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Filmmaker Makes Feature Debut

Palisadian Kenny Golde said his daily conversation changed when he moved from producing to writing and directing. “As a producer, it was ‘How much is it going to cost and when is it due?’As a director it is ‘What do you think this character is feeling right now?’ Now it’s talking about feelings and imagination. It just turns me on.” His first feature film, “The Job,” a graphically violent thriller, was released on DVD January 13. The film also had a one-week theatrical release in December. The film focuses on CJ, a female hired killer, played by Daryl Hannah. She is told by her boss to kill a pregnant woman whose husband is dealing stolen drugs. But she has difficulty doing the deed when she finds out she herself is pregnant. Also in the mix are a former priest, an attempted abortion, childhood flashbacks and a drug deal gone wrong. Golde’s previous directing experience was with his short film, “Food for Thought,” which won awards at the 2001 Worldfest Houston International Film Festival and the 2000 Brooklyn Film Festival. That film, starring David Ogden Stiers, was one of a dozen shorts acquired in 2001 by HBO and was shown on that channel and Cinemax more than 100 times. “The Job” was shot in a little over three weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve 2002, at 22 locations around Los Angeles. Golde, 36, found that the holiday season was a time when crew and equipment were available. The entire crew worked for free, while the cast was paid minimal union salaries. The budget was less than $500,000. He, producer Dan Levin, a friend from Taft High School, and executive producer Larry Gabriel cast the film just after Daryl Hannah finished with “Kill Bill, Vol. 1.” Other cast members then came on board, including Brad Renfro, Dominique Swain, and Alex Rocco (Moe Greene in “The Godfather”). “Sixty people showed up every day for no money,” Golde said. “My job as a director was not just making a movie, but creating an environment where people wanted to come back. There was a bonding among the crew.” The film was made independently by Platform Entertainment and sold to distributor Lions Gate Entertainment, which released the movie on DVD. “They do a calculation process of their expenses. I’m thrilled we made an independent film that sold for distribution. Most independent films are not.” The film, which is rated R, will eventually be shown on pay-per-view and cable. Golde, who grew up in Woodland Hills, initially wanted to be a novelist and has written a science fiction novel “Apollo Main.” After graduating from UC Berkeley, he began his career in the film industry, working for an agency, production companies and then as a producer in film and television. He has also written and directed more than 30 “Intimate Portraits” for Lifetime Television. “I’m lucky. A lot of people out there, between feature films, turn to other types of work,” Golde said. “I get to write and produce these.” He cites model Christie Brinkley and novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford as his favorites whom he has profiled in the hour-long biographical show. Golde has lived in the Palisades for 11 years. His next project is directing “Haunted Hearts,” which he describes as a dramatic comedy, written by Ted Henning.

Cody Michaels: Town’s 50th ‘First Baby’

First Baby of 2004: Cody Robert Michaels, appearing here with his mother Pam, is the First  Baby of 2004 in Pacific Palisades.
First Baby of 2004: Cody Robert Michaels, appearing here with his mother Pam, is the First Baby of 2004 in Pacific Palisades.
Photo by Rich Schmitt, Staff Photographer

