Beach September 2017


September 14, 2017

Volume 48, Issue 6

Sworn virgin Dive N‘ Mermaid Venetian spice

South Bay Health and Home and Garden guides


September 14 th @ 6 pm

Move or Remodel?


September 23 th @ 10 am

Architectural Design

& Remodeling

September 14, 2017

Volume 48, Issue 6


Surf and volleyball enthusiast

Chris Brown.

Michael Burstein is a probate and estate planning

attorney. A graduate of the University of California,

Hastings College of the Law in 1987, he is admitted

to the California, Kansas and Oklahoma Bars and

is a member of the Order of Distinguished Attorneys

of the Beverly Hills Bar Association.

As an estate and probate lawyer, Michael has prepared

approximately 3,000 living trusts and more

than 4,000 wills.

An Estate Planning,

Estate Administration,

and Probate Attorney

l Living Trusts

l Wills

l Powers of Attorney

l Asset Protection

l Veterans Benefits

l Pet Trusts

l Advance Health

Care Directives

l Insurance Trusts

l Probate

l Conservatorships

l And Much More!

Call us to schedule an appointment or for our

FREE Guide:

Selecting the Best Estate Planning Strategies

111 North Sepulveda Boulevard, Suite 250

Manhattan Beach, California 90266



12 Sworn virgin by Kevin Cody

Kristopher Dukes discusses parallels between modern women and the

tradition of “sworn virgins” at the center of her novel, set in early

20th century Albania.

18 Borne by the Beach by Randy Angel

Hermosa Beach native Chris Brown finds a career in sharing his

enthusiasm for surfing and volleyball.

26 Politics, according to Bobko by Robb Fulcher

Former Hermosa Beach councilman Kit Bobko writes an insider’s book on

local politics for aspiring politicians.

32 Mermaid magic by Robb Fulcher

Swimmer and diver Linden Wolbert partners with Redondo Beach’s Body

Glove to bring the magic of mermaids to the young and old.

38 Venetian spice by Richard Foss

Venetian chef Angelo Calderan’s Hostaria Piave offers richer, more robust

flavors than what’s found on more familiar Southern Italian menus.


6 Calendar

8 Hermosa Kiwanis Taste at the Beach

10 Globe flagship opens in

Hermosa Beach

16 Catalina Classic a classic challenge

22 17th Street Labor Day

Volleyball Tournament


PUBLISHER Kevin Cody, ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Richard Budman, EDITORS Mark McDermott, Randy Angel,

David Mendez, and Ryan McDonald, ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Bondo Wyszpolski, DINING EDITOR Richard

Foss, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS Ray Vidal and Brad Jacobson, CALENDAR Judy Rae, DISPLAY SALES Tamar Gillotti,

Amy Berg and Shelley Crawford, CLASSIFIEDS Teri Marin, DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL MEDIA,


EASY READER (ISSN 0194-6412) is published weekly by EASY READER, 2200 Pacific Cst. Hwy., #101, P.O. Box 427, Hermosa

Beach, CA 90254-0427. Yearly domestic mail subscription $150.00; foreign, $200.00 payable in advance. POSTMASTER: Send

address changes to EASY READER, P.O. Box 427, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. The entire contents of the EASY READER newspaper

is Copyright 2017 by EASY READER, Inc. The Easy Reader/Redondo Beach Hometown News

is a legally adjudicated newspaper and the official newspaper for the cities of Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach. Easy Reader

/ Redondo Beach Hometown News is also distributed to homes and on newsstands in Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Torrance,

and Palos Verdes.


Photo by

Brad Jacobson

29 Health and Fitness Guide

36 Manhattan Chamber Bite at the Beach

40 Surfboards as canvases at “Resin.”

42 Home improvement guide

45 Home services

n Mailing Address P.O. Box 427, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 Phone (310) 372-4611 Fax (424) 212-6780

n Website Email

n Classified Advertising see the Classified Ad Section. Phone 310.372.4611 x102. Email

n Fictitious Name Statements (DBA's) can be filed at the office during regular business hours. Phone 310.372.4611 x101.

4 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

Stocking Dealer

South Bay’s oldest lumber yard

• Trim

• Doors

• Siding

• Decking

• Lumber

• Windows

• Hardware

• Referrals

Free parking in our 6th Street lot

635 Pacific Coast Highway - Hermosa Beach


Call Our Dexperts



Thursday, September 14

Film series

Palos Verdes Library District’s Ciné-

Monde features notable films and documentaries

from around the globe. A

film screening of Nine Queens at 5:30

p.m. in the Peninsula Center Library

Community Room, 701 Silver Spur

Road, Rolling Hills Estates. Free and

open to the public. Seating is first

come, first seated and not guaranteed.

For information contact Joshua at (310)

921-7514 or

Friday, September 15

Row, row ...for a reason

Body One Fitness presents the third

annual “Row for a Reason” event to

raise funds for Cancer Support Community

Redondo Beach (CSCRB). Fri.

from 4 - 10 p.m.; Sat. 7 a.m. - noon.

Gym owner and founder of Row for a

Reason Lou Sidella will dedicate all

row machines to the fundraiser for the

duration of the event. Participants can

sign up for half-hour time slots for a

$50 donation and encouraged to invite

friends to share rowing with them.

Body One Fitness, 201 Herondo Street,

Redondo Beach. To register, visit

For more information

email or call

(310) 379-5425.

Dinner time solution

The Knights of Columbus’s monthly

fund-raising dinner from 5 - 7:30 p.m.

Knight of Columbus Hall, 214 Avenue

I, Redondo Beach. This month a delicious

beef stew dinner will be served

with rice, vegetables and bread. Come

enjoy a great dinner, at a great price,

an evening out with friends and family,

and support a worthy cause. Desserts,

juice, iced tea, lemonade, and coffee as

well as a fully stocked cash bar.

$10/person (no tax or tip necessary).

Children under 12 are $5/each. Proceeds

help KoC charities such as Seminarians,

House of Yahweh, Pregnancy

Help Center, Star House as well as others.

Questions? Contact Nick Tesi at

(310) 717-2937.

Saturday, September 16

Folk fest

Family-friendly, foot stomping festival

has something for everyone and in

addition to the great music: Pie Eating

Contest, Kids Area with Crafts, Music,

Games, the “Instrument Petting Zoo”,

Craft Brews and Gourmet Food Trucks,

Beard & Mustache Contest, Open Bluegrass

Jam, Deering Banjo Contest and

more. Rainbow Lagoon Park, 400

Shoreline Village Dr, Long Beach.

Ticket $30 online; $40 at the door, general

admission. VIP admission $75.

Children 12 & under as well as Seniors

75 & older are free. To purchase tickets


Book sale

Hermosa Beach Friends of the Library

used book sale. Most hardback

and paperback books are $1 and under.

9 a.m. - noon 1309 Bard Street, Hermosa

Beach. For more sale information

visit, call (310) 379-8475,


A celebration of Iris

Western Museum of Flight in partnership

with Long Beach-South Bay

Ninety-Nines present This is Your Life:

Iris Critchell, a female pioneer in aviation.

At 96 years old, Iris Critchell continues

to have a productive career as a

pilot, educator, and mentor. She is a

founding member of the Long Beach-

South Bay Chapter of International

Ninety-Nines. At 11 a.m. hear Iris’s

lecture, From a South Bay Start to the

Privilege of a Lifetime in Aviation.

Tickets are $10. From 6-9 p.m. enjoy

an intimate evening to honor Iris. Tickets

for the evening fete are $100 and

include admission as well as wine and

festive foods. Tickets are $100 and can

be purchased at

html or by calling (310) 326-9544. Proceeds

support the Western Museum of

Flight. For questions, contact

Free parking. 3315

Airport Drive, Torrance.

