YALLWEST returns to Santa Monica

“What you have to understand is that not all villains are evil.” That’s the first sentence of all the entries in a teen writing competition hosted by YALLWEST, the young-adult book festival being held this weekend in Santa Monica. The finalists’ poems and short stories are being judged by a panel of authors from the festival, which... Read more →

Culture Watch

A Muslim and A Jew Walk Into a Bakery

Are you as sick of news about politics, terrorism and global destruction as I am? Take yourself out for a laugh to see “Dough,” a whole different kind of “buddy movie.” A teen-aged Muslim refugee from Darfur lands in London with his mother where they live in extreme poverty. An old Jewish kosher baker struggles against all odds to... Read more →

Play Time

Convincing James Avery

Choose your favorite maxim: The world is going to hell in a hand basket. The ends justify the means. There are no accidents, everything that happens is part of a conspiracy. Playwright/director Charlie Mount explores all these themes in his new play, “The Leather Apron Club,” which opened this week at Theatre West. But first, a little... Read more →


Rusty’s Emerging Artist Competition hits Week 3

This Thursday, Rusty's Surf Ranch will host another group of bands in its third week of the preliminary round of its 15th Annual Emerging Artist Competition. This week's bracket includes four bands, each playing a 30 minute set, starting at 8 p.m.: Them Howling Bones, The Proof, Honey & Jude and Brave Native. Continuing a tradition... Read more →

Culture Watch

Picture of a positive outcome

S. Beth Atkin is one of those renaissance women you read about in novels - but this Santa Monica resident is not fictional. A graduate of Barnard College, she's been a ballet dancer, model, a photography assistant to several world-famous photographers before becoming a self-taught photojournalist; she ran her own photography business,... Read more →

Play Time

One Good Movie, One Bad Play

Hockney: Creative and Colorful One of the brightest and happiest paintings on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is David Hockney's “Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio.” It was always a highlight of the tours I led for school kids during my decade as a docent at the museum. For me, its vivid colors - splashes of reds... Read more →


Artist by day, homeless by night

When the sun is up, William Girven blends in with Santa Monica’s workday pulse. He rides his bicycle in dress shirts and jeans, takes cigarette breaks outside Cross Campus and strikes up conversations with people on the street. At night he sets down a large piece of cardboard in a parking lot and sleeps outside. “Most people don’t... Read more →


Dancing with Santa Monica’s stars

What do Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Sandra Lyon and Kaiser Permanente physician Dr. Gregorio Saccone have in common? They will all be lacing up their dancing shoes on May 22 to compete in the 1st annual Sand and Sea Ball at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Inspired by the... Read more →