The editors and writers of The Times have chosen some of the brightest of Southern California's rising stars to showcase in this second annual special issue of the magazine. The people profiled in the following pages already have achieved a measure of greatness in their respective fields, but they were picked to be among this select group of 89 because of their potential to achieve even greater fame and recognition. These rising stars are expected to be heard from during 1989 as they play bigger roles in making a difference in a changing, dynamic Southern California.
JOHN ALEKSICH, architect
Aleksich's simple yet sophisticated designs for several local savings and loans have made him a leading candidate to rescue Los Angeles from the blandness of its commercial strips. Aleksich, 48, was the man behind the idea of using scaffolding to build the colorful temporary structures for the 1984 Olympics. During the past few years, he has designed the entrance and mall at the Los Angeles Zoo, a sports pavilion at Loyola Marymount University and a striking office complex on Arlington Avenue that overlooks the Santa Monica Freeway. All three projects won design awards. In the next year, Aleksich's ideas will be visible in several projects that he says will "establish a retail urban-design vocabulary for Los Angeles."
JON ROBIN BAITZ, playwright
It's fitting that Baitz's new play, "Dutch Landscape" (opening Jan. 19 at the Mark Taper Forum), should be about Americans abroad. In his 27 years, Baitz has spent time in Holland, London, Brazil and South Africa, where he lived from the ages of 10 to 16. His well-received "The Film Society," in which a boys' school became a microcosm for the staid malevolence of South African society, was gleaned from personal experience. Produced at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in 1987, it went on to stagings in New York and London. "My work is about emotional honesty," Baitz says, shrugging, "something I feel is lacking in me."
M. NEEMA BARNETTE, director
Barnette, 37, believes that art should "enlighten or reflect society," and she is well on her way to making her statement through directing. She won an Emmy in 1984 for "To Be a Man," an "ABC After School Special" about urban teen-agers discovering their Southern rural roots, and in 1987 won one of the four coveted slots in former Columbia Pictures chairman David Puttnam's New Directors Program. This year she'll finish work on her Columbia feature, "Listen for the Fig Tree," and direct episodes of "Hooperman," "227" and "Baby Boom," as well as return to her "first love," off-Broadway theater.
PETER CHACONAS, cable TV performer
At 38, Chaconas could well become the first performer to make the transition from public access to big-time commercial TV. He recently signed a contract to develop a syndicated show for Viacom. Known simply as "Mr. Pete" to his fans--who crowd into a tiny TV studio in Santa Monica for his tapings--Chaconas is host of "Take a Break With Mr. Pete," a campy Sunday night talk program that features heavy doses of double-entendre, slapstick and audience insults. "Mr. Pete" asks probing questions of guests such as Elinor Donahue and George Carlin, and he sponsors contests with the typical prize being a box of macaroni-and-cheese mix.
STEVEN CORBIN, novelist
When Corbin, 35, was growing up, his grandmother captivated him with stories about the Harlem of the 1920s--the glamour, the elegance, the clubs. His first novel, "No Easy Place to Be," pays tribute to the Harlem Renaissance era. Simon and Schuster will publish the historical epic next month. A selection of the Literary Guild, the book also seems a likely prospect for the movies. Corbin, who teaches fiction writing at UCLA, did a reading in New York six weeks ago with Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne. In the audience was E. L. Doctorow--with whom Corbin has been critically compared.
HUGH M. DAVIES, museum director
When Davies became director of the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art five years ago, it was, in his words, "insular and doctrinaire" with "the appearance of elitism." But Davies, 40, buried that image with a far-ranging exhibit schedule and a downtown exhibition annex that plopped the museum in the midst of San Diego's gritty arts district--and the museum's annual attendance rate tripled. Now on his second five-year contract, Davies is about to oversee an expansion program that will include an $11-million Robert Venturi-designed overhaul of the bluff-side La Jolla facility and the addition of several thousand square feet to the downtown space.
PATRICIA DUFF-MEDAVOY, film producer
National political campaigns bring to Hollywood many people who otherwise might never have set foot here. Most head back to Washington the capital after securing star support for their candidates; Patricia Duff-Medavoy set down some roots. The 34-year-old Georgetown University graduate first came west with the Hart campaign in 1984, rallying support from Jack Nicholson, Robin Williams and Rob Lowe, among others. Her work on U.S. Senate and congressional races continued to mesh Hollywood and politics. But having been associate producer of last summer's Democratic convention, she's now decided she wants a movie career. "Limit Up," which she co-produced, is due for release next month. She calls it a "yuppie fable."
STEVEN EHRLICH, architect
Steven Ehrlich can stand in the middle of Windward Circle in Venice with a sense of accomplishment. Soon to be completed there is the last of three exuberantly high-tech buildings that he designed to energize the historic traffic circle. In addition to this ambitious mix of shops, offices and studios, Ehrlich's flashy design for a deli is taking form in downtown Santa Monica and, later this year, the construction of a fanciful gymnasium and community center in the Mid-Wilshire District's Shatto Park is scheduled to begin. Throw in commissions for residences, and it's easy to see why this 42-year-old architect's career has gone moved into high gear.
ALAN EICHLER, publicist / manager
In the past two years, Eichler, 44, has led a cabaret revival in Los Angeles by tracking down forgotten chanteuses and booking them into the Cinegrill at the renovated Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. He found Hadda Brooks living in Boyle Heights but had to go all the way to Peru to coax Yma Sumac out of retirement. Ruth Brown, Anita O'Day and Nellie Lutcher also launched comebacks from the Cinegrill stage, drawing not only older patrons but also a younger crowd. Eichler and the Cinegrill parted ways in December, but he is negotiating to open cabaret rooms in two other L.A. hotels as showcases for the entertainers he fondly calls his "old ladies."
WILLIAM H. FAIN, architect
Although he's an architect, Fain prefers to be called an urban designer, for his concerns go beyond individual buildings to how they shape communities. A partner in the firm Johnson Fain and Pereira Associates, Fain, 44, is directing the planning of a host of projects, including expansions of UC Irvine and Otis/Parsons School of Design, redesign of 3.5 miles of highway in Indian Wells, a design for studio operations on the 55-acre Paramount lot and a 6,000-acre town outside Honolulu. Planning is a protracted process, but this is the year that the projects Fain calls his "big pictures" will begin to take shape.