Experience wire sculpture

Art as Experience is a free, hands-on

program for families with children

ages 5 and up. Developed in correlation

with exhibitions on display at the

Manhattan Beach Art Center, held the

first and third Saturday of the month

2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Today's workshop:

Wire Sculpture. Advanced registration

required. Studio B at the Art Center

(check in at the front desk), 1560 Manhattan

Beach Blvd. (310) 802-5440.

Boots and Brews

Switzer Learning Center hosts Boots,

Brews & BBQ’s Fundraiser with Brewery

Competition, Western fun, and

dancing to the Blue Breeze Band. All

96 year-old aviatrix

Iris Critchell will be

celebrated at

Torrance’s Western

Museum of Flight

Saturday, Sept. 16.

Still flying and teaching,

she will lecture

at 11 a.m. (tickets

$10) followed by an

evening soiree

(tickets $100)

beginning at 6 p.m.

Eating bugs has never

been quite so delicious

(unless you were at last

year’s Lobster Festival)!

Hosted by the Redondo

Beach Chamber of

Commerce, the event

takes place Friday,

Sept. 22 through

Sunday, Sept. 24 at

Seaside Lagoon,

200 Portofino Way,

Redondo Beach.

proceeds benefit Switzer Learning Center,

a nonprofit nonpublic special education

school serving students in 5th

grade through age 22 with moderate to

severe learning, social, emotional, and

developmental disabilities. 6 - 11 p.m.

2201 Amapola Ct., Torrance. Tickets

$150 per person. Call Danielle Wagner

Manhattan Beach historian

Jan Dennis and

grandson Luke Jelimini,

who assisted in researching

“A Thread in the Tapestry,”

a history of

Sepulveda Boulevard in

Manhattan Beach.

Nathan will discuss her

book on Sunday, Sept.

17 at Pages bookstore.

or (310) 318-

0900. Photo courtesy of

Daniel Segura, Beach Reporter

at (310) 328-3611 x333 or visit

Sunday, September 17

Salt Marsh Open House

Step out into nature and discover

the hidden world of the Salinas de San

Pedro Salt Marsh. Cabrillo Marine

Aquarium educators and Coastal Park

Naturalists uncover the world of mud

and water. Bring binoculars, camera,

sketch pad, journal or just your curiosity.

2:30 - 4:30 p.m. 3720 Stephen M.

White Drive, San Pedro. For reservations,

further information, call (310)

548-7562 or visit

Peek o’ Sepulveda

A late afternoon talk with local historian

Jan Dennis, promoting her new

book, A Thread in the Tapestry, a history

of Sepulveda Blvd. in Manhattan

Beach. If you ever wondered what

Manhattan Beach was like and how it

has transformed into what it is today,

5 p.m. {pages} bookstore, 904 Manhattan

Ave., Manhattan Beach. RSVP

Calendar cont. on page 41

6 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

each food


Taste of the Beach

Over two dozen local restaurants, breweries and

wineries participated in the ninth annual Taste of the

Beach, presented by the Hermosa Beach Kiwanis

Club on the Community Center patio on Sunday, August

20. The Brian Sisson Trio performed. The Kiwanis’

motto is "Serving the children of the world, one

child, one community at a time." Individuals interested

in joining the club are encouraged to visit




1. Java Man’s Daniel Nava and daughter Yocelyn

with Dency Nelson.

2. Martha Diaz, Bob McEachen and Julie Chertow.

3. Alice Villalobos, Yvonne Amarillas and Cathy


4. Richard Chertow and Adrienne Slaughter.

5. Chef Rafael Solorzano, owner of Salsa Verdes in

Palos Verdes.

6. Silvio’s Brazilian BBQ’s Doug Howarth.

7. Laurel Tavern’s Sage Adkins and chef Roger


8. North End’s Servando and Cecilio Villigana.

9. Greenbelt’s Casey Keohane.

10. Rabano’s Fernando Chong.

11. Laurel Tavern’s Lee Farrell and Hermosa

Chamber CEO Kimberlee MacMullan.

3 4






10 11

each business


store in Hermosa

Globe CEO Matt Hill and Globe team riders,

artists and staff celebrated the opening of the Australian

surf, skate and snowboard company’s first

U.S. retail store in Hermosa Beach on Friday, August

11. Among the guests was legendary street skater

Rodney Mullen. Hill, a Palos Verdes resident, and

brothers Steve and Peter founded the now global

lifestyle company in 1994. Hill came to the U.S. in

1995 to attend USC film school but soon took charge

of the family’s U.S. operations.




1. Artists Dave Gitlin, Herb George, Mirko Antich

and Teague Muir.

2. David Trujillo, Aaron Brown, Sammy Montano,

Matt Hill, Mark Appleyard, Noah Wilson and Paul


3. Sherwood and staff.

4. Aaron Brown, Rodney Mullen, David Gonzalez,

Paul Hart, Mark Appleyard and Sammy Montano.

5. Denny Bales.

6. Tyler Stouff.

7. Mirko Antich, Teague Muir, Dave Gitlin and

Leona Richeda.

8. David Trujillo and Talia Shor.

9. Anna Kenney, Sherwood and Austin Ware.

10. Madeline and Val Spiwak.

11. Sean Tully and Jake Sutter.

12. Vanessa Villarreal, Gary Valentine, Carol

Schad and Nai.

3 4






10 11 12

10 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

September 14, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 11


Author Kristopher Dukes

in Kyoto, Japan.

Photo by Matt Jacobson

12 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

Sworn Virgin

Manhattan Beach novelist Kristopher Dukes finds inspiration for

contemporary women in the tradition of Albanian women given men’s rights

by Kevin Cody

Nine years ago, Kris Dukes read a New York Times article about

sworn virgins in the mountainous region outside the city of Shkodra,

in northwestern Albania.

The Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini, the code that rules the region, is hard on


“A man who has been dishonored is considered dead.”

And harder on women.

“A woman is a sack, made to endure.”

But the code makes an exception for women who take a vow of chastity.

Sworn virgins may dress as men, serve as heads of households, do men’s

work, carry a gun, smoke, drink alcohol and socialize with men — all things

women are otherwise forbidden to do.

The tradition, once common in Eastern Europe, continues to this day in

the mountainous regions of northern Albania.

Dukes saw in sworn virgins the full spectrum of male/female tensions in

contemporary culture, from the glass ceiling to transgenders.

“In our culture, women also must suppress their sexuality to be treated

equal to men. If we were gender blind, would there have been any question

in the last presidential election about which candidate was the most qualified?”

Dukes asked during a recent interview in her Manhattan Beach

home. She is married to Manhattan Beach native Matt Jacobson.

Last year, Dukes self published “A Sworn Virgin: Broken Promises.” Last

month, in response to the large number of positive reviews the book received

on social media, an expanded version of the novel was released by

William Morrow, of New York publisher HarperCollins.

The release is being backed by a social marketing blitzkrieg, which includes

Facebook, Instagram, targeted email, and online book clubs and

book bloggers.

“Sworn Virgin” begins with Eleanora, the 18-year-old protagonist, finding

her father shot to death in the street during a visit to Shkodra. The trip to

the city from their mountain town was to have arranged for the gifted

Eleanora to travel to art school in Venice, which had a large Albanian population

in 1918, the novel’s time setting. Instead, the grieving Eleanora returns

to her mountain village, having vowed to return to find her father’s


Like the father in last year’s documentary “Eagle Huntress,” about a 13-

year-old daughter raised in the male tradition of Mongolian falconeers,

Eleanora’s father defied local custom by raising his daughter as he would

a son. But absent the protection of her father, Eleanora is promised in marriage

to an unpleasant, but wealthy man by Eleanora’s well intended, but

destitute stepmother. Eleanora’s only escape from the arranged marriage

to become a sworn virgin.

Becoming a sworn virgin has the added benefit of allowing Eleanora to

September 14, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 13

travel unchallenged with her father’s

treasured rifle when she returns

to Shkodra and kills the man

who killed her father.

