.

In: Brown suede

Out: Black leather

Fashionable comfort is the driving theme for fashion-forward men and nothing fits the bill like a sleekly tailored suede coat. That “Sopranos” black leather hard-guy look is over. It puts people off at a time when everyone is looking to be reassured. Suede helps project that approachable image. And it’s super comfortable. For those who absolutely must wear a leather jacket, trade in black for a less-threatening brown one.

In: Wednesdays

Out: Thursdays

Those weekday jaunts after work have moved up a night, as Wednesdays become the new hip night to go out. Maybe it’s because more people want the week to end sooner or perhaps more people are going to bars in general, but local bartenders said that’s the night they’re seeing a noticeable up-tick in crowds. Thursdays have gone back to being a stay-at-home night. And Fridays? Pul-eeeeze.

In: Gene Hackman

Out: Ben Affleck

OK, he’s 71, a pain in the neck to work with and a perennial no-show on the Hollywood scene. Even so, Gene Hackman is hotter these days than his much younger counterparts. He’s got three movies in release and there’s talk of an Oscar nomination for his work in “The Royal Tenenbaums.” Meanwhile, Ben Affleck, though still a considered a hunk (E! Entertainment chose him as one of the sexiest men in entertainment), has been on the skids: ABC recently dropped “The Runner,” a reality show he produced, and the Affleck-starrer “Pearl Harbor” never lived up to the hype.

In: Studio piecework

Out: Multi-year deals

Hollywood types like to talk about business cycles. Nobody’s quite sure what that means, but it sounds smart and it’s convenient when things aren’t going well. It seems the latest Hollywood cycle pinches the upper-middle class of TV writers and producers. After years of riding a ridiculously lucrative gravy train, these folks are scrambling a bit. Lucrative development deals that made the ’90s so much fun are heading for extinction, while one-time payments for scripts are on the rise.

In: Downtown

Out: Santa Monica

With an explosion of stylish (and relatively cheap!) live-work lofts, a heady mix of upscale and old-school restaurants and proximity to more freeways than you’ll find on a “ChiPs” rerun, downtown is beginning to exert its pull. The same can’t be said for Santa Monica, whose abolition of rent control has sent rents skyward while locals avoid the Third Street Promenade like San Franciscans avoid Fisherman’s Wharf.

In: Private jets

Out: Express shuttles

The term “express shuttle” used to connote convenience. Now it’s an oxymoron. Even with airport parking structures open, travelers are advised to arrive at an airport two hours before their flight takes off. So, if time is indeed money, and you have enough of the latter, private planes are the way to go. A Cessna 172 single-engine prop plane can be had for $200,000, or as little as $50,000 used. Owners can rent space at general aviation airports in Santa Monica and Van Nuys, where there are no lines or baggage checks. Just hop in and take off.

In: Skirball Center

Out: Getty Center

Sure, the views are terrific and architecture is swell, but most locals are visiting the hilltop Getty Center about as often as they visited the original Getty Museum in Pacific Palisades rarely. On the other side of the Sepulveda Pass, the Skirball Center is abuzz with lectures, theater, music, dance and film. Its creative family programs are the talk of Valley and Westside parents alike. The orientation is on Jewish life, but the broad programming has made it a destination for everyone.

In: Pho

Out: Chilean sea bass

Budget-conscious Angelenos are trading style for substance, as sparsely decorated pho houses from West L.A. to Westminster are doing brisk business. Pho is Vietnamese soup with rice noodles, bean sprouts and delicacies like tripe and fish balls. On the other hand, with Chilean sea bass being fished out to extinction, locals with an eye on the environment (as well the price tag) are staying away from the South American specialty.

In: C Bar

Out: Moomba

For that first-date icebreaker, slide into the cozy C Bar in Beverly Hills. The mood in this Art Deco martini bar is relaxed. The music is not too loud, the service prompt and friendly. Most important, the message you will send is one of being truly interested in getting to know your date, rather than just making the scene to impress. Moomba’s not a bad call, but never on a first date. The message you’ll send: “Hey, look at me I’m hip and connected. Aren’t you impressed?” No.

In: MP3 players, w/ accessories

Out: CD Walkman

Why carry around scratchable CDs and limit your tunes to the musical library you assembled legally or illegally? The CD Walkman is disappearing from LA Fitness treadmills in favor of the more durable and higher-capacity MP3 player. The larger-storage MP3 jukeboxes can hold as many as 1,000 song files on a format that’s quickly and easily rewritten. Better still are the MP3 car adapters and peripheral speakers, which are flying off retail shelves. Could CDs be headed for the vinyl record bins?

In: Fantasy flicks

Out: Lame teen comedies

“Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” are just the start. Sequels to those films will be joined this year by the newest “Star Wars” episode, “Spiderman” and “Stuart Little 2.” Adults also can escape with “Men in Black 2.” Meanwhile, having been parodied so often that now even the spoofs are being spoofed, vulgarity-spewing, clich & #233;-affirming, brain cell-numbing teenage comedies will fail to click. Only teenagers still flock to the dim-witted sexploitation films, but no one else thinks this tired genre is still cool.

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