88 FOR 1988 : Meet Southern California’s Rising Stars
Los Angeles has always been described as a city with great potential. Now more than ever, the city seems to be speeding toward the future, realizing its potential in ways both exciting and troubling. According to current estimates, Los Angeles will be the most populous city in the United States by the end of this century and will likely dominate Pacific trade as well. With such extraordinary growth and expectations of greatness come problems that demand creative leadership in all areas of endeavor.
The 88 people chosen for this special issue are some of Southern California’s rising stars. Most are relatively unknown outside their respective professions. All are certain to make a difference in the life of Los Angeles in 1988 and beyond. They were selected by informed observers from within their fields and by the editors and writers of The Times.
HANK KONING AND JULIE EIZENBERG,
Style wars are raging in architecture these days, but Hank Koning and Julie Eizenberg refuse to participate. The husband-and-wife team is too busy designing livable apartments with people, not awards, in mind. Neighborhoods welcome the subtle, clean lines of their buildings; national critics applaud their revival of architecture’s commitment to solving such social problems as privacy and affordability. Three complexes by Koning, 34, and Eizenberg, 33, will open shortly in Santa Monica, and next year the Australian-born team will unveil designs for several residential projects, a community center in Santa Monica, improvements to Farmers Market and a Century City deli.
JOSE I. LOZANO,
At 33, Jose I. Lozano, publisher of Los Angeles-based La Opinion, heads one of the largest Spanish-language daily newspapers in the country. He’s among the nation’s youngest publishers, and at the paper founded by his grandfather in 1926, he’s quickly making a name for himself as one the most influential Spanish-language journalists in Southern California. He’s a 17-year veteran of the trade, having begun his career at 16 as a shop apprentice. The region’s booming Latino population has helped push La Opinion’s circulation to 74,000, and Lozano vows to boost it past the 100,000 mark with an emphasis on editorial quality.
With the sizzling impact of “Dirty Dancing,” director Emile Ardolino, 44, finally got Hollywood’s undivided attention. Despite an Oscar (for the irrepressible documentary “He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’ ”), three Emmys, 12 more Emmy nominations and credits as producer and / or director of 28 episodes of PBS’ “Dance in America,” he was one of filmmaking’s best-kept secrets. Now, Ardolino is discovering that “every studio wants to do a film combining dance and drama,” and so does he. His next stars Cybill Shepherd.
Pitcher Tim Belcher was one of the Dodgers’ few bright spots in the dark days of last fall. The No. 1 selection in the June ’83 baseball draft, he spent four years in the minors before the team brought him up with a month left in the season. In his brief big-league stint, Belcher, of Sparta, Ohio, went 4-2 in six appearances with a 2.38 earned-run average, and in 34 innings he struck out 23 and walked only 7. If he picks up in spring training where he left off last fall, the 26-year-old will join the starting rotation.
Berman, 40, is a man with one foot squarely in each of two eras. On one level, he’s a throwback to the days when political consultants shaved on Sundays, took their whiskey straight and wouldn’t know Brooks Brothers from the Marx Brothers. But he’s also a shrewd modern political technician and strategist, operating at the cutting edge of computer and direct-mail technology. Over the howls of Republicans in 1981, Berman, together with the late Rep. Phillip Burton, artfully drew the congressional-district lines that have locked in a heavy Democratic majority. The political-consulting firm Berman runs with Carl D’Agostino provides the backbone of the expanding Westside political machine centered around Reps. Howard L. Berman (his brother), Mel Levine and Henry A. Waxman.
In just three years, clothing designer Eric Bovy, 29, has joined fashion’s national leagues, building a client list of 400 stores that extends from Macy’s to Bloomingdale’s. He admits that his lack of business experience made for a disastrous first year--"I thought being in fashion just meant designing great clothes"--sending him back to learn about finances and begin again in 1985. Since then, the very feminine styles of Paris-born Bovy have put him on a steady ascent. His clothes “don’t shout at you,” he says, but they’re putting him on the cover of major fashion publications.
At Gardena High School, Brian Brown was two years behind the fast-moving footsteps of Gaston Green and, like Green, became one of the nation’s most sought-after prep football stars. He followed Green to UCLA and waited on the bench while Green became the Bruins’ all-time leading rusher. In the one game Brown played extensively, he gained 134 yards. For the regular season, the freshman tailback was second on the team in rushing with 392 yards, averaging 5.7 yards a carry and serving notice that he’s ready to challenge injury-plagued senior Eric Ball for the tailback spot Green vacated on his way to the NFL.
When it comes to retailing, Stephen Burke is king at the Magic Kingdom. The 29-year-old Harvard Business School graduate masterminded the bold adventure known as the Disney Stores. Since March, the Walt Disney Co.'s three stores in California have been wildly successful and are expected to gross about $2 million each in their first year. Burke aims to have 100 shops across the country within five years.
When Union Bank, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the City of Santa Monica wanted to set up employee child-care programs, they called on Sandra Burud, 39, who spotted the need for these facilities in the late 1970s and went on to become Southern California’s authority in the field. After writing a book on setting up programs, she took on her current challenge: Her company, Summa Associates, provides corporations with information about child care and coaches them on the costs, benefits and dynamics of bringing day care to work. Look for her to become increasingly prominent as a national child-care expert.
DOUG AND REGULA CAMPBELL,
Go ahead, step on the grass. Feel the ice plant between your toes. Husband-and-wife landscape architects Doug and Regula Campbell want you to enjoy their work, not just stand back and look. The Santa Monica couple’s projects, with their subtle use of native plants and their concern for human comfort, are attracting increasing attention. Campbell designs last year included the fanciful, palm-lined Ocean Park Promenade and Carousel Park in Santa Monica. Upcoming in 1988 from the pair (he’s 40, she’s 39) are plans for civic centers in Beverly Hills and Oceanside, Hope Street downtown, Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica and the L.A. Central Library.
