What happened on August 24, 2003
A star is killed: Hollywood's deadly secret John Rechy, John Rechy is the author of many novels, including "City of Night" and the forthcoming "The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens."
A bento box of horrors Elmer Luke, Elmer Luke is a writer and editor who has worked at publishing houses in Tokyo and New York.
A surrealistic plunge Michael Harris, Michael Harris is a regular contributor to Book Review.
Righting the wronged Eugen Weber, Eugen Weber is a contributing writer to Book Review.
A handbook on mysticism Patricia Hampl, Patricia Hampl is the author of several books, including the memoir "Virgin Time" and the essay collection "I Could Tell You Stories."
Corporate citizenship Jamin B. Raskin, Jamin B. Raskin is the author of "Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court vs. the American People" and a professor of constitutional law at American University.
A study in the artistry of friendship Theodore Zeldin, Theodore Zeldin is president of the Oxford Muse and author of "An Intimate History of Humanity" and "Conversation: How Talk Can Change Our Lives."
The mother of modern theater Wendy Smith, Wendy Smith is the author of "Real Life Drama: The Group Theatre and America, 1931-1940."
An explosion of pathogens, or perhaps just of fear Claire Panosian Dunavan, Claire Panosian Dunavan is professor of medicine at UCLA school of medicine and a practicing infectious disease and tropical medicine specialist at UCLA Medical Center.
A violent path traveled by a nonviolent man Tom Wicker, Tom Wicker is the author, most recently, of "Tragic Failure: Racial Integration in America."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
Cash-Starved State Should Resist Dining on City Taxes Steven B. Frates, Steven B. Frates is a fellow at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College.
Refugees Could Undo Kim Mitchell Koss, Mitchell Koss is a television news and documentary producer in Los Angeles. His work has appeared on PBS, ABC, MTV, CNN and the "Today" show.
Lights ... Camera ... Election! Neal Gabler, Neal Gabler, a senior fellow at the Norman Lear Center at USC Annenberg, is author of "Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality."
Call It the Loon Star State Ruben Navarrette Jr., Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a member of the Dallas Morning News editorial board, a regular commentator on National Public Radio and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
Bubble Won't Reinflate Robert Pollin, Robert Pollin is professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts- Amherst and the author of "Contours of Descent: U.S. Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity."
Safe Passage Cathy Singer, Cathy Singer is a producer for "Dateline NBC." Her son Benjamin Petuchowski attends USC.
When an Identity Crisis Goes Global Paula R. Newberg, Paula R. Newberg is an international consultant who works with countries in conflict and transition.
The Wonder of Seeing Red Timothy Ferris, Timothy Ferris, the author, most recently, of "Seeing in the Dark," observes Mars from Rocky Hill Observatory in Sonoma County.
The Day After the Dictator Gioconda Belli, Gioconda Belli is the author, most recently, of "The Country Under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and War."
Ghost in the Machine C.J. Bahnsen, C.J. Bahnsen recently relocated from Ohio back to Southern California.
Thrill of the Grill JAMIE PURVIANCE, Jamie Purviance's latest cookbook is "Weber's Big Book of Grilling."
Now in technocolor Hillary Johnson, Hillary Johnson last wrote for the magazine about beauty treatments in L.A.
Sneer When You Say 'Journalist' Michael D'Antonio last wrote for the magazine about the role failure plays in improving performance. He is the author of 11 nonfiction books and has contributed to this magazine for 12 years.
The Hard Knock on Rick Neuheisel David Wharton, Times staff writer David Wharton last wrote for the magazine about being a mentor to a high school student.
Wrong Place. Wrong Time. Wrong Ending? Celeste Fremon, Celeste Fremon is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who regularly covers gangs and the police.