Even the movie stars and their children need a Santa to whom to tell their Christmas wishes.
There are probably others, but one is Michael Chellel, who holds forth at the Beverly Center. At other times of the year he runs a tour service known as Hollywood Hip Spots.
This year, as he has during the previous three, Chellel (pictured on Page 19) expects to hold in his lap Christopher Rogers, son of Kenny, and the children of Debby Boone, and will pose for photos with their parents, plus other celebrities, such as Cher and Jack Warden.
"Last year--and I expect to be doing it again this year--I picked up gifts and food at the homes of Zsa Zsa Gabor and LeVar Burton to deliver to the needy," Santa said.
When at his post on the eighth floor of the shopping center, as befits his title as Santa to the Stars, he hands out free coloring books--fetched from a Louis Vuitton sack.
It probably came as cold comfort to Jay Fiondella of Santa Monica, but what he is seeking happens to be buried beneath 150 to 200 feet of snow and ice.
Fiondella, who owns Chez Jay, also is president of the Historical Aviation Recovery Team. Two summers ago he and others spent six weeks in Greenland, trying to find eight low-on-fuel warplanes that landed there in 1942 while en route to Great Britain from the United States. The crew members were rescued, but the craft remained.
"Another expedition went up last year, and I went back again with a group this past September," Fiondella said. Readings completed a couple weeks ago at the University of Toronto by a glacial expert have determined the depth at which the planes rest beneath the surface.
"I hope to return next summer," the local restaurateur said. "We plan to use electric saws to dig a tunnel, and hopefully discover what condition the planes are in."
The Mural Majority
Finalists in a competition among student artists from Los Angeles city high schools who have been translating their "Visions of Los Angeles" into murals will be honored at a reception Monday at the Westin Bonaventure.
James Treadway, managing director of the hotel, said the winner of the grand prize (a weekend package at the Bonaventure) will be announced from among:
Southear Truong, John Marshall High School; Randall Van Hoek, Verdugo Hills; Jeff Wong and Yelene Ortega, Eagle Rock; Nicole Veltri, University High; Marcus Martinez, San Pedro; Julianna Lee, Granada Hills; Brent Rollins, Westchester; Tony Remigio, Fremont; Alex Montoya and Garrett Bussey, Lanterman High School for the Mentally Handicapped; and Jeff Erdmann, Diane S. Leichman High.
Each finalist will get $200 and a plaque. The 4x8-foot murals will be displayed on the construction siding for a new Flower Street entrance to the Westin Bonaventure. After construction is completed, the murals will be moved to a permanent location inside the hotel.
A new association has been formed, but don't rush to apply. Six people founded it, and they intend that six it shall remain.
This doesn't mean that the real estate developer, banker, lawyer, advertising executive and two stockbrokers who founded it are anti-social. On the contrary, SPILL (Society for the Preservation of Illicit Long Lunches) meets with ladyfriends nearly every Friday at restaurants, and sometimes has lunches catered at the homes of the members.
Stockbroker member John Trueblood said that "everyone who attends as a guest is given a pin at the conclusion," and presumably leaves Spillbound.
It will be raining cats and dogs Dec. 23 at all six of the city's animal shelters during the 36th annual "Bail 'Em Out Party" co-sponsored by the Tailwaggers Foundation and the Mercy Crusade.
"Any Los Angeles resident over 18 years of age may obtain a free pet, including available dogs, cats, turtles, rabbits and chickens, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.," Department of Animal Regulation spokesman Dyer Huston said.
The locations are: Ann Street Shelter, 215 W. Ann St.; West Los Angeles Shelter, 11950 Missouri Ave.; East Valley Shelter, 13131 Sherman Way, North Hollywood; West Valley District, 20655 Plummer St., Chatsworth; Eleventh Ave., 3612-11th Ave.; and Harbor District, 735 Battery St., San Pedro.
In the spirit of having all animals in a home for the holidays, all costs for impound, license, inoculations and spay/neuter fees will be paid for by the humane organizations.
Labor of Love
Nancy Malone and Linda Hope have resigned themselves to the fact that "There Were Times, Dear," their 60-minute film starring Shirley Jones and Len Cariou, is probably not going to bring them fame and fortune.
They had to hustle like they'd never hustled before just to come up with the money to get it made. (Thanks to a lot of donations, plus the actors working on scale, they pulled it off for a low $300,000.) And they still have no idea if the film will ever be shown on television or in a movie theater.
There are just some things in life you have to do as, well, a labor of love, the women say.