January 15th, 2014:

LA NEWSPAPER BIZ HUMOR

I find that newspaper people are generally lively and fun to be around. Their senses of humor can be outrageous and sarcastic since they’ve read or seen so much in life. I have my favorites who write for the LA Times. Steve Lopez is a regular columnist and is famous for his  non-fiction book, The Soloist, about a schizophrenic homeless musician. A few years ago it was made into a movie starring Jamie Foxx. Lopez touches on many subjects, much like my approach on this blog. I’ve even Emailed Lopez with compliments and he replied. Today’s column was a funny one about missing some of LA’s crazy news while he was on vacation back East, particularly Justin Bieber’s latest mischief, supposedly throwing eggs at his wealthy next door neighbor’s home in a gated Calabasas, CA community. Apparently, 11 sheriff’s cars responded to the complaint!  I know the area well since I’ve often eaten at a nearby restaurant, and that area was part of the San Fernando Valley territory covered by the weekly newspaper I wrote for years ago.

Reading Lopez’s column reminded me of some of the people I worked with in the newspaper/magazine biz, especially a couple of fellows who were in the production side of the business. Jan was a whiz in semi-professional bridge and always seemed to be laughing, telling jokes or sharing the latest gossip. He knew lots about the newspaper technology of the 1990s but didn’t take any of the so-called “news” seriously.  Roger was quieter, had a French last name and wore slip-on shoes like the Crocs of today.  These two guys, who made sure the stories were properly typed, cut and pasted onto the pages, had a wicked sense of humor. They knew I would laugh at almost anything, and it quickly became a game to see if I’d catch certain deliberate mistakes. I remember there was one item that involved pickles and the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, but you’ll have to use your imagination for that one.

The most hilarious incident (not X-rated) that I remember during my years at The Acorn was a brief announcement in the Community Events section. I saw the small headline about an art exhibit featuring a painter who had created several wonderful oils, one in particular titled: “Jesus, Mary and Bill.” A man named Roger something was hosting the event, and my mind made no connections between this exhibit and our production fellow. Since Southern California is filled with zany artists, I figured the item was  legitimate. It wasn’t until the paper was printed that I discovered my mistake. The following week when I was back checking for errors and writing headlines, Jan pointed it out. I had forgotten Roger’s surname, which would have given me the clue. We all had a good laugh, and I learned a lesson about not believing everything I read.

Some stories I wrote were pure entertainment, like the one about the latest craze, a male version of striptease performed for women only. In Los Angeles when the club Chippendale’s was new and unique, it featured sexy young men dancing and stripping. Someone enterprising decided to bring a similar show to the boondocks, which Agoura was sometimes labeled.

Whizin’s Center had a large room that was once an old restaurant. It could accommodate a stage and tables for the ladies to imbibe food and drinks while they watched the salacious entertainment. That included me–after all I had to document the experience. Many have seen the British film or the stage play, “The Full Monty” and can imagine what went on. Our entertainers that night, however, failed to completely disrobe. They wore a G-string to hide their equipment, so we didn’t get to see the “full monty,” just everything but.

This photo of one of the dancing strippers shows just the right attitude. Fortunately, he had on enough clothes for his photo  to be displayed in a family newspaper.

 

 

 

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