Cody Robert Michaels, born at 1:50 a.m. on January 1 at St. John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica, has won the Palisadian-Post’s First Baby of the Year contest. He is the 50th baby to earn the honor. Cody’s mother, Pam Michaels, learned about the contest when she came into the Post’s offices last month to renew her subscription. Business Manager Cheryel Kanan asked when she was due, and reminded her to watch out for the First Baby contest and call the Post when she had her baby. So Pam called in on Friday, the day after giving birth, and Cody was eventually declared the winner. He and his parents will enjoy gifts and services from 60 Palisades merchants. “Little Cody is doing very well,” Pam said. “My pregnancy was great. I really enjoyed it and had no problems.” Cody’s dad, Robert, came up with his first name. “I was reading the baby names book and it just caught my attention,” said Robert. “He seems to have a strong-willed personality. He’s not shy about letting you know how he feels about things. When he gets wrapped in a certain way, he starts swinging his arms in boxing mode.” Cody’s 6-year-old brother, Brandon, a Corpus Christi first grader, is adjusting well to his new little brother and is helping out. “He was very excited and he couldn’t wait,” Pam said. Dad is proud of his older son’s transition to being a big brother: “He’s old enough to understand what it means; he cares for his brother and looks after him. He’s been very sweet to him.” The runners-up are Annie and Kendall Mars, twin daughters of Traci and Brian Mars, born at 6:55 and 6:56 a.m. on January 1 at Cedars-Sinai. Older sister Molly is in the same class as Brandon, at Corpus Christi. “It’s very special for us to have two sets of children the same age,” said Pam. “I was lying in bed that night, and called Traci to say, ‘I had my baby and you’re next.’ Brian answered and said ‘We did, too!'” Born at 7 lbs. 14 oz. and 20-3/4″ long, Cody has lots of brown hair and light eyebrows. His mom expects his hair to become blonde like his older brother’s, as he is his “spitting image.” “He’s thriving,” she said of Cody. “He hasn’t lost weight as newborns usually do; in fact, he gained a little bit of weight a few days after his birth. I just welcome a great eater. He’s quite a little feisty guy. “We didn’t know if he was going to be a 2003 baby or a 2004 baby,” Pam said. “We were hoping it was going to be January 1, the start of a new year. We didn’t even notice it was New Year’s, and before you know it, you’ve given birth. After he was born we realized it was New Year’s, so we celebrated. It was a lot of fun.” Cody was also the year’s first birth at St. John’s and was given a silver spoon that reads “First Baby of 2004” by the hospital staff. His mother recalls it was a busy night at the hospital. “My water broke on the 31st and when we came in at 4 p.m. there was no labor room available. There were three women there before me, and three women after me.” She had to wait about an hour until a room was available. Pam Michaels, who is originally from Durban, South Africa, was happy that her sister and brother-in-law had flown in from South Africa on December 30. “Brandon was thrilled he could spend the night at home with his aunt and uncle.” Robert Michaels, a native of Boston, is the president and CEO of Odesus, Inc., a technology consulting company. They have lived in the Palisades Highlands since 1997. “We’re pleased for the big announcement; it’s something special for Cody to carry through his life,” Robert said.

Citibank Branch Robbed Monday; Suspects Flee, Nobody Is Hurt

A takeover robbery occurred on Monday at 11:10 a.m. at Citibank on Sunset, adjacent to the post office. Three suspects, described as black males in their late teens to early 20s, entered the bank through the side door (off the courtyard), and two of them jumped the teller counter, according to FBI spokesperson Cheryl Mimura. They yelled “Everybody get down, this is not a joke!” and then took cash from a teller’s drawer. No weapons were seen. A fourth suspect may have stood guard outside the bank, according to several witnesses. The suspects were seen leaving in a burgundy GM Safari van from the alley behind the building. The stolen van was recovered within 20 minutes by LAPD about three blocks away at the corner of Embury and Albright. The suspects were wearing black beanies, black hooded sweatshirts and black gloves, with two of them also wearing black sunglasses, Mimura said. LAPD Detective J. Licata said the robbery appears to be linked to other bank robberies. “There have been several takeover robberies in the city and county over the last couple of months that look similar,” said Licata. “In a couple of other robberies, a stolen vehicle was used and abandoned in a nearby location.” A reward is available for information leading to the arrest of the people responsible for the robbery. Contact: the LAPD Robbery/ Homicide division at (213) 485-0780. Longtime Palisadian Anne Froehlich was inside the bank talking to Citibank employee Henry Longres when the robbery occurred. “After I heard, ‘Get down,’ I hid under a desk,” she said. Another customer who was standing near the teller was pushed down by a suspect, but not injured. After the suspects fled, the bank was locked. Two witnesses who had seen the car parked in the alley (between Swarthmore and Monument) came and provided an identification of the car to police. Bank employees and witnesses in the bank were questioned by the police and the FBI for about 90 minutes as part of the investigation. According to Longres, this was the first robbery to occur at the Citibank (previously California Federal) branch in at least five years.

