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Wednesday, Feb 8, 2023

L.A. Stories



String Thing

Build a better electric guitar and the design world just might give you positive feedback.


Ravi K. Sawhney and his colleagues at RKS Guitars in Thousand Oaks started working on a breakthrough electric guitar concept five years ago. They eventually created what they call an “open architecture” model that recently earned an award from the Industrial Design Society of America.


The model, billed as a revolutionary redesign of the standard electric guitar, features a neck-through-body unified form, where the belly of the guitar is stripped open and lined with ribs. Such innovations not only result in a new look, but the company claims they add to the instrument’s “balance, ergonomics and tone.”


Sawhney is co-founder of 25-year-old RKS, along with Dave Mason, who launched a prominent solo career after an early stint in the 1960s rock group Traffic. In trying to explain the difference in sound created by the “Open Architecture” design, Sawhney said: “You recognize it when you hear it. You feel it when you hear a live electric guitar. There’s something that resonates. It’s almost primal.”


The new guitars started selling over a year ago. Prices range from $2,500 and up.


Katherine Gray



Lighting Up


One of L.A.’s smallest radio broadcasters was slapped with a $10,000 fee from the Federal Communications Commission not for anything indecent on the air, but for burned-out lights at its South Los Angeles transmitter.


Lotus Communications Corp., which owns Spanish-language KWKW-AM (1330), was cited for having nonfunctioning lights for 12 days in March and April 2004. KWKW finished at the bottom of local Arbitron Inc. market-share ratings for late May through late June.


Lotus argued that KWKW has been on the air since June 1962 with no problems and that the 2004 outage represented 0.079 percent of its broadcast history. But the FCC was unconvinced, countering that Lotus should have found the problems and fixed them before the Los Angeles Police Department noticed the burned-out lights, which are an aviation hazard.


Jerome Boros, a lawyer for Lotus, said the owners haven’t decided whether to appeal the fine, but he insisted that they’ve learned their les son. “It’s not only an FCC matter, it’s also a matter of us doing the right thing,” Boros said.


James Nash



High and Low


Just make sure you don’t get the two mixed up. The Personne Complet spa in Woodland Hills sent out a press release to announce it has joined the ranks of salons that offer both haircuts and colonics.


After what she said was demand from her clients, Daryllyn Rapoza, owner of Personne Complet, decided to offer the internal organ makeover and rejuvenation procedure. She said that colon hydrotherapy has been very popular and time slots are being snapped up.


“People are actually looking for somethinglike this,” Rapoza said. “It’s like a washing of the inside of your intestines.”


The haircut and colon hydrotherapy treatments do require separate appointments but the two can be completed in less than two hours on the same day. The haircut costs $60 while the colon cleaning runs $90.


It’s a trend that seems to have taken hold, according to Dick Hoenninger, executive director of the International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy, based in San Antonio, Texas. “What you are seeing is that people are out there trying to make their business grow,” Hoenninger said. “However this service has been around for 10 or 15 years.”


Spencer Kallick



Market Mania


Downtown has long been known for its wholesale markets for fresh vegetables, fish and flowers. Now, a new retail farmers market is opening near the Arts District and Little Tokyo to cater to the new breed of downtown dweller.


“There are other markets downtown, but a Saturday market within walking distance of the loft buildings and the historic center would fill a void,” said Susan Hutchinson, who’s organizing the new market.


The market, at 700 East Traction Ave. at Rose Street, launches July 16 and will be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vendors will sell prepared food as well as fresh organic and Asian produce, juices, nuts, flowers, plants, and olive oil. “We have an organic stone fruits person. He has about 10 varieties of plums,” Hutchinson said.


The farmers market will cater especially to residents of Little Tokyo. “There’s a need for it,” Hutchinson said. “You can drive to Trader Joe’s, but to have organic vegetables on the weekend would be a big plus.”


The new market joins the 80 certified farmers markets in Los Angeles County, 10 of which are in L.A. city limits.


Sarah Filus



Saber Bidding


May the auction be with you. A light saber that Luke Skywalker used in George Lucas’ first two Star Wars movies goes on the block this month.


Profiles in History, a Beverly Hills auction house, will be selling the famed light saber, along with 100 other pieces of authentic Star Wars memorabilia from the personal collection of Gary Kurtz, producer of “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back.”


“This is the first light saber to come on the market. It will probably be the only one,” said Joseph Maddalena, president and chief executive of Profiles in History. “This will never happen again.”


The prop is expected to go for $60,000 to $80,000.


Other Kurtz pieces up for auction include Darth Vader’s light saber, Luke’s X-Wing flight suit, and John Williams’ original Star Wars sheet music, as well as selected props from other movies Kurtz produced, including “American Graffiti.”


Kurtz approached Profiles in History six years ago to inquire about the value that his pieces could attain in auction. “With the last movie coming out, he took advantage of the opportunity. This is the last hurrah for Star Wars,” Maddalena said.


Separate from the Kurtz collection, the auction will feature merchandise from films such as “Indiana Jones,” “Gone with the Wind,” the original “Batman,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and other blockbusters.


Sarah Filus

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