Sorry I missed the recent One Hundred Urns auction in Long Beach, because it sounded like the hottest art show to hit Southern California in days, if not months. While painters drew and painted models in the Space Gallery, spectators were invited to bid on the works. Art pieces that did not draw an offer of at least $15 were destroyed in a controlled burn outside the gallery, with the ashes sealed in urns.
"About half of the art was burned over the two evenings--anywhere from 60 to 75 pieces," said a gallery spokesman. "But we did have one 2 1/2-hour stint where only one piece was burned."
If you can't be an Impressionist, be an immolationist.
HAVE THEY GOT A DEAL FOR YOU: Today's edition of the Only in L.A. Consumer Guide directs your attention to two unusual offers (see accompanying).
Peter Byrne found a Valley security company that's probably best suited for bachelors since it charges customers on a "per mouth" basis.
And Bill Brady came upon the business card of a Woodland Hills detailer, leading him to comment that you have to be impressed by the "scope" of the operation.
MISSTATEMENT: The discussion here of colorful boo-boos by students brought a note from Sally Cosgrove, a fifth-grade teacher in Alhambra. On a test in which her pupils were asked to name all 50 states, two listed "New Hamster."
"Of course," Cosgrove said, "I'm not particularly surprised because our class has a hamster in residence." (Its name is Furball.)
That's funny--especially because Furball, I believe, is the capital of North Dakota.
TEN YEARS AGO TODAY: "It's the oldest recorded homicide in the county," an assistant curator of the George C. Page Museum on Wilshire Boulevard told The Times, referring to the exhibit of a reconstructed skeleton of a female known as La Brea Woman. Anthropologists speculated that she had died from a blow to the head 9,000 years earlier.
The case is still unsolved.
BIG APPLE VS. BIG ORANGE: One of playwright Neil Simon's most famous municipal insults went this way: "In New York, when it's 16 degrees in the winter, it's 78 in Los Angeles. And in New York, when it's 102 in the summer, it's 78 in Los Angeles. However, in New York there are 4 million interesting people and only 78 in Los Angeles."
He said that a couple of decades ago. But in his recent memoir, "Rewrites," Simon admits that "it was an easy joke on my part and probably unfair" to Angelenos. He adds: "I think I shortchanged them by about 20 people."
Or 19, if you don't count Simon, now an L.A. resident.
COUNTDOWN: The weekend death of Winnie Ruth Judd, the convicted trunk murderess of the early 1930s, brings to mind a classic tale from the days of hard-boiled newspapermen.
Judd had been arrested at the train station in L.A. with a blood-soaked trunk containing human remains. A reporter phoned police investigator Bill White to ask how many bodies were inside. The officer wasn't sure. Twice more the reporter phoned without success. The latter was being pressured by his city desk because newspapers published multiple editions back then. When a third call to police also failed, the newshound, unable to restrain himself, shouted into the phone, "Good God, Bill. Just count the heads!"
UNOFFICIAL ECONOMIC INDICATORS: George Dean of Santa Monica thinks it's a good sign that he saw a street person "with all his belongings crossing Wilshire Boulevard. Nothing strange about that in this city, except that he was talking into a cell phone."
The authors of "Tube: The Invention of Television" say that early proposals for what to call the new gizmo included "farscope," "optiphone," "mirascope," "audiovision," "radioscope" and "telebaird." As for what to call viewers, the industry bandied about such terms as "lookers," "audio-observers," "lookeners" (a hybrid of looker and listener), "invider," "telegazer," "televist," "audivist" and "telespector." In that pre-sitcom era, no one seems to have thought of "boob tube" or "couch potato."
Steve Harvey can be reached by phone at (213) 237-7083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by e-mail at email@example.com and by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, Times Mirror Square, L.A. 90053.