Then she escapes back to her village,

where a plot quickening complication

enters her life. She falls in

love with the brother of the man

she killed, who has tracked his

brother’s unknown killer to her village,

to avenge his brother’s death.

Dukes said she was intrigued

with the idea that a force that

brings people together can also tear

them apart.

The plot is not as contrived as the

s u m m a r y

sounds, even

were it set in

today’s times.

Before her father’s


Eleanora asks

him why their

people were forever


in fratricidal


“Because it

has always been

that way,” he

tells her.

Dukes said

she knew from

age 8, that she

wanted to be a

The Sworn Virgin by Kristopher Dukes.

Published by William Morrow/Harper-


writer. She

wrote for her

Woodland Hills

high school

paper and majored

in English

literature at

M a r y m o u n t

Manhattan College in New York.

But her subsequent writing was

limited to occasional freelance magazine

assignments and for her interior

design blog. Sworn Virgin is her

first novel.

She said she let germinate the

idea of what would happen if a

sworn virgin fell in love, until about

five years ago, when she began researching

the subject. Her research

began with reading High Albania,

written in 1909 by English anthropologist

Edith Durham and then

reading Peaks of Shala, about the

northern Albania highlands, written

in 1923 by American magazine

writer Rose Wilder.

Dukes deliberately did not read

Albanian writer Elvira Dones’contemporary

novel about sworn virgins,

nor view the Italian movie

based on Dones’ novel.

Dukes said her most valuable resource

was Albania expert Robert

Elsie, whose books include Historical

Dictionary of Albania and

Balkan Beauty, Balkan Blood.

“Elsie helped me with names and

dress and basic details like whether

Eleanora would have worked with

oils or pastels.”

Elsie reassured her that an 18-

year-old having an affair with a

man old enough to have loved her

mother, a central theme of the

book, would not have been unusual

in early 20th Century Albania,

when a 13-year-old girl might wed

a 60-year-old widower.

The historical research extended

beyond the physical details to include

family rel

a t i o n s h i p s

among the Albanian



“Her father

had taught her

to knee a man in

the groin, and

had her carry a

curved knife in

her belt when

they traveled, in

case she was

stolen for someone’s


wife. He had

taught her how

to thrust the

blade to the best

effect but he had

never shown her

how to shoot.

No woman

knew,” Dukes

writes in des

c r i b i n g

Eleanora’s transition

from “sack” to sworn virgin.

Sworn Virgin fits neatly into historical

fiction and contemporary

chick lit genres. But it also holds

promise of transcending those genres

with its contemporary themes

and writing that exhibits confident

patience with what is on the the

first level, a historical murder mystery.

A popular controversy in contemporary

literary journals concerns

the appropriateness of First World

writers mining third world cultures.

Dukes said her book has yet to

become embroiled in that controversy.

“People have such limited knowledge

about Albania, that the Albanians

who’ve talked to me about

the book, including an Albanian

cellist in New York, where there is

a large Albanian population, are excited

by the fact that someone

wrote about their country in a positive

light,” Dukes said. B

14 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017








550 Silver Spur Rd. Suite 240, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90275

each sports



in Catalina Classic

Los Angeles County Lifeguard Max First, 27, of Manhattan Beach, lived up to his

family name with a third first place finish in the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race

on Sunday, August 27. First finished the 32 mile race, from Two Harbors on Catalina

Island to the Manhattan Beach pier, in 5:55. His time was half an hour slower than

his winning time last year and nearly an hour slower than his winning time of 5:07

in 2014.

“This was one of the toughest years I’ve ever seen,” First said at the finish. The

101 paddlers were working against a headwind and strong southerly current.

Katie Hazelrigg, 26, of El Segundo, a recurrent (part time) Los Angeles County Lifeguard,

won the women’s division in 7:20, racing a stock board. (Carlsbad lifeguard

Marisa Kuiken, 30, finished in 7:15. But because she was the only woman racing an

unlimited board, she did not medal. The rules require a minimum of five racers for

a division to be recognized.)

For the third consecutive year Lachie Lansdown, 21, of Noosa, Australia, won the

men’s stock division.

Paddleboard builder Joe Back completed the race for a record 35 consecutive years.

For complete results visit


1. Steve Schlens, of Santa Barbara,

(on the white stock board) paces South

Bay Donkeys Doug Weems, Matt

Walls, John Ward, Jason Weber and

Mike Jaxon.

2. Lifeguard Max First, of Manhattan

Beach on his way to his third unlimited

Classic victory in four years.

3. Australian Lachie Lansdown claiming

his third consecutive stock Classic


4. Lifeguard Katie Hazelrigg, of El Segundo

took first in the women’s stock


5. Joe Bark completes his 35th consecutive

Catalina Classic.

6. Second place finisher DJ O’Brien

and first place finisher Katie Hazelrigg

with race directors Francziska Steagall

and Buddy Bohn.

7. Donkeys enjoying a pre-raced dinner

at Doug’s Harbor Reef (clockwise)

Bobby Mckeegan, Dave, Ethan Ward,

John Ward, Kurt Fry, Kevin Cody, Evan,

Scott Rusher, Hugh Kretschmer, Cole

Horton, Tom Horton, Eric Earhart (hidden),

Mike, Brian and Ed McKeegan.

2 3 4


6 7

16 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

September 14, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 17

each sports

BA life at the


Chris Brown’s passion for the beach lifestyle has not wavered since his youth. Photo by Brad Jacobson (

by Randy Angel

Hermosa Beach native Chris Brown has turned his passion for the beach into a career

helping adults and kids learn surfing and beach volleyball

My parents Kyle and Sue were beach people,” Chris Brown said.

“One of my earliest memories is of bodysurfing on my dad’s back.

When I was young, I was obsessed with being at the beach.”

The obsession never left him. Instead, he made a profession of it.

From bodysurfing with his dad, he graduated to boogie boarding and at

age 9 to surfing with his buddies at 21st Street.

He built a career around sharing that obsession with others, both kids

and adults. He also played traditional youth sports, including baseball, basketball

and soccer while attending North School and Hermosa Middle

School. But at Mira Costa High School, he focused on volleyball. And when

he went to USC, where his father had played baseball, he joined the surfing


Shortly after graduating, he and former Mira Costa classmate Jimmy

Miller, who had just graduated from Cal Berkeley, gave themselves a graduation


“We went on a surfing trip to Indonesia. We found an insane spot by accident,

with no one else around. I didn’t know waves could get that good,”

he recalled.

They were taking a boat trip from island to island when the motor broke,

forcing the boat to drop anchor off a small island.

“We looked over and saw this spot with great shaped waves that kept getting

bigger and bigger,” Brown said. “We were in the right place at the right

time. When we returned two weeks later, the waves were just as good.”

Over the ensuing years, Brown would surf in South Africa, Australia, New

Zealand, Micronesia, Mexico and Hawaii. But Indonesia remains his favorite


“It has 14,000 islands, nice weather and powerful swells,” he said.

“Traveling has been an education for me almost as important as going to

school,” he added.

In 1997, Miller decided teaching surfing would be a good way to finance

future surf trips.

CampSurf, which began as a seasonal surf camp with private lessons and

corporate events, celebrated it’s 20th anniversary this summer.

After Miller died in 2004, following a battle with mental illness, the Miller

family asked Brown to continue running the program.

In addition to managing the camp, Brown serves on the Board of Directors

of the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation, whose Ocean Therapy program

uses surfing to provide occupational and recreational therapy. The

program has proven effective in assisting people with Post Traumatic Stress

Disorders (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries, and other emotional, mental

and medical conditions.

“The foundation has grown beyond what we ever dreamed of,” Brown


Ocean therapy, Brown said, is just one of the aspects of surfing that has

helped the sport move past the stereotype of the surfer/beach bum made

famous by Sean Penn’s role as Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

18 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

(The movie was based on screenwriter Cameron Crowe’s time spent undercover

at Redondo Union High. The Ridgemont mascot, like Redondo’s,

was the Sea Hawks.)

