Community Profiles

A cut above

PICO BLVD — The words “barber shop” may call to mind any number of images. Some picture men in striped jackets singing a-cappella at a county fair; others may recall images from macabre musical theatre, of straight razors dripping with blood. For Lino Lares, the words “barber shop” have a slightly different... Read more →


New year brings new career possibilities

With each new year I am reminded of making resolutions. While many of our new year’s resolutions have to do with getting in shape, eating better, or finding more time for family or friends, some of your resolutions may deal with your career or financial success. The end of the year is the perfect time to begin thinking about... Read more →


A shiksa’s kosher Christmas

Although I was raised to celebrate Christmas, this year seemed to be my time to explore some other holiday traditions. I attended a holiday party hosted by a Jewish family who follow a kosher lifestyle. A neighbor invited me for a kosher meal on Christmas Eve. Then there was my visit to the kosher winery a few weeks ago. And I’ve been... Read more →

Community Profiles

71-year-old completes major trek

SM PIER — For many tourists, the Route 66 sign that marks the terminus of the historic roadway on the Santa Monica Pier makes for a good photo-op. For 71-year-old Emory Duick, the signpost means a lot more: the end of a grueling and improbable journey. A retired youth employment counselor for the state of Illinois, Duick set out on a... Read more →

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 →


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 →


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 →