According to its publishers, FriendScapes is strictly a mutual interest, non-dating listing service, a network through which, for example, handwriting analysis fans can find other handwriting analysts, scuba divers can locate others who want to plumb the deep and young women in the movie business can meet moguls.
That's right. Consider the ad of 24-year-old Helen in a recent issue of the Westwood-based publication:
I am a professional working on a major TV show. I'm seeking another influential person to discuss current events in the motion picture industry. Moguls only please!
"We do not do the traditional dating ads," explained Alan Grunfeld, who co-founded FriendScapes with Edward Kwong about six months ago. "We reserve the right to edit. Our philosophies exclude sexual or outrageous romantic intent in a listing. We think that people have the most fun when they get together to share their favorite activities. We do not condemn love, sex or relationships. Everybody wants that. But that's not the premise that our people get together on. These are low-pressure situations. If a relationship happens, down the road, we're not going to complain."
Categories of listings included in FriendScapes are: "the connoisseur's life" (the most popular category, which covers individuals looking for companions in attending films, art galleries, concerts and restaurants), "participatory sports" (horseback riding is big here), "spectator sports" (the least popular category), "the outdoors life" (lots of hikers, campers and gardeners), "the hobbyist life" (where you will find all the Trivial Pursuit players) and the wild life (for people who like to dance, attend rock concerts and amusement parks).
Twenty-one dollars buys a year's worth of the monthly newsletter.
Walk of Fame, Shame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame received several visits from the Hollywood Clean-Up & Restoration Council recently. On one outing, the photography class of Hollywood High School shot about 1,400 photographs of the most neglected and the most cared for buildings along the walk.
"They shot a lot of the bird droppings on canopies," said Michael Kellerman, co-chairman of the council, an all-volunteer action group of people dedicated to cleaning up and restoring the Walk of Fame area of Hollywood. "It seems that people put up beautiful, new canopies and they don't realize that people need to clean them once in a while. The dirty canopies are a major contributor to the blight in the area, especially from the perspective of a double-decker bus."
Which is where the students were stationed with their cameras. In addition to the bus trip by photography students, a bus trip for community leaders, residents, merchants and others interested in cleaning up Hollywood was also undertaken as was a trip of 50 students from Selma Avenue Elementary School. All three trips focused on the best and worst sights along the Walk of Fame.
Later this month, the Hollywood Clean-Up & Restoration Council will present awards to the 10 most neglected buildings and storefronts and the 10 most cared for buildings and storefronts.
All in the Family
It was a double reunion last weekend for Sid Meek, a former Navy machine gunner who was a POW in World War II. Meek was the recipient of a $25,000 reunion, having participated in the Ragu Family Reunion Contest, in which he wrote (in 100 words or less) why he'd like to bring his family together for a special family reunion.
So, last weekend in Firebaugh, Calif., 62-year-old Meek celebrated two reunions: with 223 of his relatives (ranging in age from a 2-year-old great-grandniece to an 86-year-old aunt) and with three former POWs (he used some of his prize money to bring them in as well).
The words that won Meek all this?
"I would cherish having a family reunion for my brothers and sisters to repay them for their love and prayers during my 18 months as an MIA and then as a POW for three years and four months. They are all in good health and would enjoy the reunion completely. Six of the seven brothers and sisters were in the service of our country during WWII and our mother was the Gold Star Mother of Fresno, California, during the early part of the war. I love them all and would be proud to do this for them."
According to Meek, the reunion "was fabulous. It worked out beyond all expectations."
Oddly, each one of the 223 family members flown in for the occasion was from California. "My kid brother married a girl from Chicago," Meek explains, "but then he moved back to California. We're all just California people. We love California and that's it."
In addition to reuniting with his extended family and his former POW buddies last weekend, Meek also used part of his $25,000 prize earlier this year to attend a POW memorial tour in the Philippines, where he and other POWs were imprisoned.
Right on schedule, Joe Zepf has completed four years at the UCLA School of Dentistry and graduates Saturday.
What makes this remarkable is that the 27-year-old is a paraplegic, the result of an auto collision early in 1980 with a car driven by a drunk driver.
Zepf persevered, commuting between his Reseda home and the school in a van with hand controls, attending classes and doing clinical work in a wheelchair.
And now with his parents, Edna and Richard Zepf, looking on, Joe Zepf will accept a degree and become one of the few dentists in the nation practicing from a wheelchair.