October 12, 2017
Volume 48, Issue 10
Ron and Joan
Summit at 6
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 1
2 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
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4 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
October 12, 2017
ON THE COVER
Volume 48, Issue 10
Joan Arias photographed by her husband Ron
in front of their Santa Monica bungalow in
1967. Ron inherited their 1948 Plymouth from
14 Social media studies by Ryan McDonald
Documentary maker David Keane examines his hometown’s Measure O
oil campaign through the lens of social media.
18 Young boy summits Old Man by Steve O’Brien
Noah Beltrao Barnes doesn’t like to sit still. So the 6-year-old Redondo
resident became the third youngest to climb Mt. Whitney.
22 Ron & Joan by Mark McDermott
Joan Arias was a low profile Hermosa Beach activist who excelled in
28 Understanding dad by Elka Worner
UC California Psychologist Stephen Hinshaw hopes to help destigmatize
32 Downtown goes upscale by Tony Cordi
What one city official characterized as a “social experiment” on Pier
Avenue has led to the transformation of dining in Hermosa Beach.
46 Breton at the beach by Richard Foss
Parisian restaurateurs Olivier Jouet and Djahida Rigi and chef Chuck Kallal
bring north of France cuisine to north Manhattan Beach.
52 Cups of gold by Richard Foss
Jeff Melodia explains why coffee, including his, tastes better now than at
any other time in history.
10 Manhattan Beach vigil
30 Beach cars at the PV Concours
57 Home services
34 South Bay Dining Guide
54 Paddleout for the Lone Star State
56 Redondo Beach Public Safety Fair
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 Hermosawave.net,
GRAPHIC DESIGNER Tim Teebken, DESIGN CONSULTANT Bob Staake, BobStaake.com, FRONT DESK Judy Rae
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. www.easyreadernews.com. 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.
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6 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 7
B E A C H
Saturday, October 14
First Aid, CPR/AED Training,
with 2 year certificate. No
charge to residents and employees
of Manhattan, Hermosa,
and Redondo Beach.
People who live outside of the
Beach Cities is $55 each.
Beach Cities Health District
partnered with MB Certs to
provide lifesaving training.
Class is 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. Limited
to 30 participants. Arrive at
least 20 minutes before to settle
in. Joslyn Center, 1601
North Valley Drive, Manhattan
Beach. Must be pre-enrolled.
To RSVP send an email to
your full name, phone, email
and home address.
Classics on display
Redondo Union Classic Car
Show presented by Redondo
Union High School PTSA. Free
admission. Live DJ, door
prizes, BBQ and beverages.
Fun for all ages. 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
1 Sea Hawk Way, Redondo
Beach. For questions email:
Beginner readers can proctice reading to friendly therapy
dogs at the Hermosa Beach Public Library, Saturday,
Oct. 14, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Call or stop by to
make an appointment. 310-379-8475.
The West Basin Water District
celebrates 70 years of
water reliability with its annual
Water Harvest Festival.
Water education, stage shows,
games, kids costume contest
and water recycling tours.
Free. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Edward
C. Little Water Recycling Facility,
1935 S. Hughes Way, El Segundo.
Free parking and
shuttle service from 1960 E.
Grand Ave. in El Segundo.
After a sneaky squirrel and
ravenous rabbit ate last year’s
prized pumpkin, the birds of
South Coast Botanic Garden
(ravens, owls, hummingbirds
and hawks) have teamed up to
save this year’s patch. They’ve
hidden pumpkins in a secret
location. A map and clues will
lead you to the pumpkin
patch. Family-friendly adventure
will require some hiking
through nature trails. Through
Nov. 30. Members free. For
nonmembers, event is included
with general Garden
admission: Adults $9, Seniors
(62 and over) $6, Students
(with ID) $6, children (5 - 12
yrs) $4, and children 4 and
under are free. 9 a.m. - 4:30
p.m. 26300 Crenshaw Blvd.,
Palos Verdes Estates. Advance
tickets are strongly encouraged
and can be purchased at southcoastbotanicgarden.org/event/g
reatpumpkinhunt/. For additional
information call (310)
Redondo Pier Association
hosts free Yoga on the Pier
every second Saturday of each
month. Everyone is welcome
to this all level class where the
International Boardwalk meets
the Redondo Beach Pier (the
octagon below Kincaid’s).
Bring a yoga mat, towel and
bottled water. 10 - 11 a.m. 100
Fisherman’s Wharf, Redondo
Beach. For information, redondopier.com.
Children are invited to practice
their beginning reading
skills with a friendly therapy
dog. 10:30 a.m. - noon. Hermosa
Beach Library, 550 Pier
Ave., Hermosa Beach. Registration
is required. Contact
Kay Wantuch for registration
and information at (310) 379-
8475 or email: email@example.com.
Friends of the Parks Hermosa
Beach 11th annual
Pumpkins in the Park. Family
friendly fun. Come in costume,
pick a pumpkin, decorate
it and take it home.
Games, crafts, face-painting,
hot dogs, and popcorn. A professional
photographer will be
available for photos. Franklin
Haynes Marionettes will provide
entertainment at 11:30
Chef Michael Shafer hosts the annual Halloween Ball
to benefit Pediatric Thearpy Network. Dinner, drinks,
contests, auctions and lots of fun. Oct.15 at
The Depot Restaurant, Torrance. (310) 328-0276.
a.m. Children can decorate a
pumpkin, play games and try
their hand at a pinata. Raffle
tickets will be sold for some
fantastic prizes. 11 a.m. - 1
p.m. Edith Rodaway Park,
Prospect & Hollowell avenues,
Hermosa Beach. More information
can be found at
hbfop.org or call (310) 913-
Sunday, October 15
The Jimmy is an all ages/all
skill level team surf contest to
benefit the Jimmy Miller Memorial
Foundation. Plus a raffle
and auction. 8 a.m. to 4
p.m. at 42nd St., Manhattan
Finals and awards at 4:30 p.m.
$50. Sign up at JimmyMiller-
Cruise on down to the
Woman’s Club of Hermosa
Beach Pancake Breakfast.
Tickets are $10 and kids under
Buying or Selling
5 are free. Great silent auction
items. 8 a.m. - noon. Clark
Building, 861 Valley Drive,
Hermosa Beach. Tickets are
available at: womans
clubofhermosabeach.org or at
Green Hills Memorial Park
annual Harvest Festival will
include a pumpkin patch, fun
maze, food trucks, arts and
crafts for children, and hay
rides. Award winning professional
pumpkin carver Doug
Goodreau will give pumpkin
carving demonstrations. Live
music provided by local band,
South Bay Country. Everyone
is welcome and all activities
are free. Bring the family.
Noon - 3 p.m. Green Hills Memorial
Park, 27501 S. Western
Ave., Rancho Palos Verdes. For
additional information visit
cont. on page 12
Serving the South Bay Beach Cities and beyond
8 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 9
TWO NEW STARS
he crowd that gathered Wednesday evening to remember Manhattan
Beach Police records technician Rachael Parker and Manhattan Beach
Middle School special ed teacher Sandy Casey spilled out from the
Manhattan Beach pier head on to Manhattan Beach Boulevard and up and
down The Strand.
Manhattan Beach Police Chief Eve Irvine noted to the mourners that
Parker died on the 10th anniversary of starting her job with the department.
Casey died despite the efforts of her fiance to stop her bleeding as he carried
her to safety.
Parker and Casey were among the 58 country music fans shot to death
at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1.
“Two new stars shine over our city. Don’t think of Rachael and Sandy as
memories. Think of them as being here, in the present, their music echoing
eternal tones,” Monsignor Barry told the mourners.
The memorial began as the sun set with tenor Dennis McNeil leading
the crowd in singing “Hallelujah.” It ended in darkness, with the crowd
waving their phones like candles as McNeil led them in singing “God Bless
America.” — Kevin Cody
PHOTOS BY BRAD JACOBSON AND KEVIN CODY
1. Young mourners.
2. Young mourners.
3. Vigil lights.
4. An outpouring of support.
5. Rachael Parker’s family and
6. Family in mourning.
7. Manhattan Beach schools
superintendent Mike Matthews.
8. Dennis McNeil.
9. Councilmembers Richard
Montgomery and Nancy
10. Monsignor John Barry.
10 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
B E A C H
famous Pumpkin Race
isn’t until Oct. 29, but
you can pre-purchase
the official Pumpkin
Race Kit for $25 at the
Live Oak Tennis Office,
1901 Valley Dr.; or the
Parks and Recreation
Department in City
Hall, 1400 Highland
Ave. Kits will be available
the day of the
event for $30.
Photo by Caroline
The 22nd annual Halloween Ball
benefiting Pediatric Therapy Network.
Hosted by Chef Michael Shafer of The
Depot Restaurant, the Halloween Ball
takes place under a “ghostly” white
tent in Torrance. Dinner, hosted martini,
wine and beer bars, live music,
costume contests, live & silent auctions,
raffle prizes, and the infamous
Wine Wall! 4 - 9 p.m. Look for the tent
in front of The Depot, 1250 Cabrillo
Ave., Torrance. Tickets $150 per person
and can be purchased at e.gesture.com/
events/6Gb/ or call (310)
Palos Verdes Pastoral
The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land
Conservancy in partnership with Terranea
Resort present the annual Palos
Verdes Pastoral: A Garden-to-Table
Dining Experience. Only 200 guests
Since 1990 • License # 770059, C-36 C-34 C-42
D E P E N D A B L E • P R O F E S S I O N A L • A F F O R D A B L E
w w w . m a t t u c c i p l u m b i n g . c o m
$ 9 8 0
Residential Water Heater
40 gal. installed! ($1080 - 50 gal. also available)
Includes hot & cold water supply lines
Expires December 31, 2017
will experience California’s best in organic,
handcrafted food and wine prepared
by Executive Chef Bernard
Ibarra. The event takes place under a
harvest moon with breathtaking ocean
views. Proceeds support the Land Conservancy
and its restoration of open
space. Reception begins at 5 p.m. Dinner
at 6 p.m. Terranea Resort, 100 Terranea
Way, Rancho Palos Verdes.