Yamato Sale Spells Final Weeks for Nursery

Yamato Nursery was looking more and more forlorn this week as customers took advantage of the “1/2 off everything,” going-out-of-business sale that began last Thursday. While inventories had not been restocked for some time as a consequence of the impending sale of the property to Village School, remaining trees, shrubs, roses and bedding plants were being snapped up in the deal. Amendments, pots, garden equipment and indoor plants were also being sold at a discount. Longtime owner Hiro (who preferred not to give his last name) was busy taking care of customers himself, as his staff was down to just one or two employees. For 37 years, Hiro has maintained the 20,920-sq.-ft. nursery at the corner of Alma Real and La Cruz that originally opened in 1954 as Palisades Garden Supply. Previously he had owned a nursery in Huntington Beach. He told the Palisadian-Post that he was most proud of his customer service and the quality of his plants in the Palisades. The nursery was known for not only the health of its materials and the different varieties of common plants, but also the large number of unusual plants such as California natives. During Christmas, the nursery also sold and delivered Christmas trees of the finest quality for reasonable prices. Hiro, whose father was a landscape contractor, has two daughters, whom he said were not interested in the nursery business. He was not certain about his future plans. Village School (just around the corner on Swarthmore) plans to build a two-story, L-shaped building with underground parking for 74 cars, six classrooms, a performance arts center and a gymnasium, as well as a playing field, with excavation to begin as soon as April 1. The facility is scheduled to open in September 2005.

George Rice III, 93; Athlete and Uplifters Club Pioneer

George Rice III, a longtime Palisadian and the last surviving member of the Uplifters Club, died on December 25. He was 93. Born on October 29, 1910 in Alhambra, Rice graduated from Alhambra High School and from Caltech in mechanical engineering in 1931. He then moved to the old family weekend cabin in Rustic Canyon built in 1921 by his grandfather George Rice Jr., where he lived from 1932 until his death. Grandfather Rice “discovered” Rustic Canyon in 1900 while on a horse and buggy ride, and persuaded the newly formed Uplifters Club to locate its clubhouse there in 1918. The building burned down and the 1924 version has since become the Rec Center building in Rustic Canyon Park.?? From 1931 until after 1990, Rice worked in Los Angeles at George Rice and Sons, Printers as a printing salesman. During World War II, he was a war worker at Alcoa Aluminum in Vernon, and in Liferaft plastics survival gear production in Hollywood. He was once president of the Printing Industries of America Association and pushed hard to get its new office built in Los Angeles. He also was responsible for the building of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Santa Monica, in 1964. A sportsman all his life, Rice played tennis at the Uplifters Club and swam in the pool there. He was tennis champion in 1948 at the Racquet Country Club, the successor to the Uplifters Club. He loved to ski and was still going down the slopes in Aspen/Snowmass when he was 90 years old. He also enjoyed belonging to Toastmasters for many years. A scoutmaster of Troop 2 in Santa Monica, Rice hiked up the backside of Mt. Baldy with the scouts and skied down for miles in 1938. He loved to kayak surf, which he was still doing when he was 91, and was a pioneer in the sport in Hawaii. After he retired, he spent considerable time in Honolulu every summer. He was married for over 60 years to Onis D. Rice, an artist and teacher, now deceased. He is survived by his dear friend Louella Begley; daughter Kristina M. Nugent of Carlsbad; and son Tim G. Rice, who still lives in Rustic Canyon. No services have been scheduled.

