Dunga Brook Diary: Green Acres

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May 1, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 


Vicki Whicker

Mother’s Day, 2011

Before we open the front-door, Jim says,

“It’s pretty bad inside— the squatters pulled the electrical panels out and, for some reason, they took the stairs, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed.“

My new/old house:

An 1820’s Federal-style farmhouse cloaked in dirty-white siding, surrounded by hundreds of acres of farmland, situated on a two-lane “county highway” in the wilds of central New York.

Awhile back, a friend in L.A. bought a house (it was the 80’s, when you could still afford to buy a house) and called it “my new/old house.” It was probably built in the 60’s but, you know, old for L.A. Read more


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May 1, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Photos by Barry Stein


When it was suggested that our monthly lunch club try The Grill on the Alley in Beverly Hills, I had to admit that I had never heard of it.

But after learning The Grill was a favorite haunt for show business executives, I understood why I had completely missed this industry hideaway that some refer to as “The Commissary.” Having called L.A. my home for almost 40 years now, I have been living with the shame and humiliation of never having once produced a major movie or successful television series. And what’s worse, I never even tried.

In times past, Los Angeles was recognized for having such celebrated restaurants as The Brown Derby, Chasen’s and Morton’s. And these days, many fans of The Grill have compared it favorably to those classic bistros of bygone years. A few old-timers have even compared it to the venerable Musso & Frank’s Grill in Hollywood, (which officially turns 100 next year). Read more

Dunga Brook Diary: April Fools

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April 2, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 



Vicki Whicker

Central New York, Mother’s Day, 2011.

We’re walking across the field from Jim’s farmhouse to my farmhouse. I’ve got butterflies. I’m about to ditch LA for this.

I’m about to pull a geographic— Palisades cottage to 1820s farmhouse. From the trendy West to the forgotten Northeast. From bone-dry to lush. Hip to hillbilly. Known to unknown. Read more

Mrs. Brown and the Walk Uptown

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April 1, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Ralls County Courthouse, New London, Missouri

Baylis Glascock

Mrs. Brown was my seventh-grade teacher, a single mother of two, who dressed in the straight skirts of the day with matching jackets. It was 1953. She occasionally spoke of her late husband. He had died unexpectedly of a heart attack. She drove a ’49 Ford, lived in Hannibal, and drove the ten miles to New London and back each day, bringing the two children with her. While having little occasion to discuss politics in the classroom, she did make known, more than once during the year, her profound dislike of Harry S. Truman for having fired General MacArthur, whom she regarded as a true American hero and patriot. I had no opinion about MacArthur, but my father, having taken the train to Washington, D.C., for Truman’s inauguration, and having had seating within about 75 feet of the ceremony, quite a bit closer than county assessor Jack Briscoe, who perceived himself to be well connected in Democratic political circles, made Dad speak of Truman with great respect. Also, Truman, like George Washington, was a Mason: Dad was a 32nd degree Mason and Grand Master of the local Masonic Lodge. So, I did have a generally positive feeling about the 33rd president, but I never made a point of making my preferences in the matter known. Read more

Overcoming Adversity: A Conversation with Painter Ricardo Garcia

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April 1, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Anna C. Broome

The self as creator and man as painter is vigorously defined in the art of Ricardo Garcia. He is well developed as an artist in many forms and always extends the best of his creative self to the world. The evolution of the paintings rests on the process Garcia exposes through sequences of line and shape: mutually feminine and masculine; bold and tenacious; tender and fierce. “My art is a fusion of my life, environment, experience. When they ask me what kind of style I paint I tell them it’s a style that I cannot label.”

Chia 44×60 in.

The ideas he explores come from within as he initiates dialog with himself and the work. “Silence inspires me. I often have conversations with myself as a means of study of who I am as a man and a painter. I want to inspire the world to come to a place of harmony, and I think my art is a way of encouraging people to extend the best of who they are through the exposure of complex image and theme.” Read more


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April 1, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 


Photos by Barry Stein

By Bob Vickrey

During our ongoing three-year tour of famous Los Angeles restaurants, our monthly lunch club has often encountered difficulty escaping Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack’s shadow wherever we decide to dine.

