My Yale Reunion: Boola Boola Bonobo
Having not set foot upon the hallowed grounds of my alma mater since Sex Week at Yale 2010, I decided to attend a class reunion. I wanted to hear the bells toll from Harkness Tower once again, to stroll through some of the world’s most enchanting collegiate gothic revival courtyards, to see my amazing (and rather intimidating) former classmates and let them have a look at me—not just on Facebook and Twitter, but “old school,” in person, without the cyber-filters.
For the latter, I spent a couple of days after DomCon ferreting my Yale Bulldog tank tops and “Lust et Veritas” thongs out of closets and giving my fingers and toes a double-hued Yale blue mani-pedi to match. With the invaluable assistance of the sartorially talented Gypsy Bonobo, I festooned several hats with shameless school spirit, added some “Impeach Trump” and “Femocracy Now” buttons (designed by Clemmy Cockatoo) for spice, and packed various shades of blue, navy, sapphire and cobalt eye shadow and mascara. Though many of my classmates had far surpassed me in terms of income, offspring, awards and other accomplishments, I was determined that no one would out-boola-boola my swag.
Ha. Those “best-laid plans” don’t always get you laid the way you planned…
As if sent by a sadistic god, an unidentified insect fluttered up out of the burgeoning spring jungles of lower Bonoboville and stung me right in the corner of my perfectly cobalt-shadowed right eye, just four hours before Capt’n Max and I were set to leave for the airport. Releasing a hefty dose of venom into my sinuses, the sting caused an allergic reaction that made my eyelids itch and tear and my cheeks swell up and glow like hot pink headlights, bordered by yellowish bulges and lines down my face deeper than those on Handsome Dan, the beloved bulldog mascot of Yale.
So much for my fantasies of being the boola-boola reunion queen of 2017.
Fortunately, I have the perfect “Yale Husband” who kept insisting that I looked “great” as we packed ice on my puffy red cheeks… or, at least, “better than a few hours ago.”
Even more fortunately, I had packed several pairs of sunglasses, including a chic set of dark blue shades that blared “YALE UNIVERSITY” in all caps on both ear pieces.
I hid behind these for much of the reunion… that is, until the dirty martinis and/or the desire to decipher my distinguished classmates’ name tags compelled me to take them off. At that point, heavily applied under-eye concealer was my savior. It was great to see old friends from Yale, but I have never been so grateful for my old friends at Lancôme and Maybelline as I was at this reunion. Ironically, I almost never wore makeup when I was a student at Yale. Though I secretly loved how cosmetics heightened my otherwise bland features, I was too old-school feminist to wear them, unless it was for a part in a play. This was one reason I majored in Theater and evolved into the theatrical bonobo-loving sexologist I am today.
College reunions have a way of revealing life truths that otherwise escape you, even before you get there.
From the Dungeons of United to the Duncan Hotel
Capt’n Max and I were a little nervous about flying the not-so “friendly skies of United,” where flight attendants are now infamous for practicing acts of BDSM on passengers… which would be cool, except for one rather “inconvenient truth”: it’s nonconsensual.
Luckily, our attendants were extremely cordial, even to grouchy passengers with inflamed cheeks and bulldog wrinkles under Yale blue sunglasses. So what if we had to wait two hours for our luggage in the grim, grimy Newark airport dungeon—I mean “baggage claim.” Well, this was United. They just had to mess with us somehow. Luckily, it was just our luggage.
Finally, our bags arrived and, sprinting as much as two old rickety spouses can sprint, we made it to the Air Train, which whisked us over the fetid swamps of Newark to the Amtrak Train, which choo-choo’ed us into New Haven as the sun was setting. Ahh, so relaxing, especially with Max giving me one of his amazing tantric foot rubs.
Night was falling on the graceful gothic spires, Harry Potterish gargoyles and the great swaying elms of New Haven, as we arrived at the Duncan Hotel. We hadn’t stayed at the Duncan since Sex Week at Yale (SWAY) 2006. Built over 100 years ago, the Duncan is “New Haven’s Oldest Established Hotel,” older than most Yale buildings, boasting the only elevator in the state of Connecticut with a real live human operator and adorned with enough ancient Yale memorabilia to make an alumnus feel at home.