DIANE FORD, comedian
In the self-cannibalizing metier of stand-up comedy, Ford, 33, has a rare knack for convincing audiences that the experiences she relates are indeed her own. That quality may have contributed to her nomination last year for an American Comedy Award as best female standup comedian. Ford, whose expressive face contrasts with her poised demeanor, bases much of her material on her experiences working in a man's world. Featured on the recent A&M; comedy album "Women of the Night," she will star in a series tentatively scheduled for broadcast in the spring on the Lifetime cable channel.
HILARY HENKIN, screenwriter
After a few years toiling behind the Hollywood scenes, co-writing and doctoring screenplays, Henkin, 34, is poised to break out in 1989 with scripts for big-name stars. Robert De Niro has picked her to adapt the novel "Stolen Flower" for his directing debut; Bruce Willis chose her to write an original screenplay in which he'll star, and Patrick Swayze stars in the Henkin-written "Roadhouse," scheduled for release early next summer. Henkin, known for her way with an action-adventure storyline, also hopes to produce a script she wrote, "Romeo Is Bleeding," which features a female villain.
IRENE HIRANO, museum director
At the northern edge of Little Tokyo sits a deteriorating former Buddhist temple. It is Irene Hirano's job to turn this decrepit but appealing hybrid of Eastern and Western architecture into the first Japanese American National Museum, which will trace the development and accomplishments of the Japanese in America. Named director last April, Hirano now has to raise $24 million to renovate the 63-year-old building in time for a scheduled 1990 opening. Executive director for 13 years of a local nonprofit health clinic, Hirano, 40, is widely respected for her ability to build bridges between ethnic groups.
ADLEANE HUNTER, theater impresario
Working on a shoestring, Hunter, founder of the 6-year-old Orange County Black Actors Theatre, produces four shows a year in her commitment to showcasing black actors and authors. Her 22-member troupe has presented two productions on the South Coast Repertory's Second Stage--"Eubie!" and "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf"; its next, "The Meeting," will be staged in February at the Anaheim Cultural Arts Center. Hunter, 39, hopes that the group will find a permanent home this year after a $100,000 fund drive.
FRANK ISRAEL, architect
After a decade in which he gained a quiet national reputation among his peers, Beverly Hills-based Israel, 40, is poised for wider recognition. He was the sole subject of a November exhibit at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and he is attracting attention for his recently completed Hollywood office-studio complex. Israel, a former set designer, works primarily for clients connected with the film and TV industry. His designs are practical but, as the Walker exhibition catalogue notes, also "bittersweet, even melancholic." In 1989, Israel expects to break out of what he calls "the ghetto of peer recognition" and obtain the major commissions that will make him better known.
LUCINDA JENNEY, actress
Less than three years ago, Jenney's film career seemed stalled at the starting gate: Her role as one of Kathleen Turner's high school friends in "Peggy Sue Got Married" was virtually eliminated from the final version. Currently, though, audiences can see the stage-trained Jenney, 30, as the Vegas call girl who comes on to Dustin Hoffman in "Rain Man." And already, word is spreading about her striking performance as Judy Belushi, wife of the late comedian John Belushi, in the upcoming "Wired." The roles are utterly different. What links them is Jenney's strength and her soulful directness--both indications of her championship potential.
FERNANDO JUAREZ, architect
As the first Latino to be elected president of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects (for one year beginning this month), Juarez, 58, hopes to make the LA / AIA into "a major player in shaping the urban environment." His strategy will be to encourage the chapter's members to take a lead in neighborhood-planning groups and seek places on the city's Planning and Cultural Affairs commissions. According to Robert Reed, his predecessor as chapter president: "Fernando has a dogged yet polite persistence. If anyone can make things happen, he can."
JIM LAUDERDALE, country singer
Like Dwight Yoakam, country singer Jim Lauderdale has found that the shortest road from the rural South to Nashville's heart can be via the nightclubs of Los Angeles. Lauderdale left his home in Troutman, N.C., in 1983 and, after a stint of work in off-Broadway musicals, came here to act in the local production of "Pump Boys & Dinettes." It was while he was appearing on the club scene, however, that red-hot country producer Pete Anderson spotted him. Now, with an Anderson-produced LP coming out in March on CBS/Epic, Lauderdale, 29, could give superstar Yoakam some competition for the leadership of the L.A. country sound.
LITTLE CAESAR, rock band
When the five members of Little Caesar got together last year, nobody expected their unholy blend of hard rock and soul--sort of AC / DC meets the Temptations--to attract the attention of the major labels. But as front man Ron Young points out, the success of Guns N' Roses' hard rock and blues changed attitudes all over town. With several labels bidding to sign them, Little Caesar--the other members are Fidel Paniagua, Apache, Loren Molinare and Tom Morris--took four months before deciding on Geffen Records, and their debut LP is due at mid-year. They'll begin a U.S. tour in February.
MOLLY LYNCH, artistic director
After 10 years in the arts management field, Molly Lynch, 33, came back to her first love--ballet. In July, Lynch took over Laguna Beach-based Ballet Pacifica from founding artistic director Lila Zali, her first dance teacher. Lynch now faces the challenge of upgrading and revitalizing the 26-year-old company--Orange County's oldest and best known--by bringing in new dancers, building repertory and, of course, raising money. But Lynch has a vision: a full-time professional company that can be an outlet for emerging choreographers and a training ground for dancers who go on to the majors.
MARLANE MEYER, playwright
In 1988, Marlane Meyer investigated the world of porn and snuff films in her play "Etta Jenks" at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. Last fall, LATC presented her play "Kingfish," in which the title character, a dog, was represented on stage by a small barking box. Dark and unconventional, "Kingfish" was the most talked-about play in Los Angeles last year.Theatre- watchers are eager for the April unveiling of Meyer's encore "Burning Bridges: What to Do When the Egg Won't Stick," a play about environmental waste to be directed by Reza Abdoh.
