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SHORT STORIES

July 06, 1986|PATT MORRISON

Bag Lady, the Movie

In keeping with the Better Living Through Videos trend, Susanne Reyto's half-hour cassette, "Packing Made Easy," keeps you from tripping up before your trip begins. Reyto, an ex-travel agent, folds and fluffs color-themed skirts, pants and blouses, enough for a weekend or six months, into a suitcase and carry-on, with running advice about "miss and match" horrors. "Packing is a minor item," she says. "The planning takes the time." One of Reyto's packing tips: how to stash your bicarb so it doesn't look like you're smuggling heroin.

The Old Collage Try, Martian-Style

"Architects from Mars" has moved. Martian artists Lou Patrou and John Phelps have moved their new business from a little house in mid-Wilshire to the gorgeously bizarre Hollywood Taft Building, to build their own gorgeously bizarre art: multilayered, 3-D sculptures assembled from hand-tinted photos. Mars-chitecture can put a Titan missile in your flower bed or have Beaver Cleaver pitch a no-hitter on Saturn. "We build layered sculptures of photos that look like little architectural landscapes--real wacky-looking," says Patrou, casting a covetous alien eye on L.A. architecture. "We're always fooling with other people's architecture, cutting up little buildings and creating new ones."

Getting Re-Oriented

Barbara Johnson and her husband went on a three-week bike tour of Inner Mongolia last year. China so enchanted her that she sent out resumes--and got a job offer. This August, the 57-year-old free-lance writer and Cal State Northridge journalism instructor goes East again--to work. Johnson, who says she has "never been away from home for more than eight weeks," will work a six-day week as the copy editor / adviser to a new English-language magazine that's "like a Chinese News and World Report." Johnson wants the international version of the Chinese newsmag "Outlook" to "give the Chinese viewpoint of what's happening in the world."

Ready on the Card Table, Mr. DeMille

Everybody's a star, but it took some guys from Illinois to make everyone a director. The "Hollywood Movie Makers" game was dreamed up during a Great Lakes winter by Frank Monteleone and friends, and it starts where trivia games leave off, requiring players to contrive new plot twists, titles and dialogue inspired by old movie favorites. As in the venerable parlor game "Dictionary," one wins not necessarily by knowing the right answer but rather by creating the most plausible one, which persuades other players to vote for it. "It's not mindless drivel, but something challenging. It's a game of imagination. You're not just pushing buttons and blowing up invaders," says Monteleone, a computer manager who hates computer games. The game is not yet in Hollywoodland, but Monteleone has sent freebies to the likes of Jackie O and even Stephen King--and Francis Ford Coppola, who may welcome working on a picture with a trifling $15 budget.

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