SoCal cracks down on fraud at farmers markets

DOWNTOWN — Ever wonder if something’s rotten at your farmers market? Maybe those pricey “locally grown” mangos are actually commercial imports from South America. Southern California officials have cracked down this past year on vendors who violate state law by selling fruits and vegetables they don’t produce. Violators can be... Read more →


Hollywood struggles against new film meccas

LOS ANGELES — In the old days, filmmakers flocked to Hollywood for its abundant sunshine, beautiful people and sandy beaches. But today a new filmmaking diaspora is spreading across the globe to places like Vancouver, London and Wellington, New Zealand. Fueled by politicians doling out generous tax breaks, filmmaking talent is migrating... Read more →



Second helping of Santa Monica new eateries

Now that the year is all but over, an obligatory “best of” article seems fitting. Santa Monica certainly has had its fair share of notable restaurant openings, so here’s a brief rundown of my top new spots of 2013. The Sweet Mona at Pono Burger features fresh, organically-grown strawberries. Pono is Hawaiian for doing things the... Read more →

Culture Watch

Culture Watch: Different joys of singing

Santa Monica resident Ayana Haviv is a professional singer whose voice has appeared in several films. (Photo courtesy Ayana Haviv) Ayana Haviv has multiple musical personalities. The Grammy Award winner works as an ensemble singer and soloist with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. But... Read more →


The artist behind the 16 year old shopping cart tree

Anthony Schmitt creates a shopping cart tree every year at the Edgemar Center for the Arts. (Paul Alvarez Jr. EDGEMAR CENTER — Just like a living tree, the Edgemar shopping cart tree is growing and spawning seedlings. At 35 feet, this year’s tree is the tallest ever, said the creator, Santa Monica artist Anthony... Read more →


Speed on the roads, danger on the bluffs 100 years ago

The Palisades Bluffs can be a dangerous place. (File photo) IN THE HISTORY BOOKS — Next time you bottom out on Colorado Avenue, think back with sympathy to your 1913 predecessors. One hundred years ago this month, four passengers were thrown from a Hupmobile when they hit a “chuck hole” caused by rail construction on Santa Monica... Read more →


East meets Westside

My plan was to write one article about Japanese restaurants, one about Korean, one about Chinese, and one about mixed-Asian restaurants.  So I asked my Korean golf partner, Mr. Kim, “What’s the best Korean restaurant on the Westside?” He hesitated, like he does before each putt. He continued to think for a while. Then he replied,... Read more →


Who in the dickens is Dickens?

Because we in America are so fixated on Mark Twain, our “premier storyteller,” we sometimes tend to conflate his personal history with that of England’s “premier storyteller,” Charles Dickens. As writers, public storytellers, and lecturers, they had much in common, especially when it came to humor, satire and impatience with social... Read more →

Culture Watch

Antidotes to holiday blues

If you like your holiday entertainment laugh-filled, but still wondrous while serving a great purpose, make your next stop the Actors’ Gang Theatre in Culver City. The annual “Queen Family’s Very Special Holiday Special” is a romp! Check out a variety of live performers during The Actors' Gang production of 'Queen Family's Very... Read more →


How to keep a holiday party from getting awkward

Dear Life Matters, I am hosting a rather large holiday dinner with both friends and family invited. This is a tradition and it has always been very nice and a lot of fun. But this year is a little different because one of my husband’s sisters has had a very bad marital situation this past year. Her husband left her and it turned out... Read more →