L.A. stories


Tilting at Windmills

From the too late file

The L.A. City Council unanimously approved a motion by City Council President John Ferraro asking the Chandler family to reconsider its decision to sell Times Mirror Co. and the Los Angeles Times to the Tribune Co. of Chicago.

“Southern California would not be the place it is today without the Chandlers and their newspaper,” Ferraro wrote in the motion. “The announcement of this merger has been aptly characterized by some as: ‘I felt like I woke up and heard that the Pacific Ocean had been sold.'”

The motion goes on to credit the Chandlers and the Times with several milestones over the past century. But one achievement Ferraro credits to the Chandlers and the Times seems a little dubious: “They helped to make a president of a hometown Congressman named Richard Nixon.”

Of course, the L.A. City Council has absolutely no power to block the sale. And spokespeople for both the Times and its parent company failed to return calls last week.

Humvee Watch

That block-long yellow Humvee stretch limo tooling around Los Angeles last month wasn’t squiring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It was a new kind of ad campaign for the plucky E! Entertainment network. And it’s probably the first time anyone has seen stretch Humvee advertising of this sort in L.A., though it has been used by Pepsi and Jaegermeister liquor in other areas of the country.

E! had the vehicle covered from top to bottom with hard-to-miss bright yellow plastic advertising panels to promote its very first original movie-of-the-week, “Best Actress.”

Andrew Torres, a salesman at Coach Limousines in Corona, which supplied the Humvee, said he was surprised at the number of calls he got from other entertainment companies that spotted the limo.

“It’s kind of like a guerilla marketing approach,” said Wooten Lee, director of publicity at E!. “It’s just a hoot.”

Good Samaritan

Why is Mike Ovitz such a force in Hollywood?

One reason is he doesn’t waste time when someone he knows is in trouble, and that’s what happened when her heard country singer Garth Brooks’ mother was seriously ill.

The super agent-turned-manager called UCLA specialists who immediately took the case.

At a recent Hollywood gala that raised money for UCLA’s new medical center, Brooks publicly thanked Ovitz and the doctors for helping keep his late mother alive for an additional five years so she could “see the last baby be born” and watch his career continue to blossom.

Viva Las Glendale

When the Three Tenors needed a top-notch orchestra to play at their first performance in Las Vegas, they didn’t turn to New York, Chicago or even Los Angeles.

They looked to Glendale.

The Glendale Symphony Orchestra will be backing the tenors April 22 when they perform live at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Tickets for the event are selling for between $95 and $900.

Glendale Symphony Orchestra President Bill Ellis said he was honored to be working with the tenors and happy to get the notoriety for his orchestra.

“The whole world will be given an opportunity to hear our musicians perform,” he said.

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