“The sport has become more mainstreamed and the pros have become

clean-cut, elite athletes,” he said.

Hitting the sand

When the surf was flat beach volleyball provided an opportunity for

Brown and his buddies to continue hanging out at the beach.

Brown began playing in local tournaments in his teens, including those

run by the California Beach Volleyball Association (CBVA).

The CBVA was founded in 1962 to unite local beach volleyball communities

and to coordinate local tournament schedules.

In 2017, nearly 1,000 CBVA tournaments were held at 23 beaches. There

are 11 skill or age divisions and approximately 8,000 members.

“I won at every level on the CBVA and have great memories of battles on

the court,” Brown said.

One summer, Brown became friends with the CBVA tournament director

at Playa del Rey and asked him why there weren’t more tournaments in

his hometown.

“Hermosa Beach had fallen off the map at the time, so I badgered him

about going to Hermosa,” Brown recalled. “He asked me ‘Why don’t you

do it?’ Finally, after two years of considering the offer, I learned the ins and

outs of being a tournament director and began running Hermosa tourna-

Chris Brown pulling in last February in Redondo Beach. Photo by Brad Jacobson (

ments in 1999.

“I love the organization. It’s a whole machine run by great people. We’ve

brought Hermosa Beach back into prominence on the volleyball circuit.

It’s thriving with adults whose life goal is to earn an A or B rating.”

“When players come up to me after a tournament, shake my hand and

say thanks, it makes it all worthwhile,” Brown said.

In 2005, Brown became president of the CBVA, a position he continues

to hold. He also sits on the Nominating and Governance Committee of

USA Volleyball, the governing body for U.S. Olympic volleyball.

As president of CBVA, Brown has striven to keep the tournaments affordable

and to bring the organization into the digital age.

“In 2005 we didn’t have online registration,” Brown said. “On Friday

nights, I’d listen to phone messages and chicken scratch on a piece of paper

the names of players who called wanting to play in that weekend’s tournaments.

Now we’re on the cutting edge with our website.”

Manhattan Beach native Kevin Cleary has known Brown for many years.

Cleary became the first president of the Association of Volleyball Professionals

(AVP) in 1983 and was inducted into the CBVA Beach Volleyball

Hall of Fame in 2010.

He serves on the CBVA Board of Directors and helps organize the CBVA

Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame induction ceremony each November at the

Hermosa Beach Community Center. The CBVA museum is located in the

Hermosa Beach Historical Society Museum.

“Chris is the ultimate old schooler and totally committed to the beach

lifestyle,” Cleary said. “He’s a surfer first but loves his volleyball, too. He

has excellent people skills and has been invaluable to both CBVA and the

Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame committee. His work and recreation run

hand in hand. The man is a lifestyle technician.”

Brown believes the biggest change in beach volleyball came after 2000

when rally scoring was adopted to accommodate television schedules.

“The change was not for the best, but the sport is so great it survived,”

Brown said. “I would like to see the game go back to side-out scoring

(where teams need to be serving to score a point). Champions really earned

their titles after a grueling tournament with longer matches.”

Brown feels the AVP took a big step forward this year by returning to

Hermosa Beach, increasing the prize money and implementing the point

freeze rule. The new rule calls for side-out scoring when match-point is

reached. Let serves (when a serve touches the net on its way over) are not

be allowed during that period and the server gets one re-serve.

“The introduction of NCAA women’s beach volleyball was also a game

changer,” Brown said. “I’m astounded by the high level of play girls have

at a young age.”

Brown said his most memorable experience as a player came during his

second summer of competition.

“I made the finals of a CBVA tournament beating three pro teams in a

row,” Brown said. “Scott Ayakatubby was an idol of mine and we played

him and Brian Lewis. I blocked Ack a couple of times and to have a chance

to play against him, let alone beat him, was a big thrill.”

Believer in tradition

Brown returns to the sands of Hermosa Beach each 4th of July for the

annual Ironman contest, which he has won five times.

The event requires participants to run one mile, paddle one mile, then

chug a 6-pack of beer. The first to finish without vomiting wins.

“I love competing and it’s just crazy exertion,” Brown said. “There was

a time when some people in Hermosa Beach wanted to shut it down, but

calmer heads prevailed. It draws a large group of people, most of them

friends, who have a good time without hurting anyone.”

Brown has also competed in the 32-mile Catalina Classic Paddleboard

Race three times, from 1990-92.

“I had a lot of friends who paddled in the race and it had been a goal of

mine since I was young,” Brown said. “The first year when I got to the

Manhattan Beach Pier, I was euphoric. There have been countless times

when I have leaned on that experience to help me face obstacles in my

daily life.”

Brown will begin a new adventure this month when he marries Laura

Sikora on September 29.

“I’m 48 years old and had never been engaged. But I reached a point in

my life where I felt I had matured enough for the responsibilities of being

a husband and father. I so happy she came into my life, Brown said. B

20 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

Chris Brown competing in the Hermosa Beach Fourth of July Ironman in 2004, which he won in 1994 and again in 2011. The Ironman requires running and

paddling a mile and chugging a six-pack of beer. Photo by Patrick Fallon

September 14, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 21

each sports


takes over Labor Day four-man

The 60th annual 17th Street Hermosa Beach Labor Day Weekend Invitational Four-man Volleyball

tournament was dedicated with a moment of silence in memory of former 1tth Street

player Sean Smith, who passed away, at age 52, in April, at his home in Hawaii after surfing in

the morning and playing volleyball in the afternoon.

Then tournament founders Bob Courtney, Norm Green, Hal Ormondroyd, Sam Tattu and

Jim Graham were introduced. In the finals, a team led by 21-year-old, 6-foot-7 Devon Burki,

backed by MVP Mike Derouin, Shane Taugner and James Chops, faced a team led by AVP veteran

Jason Raney. At the side change, Burki’s team was down 8-1. Then Burki’s young legs and

7-foot wingspan took charge. His team surged to win 15-12.

On Monday, 16th Street women players hosted the 18th annual Bikini Four-Woman Tournament.

USC beach volleyball player Emily Young used her powerful swing to lead teammates

Elaine Dodson, Shannon Sneed and Bridget Lambert to the finals. But a better balanced team,

led by former UC Riverside outside hitter Val Bueno (and veterinarian at VCA Coast Animal

Hospital in Hermosa), with backup from Shelly Norman, Katrina Zawojski and Netty Polk, prevailed

to win the tournament.

1. Devon Burki unloads against

Jeff Urth in the semifinals.

2. Jeff Urth clears Devon Burki’s


3. 60th Annual 17th Street

Labor Day Weekend Volleyball

champions James Chops, Shane

Taugner, Devon Burki, MVP Mike

Derouin and team owner Bobby


4. Bob Courtney recalls the

tournaments founding in 1957,

flanked by Kevin Campbell (son

of tournament co-founder Lee

Campbell) and co-founders Hal

Ormondroyd, Jim Graham, Sam


Tattu and Norm Green.

5. Falyn Fonoimoana duels at

the net.

6. 18th Labor Day Weekend

Bikini Volleyball Tournament

champions Shelly Norman, Val

Bueno, Katrina Zawojski and

Netty Polk.

7. Annie Welch goes up against

Audrey Titus.

8. Volleyball photographer and

17th Street veteran Robi Hutas.

9. Jon Hackett meets Jason

Raney in the semi-finals.


2 3

4 5



7 9

22 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

24 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

September 14, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 25

each books


Hermosa style

Then Hermosa Beach Mayor Kit Bobko introduces legendary surfers Mike Doyle and John Joseph during the April 2013 Hermosa Beach Surfer Walk of

Fame inductions. Photo by Mike Balzer

26 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

Former Hermosa Beach councilman Kit Bobko writes about oil and

other controversial issues in his insider’s guide to local politics

Nine Secrets for Getting Elected,” 258 pages,

is available through Amazon.

by Robb Fulcher

Former Hermosa Councilman Kit Bobko has turned his experience inside City Hall into an entertaining

and information-rich book about the triumphs and vicissitudes of big time politics in small

town America.