It seems these guys had the same taste in restaurants as our roving foursome. This time it was Matteo’s on Westwood Boulevard, where we were once again forced to deal with their legacy.

Owner and founder Matty “Matteo” Jordan opened his restaurant in 1963, with the help of his childhood friend Sinatra, and fellow Hoboken, New Jersey native. That collaboration made Matteo’s an instant LA hot spot, which featured a great mix of fine Italian food, tuxedoed waiters and a friendly, upscale supper club atmosphere. Read more

#MeToo is going too far for some veteran feminists

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March 1, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 


Shirley Jonas atop the Whitney Museum of American Art on Gansevoort St. Photo by Mary Reinholz


Longtime West Village resident Shirley Jonas is a woman of a certain age, a former freelance television producer for outfits like Fox Broadcasting. She also spent 15 years working on staff at another national news division.

She now supports #MeToo, the new feminist movement which has spurred a tsunami-like wave of working women calling out bosses for sexual misconduct, many apparently after reading exposes in The New York Times and The New Yorker about alleged assaults by now-disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

“It’s about time,” Jonas said during a lunch Saturday at the Bus Stop Cafe on Hudson St.

Accusations of sexual harassment have swiftly ended the careers of famous men in media, government and entertainment, among them decades-long television hosts like Bill O’Reilly, Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose. The latter’s persona as a genial Southern gent interviewing people on CBS and PBS stands in sharp contrast to complaints last year that he greeted female staffers in his bathrobe, made unwanted advances and pranced around naked. Read more

Dunga Brook Diary: Mother’s Day, 2011

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March 1, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 


The barn

I arrived in Los Angeles in 1986, a small-town, young woman with nothing but the desire to see what I could do in the big, bad city.  And I did plenty. Dead-end temp jobs to a career in fashion. Five-figure income to six. Fly-by-night boyfriends to single mother of a son who is now on his way to graduating high school and, very soon, off to college. Read more


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March 1, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 


Photos by Barry Stein


By Bob Vickrey

You’ve driven by it numerous times on Pico Boulevard, but like most Westsiders, you’ve probably never considered stopping for a meal at this old-fashioned diner.

Rae’s Restaurant has been around since the days when you could actually find a parking spot in Santa Monica. Rae’s turns 60 this year, and is still plugging along for those locals who don’t mind a little grit and authenticity with their meals.

As our monthly lunch group entered the restaurant, we were convinced Rae’s must have been where they shot the movie “Time Stood Still.” The modest menu prices also underscored the apparent time-warp that occurred here in 1958. Read more

Yippies vs. Zippies: New Rubin book reveals ’70s counterculture feud

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March 1, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 


The late Yippie leader Jerry Rubin, a onetime West Villager who morphed into an investment banker and died in 1994 after getting struck by a car jaywalking in Westwood, California, comes back to flamboyant afterlife in Pat Thomas’s coffee-table book biography, “Did It!”

Published last year, Thomas’s book offers plenty of photographs of varied gurus and goblins of the counterculture, and sheds light on little-known internecine conflicts among the young politicized hippies who came under scrutiny by federal agents and undercover police for their opposition to the Vietnam War.

The cover of Pat Thomas’s new coffee-table book on Jerry Rubin.

The hefty tome, subtitled, “From Yippie to Yuppie: Jerry Rubin, an American Revolutionary,” recounts how a younger radical group known as the Zippies surfaced before the 1972 Democratic and Republican National Conventions in Miami. The Zippies engaged in fierce feuding with Rubin and Abbie Hoffman, Rubin’s more-famous fellow Yippie prankster and rival. Rubin reportedly regarded the Zippies’ founder, the late Tom Forcade — who ran the Underground Press Syndicate and started High Times magazine — as a provocateur and cop. Read more

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