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L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

Splitsville

During his show last week at the Greek Theatre, humorist Garrison Keillor took a few moments to poke fun at the Valley secession drive, as well as those Angelenos who haughtily shun Valley life.

In a bit dubbed “Let’s Meet the San Fernando Valley,” Keillor described “a fertile crescent on the other side of the Santa Monica Mountains unknown to most city dwellers,” where “miles of verdant fields, walnut groves and citrus farms stretch as far as the eye can see.”

For city dwellers, Keillor said, the main appeal of the Valley are the “herds of goats that supply yogurt for Beverly Hills” and “the cowboys who tend the cattle for Prada (leather).

“Should the beautiful region win the independence that proud men have fought and died for hundreds of years,” Keillor pondered, “or should it remain under the oppressive thumb of the hopeless bureaucrats of the city? In November, we’ll find out.”

Bad Connection

Over the course of 5,500 miles, some things get lost in the translation even when the language is the same.

Along with the hoopla over Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee celebration and England’s World Cup bid, the British government’s decision to turn over the 190-acre Millennium Dome site to a group of developers in exchange for a piece of the project’s future profits has been a hot topic for the London-area news media.

One of the parties getting the nod is Staples Center developer Anschutz Entertainment Group, which plans to construct a 20,000-seat arena on the site along the River Thames.

And while AEG’s billionaire chief is almost a household name in L.A., the same can’t be said in the U.K. On a special report broadcast by London’s Channel 4 two weeks ago, Philip Anschutz was referred to as “Paul Anschutz.” Additionally, the L.A. Kings owner was described as “owner of the Los Angeles Lakers.”

Sister Act

The Norton Simon Museum has a new tour guide Sister Wendy Beckett.

The Carmelite nun-cum-international art critic offers visitors lessons, on film, about works in the Norton Simon collection at the museum’s theater.

In “Sister Wendy at the Norton Simon Museum,” she talks about some of her favorite works in the collections, including Edgar Degas’ “Waiting” and Peter Paul Rubens’ “The Holy Women at the Sepulchre.” The hour-long film, which debuted June 7, is being screened, in 20-minute segments, at the Norton Simon Museum Theater.

The film has generated such excitement among Norton Simon members that the museum had to schedule three screenings for opening day, said Curator Gloria Williams.

Crimes and Miniseries

The Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office is considering opening its case files to Hollywood.

The office, along with other county departments, is working on a proposal that would allow Beverly Hills-based Jay Bernstein Productions to acquire exclusive rights to its criminal cases. The deal is subject to the approval of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

Producer Jay Bernstein announced last week he wanted to create a television series about public defenders based on cases from L.A. County and other areas. Farrah Fawcett, who was once managed by Bernstein, has expressed interest in a starring role, according to a statement from the producer.

Public defenders are often negatively portrayed in shows and films, said Bob Kalunian, chief deputy for the public defender’s office. Bernstein’s series is expected to be a “high-quality and accurate production” that could help “enhance the office’s image and portray our lawyers as conscientious, hard-working lawyers,” he said.

Choosing some good-looking actors to play public defenders wouldn’t hurt either. “I want Harrison Ford to play me,” said Kalunian. “I can dream, can’t I?”

The Roving Eye

Night Moves

There’s a new scene unfolding on the other side of Ivan Kane’s velvet rope.

Kane, a former actor whose clubs Kane and Deep have been among the most exclusive party spots in Hollywood, has gutted his former namesake nightspot on Melrose Avenue and changed the moniker to Forty Deuce.

The name is a reference to New York’s 42nd Street, where burlesque thrived in the middle of the last century. But don’t call the dancing at Forty Deuce burlesque: “That has kind of a kitchy connotation like the girl coming out of the clam shell,” Kane says.

“We’re putting the tease back into strip tease,” he says. “It’s done with style and taste. But don’t get me wrong, it’s sexy as hell.”

A three-piece jazz band provides a “traditional bump and grind” soundtrack, he says, and the shows last 20 minutes, beginning every hour on the hour Wednesdays through Saturdays starting at 10 p.m.

As he has in his previous ventures, Kane has made women dancers a centerpiece of the club experience. “To me, dancing translates into sexuality. And it complements booze quite well,” he says.

The preview party for Forty Deuce, located at Melrose and Gower, is slated for this week but the club has been open for a couple of weeks for those in the know. Not one to shy from name dropping, Kane reports Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock and Elisabeth Shue having stopped by for an early look.

For those who haven’t starred in a major motion picture, getting beyond the velvet rope is sure to be a challenge.

“I don’t want to ruin anyone’s day, but we’re going for exclusivity, and the rule at the door is just try to keep it beautiful,” Kane says.

Darrell Satzman

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