JAMES S. CATTERALL,
James S. Catterall wants young people to realize that dropping out of highschool can be a costly mistake -- a mistake worth $200,000 in lost earnings over a lifetime. That’s just the tip of research that’s giving Catterall a reputation as a national expert on the drop-out problem and an astute critic of an education system that fails to motivate about half of its students. A 39-year-old assistant professor at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education, Catterall is also helping to create a new counseling and training program for dropouts from Los Angeles schools. Parental involvement is key, he says; schools “need a little extra thought, not just money.”
Last year, this angel-faced 24-year-old scored what is reputed to be the biggest advance ever paid for a first novel by a previously unpublished writer: $155,00 from William Morrow & Co. Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh , featuring a sexually confused young man with an impressive vocabulary, isn’t due in bookstores until April--but already it’s been sold to publishers in 12 foreign countries, a six-figure floor has been set for the paperback auction, and star director Alan Pakula has secured the film rights. The screenwriter? Michael Chabon, of course.
When Judy Chu won a seat on the Garvey School District Board of Education two years ago, she became its first Asian-American member--a significant event in this rapidly changing corner of the San Gabriel Valley. The 34-year-old Los Angeles native has skillfully worked to balance the needs of newly arrived Asians--who now make up half of the district’s 7,500 students--against those of youngsters from the area’s Latino community. Chu’s abilities to bridge cultural gaps will be put to the test next spring when she runs for the Monterey Park City Council, a body that has been torn by clashes over the impact of the Asian population boom.
Few folks outside the advertising world know Lee Clow, but many have been influenced by his work. His ads put Apple Computer and Nike on the map and made California Cooler and Pizza Hut household names. In fact, some peers regard him as the top creative talent in advertising today. Now, at 44, he faces his toughest assignment at the Los Angeles ad firm Chiat / Day, where he is president and executive creative director: making Nissan the best-selling import car in America. If he brings it off--or comes close--he is expected to eventually succeed Jay Chiat as chairman and chief executive of one of the West Coast’s most influential ad firms.
Until last April, Local 11 of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders Union had been losing members for a decade, evolving into a divided organization with white leaders and an overwhelmingly Latino membership. After an election marred by fraud charges, the union’s national leaders brought in Miguel Contreras, 35, to take over the local for 18 months. So far, he’s hired 11 bilingual staff members and helped 2,200 of the union’s 14,000 members gain amnesty under the new immigration law. Contreras’ primary goal for the year: to launch several major organizing campaigns, then return control of the strengthened union to its local members.
Davis, 33, has an ancient passion. Since 1984, she’s been executive director of an environmental group working to protect 750,000--year--old Mono Lake, whose water is being tapped by the City of Los Angeles. After years of fighting with the formidable Department of Water and Power, her Mono Lake Committee has persuaded the city to jointly sponsor an independent study of alternatives to diverting water from the lake--and to seriously consider the group’s suggestions.
As an outspoken critic of the U.S. Olympic boycott of 1980, Anita DeFrantz of Santa Monica, the 1976 winner of a bronze medal in rowing, was thrust into the politics of amateur athletics. On the eve of another Olympics charged with controversy, DeFrantz, 35, is expected to be highly visible as one of two U.S. representatives on the International Olympic Committee. An attorney and a forceful advocate of amateur and minority athletes, DeFrantz is the first black elected to the IOC from a country that is not predominantly black. She also heads the Amateur Athletic Foundation, distributor of surplus funds from the ’84 Olympics.
At Sweetwater High School in National City, Gail Devers was virtually a one--woman track team, and at UCLA, she’s won half a dozen events in most meets. But in this Olympic year, she’s concentrating on the 100--meter sprint and 100--meter hurdles in hopes of making the U.S. team. Devers, 21, won’t rule out a gold medal “if I can stay injury--free, go in fresh and if the Lord is willing.” Says coach Bob Kersee:"She’s going to be one of America’s best, one of the world’s best.” Devers could become a star in the mold of Valerie Brisco and Jackie Joyner--Kersee, her daily workout partners.
Elachi is a rare scientist: one of those who is not only a visionary, but also a capable administrator. Elachi, 40, was recently appointed assistant director at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he is in charge of space-science research, but is best known for his role in the development of an imaging radar system for the space shuttle. By using radar waves to produce pictures, the system allows scientists to see through clouds that blanket the Earth as the shuttle orbits the planet, and the system even penetrates the top layer of soil in arid regions, revealing hints of what lies below the surface. His future plans are ambitious: to use such systems to learn about global phenomena in a major study of the entire Earth as an ecological system.
Polly Ward’s work with the Studio City Residents Assn. has helped transform that neighborhood group into one of the area’s most powerful community organizations. Though she recalls being “dragged kicking and screaming to a meeting six years ago,” she stayed on to become amember, then president of the group. Under her leadership, the association has grown to more than 1,100 families spread over three City Council districts. And Ward, 52, is using the clout of those numbers to persuade builders to scale down plans for high-rise projects opposed by residents. A senior financial analyst at Arco, Ward also loans her fiscal skills to nonprofit arts organizations.
FRANK M. REID III, pastor
Frank Madison Reid III believes a church must serve its community, so last winter he threw open the doors of his sanctuary to let homeless people sleep inside. Reid, 36, heads one of Los Angeles’ largest black congregations as pastor of Ward African Methodist Episcopal Church near the USC campus. He’s at his best in the pulpit, where he combines an intellectual grounding in theology with a charismatic ministry rooted in African tradition. He advises “Amen,” the NBC comedy, and he’s able to bring in big-name speakers like Jesse Jackson and South African colored leader Allan Boesak (CQ--LV) to help underline his message of community involvement.