DAVID ALAN MILLER, conductor
Miller, 27, was just another promising young musician until one fateful day last season when Andre Previn got sick. As assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Miller took over his boss' program on 36 hours' notice, demonstrating professional flair and personal calm. Since then, he has confirmed his authority in numerous Philharmonic programs. A traditionalist who also specializes in difficult modern scores, he will lead the Philharmonic next month in a program that will include Mahler's First Symphony and a new work by Daniel Lentz. And in April, Miller will find out if he'll be the new head of the underrated Long Beach Symphony; he's one of five finalists for the job.
FRANK MILLER, comics artist
At 31, Miller is already a bona fide star in the realm of comic books--or as the longer ones are known, graphic novels. His graphic novel of 1986, "The Dark Knight Returns," revived the character of Batman and took the comics industry in new, bold, decidedly adult directions. This year, Miller--creator of the sexy and deadly Elektra--promises to continue making waves. He has three books scheduled for release; one features a new black heroine, Martha Washington. And Miller is trying something new: He's writing the screenplay for "RoboCop II." "Which would seem to make sense," he says, "since the first film was, essentially, a comic book."
TIM MILLER, performance artist
Autobiographical performance art is his medium, but politics has become the message for Miller, who uses his poignant combinations of dance, music, narrative and set design to enlighten audiences on the subjects of about AIDS and gay cultural identity. Miller, 30, is also active in the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power and raises money for AIDS research through benefit performances across the country. Miller, born in Whittier, recently won a $5,000 American Choreographers Award, and in the next few months he'll open at the Performance Project in Santa Monica, a much-needed platform for local performance artists.
CAROL MUSKE DUKES, poet and novelist
After her first book of poems was published in 1975, Carol Muske Dukes began hearing another voice in her head. It was a woman's voice but, unlike her poetry, it was funny. So, using that voice, Muske Dukes sat down to write her first novel. She set it aside after a few chapters, published two more poetry books, went to Italy on a fellowship, married and started lecturing at USC. But the character she created never quit nagging the 41-year-old writer, and she finally finished the novel in 1987. "Dear Digby," about a letters editor at a feminist magazine, will be published by Viking / Penguin in April.
JEFF STETSON, playwright
Stetson, a career college administrator, sat down to write his first play five years ago as an antidote to negative media portrayals of blacks. "The Meeting," about an imaginary conversation between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, was so acclaimed that this month it is being staged in a dozen U.S. cities, and a film version is scheduled for May broadcast on PBS' "American Playhouse." While working full time in public affairs for the California State University system, Stetson has managed to write five other plays. The latest, "Fraternity," will premiere in Montclair, N.J., in March. Stetson intends to quit his day job sometime in 1989 to concentrate on TV and film.
SYD STRAW, singer
Born in Hollywood, Straw, 29, moved to New York in 1978 and launched her career singing in comedy clubs. Seven years later she became the star attraction with the avant-rock group the Golden Palominos, and in 1987 she was signed to Virgin Records as a solo artist. Since returning here last year, she has appeared regularly at McCabe's, where her eclectic mix of country, rock and pop has won her a devoted following. Her debut LP, set for release in March, features appearances by Joe Ely, Ry Cooder, Dave Alvin and John Doe. It should establish Straw as a talent to be reckoned with.
JON SWIHART, painter
Long ago, without conscious intention, Swihart, 34, must have taken an artist-monk's vow of aesthetic obedience: He took 10 years to finish 20 small magic-realist scenes of ancient myths acted out by modern youths in jeans. While painstakingly painting in a bedroom studio in Santa Monica, he supported himself by developing photos at the Getty Museum. But last year the respected Tortue Gallery gave Swihart his first solo exhibition, and then he received a grant to spend six months in Monet's gardens at Giverny, painting the French landscape. He plans to spend 1989 in artist's heaven: painting full time for the first time in his life.
LARRY TOTAH, architect
The designer of Maxfield, Bleu L.A.'s chilly cathedral of high fashion, Totah, 33, has developed a flamboyant style that has won him a decade's worth of commissions for private residences. Last year, Totah, who was born in Texas, joined with a partner to open Cozmopole, a furniture emporium at the corner of Melrose Avenue and Larchmont Boulevard showcasing the work of 15 designers (including Totah). His designing plans include a clothing store on Melrose he describes as "a 1990s interpretation of Antonio Gaudi," a restaurant in Beverly Hills that will revive the Polynesian-inspired architecture of the '50s (set to open in March), and a nightclubs downtown and in Hollywood.
MICHAEL TOSHIYUKI UNO, film director
Uno hardly expected much of a career boost when he directed "The Wash," a low-budget film about the breakup of a Japanese-American couple, but the critically praised film made Uno a name to watch. The L.A.-born Uno, 38, received a 1982 Academy Award nomination for his short subject "The Silence," and his TV directing has been nominated for several awards as well. But "The Wash" was a turning point. "Now people are coming to me,"Uno says. "They're seeing me as a legitimate contender for unassigned projects. The elements are all in the air and I hope I've got them to where I can make my big break this year."
JOHN WENTWORTH, filmmaker
A graduate of the American Film Institute, Wentworth, 29, decided to forgo a career in foreign relations (job of choice in his Washington, D.C., family) to stake out a corner of the silver screen. He's made documentaries for Italian TV and has worked on numerous films in various capacities, including that of assistant to director David Lynch on "Blue Velvet." But lately, between jobs, every spare minute--and penny--has gone into "Spud," a sophisticated 30-minute space spoof he wrote, produced and directed. Scheduled to be seen throughout 1989 festivals and limited screenings, "Spud" should serve notice that a promising talent has arrived.
WILD CARDS, rock band
The pop music deck is stacked against acts that don't fit into easy-to-market niches, but the Wild Cards are playing their own distinctive hand. This Orange County band's influences embrace blues, swing, Latin music, roots rock, funk and soul--all bound together in a style emphasizing ensemble vocals behind singer-guitarist Adrian Remijio. Remijio, 29; his half brother, Albert Farias, 33, on bass; drummer Jesse Sotelo Jr., 29, and guitarist Jesse Reyes, 24, released their first album in 1988. This year they'll make their first videos, in English and in Spanish, release their second album and tour extensively with the playful live show that's their best selling point.
