July 2010

Editor’s Letter—July 2010

Who isn’t mad for Christina Hendricks? Her wry, poignant portrayal of Joan Holloway is the emotional core of Mad Men’s ensemble cast, and now in “Past Perfect,” Hendricks tells Leslie Gornstein about her protectiveness over Joan, her dinner with Tom Waits and her hard lessons in midcentury underwear.

Are you under the influence? Is there someone whose words or actions can shape what you do or get you to try something you wouldn’t otherwise? In “Power Up,” we look at four such tastemakers: Jonathan Gold, whose dining recommendations can send gastronomes across geographical and culinary borders; Sonia Eram, the founder of Mameg—and the go-to for women who seek to cultivate their individual style; Jeffrey Deitch, new director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, whose aesthetic will determine how we contemplate creativity; and Frederick and Laurie Samitaur-Smith, whose revolutionary approach to mixing art and commerce has changed both the look and economy of Culver City.

This month’s “50+” takes a turn down Cuba way. Carol and Dr. Jay Stein of Los Angeles have always been avid collectors, seeking out vintage cigarette cases and antique corkscrews on their global travels. But on a LACMA-sponsored trip to Cuba in 2000, they were taken with the graphic intricacies of pre-Castro cigar bands, and Jay found Cubans willing to part with their collections throughout Havana. When asked what about the bands called to her, Carol says, “They are so intricate, colorful...pretty. They remind me of paper dolls from when I was little.”

On July 11, the beautifully restored Haaga Family Rotunda galleries of L.A.’s Museum of Natural History open, along with the state-of-the-art Age of Mammals exhibition, the brainchild of the institution’s vice president of research and collections, paleontologist John Long. In “Burning Man” by Samantha Dunn, Long describes his zeal for the glories of science and the wonders of life. But his real goal? He’s hoping to fire up a new generation of scientists.

When Steve Valentine first told me about his passion for ballroom dance, I wasn’t surprised. When he said he and his dance partner, Robert Tristan, were entering this month’s same-sex-ballroom event at the Gay Games in Cologne, Germany, I was intrigued. Turns out same-sex ballroom is a competitive sport throughout Europe and is rapidly growing in North America.

In Raha Lewis’ “Let’s Get Ready to Rumba!” the two open up on the challenges of the dance, their level of dedication and the role of hair gel in their success. They are already contenders, having won some of the biggest competitions, and now they’re spreading dance fever by teaching the sport through the city of WeHo.

When someone exudes enthusiasm, it’s human nature to stop and look. This month, that’s just what we’d like you to do, as we introduce you to individuals who are so fervent about their subjects it’s infectious. You may not catch the fever, but at least you’ll be exposed.