We interrupt this editorial page *

The Times editorial page broke into conventional programming today with its second installment of Our So Cal Life. Instead of the usual third unsigned editorial at the bottom of the page, the Times runs an observation by Ryan Smith, one of the page's three editorial assistants, about the multi-cultural wedding he will participate in this weekend.

The story of Marcel Hall and Karina Vasquez is typical of many young, engaged couples: They met in college, attended the same church and fell in love. What makes it so L.A., besides the fact that they both grew up in Los Angeles, is that Marcel is African American and Karina is a first-generation Guatemalan.

[fast forward]

The future Mr. and Mrs. Hall say it has taken creativity to incorporate both cultures into their festivities. For the father-daughter dance, Karina will dance a traditional Guatemalan marimba. The groom has requested that his groomsmen move down the aisle to one of his favorite rap songs, while the bridesmaids will enter to a ballad by the Spanish-speaking Italian pop star Laura Pausini.

The wedding will have two emcees, one who will speak Spanish and the other English. The couple also requested that I say grace in both languages. (I have reluctantly accepted. But fair warning: My prayer may be more eloquent in English.)

Yet the couple also has sought out neutral territory — literally, in that they will be married in Altadena, where neither grew up. The neutrality is evident in other ways as well. On a tight budget, the main entrée will be pasta and chicken wings. For their first dance they have chosen "You Make Me Feel Brand New" by the Stylistics, a song they feel both cultures will appreciate. The wedding party, not to mention the guest list, includes people of various races and ethnicities from throughout the segmented city that is Los Angeles.

Back on July 27, editorial writer Karin Klein christened the new creation with a piece about real estate wealth in her hometown of Laguna Beach. You might ask why these 500-word featurettes run on the editorial page, instead of on op-ed or in the other places where the Times covers the So Cal Life. I'd have to say I don't know, except that Michael Kinsley (and editorial page editor Andrés Martinez) like to shake things up.

* Rationale offered: Email from Michael Newman, deputy editor of the LAT editorial page: "One reason is that some worthwhile topics are best illuminated by a more personal treatment, and are more interesting that way. Another is to show that the members of the editorial board are actual human beings -- we laugh, we cry, we attend weddings, we marvel at home prices. Another is that the bias of the op-ed page is to give outside views prominence; we don't want to infringe too much on that territory. Another reason is that variety, on editorial pages as in cuisine, is the spice of life.... You want me to go on?"


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