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The Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce has been hosting weekly virtual networking events. For this meeting, chamber member and director of Groza Learning Center Tatyana Yukhtman led a discussion about homeschooling, test prep and working from home. 

Photo courtesy of Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce

Maxine Eschger, a junior at Palisades Charter High School in AP photo, submitted “Her Light” to the PTSA Reflections Contest and won the state top prize for her special interpretation of “The Look Within.” Her piece is now headed to nationals.  

Photo courtesy of Pali High

The Pacific Palisades Rotary Club donated $3,600 to facilitate internet access for Palisades Charter High School students who were not able to access distance learning. The club also donated to the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness to help purchase supplies, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and cell phones.       

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

Two Palisadians students—Mirabelle Weinbach of Brentwood School and Ava Kerkorian (pictured here) of Palisades Charter High School were each awarded a National Merit $2,500 Scholarship—given to finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in college studies. By the conclusion of this year’s competition, approximately 7,600 academic champions will have won National Merit Scholarships, totaling more than $30 million.   

Photo courtesy of Ava Kerkorian

Martha Hunter snapped some shots at Pierson Playhouse, where Sherman Wayne was putting finishing touches on the set for “Wait Until Dark,” which is now done and ready to go. “Looks so good!” Hunter wrote. “What a tremendous amount of work you did.” Hunter added she hopes that Theatre Palisades can get this “wonderful play up and running some day soon.”   

Photo courtesy of Martha Hunter


Catching up with Palisadians

Photos courtesy of IMDb

The Post Goes Through Past Shows and Movies Featuring Locals

By LILY TINOCO | Reporter

The opportunity to write about our favorite television series and films has been a great one because it offers a bit more perspective about who we are at the Palisadian-Post to our readers.

Since we started this series I’ve been searching for a reason to write about one of my favorite films of all time: “Blade Runner 2049.” Since we’re doing a run-through of films and shows that feature locals and actress Ana de Armas has been spotted around Pacific Palisades with boyfriend Ben Affleck recently, I jumped at the chance.

The 2017 film, directed by Denis Villeneuve, is a sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic “Blade Runner” and is set in Los Angeles. When? You guessed it—the year 2049.

The sci-fi film follows K (Ryan Gosling) who works as a “Blade Runner” for the Los Angeles Police Department, retiring outdated replicants—bioengineered “humans”—until he finds himself questioning his own identity and origin.

After a series of discoveries, K believes he might be a miracle child, “woman born.” De Armas plays the role of K’s artificially intelligent hologram girlfriend, Joi, who joins him for the ride.

I could write pages (and I’ve written essays in college) about this film, but I’m not one to spoil a good movie. It’s beautiful and insanely articulate, from Harrison Ford’s reprise (he starred in the 1982 film) to the cinematography and a compelling allusion to Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Pale Fire.”

Musician Jared Leto and Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks are also in “Blade Runner 2049,” and deliver award-worthy performances. Hoeks is Luv and perhaps my favorite fictional character of all-time. She is Niander Wallace’s (Leto) stone-cold, right-hand but the film’s standout actress.

The film went on to win a number of awards for its cinematography and visual effects, including Academy Awards and the Critics’ Choice Awards in 2018.

When I watched “Blade Runner 2049” for the first time, I watched it in IMAX—which was an experience to say the least. The film was still being played occasionally in IMAX theaters after its 2017 release, but since theaters remain closed, I recommend watching it in a way that mimics a theater-setting: home theater, surround-sound, 4K.

Any other way wouldn’t do the film justice, seriously.

“Blade Runner 2049” is rated R for violence, sexuality and language, with a runtime of 164 minutes. It isn’t available on any streaming services currently, but can be rented on digital platforms such as Amazon Video.

A Stock Market Lesson to Remember

Confidence Can Quickly Erode, But it Can Also Quickly Emerge

By GARY K. LISKA | Special to the Palisadian-Post

Undeniably, spring 2020 has tried the patience of investors. An 11-year bull market ended. Key economic indicators went haywire. Household confidence was shaken. The Standard & Poor’s 500, the equity benchmark often used as shorthand for the broad stock market, settled at 2,237.40 on March 23, down 33.9% from a record close on February 19.

