LABJ’s LA Stories / The Roving Eye


LABJ’s LA Stories

That’s Entertainment

For the first time in 37 years, the publication of Entertainment Today guide was delayed by a week.

Herb Salazar, the magazine’s sole owner, removed his son John as publisher on May 24, and also gave the boot to ex-wife Betty Salazar, who had been its administrator.

Brent Mosley, an account executive, has been named the interim publisher of the weekly Burbank-based entertainment guide.

Mosley said the publication has been sending notices to clients and vendors notifying them of the delay. “We won’t explain all of the dirty laundry,” he said.

The tabloid features reviews of restaurants, music and movies, and articles on which CDs and DVDs are hot.

In a statement posted on Weblog, Mosley said only that there had been a change in management. “I wish I could say that it has been amicable and professional on all sides, but certain events and evidence have proven otherwise.”

When called, Mosley declined to elaborate.

Pat Maio

Norms Slimming

The low-carb craze has hit what may be the last bastion of guilt-free gluttony the greasy spoon.

After 55 years of serving “home style food,” Norms Restaurants recently introduced an eight-item low-carb menu with options that include a veggie omelet, bunless double cheeseburger, blackened chicken breast Caesar salad and lemon pepper New York steak.

“If I’d been 120 pounds and 6 feet tall, I never would have thought about it,” said Phil Singerman, president of the L.A.-based, 17-unit chain. “I’ve been on a continuous diet actually, on-and-off diets for the last 30 years,” he said.

But for those not interested in counting carbs, Norms still has the old menu.

“We don’t think it’s going to replace hotcakes,” Singerman said of the low-carb offerings, “or any of the stuff we all crave, like hamburgers and fries.”

Rebecca Flass

Fatburger Sings

Not happy with the melodies on the jukebox in your usual eatery? Santa Monica-based Fatburger Corp. might be playing your song.

The burger joint is installing Internet jukeboxes that can download songs through a network run by San Francisco-based Ecast Inc.

“We wanted to update it so that there were more music genres available,” said Elaine Patel, director of marketing for Fatburger.

Each jukebox will be able to download 150,000 songs, allowing a jukebox to be customized for just about every customer.

The machines have been installed in the Santa Monica, Irvine and Clearwater, Fla., stores and Fatburger is in the process of installing them everywhere else.

“They are definitely a brand customers attribute to us,” said Patel.

Now if Fatburger would tell its servers to stop yelling out every customer’s order so you could enjoy the tunes.

Andrew Simons

Burning Bush

At first glance, the non-profit political fundraising organization “Billionaires for Bush” sounds like a group of wealthy Republicans supporting President Bush’s re-election effort.

But they’re not billionaires, and they’re not for Bush. They’re actually progressive Democrats pushing vigorously for Bush’s ouster. The group, which started four years ago in Boston, has 5,000 members across the country, including some here in L.A. They perform satirical skits, street theater acts and produce humorous CDs.

“There are lots of political satirists out there who think everyone is fair game,” said Cliff Tasner, leader of the L.A. chapter of Billionaires for Bush. “We just laugh in one direction: against George Bush.”

The satire comes through in the organizers’ adopted names, such as chief executive “Phil T. Rich” and director of field operations “Iona Bigga Yacht.” Tasner’s nom-de-guerre is “Felonius Ax.”

What happens if Bush loses?

“Oh we’ll still be around. We’ll simply refocus. There’s ‘Billionaires for Biotech Financiers,’ then ‘Billionaires for More Media Mergers’ and on and on. Wherever there are wealthy interests and corporate dollars flooding into American society, we’ll be there.”

Howard Fine

The Roving Eye

Big Bird

If you happen to notice an odd set of wheels next to you on the freeway, the bumpy purple material that caught your eye could be ostrich skin.

On car wheels?

Wheel-maker Lexani has designed rims that are covered by imported animal leather or imitation skins that should give customers more options for personalization, said Lexani spokesman Aaron Dewitt. Now, with patents pending, the company is making the rims increasingly available.

“People are always looking for a way to customize their vehicle and do something completely different than everyone else,” said Dewitt. “It’s gotten a good response worldwide. We’re getting responses in Japan and all over Europe.”

The Yorba Linda company had previously came up with the idea for animal prints designed on the metal rims, with a limited number of designs. Little bumps simulating ostrich skin didn’t look too impressive, Dewitt said. Now Lexani is the only company to cover rims with tightly stretched imported materials that show texture and color.

San Fernando Valley car dealership Galpin Motors took to the idea, and now offers 22-inch purple ostrich-skin rims on its customized Lincoln Navigator series. The rims match perfectly with the black and purple theme, which includes a purple interior and ostrich leather trimming on the seats, said Paul Simms, a Galpin spokesman.

“When I was at the dealership, everyone that walked in the door stopped to gawk,” Simms said. “It’s over the top. It’s such an L.A. kind of thing, you know. You’re not going to see that in Oklahoma.”

Rim cover prices run from $8,595 per set for real animal skin and $7,595 for synthetic skin.

Kim Holmes

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