“Nine Secrets for Getting Elected” is partly a how-to book for prospective office seekers, and partly

a memoir of a tumultuous and transformative period in Hermosa Beach’s recent history.

Bobko captures the long and short of political life in the Beach Cities from the multimillion-dollar

matter of potential city bankruptcy, to the jittery importance of opening the Little League season with

the ceremonial first pitch.

The book’s how-to lessons are woven into the memoir’s anecdotal flow, revealing the strategies and

tactics of electoral politics without slowing down the narrative. Along the way Bobko, an Air Force veteran

and self-described Reagan Republican, makes the case that even small-town government can be

too big, and too free to impose its will where it’s not needed.

Bobko, who served on the Hermosa Beach City Council from 2006 to

2013, describes fighting what he saw as too much business regulation, and

environmentalism run amok. He describes the slings and arrows of his

doomed push to privatize the police department’s parking patrol and ani-

mal control functions.

Bobko writes about crossing potent constituencies such as the police and

firefighter unions, and fending off a false allegation that he did not actually

live in Hermosa while he sat on the council. He recounts fighting a surprise

move to formally censure him, which was leveled from across the council


He recalls how he was called a “carpetbagger” when he first ran for office

as a short-time resident. He responded that his military service caused him

to keep moving from place to place, a defense previously used by U.S. Sen.

John McCain.

Bobko, a municipal attorney by trade, digs into the details of his role in

the settlement of a decades-long, potentially bankrupting lawsuit against

the city, and how in his view, doing the right thing destroyed his chances

for a third term in office.

The people of Hermosa had a decades-long history of alternately courting

and rejecting oil drilling projects within the city. Over time, opposition to

such projects solidified, and in 1995 voters banned oil drilling anywhere

in Hermosa. However, the City Council had already signed a drilling contract

with an oil company. Faced with the will of the people, the council

tore up the contract, claiming the drilling project was unsafe.

The oil company responded with a $750 million breach-of-contract lawsuit.

The action wound its way up and down the court system for a decade

and a half, and finally stood poised for a hearing on the amount of the

award to the oil company. Bobko, who was not on the council when the

key oil decisions were made, believed previous council members had simply

kicked the oil can down the road, putting off any final reckoning until

their tenures were over.

Bobko and council ally Michael DiVirgilio (who is as Democratic as

Bobko is Republican) defied expectations by spearheading a complex,

three-party settlement. It called for Hermosa voters to 1. approve the

drilling project after all, with a cut of the royalties going to the city, or 2.

reject the project at the ballot box again, for good, and pay $17.5 million,

over time, as part of the settlement.

For perspective, the annual city budget was about $26 million.

Bobko and DiVirgilio thought they had spared the city financial disaster.

But oil opponents were livid that the two had opened the door once again

to a possible drilling project.

In an interview, Bobko said a chief regret from his time in office is that

he did not make a more forceful, sustained defense of the oil settlement,

which was approved by the full council.

In his book, he writes about a mediation at which a retired bankruptcy

judge held out grim prospects for the city, and worse, a mock trial that did

not go well.

Bobko cont. on page 41

Callow Councilman Kit Bobko opens the Little League season with the ceremonial

first pitch. 'Whatever you do, don't bounce it in,' they said. Photo by

Kevin Cody

September 14, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 27

28 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017







Thursday, September 14

Needed NED

Join Long Beach Memorial for a screening of NED (No Evidence of Disease),

a documentary detailing the journey of six surgeons who use music

to fight and raise awareness of gynecologic cancer. The screening will feature

two gynecologic cancer survivors sharing their stories, and a Q&A

held by Teresa Longoria, M.D., gynecologic oncologist, Long Beach Memorial.

Light snacks and refreshments provided courtesy of Genentech.

Free. 3 p.m. Todd Cancer Pavilion, Treatment planning room, 3rd floor.

RSVP by calling (562) 933-7815.

2810 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach.

Friday, September 15

Medicine, Munchies and Movies

Join the MemorialCare Senior Plus Program at Long Beach Memorial’s

free “Medicine, Munchies and Movies” health education lecture. Katy

Hyman, program coordinator, Palliative Care, will host a 45-minute lecture

on aging with positivity and a 15-minute Q&A session, followed by a

screening of “Hidden Figures.” Free lunch provided. Noon. Miller Children’s

& Women’s Hospital. Call (562) 933-1650 to register. For more Senior

Plus events, visit

2801 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach

Beating Sugar Blues

Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach (CSCRB) hosts Amanda

Broomell, Certified Holistic Health Counselor, presenting methods to gain

Health Calendar cont. on page 30



100 years of compassionate

care from Long Beach Memorial

Long Beach Memorial is a part of the MemorialCare Health System, a nationally

recognized not-for-profit, integrated delivery system with top ratings for quality and

safety. Long Beach Memorial has been providing compassionate care with the

latest state-of-the-art technology for more than 100 years and is the region's first

choice for comprehensive care in virtually every medical and surgical specialty.

Centers of excellence include the MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute, the

MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, the MemorialCare Rehabilitation Institute,

the MemorialCare Orthopedic Institute, the MemorialCare Neuroscience Institute

and the Emergency Department and Trauma Center.

Visit, like us on

Memorial and follow us at

Parker Hearing Institute

Dr. William Lee Parker of Hermosa Beach, was born into a family with deaf parents,

although he could hear. As a result, he understands the challenges of the

hearing impaired. He founded Parker Hearing Institute in Torrance in 1975. His

children Josh and Andrea followed him into the audiology profession and have

offices in Torrance and San Pedro offices.

Over 20 percent of the American population has hearing loss but only 20 percent

of those with hearing loss seek hearing help. The remainder struggle to cope.

Modern digital aids are invisible and adaptive to noisy environments. Parking

Hearing Institute prides itself on professional and empathetic care. It has helped

over 40,000 persons achieve greater hearing health.

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• Age Spots

• Glycolic & Chemical Peels

• Sculptra, Radiesse, Perlane ® ,

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• XTRAC laser for treatment of

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September 14, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 29

Health Calendar cont. from page 29

control over cravings without willpower or deprivation. Mounting evidence

points to the relationship between sugar and cancer. Learn how to create

balance by putting sweet cravings to rest, creating an optimal environment

for the body to thrive. 1 - 2:30 p.m. A healthy lunch will be provided by

The Spot Restaurant in Hermosa Beach from 12:30 - 1 p.m. Advance registration

required. (310) 376-3550 or visit the website at

109 West Torrance Blvd., Redondo Beach.

Saturday, September 16

Frankly Speaking About Lung Cancer

Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach (CSCRB) hosts Ronald Natale,

MD, Medical Director of the Clinical Lung Cancer Research Program,

Cedar-Sinai Medical Center. This workshop will cover the latest treatments

for lung cancer, side effects, and tools to overcome the social and emotional

challenges of the diagnosis, and manage the disease more successfully. Advance

registration required. 10 a.m. - noon. Advance registration required.

Call (310) 376-3550 or visit

109 West Torrance Blvd., Redondo Beach.

Tuesday, September 19

Diabetes and you

Do you have prediabetes? Learn to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.

Join Long Beach Memorial for a prediabetes education class led by certified

diabetes instructors and physical therapists who will discuss sustaining

good eating habits, exercise and the relationship between obesity and insulin

resistance. Friends and family are welcome. Light refreshments will

be served. To RSVP or for more information, call (562) 933-5043. 5:30 – 8

p.m. Conference Room A2, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long


2801 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach.