Tickets are $250 per person. For information
or tickets: pvplc.org/index.asp.
All About the Animals presents
Homeless to Haute, showcasing adoptable
and rescued pets in the most furbulous
fashions; strutting down the
catwalk with professional models. This
fun-filled, furry, fashion show will feature
vegan hors d’oeuvres and sunset
champagne reception, a three course
vegan dinner and spectacular ocean
FULL SERVICE PLUMBING
SEWER VIDEO INSPECTION
$ 7 5
Rooter Service - Main Line
Must have clean-out access. Some restrictions may apply.
Expires December 31, 2017
F R E E
E S T I M A T E S
M e n t i o n t h i s a d w h e n
s e t t i n g u p a p p o i n t m e n t .
3 1 0 . 5 4 3 . 2 0 0 1
views. 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. Los Verdes Golf
Course, 7000 Los Verdes Dr., Rancho
Palos Verdes. $150 per person. For additional
information and ticket purchase,
April’s Fools comedy
Actors and audience work together
to create characters, scenes and hilarity
before your very eyes. April’s Fools improv
group welcomes guest performers
from The Kook Among Us troupe. 7:30
p.m. Directed by Mike Wyman and
April Scott. Tickets $10. Second Story
Theatre, 710 Pier Ave., Hermosa
Tuesday, October 17
Healthy Living Campus
Beach Cities Health District hosts an
open house to update the public and
receive input about its conceptual
plans to create a Healthy Living Campus
for the community on its 11 acre
site at 514 North Prospect Avenue in
Redondo Beach. Learn more about
how the campus revitalization will create
much-needed residences for older
adults and serve as a hub of well-being
that connects Beach Cities residents of
all ages with abundant health services
and programs offered onsite. 6 p.m. at
Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center,
1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo
Beach. Guests are invited to
visit information stations and offer suggestions
to project staff. For additional
information and registration, visit
Wednesday, October 18
Explore the birds making a home in
the restored habitat at the White Point
Nature Preserve. Binoculars supplied
for beginners. The program is free. All
ages welcome. 8:30 a.m. 1600 W. Paseo
del Mar. San Pedro. RSVP at: pvplc.org,
Events & Activities.
Classics read aloud
Love classic stories such as Through
the Looking-Glass or Peter Pan? Meet
new friends and relax while reading
books aloud the 3rd Wednesday of
each month at the Hermosa Five-O.
11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. 710 Pier Ave.,
Hermosa Beach. For questions call
(310) 318-0280 or visit
Girl Empowerment Panel
Teens grades 6-12 and skating enthusiasts
can hear former pro-skateboarder
Cindy Whitehead and young
female riders discuss their impact on
teh world of skateboarding and self
empowerment. Cindy began skating at
the age of 15 and was inducted into the
Skateboarding Hall of Fame in 2016. In
addition Cindy is an accomplished
sports stylist and founder of Girl is Not
a 4 Letter Word. She recently authored
the book, It’s Not About Pretty. Free. 7
- 8 p.m. Manhattan Beach Library,
1320 Highland Ave., Manhattan Beach.
For information call (310) 545-8595.
Thursday, October 19
Meditation helps develop the skill to
manage your thoughts and stimulates
ideas to know what you want and to
focus on your goals. Free guided meditation
by Dr. Kathi Wolfrum at 6 p.m.
A labyrinth walk follows the group
meditation. Many people walk the
labyrinth as part of a meditation or
spiritual practice, but, you can also
walk for introspection, to help deal
with grief or other emotion. Redondo
Beach Center for Spiritual Living, 907
Knob Hill, Redondo Beach. For questions
or additional information call
Vernetta Lieb, (949) 374-2502 or Jane
Zumbro, (310) 782-9750.
A toast to the top
The Best of Manhattan strives to recognize
those businesses and leaders
who make Manhattan Beach the
tremendous city it is. Each year the
community has an opportunity to vote
for favorites in several categories. On
top of the fun awards, the evening will
feature dinner and dancing. The community
is encouraged to come out and
celebrate all that makes Manhattan
Beach so great. 6 - 9 p.m. Verandas,
401 Rosecrans Ave., Manhattan Beach.
Tickets are $100 per person. This event
always sells out, so buy them while
you can. For additional information,
visit the website at business.manhattanbeachchamber.com.
12 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
AMERICAN EXPRESS ®
a series of ghoulish
and alongside the
fabled ocean liner,
is in full swing
through Nov. 1.
Tickets from $24
Details, tickets, at
Photo by Bondo
Friday, October 20
Senior Health Fair
This free event offers health screenings
and resources including hearing,
cholesterol, bone density, vision, pharmacy
review, advocacy groups and
free exercise classes. 9 a.m. - noon. Aviation
Park Gym, 1935 Manhattan
Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach. For more
information call (310) 318-0650.
Friends of the Torrance Library book
sale has hundreds of books and DVDs.
Adult books $1 and up. Children’s
books 50 cents and up. DVDs $2, CDs
$1. Fri. member pre-sale 2 - 6 p.m.,
Sat. public sale 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sun.
public bag sale 1 - 4 p.m. Katy Geissert
Civic Center Library, 3301 Torrance
Blvd., Torrance. (310) 781-7595. friendsofthetorrancelibrary.org.
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October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 13
by Ryan McDonald
Hermosa Beach filmmaker David Keane with the family dog, Rico. Keane recently released “What Happens Next Will Shock You,” a documentary
examining the effect of social media on social movements, including the 2015 oil campaign in Hermosa. Photo by Brad Jacobson
For his latest documentary, Hermosa Beach’s David Keane trains his lens on the place he calls home
About five years ago, documentary filmmaker David Keane created
a reality show for the History Channel based on the lives of the Hatfields
and the McCoys, the famous feuding families of nineteenth
century Appalachia. It followed Kevin Costner’s hugely popular “Hatfields
and McCoys” miniseries, which also aired on the History Channel. While
working on the documentary, the network introduced the idea of the two
feuding families getting together to produce White Lightning, a brand of
moonshine supposedly based on ancestral recipes. (“The catch? They’ll have
to stop seeing red to start making green,” an announcer intoned in one preview.)
The business and the show became increasingly intertwined, and
Keane decided to step away.
“It just became way too complicated for me. I think that brand is now
selling beef jerky somewhere. It’s too weird to make up,” Keane said.
Keane sold his company, then later bought it back. Today, he enjoys the
creative freedom to tell the stories he wants to tell. Most recently, that
meant turning his lens on the place he lives. His latest documentary, “What
Happens Next Will Shock You,” looks at the role of social media in politics,
including the 2015 Measure O campaign to lift Hermosa’s ban on tidelands
Stop Hermosa Beach Oil, the largest and most influential of the No-on-O
efforts, began its opposition with a series of meetings in residents’ homes.
Someone in the group decided that it would be a good idea to document
their work. So they reached out to Keane.
Keane opposed the oil project, and agreed to attend. But he was not prepared
for the earnestness he would encounter. Entering his first meeting of
the Stop Hermosa Beach Oil campaign, Keane felt like he’d shown up to a
ball wearing boardshorts.
“I expected it to be, we’ll have a couple beers, some nachos, listen to
music, and talk about oil. It was not like that at all,” Keane recalled with a
laugh. “It was deadly serious. It was by the book. Whatever regulations or
formalities you would need to have in a non profit organization, they were
already in place.”
The serious tone was an indication of what was to come. Measure O lost
in a landslide in March 2015. But in the time leading up to the vote, the
prospect of drilling in the city produced a visceral reaction among residents.
For those in favor and those opposed, a local land use question became a
referendum on small-town identity.
“What Happens Next Will Shock You,” is skeptical, even pessimistic on
the effects of social media in social movements. The documentary jumps
from Hermosa to the forced resignation of the president of Missouri University,
also in 2015, to the rise of ISIS, thoughtfully tracking the way the
medium can distort the truth, and encourage loudness at the expense of
With this project and others, Keane said, he is finding new ways to fulfill
what he considers the highest calling of filmmakers: telling a story whose
value is enhanced because it is true.
“There are so many opportunities to tell stories. Whether it’s an individual,
an organization or business, everybody’s got a story. And usually people
don’t even know how cool their story is until you start to tell it,” Keane
14 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
For years, Keane worked behind the camera in some of the world’s most
hostile countries for journalists. He trekked through Columbian jungles to
talk with paramilitaries, interviewed relatives of Osama bin Laden in Saudi
Arabia, and remains one of the few people permitted to film in the former
U.S. Embassy in Tehran, now called the “Den of Spies Museum.” (There
are footprints on the ceiling, Keane said.)
Mark Bowden, a correspondent for The Atlantic magazine and the author
of “Black Hawk Down” and more than a dozen other books of internationally
focused reporting, is Keane’s cousin and frequent collaborator.
He recalls his cousin working with Robert Young Pelton, a Canadian journalist
known for his book “The World’s Most Dangerous Places,” which
was eventually adapted into a series for the Discovery Channel.
“I used to call him ‘Mr. Danger,” Bowden said jokingly of Pelton. “He
would travel around to most the dangerous, remote places in the world.
He’d say to the camera, ‘Here I am, all by myself.’ And I’d be thinking,
‘No you’re not, there’s my cousin David right behind you.’”
Keane gradually stepped away from this kind of work, partly because of
the heedless peril involved became less acceptable as he started a family.
(He and his wife Arcadia now have two children, ages 9 and 11.) But Bowden’s
crack also targets simplistic filmmaking that fetishizes danger and
degradation while ignoring the deeper reason for strife—the kind of project
Keane now hopes to avoid.
