Hollinger’s magnum ‘Opus’ a treat

It takes a super-savvy conductor to lead a group of four extraordinary non-musicians (plus one actual violin virtuoso) through the intricate movements of a play about a string quartet, and Simon Levy is that man. Levy, longtime producing director and dramaturg of the Fountain Theatre, has done his usual fine-tuned job as director of Michael... Read more →

Community Profiles

Bravo deserves a hand

PICO NEIGHBORHOOD — Along a light yellow hand-painted wall with creative creatures that resemble aliens and even Pac-Man figures stands what Joey Bravo calls his “treasure chest” — a colorful chest with bold jungle animals grazing by a bright blue river. “My dad gave that to me and my older brother when we were... Read more →


After a rough start, Xino is on a roll

Finally, a good Chinese restaurant in Santa Monica. When I first moved here there were lots of Chinese restaurants, many Cantonese, but a few Szechuan. I don’t know what happened to them, but I guess the pizza, taco and Italian restaurants took them over. Now our luck has changed, and not only do we have good Chinese food in the... Read more →


Pleasure, front and center

SM BLVD — There’s a new place for pleasure and social activism in Santa Monica. Rory Lovett, along with partners Todd Christiansen and Casey Phillips, are looking to revitalize the Westside club scene with the renovation and roll out of a restored nightclub at the corner of 14th Street and Santa Monica Boulevard called The... Read more →

Community Profiles

Franz-Knight to leave pier director post

SM PIER — The Santa Monica Pier is losing perhaps its most ardent booster. Ben Franz-Knight, executive director of the Pier Restoration Corp., is leaving his post to become the leader of one of Seattle’s most popular tourist destinations, the historic Pike Place Market in the city’s central business district. It’s... Read more →


Deciding when to hold on, when to let go

Dear New Shrink, I am on the verge of ending a 20-plus year marriage, which also means the end of a family, as we have known it. Our children, three of them, are very upset, but generally speaking, doing well. One is ending high school and the other two are away at college, doing well. As a couple, we are not happy, haven’t been for... Read more →

Mommie Brain

Baby boom, zap, pow, bam

Inadvertently, I think I began my son’s interest in guns. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t even realize what I’d done until my husband commented that the cool “Star Wars” light saber I’d just bought our son could constitute as giving him his first weapon. I was quieted by this parenting mistake. I make... Read more →


No liquor, no problem at Le Saigon

Some friends won’t dine with me at Le Saigon because they don’t serve beer or wine, but personally I find the fresh coconut juice a special treat.   It’s a small, plain restaurant with a utilitarian look. There seems to be a lot of waiters around for a small place and I find the service fast and friendly. I love the... Read more →


When sweet-and-sour chicken becomes a grinder

The best weeknight recipes are those that are versatile enough to work not just with what you want, but also what you have. As in this simple recipe for sweet-and-sour chicken. In a creative take on this classic Asian takeout, the lightly sweet and tangy chicken is intended to be nestled into a sub roll. But if you don’t have any or... Read more →

Book Review

‘The Waxman Report. How Congress Really Works’

Politics is a mystery to most of us. We accept it as something someone else does. Not too many of us get involved. Those that do have trouble telling us what actually goes on in Congress. Some politicians seem to like it that way. It makes it easier for them to pass legislation without problems. At last we have a book that is a step in the... Read more →


Overcoming the end of vacation blues

Dear New Shrink, My company restricts the number of vacation days one can accrue so this summer I finally planned a month-long getaway to use up vacation time that I was about to lose. While on vacation I had a chance to do things that I really enjoy and it has made the transition back to the office harder than ever. I have never experienced... Read more →


Running-free weight loss

I want everyone to know that I’ve lost 25 pounds … so far. And, I want everyone to know that I did so without running a step! How many of you think that in order to truly lose weight you have to jog or run? How many of you have been told by trainers or friends that the excess weight you’re carrying won’t really come... Read more →


Trying to strengthen family ties

Dear New Shrink, I am in so much pain; I don’t know what to do. I feel completely abandoned by my family. Years ago my parents divorced. My father was abusive and my mother was an alcoholic. When I moved out we were barely speaking. I told my mom she needed to get sober. I sent for the Al-Anon literature, but when I gave it to her she... Read more →

Community Profiles

Affordable housing leader steps down

SECOND STREET — Since becoming the executive director of Community Corp. of Santa Monica in 1991, Joan Ling has overseen the addition of 1,200 units to the city’s stock of affordable dwellings, quadrupling the number of apartments the organization manages. It’s a feat that’s won her immodest praise from Santa... Read more →