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Short Takes

Clothes Line Fit for Commissar

October 25, 1987|DICK RORABACK | Times Staff Writer

They're all clomping about in fustian and babushkas , right? Wrong, says Jennifer Joanou, just back from a unique clothes-design project in the Soviet Union and bubbling over the possibilities. "The everyday clothes of the Soviet man--and woman--in the street look fine," says Joanou, 23: "Well, sort of average, really. Nothing unusual but nothing horrible. Except for one thing: They're paying a lot of money for bad quality. Put a Sears or J. C. Penney in Russia and they'd think it was wonderful!"

Joanou, Pete Garibaldi and Lisa Getschell, all students at L.A.'s Otis-Parsons Institute, joined seven young Texans and 10 Soviet designers in Tbilisi, then Moscow, creating a line called "Design for Peace." It was an eye-opener for both sides.

"They love details," Joanou said, "whereas Americans love simplicity. I think maybe their lives are so simple that they love their clothes interesting. Same with color. Soviets wear bright colors. Americans, whose lives are probably more colorful, wear a lot of black."

The joint project--"sportswear; pieces that mix and match; a lot of denim"--may or may not see the stores. Probably too expensive for the average Russian, says Joanou. But in the United States? "If you synthesized our best joint work, we'd probably have a pretty good line, at least for juniors. Oh, definitely: more American than Russian."

His Best Script

He's a thorough professional, with any number of scripts to his credit. Chances are, though, that Mort R. Lewis will go down in history as the man who brought more screenwriters to their knees than Cecil B. DeMille.

It's "CPR Awareness Week" in Los Angeles, thanks in large measure to Lewis. Ten years ago, Lewis introduced a cardio-pulmonary-resuscitation program to the Writers Guild of America West, an extraordinarily successful endeavor that's spread throughout the industry, coast to coast.

"It's a very, very stressful industry," says Lewis' wife, Isabelle. "It breaks my heart every time I pick up Variety and read that somebody in the business has dropped dead, with nobody there to revive him."

"We were the pilot project for the industry," says Lewis. "Now, what we'd like to see is a CPR expert on every set--legit, movie or TV."

Lewis accepted Mayor Tom Bradley's proclamation at City Hall in the company of two guild CPR graduates: Madeleine Ehrman, who revived an infant who had "died" in a Jacuzzi, and Robert Fiveson, who kept alive a 74-year-old man who'd had a heart attack in a train.

An impressive ceremony, and an impressive mayor, according to Isabelle Lewis. "So gracious, so genuinely friendly," she said of Bradley, who's running for a fifth term. "I felt like telling him, 'We're going to deliver you the whole damn Writers Guild vote,' but I didn't."

No Losers Among His Students

A man who gave up security for a dream is reaping his recognition.

Ed Buttwinick, 49, director of the Brentwood Art Center School of Fine Arts, is being honored this weekend as California's Outstanding Supervisor/Administrator of Art Education at the State Conference of the California Art Education Association in San Diego.

Back in the '60s, Buttwinick, an elementary school art teacher, was such a popular instructor that youngsters begged him for private instruction. During a 1971 sabbatical, parents of one of his students offered their garage as a studio for private sessions for children and their parents. The garage-school enterprise grew to 80 adherents. The artist had found his palette.

Eschewing tenure, Buttwinick located a permanent headquarters and opened what would become the flourishing Brentwood Art Center, currently serving some 300 students.

"We were pretty broke, and it was scary," recalls Linda Buttwinick, Ed's wife, "but we believed in it."

Buttwinick also favors carrots over sticks, which is why the school runs no contests. "With contests," he says, "there are winners, therefore losers. In the world of art, there are no losers."

Put It in Pipe and . . .

"After the initial light-up, it gets pretty dull," confesses Richard Hacker of Sherman Oaks, off this week to serve as "celebrity emcee and judge" at the 39th World Series of Pipe Smoking in Louisville, Ky.

The objective is to keep it lit. "Everyone starts with 3.3 grams of cube-cut burley, two wooden matches (otherwise you could go on forever) two cleaners and a brier pipe," says Hacker, advertising executive and author of the authoritative "Ultimate Pipe Book." "Normal time for a bowl is roughly 45 minutes, but the world record is 2 hours and 6 minutes.

"As a judge, you can usually spot the winners beforehand. They're totally relaxed. They don't talk. They read a book or sit back in a semi-comatose state. Others will frantically puff that pipe until you can smell the wood charring, but it's the opposite of a physical-endurance contest. You don't want your adrenaline up."

The burning question: Any cheating? "No," says Hacker. "Pipe smokers by nature are unusually honest--with the exception of a few people in government. . . ."

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