“I’m just not that interested in pursuing pop culture TV,” Keane said. “I
do get opportunities, but I don’t go out of my way. I’m more interested in
This summer, Keane invited both pro- and anti-oil community members to a
screening of “What Happens Next Will Shock You,” at the ShockBoxx art
gallery on Cypress Avenue. Photo by Ryan McDonald
on Radiesse Injections*
When Keane says “old-school,” he is referring less to the technology than
to the method of inquiry. He brought up “Charlottesville: Race and Terror,”
an episode of the HBO show “Vice News Tonight.” The piece came out
just days after a white nationalist rally in Virginia exploded into chaos,
causing two dozen injuries and one fatality. Keane was astonished by the
“sheer quality and look” of the 22-minute episode, and he credited new
technology for enabling people to produce short, high quality films while
issues are still fresh in the public’s mind. The film, depicting heavily armed
brutes advocating violence in pursuit of racial purity, was released the day
before President Trump declared, “Some very fine people” participated in
the white nationalist rally.
“I haven’t researched it, but it was probably the product of something
really nimble, lightweight, and easy to use. Some of those shots, you’d typically
have to block that out...It was so cinematic. Regardless of the content
politically, I thought it was cool how it was done. Getting people to open
up, to spill their guts is hard. If you can truly be a fly on the wall, it really
helps. But to be a fly on the wall and create great cinematography at the
same time is a game changer.”
Return to O
The title “What Happens Next Will Shock You” is a winking allusion to
the trashy, click-bait captions attached to unusual or vaguely pornographic
*1.5 mL Syringe, Expires 10/31/17
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 15
Before turning his attention to home, Keane’s work took him to war zones in
Africa and the Middle East. Photo by Brad Jacobson
photos that can be found even in
respectable corners of the Internet.
The concept got him the first-ever
interview with the former president
of the University of Missouri,
who resigned following a student
hunger strike and social-media propelled
protests. Though he didn’t
say as much, Keane hoped the film
would be an opportunity for people
to examine the impact of social
media on their own level of discourse.
Keane got key players from the
oil issue to open up about the ways
the fervor of online debate sometimes
got the better of people. He
interviewed Ray Dussault, a
prominent pro-oil voice, who recalled
being subjected to constant
threats and insults, and said the experience
took an emotional toll.
Michael Collins, one of the leaders
of Stop Hermosa Beach Oil, recalled
being seized with emotion as
the campaign began. But as the
group became more organized —
and as it became clearer that Measure
O lacked the votes to pass —
leaders began urging oil opponents
to take a more civil approach on
“[Kevin] Sousa, Stacey [Armato],
and I had a meeting, and we
started calling some of the bad actors
on our side, saying, ‘Hey, tone it
down,’” Collins said.
Keane premiered “What Happens
Next Will Shock You,” over the summer
at ShockBoxx, a Cypress Avenue
art gallery Collins runs with artist
Laura Schuer. Keane invited both
supporters and opponents of oil
drilling, some of whom were interviewed
for the film. After the screening
finished, Keane handed out
microphones to people in the audience.
The Q&A resembled a psychology
experiment. It descended into shouting
and name calling, in-person behavior
mirroring what took place
online. It became clear that some of
the wounds of the oil campaign had
not healed. And new ones, like the
controversy over the city’s updated
General Plan, had opened.
Keane was evasive when asked
whether he anticipated, or even intended,
the fracas. But he said it confirmed
some of the film’s points
about the lingering impact of seemingly
“It makes people feel like they’re
being attacked, as though your best
defense is offense. And that can be a
self-perpetuating thing,” Keane said.
What happens next with “What
Happens Next” is uncertain, Keane
said. He is hoping for another local
screening, and would also like to
take the film to the University of
Missouri. In the interim, Keane is
seeking other local projects. He is
currently working on one for the
Hermosa Beach City School District,
focused on an assignment
given to district 8th graders to
write a 20-page short story for a
third-grade mentee. Like most subjects
that interest Keane, it is a tale
that he hasn’t seen told anywhere
Lately, he has become taken
with historical films that combine
vivid reenactments and feature
film-style storytelling, interspersed
with interviews of actual participants,
a la “Band of Brothers.” The
combination of the two may not be
the most traditional application of
documentary aesthetics or ethics.
But it hits home, he said, in the
way only the truth can.
“It makes it a bit more compelling
than, say, Hal Holbrook
narrating while you’re looking at a
static cannon,” Keane said, alluding
to the documentary style of
Ken Burns. “They’re both great,
but I really want to be taken on a
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16 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 17
y Steve O’Brien
Noah Beltrao Barnes, 6, climbed to the top of Mt. Whitney's wearing the
state flag of his mother's native Pernambuco, Brazil.
“Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away,
once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week
in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” - John Muir
The Very Young Boy does not like to be still.
He leaps in the air. He bounds, he bounces, he hops from one foot to the
other. His hair, wild and frazzled, slinks and springs with each movement.
First, he is in one corner of the yard. A rustling moment later he sprints
across the grass, as though it were a giant meadow and he a wild cat. Jumping,
prancing, pretending. He moves instinctively and for no other reason
than he must. Both feet in the air now, he detaches from the ground, up,
The Very Old Man is very still.
He has sat this way since the Cenozoic Era, some 50 million years ago.
Back then, he leapt and bounded, too, albeit more slowly than we perceive
The Very Young Boy to. Up, up, up, the Very Old Man lurched and
stretched and forged himself, until he reached 14,505 feet above sea level.
And there he sits today, very still, perched atop the Sierra Nevada Mountain
Range, at the southernmost tip of the John Muir trail, king of all summits
in the lower 48.
Mt. Whitney was named for Josiah Whitney, head of the California Geological
Survey from 1860 to 1874. The Paiute Indians called the highest
mountain this side of Alaska “Too-man-go-yah,” or, “The Very Old Man.”
The first documented ascent to the towering peak above the city of Lone
Pine was in August, 1873. 144 years to the month later, The Very Young
Boy completed his first ascent.
At 6 years old, he is likely the third youngest person ever to have climbed
“I started taking him hiking because he could never be still. I don’t like
to be still. It seems stronger with him,” his father says as his son leaps
around the front yard in a blur of curls and sneakers.
Dad Devin Barnes, of Redondo Beach, also does not like to be still. A
surfer, skateboarder, back-country snowboarded, and hiker, he is always
on the move, always out in nature, season and ocean swell depending.
These days he brings The Very Young Boy with him.
Noah Beltrao Barnes stands (when he can be still enough to be measured)
approximately 4-foot-1 above sea level. The Tulita School student began
his hiking career at the age of four, backpacking with his mom and dad.
That first run was a six-mile trek, one in which young Noah did not tire or
take breaks or need any help. “Altitude never affected him,” his father said.
Since then, he and his family have scoured the wilderness of Southern California
for more mountains to climb.
“We just got back from a remote hot springs hike and I thought Noah
could do it. He carries his own gear. He never complains.”
“It’s a tough hike,” Noah said, matter-of-factly. “So, you must prepare.”
To prepare for Mt. Whitney the family completed five of the “SoCal Six
The Very Young Boy leaps atop The Very Old Man. Photos by Devin Barnes
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 19
Father and son Noah and Devin Barnes at the summit of Mt. Whitney.
Pack of Peaks,” a series of six increasingly more difficult hikes designed
by Jeff Hester specifically for Southern California hikers training for challenges
like the John Muir trail and Mt. Whitney.
While records of this sort are kept casually, the youngest hikers known
to have tackled Mt. Whitney are Tyler Armstrong of Yorba Linda, who
climbed it in 2012 at the age of 7, and Anthony Slosar of Rancho Santa Fe,
who did it as a 6-year-old last year. As far as research can tell, Noah is the
next youngest to have completed it.
The Forest Service only allows so many hikers per day to climb Whitney.
A lottery must be entered, and Devin and Noah almost didn’t get picked.
At 10 a.m. on August 25, however, Devin received one ticket. He called
back to see if another would be available that afternoon. A couple ahead
of him was a no-show and he was given their slot. The Service was hesitant
to hand over the pass when they saw The Very Young Boy who would be
taking it, but Devin assured them he was ready. They set out for the first
leg of their journey that evening.
“I was anxious for him,” Devin said. But Noah didn’t seem concerned.
The two spent hours skateboarding at a park near their home before setting
out for Lone Pine Lake, where they set up camp. There was no one else
around. Father and son took a swim in the fading light of day.
The next morning they continued on to trail camp and arrived in the
evening. Then, Sunday, August 27, at 4:30 a.m., Noah, fueled by Trader
Joe’s fruit bars and turkey jerky, his excited father in tow, set out from the
trail camp for the summit of Mt. Whitney. The hike to the peak is approximately
11 miles with a gain of more than 6,000 feet in elevation. The hardest
part of the climb is the monotonous 99 switchbacks that precede the
final leg to the top. Noah cleared them just in time for sunrise, the first he
had ever witnessed.
The Very Young Boy continued on, unassisted, until 8:55 a.m., when he
reached the summit and leapt into the air.
Asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Whitney, Noah responded with a
shrug of his shoulders, as though the answer should be obvious.
“I just like to be in nature.” B
20 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
Ron and Joan:
Ron and Joan Arias with sons Michael (center) and Jonathan pose for a timed selfie near their Washington, D.C. apartment in 1973.
Photos courtesy of the Arias family
a love story
22 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
A writer, a reader, and a life shared
by Mark McDermott
Early in 1966, at the graduate library within the English Department
at UCLA, Ron Arias found himself being dismantled, with playful
ease, by a woman he’d just met.
Arias was only 25 but already worldly and a little bit brash. He’d grown
up in a military family and attended part of high school in Germany. He
hitchhiked around Europe as a 17-year-old, an adventure during which he
shared a glass of wine and a conversation with Ernest Hemingway in Pamplona,
Spain, after the running of the bulls. He’d dropped out of UC Berkeley
his junior year to work as a reporter in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and
subsequently spent two years in Peru serving in the Peace Corps.
Nothing in all his travels had prepared him for the adventure he was
about to embark upon when he first met the gaze of this brown-eyed, fierce
young woman who argued circles around him on that day in 1966. The argument
was about an obscure
poem titled “Fábula de
Píramo y Tisbe” by 16th
century poet and satirist
Luis de Góngora. They argued
in Spanish. All the
while Ron was trying to
place her accent. He
thought maybe she was
Cuban, or some other
Caribbean nationality, both
for her quickness of speech
and of mind.