Admittedly, it’s not as fancy as The Study at Yale next door or the Omni down the street, where many of my classmates stayed, but unlike the on-campus lodging offering only single beds and shared restrooms, we got ourselves a four-poster queen and a private potty. We were even upgraded to a big old suite overlooking the most eclectic boulevard in New Haven, Chapel Street. The bathroom boasted a narrow but nice view of Davenport’s Georgian spire, the only college at Yale with Gothic architecture on the exterior and colonial on the interior. After making the queen shake for a few minutes of marital fun, we slept like the residents of Grove Street Cemetery until dawn, at which point we pulled the blinds and slept some more.
Old Blues, Dark Money & The Bonobo Way
Thursday morning, I donned a fresh Yale thong, shirt, big blue and white striped sunhat and quarter ton of under-eye concealer, but nothing could hide the tracks of my tears from Satan’s arthropodal venom. So, I put on my shades and tried to act “Hollywood,” which wasn’t far from the truth, especially in this town; in fact, the first street person to call out, “Hi, Dr. Suzy!” as I sauntered from Chapel to High Street, claimed to be from LA. This made me feel right at home as I snapped selfies under one of my favorite naked angel sculptures that overlooks High Street. Then I snapped another in front of America’s most famous collegiate “secret” society, Skull & Bones, which we took to calling “Skull & Boners” at SWAY 2004, and where I always get nervous that I’ll be chastised for snooping and forced to do kinky, humiliating things; though nothing even remotely like that has ever happened, I’m a bit sad to say.
The glorious bells of Harkness Fairy Castle or, if you prefer Spenser to Grimm, “Faerie Castle” (which I dubbed “Yale’s Great Gothic Phallus” during SWAY ‘04), were chiming Sergeant Pepper tunes as we checked into our reunion headquarters at beautiful Branford College. Oxford and Cambridge architecture might be more authentically medieval, but there’s nothing as breathtaking as Yale’s collegiate Gothic “Revival” wonderland, much of it created by out-of-work geniuses in the early 1930’s.
The place was starting to fill up with my former classmates and their spouses. When I was a student, I’d gaze disdainfully at the alumni strolling around their reunions in their funny hats and striped jackets. I never imagined that one day I’d be one of them—which just shows my lack of imagination at the time.
Because here I was… one of them.
Even though I was still, well, different, especially in terms of my current “look” (both outlook and appearance). Capt’n Max, however, fit right in. In fact, it looked like he was the Old Blue, and I was the second wife—or the third, but who’s counting?
We registered, wandered around Branford, basked in the bell-chimes and, feeling the romantic, Medieval-ish magic sweep through our modernity-fatigued spirits, we fell in love again for the gazillionth time, until we realized we were late, and we headed across the street for the writing talks, panels, roundtables and Q&As.
Like all Yale classes, mine includes some extraordinarily talented, accomplished, distinguished and dauntingly brilliant writers, several of whom graced the first panel that was skillfully moderated by Jonathan Levi, award-winning fiction writer, editor and publisher whose novel, Septimania (which I am currently in the midst of reading), is a poetic, historic tour de force. Members of this panel included Peter Marks, chief theater critic for the Washington Post and author of Good for the Money: My Fight to Pay Back America (St. Martin’s Press); Mindy Beck, health columnist and editor for the Wall Street Journal; Scott Wallace, National Geographic senior writer, adventurer, raconteur of the rainforest and author of The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes (Broadway Books); Jenny Allen, hilarious and poignant New Yorker writer and author of the forthcoming essay collection, Would Everybody Please Stop? Reflections on Life and Other Bad Ideas (Sarah Crichton Books); and Jane Mayer, eminent New Yorker and New York Times investigative journalist whose marvelous and disturbing new book, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (Anchor), is not *only* brilliant, it’s so popular that it greeted us from the windows of the airport bookstores.