JOHN B. EMERSON,
One year ago, Emerson, 33, thought he might be bound for the White House. From his post at the influential law firm of Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg & Phillips, Emerson ran Sen. Gary Hart’s successful 1984 California primary effort. This year, Emerson moved up to Denver as deputy national campaign manager. When Hart’s campaign faltered, Emerson turned down offers from other Democratic candidates and returned to Los Angeles, where he has become chief deputy and chief of staff in the office of City Attorney James Hahn. While he may volunteer for the new Hart campaign, he intends to stay on Hahn’s staff. With strong ties to Westside money centers, and the government experience he is accumulating, Emerson is a likely candidate for public office himself in the next few years.
Evans, a 97-pound, 5-foot-4 1/2 junior at El Dorado High School in Placentia, says strapping Soviet swimmers laughed when they spotted her tiny form on the deck at Moscow before the Good Will Games in 1985. When she won a bronze medal, the laughing stopped. Last summer, in the U.S. national meet, she set two world records, then won two gold medals at the Pan Pacific Games. Because of her churning, windmill-like strokes, Evans, now 16, has often been compared to a windup bathtub toy, an analogy she finds tiresome. That funny stroke might be all the rage before Evans is finished accumulating medals at this summer’s Olympics.
Farrell, 28-year-old singer-front man of the Los Angeles band Jane’s Addiction, tied soul sensation Terence Trent D’Arby as 1987’s brashest rock rookie, loudly tooting his own horn in interviews and attracting the kind of press coverage that is often dismissed as hype. But like D’Arby, Farrell has the goods to back up all the big talk--his gritty, true-to-street-life lyrics and the band’s thunderous hybrid of psychedelia, punk and heavy metal could well be the noise of the ‘90s. Their first Warner Bros. album is due in the spring.
LARRY FLAX, RICK ROSENFIELD,
Four years ago Flax and Rosenfield were just law partners who liked to cook. Like many good cooks, they dreamed of opening a restaurant. Then one day they had a vision: They would do for pizza what Baskin-Robbins had done for ice cream. They dreamed of a sort of poor man’s Spago, where pizza would be made in wood-burning ovens--and in every imaginable flavor. The first California Pizza Kitchen opened in 1985 in Beverly Hills, and their barbecued chicken pizza was an overnight sensation. The following year a California Pizza Kitchen opened in the Beverly Center. After that there was no stopping them. Today California Pizza Kitchens are scattered from Atlanta to Hawaii; there’s talk that they may go public next year. And they’re only getting started; if Flax and Rosenfield have their way, California pizza will conquer the world.
She’s not the product of a big-name writing program, and her work has never appeared in a magazine. But with a poetic, at times deadpan style that’s more David Byrne than the freeze-dried angst of Bret Easton Ellis, Judith Freeman, 41, wowed Viking Press into a two-book contract with her first manuscript. Her debut collection of short stories, “Family Attractions,” due out in March, is filled with memorable characters from her Utah upbringing, figures bursting with emotions they can’t quite articulate. Freeman’s next project: completing a first novel, “The Chinchilla Farm,” to be published in March, 1989.
The gruff-talking and outspoken president of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, Garcia has won the respect of politicians and bureaucrats for his handling of one of city’s most powerful citizen panels. He plays a key role in shaping city policies on housing and the homeless, development and local community plans, and lobbyists for developers and homeowner groups give him high marks for his grasp of planning issues. His independence has enabled him to win the backing of City Council members and the mayor. A partner in the downtown law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson, the 40-year-old Garcia has been mentioned as a possible officeholder himself some day.
Michael’s restaurant in Santa Monica is known for many things. It is known as the most expensive restaurant in the city--a place where meals can easily cost $100 a person or more. It is known for having the highest service charge--an automatic 18% tacked onto every bill. It is known for its fine art, its beautiful garden, its wonderful California-French food. But what is not known is that the chef who cooks that fabulous food is a 26-year-old who first came into the kitchen to wash dishes. Martin Garcia has come a long way from Guadalajara--and there’s no telling how far he may yet go. After all, the first chef Michael’s hired, Jonathan Waxman, is now an international restaurant mogul.
Giegerich, 35, is forcing art lovers to rethink how they perceive ordinary objects--in a way rarely done since Dada master Marcel Duchamp made us see a urinal as a work of art. A water faucet molded from roofing paper, for instance, is among the rough constructions she’s assembled from industrial materials including tar paper, chicken wire and plywood. Recycling classic modernist art styles from Cubism to Dada, Giegerich’s works combine intuition and intelligence in a way that’s marked her as one of this city’s most original young talents.
Gilfry, 28, of Covina first attracted attention singing Bach while an undergraduate at Cal State Fullerton in 1980. Since then, he has appeared as soloist in choral concerts all around Southern California. Last May, his poignant performance of the Britten “War Requiem” drew comparisons with the great Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Boyish yet dignified, he commands an uncommonly bright and pliant lyric baritone and rare interpretive intelligence. When the Music Center Opera inaugurated its resident roster in 1986, Gilfry was cast in minor roles, but he was clearly destined for major challenges. In 1988, he’ll be looking to Europe--specifically the Frankfurt Opera, where he is under contract--for stability and experience.
A manager for rock star Belinda Carlisle and actor-singer Don Johnson, and the president of Gold Castle Records, which distributes folk acts, easy-going Danny Goldberg, 37, has ascended swiftly in Los Angeles and national liberal political circles. In 1984, Goldberg helped produce voter-registration ads on MTV; then he organized “The Musical Majority” to fight the record-rating proposals of Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center. Last fall, he put together concerts in Los Angeles, New York and Washington to raise money for a coalition opposing aid to the Nicaraguan contras. Now he’s assuming his biggest role--as the youngest chairman in the history of the huge American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California.
