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Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023

L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

L.A. Stories

Beach, Boys?

L.A. Mayor James Hahn last week revealed his own tongue-in-cheek recipe to resolve the deadlock between dockworkers and shipping companies at West Coast ports.

“When things started to go sideways, I talked to both (Pacific Maritime Association Chief Executive) Joe Miniace and (International Longshore and Warehouse Union President) James Spinoza to see if there were any cracks in the respective positions that could be built upon,” Hahn said.

“I then urged them to come down here because I thought maybe the atmosphere in San Francisco wasn’t conducive to them reaching an agreement,” he added. “Being more mellow down here, I thought maybe we could put on some aloha shirts and have some iced teas and relax a little.”

In the Bag

Little brown bags started landing in mailboxes across the county last week, as the Union Rescue Mission began its fall fundraising appeal.

The “It’s in the Bag!” campaign, which the mission has used for the last several years, kicks off a season that runs through January. The mission raises as much as half of its $15 million annual budget.

“The response has been energizing,” said Ralph Plumb, URM’s president and chief executive. “We’re starting to see a good response.”

The brown paper bag appeal was designed in house in conjunction with Seattle-based MasterWorks design shop, and while it has been successful its days may be numbered. Plumb said URM would reconsider the campaign after this season as it looked to fresh ideas.

Old Times

At least one independent contractor hired by the L.A. Weekly had its own take on the deal that drove New Times L.A. out of town.

In the old days, back when L.A. had competing alternative weeklies, both hit the streets on Thursdays and had a more or less easy truce when it came to newsstand space. But on Oct. 3, the day the last New Times appeared, an L.A. Weekly delivery vendor working Mid-Wilshire scooped up all the soon-to-be collectors items at one convenience store and carted them off.

Mike Menza, the Weekly’s circulation director, said that action was not part of the deal struck when New Times Inc. agreed to cede L.A. to Village Voice Media, owner of the Weekly.

“The only reason they are supposed to move other papers is if someone is in our racks, and then we tell them to set (the other papers) on the side,” he said.

Trick or Treat

If you can’t look scary for Halloween, you might as well eat something scary.

Typhoon, a restaurant overlooking the Santa Monica Airport runway, is serving up a frighteningly different Halloween dinner menu with some special treats from China and Thailand.

The fare includes deep fried water bugs stuffed with ground chicken, stir-fried spicy frogs, Chinese-style grilled eel salad, stir-fried crispy mealworms with herbs and a Thai ant-egg omelet.

This is the fifth year the restaurant has spiced up its Halloween dinner offering with creatures not normally encountered on its menu.

Bad Taste

There’s another murder scheduled to take place at Vitello’s.

This time, the event likely won’t require the attendance of the LAPD, but it’s sure to raise a penciled eyebrow or two among Vitello’s regular customers.

The North Hollywood eatery, where Robert Blake dined with his estranged wife Bonny Lee Bakley before she was shot to death outside the restaurant, is hosting a murder-mystery themed evening entitled “A Star Is Dead.” (Blake, charged in the murder, has been in jail for six months and has pleaded not guilty.)

The theatrical event is a surprise birthday party honoring “Angela Raspberry,” described in a flier for the Nov. 9 event as a Hollywood film star from the ’30s and ’40s.

“It’s got nothing to do with us, it’s got to do with the people who rented the room,” said a man who answered the phone at Vitello’s.

Jonathan Diamond, Deborah Belgum, Howard Fine, Anthony Palazzo

The Roving Eye

Sudsy Session

Soap opera writers and producers will decamp to Century City next week to consider the state of women real and fictional.

Soap Summit VII, set for Oct. 25 and 26 at the Century Plaza Hotel, will focus on how the portrayal of women on soaps affects the real lives of those women who are viewers.

“The bottom line is to get them to take themselves more seriously as communicators as well as entertainers,” said Sonny Fox, vice president of Population Communications International, the event’s sponsor.

About 100 writers and producers from 10 shows are expected to show up, Fox said.

This year’s keynote speaker will be author and political commentator Arianna Huffington, who will present her perspective on the status of women in America.

“She’ll be interesting, provocative and, I expect, amusing,” Fox said.

The first Soap Summit was held 10 years ago, inspired by the work of Albert Bandura, a sociology professor at Stanford University. His “social learning theory” posits the idea that people learn by doing or watching.

Fox, whose non-profit organization deals with social issues such as domestic violence and family planning, said the soap opera format is tailor made to carry its message, because the shows are peculiarly effective in moving viewers.

At one Summit a few years ago, a woman who had murdered her husband after years of abuse spoke to the participants. “She said, ‘If I had seen somebody doing this on television, at least I would have known it wasn’t just me (being abused),'” Fox said.

Conor Dougherty


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