More panels ensued, including a “Non-Fiction Writing” panel that I was on, which was moderated by the formidably charming Jenny Allen. It also featured the quietly fascinating Christiane Byrd, author of The Sultan’s Shadow: One Family’s Rule at the Crossroads of East and West (Random House); my fellow Theater major Peter Bogyo, a successful general manager on Broadway with a brand new book aptly entitled Broadway General Manager: Demystifying the Most Important and Least Understood Role in Show Business (Allworth Press); and yours truly with The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace through Pleasure (Gardner & Daughters Publishers).
A few dozen of our classmates and their spouses filled the Linsly-Chittenden classroom, as the four of us introduced ourselves and then spent the next hour talking about writing and publishing, while attempting to inspire, encourage (and, in some cases, discourage) and answer the questions of our classmates who might be writing their first books. I called for a “March for Nonfiction” to join the Science Marches and Women’s Marches in standing up against Trumped-up “alternative facts.” Everyone seemed in step with that idea.
In other respects, I held slightly different viewpoints from my fellow panelists, most of whom are being published by large prestigious houses. I talked about the wonders of “self-publishing” in the 21st century. I too have had books published by William Morrow (Advertising for Love), Random House (Being a Woman, a best-seller, written with Dr. Toni Grant) and St. Martin’s Press (The 10 Commandments of Pleasure), writing in the service of not just my vision, but the publishers’ demands. My latest book is a labor of love that I decided not to put on the publisher’s chopping block this time and, thanks to the opportunities of the Internet (in general) and Amazon (in particular), I didn’t have to. So I created a publishing house, Gardner & Daughters, which published The Bonobo Way, and currently has a couple of other literary projects in the works.
PHOTOS 1-4: MAX. PHOTOS 5-8: SELFIES
Several hopeful first-time authors inquired into Gardner & Daughters’ publishing opportunities. Most intriguing at first glance was the memoir concept of Dr. Dana Pizzuti who was, while a pre-med student at Yale, named David, and whose transgender transformation was “outed,” but not defeated, at her workplace in the pharmaceutical industry. We continued the conversation later that night over drinks at Mory’s. Interesting to recall that when we were Yale students, Mory’s didn’t accept female members, let alone trans women. Whether or not G&D is her publisher, Dr. Dana has a very compelling and timely story to tell.
Of course, some classmates wanted to know more about The Bonobo Way, Bonoboville and bonobos in general. I was touched that so many of my illustrious peers, so different from me in various (mostly superficial) ways, expressed interest in my passion of over 20 years, most clearly evidenced when classmates and their spouses started referring to each other as “my bonobo” and saying, “I BONOBO YOU,” as my Bonobo Project wristband declares.
After my panel, I attended a great talk with Dark Money author, Jane Mayer, and came up through the line of people with Dark Money books in hand awaiting her signature. Having bought Jane’s book on Kindle, I didn’t have a hard copy, but I wanted to thank her for writing this excellent, page-turning, eye-opening exposé of the Koch brothers’ frighteningly successful plan to grab as much political power as possible for themselves, their anti-environmental causes and their rich friends. I was amazed and humbled by this brave and brilliant woman just standing across from me and floored when, after thanking me for thanking her, she said, “I’m very interested in bonobos. All the apes. I’m going to buy your book.”
I fretted for a half-second that my next move was a little too forward, but I just couldn’t let this great, busy journalist “buy” The Bonobo Way online when I had a copy right there in my Yale Women tote bag. So… I gave it to her, and she received it with a smile (that I can only fantasize was a subtle sign of a Yalie hoka-hoka connection), before going back to signing Dark Money for her legions of fans.
Swallowed Up by a Mory’s Cup
The real fun started to kick in a few hours later at Mory’s, that venerable Anglophilic Yale institution that dates back to 1861, housed in an edifice built during the War of 1812. Once exclusively male, it has since opened its doors to women, and, on this special reunion night, to all alumni, regardless of gender, legacy, solvency or pedigree.
Drinks and selfie stick in hand, we wandered through the cavernous bar filled with illustrious Yale alums and photos of even more illustrious Yale alums who went onto become U.S. Presidents and Nobel winners, as well as numerous athletic teams, including the 2014 Yale Women’s Volleyball champs of the Ivy League, and various incarnations of Handsome Dan that kept reminding me how adorable puffy cheeks and wrinkles can be… on a dog.