As executive vice president of Walt Disney Studios, Hahn is the first woman to run the business and legal affairs of a major studio. Since following Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg from Paramount in 1984, the 39-year-old Loyola Law School graduate has fashioned deals for such stars as Bette Midler and Tom Hanks and won plaudits for her toughness during tense labor negotiations. She was instrumental in structuring the deal between Silver Screen Partnerships and Disney, raising more than $500 million for movie production. Her latest accomplishments: shaping major promotional deals with Sears and McDonald’s.
If 1988 turns out to mark the return of comedians with true entertainment skills, Finis (pronounced FINEST) Henderson will be in the vanguard of smooth practitioners. Henderson, 29, is the descendant of an ex-slave who said “finis” to bondage. His father managed Redd Foxx, George Kirby and Godfrey Cambridge, and Finis Henderson, slender and pompadoured, runs an impressionist riff from Sammy Davis Jr. through Nelson Eddy ( and Jeanette MacDonald), James Brown, Julio Iglesias and Johnny Mathis. Frequently seen at the Comedy Store in Hollywood and the Dunes in Vegas.
When she arrived from New York City in 1985 to take over Los Angeles’ new Telecommunications Department, Susan Herman was one of the youngest department heads in the city’s history. She brought with her a reputation as a tough regulator and a pragmatic negotiator, skills that have proved crucial in the city’s delicate bargaining with the cable TV industry. Now that she’s helped shape cable policy in Los Angeles, Herman, 34, will use her expertise this year to lead the city’s foray into the brave new world of televised council meetings and video production.
David Hertz, 27, designs furniture that’s part architecture, part art. The twist: It’s made of concrete, a “secret lightweight formula” that can be precast and cut with woodworking tools. A 1984 exhibition at the Schindler House in West Hollywood led the young architect, who had already worked for both John Lautner and Frank Gehry, to numerous exhibitions in international art shows. Now his Santa Monica-based Syndesis Studio is custom-producing concrete countertops, furniture pieces and architectural details that he hopes to sell nationwide. And his palette of architecturally correct grays has expanded, too, to include a wide range of colors.
When children watch cartoons and then clamor for toys based on the characters, they’re singing Andy Heyward’s song. Heyward, 38, has used a blend of cartoons, toys, product licensing and advertiser relationships to build his 5-year-old DIC Enterprises into one of Hollywood’s most prolific cartoon factories. Among other things, he gets major merchandisers to pay him to create shows that promote their characters, including such recognizable stars as Hello Kitty, Dennis the Menace and ALF. Now Heyward, who owns 52% of the $90-million-a-year company, has started a division to make toys. He’s planning to take the company public soon through a merger with a computer--parts maker.
Millions of people have been touched by her creations, yet most do not know her name. Varnette P. Honeywood created seven artworks displayed prominently on the walls of the Huxtable home every Thursday night on “The Cosby Show.” Though she gets no on-screen credit, the support of veteran collector Cosby has helped fuel public demand for Honeywood’s stylized faces and distinctive scenes of black family life. A painter and master of collage, Honeywood, 37, still lives in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles, where she grew up. Now she is much sought-after by collectors and galleries. This year, her work will be more widely available, appearing on prints and note cards.
Hopfield wants to create a computer in his own image. By altering the way electronic components are assembled, the 54-year-old Caltech chemistry and biology professor hopes to make computers less like electronic calculators and more like the human brain. One sign of his potential: a five-year, $244,000 from the prestigious MacArthur Foundation to spend any way he wants. He has already shown that such computers can detect--and make allowances for--incorrect words or numbers inadvertently entered by humans. He has even seen a form of “electronic inspiration” when the computer puts together two memories to form an original memory. One use of the computers might be compact brains that could direct unmanned space probes for years without human intervention.
Billed as the next Mary Lou Retton after she won the national gymnastics title in 1985, 17-year-old Sabrina Mar of Monterey Park will be in the limelight this summer as a star of the U.S. Olympic team. Sidetracked for a while by injuries, she came back last summer to beat media darling Kristie Phillips for the all-around gold at the Pan American Games. Mar works with coach Don Peters of the Huntington Beach SCATS, the club that produced Cathy Rigby. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Mar makes a point of performing to “Born in the U.S.A.”
“River’s Edge” was a disturbing film, with its portraits of disaffected teen-agers--silent when one shows them the body of the girlfriend he murdered. But for the screenwriter, Neal Jimenez, who wrote it four years ago while at UCLA’s film school, these creepy kids opened the doors of Hollywood. The Sacramento-born Jimenez, 27, is currently updating “The Blue Angel” to the McCarthy era for producer Diane Keaton and director Alan Parker, with Madonna to star. He’s also co-writing “For Our Boys” for Bette Midler, tracing the lives of a USO singer and a comedian through three wars. His greatest strength? His characters, which “scratch at him” until he puzzles them out.
A young fan of Jackson Pollock wrote that he wanted to see the paintings of “Jack the Dripper” again. The note was signed, “Jason the Dripper.” That delighted Kim Kanatani, 31, who was recently named the state’s outstanding art museum educator--and who was responsible for bringing the fourth-grader to the Museum of Contemporary Art in the first place. Kanatani, MOCA’s education specialist, received the award for her role in creating a program that brings L.A. teachers and students to the museum twice a year. They view and discuss art, then follow up with a project--making their own lifelike sculptures a la George Segal, for example. Twenty-three schools participated last year, and program is targeted to increase by 20 schools a year. Kids, Kanatani says appreciatively, “never ask ‘Why is this art?’ ”
A recent exhibit of Mike Kelley’s artwork juxtaposed a 25-foot furry white snake, huge diagrams of intestines and a bureau plastered with thousands of eyes and lips cut from magazines. His is Neo-Expressionism with a sense of humor, and the inventiveness of this 33-year-old’s comic conceptual art has made it a must for the biggest museum shows around Los Angeles. With a cornucopia of images--and themes ranging from politics to spirituality--Kelley’s immense energy could carry him through the ‘90s and beyond.
