Larchmontians getting out and about even more — on both coasts

| April 28, 2022 | 0 Comments

CHILDREN, including Hancock Park’s Anna and Miles Paley, participate in the traditional egg roll portion of the day’s event.

As COVID-19 fades into history (we hope), there is further evidence of local denizens starting to get “out and about.”

After a couple of years of lackluster Easter plans, due to the global pandemic, two local families got the chance to attend the White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, D.C. last month. The Tracy-Paley family of Hancock Park (including this newspaper’s staffer Caroline Tracy) and the Million family of Ridgewood-Wilton hunted, rolled, dyed, and ate eggs alongside the President and First Lady at the largest event the White House has hosted since the pandemic began.

HANCOCK PARK’S Miles Paley converses with President Joe Biden at the White House 2022 Easter Egg Roll.

The White House Easter Egg Roll has been a tradition dating back to the administration of Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878. This year’s event, officially titled “The 2022 White House Easter Eggucation Roll,” featured story time with President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, various educational activities and exhibits, a talent show and the famed rolling and hunting games.

The Tracy-Paley family and the Million family were among an estimated 30,000 guests, including many military families, who came from all over the country to enjoy the return of the storied event.

THE MILLION family of Ridgewood-Wilton at the White House: from left, Mike, Chloe, Nathan, and Laura.

LaBonge honored

Three days before, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum’s iconic peristyle (“a colonnade or long row of columns that surrounds a building or courtyard”), there was a great celebration. The peristyle at the stadium’s eastern end consists of a large center arch, six flanking arches, and a total of 24 columns. With the awarding of the Games of the Xth Olympiad in 1932, the Olympic Cauldron was added at the top.

There also began a tradition of mounting large commemorative plaques that chronicle outstanding people and events, athletic or otherwise, that have impacted the history, glory and growth of the Memorial Coliseum.

Prior to April 14, 2022, the Memorial Court of Honor located within the peristyle arches was comprised of 61 plaques.

COLISEUM PERISTYLE is the site of the Court of Honor and a newly mounted wall plaque honoring Tom LaBonge, above and behind his widow, Brigid, and his children Mary Catherine and Charles.                 Photo by Gary Leonard

CELEBRANTS honoring the late Tom LaBonge at the Coliseum included, from left, Richard Pink, Brigid LaBonge and former mayor and now Superior Court Judge, Jim Hahn.

But now, there are 62.

The 62nd plaque honors former Fourth District Councilman Tom LaBonge, and a flurry of fans, friends and family turned out for the plaque’s unveiling on April 14.

Naturally, wife Brigid and children Mary-Cate and Charles were prominent and greeted many friends, among them Supervisor Janice Hahn and her brother, Superior Court Judge (and former mayor) James Hahn.

Said Janice Hahn, “Tom was a cheerleader for Los Angeles.

He loved everything about this city. It is fitting that generations to come will walk around the legends of the Court of Honor, see this plaque, and learn about the one and only Mr. Los Angeles.”

Also present was Richard Pink, second-generation proprietor of Pink’s Hot Dogs (where a “Mr. Los Angeles – Tom LaBonge Dog” is on the menu). Pink brought lunch for everyone at the event!

All 62 plaques are listed, with an image of each showing the full inscription, at:

The Tom LaBonge plaque concludes with: “No one loved Los Angeles more than Tom LaBonge, truly an angel in the City of Angels.”

New judge

And speaking of judges, last month saw the swearing-in of new Superior Court Judge Nicholas F. Daum. Judge Daum, the son of Mary Nichols and the late John Daum, grew up in Windsor Square. At an April 22 reception given by his wife, Kathy, and his mother at The California Club, seen in the crowd of well wishers were Windsor Square’s Bert Deixler, Betsy Anderson of Larchmont Village and Brookside’s Lynne and Michael Russell.

Ahmanson on-stage

Later in the month, local arts supporters were out and about in Downtown Los Angeles, this time actually on the stage of the Ahmanson Theatre. At the on-stage dinner and performance celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Center Theatre Group (CTG) education and community partnerships program, guests were treated to a performance by Jennifer Holliday — as well as a backstage experience designed to show what it’s like to be an actor on that stage.

Among the many local supporters in attendance were Windsor Square’s Amy Forbes and Andy Murr. She is CTG president. Among others spotted dining and/or climbing around the stage house innards, from Windsor Square, were Diana Buckhantz (also a CTG board member), Dan Levin and Michelle Vosko Levin and Sarah Clossey, a new CTG board member.