Hanna Somatic Movement Therapy

Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach (CSCRB) will host Farzaneh

Jafari, PhD, yoga therapist, and Hanna Somatic educator. In this active participation

workshop, Jafari will teach restorative exercises using Somatic

Movement Therapy to increase flexibility, reduce pain levels, and address

ineffective body movement patterns. 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Advance registration

required. Call (310) 376-3550 or visit

109 West Torrance Blvd., Redondo Beach.

Wednesday, September 20

Health & Wellness Fair

The Normandale Recreation Center invites adults age 55 years and older

to attend a free Health & Wellness Fair for the Los Angeles community.

The event is sponsored by Humana, a leading health and well-being company,

which aims to help people achieve lifelong well-being and has had a

presence in California since 1984. 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Normandale Recreation

Center. For questions and information call (213) 485-8744.

22400 S. Halldale Ave., Torrance.

Prostate Cancer Workshop: Integrated Care

Redondo Beach (CSCRB) will host an integrated team of specialists from

the Cedar-Sinai Urologic Oncology Program. A team of specialists from

different medical and scientific disciplines will share ground-breaking research

in the area of prostate cancer. Timothy Daskivich, MD, Edwin

Posadas, MD and Mitchell Kamrava, MD will be providing information

across the spectrum from active surveillance to the newest drugs for advanced

prostate cancers. 5 - 6:30 p.m. Advance registration is required.

Call (310) 376-3550 or visit

109 West Torrance Blvd, Redondo Beach.

Parenting in a digital world

What apps are on your child’s phone? What social media are they using?

What age should a child have a smart phone? Digital technology is an excellent

tool to make and enhance social relationships, however, it can also

expose users to risk. Join South Bay Families Connected for this free parenting

event 6:30 - 8 p.m in the Hermosa Valley School MPR. Adults only.

1645 Valley Dr Hermosa Beach. B

30 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

Mermaid Linden in the Bahamas. Photo by Matthew Addison

Pioneering professional mermaid Linden Wolbert looks to the future, with Body Glove in tow

The waters of Loch Lomond dipped to a hypothermic 47 degrees as

the world’s foremost professional mermaid glided into view, sporting

an elegant, 50-pound silicone tail, and little else. Waiting on the shore

in happy anticipation was a seriously ill, 9-year-old Scottish girl, who had

drawn the golden-haired mermaid from the congenial waters of her Southern

California home.

The visit, arranged to fulfill a dear wish of the Scottish girl, marked one

of many interactions between “Mermaid Linden” Wolbert and the two central

loves that propel her, the ocean and children.

Wolbert pioneered professional-quality mermaid performances in the

early part of the millennium, parlaying her deep-diving athleticism, a fishrealistic

tail with a monofin inside, and copious personal charm into a

wildly successful business.

For more than a decade her schedule has overflowed with performances

at fancy rooftop parties, baby showers, weddings, corporate events and

trade shows as she cavorts in aquariums, the ocean, various bodies of freshwater,

cramped, rented water tanks, and of course people’s swimming

pools, where she frequently tows children in her wake.

This Saturday, Wolbert will swim and pose for photos with kids in the

pool at Dive N’ Surf.

Throughout, her course remains set upon educating kids, in fun, bite size

bits, about the ocean’s wonders. She blends this education into her appearances,

and spreads it further with “Mermaid Minute” YouTube videos that

collectively, have been viewed more than 40 million times.

“My focus is ocean education for children,” Wolbert said. “I’m not in the

entertainment business, I’m in the edu-tainment business.”

“Kids who are 7 or under believe in fairy tales, they believe in magic,”

Wolbert said. “Interacting with kids, especially in the water, is just amazing.”

Her work with organizations such as Make-A-Wish Foundation and Rays

of Sunshine Children’s Charity brought her to Lauren in Scotland, where it

was originally planned that she would swim in a tank.

“I looked out the window at Loch Lomond and I thought, wouldn’t a mermaid

come straight out of the loch? Wouldn’t that be more magical? And

the tank would have been cold anyway, so I just thought, cold is cold,” Wolbert


“I came around from behind the dock, and it felt like a million knives

had stabbed my abdomen,” she said. After about 20 minutes in the glaciallyfed

loch, “Lauren looked down at me and she said, in her cute Scottish accent,

‘Are you alright Mermaid Linden? You have goose bumps all over and

you’re chattering.’

“That broke the spell and I could feel again. I just said ‘Well, it’s warmer

in California where I’m from.’ My internal thermostat was thrown off for

long time after that,” Wolbert said.

Wolbert also has played in the ocean, tail attached, with Caribbean reef

sharks that had to be attracted with bait to get them close enough to be

photographed near her. Otherwise, the sharks were afraid of this large,

unidentifiable half-human, half-fish.

32 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

“They’re really sweet as far as sharks go,” she said. “In fact they are scared

of me. With my tail, I’m about eight feet long. These sharks go on a hierarchy

of size.”

Along the way, Wolbert teamed with South Bay wetsuit maker Body

Glove to create a mermaid-themed line of children’s swim products, including

a monofin (one swim fin that both feet fit into), and a lightweight mermaid

tail that pairs with the monofins.

Mermaid-ing is not without its hardships. In the water, she smiles, chats

and interacts while making her tail-work look effortless, with the help of

her iron abs. She braves infections of the sinuses and ears, and bears the

sting of salts and chlorine on her ever-open eyes. If her feet cramp, she cannot

reach them, and she must soldier on smiling.

“Many things about mermaid-ing are extremely uncomfortable. Number

one is the eyes,” she said with a laugh. “Sometimes it’s the variety of water.

I’ve gone from a pool, to the ocean, to a freshwater cave in the same day.”

Wolbert has a gift for taking her work seriously, without taking herself

seriously. She peppers her speech with a “mer-nacular” of mermaid themed

words like mer-chandise and mer-media. She counts her money in sand


Her watery way

Wolbert grew up in landlocked Pennsylvania, swimming in pools and pretending

to be Disney’s “Little Mermaid.” She read books about the oceans,

and watched TV specials featuring famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.

She competed on her high school swim team.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in film and environmental science from

Emerson College in Boston, and climbed into scuba gear to film underwater

in the oceans that she was drawn to like, well, a mermaid.

She began her transformation into a fully formed mermaid in 2005, while

at Grand Cayman filming competitive freediving.

Wolbert’s personal bests included a 115-foot deep dive on one breath,

and a five-minute stretch of holding her breath underwater.

“It’s an extreme sport, but it’s a Zen extreme sport,” she said. “It involves

relaxing and understanding one’s body.”

“This shoot in the Caymans marked the first time I had seen freediving

in the ocean. I was fascinated at seeing people use monofins and moving

so gracefully in the water, and so ‘e-fish-ently.’ I was in SCUBA gear, and

here were these beautiful freedivers with monofins.”

Wolbert couldn’t resist asking world champion Mandy-Rae Cruickshank

for a loan of her gear.

“I said, when you’re done setting your world record can I try out your

monofin?” Wolbert recalled. “Fortunately, she said yes. I went off the back

of the boat and it was so fast, it felt so good. When I came up I looked and

– wow, the boat is way back there. I felt like a mermaid.”

“I loved it, and I knew there was something in this, that I could parlay

this into a way to educate children about the ocean. Coming back from that

trip, I knew I had to make a [mermaid’s] tail around a monofin.”

There was no clear path to this goal.

“There weren’t any tutorial videos about how to make a mermaid tail,”

Wolbert said. She considered using hand-sewn fabric or specially painted

wetsuit material, but those options didn’t hold water.

“I wanted it to look real,” she said. “When I want to do something, I don’t

just dip my fins in, I dive in all the way.”

It was then that serendipity struck.

A friend introduced Wolbert to a man who wanted to make an underwater

music video. The man turned out to be Hollywood special effects artist

Allan Holt, who wound up helping her put together the elusive tail.

“I’m charmed,” she said. “When I have ideas, the sea stars seem to align

for me.”

“Over about seven months, we built my first prosthetic silicone mermaid

tail. It’s still with me, although it’s mostly retired.” Holt made a fiberglass

mold that Wolbert still uses to make new silicon tails when an old one gets

worn. She strives for verisimilitude in her tails, employing careful biomimicry,

from color to fluke design.

