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David Rensin has written and co-written twelve books, five of them New York Times bestsellers. His latest, "All For a Few Perfect Waves: The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki 'Da Cat' Dora," is an oral and narrative biography of the once and forever (and late) enigmatic king of Malibu and world wanderer. His previous book, "The Mailroom" (2003), was a bestselling oral history covering sixty-five years of what's it's like to start at the bottom dreaming of the top in Hollywood's premier boot camp and ambition factory: a talent agency mailroom. Unless he gets some new, wild idea and goes off the deep end, Rensin's next book will be an oral history of personal altruism in America. To find out more, wander around Rensin's website, Tell Me Everything, where there are no opinions, all the time. He saves those for LA Observed, and for his non-stop invective while watching way, way too much television. He should be writing. Email
Native Intelligence:
This morning I opened the Los Angeles Times and was rewarded by discovering a very nice review of a book I co-authored almost ten years ago.
Q: To what Trivial Pursuit question are you the answer? A: "Whose undying wish was to become Tarzan's son, but never made it?" And here's why: bowed legs.
The book collaborator is also a psychologist, confidant, interlocutor, and supportive friend. We defuse fears, hang out, massage egos, play Devil's Advocate, call our "authors" on the bullshit - gently. We have to be both honest and kind. And politic. Otherwise we're worthless.
"To me, 'Blue Velvet' is a love story, and Frank will go to any lengths to keep his lady. That's all. Cuts off the old man's ear. Kidnaps the kid. Just a love story. Most people find that strange. But they didn't play Frank Booth.
Kids today! I guess it was an understatement when Emmett recently told me that whatever I'd done while growing up, that his generation was doing it three or four years earlier.
Hi, my name is David, and I'm a honker.
What I remember most about that drive, even now, fifty years later, can still take my breath away when the skies are clear. It might not seem that special to anyone these days, but I'm talking about the first time I saw the San Fernando Valley from the top of the pass.
Now, I get it that most of you don’t find this remarkable. Lots of people have the same names. Even the less-usual names like Vito Corleone, Rush Limbaugh, or Heinrich Himmler aren’t all that rare. But to me this was out of the ordinary. Rensin, originally spelled Renzin in Russia, is uncommon. For years I thought my family was it, except for the Rensins in South America, and they never answered the phone.
Riddle me this: If the Los Angeles Times kills the California section, where will the paper publish the section's obituary?...
I've had the Los Angeles Times delivered every day since 1982. My parents subscribed in 1964. This morning I left...
Governor Schwarzenegger recently did the right thing by supporting the new law against texting while driving. We have to...
Governor Bob Palin (R/Alaska) AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE, August 29, 2008: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain today suprised everyone...
What can I write about Bernie Brillstein that hasn’t already been written in obituaries and remembrances too numerous to count?
WASHINGTON, JULY 26, 2008 : The Food and Drug Administration agreed yesterday to pay $12 million to settle a...
WASHINGTON D.C. JULY 23, 2008: According to a highly placed oil industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity, a...
WASHINGTON D.C., JUNE 25, 2008: In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court earlier today struck down as cruel and...
Seven words that describe how I feel ...
Graphic by jon-e | Yesterday afternoon, as the skies once again threatened rain, my friend Roxy (not her real name)...
Here's a press release that came over the email transom today. I'm sharing it as a public service for anyone...
Stop me if you've read this one: While rooting around in the spam mailbox looking for authentic emails that somehow...
After years of just normal, run-of-the-mill email spam, something was wrong. Very wrong.
Today is my birthday. No big deal, that. I’m 58 – if you must know. Strange how that number...
As we cleaned our plates and headed toward dessert and coffee, the DA put the question to me: “So, who are you going to vote for in the primary?”
Freddie Fields was Hollywood’s most powerful and magnetic behind-the-scenes player, agenting cinema’s A-list when “star power” really meant something. Recognizing Fields’ influence, acumen and reputation, one top show biz insider sought to pay him the ultimate compliment: “Freddie,” he said, “you were Mike Ovitz before Mike Ovitz.” Field’s retort: “No, Mike Ovitz is Freddie Fields after Freddie Fields.”