Jean K. Parmelee, 86; Longtime Palisadian

Jean Parmelee, a 55-year resident of Pacific Palisades, died of a heart attack at Santa Monica/UCLA Hospital on December 24 at age 86. She was a very loving and caring mother and wife. Jean Kern Rheinfrank was born on July 5, 1917, Oak Park. a town on the west side of Chicago. She attended the Oak Park public schools and obtained a B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1939. She and Arthur Parmelee met in their sophomore year of high school. They were married on November 11, 1939, shortly after he started his medical training at the University of Chicago Medical School. While he served in the Navy, she lived with their two children, Arthur and Ann, in Oak Park. Their third child, Timothy, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, where Arthur received training in pediatrics. The family moved to Pacific Palisades in 1948, where Arthur had a pediatric practice for three years. He joined the UCLA Medical School Department of Pediatrics when the first medical school class entered. Their fourth child, Ruth Ellen, was born at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. Despite devoting a great deal of time caring for her four children, Jean was very active in local civic activities, especially the League of Women Voters. She helped form the Palisades League unit and served for a number of years on the board of directors of the Los Angeles League. Later she edited the League’s monthly newsletter. A good athlete, Jean was on the women’s tennis and swimming teams in high school and college. In the Palisades, she played tennis and was a member of a group of Palisades women who played weekly at the Westchester Golf Course. She was a member of the Palisades Presbyterian Church for some time and participated regularly in church programs. In addition to her husband of 64 years, she is survived by her four children, who loved her very much and miss her greatly: Arthur of Boulder, Colorado; Ann of Garberville, California; Timothy of Malibu, and Ruth Ellen of Pacific Palisades. She is also survived by her five grandchildren. Contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice.

Howard Regan; Executive at Nadel Architects

Howard Edward Regan passed away January 5 at the age of 69. Regan was born in Columbus, Ohio, and graduated from Ohio State University. He then attended Officers’ Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, and served four years as a Navy lieutenant. After he was discharged, he went to work for Pan American Airlines Guided Missiles Systems for five years and was then with URS Corporation of San Mateo for the next 19 years. Since 1986, he was associated with Nadel Architects of West Los Angeles for 17 years, where he served as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Regan is survived by his wife, Yvonne; sons Jeff and Peter; daughters-in-law Susan and Nancy; granddaughters Bonnie and Isabella; and sister Margaret Caudill of Ohio. He was predeceased by his sister Colleen Rundio on December 29. A memorial Mass was held at Corpus Christi Church in Pacific Palisades. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to St. John’s Hospital Foundation, 1328 22nd St., Santa Monica, 90404 or to the Daniel Freeman Community Trust, 333 N. Prairie Ave., Inglewood, 90301.

Abraham Feldman, 76; Family Man and Friend

Pacific Palisades resident Abraham Feldman passed away on December 27. He was 76. Known for his blue hat, giggles, a keen fashion sense and his caring nature, Feldman was a loving husband, father, brother, grandpa and friend. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Lenore; children David, Ellen and Jackie; grandchildren Walker, William and Ian; sister and brothers Doris, Ben and Eddie; and his dog Charlie. Memorial donations may be sent to Jewish Family Services of Los Angeles, 1424 Fourth Street, Suite 303, Santa Monica, CA. 90401.

Opening Young Eyes To Art

Author Susan Goldman Rubin
Author Susan Goldman Rubin
Photo by Rich Schmitt, Staff Photographer

