New gig for Lynell George

The last of the West magazine senior writers to remain with the L.A. Times, Lynell George is moving back to her roots in Calendar. Here's today's memo from Lennie LaGuire, who took the buyout but has a deal to stay around and guide the John Montorio transition of West from a weekly with curious pretensions (and expensive bears) to a monthly filled with soft features and, apparently, no ambitions at all.

To: The Staff
From: Senior Calendar Editor Lennie LaGuire

We're pleased to announce that Lynell George will be returning to the Calendar section, where she will join the Arts staff as a general assignment reporter.

For the past year, Lynell has been a senior writer at West where she wrote features on a range of topics, including the changing of the guard at City Lights Bookstore & Publishers, a profile of the world's oldest low-rider car club, and the re-emergence of L.A. native producer/composer David Axelrod, whose '60s and '70s jazz and soul sounds have been sampled in some of hip hop's chart topping hits.

Lynell joined The Times in 1993 in the View section. A decade later, she became a member of the Pop Music staff in Calendar, where she covered jazz, pop and world music. Through the years, her eclectic tastes, distinctive voice and graceful writing have set her work apart--and brought many honors, including a National Assn. of Black Journalists Award for her six-part series "Sometimes a Light Surprises: The Life of a Black Church."

Prior to coming to The Times, Lynell was a staff writer at L.A. Weekly, where she wrote about culture, the arts and social issues. Her work has appeared in various magazines, including The New Left Review, Ms., Essence and Vibe, as well as in several essay collections, including "Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology." She is the author of "No Crystal Stair: African-Americans in the City of Angels."

She will report to Arts Editor Lisa Fung.

West's other senior writers — Shawn Hubler, J.R. Moehringer and Mark Arax — all left the Times staff this month. The only passionate hope I hear voiced about the magazine's transformation is that the Merl Reagle crossword puzzle find a home somewhere in the Sunday paper.

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