“Joan had no problem
plucking out the meaning,
and I think I was just faking,
pretending I knew what I
was talking about, when in
reality I was being turned
on by this very lively, so
smart, cute young woman
who had a passion for getting
at truth,” Ron recalled.
“She was fast becoming a
spark that was igniting the
thinking part of my brain,
but in a benevolent way.”
“The women in my family,
they all caved in to men.
This one did not; she spoke
her mind, she was fierce,
and yet there was a twinkle
in her eye. It was just an argument.”
It turned out her name
was Joan Zonderman and
she was from Hillside, New
Jersey. She’d also just returned
to the States; she’d
spent a year in Venezuela
studying theater as a Fulbright
scholar. After their argument
in the library, Joan
unexpectedly turned up the
next day to audit an undergraduate
class Ron was taking.
“What are you doing
here?” Ron asked her. “You
could teach this class.”
Joan just smiled. She wasn’t there for the class. They kept looking at each
other throughout the lecture. Afterwards, they went on a date. Within days,
he moved in with her.
He remembers himself as a partly formed man. He had an unruly imagination
and a gift with words but no clear idea of how to proceed in the
world. He’d been living off spaghetti-os. The first meal Joan made for him,
in her tiny apartment, was an authentic lasagne that an Italian friend had
taught her how to make. She didn’t have a kitchen, just a few bricks, a
board, and an electric burner. They washed the dishes in her bathtub.
Two months later they married. They would spend the next 51 years together.
Their life was a highly moveable feast. They traveled the globe,
wrote books, taught at universities, lived a New York literary life and later
Michael and Jonathan sport matching outfits with their mother in front of the family trailer in
a breezy California idyll, built
a far-flung community of fellow
writers and readers, had
two sons, lost one tragically,
and throughout five decades
found an ever-deepening love
that continued to bloom right
up until Joan’s dying day,
which was on August 18,
with Ron at her side in their
Hermosa Beach home.
She succumbed after a
short battle with cancer. Ron
would find out only after
Joan had passed that he’d fulfilled
her last wish. A day
after her death, he received a
note from an old friend and
fellow journalist, Marjorie
“I have been thinking
about a moment that occurred
a few years ago,” she
wrote. “Around ten of us
were at a restaurant nextdoor
to the Joyce [Theater],
prior to a dance concert we
were attending. We went
around the room, each offering
up a very private wish of
ours. When it was Joan’s
turn, she said that she prayed
and hoped that when she
took her last breath, she
would be looking up to see
your face, your presence,
guiding her into eternity. I
am so happy that she
achieved that wish.”
Joan completed Ron, and
he completed her. “It’s interesting
because their name
runs together,” said Caroline
McAllister, another of the
couple’s oldest friends. “It’s
Ron and Joan. You don’t
think of them separately. You
think of them together.”
They shared more than
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Joan while at Douglass College, New Jersey, in 1961.
18,000 days of life together.
“This is uncharted territory,” he said, days after her death. “You love
someone so long, and then she’s gone.”
He thought about that day in the library back in 1966.
“That was one of the things I liked the most in our 51 years of marriage –
the stuff we would argue about was on the level of that poem,” he said. “It
wasn't the poem that mattered. It was her passion, correctness, getting it
right, and straightening me out. I see the decency and thoroughness of
that. By contrast, I would have been sort of a vagrant. A beach bum, really.
She was such a good student, and I always ran from the classroom. She
“Our immediate attraction to each other was mutual, and it had nothing
to do with the meaning of a poem,” Ron said. “That was just a pretext, the
spark that started our bonfire. And I don’t think that as long as I’m alive,
it’ll ever go out.”
The adventure begins
Joan was born in Newark, New Jersey, on March 29, 1941. Her parents
were Harold and Sylvia Zonderman; he was an accountant and she worked
as a secretary at a newspaper. Joan was the oldest of three siblings, two
girls and a boy.
The Zondermans were an orthodox Jewish family. Harold had arrived
in the United States at the age of 8 from an area of Imperial Russia that is
now Belarus but at that time was called the “Pale of Settlement,” a 500
mile stretch of land between the Black Sea and Lithuania where the czars
historically had directed Jews to live.
Childhood friend Sarah Otey recalled the Zonderman household as the
kind of traditional home where Harold would arrive home at 5 p.m. with
dinner on the table waiting for him.
24 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
“Joan was rebellious from a very, very young age,” Otey said. “Her parents
were more conservative and straightlaced than mine, however they
did allow her to have parties in the basement of their home. They were really
lively; our family didn’t have a television, so I went to Joan’s house to
watch Elvis on the Ed Sullivan show.”
Joan’s brother, Dave Zonderman, said their father ran a strict household
and was particularly protective of his oldest girl.
“My father was very typical for a father of that era, very dogmatic, very
disciplinarian,” Zonderman said. “He liked things the way he liked them,
and he got angry when things weren't done the way he liked them.”
Joan had an early gift for languages. Her brother recalled that her high
school French teacher was so attached to his prized student that he grew
upset, later, when she went to college and majored in Spanish (because
she thought the teachers in that department were better). She attended
Douglass College, a women-only liberal arts school affiliated with Rutgers
University. At that time and place, women could aspire mainly to go into
teaching, nursing, or secretarial work. At her father’s urging, she obtained
a certificate to teach high school, though she had no desire to teach high
“We were raised to be nice to people, to study and get a career,” said her
brother, who eventually became a doctor but recalled their father suggesting
that if school didn’t work out he could help arrange for him to become
a sheetrock worker. “Father liked for us to learn a profession.”
Joan also had an early bent for public service and a natural inclination
to side with the underdog. She worked one summer during college at a
women’s prison and later, when she studied abroad as a graduate student,
was right in the midst of a revolutionary hotbed at the Central University
of Venezuela in which two of her friends, Peace Corps volunteers, were
slain. Though she didn’t practice Judaism in her adult life, she’d grown up
ingrained with “Tikkun Olam,” a Jewish concept encouraging acts of kindness
performed to perfect or repair the world.
“It just means to help people,” Dave Zonderman said.
Joan and Ron relax on UCLA campus, 1966. Photo by Ron with his camera
on a timer
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October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 25
Joan beams over infant Jonathan and Michael by a neighbor’s Christmas tree, in Washington, D.C., 1973.
She obtained her master’s degree
in language and linguistics from
the University of Illinois and then,
after Venezuela, arrived at UCLA
to pursue her doctorate in Hispanic
languages and literature. And then
she met Ron.
“I'm an undergraduate. Basically,
I was just trying to stay out of the
Vietnam War,” he recalled. “And
she probably thought that was
pretty good. She didn't know it,
but I came from a military family
and I was ready to go to Vietnam
as another adventure. I was that
stupid. I wasn't politically aware.
And she, as I discovered, was what
I called a raving pacifist.”
They were a beautiful couple.
Ron was a lithe and graceful young
man, soft-spoken with an alert,
roving intelligence; Joan was petite,
dark-haired and intense. They
married on April 1, 1966, before a
Justice of the Peace near the UCLA
“We just clicked,” he said. “The
thing we clicked about most, besides
the physical part, was our
sense of humor. I loved her wit and
her quickness. And I loved her
generosity. She was so openhearted
and spontaneous. We really
did things with our gut
26 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
feelings, as in marrying, or having
They were still at UCLA two
years later when they had their
first son, Michael. Ron had obtained
his undergraduate degree in
Spanish and then his master’s in
journalism and embarked on his
writing career working for small
Copley family newspapers in Burbank,
Monrovia, and Glendale.
Joan worked on a dissertation
about a novel of the time,
“Guzmán de Alfarache” by Mateo
Alemán; her work was eventually
published by a distinguished academic
publisher, Tamesis Books,
and was titled, “The Unrepentant
Narrator.” It was an appropriate
phrase for the life the couple were
embarking upon – a shared life of
story and unapologetic adventure.
Little newspapers didn’t satisfy
Ron’s broad sense of curiosity for
the world. He took a job with the
Caracas Daily Journal. And so with
a four month old child in tow, Ron
and Joan packed up and moved to
“Practically,” Ron said, “on a
Part II: Travels, tragedy, and a life
Joan and Ron with Michael in Claremont, CA., 1978. Joan was then teaching Spanish at La Verne College (now a
university) and Ron was teaching English at San Bernardino Valley College.
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 27
Psychologist Stephen Hinshaw signs his book on his father’s mental illness at Pages. Photo by Elka Worner
UC Berkeley Psychology Professor Stephen Hinshaw shines light on mental illness through stories about his bipolar father
by Elka Worner
Stephen P. Hinshaw grew up in an idyllic, Midwestern town. His father
was a brilliant philosopher who studied with Albert Einstein and
Bertrand Russell before becoming a professor at Ohio State, where his
mother also taught. The family had 50-yard line seats to the Ohio State football
games, enjoyed backyard barbecues and celebrated all the milestones
of family life.
But their seemingly perfect 1950s suburban existence was not what it
seemed. As a child, Hinshaw noticed that his father Virgil would often disappear
without warning for months, even years at a time, often missing
seminal moments in his son’s and daughter’s lives and leaving his mother
with the responsibility of raising the family.
“One day dad was there, and the next he wasn’t,” Hinshaw said. “It was
a mystery, but underneath that was terror…our lives as a family were bipolar
lives. Life was great, or it was awful. There was the warmth of dad being
there, or there was nothing.”
In his new book, “Another Kind of Madness: A Journey Through the
Stigma and Hope of Mental Illness,” Hinshaw, a professor of psychology at
UC Berkeley, recounts his father’s battle with manic depression, schizophrenia
and bipolar disorder and the impact it had on his family.
There was the time Hinshaw and his sister Sally, both toddlers, were
asleep upstairs while his parents watched a show on the black and white,
family TV. His father became convinced the singer was sending him messages
and insisted he and his wife drive to the station in Cincinnati, 130
miles away. His mother had two choices: let him drive off, maybe never to
see him again, or go along and pray that he came to his senses. They drove
80 mph on country roads late at night only to get to the station and find it
closed. His mother convinced his dad to turn around so they could make
sure the children, who were left alone, were okay.
