Community Profiles

A Westside state of mind

For as long as it’s existed, California has held a special place in the hearts of Americans everywhere. From the “Forty-Niners” who sailed around Cape Horn in search of gold, to the “Okies” who sought a haven here after the destruction left by the Dust Bowl, people have always looked to California as a land of... Read more →


Struggling with holiday temptations

Dear New Shrink, Everyone is talking about how to avoid all the temptations right now. The holidays seem to bring overindulgence, whether it’s eating, drinking or overspending. Since no one seems to know, I thought I would ask you. Signed, Clueless Dear Clueless, There is no question that for many, the holiday spirit is an excuse to... Read more →

Community Profiles

Years in the making

DOWNTOWN — Driving a trolley at the “happiest place on Earth” was not what Steven C. Barber had in mind when he moved to California to pursue an acting career in the 1980s. Before eventually settling in Santa Monica, the upstate New York native left the chilly regions of the Northeast and went in search of warmer... Read more →


A tale of two nations

Ever since the government permitted Native Americans to establish — and keep the proceeds from — their own gambling casinos, there has been a stampede among people of many different ethnic backgrounds to claim their “Indian heritage.” This “rush to authenticity” — no matter how remote — is a... Read more →

Book Review

‘Through the Fire’

Fire can both purify and destroy. It purifies when it is used to burn away the dross to get to the priceless item beneath. It destroys when it is out of control. The recent Station Fire did lots of damage. It burned over 251 square miles before it was stopped. Fire can’t be controlled or tamed — only respected. Fire is also a... Read more →


No refrigeration required

I just moved into a beautiful beach-front apartment. Each morning I have the privilege of stepping out my front door right onto the soft sand. I pinch myself each time and ask, “Have I died and gone to heaven?” The only downfall to my literal paradise is that, for the moment, my apartment is sans fridge. I have no place to store... Read more →


Maintaining composure at the office holiday party

Dear New Shrink, With the holidays nearing, my office is planning its annual Christmas party. This is my first year with the company and I have already heard stories of things that have happened at past parties and have been surprised by the drunken behaviors of my unassuming colleagues. I very rarely go out with my coworkers and wondered if... Read more →


Spending the holidays at the happiest place on Earth

Santa may be the first name of our hometown, but with its balmy weather, Santa Monica is not exactly the winter wonderland of childhood memory. Coming from the East Coast, I’ve always had a hard time getting into the holiday spirit here. It’s tough to sip hot cocoa and have dreams of sugar plum fairies when there is no snowfall to... Read more →

Community Profiles

Giving voice to history of Santa Monica

OCEAN PARK BLVD — Santa Monica has undeniably had a long and rich history. The culture of the city and its place in Southern California’s history is often shoved aside, however, by writers, artists and historians who tend to focus on its more illustrious cousins: Los Angeles and Hollywood. In his new novel, “Death and the... Read more →


The Grinch is lean, mean and grean

A musical based on Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” seems like a good idea. A charming holiday crowd-pleaser. So why was the audience at the Pantages Theater, filled with kids and their parents, so amazingly quiet? No giggles. No energy. No enthusiastic feedback to encourage the ensemble onstage. And, remarkable... Read more →

Book Review


This book is another in the suspense fiction genre line put out by Bethany House to address the need for good fiction. It uses science fiction in the mix. “Twilight Zone” and “Outer Limits” come to mind when evaluating this format. The story is set in the future. It is 2032. Four astronauts have completed a trip to... Read more →


Police dancing and a little yellowtail to boot

With business down, restaurant owners are searching for new ways to bring in customers. While others are slashing prices or offering happy hour specials, Bob Stiles, owner of Hana Sushi, has brought in stripper poles. Stiles was at the forefront of sushi when he opened Hana 31 years ago. Some of you might remember Bob as the MVP of the Rose... Read more →


Siblings engaged in cold war

Dear New Shrink, I am very troubled over my relationship with my brother. We were pretty close growing up and then even closer when our father died during our teenage years. We now share the responsibility for our ailing mother so it is important that we get along. But for some time now, we seem to be at odds. I think my sister in-law... Read more →

Book Review

‘Open: An Autobiography’

The cover photo of Andre Agassi’s best-selling book “Open: An Autobiography” sets the tone. Agassi’s face is photographed so starkly that it’s reminiscent of a mug shot. If his goal in “Open” was to be brutally honest about his life for the entire world to see, then I’d say he aced it. The book... Read more →

Mommie Brain

Christmas, oy vey!

Right near our house, on the corner across from Whole Foods and next to the car wash, there is an empty lot. My son and I pass this lot multiple times a day on our way to school in the car, running errands or just grabbing a bagel. Normally, this is not a big deal. Sometimes, though, it is a huge deal, like when they transformed the lot... Read more →