On April 17, the S&P closed at 2,874.56. In less than a month, the index rallied 28.5% from its March 23 settlement. And while past performance does not guarantee future results, there is a lesson in numbers like these.

In the stock market, confidence can quickly erode—but it can also quickly emerge. That should not be forgotten.

There have been many times when economic and business conditions looked bleak for stock investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 30% or more in 1929, 1938, 1974, 2002 and 2009. Some of the subsequent recoveries were swift; others, less so. But after each of these downturns, the index managed to recover.

Sometimes the stock market is like the weather in the Midwest. As the old Midwestern cliché goes, if you don’t care for the weather right now, just wait a little while until it changes.

The stock market is inherently dynamic. In tough times, it can be important to step back from the “weather” of the moment and realize that despite the short-term volatility, stocks may continue to play a role in your long-term investment portfolio.

When economic and business conditions appear trying, that possibility is too often dismissed or forgotten. In the midst of a bad market, when every other headline points out more trouble, it can be tempting to give up and give in.

Confidence comes and goes on Wall Street. The paper losses an investor suffers need not be actual losses. In a down market, it is perfectly fine to consider, worry about and react to the moment. Just remember, the moment at hand is not necessarily the future, and the future could turn out to be better than you expect.

Gary K. Liska may be reached at seia.com or 310-712-2323.

Mask Decorating Contest Results

Mask Decorating Contest Results

By VANESSA MASTERSON | Junior Reporter

Today I am announcing the winners of the Mask Contest! Before I show you, I would like to say, everyone did an amazing job! I enjoyed looking at all of the entries. We received SO many and it was very difficult to choose!

Now on to the category winners! Thank you again for participating!

Stay Safe!

Grand Prize Winner
Family Winner
Age 4-8 Winner
Age 9-12 Winner
Age 13-15 Winner
Senior Category Winner


Tips and Tricks to Revamp Living Spaces While Staying Home

Photo courtesy of Happy Space Company


Many people are maximizing extra hours in their abode while Safer at Home orders are in place to revitalize areas of their kitchen, workspace and media/kids play center that may not be working quite as efficiently as they thought.

“Creating spaces that are calming and visually pleasing makes you feel uplifted and are extraordinarily beneficial during quarantine for our mental health and focus,” Jordan Moore, Happy Space Company co-founder, said to the Palisadian-Post.

Here are some tips and tricks to fix up three key areas of a home.

The Kitchen

One satisfying chore that often gets neglected is focusing on the spice rack.

“Since we are all preparing multiple meals a day from home, organizing your kitchen for efficiency will save you time and effort,” Moore said.

The Happy Space Co. is a home-organizing company co-founded by Moore and fellow Alphabet Streets resident Courtney Lewis.

This may be a good time to go through old spices and discard expired or unused varieties.

“If your spices are expired, it’s time to re-invest in new spices,” according to Nancy Drobnis, founder of The LA Organizer and former Palisadian, who has decluttered and organized countless homes in the Palisades for more than a decade.

“Put a collection of your most frequently used items next to the stove—oils, seasonings, sauces, etc.,” Moore said, adding that turntables are an excellent option for this.

“We like creating little spice and oil stations for our clients,” Moore continued. “We recommend a three-tiered riser or stackable bins for storing them in a cabinet. For an extra special touch, you can buy uniform glass jars and labels online and transfer your spices into them for a finished look.”

Nancy Drobnis at work
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

Working from Home

Another space in the home that might need more attention, particularly while working from home, is the desk.

A top tip by organizer Giselle Paredes, a former student of Palisades Charter High School who continues to organize homes in the community, is the “less on the desktop, the better.”

Moore added that having a clear workstation increases focus, productivity and even happiness.

“Take this time to switch to paperless,” Moore said. It’s time to tackle the pile of paperwork and file away anything that can’t be accessed online.

