Americans love a renewal. We are a nation built upon the concept of starting over. Whether you’re starting over with a new identity like your name or your hair, or simply a new career, we love it. There is little that we enjoy more than a good comeback story.

Who doesn’t love the idea of being able to change your entire life wholesale, and when we hear about people who have risen high, lost it all, and come back to be a success again – we’re rooting for them because we have the belief that it would happen to us.

That ingrained love of a revival carries through to every aspect of my life, maybe that’s why I’m a divorce lawyer – I love the renewal of people’s lives when they find their happiness and move past the hurt. I’m a big fan of the comeback story, or even just the “whole new me.” Last weekend the Laemmle Monica Film Center opened after a total, to the studs, demolition as part of a renewal. The center now has seven theaters of varying sizes, which is a huge benefit to the community because the Monica can screen those smaller audience-attracting films and not have to give up a huge space. They’ve done this also at the Royal in West Los Angeles and I really enjoy seeing a film in an intimate setting when it’s not a blockbuster that requires a huge theater.

Greg Laemmle spent the extra money and made sure to have good seats, and a welcoming environment. There’s the standard Laemmle tradition of art on the walls, thankfully it changes, as some of it I like, and some, not so much. There’s a nice changing display of what’s upcoming. Most important for a good movie going experience is the sound, which in the theater where I saw Josh Brolin star in “Hail Caesar!” (which I highly recommend for its period piece awesomeness, and great story that was well acted by Brolin) the sound was excellent.

I’d say that the Monica Film Center is a huge improvement from the tattered elegance that it was. As much as I loved the old theater, this new one has much to offer in terms of selection, comfort and ease of use.

The other big renovation that is happening in town is down the street at the Loews Hotel. I was treated to a behind the scenes tour by general manager Paul LeClerc last week. The hotel has also been undergoing a down to the studs and cement remodel. It started over a year ago, with the pool deck being completely redone. If you want to see the entire process you can watch a very cool time lapse that was done of the pool being demolished and then replaced, it plays behind the registration desk at the hotel on a humongously large set of screens.

Currently the hotel is redoing all the rooms that have also been taken down to the studs and cement. The new design moves away from the mid-90s color scheme of beiges and tans, into a much more appropriate and enjoyable ocean palette of whites and blues. Gone are the boring standard old blackout drapes and in are the wide blades of shutters that allow you to have a full ocean view as you see through them.

New technology has been incorporated into the rooms as well, from the new television system with big flat screen TVs in all the rooms to the air conditioning systems, and even the lighting in the bathroom, which is now touch-screen controlled on the mirror to allow a full range of lighting from night lights to just short of “ready for my close up Mr. Demille.”

The lighting throughout the hotel is being upgraded to new LEDs that are not the obnoxious bright white, but are a variety of more warm and welcoming shades. Walking down the hallways on a new oceanesque themed carpet was a pleasant change from the traditional hotel overly designed ugly carpet that hides dirt.

LeClerc took me behind the scenes to the kitchen where we chatted with executive chef Zachary Dallessandro – I love big kitchens and this is an awesome environment for creating some culinary creations to be remembered. We chatted about the upcoming spring/summer change of menu that I can’t wait to try out, but there’s a special Valentine’s Day menu for those of you who want to be at the beach on Sunday.

Chef Dallessandro has created a three-course prix fixe menu ($75 per person) and if I had someone special in my life I’d want to grab a room for the weekend, and enjoy Valentine’s Day in style.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist.  He welcomes your questions and comments.  He can be reached at or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.