CHARLES BOHLEN JR., private investigator
Bohlen is an unlikely private investigator. The son of distinguished U.S. diplomat Chip Bohlen, he grew up in Moscow and Manila, attended Harvard and Yale Law School, and spent nine years as a banking lawyer in Los Angeles and in Minneapolis. But in January, 1988, he joined Kroll Associates, a New York investigative firm that does high-line spade work for corporate clients. Now, at 41, he's managing director of the local office, which will move downtown from Beverly Hills in March to be closer to a fast-growing list of blue-chip customers. This modern Philip Marlowe's biggest surprise? "So many people out there are not what they say they are."
JOHN BURNHAM, talent agent
Now 35, Burnham started collecting stars at Beverly Hills High School, where his best friend was Morgan Mason. Since then, he has represented not only Mason's dad, the late actor James Mason, but also Mason's wife, singer Belinda Carlisle. But this year, his lifelong networking is really being put to the test, as he and a group of other Young Turks try to make the William Morris Agency, where he's worked since 1984, a major Hollywood player again. So far, big things are expected from two of his clients in particular: producer Art Linson, whose "Casualties of War," with Michael J. Fox and Sean Penn, opens in the summer, and writer/director Euzhan Palcy, who snagged Marlon Brando for "A Dry White Season."
TOM CASTRO, communications executive
At a time when major advertisers are trying to penetrate a fast-growing Latino market, Tom Castro, 34, and Coronado Communications are working to help them find their way. Castro and a partner started out in business in 1980 buying Spanish-language radio stations in California and Arizona. But when many of their advertisers wanted to reach Latino consumers, Coronado branched into advertising in 1981. One of the company's most visible projects: helping prepare the government's continuing public-service campaign to explain the nation's new immigration laws in English, Spanish and more than 40 other languages. For 1989, Coronado is turning its eye toward Hollywood, helping the entertainment industry tap the Latino market.
LINDA GRIEGO, developer
When Griego said she wanted to transform a 1912 downtown fire station designated as a historical landmark into an office complex and restaurant, she was told that it couldn't be done. But in 1986 Griego, a former aide to Sen. Alan Cranston, D-Calif., began what turned out to be the three-year "ordeal" of restoring abandoned Engine Co. No. 28, and then joined with Westside restaurateur Jerry Magnin to raise $1.1 million to open the ground-floor American grill. 1989 will be the restaurant's first year of operation, but already the entire building is being heaped with honors. And Griego, 41, is looking for another historic renovation that's just as challenging.
CHARLIE JACKSON, software manufacturer
Few would have predicted it, but Charlie Jackson, standout on the UCLA rowing team in the early '70s and soccer jock, ultimately found his place among the computer nerds of the world, publishing games and graphics software programs for the Macintosh personal computer. But the 40-year-old self-described "brash entrepreneur" isn't content to stop there. With two top-selling programs, "SuperPaint" and "Digital Darkroom," under his belt, Jackson hopes to more than double the '88 revenues of his San Diego-based Silicon Beach Software. Coming next: a product the company says will allow average computer users to create programs indistinguishable from those sold in stores.
VICTORIA JACKSON, entrepreneur
Los Angeles is fast becoming a cosmetics capital, and 33-year-old Jackson is in the right place at the right time. A Hollywood makeup artist for 13 years, Jackson has powdered and painted the faces of such stars as Tom Hanks, Tom Selleck, Kathleen Turner, Patrick Swayze and Linda Evans. But she's also been working with scientists, concocting her own makeup collection. A Dallas-based cosmetics firm was so impressed with the results that it's backed her to the tune of $1.25 million. Plans call for Victoria Jackson cosmetics to be in 1,000 stores by year's end.
SCOTT LEE, developer
Lee is helping to change the face and image of L.A.'s Chinatown. As a partner and driving force behind one of Chinatown's largest real estate developers, Famco Investments, he is persuading outsiders to view it not just as a tourist attraction, but also as a business center--a "Central City North," as he calls it. This year, Lee, 29, is likely to attain even greater recognition when his firm finishes Bamboo Plaza, a retail complex that will contain Chinatown's first multistory public parking facility. The added parking should attract even more visitors and businesses to Chinatown.
SABURO (STEVE) OTO, financial services executive
When Oto first arrived in Los Angeles from Tokyo in 1968, he barely spoke English. But today Oto, 39, is playing a major role in bridging the interests of U.S. and Japanese businesses as they increasingly work together. He joined the accounting firm of Touche Ross in 1974, rising to audit partner there and to managing partner at the Los Angeles office of Tohmatsu Awoki & Co., a division of Touche Ross and a part of Japan's largest accounting firm. When the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades recently sold a minority interest to a Japanese investor, Oto helped put the deal together, and this year he'll be looking to pull together another resort-related real estate package.
JOSEPH SANCHEZ III, businessman
Sanchez, 35, has combined financial success with a commitment to social progress for Latinos. As president since 1986 of Miller Brands Inc., the chief distributor of Miller Brewing products in Central Los Angeles, Sanchez has transformed the franchise from a seven-year money loser into a profitable venture. He was also a founder of the Mexican-American Grocers Assn., which grew during his four years as president from nine members into an organization that now representing represents 900 hundreds of small and medium-sized grocers in dealings with wholesalers and manufacturers. This year, Sanchez will lay the groundwork for plans to develop an industrial center to house his beer-distribution business and a variety of family grocery operations.
ABBY SHER, developer
The late Sydney Sher, Sher's father, was a Southern California pioneer developer of the kind of shopping mall typically anchored by a department store. By contrast, his daughter's first venture into development, the Frank Gehry-designed Edgemar mini-mall in Ocean Park, is anchored by the nonprofit Santa Monica Museum of Art, scheduled to open officially May 1. The contemporary art museum, which she founded, has already gained notice for its "Art in the Raw" preview shows, a series of installations displayed in the museum before interior renovation work began this month. If Sher's combination of public art and commerce works, it could well be a model for how art is exhibited in the '90s.