We even ran into Patrick Calhoun Hickox, proud descendent of the now notorious John C. Calhoun, slave owner, seventh Vice President of the United States, white supremacist who passionately promoted slavery as a “positive good,” and former namesake of a college at Yale. Though Patrick’s “look” would be at home in the pages of Confederacy Now Magazine (if such a thing exists), he maintains sincerely that he is pleased to see his great granddad’s college renamed to Grace Murray Hopper College. “It had to happen,” he explained.
Finally, we reached the patio.
There, I found myself swallowed up (though I was the one to do the swallowing) in the bacchanalian tradition of imbibing from the Mory’s Cup. This “cup” is actually a large silver tureen, bubbling with a delightful and rather potent assortment of “spirits,” from which you drink as your friends, cohorts and/or members of Yale’s famed a capella singing groups (like Whim ‘n’ Rhythm or the Whiffenpoofs) serenade you mercilessly with the satirically evangelical Mory’s Cup Song.
I’d done this a few times on various trips to Yale, as well as when Whim ‘n’ Rhythm performed in Bonoboville in 2006, so I should have known better. But when it was my turn to drink, my singing classmates teasingly wouldn’t stop singing, just to get my goat, or bonobo or whatever, and, not wanting to break the rather complex Mory’s Cup Rules, I kept drinking, surrendering to protocol. Indeed, Yalies have more subtle commonalities with the Dommes of DomCon than one might expect.
Coming out of the fourth chorus, well “in my cups,” I handed the sacred, wicked tureen to class secretary G Trevor Vietor (or was that Paul Sczudlo?) and stumbled into the warm strong arms of my Yale Husband, and together, we “Marched for Non-Fiction” back to our Ivy League bed at the Duncan Hotel.
Pink Friday for Yale Blue
Friday morning, with my hot pink headlight cheeks having settled down to a shade lighter than Trump’s, I felt comfortable enough to put on my pink Yale Bulldogs tank, vintage one-of-a-kind Yale Bulldog thong and hat, my hair blow-dried with care by another beloved Eli institution, Broadway Hair. I also wore my “Y” pendant, woven especially for me from the threads of blue and white prison uniforms worn by Twin Towers inmates. None of my classmates had swag like that… well, maybe one or two.
PHOTOS 1-3: SELFIES. PHOTO4: MAX
We did lunch (“artisan sandwiches”) at elegant, stately Branford, our cocktails concocted by charming Yale undergrads moonlighting as bartenders, none of whom seemed old enough to drink, though of course, all of them were… one hopes.
Then we stopped in at the Yale Bookstore which was artfully displaying five copies of The Bonobo Way right in front on their information desk. Unfortunately, the book wasn’t “in the system” (Harry the manager would rectify this the next day), so they couldn’t actually sell it yet. Nevertheless, when Jonathan Levi happened by and asked if he could buy a copy, the salesgal said I could sell it to him myself. Though I’d purchased Jon’s Septimania on Kindle, I felt funny hustling my esteemed classmate right there in the store, so I offered to give him a complimentary copy. But he insisted on paying more than full price, telling me to “keep the change” for bonobo conservation. Whatta guy! Not just a fantastic writer and skilled moderator, but a bonoboësque gentleman, and a scholar too.
PHOTOS 1-3: MAX. PHOTO 4: SHOSHANA
Afterwards, we scooped up a few more books and our friend David at the Duncan, changed hats and returned to Branford for cocktails (more cocktails!).
There I was part of a Yale Authors’ Showcase that found me between the world’s most famous Broadway General Manager, Peter Bogyo, and my fellow Saybrugian, Gerry Weaver. Gerry is a wonderful, evocative writer and author of two deliciously readable novels, Gospel Prism (for which I gave a much-deserved rave review) and The First First Gentleman (see rave review #2). His wife Lily, also a Yale grad, cared enough to bring us starving authors dumplings. Whatta gal!