“Luckily, we were asleep and nothing happened,” Hinshaw told a group
gathered at Pages bookstore for a reading of his memoir last month. “We
could have have fallen down the stairs or Child Services could have come
and taken us away.”
While interviewing relatives for his book, Hinshaw learned of another
incident in 1936 when a delusional 16-year-old Virgil claimed he could save
the world from the Nazis by jumping off the roof of his family’s Pasadena
home. He survived the jump, but spent six months in a mental hospital.
None of that was ever discussed in the home and his father’s absences
were never explained to Hinshaw, who, despite the silence, tried to find
out where his father had gone.
28 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
“First grade had ended. I noticed that dad wasn’t home. The air outside
was warm, the pavement baking in the noonday sun. I asked once or twice
but mom said that he’d return from his trip pretty soon, maybe a few more
weeks. What trip? I inquired as softly as I could, but she said nothing more.
It wasn’t the first time this happened; it wouldn’t be the last,” he wrote in
What Hinshaw and his sister didn’t know what that their father was sent
off to barbaric state mental hospitals following bouts of wild, uncontrollable
behavior followed by serious depression. His father’s lead psychiatrist had
sworn the family to silence: "Don’t ever tell your children about this. They’ll
be permanently destroyed.”
His father followed the doctor's orders and waited until Hinshaw was an
adult to share his struggles with mental illness. “It wasn’t until I returned
home for my first spring break in college that my father started to tell me
of his life,” Hinshaw said. “We had three to four talks a year for the next 25
“It gave me a kind of path, a mission,” he said. “There was so much to
learn about brains and families and development and mental illness.”
But while studying psychology, he was too embarrassed to talk about his
father’s illness, even though he was learning to perform clinical evaluations
for the very illnesses his father battled.
“The stigma had been inside of me as well. I was ashamed,” Hinshaw
said. “I was worried that I would be next and that his genes would be transmitted
When he started to tell a few people about his father’s illness, they
wanted to know more. It was a liberating, but he also realized that while
the public knows more about schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the attitudes
about these illnesses have remained much the same as they did in
Hinshaw is committed to overcoming the stigma and silence of mental
illness by sharing his family’s story.
“If we don’t solve this stigma we’re not going to get anywhere. People
with mental illness can get a lot better, but they need to be in treatment,”
he said. “We don’t need more statistics. We need stories, the everyday stories
of coping and heroism. That’s what’s changed the minds on cancer, and I
think that’s what’s going to change minds on mental health.”
“Another Kind of Madness: A Journey Through the Stigma and Hope of
Mental Illness” (St. Martin’s Press, $26.99, 271 pages). B
Author Stephen Hinshaw with former Lakers coach Paul Westhead at Pages
book signing. Photos by Elka Worner.
Author Stephen Hinshaw with Tara Peris and Kevin Campbell.
Author Stephen Hinshaw with Chris and Juliet Ritchie and Patrice Campbell.
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 29
takes to the airfield
fter years on golf courses in Palos Verdes,
this year’s Palos Verdes Concours D’Elegance
moved off the peninsula to Louis
Zamperini Airfield in Torrance. “For 2017, we
have re-imagined the show and have taken it to
an entirely new level by moving the Concours to
Louis Zamperini Airfield and adding vintage airplanes,”
chairperson Ray Johnson said. This year’s
theme was “Elegance and Speed” and the featured
marques were Packard and Porsche. Among the
many notable entries was the world’s most expensive
production car, the Italian built Pagani, exhibited
by the founder’s son Christopher Pagani.
Proceeds from the all volunteer show benefited
the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor
and The Western Museum of Flight.
For more information, visit PVConcours.org
PHOTOS BY TONY LABRUNO
1. Debra and Tom Kazamek, of Manhattan
Beach, with their 1958 Alfa Romeo 1900 Sport
2. The Torrance Tiger Squadron.
3. Pagani interior.
4. The $2 million Italian Pagani.
5. Mark Guggenheim, of Palos Verdes, with
his 1958 Porsche Speedster.
6. Former Redondo Beach fire chief and city
councilman Pat Aust with his 1936 Ford Deluxe
7. Lianne Graham, of Palos Verdes, with her
1932 Chrysler Imperial CH Convertible Sedan.
8. The historic D-Day Doll. The C-53
Skytrooper dropped paratroopers into combat
9. 1956 Porsche 356 A Speedster owned by
Kent Neumann, of Manhattan Beach.
10. Superformance president Lance Stander.
30 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
Clint Wilson, Teresa Klinkner, Kent Burton, Brad N. Baker, Christine Daniels, Albro Lundy, Evan Koch
Baker, Burton & Lundy, P.C.
Giant-killing law firm still growing after all these years
Baker, Burton & Lundy, the local law firm with a nationwide
reputation and billions of dollars won for its clients,
continues to expand both its practice and its physical
presence in the heart of Hermosa.
The giant-killing firm has won more than $4 billion in verdicts
and settlements, and the attorneys have argued twice before
the U.S. Supreme Court and won an affirmative verdict from
the California Supreme Court.
Never content to stand still, BBL has been growing its
probate and employment law divisions, while energetically
maintaining its core practices that include business, real estate,
personal injury, elder abuse and estate planning.
To house the expanding practice, the 41-year-old firm is making
its third expansion along Hermosa’s iconic Pier Avenue,
adding new offices and a “lifeguard tower-esque” roof deck
to its storefront.
Partner Brad N. Baker, who heads up estate planning,
probate, trust administration and trust litigation for the firm,
works to bring peace of mind to clients by putting their affairs
in order which allows clients to protect and care for their loved
ones who truly appreciate Brad’s attention to detail and forethought
dedicated to a comprehensive Estate Plan.
In addition to his legal work, Baker serves as vice chair of the
nonprofit Healthcare and Elder Law Programs Corporation
(H.E.L.P.), which provides information, education and
counseling on elder care, law, finances and consumer
BBL Partner Kent Burton heads up real estate and business
transaction law, while partner Albro Lundy heads the firm’s
BBL is recognized far beyond Hermosa’s cozy confines for
high-profile wins, including a multibillion-dollar settlement for
California consumers in a complex, multi-state case
concerning natural gas prices and the energy crisis of 2000 and
BBL also has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to
battle cases that protected people maimed in preventable
accidents or exploited by those in positions of power, with no
profit to the firm.
The firm’s associates include:
Trial lawyer Evan Koch, who for three years running has been
named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars,” placing him
among the top 2.5 % of Southern California attorneys under
Real estate and business transactions attorney Teresa
Klinkner, who has earned the highest Martindale-Hubbell
rating from her peers;
Business and real estate transactions attorney Clint Wilson,
praised by colleagues and clients for his competitive zeal and
his ability to harness the fine details of cases that others might
Estate planning attorney Christine Daniels who is bilingual
(Spanish) and is known for embracing the challenge of
creating individualized estate plans for clients;
Steven J. Dawson, a labor and employment law and
litigation attorney, with nearly three decades of experience
representing corporations and public agencies in matters including
labor, employment, construction and property
BAKER, BURTON & LUNDY | 515 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach | (310) 376-9893 | firstname.lastname@example.org
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 31
Greenbelt owner Michael Santomieri has seen Pier Plaza transform from an
“elbow-to-elbow” bar destination to upscale dining. Photo by Kevin Cody
What began as a
in downtown Hermosa
has become a
by Tony Cordi
Hermosa Beach’s rising incomes over the past 20 years, combined
with advances in social media, changing dining habits, city regulations
and risk-taking by well-funded restaurateurs have had a profound
impact on the city’s dining scene.
Pier Plaza came to life in August 1997 when Pier Avenue was closed to
automobiles from Hermosa Avenue to The Strand in what one city official
characterized as a “social experiment.” It propelled city sales tax revenues
to an all-time high in 2000. Revenues for businesses that collect sales tax
were just shy of $300 million, with about 40 percent of this coming from
eating and drinking establishments.
Michael Santomieri, owner of Greenbelt on Pier Plaza, was the manager
of the popular Sangria restaurant during this period. He recalled the plaza
being “packed with people, shoulder-to-shoulder. Justin Timberlake, Britney
Spears and Scottie Pippen all showed up and sometimes the entire
Lakers team would hit up the plaza after a game,” Santomieri said.
With few exceptions, the downtown dining scene was more about bars
and entertainment than about food.
Unfortunately, not all the results were positive. With crowds come problems,
among them public urination and fighting. Residents living near the
plaza pressed the City Council to address the problems through stricter
The city regulates businesses with Conditional Use Permits (CUPs).
CUPs are location-specific and can be used to curtail hours of operation,
limit entertainment, and increase enforcement of the so-called “50-50” rule.
This latter rule requires an equal balance between alcohol sales and food
sales, and may have been a factor in some bars closings.
Greg Newman, co-owner of Tower 12, Palmilla and Sharkeez on Pier
Plaza, said, “From about 1997 to 2004, the crowds were upwardly mobile
locals and tourists.” This shifted when the rules changed. “It became less
fun for people who lived here to go out here.” Business started falling off,
which hit city sales tax revenues. These revenues have stayed below the
peak of 2000 for 16 consecutive years.
The early business successes after the plaza opened and the subsequent
shake-out of bars from new city regulations through 2007 prompted a number
of new restaurant openings. Alfredo’s, Passport, Martinique, Blue Pacific,
Sabor Brazil, Hama Restaurant, Dragon, Eat at Joe’s, Los Muchachos,
and several others would all come and go. Among the few still open from
that period are Poulet du Jour, Crème de la Crêpe, Fritto Misto, Ocean
Diner, Oki Doki Sushi and Chef Melba’s.
Surprisingly, as the financial crisis started pummeling the country in
2007, a significant number of brave restaurateurs tested the Hermosa market.
Zane’s, Barnacle’s, Silvio’s Brazilian BBQ, Gum Tree, Chelsea, Rok
32 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
Sushi, and Waterman’s would all hit the scene and make it. However, at
least a dozen others would open and close over the next few years, including
Hibachi, Jitter’s, and Brix.
