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A Chronicle Of The Passing Scene

April 09, 1993|SUE REILLY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Pigging Out, Artistically

Tony Devroude, 50, who has helped update the interiors of such hotels as the Riviera and Tropicana in Las Vegas, is in hog heaven now that his latest project is almost complete.

He's been fashioning pigs in a basket, and pigs in airplanes, for the new Tony Roma for Ribs restaurant, scheduled to open in May at the City Walk area in Universal City.

Devroude shares artistic honors with fellow Art Center of Los Angeles graduate Walter Monska, 57. The two are working on the $70,000 commission to give the restaurant an all-American flying pig show.

The artists, using a urethane material that can be sculpted, have fashioned pig figures that will be placed in flying machines and hung from the restaurant's 22-foot-high ceiling.

The movable artistic feast will show a midair abduction and a family of spectators who are up in the air, ballooning. Everything will be one-half life-size.

"The heroine pig, dressed in a tutu, will be shown being abducted by a dastardly devilish pig in a World War I Nieuport 17 plane with a 12-foot wingspan. That plane will be chased by her boyfriend and another pilot in similar airplanes," Devroude says.

"The whole thing will be watched by a pig family in an antique-reproduction balloon with a wicker basket in which there is a monocled father in top hat, a mother who is afraid of flying, and their girl and boy children," Devroude says.

"The balloon is stationary over the bar, but the propellers on the planes will turn and the plane will bank, thanks to hidden motors," he adds.

Leave it to pigs to ham it up.

No Smoke in Their Eyes

Dozens of fairly hostile anti-smoking billboards have been cropping up across the San Fernando Valley.

The signs are part of the ongoing State Department of Health Services tobacco control division program designed to shock people out of lighting up.

These latest efforts, placed around the Southland by the ad agency of Livingston & Keye in Venice, are not delicate little messages that tell you smoking might under certain circumstances possibly cause you certain health problems.

With this 2-month-old statewide campaign, the gloves definitely came off on the signs--about 100 of them--erected across the Valley.

One of the most damning messages of the current campaign can be seen, among other places, on Sherman Way near Yolanda Avenue in Reseda. It reads:

Cigarette Smokers Are Addicts.

Tobacco Companies Are Pushers.

Smoking Stinks.

David Livingston of Livingston & Keye says the signs are not meant to demean smokers, but to encourage nonsmokers to remain so.

If some people are shocked by the harsh tone of the state campaign, Joel Bellman, an aide to Valley-based Los Angeles County Supervisor Edmund D. Edelman, says, "Smoking kills people. Why beat around the bush?"

No Sweat Lodge for Students

For Pablo Martinez, born and raised in East Los Angeles, the experience was more than educational.

"It was the kind of lesson that makes an impact on your life," said the 24-year-old Cal State Northridge liberal arts student after the weekend trip.

Martinez is talking about a visit to Red Winds--a site where traditional Native American rituals are held in the Los Padres National Forest--where he and 12 other CSUN students underwent the sweat lodge ceremony as part of a weekend in nature and away from it all.

Martinez, who now lives in Northridge, says what he got away from was cars, television, fast foods and drive-by shootings. "This is one city kid who didn't miss any of it," he says.

The CSUN group--some of whom are members of the college-based Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan--was joined by about 30 other young people who came from San Diego, La Puente, Pomona, South Central and UCLA to experience the Indian ritual.

"Chief Ernie Longwalker, who is a Dakota Indian, conducted the ceremony," Martinez says. "The chief said not to try to describe it later, not to intellectualize it away."

Martinez can say that the weekend gave him a chance to re-evaluate how he thinks about time and his relationships with other people. "It gave me a sense that hurrying to do everything is maybe not as important as the time you give to what you do, and who you do it with," he says.

Sounds nice. Now, if we only had time to think about it.

Blooming Idiots

It's that time of year in north Los Angeles County when indigenous Antelopeans fear for their lives on the streets and highways.

The Antelope Valley is coming into bloom with, among other things, California poppies, and that turns some sightseers into mobile blooming idiots rumored to cause multi-car "mishaps" as they hang out the window for the perfect photo op.

A local Chamber of Commerce worker says camera-shooting tourists can be a road hazard, but stories of people crashing into one another while taking pictures are, to her knowledge, apocryphal.

Overheard

"The only way to save the San Fernando Valley is to secede from the country, state, county and city, and appoint the Sultan of Brunei king on the condition he pour about $3 trillion into the economy."

--Soon-to-be-former employee of Hughes Aircraft to his mother in Calabasas.

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