“I’m a big fan of scanners,” Drobnis added. Save files as PDFs in folders for easy retrieval.

For everyday files that must be kept, Paredes suggested acrylic file holders.

“This is my favorite gem because it can also be useful to hold personal documents that can be ready to grab and go in any emergency situation,” Paredes explained to the Post.

Then, make the commitment to keep up with paperwork on a weekly basis to maintain your new system, Moore continued.

“Put a few things on your cleared desk that make you happy,” Moore suggested, “such as fresh flowers from the garden, a family photo or pretty candle.”

Entertaining from Home

Fighting off boredom has become paramount for many with kids back home or more hours to fill, so a well-managed entertainment center may be taking on a new importance, especially the children’s area.

Drobnis suggested discarding old media formats (VHS tapes, DVDs) and digitizing home movies: “They can put them on a flashcard, or upload them to the cloud or find a service to do that for them.”

“Being promoted to the new ‘Family Fun at Home Cruise Director’ is tough,” Moore said. “Spend a little time going through the games, toys, equipment, art supplies and crafts. Fix or get rid of items that are broken or no longer being used.”

Also, try keeping similar items together and easily accessible.

“Fun items will be used more if kids know where to find them and where to put them back,” Moore continued.

For younger children, add a photo of what goes inside so they clean up too, Drobnis suggested. Clear bins are great because you can see what’s inside.

With Palisadians in mind, Moore suggested having sunscreen and masks easy to grab, so if you do have the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine, it can be a simple transition to go outdoors.

“Everyone can clear up space by putting things away and making small changes to better accommodate all their belongings,” Paredes concluded.

Miller Brothers Collect $1,000 Through Car Wash Fundraiser

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer


Castellammare residents Sammy and Max Miller hosted a car wash on Saturday, May 9, to raise money for a local charity. Over the course of five hours, the teens raised $1,011—with all proceeds going to Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services.

“We are trying to find a way to do our part in giving back to the victims of COVID-19,” Sammy, 18, and Max, 17, posted in a Castellammare Mesa News Flash ahead of the event. “It is important for us to find a safe way to bring our neighborhood together while offering a valuable service.”

To promote the local car wash, the Millers put out 150 flyers in mailboxes, individually going door to door, in addition to a Castellammare Mesa News Flash email sent out to the community.

The exterior-only car wash, which was completed outside of their home, took approximately 20 minutes for a suggested donation of $20.

The teens were careful about social distancing and put out cones to guide the lineup of cars. Some people called ahead for reservations. The teens honored their reservations and made everyone feel welcome, their mother, Vicky, explained to the Palisadian-Post.

“Their work ethic really kicked in and shined,” Vicky witnessed. “Although it was a family affair, the boys took the lead.”

“We took a backseat,” she added, referring to herself and their father, Rich.

Vicky added that neighbors were very generous, positive and supportive, with several suggesting they do this every week.

The brothers grew up in the Palisades. Sammy is graduating from Windward School and Max is in eleventh grade at Viewpoint School.

The week before, they had been helping neighbors wash their cars as a gesture and they came up with the idea for the car wash, their mother shared.

All the proceeds from the car wash are being donated to Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, a century-old organization in the midst of its own Coronavirus Emergency Fundraising Campaign to ensure that no Vista child or family goes hungry.

For more information, visit vistadelmar.org.

Highlands Resident Pens Nonfiction Book

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Arthur Hoyle—a writer, educator, independent filmmaker and resident of the Highlands—is promoting his second nonfiction book, “Mavericks, Mystics, and Misfits: Americans Against the Grain,” which was published March 24 by Sunbury Press.

The book tells the story of American men and women throughout the course of history, from the colonial period to the present, who have responded in unconventional ways to challenges and circumstances.

“The people were usually people who were, in one way or another, dissenters from mainstream society,” Hoyle explained in a phone interview. “It’s true of every one of them.”

