Evening Stars Jude McGee knows every bar, nightclub, cabaret and bistro in Los Angeles--or so it seems. Her night-life column in L.A. Weekly led her to teach a course in "L.A. Nightlife--New York Style" through the Learning Network. She also co-hosts "The Ms. Biz" radio program on KFOX. These are her favorite nightspots of the moment:
The Lhasa Club, Hollywood. "They have an extremely imaginative and avant-garde series of programs here, from black comedy to new-age music from around the world. You have to call for the program to see if it appeals to you."
West Beach Cafe, Venice. "This is a good place to go with friends and hang out. You don't go to pick up people, but you expand your group very easily here. It's very lively all the time."
The Crush Bar at the Continental Club, Hollywood. "This is Friday nights only, when it's all '60s dance music. All the people do is dance, dance, dance. A good time to go is around 10:30."
El Privado at Carlos 'n Charlie's, on the Sunset Strip. "It combines the elements of private and public clubs. There are plenty of stars. I like the fact that there's a good age mix here. The best times to go are Monday nights and weekends."
Gardens of Eatin' Frieda Caplan, owner of Frieda's Finest Produce & Specialties, has almost single-handedly made exotic produce available to Southern California cooks. Her own favorites require "no special talent in cooking. I myself can't cook."
Yellow Finnish potatoes. "They're delicious and buttery. You don't have to add any butter at all--which is great for someone like me who likes to eat all the time."
Cherimoya. "The most delicious fruit in the world."
Shallots. "They go with everything, all cuisines--Mexican, Chinese Japanese, French. Shallots and apple glaze is my favorite recipe."
Spaghetti squash. "It can be a side dish or a main dish. All you have to do is pop it in the microwave. You don't have to add much to it, but you can if you wish."
Asian pears. "I use them with everything. I slice them with baked fish, and they don't lose their texture when cooked. You can eat them when they're hard."
"And if I can add one more--seedless red watermelon. I serve it as an afternoon treat for everyone in the office. We stand around the sink and eat it." Neighborhood Watch Realtor Alan (Scotty) Herd has taught more than 10,000 Californians what to look for in real estate through his home-buyer clinics and seminars. "Rich doesn't necessarily make a good neighborhood," he says. "The most expensive homes aren't always in the most exciting areas." With an eye for good appreciation values, Herd currently favors the following neighborhoods for house hunters:
Low-priced condominums in the West Los Angeles corridor (Santa Monica Boulevard to Pico Boulevard, west of the San Diego Freeway). "The convenient access to new office construction will drive the prices up. The area has immediate access by freeway to everywhere in Los Angeles."
Oxnard. "For the price, you get the most amenities--waterfront proximity, clean air, good public services."
Westwood. "One of the last of the urban environments where you can walk to everything and still have family homes with front yards."
Westlake Village. "They did what they started out to do. It's a community that's well planned. They did everything right."
The Wild Bunch Barbara Jampel--who has written and produced several "National Geographic Specials," including the Emmy-winning "Among the Wild Chimpanzees"--has seen many of the world's famous and not-so-famous zoos. She looks for the "least zoo-like" places with the most naturalistic environments.
Howletts Zoo Park, Bekesbourne, Kent, England. "This used to be a privately owned estate, so the grounds are gorgeous. It's owned by gambler John Aspinall, whose real love in life is endangered species, and he puts all his money into the zoo. He has a large collection of captive gorillas, and he goes in and plays with them. He wrestles and tickles them--even the 350-pound specimens."
Fleay's Fauna Reserve, West Burleigh, Queensland, Australia. "This is the only place that has ever bred a platypus in captivity, which happened in the 1950s. The owner has been studying platypuses for 50 years, and every day he gives a little lecture on them. Also, there are a lot of animals, such as kangaroos and an emu, wandering about."
San Diego Wild Animal Park. "It's really like riding on the plains of Africa. The place is specially geared to breeding endangered species, which seems to require as natural an environment as possible. So there are no cages."
Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, Island of Jersey, Channel Islands, England. "It's owned by writer-naturalist Gerald Durrell, who has had an excellent success rate in breeding endangered species."
Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle. "There's great attention here on naturalistic habitats, especially in the gorilla enclosure, which is very jungle-like, and the savanna, where many kinds of African wildlife mingle on the wide-open spaces. They want the animals to behave naturally, and, consequently, zoo-goers have to be as patient as they would be seeing animals in the wild."