DOLORES VALDES ZACKY, advertising executive
For several years, Valdes Zacky was all but lost inside the advertising giant J. Walter Thompson. Her job in its Los Angeles office was to create Latino ad campaigns for several of the agency's clients--including the rapidly expanding Tianguis subsidiary of Vons, which caters to Latino grocery shoppers. But in 1987, she broke away and started her own ad agency, Valdes Zacky Associates, winning the Tianguis account away from her former employer. This year the Tianguis ad budget will double--to $2 million. And if her company's campaign is successful, Valdes Zacky, 40, could quickly emerge as one of the area's top Latino ad executives.
SANDRA McBETH WOODARD, entrepenuer
McBeth-Woodard, 39, twice last year won recognition from civic and business groups for her achievements in mortgage banking. But she says her efforts are just beginning to pay off in a big way; her United International Mortgage and Investment Co. in Inglewood--founded in 1981--just won its bids to finance a major apartment development planned for a site on the Westside and a large multifamily project planned for Inglewood.
ALICE CALLAGHAN, housing preservationist
With Little Tokyo spreading south and Central City pushing east, Skid Row is getting squeezed. But defending its borders is Callaghan, 41, a veteran of farm-worker organizing and founder of the inner-city family center Las Familias del Pueblo. Now she is working to protect a dwindling resource: cheap housing. Callaghan formed the Skid Row Housing Trust last month, with a staff of one, and has organized nonprofit groups to purchase, renovate and operate three single-occupancy hotels. The trust is helping its partners buy five more hotels, and Callaghan hopes to buy 10 per year until all 75 are in safe hands.
CANDACE COOPER, judge
As the new president of the California Judges Assn., Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Cooper heads a powerful organization that represents the 2,000 members of the state judiciary. One of three black women on the Superior Court in California, Cooper, 40, is regarded by lawyers as among the best of the young judges, with bench experience that includes eight years on the Municipal Court, where she presided over the Night Stalker case for several months before the preliminary hearing. Cooper plans to take an activist role in her new post this year, tackling the issue of judicial salaries and upgrading the judges' retirement pension fund.
MICHAEL DEAR, homeless advocate
For good or bad, Los Angeles probably will be the model for urban development in the 21st Century, says Michael Dear, 44, a USC professor of geography and urban and regional planning. That's why Los Angeles' treatment of its homeless is so worrisome, he says. On leave from USC with a Guggenheim Fellowship to study what he calls "the collapse of the welfare state," Dear is also part of a National Science Foundation team investigating homelessness worldwide. This year he'll continue as a consultant to a new program, funded by the Community Redevelopment Agency, which hires homeless people to help others obtain social services and shelter.
MAXENE JOHNSTON, homeless advocate
From a 10th-floor executive suite office in a former Skid Row hotel, Maxene Johnston directs the state's largest center for the homeless. She was hired in 1984 by the Weingart Center Assn. Association to manage the finances, provide the strategy and manage direct the operations of the nonprofit Weingart Center, which houses private and public agencies helping the homeless. Johnston has focused on the homeless as "a growth industry"; she has adopted an aqua logo, put security guards on the sidewalks, refurbished the building and assembled a blend of public and private programs that have stabilized reduced the center's debt. In coming months, Johnston will be taking her expertise on helping the homeless to other cities and overseeing the center's expansion.
QUYNH KIEU, pediatrician
Kieu, 38, has been a leader in Southern California's Vietnamese community since she escaped from Saigon in 1975 and resettled here along with thousands of other refugees. A resident of Santa Ana, she helped develop recent state legislation giving Vietnamese physicians who arrived without their papers a chance to prove they are qualified to practice in California. As vice chairwoman of the national Vietnamese Refugee Physicians Committee, this year she'll work to help physicians from around the world gain credentials here more easily.
GUILLERMO MARTINEZ, TV new director
Martinez, a former Miami Herald senior editor, is one of a growing cadre of Latino journalists who, after making it in mainstream media, have crossed over to Spanish-language TV. And, since becoming vice president /news director of Univision--the largest such network in the country--last March, he has set his compass by these basic tenets: Explain the nation's political system to Latinos; explain Latinos to Latinos, and keep everyone abreast of Latin American events. This spring, the 47-year-old Martinez also plans to launch a weekly, prime-time TV news magazine that focusing on the Western hemisphere.
ADOLFO V. NODAL, arts administrator
As the new head of the city's Cultural Affairs Department, Nodal is not expected to spend much time behind a desk shuffling papers. That has never been the style of the 38-year-old Cuban-born arts advocate, as evidenced by the way he revitalized a downtrodden MacArthur Park with public art. Now, with the city as his canvas, look for Nodal to be on the street to celebrate Los Angeles' burgeoning multicultural and avant-garde arts communities with exhibits and commissions, and in City Hall to fight for a more preservation-minded and design-conscious administration.
JOHN OCHOA, homeless advocate
Of the estimated 55,000 homeless in L.A. County, approximately 10,000 are children. John Ochoa, since June the executive director of the Greater Los Angeles Partnership for the Homeless, sees helping these kids as his biggest challenge this year. One of 15 children, Ochoa, 41, knows the importance of home life to a child. And his experience as a congressional aide and with the Southern California Assn. of Governments taught him the legislative process. "Building more shelters isn't the solution, " he says. "There is good will, but the will is not enough. Developing a coordinated public plan is what will get these families into homes and these kids back to school."
LEIF OURSTON, traffic engineer
Ourston is on a crusade to ease congestion on California's thoroughfares. His controversial remedy: the doughnut-shaped rotaries, or traffic circles, that spin merging cars around a central island. Ourston, a 48-year-old Santa Barbara traffic engineering consultant, says that such intersections have been fine-tuned in Britain, where, known as "roundabouts," they are being hailed for saving lives and reducing traffic delays. And although some engineers think that American drivers will have difficulty adjusting to the new rotaries, Ourston has sold the idea to the Los Angeles Caltrans office, which plans to build the first one in the state this year in Los Angeles County or Ventura County.
SHERRY PASSMORE-CURTIS, community organizer
For 15 years, Passmore-Curtis, an Arcadia land-use consultant to neighborhood slow-growth groups, has helped fire up opposition to big projects that step on little toes and worked with developers to scale down those projects. She especially targets cities that use powers of eminent domain to knock down homes and businesses so developers can build shopping centers or hotels--and she expects the slow-growth wars to intensify in 1989. Developers are often scathing in their off-the-record condemnation of Passmore-Curtis, 47, but she has legions of admirers. Says a lawyer who has worked with her: "In the pure sense of the word, she's a reformer."