For two years, Tom Kendall, 21, has led a double life. A UCLA business student during the week, he leaves the Sigma Nu house on weekends to race a Mazda RX-7. Both years, he’s gone to the head of the class, winning the International Motor Sports Assn. championship for GTU cars--doub1819877481d Mazdas and NASCAR stock cars.
Kevles has a knack for explaining formidable topics such as genetic engineering in human terms that seize the imagination. “Genes, pigs and mother’s milk,” for instance, is his description of his current work, a set of articles he expects to publish this year on “transgenetic animals,” which have been altered with the genetic material of other species--including humans. The Caltech history professor, 48, impressed critics with his last effort, “In the Name of Eugenics” (run first in the New Yorker and published by Alfred A. Knopf), a runner-up for the 1985 American Book Award.
YOON HEE KIM,
Los Angeles’ burgeoning Korean-American community is gaining greater political influence and media attention, and Yoon Hee Kim is among its most dynamic leaders. As 1988 president of the Los Angeles-based Korean American Coalition, she will be chief spokeswoman for the nation’s most prominent bilingual Korean community organization--in the city with the largest Korean population outside Korea. Her stature is likely to grow even more as the coalition expands nationwide and as world attention focuses on South Korea during the 1988 Olympic Games. Kim, 25, whoarrived here from Korea 16 years ago not knowing a word of English, also serves as Sen. Pete Wilson’s special assistant for Asian-Pacific affairs.
When Joe Kirschvink talks about animal magnetism, he doesn’t mean sexual chemistry. A 34-year-old associate professor of geobiology at Caltech, he has shown that creatures have tiny magnets in their heads, giving them a sixth sense--the ability to navigate in the earth’s magnetic field. His ongoing work may answer such ancient questions as how bees lead others to food and how homing pigeons find home. Kirschvink is also the leader in detecting the faint magnetic fields frozen into rocks, data that provides much information about the Earth’s past. In 1984, he received the prestigious Presidential Young Investigator award.
real estate investor
As president of Shuwa Investments Corp., 34-year-old Takaji Kobayashi is landlord of billions of dollars’ worth of prime U.S. commercial property. The holdings of the aggressive, cash-rich Japanese firm, founded by Kobayashi’s father, include Arco Plaza in downtown Los Angeles, the 1900 and 1901 Avenue of the Stars complex in Century City and the ABC Building in New York. Now Sh1970757932ton and Chicago. Kobayashi will be directing the shopping spree from the firm’s Los Angeles headquarters.
REZA ABDOH, theater director
Director Reza Abdoh, born in Tehran, raised and schooled in England, arrived in Los Angeles in 1983. His is not the sort of drama that unfolds in a middle-class living room; it is ritualistic, political, poetic, musical, visual theater. Abdoh, 24, staged “Medea” in a basketball gymnasium one season and a play on Eva Peron in a photo studio the next. Future plans include a Dadaist-inspired performance set in six motel rooms; “The Bogey Man,” about Buster Keaton’s return to Earth; and an untitled L.A. Theatre Center-commissioned play about ecological destruction.
ALEX KOZINSKI, federal judge
At 37, Alex Kozinski is the youngest federal appellate judge in the nation, and the 1985 Reagan appointee has been a bit of a surprise to fellow conservatives. There’s the matter of his demeanor--he wears Levi’s at judicial conferences and often sits in as a trial judge “just to see what the process is like.” And there are his decisions: In one of his first, he defended freedom of speech for homosexuals seeking to use the word Olympics for an athletic event. Now, with his strong connections to both the White House and Supreme Court nominee Anthony M. Kennedy--he is Kennedy’s former law clerk--his clout on the national judicial scene promises to grow.
ROBIN KRAMER, political aide
Thirty-four-year-old Robin Kramer is a City Hall activist with a knack for matching the right people with the right ideas and letting them take the credit. It’s a skill she polished during five years as executive director of the Coro Foundation, where she taught representatives of special-interest groups how to work together and use the system. This year, on behalf of her boss, Councilman Richard Alatorre, Kramer is prodding City Hall into analyzing how it can better serve the needs of those least able to speak up for themselves: the city’s children.
STEWART KWOH, community lawyer
Kwoh saw the need for free bilingual legal services for Southern California’s fast-growing but often-disenfranchised Asian immigrant population. So 4 1/2 years ago, he co-founded the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California. Now, as its executive director, he oversees an agency that has defended thousands of victims--Asian and non-Asian--of racially motivated violence, job and housing discrimination, domestic violence and other problems. Kwoh, 39, has also emerged as a leader in the Asian-American community’s drive for greater political influence by leading a major voter-registration drive and by pressing for reform of provisions in the new immigration law that he says discriminate against Asians.
WENDY LAZARUS, health care activist
Los Angeles County officials knew that many poor, pregnant women couldn’t get even one appointment at county clinics during the nine months they needed care. When Wendy Lazarus pointed out that treatment for premature--often unhealthy--children born to these women costs almost 20 times more than prenatal care, the county decided to spend an additional $1 million on prenatal programs. The 38-year-old director of the Southern California Child Health Network, working with other organizations, had similar success in Orange County, where a report she wrote helped persuade officials to expand services to 25% more women. Her next task: trying to win more state money for infants and pregnant women.