Author talk

HISTORICAL SOCIETY president Richard Battaglia interviewed local writer Linda Woolverton at her home.

Back in the neighborhood, on a Saturday at the beginning of last month, a “bookish” event took place in an historic home and its lovely garden. Windsor Square resident and American screenwriter, playwright and novelist Linda Woolverton welcomed members and guests of the Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society to her home. A quick tour of the interior of the beautiful circa-1915 abode was followed by an interview with Woolverton by WSHPHS president Richard Battaglia. A slide show of drawings and photos from some of the filmed and live productions Woolverton has authored accompanied the interview.

Her works include Disney films such as “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” “Mulan,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Maleficent,” as well as live-action theatrical productions of some of those same titles.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS were treated to a lively back-and-forth between interviewee Linda Woolverton and interviewer Richard Battaglia, followed by questions and comments from the audience.

Afterward, the gracious hostess visited with guests over Prosecco and pastries in her lovely garden. In addition to Battaglia, WSHPHS organizers included Barbara Coad, Jolin Crofts, Alex Elliott, Juanita Kempe and Judy and Richard Zeller.

A GARDEN RECEPTION for Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society members and guests concluded the April event at Linda Woolverton’s home.

Given the role of film in our community, the gathering featured a bit of a sequel — that is, the return to the neighborhood, for the event, of Mollie Qvale Clark and daughter Signe, prominent residents of Fremont Place in previous years. The two were among the several dozen attendees received by Woolverton and captivated by the tales of her writing career, much of which has emphasized strong roles for girls and women.

Riverly Awards

ASSEMBLY SPEAKER Anthony Rendon, left, examines the Riverly Award presented to him by River LA chair Harry Chandler.

A week later, there was further evidence of people getting “out and about” — this time to Westwood to celebrate River LA and some of that nonprofit’s best supporters. Attending from Windsor Square (and being honored) was Mayor Eric Garcetti. Locals ventured west to salute him and the three other honorees, Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon, author and founder of Chez Panisse and the Edible Schoolyard Alice Waters, and philanthropist lawyer and longtime River LA board member Steve English. Applauding those four while enjoying dinner from the kitchen of Lulu, the new restaurant from Waters and chef David Tanis at the Hammer Museum, were Mary and Kevin O’Connell, Jennifer and Bill Fain, former Marlborough head of school Barbara Wagner and husband Judge Charles Palmer and Martha Welborne and this writer.

ALICE WATERS was recognized at the event that took place at Lulu, her new restaurant at the Hammer Museum.
               Photos by Oscar A. Zagal


Chair of River LA is artist Harry Chandler, who used to live in Hancock Park. He not only presented the Riverly Awards; he also designed and produced them.

Among the tasty dinner items enjoyed in the new Alice Waters dining space at the Hammer were “Devil-ish eggs,” spinach feta pies and Tunisian meatballs in spiced tomato sauce. The restaurant was given a brief review in the February issue of the Chronicle. See:

Announced at the event was the upcoming Los Angeles County LA River Open House on Tues., May 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Westfield Topanga community center at 21710 Vanowen Street in Canoga Park.

River LA CEO Kate Moulene wrote of the upcoming event: “This is the last public / community meeting before the vote on the Master Plan. Teams from Gehry, Olin, GeoSyntec, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s office and Public Works will all be together to talk about the planned Headwaters Pavilion.”

She adds that this “will be one of the first projects along the river connecting the community to the river,” summing up: “It’s a very exciting time as we move from years of planning to action and execution.” Learn more about the May 3 open house at:


And a final bit of local news: There soon will be a new occupant for the former Chan Dara building just north of Beverly Boulevard on Larchmont. Work has been underway during recent weeks on what will become the third outpost of Cookbook (

Hancock Park residents Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, plus their sommelier partner Helen Johannesen (Jon & Vinny and Helen’s on Fairfax Avenue) took over Cookbook Market, long in Echo Park and Highland Park, in 2020. Under the new owners’ tutelage, Cookbook has become even more widely known for its collection of upscale produce, small-producer dry goods and grocery staples like deli meats, wine and sauces. Larchmont Village is a logical extension for this boutique neighborhood green grocer. Just what the Larchmont 2021 survey respondents and so many others want to see. “Thank you,” team Jon, Vinny and Helen!

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Category: Entertainment

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