THAN POK, social services administrator
Pok, 45, is a founder and executive director of the Long Beach-based United Cambodian Community, an agency that provides employment referral, job training, child care, mental health counseling, health education, English language instruction and other services for thousands of Southeast Asian refugees in addition to blacks, Latinos and other minorities. In 10 years under Pok's leadership, the agency has grown from one small office to seven, in Los Angeles and Orange counties, with 60 full-time staffers. This year, Pok expects the agency to expand its presence in the fast-growing Southern California Cambodian community by building its first all-purpose meeting and conference facility in Long Beach.
MARK BALDASSARE / CHERYL KATZ, pollsters
In his 1986 book, "Trouble in Paradise,"UC Irvine social ecology professor Mark Baldassare marked the gap between the quiet, tree-lined suburbia of people's dreams and the reality of high-rises and traffic jams. Now Baldassare, 37, and his wife, free-lance journalist Cheryl Katz, 34, are compiling their latest research for a new book, "Private Destinies," about the intersection of politics and life styles are in the nation's suburbs. The couple's "Orange County Annual Survey" of more than 1,000 adult residents, a report that was first published in 1982 to provide information on social, economic and political trends, is being used increasingly by government offices, leaders of consumer-oriented industries, and others those who base decisions on public opinion.
SEBASTIAN EDWARDS, economist
For UCLA economics professor Sebastian Edwards, 35, the financial crisis in Latin America has personal meaning because he was raised in Chile and educated there until he came to the University of Chicago to earn his Ph.D. As a consultant for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, he now visits Central and South America to help shape policies. Edwards, whose new book about currency devaluation is due in March, is an expert on Third World debt. Despite the more than $300-billion total owed to foreign lenders by just Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Chile, he sees "some room for hope" in efforts by the World Bank to encourage reforms and export growth in Latin America.
LEO CHAVEZ, anthropologist
Hoping to finally attain a footing on the path to the American dream, 1.5 million undocumented immigrants applied for amnesty last year. Their lives and struggles were examined in the 1987 PBS documentary "In the Shadow of the Law," based on the research of Leo Chavez, assistant professor of anthropology at UC Irvine. Now, Chavez, 37, plans to focus his research and writing on the people who remain in the United States even though they don't qualify for amnesty. His goal, he explains, is to promote tolerance, especially in the ethnic potpourri Southern California has become. "We have such diversity here," he says. "That's what is so great about this place."
STEVEN LAVINE, CalArts president
The new leader of California Institute of the Arts has his sights set beyond the confines of its Valencia campus. Vowing to "change the cultural geography of Los Angeles," Lavine, 40, has begun his tenure by bringing artists from different cultures to teach at CalArts and to share their work with Southern California. In his six months as president, he has also met with a wide range of local artists and arts supporters--urging them to work together. Says MOCA Director Richard Koshalek: "I think the result of his appointment is going to be very important to the city."
DENNIS M. SMITH, school superintendent
People in Laguna Beach are used to seeing their energetic superintendent of schools running around. Literally. "I like to run because it's healthy and reduces stress," says Dennis M. Smith, 37. "And I'm usually timing myself, trying to better my time." Since taking over Laguna Beach Unified School District in June 1986, Smith has steered it to higher test scores and a National Distinguished School Award. This year, he says, the 10-year decline in the district's enrollment is expected to reverse as new subdivisions are built--"and our challenge is to keep the small-town atmosphere of our education as we get bigger."
C. CHRISTOPHER COX, Congressman
National conservatives are expecting big things from Cox, a 36-year-old attorney elected last fall to replace retiring Orange County Republican Rep. Robert E. Badham. With a seat seemingly safe from serious challenge, demonstrated fund-raising ability, sharply articulated hard-line views on domestic and foreign policy issues and good ties to national conservatives (he worked in the White House counsel's office for Ronald Reagan and brought out Oliver North to campaign for him), Cox could quickly emerge as one of the GOP's young stars in Congress.
KATHY GARMEZY, political organizer
A former community organizer who has directed the Los Angeles office of the AFL-CIO's Labor Institute of Public Affairs since 1985 , Garmezy, 39 , is well respected locally as a savvy political operative. During the presidential campaign last fall, she took a giant step forward as executive director of the $5.3-million "California Campaign '88"--the largest voter-registration campaign organization that state Democrats have ever assembled. Now she is looking for ways to use the media skills she's been honing at the institute to help sustain the unprecedented grass-roots organization of 40,000 volunteers that the Democrats built during the campaign.
MARIA L. HSIA, political fund-raiser
Hsia, 37, is at the center of a predominantly Asian group of fund-raisers rapidly emerging as a major force in Los Angeles' hotly competitive political money scene. Last fall, the group raised substantial sums for, among others, the Dukakis and McCarthy campaigns. Throughout 1989, it's leading delegations of senators and congressmen on tours of the Far East. Hsia, who came to Los Angeles from Taiwan 18 years ago and now works as the administrative director of an immigration law office, believes that the days of Asian immigrants shying away from political involvement are over--and that raising money is the best way for them to present their views for consideration.
TOM LaBONGE, political aide
Tom LaBonge weds service and fun in Los Angeles ward politics. Whether exhibiting his own photos at a trendy restaurant or making hosting his semiannual walk quarterly hike and community picnic up on Mount Mt. Hollywood, this 10-year aide to Councilman John Ferraro seems omnipresent among constituents of the Griffith Park communities. The landscaping of the Hyperion Bridge, a home for the Los Angeles Police Department's mounted patrol and the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum are all recently completed projects that LaBonge helped through City Hall. Set to open this year are a new fire station and a branch library. And while his boss shows no hurry to retire, residents of the district think it's at least likely that LaBonge, 35, will have his own council seat one day.