DONZELLA P. LEE, health educator
Lee believes that a child is a terrible thing to waste. Mindful of climbing teen-age pregnancy rates and other health problems in the city’s poorer neighborhoods, the 37-year-old health educator pushed for the creation of a school-based clinic for teen-agers. Lee and her employer, the Watts Health Foundation, won school-board approval, and she is now running the city’s first school-based teen clinic at Jordan High School in Watts, not far from where she grew up. Lee also runs programs to counsel teen mothers and fathers on baby care, employment and values, so that young parenthood need not become a trap. As president of the California Black Health Network, Lee is now working to establish campus health-care centers throughout the state.
ALEXANDRA LEVINE, doctor
Alexandra Levine’s 10-year career on the faculty of the USC School of Medicine has, by all measures, been a striking success: She was named outstanding teacher by the graduating classes of 1980 and 1985 and at 42 she is already the school’s executive associate dean. In the lab, she has pioneered the identification of new cancers of white blood cells and how to treat them. Only a few were known when she started; now there are a few dozen. Since each form requires a different treatment, the identifications are critically important. That work evolved into the study of AIDS, and she is now one of two heads of USC’s AIDS Treatment and Evaluation Center, one of only 14 such centers in the United States.
RAY LIOTTA, actor
As the charismatic but menacing husband in “Something Wild,” Ray Liotta, 32, had something too many flaring-nostriled young actors lack: a sense of humor. To director Jonathan Demme, that quality made Liotta the film’s “true tragic hero.” New Jersey-born, trained but not ruined on the TV soap “Another World” and still conscientious about his acting classes, the blue-eyed Liotta’s movie debut was unpredictable and electrifying. Early this year, audiences will see an entirely different side to him as a struggling young doctor in “Dominick and Eugene,” an affecting drama of two brothers, co-starring Tom Hulce and directed by Robert M. Young.
An instinct for knowing what television viewers find irresistible has sent Warren Littlefield to the top of the network ranks. Since coming to NBC from Warner Bros. TV in 1979, Littlefield, 35, has shown a deft hand with comedy, helping develop such ratings-dominating programs as “The Cosby Show” and “The Golden Girls.” His recent promotion to executive vice president, prime-time programs, makes him the heir apparent to programming chief Brandon Tartikoff. In the meantime, as NBC guns for a record 11th consecutive “sweeps month” win in February, Littlefield will apply his wizardry to upgrading the network’s miniseries and TV movies.
Eyebrows were raised in political circles when attorney Melanie Lomax abandoned her Pasadena home recently for a place in the Hollywood Hills. Does the move to Los Angeles portend a foray into politics for the civil-rights activist? Lomax, 37, is noncommittal, saying only: “I think the absence of young black women on the political scene has to be corrected.” Former counsel for the Los Angeles NAACP and Operation PUSH, she parted ways with traditional civil-rights groups--claiming they’re too cozy with the Establishment--and last year expanded her all-female law firm and launched a new group, the Progressive Alliance, to push for minority economic development.
DAVID R. LOVEJOY,
As Congress considers major changes in the banking industry this year, one likely spokesman for the powerful banking lobby is David R. Lovejoy. A Security Pacific vice chairman responsiblefor the bank’s worldwide corporate and institutional activities, he’ll be an important advocate 17185797441853124384be poised to pioneer a new era in domestic banking.
After working for more than two decades in shelters for the homeless, free clinics and programs for the needy, Mollie Lowery, 42, turned her attention to a long-neglected group: homeless men who are mentally ill. In 1985, using money raised from private corporations and foundations, she opened the Los Angeles Men’s Place, a downtown shelter that now helps as many as 80 men a day. Her work is receiving national attention. In the next year, Lowery will expand her efforts, working to transform a downtown warehouse into a transitional residence to provide support for mentally ill men and women and to develop projects to employ them.
Lundgren runs the show at the seven-store Bullocks Wilshire specialty chain, but at 35, he’s younger than most of his upscale clientele. So he’s just the man for his immediate task: to try to attract more youthful customers to the venerable apparel and gift store without alienating its traditional audience. A Long Beach native, Lundgren has steadily ascended the retailing ranks. He worked for the Bullock’s department store chain for 12 1/2 years as manager of college recruiting and as a buyer, store manager and vice president. The youngest president ever at Bullocks Wilshire, Lundgren is viewed by superiors as one of the great young talents of retailing.
Los Angeles’ Latino population has yet to flex its muscle as a significant voting bloc. But that’s coming, and one person who is making it happen is Richard Martinez, local director of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project. In the late 1970s, he helped to set up the highly effective United Neighborhoods Organization in East Los Angeles, and for the last five years, he has been among a handful of organizers behind registration drives that have signed up more than 200,000 voters--most of them Latinos--throughout the West. During the next political year, Martinez, 44, will coordinate a registration drive in East Los Angeles. If the nonpartisan campaign meets its goal of signing up 40,000 voters, it will vastly increase the electoral clout of area Latinos.
There is no more traditional food than sushi. There are prescribed ways to pick it up, prescribed ways to dip it into the soy sauce--even a prescribed order to eating the stuff. At least there was until Nobu Matsuhisa came along. Traditionally trained in Japan, Matsuhisa, 38, spent three years in Peru and one year in Argentina. Then, last year, he opened his own little restaurant on La Cienega, named it for himself and started making sushi like nobody’s ever seen. Like “pasta” made out of squid, mixed with asparagus and topped with a sauce of sake, soy sauce and butter. Or pinwheels of salmon, Japanese pickles at their heart, wrapped up in kelp. Or warm sea urchin snuggled into leafs of shiso. There seems no end to Matsuhisa’s inventiveness--and because of him, sushi will never be the same.
As supervising producer of “Miami Vice,” Kerry McCluggage added substance to the style-settingseries while cutting costs--not an easy task. Now, as president of MCA’s Universal Television, hi19315042391920164204s for three new comedies due this year, one each on CBS, ABC and Fox.
