John Balzar becomes a senior writer for the weekly Home, Food and Outdoors sections at the Times. Bettijane Levine, the former fashion editor, joins Home. Steven Barrie-Anthony becomes one of the new feature writers. The memo follows, but the bigger gossip sweeping the Times is that the Redwood saloon, the hangout on 2nd Street for generations of newspaper staffers, is rumored to be closing tomorrow. Something about a lost lease. All the Redwood's owners will apparently say is that there is a party booked for tomorrow night.
* Redwood's demise for real: Times people say Friday is the last day for the downtown institution that has kept journos and pols soused since 1943. It was located then on 1st Street, between Spring and Broadway, and I believe was run by the family that later opened The Grill and Daily Grill. There's apparently a closing party there starting around 6 p.m. tomorrow.
To: The Staff
From: Michalene Busico, Deputy Features Editor
We're very happy to announce new assignments for three members of the Features reporting staff.
John Balzar will become a senior writer for the Home, Food and Outdoors sections.
Bettijane Levine will join the Home staff.
And Steven Barrie-Anthony has been assigned to the Style reporting group.
Over the past three years, John has lent his distinctive voice to all three sections, writing cover stories on the home of woodworker Sam Maloof, the cult of outdoorsman Edward Abbey and a splendid evening (and a plate of mostaccioli) at a San Pedro firehouse - among many others. In his 24 years at The Times, he has held an enormous range of posts, from Op-Ed columnist to Nairobi bureau chief to, most recently, senior Features writer. Now John will be devoting himself full-time to three of his passions. He will report to the editors of Home, Food and Outdoors, and I will coordinate his schedule and assignments.
Bettijane, a Style writer for nearly three years, will also bring a writerly touch and deep experience to the Home section, where she has profiled a stylish "green" house in the Hollywood Hills and the quirky retreat of the father of Spinning. Bettijane, who joined The Times in 1990 as a writer in View and had previously covered fashion for 15 years, will write about home, design and relationships. She will report to Kelly Scott, the Home Editor.
Steven, a staffer in Home for over a year, will now focus on daily features and culture stories for Calendar, where he has written about crashing the Oscars with his girlfriend and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's "smoking tent." Steven, who was a Calendar intern in 2003, will report to Bret Israel.
John, Bettijane and Steven will begin their new assignments next month. It's a great pleasure to anticipate what they will do in these new roles.