TOM C. STICKEL, financier
Stickel's fast-track business career began when, at 29, he founded a San Diego savings and loan that he later converted to a bank--the first such conversion in California history. Then, five years ago, he founded TCS Enterprises Inc., a diversified financial-services firm. Stickel, now 39, has also served as a political operative for Gov. Deukmejian and, from 1983 till last May, as a Deukmejian-appointed member of the California State University Board of Trustees. Stickel headed George Bush's San Diego campaign and could well be appointed to a berth in the Bush Administration. He has also made no secret of his interest in statewide office.
DANIEL TABOR, Inglewood councilman
Tabor, 34, is part of a new generation of black political leaders. A two-term Inglewood city councilman, Tabor calls himself a progressive and a fiscal conservative. His primary goal, he says, is "enpowering people in the community so they can help themselves." Through the United Way, he also works with local teens. This spring, he'll run in the special election for the State Assembly seat left open by the late Curtis R. Tucker, who defeated Tabor in last year's primary. But political insiders say that even with a Tabor win this year, his future looks bright.
THOMAS R. McDONOUGH, astrophysicist
Heading the quest for otherworldly beings can be discouraging, but Thomas R. McDonough has no plans to give up. The 43-year-old astrophysicist coordinates the Pasadena Planetary Society's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, which has bankrolled a highly advanced search for intelligence extraterrestrial radio signals. McDonough this year will take his search to Argentina, the lower hemisphere, where SETI will set up a giant satellite dish and a computer-controlled receiver. McDonough says: "If Murphy's Law works on a cosmic scale, then perhaps the only detectable civilizations can be reached in the southern sky," the last place he'll look.
ELROY RODRIGUEZ, scientist
Rodriguez, a 41-year-old professor in the developmental and cell biology department and at the College of Medicine at UC Irvine, has found a use for weeds that nearly justifies their existence. Some varieties, he has discovered, contain a chemical called thiarubrine which kills nematodes--parasites that are the enemy of food crops and growers worldwide--and natural substances such as this could eventually replace toxic, man-made pesticides banned in the United States. And the good news doesn't stop there: Rodriguez says his experiments with natural chemicals in plants might also result in new drugs against retroviruses such as AIDS and herpes.
HAMID SAID, scientist
The way an essential vitamin called biotin is absorbed by the body was a mystery until this Sherlock Holmes of nutrition defined the specialized mechanism for the absorption of biotin and its connection to the genetic code. Thanks to Said, a 34-year-old associate professor of medicine specializing in gastroenterology research at UC Irvine, physicians now know that a genetically controlled mechanism in the small intestine absorbs biotin and that its failure to work properly can result in such symptoms as growth retardation and hair loss. This year he plans to study how alcoholism affects the absorption of biotin.
RICHIE COLLINS, professional surfer
Collins is the angry young man of surfing. A 19-year-old native of Newport Beach, Collins has an aggressive, unconventional style: He's the one who perfected the "floater," the trick of waffling the board atop a wave's white water. "Collins consistently loses heats by going too hard, too fast," said Surfer magazine in a recent profile. Yet he rose from 30th to 13th last year in the Assn. of Professional Surfers ratings. Collins, who makes his own boards, says he has no friends on the international tour and shaves his head or wears a Mohawk to keep women at a distance. He wants no distractions between him and the No. 1 ranking.
ALEX GARCIA, boxer
As a senior at San Fernando High, Garcia was convicted of stabbing to death a rival gang member. Paroled after five years in prison, he started doing time at the Jet Center gym in Van Nuys. Before long, he had captured a Golden Gloves title and a silver medal at the world championships. As a professional, the 6-3, 221-pound Garcia, now 27, won his first 11 fights, 8 by knockouts. KO Magazine recently listed him among 10 boxers who could challenge heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in 1990. If Garcia can live up to his potential, this will be the year he moves into the Top 20.
RICK LEACH / JIM PUGH, tennis partners
Rick Leach of Laguna Beach and Jim Pugh of Rancho Palos Verdes, both 24, were rivals for years--not just when Leach played for USC and Pugh for UCLA, but also when they were both in the junior tennis and high school ranks. Since pairing up in 1986, though, the two have made a formidable doubles team. They captured the Australian Open doubles title last January, and they may have missed winning in the U.S. Open only because, midway through, Leach landed in the hospital with the flu. Look for them to continue to threaten the reign of Ken Flach and Robert Seguso as the top U.S. men's doubles team.
CRAIG LEWIS, horse trainer
Lewis begins his days at Hollywood Park at 5 a.m., overseeing the workouts for the 50 thoroughbreds in his charge. Lewis, 41, started visiting the track at a tender age, and last year he became the Southern California racing circuit's most successful trainer, placing in big-stakes races at Santa Anita, Del Mar and Hollywood Park and chalking up $3 million in earnings. His prize horse, Cutlass Reality, took the prestigious half-million-dollar 1988 Hollywood Gold Cup. This year Lewis has his eye on tracks outside the state, and he's an odds-on favorite to put a horse in the Kentucky Derby.
LISA LONGAKER, athlete
As a sophomore at UCLA last year, Longaker led the women's softball team to the NCAA title with a pitching record of 31-4. This year she is expected to become the winningest pitcher ever at UCLA, which has earned more women's softball titles than any other school in the country. The NCAA record is 73 victories; Longaker already has 51. The 21-year-old native Californian pitched 23 shutouts last season and once went 108 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run. Longaker says that isn't interested solely in records: "I'm thinking about team goals--another ring for the seniors. I wouldn't have any records without the team that's behind me."
RAMON MARTINEZ, pitcher
An outstanding prospect from the Dominican Republic, Martinez, 20, has wanted to pitch for the Dodgers ever since he pitched three scoreless innings at Dodger Stadium against Taiwan in the 1984 Olympics. Since joining the Dodgers in 1985, he has risen quickly from Class A ball to Triple A; he was brought up last fall for the last two months of the regular season and started six games. With John Tudor's future uncertain, Martinez--a fastball thrower with a good change-up--is expected to be a contender for a spot in the starting rotation in 1989.
DAVID SIMON, sports executive
Simon, 39, a member of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and a senior vice president of the city's Chamber of Commerce, came up with the novel idea of privatizing the chamber's once-volunteer Los Angeles Sports Council. Now, with a staff, a budget and Simon as president, the nonprofit council, incorporated last May, can more aggressively pursue its goals of luring national and world-class sporting events to the city and signing merchandising contracts with professional teams. The council's immediate business is to push for bringing to Los Angeles a Super Bowl and trials for the 1992 Olympics.