The book covers the story of Roger Williams, who was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for disputing the colonists’ right to take away the natives’ land without compensation. Because the confiscation of land was sanctioned by a charter the colonists had been given by King Charles, Williams was putting himself in conflict with the crown.

“It was a very risky thing for him to do,” Hoyle explained, “but he did it. He was a man of principle and he did it.”

Hoyle shared that the people he selected to cover in the book are all nonconformists and people acting on principle.

Photo courtesy of Arthur Hoyle

“I wrote the book because I had been having a real concern about the state of our democracy in our country,” Hoyle shared. “I just feel like the values on which the country was built—the enduring values—are being steadily eroded and our democracy is in peril at the moment.”

Hoyle hopes that his book reminds readers of these basic values, and that it shows that there have always been people that have stood up and reaffirmed when these values when they have been under threat.

“That was my reason for writing it and that’s why I think it’s an important book for us right now,” he said.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hoyle has had to cancel events that were lined up to promote the book, which has led him to market it himself.

“There’s a lot you can do, you can go 24/7 if you want,” Hoyle said of promoting the book online. “So that’s keeping me busy.”

“Mavericks, Mystics, and Misfits” follows Hoyle’s biography of former Palisadian Henry Miller, “The Unknown Henry Miller: A Seeker in Big Sur,” which was published in March 2014.

When he’s not writing, Hoyle shared that he loves to play the piano and volunteers as a naturalist in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, leading interpretive walks on Chumash culture.

“Mavericks, Mystics, and Misfits” is available at sunburypress.com, through Amazon or local

Palisadian Jamie Lee Curtis to Direct, Produce, Star in Lifetime Movie

Photo courtesy of Twitter


Palisadian Jamie Lee Curtis is putting her many talents to work—directing, executive producing and starring in “How We Sleep at Night: The Sara Cunningham Story.”

The original Lifetime movie is based on a true story about a devout Christian mother in Oklahoma City who came to terms with her son being gay.

“I believe we are going to present a story that will change minds,” Curtis said in a Lifetime interview posted on YouTube.

Curtis explained how impressed she was with Cunningham sending out an offer to be a “stand-in” mom for anyone’s same sex wedding.

“If you need a mom to attend your same sex wedding because your biological mom won’t. Call me,” Cunningham wrote in a social media post about two years ago. “I’m there. I’ll be your biggest fan. I’ll even bring the bubbles.”

Cunningham’s offer inspired other stand-in parents across social media to do the same.

“I was moved by her journey. And I continue to be thrilled as her movement is catching on,” Curtis said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I hope to do justice to her story and the story of so many marginalized people in the LGBTQ community.

“I saw the impact that her movement has already had, in and around Oklahoma City. It’s exciting to watch something that was born out of such conflict develop into something of such deep compassion and expansive acceptance.”

Curtis, a multi-faceted, award-winning performer, author, producer, director and philanthropist, optioned the rights to Cunningham’s memoir last year, according to Deadline.

Cunningham is the founder of Free Mom Hugs, an organization providing support to the LGBTQ community. Curtis opened for Cunningham’s presentation about her organization at the 30th Anniversary GLAAD Media Awards in 2019.

Although Curtis, known for a set of diverse roles, ranging from “Knives Out” to “Freaky Friday” (filmed at Palisades Charter High School) and “Halloween,” has directed television episodes, this will be her first credit on IMDb for directing a full-length television movie.

Sally Robinson will pen the script and it will be distributed by Sony Pictures Television, according to Deadline.

“How We Sleep at Night” is expected to be released sometime next year.

Barbara Sue Richman

With profound sadness, we announce the passing of Barbara Sue Richman on April 27 at the age of 66 from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Born in 1954 in Phoenix to loving parents Ruth and Leonard Skomer, Barbara grew up with three close-knit siblings. Barbara earned top marks at Camelback High School and was, by all accounts, the prettiest girl there.

At Pomona College and later Berkeley University, she excelled at piano and dance, performing with a Martha Graham dance troupe. She earned her degree in Ancient Greek Language & Mythology, a subject which remained a lifelong passion.