Tyler Gugliotta, the former chef of Brix and now the executive chef of
Baran’s 2239, said of that period, “The food scene in Hermosa was pretty
abysmal. Most places offered only tacos, burgers and bar food.”
The re-opening of Upper Pier Plaza in October 2010, after an impressive
redevelopment, coincided with the beginning of a recovery in home prices
and triggered a renaissance in the dining scene. Gugliotta singled out a
handful of restaurants that continue to shake things up, including Abigaile,
Greenbelt, Tower 12, Hook & Plow, and his own Baran’s 2239.
The Upper Pier project quite possibly has had more of an impact on
downtown Hermosa than any other development. With the opening of the
200 Pier Avenue retail and office complex and the completion of the redevelopment
project, more than 50 new businesses would gain a presence on
Pier Avenue and another 50 or more would rebrand, remodel or be replaced.
There have been other forces at play during this time, as well. Home
prices in Hermosa have sustained a blistering average annual appreciation
rate of 8.5 percent. Since 2011, Forbes’ 2016 list of most expensive zip codes
ranks Hermosa 119th, with a median home sales price of $2.2 million, up
from $540,000 in 2000. Hermosa Beach homes are more expensive than
over 99.5 percent of zip codes, nationwide. Median household incomes have
also outpaced the rise of incomes nationally.
Easy Reader food critic Richard Foss, noted, “Social change has magnified
the importance of dining well. Those who live in affluent areas can exercise
their food and drink experimentation more frequently than those who have
to scrape together rent, but the food is such a part of aspirational California
living that it is part of the caricature of our state.”
People, in general, are eating out more. Restaurant related expenditures
recently exceeded groceries expenses for the first time. People also like to
eat close to home and there is an increasing awareness of the benefits of
organic, locally-sourced, and sustainably-farmed food. Even cocktails and
beers have become crafted.
The Newman family took risks with both Palmilla and Tower 12 because
they reasoned there were “enough bars already” and they could see what
was going on with the increasing number of upscale restaurants in Manhattan
Jed Sanford, owner of the downtown Hermosa Abigaile, followed a similar
line of thinking when he opened the upscale Dia de Campo and S&W
“The demographics here are changing. More families want to make Hermosa
their home,” he said.
Baran’s 2239 is relatively new on the scene but has already garnered 4-
1/2 stars on Yelp and countless accolades. Los Angeles magazine listed it as
one of LA’s 10 best new restaurants. Only one other South Bay restaurant
has achieved this in the past several years.
“We wanted to do fine dining in a casual atmosphere and offer a menu
with strong global influences. Ingredients are local and seasonal,” Gugliotta
Greenbelt’s Santomieri said he wanted to create a menu “with fresh ingredients
coming daily from local farmers market produce.” They also
wanted to offer items favored by women, who now make up 65 percent of
Other notable Hermosa restaurants that have opened since 2010 include
Source Café, Locale 90, The Standing Room and Hook & Plow.
With minimum wage hikes, rising lease rates, and high acquisition costs,
restaurant owners are going to find it increasingly more difficult to bring
new concepts to the market. Seasonality is a another issue. It takes more
work in Hermosa to fill the seats during the winter months, especially since
Hermosa has two to three times more restaurant seating capacity per capita
than Manhattan Beach.
The consequences of Hermosa’s “social experiment” on Pier Plaza, though
unforeseen, have been a significant plus for local diners. Chef-driven and
professionally-managed restaurants with high quality ingredients are becoming
the norm. Tower 12, Playa Hermosa, Rabano’s, Casa Vincenzo and
Laurel Tavern are the latest examples of this and soon we will see Decadence,
Radici and Serve Kitchen hit the scene with the same mindset. The
opening of at least two hotels over the next several years will no doubt reinforce
these trends. B
Schlichter & Shonack, LLP
DECORATED ATTORNEY JAMIE KEETON PROTECTS SOUTH BAY
RESIDENTS FROM LEGAL BLINDSIDES
When legal difficulties threaten the livelihood and security
of affluent South Bay residents, they can turn to decorated
attorney Jamie Keeton, who has saved clients
millions of dollars, and won more than $13 million in judgements
When such troubles strike, “Jamie is the go-to person,” law
partner Kurt Schlichter said, pointing to her recognition by the
Super Lawyers rating service four years running. “She’s the
lawyer you want to nail down before the other guy does.”
The attorneys at Schlichter & Shonack, LLP, aggressively represent
clients from individuals to Fortune 500 companies, up and
down the state and federal court systems. All the while, they remain
dedicated to giving their clients individual attention, and
keeping their costs low.
Keeton says the legal troubles that blindside affluent people
can come from unexpected sources such as neighbors, ex-business
partners, ex-spouses or domestic employees.
She represents plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury and
general civil litigation, handling cases from assault and battery
at high-profile Orange County nightclubs to multimillion dollar
real estate litigation,
Keeton handles all
phases of trials and
mediations, and is
backed by seven
lawyers in a powerhouse
firm that is serendipitously local.
“We’re not a big Century City firm, or a big downtown firm.
You won’t have to wait an hour and a half to meet with us for
five minutes,” she said.
“We’ll hold your hand at 10 o’clock at night because you’re
in litigation, and it’s scary. Everything you’ve worked for could
be at risk,” Keeton said. “Big corporations rely on us, but you can
get us on the phone at night.”
“You’ll have our cell phone numbers, and you’ll run into us at
Trader Joe’s,” Schlichter said.
Schlichter & Shonack, LLP | 2381 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 326 | El Segundo | 310-643-0111 | email@example.com
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 33
THE BOTTLE INN RIVIERA
S O U T H B AY
225 Richmond St.
Rock & Brews
143 Main St.
150 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
The Comedy &
1018 Hermosa Ave.
FEATURING FLAVORED MARTINIS!
• Autumn Pumpkin specialties:
Pumpkin soup, Pumpkin ravioli and
homemade pumpkin cake...
• Happy Hour Everyday 4-6pm
• Outdoor Heated Patio & Ocean View
36 Pier Ave.
9 Pier Ave.
824 Hermosa Ave.
1132 Hermosa Ave.
Join Us For Live Music
Tuesday and Wednesdays 6:30 PM
"Thirsty Thursdays" Wine Tasting
6:30PM- 8:30 PM
1700 S. Catalina Ave. Redondo Beach (310) 543-6800
34 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 35
Cioppino, Kabocha Squash,
Churrasco Steak, Homemade Pasta,
Roasted Organic Mary’s Chicken & more!
SAT & SUN BRUNCH
NFL SUNDAY TICKET
“Bold and contemporary, the ingredients top shelf”
HAPPY HOUR Mon-Fri 4pm-7pm
chicken wings, kale caesar (add chicken $2), meatball
marinara sliders, mushroom flatbread,
margherita flatbread, truffle fries, hummus
16 Craft Beers Homemade Sangria Peach & Pomegranate Bellinis
Farmer’s Market Vegetables Catering Grass-fed Beef Outdoor Dining
Open 7 Days A Week Mon-Fri 11am-11pm, Sat-Sun 10am-11pm (Brunch)
36 Pier Avenue Hermosa Beach (310)798-6585 www.greenbelthb.com
36 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
drinks 1/2 off
draughts and bottled beer, select wines
by the glass, mango bellini & sangria
PIZZA, PASTA & MORE
“A Taste of Brooklyn” in Manhattan Beach and El Segundo
Family owned and operated, serving Brooklyn – style pizza. Everything is made
fresh daily including homemade bread, meatballs, eggplant, subs & sauce.
DELIVERY IN LIMITED AREA
975 AVIATION BLVD
150 S SEPULVEDA BLVD
ony’s On The Pier today is known for its fresh seafood, ocean
Tview sunsets and best customer service. Back in 1952, when
Tony Trutanich opened its doors, it had that same positive reputation.
Growing up in San Pedro, Tony was a successful tuna fisherman,
and as the boat Captain, would be out to sea for months
at a time. Just plain “tired of the long hours and extra hard work,”
Tony decided to bring that tuna to the tables of his own restaurant
- Tony’s On The Pier.
With only 20 tables at first, Tony’s On The Pier grew quickly and
was soon frequented by movie stars, as hundreds of photos on
the walls depict. In 1964, Tony added the famous “Top of Tony’s”
where guests, still today, walk up stairs to enjoy the most beautiful
sunsets, full bar, food and live entertainment. His son,
Michael, started working there when he was just 15, as a busboy
and dishwasher, doing anything he could to help his father’s business.
Moving up the ladder to become General Manager, Michael
continued working with his father until he passed away in 2006.
“Dad stayed active all the way to the end,” Michael recalls. “He
taught me everything. I worked for him all my life.”
Retiring three years ago, Michael still works for Tony’s, ordering
all of the seafood, even living in Idaho. He communicates daily
with now GM Regina Fong, who’s been at Tony’s for 40 years. And
that’s not uncommon. In fact, the average employee has worked
there for over 20 years. Downstairs bartender Billy Morgan has
been there for 47 years while upstairs bartender Manny Jimenez
just hit his 38 year anniversary. Tony’s son Michael says his father
was such a “role model” and treated everyone at his restaurant
like family. Today, Tony would be proud as everyone at Tony’s On
The Pier is still his family.
Tony’s On The Pier
210 Fishermans Wharf Redondo Beach • (310) 374-1442 • www.oldtonys.com
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 37
S O U T H B AY
1200 Hermosa Ave.
Round Table Pizza
2701 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Breakfast & Drink Specials
Monday Nite Football Specials
Prime Rib melt w/Fries $11
NY Steak w/Fries $13
Burger & Fries $9
Voted South Bay Best 2017
Place to go Dancing
Place to have a Martini
The Bull Pen - Steaks, Prime Rib and
FAMOUS Bull Pen Burger
124 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
313 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
1001 Manhattan Ave.
120 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Family-owned & operated since 1948
LIVE Entertainment Wed-Sat
Open 7 Days A Week
Lunch & Dinner Mon-Sun
314 Avenue I Redondo Beach
Here at Barney’s we've got our full newspaper-sized menu available as well as 40 beers
on draft. Daily and weekend specials and a great Happy Hour Mon - Fri, 4pm to 7pm.
