It seems that everybody in Oceanside rides a bike.



You may have noticed, I like music. I support it. And I think Santa Monica, with our unusually creative community, should become more known for it. Music in every park, on every street corner! Not just at the Third Street Promenade.

That will be happening on Wednesday, June 21, when Santa Monica joins the rest of the world in celebrating Make Music Day, in its 35th year, now in more than 800 cities in 120 countries. Always on Summer Solstice, the idea is for anyone to show up (scheduled, of course) and play, at whatever level they may be. It’s a great, heart-opening experience. Move around from park to park, or park yourself in just one place and let the music come to you. Remember, that day, the whole world is making music! I love it.

Go to and the sign up button, and you should be able to figure it out. Make a joyous noise, Santa Monica!

(Boy, I can be such a cheerleader sometimes. Not always a grump. But wait, I’m just getting started!)



To OPA’s Main Street 4th of July Parade guy Jeff Jarow for upgrading one of his other hats, that of president of Santa Monica’s Sister City International organization. Jarow was voted onto the regional board (unanimously) two weeks ago.

Sister City International strives to develop friendships across the globe by creating exchanges of “citizen diplomats,” especially students — “peace in the world one person at a time.” Last year they sent 15 young soccer players to a tournament in Fujinomiya, Japan. But those relationships with sister cities need constant attention. Right now, Jarow told me, the Santa Monica branch would like to “beef up” their relationship with their Mazatlan, Mexico sister city, and he opined that sponsoring a trip there by our new Bill Bauer Journalism Scholarship winner, Samohi senior Jessica Ramirez, might be a step in that direction. I concur, and I’ll keep you posted.



Adult version. Yeah, growing up is a bitch, kids, rent and taxes and you still get pimples, but there are some cool opportunities too. Like this Sunday, June 4, Le Merigot Hotel on Ocean, the 25th Annual Grande Marque Champagne Tasting, presented by Wally’s Wine and Spirits, a very well-curated booze emporium on Westwood (not the cheapest, but I guess that’s the price you pay to get so many libations exotic and wonderful in one place).

I went to a couple of these years ago, and for someone who loves, knows and appreciates Champagne (me!), it’s heaven. Why didn’t I continue? Their ticket price remained in triple figures and my pay dropped just a bit, moving from ad sales back into journalism. (Oh, alright, precipitously.)


Will most guests be arriving in limos? Furs, bling and tuxedos? I don’t think so. At $175 ($250 after June 1) that’s pretty cheap for a benefit, especially for what you get. Where does the money go? Good places. Our own Santa Monica-Malibu Education

Foundation, and Food on Foot, which assists LA’s poor and homeless with nutritious meals, clothing, work opportunities and the transition to full-time employment and life off the streets. Strictly grass-roots, volunteers, no government funds, they claim. Last year this event was able to make a $50,000 donation, including from the silent auction.

What do you get, besides feeling good from your modest munificence, and from the bubbly?

A banquet of nearly 100 Champagnes and sparkling wines including Dom Pèrignon, Krug, Salon and Cristal. (If you just keep drinking the Krug, you will be so smart and happy.) Signature dishes from 20 leading restaurants, like Drago, Hinoki & The Bird, Kali, Locanda del Lago, Mélisse, Michael’s, Pastina. There’s more: Calvisius caviar, hand-carved Cinco Jotas Iberico Bellota, and delicacies from Wally’s Cheese Box, Anna Maria Fish Company, Bar Cacoa Chocolates and Euro Caffé Beverly Hills. The David Arana Quartet will play some swingin’ jazz. I mean, come on. All life’s best (well, if you also get a room), and for a good cause.

Or, if you’re fine that the money goes into the pocket of Santa Monica’s coolest barkeep, Phil McGovern at the Daily Pint, you can drop by tonight, across from Virginia Park on Pico, slap down a Jackson and join the Glen Scotia and Loch Lomond Whiskey Tasting, four excellent single malts entertainingly explained for you by an expert. Heaven on the cheap.



Sure, sure, quality counts but most people want the cheapest price, right? But when all

else is about equal, what stands out? Customer service. From cars to carpets to coffee.

Mostly it’s training, I feel. Don’t shoot the minimum wage messenger. But I wasn’t too pleased with the messenger at Peet’s on Main on my birthday, nor his cohorts who stood mutely by. I had called to ask, do you give a free coffee on someone’s birthday? Yes we sure do, came the cheery answer. But when I made the trip over, nope, they told me I had to join Peet’s club online, and bring my card in and passport and a loyalty oath to Peet’s and the flag — well, not that other stuff but you do have to join first. Might’ve told me that on the phone and saved me a trip, I said. Silence and blank expressions, they said. I could’ve just bought a cup, but that would send the wrong message.

So over to the Starbucks, Lincoln and Pico. Got my birthday cup there last year, no hassle. But the young woman told me you do have to register a card online first. When I hesitated, a young man working behind the counter said simply, just give it to him, it’s his birthday, which they then cheerfully did. (I left a good tip.)

If I’ve got a business, I’m going to train employees to think like that young man.


QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Can we ever heal and unite this country, when half the population listens to a 20-minute Sean Spicer monolog preceding an abbreviated press conference and hears an incredible string of deceptions, and the other half thinks, good job, Donald? Can we ever get normalcy, sanity, back?


QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” — Mark Twain

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 31 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else

in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at