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Literati Live It Up at Dead Author Party

October 31, 1986|Ursula Vils

The imagination runs wild: Be a "dead author" for Halloween.

Trek through Africa as Isak Dinesen or Ernest Hemingway, visit Peter Rabbit as Beatrix Potter, light the candle from both ends as Edna St. Vincent Millay, hit the road with Jack Kerouac or John Steinbeck or Chaucer, or if that's too close to home, take off for Troy to meet Aeneas with Virgil.

Aim high. Be Shakespeare.

The occasion, of course, is Halloween, more specifically this evening's Dead Author Party at the Midnight Special Bookstore on the Santa Monica Mall, where deceased literati will show up in costume for the 6:30 to 9 p.m. event. Bookseller Swann Kipnes, who developed the idea for the ethereal festivities, said readings will begin at 7 and "all spirits are welcome to read."

Oh yes. Kids are welcome. But can dead authors compete with Trick or Treat?

Grand Senior Halloween

A different kind of Halloween celebration--but an event rapidly becoming a tradition--is the Grand Peoples Company Breakfast Clubs, which today presents the second of its fall series with a program of varied entertainment and a hot meal for 150 Southland senior citizens.

With actress Marie Windsor as emcee and Frances Bergen as guest star, entertainment will include a taped segment with actress Jane Wyatt, vocals by three young performers and the Big Band sounds of Elwood Carl and his El's Angels. The house cast is paid but the emcees and stars donate their services for the 36 events each year and seem to enjoy doing so--Lina Romay's Breakfast Club performance on Wednesday was her third, for instance.

The series will continue Wednesdays and Fridays through Nov. 14 at the Grand Peoples Company's facility, which was renovated in the summer of 1985 with grant assistance from the Atlantic Richfield Foundation and Rotary Club No. 5 of Los Angeles. Those attending are members of senior-citizen groups and are bused to and from the former warehouse at 209 S. Garey St. in Downtown Los Angeles.

An innovation for the current series is a hot breakfast of omelet, fruit, roll and beverages arranged through the city's Department of Aging Title III-C Senior Nutrition Program.

The Grand Peoples Company also provides 1,100 trips to points of recreation and entertainment, such as beaches, museums, nearby California Missions, TV tapings and performance events. The program serves 50,000 seniors a year. Financing comes through Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles, 12 other municipalities within the County and private contributions. Bus transportation funds are provided through the half-cent Proposition A gasoline tax.

Success of the Breakfast Clubs is attested to by "the bushels of wonderful comments" received in writing from those who have attended, said Leland W. Bard of the Grand Peoples Company. Among them is one Bard describes as "a kind of classic for us":

"Thank you very much for giving me a reason for getting up and dressed and to make myself Pretty (sic). I have a destination today!"

Determined to Heal

Keith Donald is 27 and determined to be a doctor.

To achieve his goal he has overcome what to some might be insurmountable problems: a serious eye condition, the financial burden of an education and medical bills. Yet, somehow, he has managed also to contribute to his family.

But Keith Donald of Compton, a graduate of Belmont High ("My Mom wanted me to go there, but I sure took a lot of bus rides"), earned two bachelor's degrees concurrently from Stanford University and before being accepted by the UCLA School of Medicine. He also has won approximately $20,000 in awards and scholarships, the latest being a Gordy Foundation scholarship of $5,000 for 1986-87 that completes the foundation's pledge of $60,000 to aid disadvantaged black medical students.

Donald, who hopes to receive his MD in June 1988 from UCLA, presently is on rotating clinical training (this week pediatrics, next week surgery) at two UCLA-affiliated hospitals, Martin Luther King Jr. and Harbor General. Right now he is leaning toward specializing in surgery, perhaps orthopedic or cardiovascular, he said.

"The rotation is confirming my interest and lack of interest in specific specialties," he said. "I like hands-on medicine. I majored in biology and electrical engineering at Stanford--I always had a technical aptitude--with an eye toward bioengineering, but my decision to become a physician came out of my own interest in people."

Last summer Donald, son of Bernadette and Mitchell Donald of Compton, went to Ghana, where he performed surgery and delivered babies. He hopes to pursue his interest in international medicine next summer in Kenya, where he will be based in a hospital dealing with infectious and parasitic diseases. During his fourth year of medical school, he said, he can receive academic credit by corresponding with physicians in Kenya to follow up on patients.

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