When does that hands-free cell phone law go into effect?
Robert “Bob” Goulet is a classic Robert “Bob.” He has an extremely deep voice that would be missed if ever Bob should leave us.
Why is America fat? Mystery solved.
The ad men will do anything to get our attention. Anything. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.
Back when I did a lot of Playboy Interviews, we interrogators shared a joke among ourselves. At some point in...
On the front page of this morning’s Calendar section (June 6, 2007) is Michael J. Ybarra’s story about Osamu Tezuka,...
Book projects are just like serial relationships. All the components are there: romance, sex, friendship, arguments, the break up ... and if you're lucky you've saved something for retirement. The Dora book was great while it lasted; we'll always be friends, but it's time to move on and I haven’t yet found someone new. After such a long relationship, I feel awkard in public. I'm not used to dining at a table for one. I haven’t, well . . . dated in a long time.
Look, I get it about doing something for yourself to make yourself feel good. A lady friend says La Perla underthings do the trick; and we've heard all we need to about why women get boob jobs, and men get ... whatever it is we get. All that’s well and good for the “It’s for my self-esteem” crowd. But isn’t the point that someone’s got to notice?
Somehow I never believed it would really happen, but Cathy Seipp, a friend, died yesterday of the kind of lung...
I ripped my bill – serial # E41490434 D – into four pieces, neatly bifurcating George Washington’s head into left and right brain and left and right jaw portraits ... and let the scraps waft lazily down into the clean, inviting water.
Here’s what got me through 2006. 1. Think positively. And if you can’t, truly, then just pretend. Amounts to the...
December 15, 2006. 4:15 pm. I’m in the left turn lane at Balboa Blvd and Chatsworth Street in Granada Hills,...
There comes a time when all you want for Christmas is not to have to think about what you want for Christmas.
Friday November 24, 5:37 pm: I’m following a long line of red tail lights up Laurel Canyon from Hollywood. The...
Okay, okay. I haven’t contributed anything to these electronic pages for weeks. Truth be told I’ve been editing my latest...
In 1938, my then fifteen year old mother and her mother fled Vienna a step ahead of the Nazis, and...
Dinner in a castle on the outskirts of Prague. Art hundreds of years old. 'Where are you from?' Tarzana. You? 'Encino.' Small world.
One evening, my wife and I sat on the love seat at the foot of our bed, halfway through another...
“Can you believe this?” I said. “Iran says wiping out Israel will solve the Mideast problem. The Vatican wants to...
I woke up a few mornings ago feeling out of the loop. Way out. Again. I don’t want to make...
Native Intelligence
Al Martinez | As California's water shortage becomes more critical Martinez finds substitutes for water---unless human sweat, dog drool and purified pee-pee are a bit too much for you to take.
Gary Leonard | Take My Picture Gary Leonard is a regular weekly feature of LA Observed.
Jenny Burman | Ayla was a revved up little engine, narcissistic, and brutal.
Ellen Alperstein | Unlike the south-facing beaches, the sand at Santa Monica was relatively undisturbed by the high-wave action courtesy Hurricane Marie. But lifeguards were on high alert.
Judy Graeme | Melissa Barak concentrates during an audition Sunday for the Barak Ballet, at the Westside School of Ballet.
Jon Christensen and Mark Gold | "A Hollywood drama of butterfly extirpation and persistence over a century of urbanization," reads the headline on a recent scientific study in the Journal of Insect Conservation. The story that unfolds offers glimmers of hope for the rich biological diversity that lives amongst us in Los Angeles.
Bill Boyarsky
In an audacious move to bypass the county supervisors, Latino leaders, public policy reformers and civil libertarians are backing state legislation that would give a judge the power to expand the five-member board.
Jenny Burman
Before I lived in Echo Park, there was a tiny 1920s bungalow-cottage-standalone house on N. Occidental in Silver Lake. I...
Here in Malibu
It's here -- the chili cook-off and carnival put on each year by the Malibu Kiwanis Club, the annual...