“I had been saving up my sand dollars, and I quit my job [as a residence

director for the Emerson College intern program]. That was full time, with

health benefits and housing, but I quit and moved back home to start a

mermaid business.”

“As soon as we got my tail done I started doing live performances, and

the word got out through Hollywood, LA, San Diego.”

The mer-media loved her right away.

“I’ve been on 20/20, the Today Show, Good Morning America, People

magazine. I’ve never sought any of it out, it always found me,” Wolbert

said. “I listen to my heart, I’m enthusiastic, and I tend to be in the right

place at the right time.”

A fit like a Glove

Wolbert teamed up with Body Glove after meeting company president

Mermaid Linden swims with a child wearing her signature Mix N' Match mermaid tail and monofin set. Photo by Reuben E. Reynoso


AAA Travel 700 S. Aviation Blvd.

Manhattan Beach, CA. 90266

Mermaid Linden at Dean's Blue Hole, the world's second deepest sinkhole,

at 663 feet. This is the site of Linden's 115 feet (35 meters) free dive. Photo

by Greg Browning

Russ Lesser, a fellow board member with the ocean-protecting Reef

Check Foundation.

“I had watched her career, and saw how passionate she is about educating

kids about our environment and the ocean,” Lesser said. “We were talking

one day, and I said, you’re really becoming popular — she had huge

hits on YouTube and on her website — and we ought to think about developing

some products around you.”

The children’s monofin, with a special mermaid-tail look, was designed

and made. The product took off.

“Now there are hundreds of thousands of pairs sold each year. They’re

not just toys, they’re trainers. Have you seen [Wolbert’s] abs?” Lesser said.

“A couple of years ago we were at the Manhattan Country Club, filming

something. There was this 25-year-old macho swim instructor, and I said

hey, do you think you can beat the Mermaid in a race? He laughed, he

seemed to think it was a waste of his time, and then she beat him by a

third of the pool. He’s a little more humble now.”

Body Glove followed the monofin with the full, lightweight Lycra mermaid

tail for kids.

Kids wearing the monofin “still looked like they had legs,” Lesser said.

“Linden and I designed a Lycra tail. It took about a year to make it durable.

We worked with the L.A. factory so that’s great, they’re made domestically.”

“I sent some to a friend who has daughters. He said they’ve basically

ceased to use their legs in the way we’re used to them,” Lesser laughed.

Throughout Wolbert’s mermaid career, the industry has mushroomed

around her.

“When I started, there were some mermaid shows, with choreographed

routines, but nobody was doing education for kids with their shows,” she

said. “Now there are tons of amateur mermaids and mermen. There are

performance companies. The trend has exploded. There are tail manufacturers.

The underwater landscape has changed a great deal.”

Meanwhile, Wolbert’s 37-year-old eyes gaze to the horizon.

“There’s a shelf life on mermaid-ing. You can’t swim around forever in

a 50-pound tail. I’ve been doing this for over a decade,” she said.

Wolbert has begun work to expand her ocean videos into a 30-minute

children’s education show that she hopes to make available soon on an online

platform, showing “the magical creatures of our ocean, the beauty

below the waves that most people never get to see, firsthand.”

And she continues to work on the mer-chandise with Body Glove.

“We have monofins and tails for adults coming out next year, which

makes it more inclusive. I get emails from women and men asking for this.

We’re perfecting the designs, making them mer-fect for aspiring mermaids

and mermen."

Lesser said adults should be flipping their fins and flicking their tails by


Linden Wolbert’s website is; her YouTube channel is

mermaidsinmotion. B

34 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

September 14, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 35

each food


at Bite at the Beach

The Manhattan Chamber breathed new life into tasting and tippling

events three years ago by emphasizing craft beers rather than wine at

its annual Bite at the Beach. This year’s Bite at the Beach was held August

19 on the streets of New York at the MBS Media Campus. It helped

that the South Bay is home to a dozen of the country’s best craft breweries.

Participating breweries included HopSaint, King Harbor, Strand,

The Dudes, Zymurgy Brew Works and newcomer Los Angeles Ale

Works. Food pairings were offered by local restaurants, who included

Baran’s 2239, Sausal, Zinc at the Shade, Second Story at Belamar, I-Naba,

Fresh Brothers Pizza and Playa Hermosa.

1. Bartender Jeff Perperas and brewmaster

Brian Brewer, HopSaint.

2. Kristie Bjorklund and Laura Valley, King

Harbor Brewing.

3. Calvin Segovia and Henry Gonzalez, Fresh

Brothers Pizza.

4. Brian Herbertson, Simmzy's.

5. Shun Hosoi, I-Naba, Manhattan Beach.

6. Mark Lipps, Manhattan Chamber CEO.


7. David Bulzkowski, So. Cal Gas VP of Gas

Engineering and Major Projects.

8. Chef Tyler Gugliotta, Baran's 2239.

9. Sheena Mariano, Second Story, Belamar


10. Bruna Franke, Lido di Manhattan.

11. Barry and Kathy Fisher, Grow.

12. Steve Roberts, HopSaint and Clarity

Mackay and Billy Lansing, Playa Hermosa.


2 3







10 11


36 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

South Bay Multi-Family Investment Properties For Sale

3711 Artesia Blvd. Torrance

$4,750,000 (only $339,285 per unit)

14 Units

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Hostaria Piave owner and chef Angelo Calderan.

Photo by Brad Jacobson (

The subtle Venetian

by Richard Foss

Hostaria Piave’s

Venetian finesse is a

welcome contrast

to southern Italy’s

more brazen flavors

If you look at a map of Italy you see Venice at the very eastern edge. Any

Venetian knows that it was once at the center. In the sixteenth century when

the rest of Italy was a patchwork of warring states, Venice was the second

largest city in Europe and by far the richest. The government known as the

Serene Republic ruled their domain shrewdly, planted colonies all over the

Eastern Mediterranean, and controlled the spice trade for most of Europe.

If you give cooks a few hundred years of access to the world’s spices and a

public that can afford them, they get pretty good at subtle seasoning, and it is

that characteristic that Venetian cooking is most noted for. Cuisines further

down the peninsula use garlic and pepper more enthusiastically. The Venetians

prize finesse.

Italian migration to the U.S. was mostly from the Southern regions, and

Venetian cuisine is relatively little known here. The lone outpost in the

South Bay is Hostaria Piave, a stylish restaurant near the corner of PCH and

Torrance Boulevard. The restaurant was opened by Angelo Calderan, a Venice

native who worked at prestigious restaurants in London and Beverly Hills before

opening in Redondo in 2011.

When I reviewed the restaurant in 2012 I remarked on the understated décor,

38 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017

mix of rustic and refined dishes, and the way the menu sometimes uses

fairly obscure terms in the descriptions. None of these have changed substantially,

but improvements in web access on mobile phones have made

it easier to look up obscure terms. Even so we appreciated the fact that

servers here know this cuisine and explain it well.

We started one meal with starters of smoked beef carpaccio with mushrooms

and smoked albacore with salsa verde, a mix of herbs, anchovy,

onion, and olive oil. Pairing the two smoked items turned out to be a great

idea. They were remarkably different despite the similarity in concept.

The thin slices of raw albacore had a wisp of sharp smoke flavor that was

enhanced by the fruity olive oil and a dusting of sea salt, with the salsa occupying

the same niche as the ginger and scallion topping that is used in

sushi. By contrast, smoking the beef slightly and topping it with sautéed

shimeji mushrooms and Parmesan cheese enhanced the richness of the

meat, which used earthy, funky flavors as counterpoint. (And in case you

wonder why shimeji mushrooms are in an Italian restaurant, they’re similar

to an Italian mushroom that doesn’t travel well.) The two dishes

showed how smoke can enhance the main ingredient in different ways,

and I suggest that you repeat the experiment.