RUSSELL L. WHITE, high school football player
White, a senior running back at Crespi High in Encino, will spend the spring deciding which college will be lucky enough to recruit him. Will it be USC, alma mater of his uncle, Heisman Trophy winner and current Rams running back Charles White, or UCLA, where his cousin, All-American and former Ram and San Francisco 49er Kermit Alexander, went to school? Despite injuries, White finished his high school career with state records for rushing (5,998 yards), scoring (568 points) and touchdowns (94). He'll look, no doubt, for a high-profile school to help him achieve his goal: the Heisman Trophy.
HILARY BEANE, jewelry designer
Hilary Beane, 40, is one of the new breed of jewelers who are bridging the gap between the priceless trinkets at Tiffany's and the paste baubles at your local Thrifty. Combining organic forms and materials with a playful feeling for kitsch, Beane's jewelry--which she started making five years ago--has been worn on stage by everyone from Liza Minnelli to Michael Jackson to Madonna. The rest of us can find her wares this spring at selected department stores throughout Los Angeles. Her new pieces--the first to be mass-produced--incorporate silver and gold-plated brass in floral and animal shapes.
RAPHAEL COHEN, hair stylist
Raphael Cohen is bringing the couture concept back to the hairdressing business, creating . a collection of styles for each season, then adapting them to suit his clients. The approach is obviously working. After spending less than a year at Jose Eber's celebrity-filled hair haunt, Cohen, 30, left about a year ago to assume the directorship of Aida Thibiant's Beverly Hills hair salon, taking with him a list of Hollywood clients that includes Columbia Pictures President Dawn Steel, Stacy and Henry Winkler and Linda Ronstadt. Born in Algeria and trained in Lyon, France, Cohen is changing the look mood of Beverly Hills hair from wild to well-coiffed.
DAVID DART, fashion designer
Dart, 26, designs sportswear in lightweight, flowing fabrics, primarily for women between 24 and 45. He's mastered an easygoing, elegant style in the brief year and a half since his label, David Dart for Force One, first appeared, and now he confidently explains his point of view: "I like soft fabrics, uncomplicated silhouettes and nothing too mens-y." Later this year, however, he plans to add his label to a menswear collection that he describes as "stylish but not intimidating." Asked the secret of his success, he says, "I spend all my time in the factory. I'm hardly ever out schmoozing."
LORI HENLE, hat designer
Henle named her company Il Tetto, the Italian for roof. But the rooftops she designs cover a woman's head, and some of L.A.'s leading clothing designers have used her winsome, witty styles as the finishing touches for their collections. Her straw chapeaux for summer might feature painted cherries or sprigs of raffia that cascade to one side. For winter, she likes fedoras with crowns so deep they hide the wearer's eyes. This fall she'll be coordinating her work with that of L.A. designer Bonnie Strauss and developing new lines of scarves and menswear. Henle, who'll turn 30 on Thursday, says she gets some of her ideas at costume rental and resale shops. But once she's alone with her fabrics and trims, she relies on what's inside her own head.
CARRE OTIS, model
Six months ago, Carre Otis was living on a farm in Sebastapol near San Francisco, studying midwifery and occasionally modeling for local stores. These days she's got two Vogue magazine covers to her credit, along with ad campaign contracts for everything from blue jeans to glamour cosmetics. The 20-year-old Otis is a health nut, and her agent, Paul Fisher of It Model Management Co. in Los Angeles, says that she once walked off a fashion photographer's set when she was asked to wear fur coats. She sees herself as part of a "new era" of models. "When I refuse to wear furs or when I take time to meditate, I'm fighting to be the kind of woman who is more an example than a model."
NANCY SILVERTON / MARK PEEL, chefs
At Spago, Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton helped owner-chef Wolfgang Puck create the food that converted a complacent celebrity dining crowd into full-fledged foodies. When they moved on to Maxwell's Plum in New York, critics called their food brilliant. And now the couple, both 34, are back on home turf with their own place, Campanile, scheduled to open in early spring on a quickly gentrifying stretch of La Brea Avenue. Silverton has just opened a separate bakery, which is attached to the restaurant. The toqued husband-wife duo hope trhat Campnile will become an easy, comfortable hangout with good, no-fuss food.
SHAWN STUSSY, surf-wear designer
"You can buy fashion," Sean Shawn Stussy will tell you. "But you've just got style." And Stussy, 34, co-owner of Stussy Inc. in Irvine, is currently the hottest guy on the block in the more than $1-billion market for surf wear and skate wear. A former surfboard shaper, Stussy started selling T-shirts out of his bedroom nine years ago. Today, his designs are among the few real innovations in the surf-wear industry--with avant-garde, offbeat touches such as shirt buttons that zigzag or get progressively bigger. Says one competitor, "He's one of those guys we all watch from afar." This year Stussy Inc. should top $5 million in sales and continue riding the crest of surf wear's sales wave.
MARIO TAMAYO, tastemaker
Mario Tamayo sells good taste. His first big splash, the Caribbean-style restaurant Cha Cha Cha, opened in 1986 on a neglected part of Melrose Avenue--and became that year's hippest place to eat. In 1987, the 30-year-old Colombian immigrant opened Cafe Mambo just a few blocks west. And last year, he went around the corner from Mambo to expand his empire with Modern Objects, a retail store featuring his own line of menswear. His project for '89? A late-night Hollywood supper club "with a little roccoco edge." Much of the success of this one-time hairdresser is due to affordable prices. Style, he says, has to be accessible.
RICHARD TYLER, menswear designer
Tyler, 40 , opened his first men's and women's clothing store in Australia at age 18. His early designs caught the eye of rock singer Rod Stewart, who asked Tyler to design some stage wear for him. Tyler went on to develop a client list that includes Diana Ross and Cher. From the moment he introduced his first men's ready-to-wear collection in fall, 1987, Tyler had a hit on his hands. Tyler likes English-tailored, close-fitting clothes with dressy details like velvet collars. He has now added a collection of women's fashions and has opened a retail store, Tyler Trafficante, on Beverly Boulevard.