ALL DAY Happy Hour on Monday! We offer free wifi and always have the TV's tuned
to numerous sporting events, in case you want to settle in for a long lunch or dinner.
Either way, we are here for you so come on in and enjoy!
100 Fisherman’s Wharf, Suite H, on the Redondo Beach Pier.
(424) 275-4820 www.barneysbeanery.com
38 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
Welcome to the Riviera Mexican Grill
Just the place for people who think life's a little bit better splashed with salsa. When you pull up a chair
here, we want you to know that our food will always be fresh and good. This is the one place where the sun
shines and the surf's up every day of the year! So, eat drink and be mello, amigos, you're in the Riviera!
Mon.-Thurs.11:00am - 9:00pm, Fri.and Sat.11:00am - 10:00p.m. Sun.10:00am - 9:00pm
1615 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Redondo Beach (310)540-2501
Monday - Friday
4pm to 7pm
10:30pm to 2am
Kitchen Open Until 1am
310) 375-9158 | 22735 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 39
Mon - Thur 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Fri & Sat 3:00pm -7:00pm
Sun - All Day
German traditional cuisine,
contemporary American fare,
award-winning artisanal sausages,
20 taps of European & craft beers.
Pan-fried Pork Cutlet
The Alpine Village Restaurant
833 West Torrance Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90502
Closed Monday & Tuesday
40 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 41
S O U T H B AY
The Strand House
117 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Hermosa Mexican Cuisine
Family owned and operated, Hermosa Mexican Cuisine serves
“real” Mexican food! With a menu full of delicious choices, including
delicious Breakfast Bowls, this restaurant also caters and offers pickup.
Serving the BEST Breakfast Burritos all day! Open 7 days. Open
Sun-Mon 9am-2pm, Tues-Sat 9am-9pm.
Located just north of 8th Street.
We’re waiting for you to visit us – Come on by!
975 Aviation Blvd.
Zinc at Shade Hotel
1221 N. Valley Dr.
824 Hermosa Ave Hermosa Beach (310) 937-5606
The Portofino Inn
260 Portofino Way
100 Fisherman’s Wharf
Redondo Beach Pier
The Bottle Inn Riviera
1700 S. Catalina Ave.
2423 Artesia Blvd.
The Bull Pen
314 Ave. I
1712 S. Catalina Ave.
42 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
Traditional Italian Charm Since 1977
Your Gourmet Neighborhood
Restaurant for 40 Years!
Fine Cuisine www.Broginos.com Fine Spirits
2423 Artesia Blvd. Redondo Beach (310) 370-4827
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 43
S O U T H B AY
1701 S. Catalina Ave.
(310) 791-4849 htgrill.com
Kirari West Bake Shop
707 N. PCH
130 International Boardwalk
Rebel Republic Social House
1710 S. Catalina Ave.
Sea Level Restaurant/Lounge
655 N. Harbor Drive
Tony’s on the Pier
210 Fishermans Wharf
Ws China Bistro
1410 S. PCH
Riviera Mexican Grill
1615 S. PCH
Rock & Brews
6300 S Pacific Coast Highway
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
44 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
1001 Manhattan Ave. • Downtown Manhattan Beach
Reservations Recommended • (310) 376-0242
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 45
Les P’tits Bretons owners Olivier Jouet and wife Djahida Righi with Chef Chuck Kallal. Photos by Brad Jacobson (CivicCouch.com)
Bretons come to the beach
As word gets out about Les P’tits Bretons, the only Breton restaurant south of San Francisco,
expect to hear more French than English at the tables.
by Richard Foss
It makes sense that the most popular variant of French cuisine in California
is from the Mediterranean coast of Provence. The climate there
is similar to ours so the same produce is readily available, and the use
of olive oil and robust seasonings fits our concept of healthy dining better
than richer and more delicately seasoned Parisian items.
French restaurants from both traditions have been established in the
South Bay for decades, but they have recently been joined by a representative
of an entirely different region. At first glance it’s an odd fit with our
area. Brittany is the coolest and rainiest area of France, and is famous for
simple, hearty seafood dishes, buckwheat crepes with mild fillings, and
flaky, buttery baked goods.
Parisian restaurateurs Olivier Jouet and Djahida Rigi opened this unlikely
restaurant in an even unlikelier spot – the building at the corner of Marine
and Highland avenues, which has been the graveyard for several casual
cafés. They and their decorator have executed a spectacular transformation
of the oddly configured space that has three separate levels and a patio,
each with just a few tables. If this was all on one floor you would see it as
a fairly large restaurant, but the cozy French countryside décor makes it
seem like each space is a separate, intimate café.
The design was a smart move, and an even smarter one was bringing in
Chef Chuck Kallal, a veteran of LA powerhouses including Rustic Canyon,
Ludobites, and Petit Trois. Kallal uses Breton ideas about simplicity and
herbal flavors as a guideline rather than a straitjacket and creates items with
remarkable depth of flavor.
We started a recent meal with a Brittany-style white bean hummus and
a bowl of cauliflower soup with vadouvan, a French seasoning based on
curry powder. (If curry powder sounds like an odd ingredient here, consider
that France had colonies in India as early as 1668 and as late as 1954, so
there was plenty of time for cultural exchange.) Vadouvan adds dried shallots
and garlic to the Indian masala seasoning mix to create a gentle but
46 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
complex herbal flavor that goes
marvelously with pureed cauliflower
in a mild chicken stock.
The white bean hummus also
isn’t quite as much of a multicultural
stretch as it might seem, since
traditional hummus is made with
garbanzos rather than the white
beans that are a popular ingredient
all over France. Chef Kallal sprouts
his white beans so that the vegetable
sugars are intensified, which
makes this mix of bean puree with
lemon juice, mild garlic, and herbs
delightful. It’s probably not something
you’d find at some seaside
café in St. Malo, but locals would
recognize the flavors if not the execution.
Having wine with dinner fits any
French meal, but Brittany is noted
for sparkling ciders so we had a
Dan Armor “Cuvee Speciale” brut
as one of our beverages. This
wasn’t as dry as I expected from
something labeled brut and there
was apple tartness balanced with
sugar – if you’re used to sweet and
insipid mass market ciders it might
be a revelation. We also had a
white Bordeaux and Pouilly Fume
from their short by-the-glass list
and slightly preferred the Fume
with our starters.
We continued with a salad that
included tomato, peach slices, burrata
cheese, almonds, greens, and
that most French of ingredients,
macadamia nuts. Yes, those are
Hawaiian, but as I mention Chef
Kallal uses Breton cuisine as a
starting point. Brittany is about as
far north as you can get a good
peach crop and putting ripe tomatoes
and firm peaches together was
a superb idea. It reminds you that
both are fruit, and the use of both
almonds and macadamias adds
two shadings to the nutty elements.
I assume this salad won’t
be on the menu long because
peach season is coming to a close,
but if it is available, get it.
For main courses we selected a
Bolognese galette, duck breast with
roasted figs, and stone fruit
mostarda, and sea bass over white
beans with green beans and beets.
The sea bass was simply roasted
and topped with a rich tarragon
and wine cream sauce, a combination
that is used for all kinds of
seafood in Brittany. It’s unfashionably
rich compared to Provencal
sauces thanks to the use of butter
and cream, but a taste reminds you
why classic French cooking earned
such respect in the first place. Pairing
the fish with green beans almandine
and fresh steamed beets
Les P’tits Bretons Stonefruit Salad with Burrata.
made a pretty plate with a fine balance
of flavors, simple and elegant
at the same time.
The duck had a different balance
of richness with natural flavors
thanks to the roasted black figs, and
a pear and stonefruit salad with
whole grain mustard judiciously
used. Duck is often paired with
cherry or raspberry sauce for tartness
to balance the heaviness of the
meat, but the sweet figs and sweet
and spicy fruit compote made altogether
more interesting companions.
The fruit with mustard is Chef
Kallal’s take on an Italian tradition
called a mostarda that is usually
more sweet and syrupy. I much prefer
his restrained version that lets
the natural flavors shine. We had
spent four bucks extra to get what
the chef described as a stinky blue
cheese sauce to accompany the
duck. Though it wasn’t essential to
the duck it was delicious and we ate
every bit of it with our bread as a
The person who ordered the
bolognese galette was puzzled by
what arrived because he didn’t expect
the authentic version of this
Italian sauce. Bologna is one of
Italy’s centers for cattle, and besides
the famous sausage from that region
they developed a sauce in which
finely chopped beef is slow cooked
for a full day with milk, minced
vegetables, and a small amount of
tomato. It’s a paste of meat and vegetables
with very mild flavor and almost
completely unlike the
tomato-based red ragu that is usually
served at Italian restaurants
here. What my companion received
was a crisp buckwheat crepe with a
fried egg in the middle and a thin
layer of Italian Bolognese around it.
Once he got over the fact that it was
nothing like what he expected, he
enjoyed it, though he said he’d
probably order something else next
time because he likes more robust
As we were unfamiliar with the
wines by the glass we asked for suggestions
from the owner, who suggested
a La Bretonnière Bordeaux
and a La Rose Sarron Graves. He
also suggested glasses of muscadet
dessert wine to match the crepe
suzette that we had for dessert. This
is an item with a link to the South
Bay. Its inventor Henri Charpentier
owned a restaurant in Redondo
Beach, across from City Hall, where
it was served daily from 1946 until
his death in 1961. The flaming
brandy sauce caramelizing the sugars
on a crepe still tastes as good as
ever, and we raised our glasses to
salute Charpentier’s memory.
Dinner for three with five glasses
of wine ran $184, which is entirely
reasonable for cooking of this caliber.
This is the only Breton restaurant
south of San Francisco and I
predict that once the word gets
around in the expatriate community
you’re going to hear more French
than English at the tables. It won’t
all be French, because I expect that
the savvy locals will fill the place,
and I will be there too as often as
my budget allows.