After jobs as a ski-lodge bartender, free-lance writer and KCBS-TV news assistant, John McDonald, 31, found politics. He made his first splash as advance man in Mayor Tom Bradley’s 1986 gubernatorial campaign, and he’ll build on that experience this year as chief advance man organizing campaign and media events for Lt. Gov. Leo T. McCarthy, who is running for the U.S. Senate. In that role, McDonald, who has worked as McCarthy’s press deputy, will help set the tone of a political race that looms as one of the year’s most hotly contested.
Though he generally shuns public attention, George Mihlsten is widely known in political circles as one of the most effective lobbyists at City Hall. Mihlsten, 37, a partner with the downtown law firm of Latham & Watkins, specializes in real-estate law and land-use planning, representing some of the largest developers and real-estate interests in the city. But this consummate dealmaker realizes that compromise is a potent tool, and it was he who persuaded landlord groups to pay more relocation money to renters in a tradeoff for tenant concessions under an amended rent-stabilization law. In 1988, Mihlsten will be working on transportation issues and and resisting efforts to limit development.
LAURA MURPHY MINOR,
At 32, Minor has already worked closely with some of America’s most influential black politicians, including powerhouse U.S. representatives Parren Mitchell and Shirley Chisholm. But no doubt Minor, on loan from her post as chief Southern California political operative for Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, will achieve her greatest visibility so far in her latest job: national finance director for Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign. For the Jackson campaign, Minor’s goal is to raise between $8 million and $10 million.
Her name isn’t widely known, but Cindy Miscikowski’s ideas about how Los Angeles should grow will shape the city’s development for years to come. The 39-year-old chief deputy to CouncilmanMarvin Braude was instrumental in fashioning Proposition U, the successful 1986 ballot initiativ16966237211746954341he leaves the council.
CHARLES (SKIP) PAUL,
After less than three years at MCA Inc., Charles (Skip) Paul’s contributions to the mammoth entertainment conglomerate are resonating all over the world. As president of MCA Enterprises, the 37-year-old Long Beach native and former Atari executive searches out new businesses for the 12962532161679845747to distribute movies in China.
RICH PERELMAN, consultant
As chief of press operations at the L.A. Olympics, Rich Perelman won praise for his efficiency. He also got hooked on events on a grand scale: Now 31, he’s a consultant to cities offering themselves as sites for big events. He added his organizational savvy to the Statue of Liberty celebration and the Pan American Games; in May, he’ll direct the Pac-10 track and field meet in Los Angeles. Perelman is also working closely with Sail America, which will manage the next America’s Cup race. But his biggest challenge of the moment may be his bid to revive the defunct L.A. Street Scene festival as a private venture.
JANE G. PISANO, civic leader
Pisano is shaping a vision of Los Angeles that will help guide the city into the next century. As president of Los Angeles 2000, a group of civic and business leaders appointed by Mayor Tom Bradley, she’s responsible for synthesizing members’ ideas on how to solve problems ranging from reducing smog to sustaining the arts. The 43-year-old Ph.D’s energy has taken her from the staff of the National Security Council to directorships of the Los Angeles Bicentennial Committee and Olympic programs for Times Mirror Co. Her latest labors will help focus discussions about the city’s future when Los Angeles 2000 releases its report to the mayor later this year.
GEORGE B. RATHMANN, biotech businessman
The work of George B. Rathmann’s company could change the lives of millions of patients who suffer from anemia, making blood transfusions unnecessary for many of them. The 7-year-old biotechnology firm he heads, Amgen, is awaiting FDA approval to sell erythropoietin (EPO), a rare human hormone it developed using genetic engineering. EPO is effective at a tiny dose--only 10 milligrams a year (an aspirin tablet is 325 milligrams)--but its potential sales are enormous. Analysts project the total U.S. EPO market at $300 million, a striking development for Rathmann, 60, who has been with the company since the beginning.
TIM ROBBINS, theater director
Not many people remember Tim Robbins from his supporting role in “Howard the Duck,” and perhaps it’s just as well. Robbins, 29, uses the money he earns on screen to support his real work: directing one of the city’s most promising experimental theater groups. Robbins founded the Actors’ Gang in 1981 and has held the group together since, combining stark theatrical styles with topical themes. The group’s productions of dramas on such subjects as Christian fundamentalism and the U.S. bombing of Libya have won mounting acclaim from critics and peers. Their next project is a murder mystery set in a carny freak show.
STACY ROWLES, musician
Rowles, a lyrical exponent of the fluegelhorn and trumpet, has been at the doorstep of fame several times. She’s played with Woody Herman at the Hollywood Bowl and at the famous North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, been heard on three albums, worked with the all-female orchestra Maiden Voyage and plays local clubs with her father, eminent pianist Jimmy Rowles. This year she’s planning a return to Europe and a tour of Canada--both of which may finally propel her to a level of recognition commensurate with her talent.
MARINA SPADAFORA, designer
Spadafora was born to knit. The whole Spadafora clan back in Bolzano, Italy, is in the knitwear industry, but Marina--a turbocharged type in a fragile-looking frame--left home to do it on her own. After fashion school in Los Angeles, she worked for knitwear designer Nancy Heller, was a sales rep in the California Mart and began her own label three years ago. Now 28, she designs from her Hollywood Boulevard studio and her canyon home. Spadafora’s clean, spare style combines Old Tuscany with New Hollywood, an unusual tilt that has boosted sales to the $3-million mark.
DAN SPETNER, educator
Dorsey High School is better known for athletics than academics, but as coach of the Academic Decathlon team, Dan Spetner has helped mold this predominantly black mid-city school’s reputation as a tough competitor in the Los Angeles Unified School District’s annual battle of the brains. Spetner’s teams have been particularly successful in the Super Quiz--the most prestigious event--winning it four out of seven years; Dorsey finished in the top 10 overall every year except for 1986, the only year Spetner wasn’t coaching. Although coaching requires Spetner, 36, to put “the rest of my life on hold,” he’s already thinking about his ’88-89 team.
