ARTICLES: 2006–20022019-05-16T19:02:17+00:00

I am a sandwich; Eater’s inspiration might just make turkey ‘fun again.’

Los Angeles Times, September 4, 2003

By James Verini

Patrons of Canter’s Delicatessen on Fairfax Avenue might have noticed a change there recently. On the specials board, hanging on a pillar near the bakery, is listed a sandwich called “the Matt Miller.” It consists of sliced roasted turkey, cole slaw and melted muenster cheese on grilled challah bread, with Russian dressing.

The change […]

Get him to the Bowl on time

Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2003

By James Verini

Stomping and strutting like a peacock around a rehearsal space on a shabby corner in Burbank, Roger Daltrey looks like nothing less than the eternal youth of rock ‘n’ roll embodied. The once and future frontman for the Who and a bona fide rock demigod, Daltrey seems only slightly dulled from that summer 34 […]

Seeking nirvana in a dusty bookshelf

Los Angeles Times, July 17, 2003

By James Verini

“How many cities have revealed themselves to me in the marches I have undertaken in the pursuit of books!”

— Walter Benjamin, “Unpacking My Library”

It should be said from the start that going to used-book stores is, at best, a useless pursuit. It is reversionary, unhealthy even. Used-book stores are filled with books, dusty, old, […]

The first party animals; How ‘Animal House’ liberated bad taste, launching an art form oft copied, rarely matched.

Los Angeles Times, June 19, 2003

By James Verini

For anybody under 50, these names are the names of modern-day mythology: Otter, Bluto, Flounder, Neidermeyer, Dean Wormer. The lines, mostly yelled, echo in our heads like commands from uncouth ancestors: “Food fight!” “Road trip!” “Double Secret Probation!” The parties have become the stuff of educational tradition: Try to find a fraternity house anywhere […]

Without reservations

Los Angeles Times, June 15, 2003

By James Verini

Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode, the New York slash L.A. restaurateurs slash club owners and now slash hoteliers collectively responsible for L.A. perennials such as Bar Marmont and Jones and New York’s Bowery Bar and the Park, are not terribly concerned that a visitor is poking around their not-yet-open hotel when the place is […]

Need a lift? Go see stars

Los Angeles Times, May 22, 2003

By James Verini

Who loves his job more than anyone else in Hollywood? Nicholson? Hefner? Sajak? As I sat in the back of a small, egregiously air-conditioned tour bus one recent Friday afternoon, climbing Foothill Road in Beverly Hills, soaking in a stream of celebrity trivia and the delighted giggles of Midwestern tourist couples, I grew convinced […]

A life in two new acts

Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2003

By James Verini

Julia SWEENEY’S unassuming bungalow on the southern fringe of Hollywood is lined with books. Walking into her living room, one wonders if Sweeney, the former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, is planning on becoming an adjunct professor or opening a stall at the Fairfax flea market. She’s not, it turns out — she just […]

At the core of culture

Los Angeles Times, By James Verini

April 3, 2003

Depending on who you talk to, you’ll get different answers about where L.A.’s current underground art-party scene, as far as you can put your finger on it, originated.

The Coffee House Anthropologists, as usual, will trace it back to the 1950s and ’60s, to Beat happenings and the Radical Chic parties where society matrons entertained […]

Shuffle up to the bar, sport

Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2003

By James Verini

“Back in jolly old 15th Century England they played a game of sliding a ‘groat’ down a table: a ‘groat’ being a rather large British coin of the day, worth about four pence. The game was called shove-groat and/or slide groat. Later, a silver penny was used, and the name of the game became […]

A mind full of eccentrics; Dave Chappelle pushes his stand-up act and TV show to the edge, combining a social point with outrageousness.

Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2003

By James Verini

The comedian Dave Chappelle’s incendiary mind moves at a clip, its paradoxes and paranoias forming into characters and spilling out of his Gumby-thin frame almost faster than he can give them words.

This is true whether he’s on the stage, as he will be Friday night at the Wiltern, or on his new half-hour […]

Love in La La Land

Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2003

By James Verini

Love in Los Angeles? You want to know about love in Los Angeles? It’s still like the mansaid, some 70 jaded years ago: “It’s a Barnum and Bailey world/ Just as phony as it can be/ But it wouldn’t be make believe/ If you believed in me.”

Granted, when the Broadway lyricists E.Y. Harburg […]

A new spin on L.A. art

Los Angeles Times, January 30, 2003

By James Verini

What is it about the sight of a lovely woman in a sweaty tank top, her hands moving with studied precision, oversized earphones cocked half off her head, her body slave to — but at the same time master of — the beat? (This has nothing to do with the Super Bowl beer commercials, […]

Hidden art and politics; During a party for the L.A. Fine Print Fair, artist’s ‘invisible mural,’ seen only in black light, makes an antiwar statement.

Los Angeles Times, January 30, 2003

By James Verini

THE president’s face seems to be everywhere these days, and while the red states may be pleased as punch, his image is not a source of mirth to some in the Los Angeles arts community. Around here, George W. Bush’s smile seems to hang in the air like one of Warhol’s Brillo Pad boxes […]

That smell is so you

Los Angeles Times, January 9, 2003

By James Verini

For those unwilling to settle for bottled scents that just anyone can buy, personal perfumers concoct custom mixes of fragrances and oils.

Catherine de Medici had one. So did Napoleon. Cleopatra may have been the first.

No, we’re not talking about wigs or syphilitic infections. We’re talking about personal perfumers — the rare souls whose […]

The night painter; Robert Olsen prowls a darkened L.A. to find what the daylight world has missed.

Los Angeles Times, December 12, 2002

By James Verini

“I once worked as a garbage-sifter for McDonald’s,” says Robert Olsen, who now makes enough as a painter of careful urban still lifes not to have to take such jobs. “Me and this other guy went around and counted discarded straws and sugar packets and then reported the numbers.”

A garbage-sifter? For a study? […]

Love, fidelity and cats; A songwriter puts her money where her passion is for a film on her pets.

Los Angeles Times, November 28, 2002

By James Verini

PERHAPS you’ve heard of Carol Connors. A singer-songwriter and scorer of movies, she was once a member of Phil Specter’s first hit concoction, the Teddy Bears, who scored in 1958 with “To Know Him Is to Love Him.” She dated Elvis Presley for nearly a year. Later in life, she was responsible for such […]

Married…with books

Los Angeles Times, November 22, 2002

By James Verini

Al and Tipper Gore take their bickering-but-happy-together-couple routine on the road in support of two new books about American families.

The light was beginning to wane in the Century Plaza Hotel late Tuesday afternoon, and Al and Tipper Gore, the ex-vice president and presidential candidate and his always-present wife, were late. Late for everything.

Their […]

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