Les P’tits Bretons is at 2201 Highland
in Manhattan Beach. Open daily
except Monday 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.,
small lot or street parking. Wine and
beer served, corkage $20, patio dining.
Menu at lesptitsbretons.com, phone
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 47
19 20 21
22 23 24
25 26 27
Simply the Best
Hermosa Beach, CA
48 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
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October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 49
S O U T H B AY
Alpine Village Restaurant
833 West Torrance Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90502
Ise-Shima at the
Miyako Hybrid Hotel
21381 South Western Avenue
22735 Hawthorne Blvd.
50 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 51
the perfect cup
Coffee roaster Jeff Melodia at home on the Redondo Esplanade, enjoying a cup of coffee from his personal home roaster. Photo by Richard Foss
There’s a reason coffee costs more than it used to.
It’s better than at any other time in history, says Redondo Beach coffee brewer Jeff Melodia
by Richard Foss
If Jeff Melodia’s caddy had preferred tea, he would be in a different business
right now. Melodia had finished playing golf in Hawaii and started
chatting with the caddy cleaning his clubs, a friendly fellow named Lee.
The conversation was sufficiently interesting that they decided to continue
it over a cup of coffee, and the first sip was a pivotal moment in Jeff Melodia’s
“Lee had grown the coffee himself, ground it just before serving, and prepared
it with care. It was amazing, and ever since then I’ve been chasing
that same feeling of the perfect cup.”
Fifteen years later, Melodia is helping other people find their perfect cup
with a line of fair-trade organic coffees that he roasts in small batches. It is
available at the Riviera Village farmer’s market and by mail to members of
his coffee-of-the-month club.
When the Santa Clarita Valley native went to Hawaii it was a vacation
from his job at NBC, where he worked as a special effects man for Jay
Leno’s Tonight Show. After that show ended he freelanced, but that career
came to a sudden end due to an on-the-job accident.
“A truss fell on my foot and they considered amputating it. They saved it,
but it took a year or two for me to learn to walk again. During that time I
thought, hey, it would be nice to open a coffee shop. That’s what brought
me to Redondo Beach. There was a place for sale down by the pier but I
decided against it, both because I thought they’d be renovating the area
soon and because I decided I had a lot more to learn.”
Melodia enrolled in classes sponsored by the elite Specialty Coffee Association
of America and learned roasting and preparation techniques, and
also became fascinated with coffee production and its history. He realized
we are living in a golden age of coffee, because both shipping techniques
and preparation skills have improved so much in the last few decades.
“Coffee in America is probably better than it used to be because in the
days before bulk cargo containers, the raw beans were exposed to moist
sea air that degraded them. The first things to go are the brighter, fresher
flavors that are often compared to cherries or berries. People got in the habit
of deep roasting everything to make that strong, bitter coffee that was all
most of our parents ever knew. Shipping containers and better packaging
allowed better quality control, and made the coffee revolution possible. This
happened at the same time that farmers started getting a premium for growing
their beans properly. Before that they picked everything whether or not
it was fully ripe because they were paid by the pound and nobody checked
the quality. In the last decades coffee shippers became willing to pay more
for beans that had been harvested with care.”
One of the places that was affected by this revolution was the island
where Melodia had that first perfect cup.
“Hawaii was one of the first areas where growers took that individual
care of their beans, because a lot of growers were hobbyists who were
driven by passion and because what coffee they sold brought a lot of money.
Those hobbyist growers had small plots of land, so they had to pick every
berry when it was at its peak and take care of it properly so they could get
that premium price.”
Most growers aren’t lucky enough to live in a tranquil place like Hawaii.
Coffee countries such as Colombia and Guatemala have been riven with
52 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
conflict. The recovery in those
places has been slowed by the
dominance of large coffee companies
that care more about volume
than quality. Melodia said buying
fair trade coffee, which gives the
majority of the profit to the growers
rather than the shippers, improves
the crop at the same time
that it distributes the profits more
“The coffee I buy is organic and
fair trade, and much of it is from
women growers who use the income
to support their families. A
lot of coffee grows in places like
Rwanda that have been ravaged by
war, with a lot of the men killed,
and this is the way their families
“Coffee has been undervalued
for a very long time, going back to
the colonial era, and the people
who do the work are just now getting
the benefits. The result to us
as consumers is that we pay a few
cents more for a cup of coffee.
Okay, maybe more than a few
cents more, but you’re drinking a
much better product and you appreciate
It’s worth noting that your perfect
cup of coffee might be someone
else’s brewing disaster,
because people savor different aromas
and flavors. The amount of
sugar and types of oils in the beans
will vary depending on the ecology
and soil where they were grown.
The processing makes a difference,
too. Roasters can bring out fruity,
chocolaty, earthy, and nutty tones
from the beans, depending on how
they are handled. Once the roaster
has done his or her job it’s time for
you to do yours.
“The most important thing is that
you grind it fresh. Get a bevel
grinder where you adjust the number
of cups and the type of grind.
You need that to get a consistent
product. Then you pick the
method. I prefer drip coffee. In
most European cultures they like
espresso. Drip gives you the lighter
flavors and is less bitter. It takes
more beans because the water isn’t
sitting there as long. I don’t use an
automatic maker. I pour it one cup
at a time. Some people prefer
French press, which is the best
way to get the unique flavors you
like, because you have control once
you figure out how to use it. You
decide how long the coffee and
water are going to interact. The
longer you let it sit, the more you
bring out the bitter and acid flavors
of the bean.”
Melodia lectures on how to
make coffee, and plans to open a
coffeehouse soon. Until then he relies
on feedback from the customers
who receive a bag a month
in the mail.
“My coffee club is a way to learn
about my customers as well as
reach economies of scale. Once a
month I release batches of different
coffees. Right now I have Bali
Blue Moon. I want to hear from
people, not just do everything
based on my own sense of flavor.
That’s helping me narrow down
what is popular in this area.”
One coffee Jeff is not likely to be
mailing out any time soon is the
one that set his career in motion.
“A while ago I wrote to Lee, the
Hawaiian guy who started me
down this path and I thanked him.
I tried to buy some of his coffee
too, but he won’t sell it. He has a
small farm, only an acre or two,
and he sells just about everything
he grows to the Four Seasons resort
down the road from him.” B
October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 53
‘NOT ALONE STAR’ PADDLE-OUT
Pier event raises funds for hurricane victims
undreds of people gathered at the Hermosa Pier on Oct. 1 for the Not
Alone Star Paddle-out. The event was organized by resident Betsy Ryan,
who coined the name following Hurricane Harvey in honor of Texas’
“Lone Star State” moniker, and raised money for victims of the recent spate of
hurricanes in the Atlantic. Participants took surfboards out to the water just beyond
the pier’s end, while others stood on the pier and formed a star. A drone piloted
by Suzi Paine and Joey Anderson captured the image from above. To
purchase one of the drone images or donate money, go to: http://notalonestar.com.
PHOTOS BY RYAN MCDONALD
1. Parks and Recreation Commissioner
Jani Lange, City Council members
Jeff Duclos, Carolyn Petty,
Justin Massey and Hany Fangary,
event organizer Betsy Ryan, and
artist Paul Roustan gather at the foot
of the Pier.
2. Local musician Kevin Sousa tries
to relax before singing the National
Anthem on top of a Hermosa Beach
3. The Hermosa Beach and Redondo
Beach Fire departments use
their ladders to suspend a large
American flag while Kevin Sousa
sings the anthem.
4. Members of several Hermosa
Beach girl scout troops assisted with
5. Dr. Alice Villalobos and husband
Ira Lifland, left, scan the sky for the
6. Trent Larson, left, and Not Alone
Star supporters show off their stars.
7. Paddlers revel in a sign of support
from Los Angeles County Lifeguards.
8. Morgan Sliff holding two surfboards
as she chats with Councilmember
Hany Fangary; Sliff had let
Fangary borrow one of her boards
for the event.
6 7 8
54 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
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
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October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 55
REDONDO SAFETY FAIR
edondo police and firefighters presented a
safety fair and formidable demonstrations of
its resources on Sunday Oct. 1. Demonstrations
included the fire department’s Jaws of Life and
demonstrations by the police department’s five K9
dogs, its drone squadron, motorcycle officers and
SWAT team. The Jaws of Life were used to remove
the roof of a vehicle so its driver could be freed. The
five K9s, the most of any South Bay department,
sniffed out a suspect, drugs and cars keys belonging
to a suspect. The drone demonstrated its 2.5 mile
range, enabling it to search for victims over the
ocean. The department’s 10 FAA licensed Unmanned
Aerial System Pilots also use the drones to approach
suspects without putting officers in danger. The
SWAT team used a stun grenade to demonstrate disorienting
an armed suspect.
On the day of the safety fair, six off-duty Redondo
Beach officers, trained in Tactical Medical Services,
put their training to work following the mass shooting
at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in
PHOTOS BY KEVIN CODY
1. Tyler O’Rourke, 9,
with Sgt. Steve Prengel.
2. Redondo firefighters
remove a vehicle’s
roof so its driver can
be lifted free.
3. Carson Porterfield,
9 months, of Redondo
Beach with Sgt. Steve
4. Diane, Shane, 2,
Chace, 5, and Logan
Temple, 9, of Redondo
Beach with new fingerprint
5. K9 Officer Dave
Arnold with Balton, the
first police dog on the
west coast trained to
identify vapor wakes
from explosives moving
in a crowd.
6. K9 Officer Scott
Martin with Ruger, who
is trained to find
suspects and drugs.
7. Jason Saucedo, 4,
son of Redondo Beach
Lt. Fabien Saucedo.
8. The Redondo Police
Assault Vehicle and
SWAT team during a
9. The Redondo SWAT
team approaches a
10. Redondo firefighters
the Jaws of Life to free
a crash victim.
11. Officer Daniel with
the department’s Mavic
Pro drone and drone
56 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 12, 2017
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October 12, 2017 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 57