We followed those starters with a pair of pastas, a plate of linguini with

pesto, green beans, and potatoes and an order of pasticcio, which is the

Adriatic equivalent of lasagna. Pasticcio is usually seen in Greek restaurants,

but since the Venetians ruled much of Greece at various times it’s

no surprise that there are culinary crossovers. The layers of noodles are

interspersed with béchamel sauce and a mixture of ground beef, pork, and

ham. It’s an interesting variant on the familiar theme.

The pasta with pesto, potato, and green beans was the only item from

this meal that we wouldn’t order again, and it wasn’t bad, just less revelatory

than the others. It’s a fine, simple item, one of several that vegetarians

can enjoy here, but less interesting than the others we tried.

Since we had ordered two starters and pastas we shared one main item,

roasted rabbit legs with house-smoked pancetta in a sauce made with a

touch of veal stock. Rabbit is a low-fat meat that is easy to dry out, and the

moist, rich meat on these plump legs was proof of art in the kitchen. The

plate came with a neat stack of fried zucchini on the side, and we barely

had room for a shared dessert afterward.

That was a lemon-basil tart with a few drops of balsamic vinegar on the

side. It was a thought-provoking item. Basil and lemon are showing up in

cocktails and other non-traditional places lately, but I don’t often see it in

a dessert setting. I’ll be playing with it in different recipes now, because it

certainly worked well here.

If you’re buying wine by the bottle here you have some remarkable

choices, including Brunellos from the early ‘90s, a splendid list of California

Cabernets, and a Champagne list that made me wish for an expense account

and a chauffeur. The wine by-the-glass list is less spectacular but

has some relatively obscure items alongside old favorites. I particularly

liked a minerally, fruity Lugana that ran eleven bucks for a generous pour.

Trust your server and ask for tastes and you can discover something new


As pleasant as my midweek dinner at Hostaria Piave was, the best day

to show up here is Sunday, when they offer a five course meal for only

$40 plus tax and tip. At a recent Sunday supper this included antipasti,

braised baby octopus in paprika sauce, red beet raviolis in poppy seed butter,

grilled sausage and pork ribs with rosemary and garlic, and gelato for

dessert. This is the great dining deal of the South Bay and if you are omnivorous

you should stop in and be surprised. All others can check that

week’s menu, which is posted on their website a few days in advance. I

enjoyed everything at that meal, and will be watchful for those beet ravioli

on the specials list because they were sensational.

Dinner at Hostaria Piave is moderately priced for the area – pastas run

from $13 to $21, grills and mains from $25 to $33, and a dinner for two

with a glass or two of wine will typically run about $130. For the experience

of an unjustly obscure region of Italy, cooked by a master, it’s well

worth it.

Hostaria Piave is at 231 South PCH in Redondo. Open Mon. - Thurs. 4 –

9 p.m., Fri. - Sat. 4 –10 p.m., Sun 5 – 9 p.m. Parking lot, patio dining. Wheelchair

access good, wine and beer served, corkage $20. Menu at (310) 374-1000. B

September 14, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 39

each art


at HB Artists Collective

Rafael McMaster curated an end of summer show at Hermosa Design featuring

over 50 artists, most of them members of the HB Artist Collective. “Resin: at the intersection

of art and surf” tilted toward surf art, with surfboards as a popular canvas.

For more about the collective visit

1. Jeff Ferger.

2. Grayson Daley.

3. Andre Snyman.

4. Board shaper Tyler Hatzikian and

photographer Brent Broza.


5. Paul Roustan.

6. Curator Rafael McMaster and Paul

Rostan with Roustan’s art.

7. Emily Brantley.

1 2 3

4 5

6 7

40 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017


CAL ENDAR cont. from page 6

to or call

(310) 318-0900.

Monday, September 18

Calling young artists

Beginning drawing class for teens

and adults with Ray Patrick. Free. 6 - 8

p.m. Manhattan Beach Library, 1320

Highland Ave., Manhattan Beach. Call

Melissa McCollum for information at

(310) 545-8595 or visit

Wednesday, September 20

A leisurely bird walk

Wild Birds Unlimited leads a special

bird walk. Free. All ages are welcome.

Binoculars available. Reservations appreciated

but not required. 8:30 a.m.

White Point Nature Preserve, 1600 W.

Paseo del Mar, San Pedro. For more information


Erev Rosh Hashanah

High Holy Day at Temple Emet with

Rabbi-Cantor Didi Thomas. 7:30 p.m.

2051 W. 236th St., Torrance. For questions

call (310) 316-3355 or visit

Saturday, September 23

Community Yoga

Enjoy free community yoga at Prana,

at The Point. All ages and skill levels.

9 - 10 a.m. 850 S. Sepulveda Blvd., El

Segundo. For more details call (310)

469-7765 or visit the website


Bobko cont. from page 27

“The most sobering and unexpected thing we learned from the mock

trial was that many jurors wanted to punish the city for what it had done,”

Bobko wrote. “Yes, ‘punish.’ The jurors used that word.”

Bobko revealed some highlights of the mock trial as he delivered Hermosa’s

annual State of the City address, but he said that single high-profile

speech was not enough.

“I wish [DiVirgilio] and I had gone on a traveling roadshow through our

district to educate our constituency” about the ins and outs of the settlement,

he wrote, instead of finding themselves at the mercy of someone

else’s narrative.

“Half the job is doing your job, the other half is telling people what

you’ve done.”

He said a separate book could be written about his political alliance with

DiVirgilio, a former aide to Democratic Representative Jane Harman.

“He’s a California Democrat through and through. He lives it. He’s been

a vegan as long as I’ve known him, he has no TV in his home, his wife

runs a yoga studio, he rides a bus to work, he’s had a Prius for 15 years,

and I’m a conservative guy who was in government to have less of it,”

Bobko said.

“Michael is a decent guy and I trust him,” Bobko said. “Whatever he was

doing, there was always a principle behind it.”

Bobko’s greatest success by acclaim, the spearheading of a $4.3 million

reconstruction of iconic Pier Avenue into a decorative, pedestrian-friendly

street, did not make it into his

book. He said the capital project

did not serve to illustrate the

book’s main themes.

“I had some mentions of it in the

first draft, but there wasn’t a readily

extractable lesson from that…

even though it was transformative

to the city and, I think, sparked a

lot of changes in some of the businesses,”

he said.

Since publication of “Nine Secrets,”

Bobko finds himself fielding

questions about another run for a

City Council seat.

“I have no immediate plans to

run again,” he said. “If the opportunity

arises, and it’s the right

thing to do, I would be open to it.

People have asked, and it’s flattering,

but it’s probably not something

I’ll do again.”

Nine Secrets for Getting

Elected,” 258 pages, is available

through Amazon. B



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Catalina Supreme Paints offers top quality paints

a Catalina Paints (formerly Supreme Paints) is a destination for top quality house

paints as well as wallpaper and window coverings. The Manhattan Beach location

recently started carrying Farrow and Ball paints, and both the Redondo Beach

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Handyman Schatan: avocation a vocation

a Matt Schatan helped several of his friends on their home-based projects, and

he often listened to their suggestions that he start his own company. Schatan did

just that in July 1998. Handyman Schatan prospered from the start. It has meant

a lot of work, but also a lot of satisfaction.” I am overwhelmed sometimes with the

amount of work I have,” says Schatan, noting that he is often answering the telephone

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42 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017





Mattucci Plumbing guarantees

customer satisfaction 24 hours

a At Mattucci Plumbing, the high level of service you receive is a guarantee. For

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you will be glad you came across Mattucci Plumbing. Our professional technicians

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Our professional team is available whenever you need them and a live person

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Pete Fer Plumbing Heating & Air

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a Pete Fer Plumbing is a complete mechanical contracting company, providing

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September 14, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 43

44 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • September 14, 2017





Peveler’s Custom Interiors promises highest quality

a Peveler’s Custom Interiors has been offering the South Bay top renovation values

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