Barbara moved to LA with her sister Sharon and met the love of her life, James Richman. They married in 1985 and moved to the Pacific Palisades, where she made a beautiful home for them.

Over her 25 years in the Palisades, Barbara worked for NBC and KNX News Radio, worked as a personal trainer at the Riviera, and helped manage her parent’s clothing store. All the while she remained close to Sharon and her nephews, and raised two adoring children.

Barbara’s greatest legacy is the loving family she built. As a mother she was warm, vivacious, silly and exceptionally bright. She was a fierce advocate for her children, imbuing them with her strength and resilience, love of learning, and kindness. Her vivid imagination and sense of humor made everything an adventure, and their days were filled with laughter. For Jim, she was a steadfast confidant, advisor and faithfully loving wife for the 35 years they had together.

Barbara later volunteered as a docent at the Getty Villa, where she transformed tours into delightful performances. In her free time, she played tennis at the Riviera with friends, hiked her beloved Australian Shepherds, made high-octane Italian stovetop espresso, played Bach on piano, and read (with a particular fondness for Tolkien).

In 2013, Barbara and Jim moved to Ojai, where Barbara’s charm immediately endeared them to their new community. Even at the end, Barbara never stopped making those around her smile.

Barbara was filled with so much energy and life that she remained vibrant even after the transformation of disease, and remains so now in the minds of everyone who knew her.

Barbara leaves behind her husband Jim; her children, Elliot and Caroline; her father, Leonard Skomer; her sister, Sharon Pregerson; her brother, Michael Skomer; and her cherished siblings in-law, cousins, nephews, nieces and son-in-law.

Pool Reflection

This underwater image of Marieka Possman illuminated by a pool light earned Pali High water polo teammate Maxine Eschger an Excellence Award from the 2019-20 National PTA Reflections Art Competition. Eschger titled her winning photography series project “HER LIGHT.”

Palisades High Junior Maxine Eschger Has Immersed Herself in Aquatic Sports and Photography

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

Back in February, Maxine Eschger and the Palisades High girls water polo team were on the brink of back-to-back City championships.

The most exciting finals matchup in section history played out like a Hollywood script, producing nine ties and seven lead changes before the Dolphins fell to Birmingham, 17-16. That loss stung for months, but with the help of a teammate Eschger has found a measure of redemption in the pool by winning an Award of Excellence from the National PTA for its 2019-20 “Look Within” Reflections Art Competition.

With her project titled “HER LIGHT,” Eschger is one of only three high school students across the country to receive an Excellence Award in the field of photography. Other disciplines for the national contest included film production, literature, visual arts, dance choreography and music composition.

“I found out about the competition through my photography teacher Mr. [Rick] Steil at Pali High,” Eschger said. “He’s familiar with it and entering the contest was a class assignment. I don’t remember a specific deadline but we submitted around October. In California, I know there were 30,000 applicants and I’m guessing around 100,000 nationwide, but I don’t know an exact number. I was so surprised to hear that I won because I got second place in the first round, which was just within Pali High. I assumed that would be the end of it and I’d probably not get selected to go farther than regionals.”

Eschger, a junior, first started taking photos in fifth grade upon finding her mom’s old Canon Rebel T3 camera and she’s been shooting ever since. She mostly takes portraits but also likes architecture photography. She has honed her skills in Steil’s AP Photography class after taking Advanced Photography with him last year.

“The project was part of an underwater photography series and I asked my friend [and water polo teammate Marieka Possman] to be the model in the series,” Eschger explained. “I thought we’d work well together since she’s also an artist and we’re both in tune with water. The inspiration behind mine was the photographer Toni Frissel’s underwater photos and my photos were a result of an idea I’ve been exploring about photographing people and how they move in space. By experimenting with light at different times of day, as well as with all different types of movement, I was able to come up with my first underwater series.”