In anticipation of his friend Paul Gauguin’s arrival, Vincent van Gogh decorated the guest room with his freshly painted canvases depicting sunflowers. This is among the fun facts dispensed by author Susan Goldman Rubin in “The Yellow House” (2001), an engaging account of the two months these legendary artists lived together in the south of France. The book is designed for young readers, with the text richly brought to life with illustrations. “Any kid can relate to getting a room ready for a guest,” says Rubin, a longtime Malibu resident. “They also know the emotion of being desperately lonely and needing to have friends.” Such is the sensitive narrative skill of Rubin, an author who specializes in books about art and Jewish history for young people ages 10 to 14. Her books are never a simple recounting of an artist’s life or world events-libraries are already well-stocked with these publications-but are instead absorbing stories with a distinct theme. Her angle for “The Yellow House” became clear during a meeting with curators at The Art Institute of Chicago, the museum that published the book in association with Harry N. Abrams. “Van Gogh and Gauguin were the original odd couple,” says Rubin, whose sparkling eyes tell of her relish in crafting novel approaches. Rubin’s “Yellow House” not only illuminates the differing artistic ways of the two painters-Van Gogh favored painting what he saw, Gauguin preferred working from memory-but also takes a playful look at their disparate personalities: Van Gogh was messy and talkative, Gauguin neat and quiet. Ultimately what Rubin hopes to get across to young readers is that there’s no one right way when it comes to making art. “Art is about originality, seeing the world in a new way,” says Rubin, herself an artist who first came to the publishing world as an illustrator and writer of picture books. “I thought art history contained so many words about a process that thrives on wordlessness,” Rubin recalls, remembering her days as an art student at Oberlin College. “I’m determined to get across the joy and experience of art.” Early in her career, an editor recognized Rubin’s lively, straightforward writing style, one particularly well-suited for young audiences, and recommended she focus her work in that direction. “It’s so important to find ways to amuse and awake interest without going off on a scholarly tangent,” says the author, whose keen, forthright take on art and history attracts readers of all ages. Rubin’s far-ranging enthusiasm for the creative spirit has resulted in books about Frank Lloyd Wright and photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White, and even the only authorized biography of Steven Spielberg. Her cleverly titled “There Goes the Neighborhood” (Holiday House, 2001) introduces young readers to such once controversial architectural projects as the Eiffel Tower, Philip Johnson’s Glass House and the Pompidou Center. “Degas and the Dance: The Painter and the Petits Rats Perfecting Their Art” (Abrams, 2002) provocatively uses in its title the nickname given to young ballerinas, most of whom were poor, working-class girls, in 19th-century France. Rubin’s original narrative looks at Degas’ artistic process-one involving incessant drawing of dancers, a favorite subject throughout his career-as analogous to the training of ballerinas, who practice positions over and over again. “Both disciplines require the same kind of dedication and patience,” says Rubin, who could also be describing her own diligence as a storyteller. The author prides herself in being 100 percent accurate, while also making her stories both gripping and absorbing. Quotes are always real, never fictionalized, and first-person accounts are hotly pursued: she snagged an interview with architect Philip Johnson when he was 90. “She has a fantastic knack for research,” says fellow writer and friend Sonia Levitin. “She’ll go anywhere to get every nuance. And she’s so personable, she ends up being friends with everyone she interviews.” Among these friendships is one with Ela Steinov????-Weissberger, a survivor of Terezin, the Nazi concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, whom Rubin met while doing research for her award-winning book “Fireflies in the Dark: The Story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and the Children of Terezin.” Steinov????-Weissberger was among the hundreds of children who studied art with Dicker-Brandeis while living in the appalling conditions of the camp. The book, filled with reproductions of the artwork created by Terezin children, most of whom later perished, serves as both a record of a remarkable teacher who provided a refuge for children in an unimaginably horrific situation as well as a message about the power of art and the resilience of human spirit. “Rubin reaches the hearts and souls of her audiences,” says friend and colleague Adaire Klein, director of library and archival services at the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance, who admires Rubin’s ability to convey difficult historical subject matter in a way that’s meaningful to young people. “It’s important to tell the truth and teach lessons of tolerance,” says Rubin, adding, “it’s important to be honest without being horrific.” Rubin strikes just such a balance with the recently published “Searching for Anne Frank: Letters from Amsterdam to Iowa” (Abrams) that chronicles the little-known pen-pal relationship Frank had in 1939 with a 10-year-old girl in Danville, Iowa. Anne’s fate was never known to her pen-pal until the 1955 production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” on Broadway. When Rubin traveled to Amsterdam to gather information, she was able to talk to one of Frank’s close childhood friends, a woman who had never before agreed to be interviewed. “I reassured her it would be a way of looking at history through the simple act of friendship,” says Rubin. “I used ‘The Yellow House’ book as my calling card to show how serious I am.” Among new titles in the works are “Art Against All Odds: From Slave Quilts to Prison Paintings,” “The Flag with 56 Stars: The Story of the Liberation of Manthausen Concentration Camp” and a still-to-be-titled book on the history of Jews in America. “She has a wonderful eye for what is possible,” says George Nicholson, her longtime New York agent. “It’s important to produce books accessible to kids,” he continues, “especially when everything about art appreciation in the schools has gone by the boards.” The passion for art Rubin hopes to ignite in children is best expressed by her own excitement. “When I leave a museum, I start to see the whole world like a photographer or artist I’ve been looking at,” she says. “That’s the magic of art.”