PETE TAYLOR, foundation executive
Taylor is scouting for the people who will lead Los Angeles into the 21st Century. At 29, he is the first black executive director of the little-known but highly influential Coro Foundation. Through Coro, Taylor trains young people for careers in public service by placing them in fellowships with the area’s corporate, government and philanthropic leaders. Today, more than 100 members of the “Coro Mafia” in government and public-affair jobs exert enormous influence in Sacramento, as Taylor once did as chief deputy to Assembly Majority Leader Mike Roos. On Taylor’s agenda this year: completing a major study of what kind of leaders L.A. needs to help the city make tough decisions as the year 2000 approaches.
KERRY SIEH,geology professor
Predicting earthquakes is an inexact science at best, but Kerry Sieh, 37, is at the forefront of research that could make it more precise. A geology professor at Caltech for 10 years, Sieh (pronounced See) has provided geological data that could eventually allow scientists to forecast activity on the San Andreas Fault. Sieh digs trenches across segments of the San Andreas, then studies its land forms and sediments to tell when the fault moved and how much. His work this year will continue to establish the patterns of a past that could reveal much about our shaky future.
DICKRAN TEVRIZIAN, federal judge
Tevrizian, 47, has been a federal judge for less than two years, but he caught the attention of politicians and lawyers alike in early 1986 during the political-corruption trial of former Assemblyman Bruce Young. His harsh criticism of Sacramento backroom dealings prompted talk of reform. A close ally of Gov. Deukmejian, Tevrizian made the news again last fall when the usually liberal California Trial Lawyers Assn. named him trial judge of the year, praising his “independent mind” and “ability to easily grasp the issues of a case.” He’s quickly become one of the most influential jurists on the Los Angeles court--and a leading contender for elevation to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
RANDY WASHINGTON, designer
Washington is conquering the architectural world the hard way. Though he never graduated from architecture school, he is one of the region’s most talented young designers of condominiums, apartment complexes and houses. In the past year, Washington’s modernistic designs have won 10 awards for his Santa Monica firm. Scheduled for 1988 is a host of even more varied and ambitious projects, from homes in Pacific Palisades to an apartment complex in the Anaheim Hills. And with luck, 1988 will be the year Washington, 35, really arrives: He hopes to qualify as a registered architect on the basis of his on-the-job experience.
QUINCY WATTS, sprinter
Every once in a while, Quincy Watts, 17, and his father, Rufus, study high school track records and plot which one Quincy intends to break next. It’s no idle threat: Last summer, the Taft High School junior ran the fastest prep times in the nation in the 100 and 200 meters, and he has already qualified for the Olympic Trials. His times will have to drop a few ticks if he’s to make the team that will compete in Seoul. But those who know him, including Taft Coach Tom Stevenson, say he has the intensity to make that happen.
REGGIE WILLIAMS, basketball player
Chronically overshadowed by the Lakers, the much-maligned Clippers are hoping that Reggie Williams, 23, is the star who can finally help them shine a little. Already, the 6-foot-7 forward / guard from Georgetown University is a good bet for NBA rookie of the year. Williams, most valuable player of the 1984 NCAA championship game and probably the best draft pick in Clipper history, is having trouble adjusting to losing. But on the other hand, he’s getting the playing time that will give him a chance to stand out.
LINDA WONG, attorney
Wong is changing the way businesses hire and promote Latinos. After a stint in private legal practice that included handling both Asian and Latino immigration cases, she joined the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, eventually becoming head of the regional office that encompasses Southern California and parts of Arizona, Nevada and Texas. Wong, 38, has helped hone MALDEF’s strategy of identifying businesses that discriminate against Latinos, filing complaints against them and then working with them to forge affirmative-action agreements. Her group has also taken an interest in local politics, joining with the Justice Department to persuade the City Council to revamp its redistricting plan to add more Latino representation.
JERRY YOSHITOMI, arts promoter
After two decades of exposure to Japan’s cars and electronics, Americans know that Japanese technology has progressed well beyond the abacus. But Jerry Yoshitomi believes that we ought to know as much about the contemporary arts and culture of his grandparents’ native land as we know about its calculators. Yoshitomi, 39, executive director of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, sees Los Angeles as “the window through which Americans can see Japan” and has been instrumental in bringing new and traditional Japanese arts to the West Coast. He has raided Tokyo’s equivalent of Broadway and in February will import the hit musical “Utamaro.”
TEDDY ZEE, film executive
Zee arrived at Paramount Pictures in May, 1985, just as the studio began to dominate the No. 1 box-office position, an extraordinary streak that is still alive. As vice president of production, Zee, 30, has already helped shape two of the studio’s most promising, high-profile films for 1988: “Presidio,” starring Sean Connery and Mark Harmon, and “Distant Thunder,” with John Lithgow and Ralph Macchio. A decision-maker at a studio that, these days, seems to do no wrong, Zee is a pivotal player in the movie game.
ESTELA LOPEZ, urban redeveloper
As a child in South-Central Los Angeles in the late ‘50s, Estela Lopez was entranced with the vitality of downtown’s Broadway shopping district. Now executive director of Miracle on Broadway, Lopez is trying to revive that excitement by refurbishing the strip, which is the county’s busiest pedestrian street. Lopez, 34, spent 10 years as a TV news producer, then was an aide to Lt. Gov. Leo T. McCarthy. Last year, she created a college scholarship fund in memory of singer Ritchie Valens, whose dreams of stardom were fueled by Mexican vaudeville at Broadway’s Million Dollar Theatre.