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L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

L.A. Stories





Same Old

The “save the date” postcard to the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual inaugural dinner in January features a 1918 photo of the chamber’s board all white and all male with the headline, “It’s Not Your Grandfather’s Chamber Anymore.”

The postcard is part of a new campaign to convince local businesspeople that it is no longer a staid organization.

As it turns out, the person being inaugurated as the chamber’s chairman next January is Manatt Phelps & Phillips attorney George Kieffer a white male.

Howard Fine

Season’s Grinnings

More than a bit of holiday humor should be in store at the Pig ‘N Whistle bar on Hollywood Boulevard Wednesday (Dec. 4) when half-a-dozen Jewish comics gather for a Hanukkah Comedy Show.

Adam Sandler won’t be there. But producer Anacia Kagan, who books the regular Wednesday night comedy show in the club’s back room, has put together a Hanukkah lineup that includes David Feldman, a writer for Dennis Miller, and Carrie Snow, who wrote for “Roseanne.”

“Every one of these people you’ve seen on Comedy Central,” Kagan said. “You’ll never this caliber of comics together for free.”

The irony of holding a Hanukkah event at a venue called the Pig ‘N Whistle didn’t escape Kagan.

“It definitely crossed my mind,” she said.

Darrell Satzman




Carb Counter

The weight conscious can now eat bagels for breakfast diet without sacrificing taste.

So says Van Nuys-based Western Bagel Corp., founded in 1947, which recently dove into the low-carbohydrate craze by making “alternate bagel” versions to its country white and roasted onion staples.

The line is made from a premixed formula and is touted as fat free and containing 60 percent fewer digestible carbohydrates than Western’s traditional bagels.

Western chose Albertson’s stores in health-conscious Southern California when it began testing the product three weeks ago.

“Carbs are such a concern out there,” said Corie Ustin, Western’s marketing director. “This enables people to enjoy bagels without feeling guilty.”

David Greenberg

Idle Concern



Limousines are supposed to represent the high life.

But to Beverly Hills residents, limousines especially those on residential streets near the city’s dozen major hotels represent a “quality of life problem.”

So much so that residents persuaded the Beverly Hills City Council to pass an ordinance limiting the “staging” of limousines on residential streets adjacent to the luxury hotels. In coming months, certain streets will be off limits to the limos.

“When we have the limos parking in front of residential areas, the drivers smoke and talk and it bothers the residents,” said Beverly Hills City Manager Mark Scott.

When the ordinance surfaced a couple of months ago, it generated concern among limousine operators. City officials explained that the ordinance was not a ban, and Scott said the half-dozen major limousine companies serving the city’s hotels acquiesced.

“We are definitely not anti-limo,” he said. “Rather, we need to strike a balance between the needs of our businesses and our residents.”

Howard Fine

Clothing Not Optional

A total of 2,054 naked passengers will leave from the Port of Los Angeles Feb. 28 for a 10-day cruise down the Mexican coast.

It’s billed as the largest nude cruise ever, and the first to depart from the West Coast, said Steve Clark, vice president of travel agency operations for Austin, Texas-based Bare Necessities Tour & Travel.

“Through our research, we identified the West Coast as a potentially large market,” Clark said. Tickets start at $695 per person and run as much as $3,095.

The nude cruise is a hot ticket, evidently. Clark said it is 80 percent booked and that Bare Necessities has sold out every boat it has ever chartered.

As for what to pack, at least one set of clothes is a good idea, as the ship’s owner, Carnival Cruise Lines, won’t allow naked people in the dining rooms.

Conor Dougherty

The Roving Eye





Beach Craft

After a long run of frustration, Brad Bemis was happy to rely on a little luck to land a key interview with actor Dennis Hopper for his new documentary, “Venice: Lost and Found.”

The 55-minute film chronicles the history of Venice Beach, from canal builder Abbot Kinney and Ocean Park to annexation by Los Angeles, the discovery of oil, beatniks, hippies, roller skating and gentrification.

“I got turned down by Dennis Hopper’s people three or four times. Finally I ran into him in Venice and he agreed to do the interview,” Bemis said.

Ray Manzarek, keyboard player of the Doors, was an easier catch. “I just followed him around and caught up with him at a poetry reading,” Bemis said.

Bemis, 38, now location manager for NBC’s “American Dreams,” spent six years shooting footage and conducting interviews in between film and TV jobs.

A 12-year Venice resident, Bemis set out to do a documentary about the conflict between Venice as an international tourist destination and as a crime-ridden section of Los Angeles. But he decided on more of a “feel-good” film when he began unearthing the neighborhood’s rich history.

“Instead of it being a downer piece, I realized there were great stories to tell,” Bemis said. “For example, who knew that there was a large Jewish population down there, including a lot of Holocaust survivors.”

Bemis is hustling to get distribution for his film, most likely on a cable network. Meantime, “Venice: Lost and Found” is scheduled to play for a week at the Laemmle Monica 4 Plex beginning Dec. 18.

“It’s been nice to do something a little more creative than some of the other things I’ve worked on, where the point is basically to sell dog food,” Bemis said.

Darrell Satzman

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