When she’s not shooting photos for Rick Steil’s photography class, Maxine Eschger is shooting on net for the Pali High girls water polo squad. In February, she scored a team-best seven goals in the Dolphins’ City Section quarterfinal victory over El Camino Real.
Photo: Steve Galluzzo

Each of Eschger’s “passions” is difficult to master in its own  right and she finds the contrast between them facinating.

“I think both are so different that it’s hard to correlate them,” she said. “I’d say that they’re both challenging, but in different ways. Although water polo is more physically demanding, they both require a lot of mental concentration. What I can say is that the feeling of getting a great photo and scoring a winning goal is definitely similar.”

Eschger scored plenty of goals for the Dolphins in the winter. She was one of the squad’s most improved players, tallying six goals against Monrovia in the third-place game of the Burbank Classic in November and scoring four times versus Western League archrival Venice in January. She was a scoring machine in the City playoffs, netting five goals in the opening round against Contreras, a team-high seven goals in a quarterfinal rout of El Camino Real and five more in a 16-10 semifinal victory over Cleveland.   

“I think what I’ll remember most is the Mistletoe Tournament in Ventura County in December,” said Eschger, who lives in Mandeville Canyon. “We finished it with a [9-5] win against Thousand Oaks and the game felt like the most cohesively we had played so far. It was a great starting point for us and something to reference for motivation through the season.”

Eschger attended Kenter Canyon Elementary, then Paul Revere Middle School. She tried a variety of sports in elementary school, including soccer, basketball, and volleyball, and started swimming around the age of 9. She first tried  water polo in seventh grade and has played it ever since. She also still swims and helped Palisades’  girls to their 10th consecutive City  title and 13th in 14 years last May at John C. Argue Swim Stadium next to the LA Coliseum. Eschger  placed seventh in both the 50-yard  and 100-yard freestyle events and swam the third leg of Palisades’ runner-up 400-freestyle relay. The  girls accumulated a whopping 600 points to nearly double the total of second-place Granada Hills.    

That triumph was icing on the cake for Eschger, who earlier in her sophomore campaign played a crucial role in the Dolphins’ run to their first City girls water polo crown after suffering five losses in the finals—all to Eagle Rock.

“I actually think swimming sparked my interest for water polo because I’ve always loved to be in the water and playing team sports, so I loved how water polo combined both,” she said.

Unlike many her age, Eschger is not trying to discover what to do when her Pali High days are over. She already knows.

“My future goals are to play water polo in college and to major in Art and Art History,” she said.

As far as photography goes, it is far more than just her hobby. Eschger draws inspiration for her work from her classmates as well as some fashion photographers, like Richard Avedon.

“Being in Mr. Steil’s photo class has also made an impact on me as an artist with the critique from my classmates and instruction from Mr. Steil,” she said. “When it comes to water polo, I’ve always been inspired by the girls on my club and school teams who are older and more experienced than I am. I’ve learned how to become a better player by taking advice from them and watching how they play.”

In the summer of 2018, Eschger was a member of Westside Aquatics’ U16 girls unit that took 16th place in the Silver Classic Division at the USA National Junior Olympics in the Bay Area—a team that also featured Pali High teammates Leighanne Estabrook and Sydney Brouwer.    

“Through water polo and photography I’ve learned certain perseverance skills that have defined me as a person,” Eschger said. “I’ve learned that when practice gets hard or when the photo I’m taking isn’t what I wanted, I have to keep going until I succeed, as cheesy as that may sound.”

Eschger has been immersing herself totally into her efforts to be the best shooter, both in the pool and behind the lens. She is one of only 12 California students to win a PTA Award this year in any category from all six mediums.

“To get a perfect shot I’d say it takes me only a few photos if I have the concept of what I want to do already planned out,” Eschger said. “If not it could take me dozens of attempts. For this competition I was only able to submit one photo from the series, which was about 10 all together. The best advice I’ve gotten in photography is probably to stay true to what I want to do and keep going with my own style. In the pool, the best advice I’ve received is to just keep fighting through the game even if you’re on the losing side. Even if the outcome of a game isn’t how you wanted it, there can always be a learning opportunity to improve in the future.”