Pianist Von Oeyen to Play Liszt, Bartok, Ravel at St. Matthew’s

Andrew von Oeyen, frequent guest performer at St. Matthew’s, will present a solo recital as part of the “Music at St. Matthew’s” series on Friday, January 23, 8 p.m. Von Oeyen, who made his solo orchestral debut at 10 and has performed at St. Matthew’s, both in recital and with the Chamber Orchestra, since age 12, is now 23 and has already established himself as one of the most captivating young pianists of his generation. Von Oeyen has performed with the Seattle and Singapore symphonies as well as the Slovak State Philharmonic and was heard at last year’s Spoleto Festival and more recently at the festival “Piano en Vallois” in Angoulýme, France. He made his debut with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1998. His Pacific Palisades recital will include two of the “Petrarch Sonnets” of Liszt, Bartok’s suite “Out of Doors,” and music of Ravel and Mozart. When planning his programs, Von Oeyen begins the process with a large selection of composers and from there hones the program. “I usually don’t play any one piece that are longer than 70 minutes, but the real decisions come in the final stages of planning and depend on making the right connections with the works.” Von Oeyen, home-based in Manhattan, is concentrating on concertizing and has of late been playing Debussy, Ravel, Liszt and Chopin. He also enjoys modern composers such as Ligeti and Massenet and last season played a world premiere. Although one day he would like to compose, his current enthusiasm is conducting, and he will debut at the Spoleto Festival with Mozart’s Piano Concerto K 491 and Ravel’s “Le Tomba de Couperin”. Von Oeyen grew up in Malibu and graduated from Crossroads School. His father is an architect and his mother is a voice teacher and member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale. After graduating from Juilliard in Manhattan, Von Oeyen embarked on his professional career which finds him playing concerts around the world. He enjoys the experience, he says and has his favorite halls, including Powell Hall in St. Louis. While he has been in the audience while the L.A. Philharmonic played at Disney Hall-which fulfilled his high expectations-he has so far not been a performer. He is looking forward to debuting at Wigmore Hall in London this year. Happy and stimulated by life in New York, Von Oeyen nevertheless carves out time for visits west and even had time for some skiing while home for the holidays. Despite having won some prestigious competitions, including the Irving Gilmore International Keyboard Competition, Von Oeyen has cut down on his participation in such contests. “Competitions have lost some of their meaning because there are so many now,” he says. “Truly the most important career enabling factors are the maestros and the managers. If you can catch their attention, you are more likely to get concerts and to have a flourishing career.” The concert takes place at St. Matthew’s Church, 1031 Bienveneda Ave. Admission is $20. Tickets will be available at the door the night of the concert (no advance sales or reservations). For further information or a free 2003-2004 season brochure, contact 573-7787, ext. 2.