At first, class interest was far greater in wine-tasting than book-perusing, but by the end of dinner, I’d sold all my copies of The Bonobo Way and the 10 Commandments of Pleasure, which isn’t saying much because I didn’t bring many.
But hey, sold out is “sold out.”
Then stalwart veterans of the Yale Band blew their horns and ushered us over to the Yale Dramat where we were entertained by a really impressive showcase of some of our classmates’ known and unknown musical and comedic talents. A stand-out among sensations, Nat Adderley, Jr. (son of jazz composer Nat Adderley, Sr. and nephew of jazz alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley), blew us all away with his virtuoso piano and tales of his creative process as arranger for the late great Luther Vandross.
Other stand-outs include Oscar Hills’ banjo mania and the soulful socialism of Laura Teller. Defense-attorney-turned-comedian Beth Garber got us laughing; she launched a second career here. Jon Levi showed that he can not only moderate a writing panel, he can MC a musical showcase and play a mean violin, besides co-producing a beautiful daughter named Rebecca with a wonderful singing voice. What talent! Whatta guy. Many thanks to Patrick Noonan for organizing this amazing showcase that had all of us old fogies twerking (well, boogying) in our seats and beaming with boola-boola pride.
WYBC Radio & Sex Week at Yale
Saturday, I went from blue and pink to black, white and red, donning my beloved old “Sex Week at Yale” hat from SWAY 2006, big round sunglasses that looked like records, a red Yale thong and a shirt with a caricature of me as a bonobo broadcasting my radio show in headphones and lipstick, drawn by Helane, a Disney artist and occasional guest on RadioSUZY1.
I figured it worked for hosting my first show on WYBC since I’d been an undergrad spinning strange long-playing records like John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra and Tibetan monks chanting.
As I explained on air, I went from strange records to a strange field: sexuality. Not that there’s anything wrong with my profession (at least, not in my opinion), but there are not many Yale sex therapists.
Maybe there was a hint of my future calling in a WYBC interview I did on-location while streaking around Freshman campus… that’s streaking as in naked. This may have set the stage for my informed exhibitionism. My engineer Thomas chuckled at that as I stroked the big black microphone, and Capt’n Max mimed to me, “stop stroking the mic.”
Video Stills: Max
This was WYBC’s outreach day to alumni, inviting old broadcasters like me to host a half hour live on the station, just for fun, without censorship (at least, I didn’t hear any bleeping sounds, but then I didn’t swear). After introducing myself and thanking Mother Yale for its truly amazing learning experience, I took a few minutes to talk about the history of Sex Week, a seven-day festival of adventures in higher sex education on the Gothic grounds of Yale.
A biannual week created and staffed by undergrad volunteers, featuring speakers, panels and parties supporting sex education and exploration, Sex Week was created in 2002 (when it was more of a weekend than a week) by Eric Rubenstein ‘04, and kept getting bigger in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.
Then, sadly, Dick Levin, aka Richard Levin, scapegoated the Week for a Title 9 complaint that had nothing to do with Sex Week at Yale. Thus, SWAY was made into Dick’s Whipping Boy. That might sound hot at DomCon, but it was nonconsensual, and it was very, very wrong, and it effectively killed Sex Week at Yale.
But maybe someday, the Week will rise again. Now that we’ve got a new, more sensitive Yale President, Dr. Peter Salovey, whose groundbreaking work on Emotional Intelligence is quoted in The Bonobo Way, this particular fantasy could become a reality, even in Trump’s America which had just rejected the Paris Climate Accords on the morning of this show.
I closed with a plea to resist Trump and help save the real bonobos from extinction, calling upon my more bonoboësque bulldog listeners “out there” to donate whatever they can—money or time—to Lola ya Bonobo, BCI, Dr. Jane Goodall (who says she “loves” the Bonobo Way) or the Bonobo Project.
Here’s our video of the live broadcast. For the full experience, including entering the studio, hanging out with the other WYBC alumni and trying to figure out whose phone is ringing, click here for the Facebook Live version.
I took a few nostalgic selfies; though I’d never actually broadcast from this new studio or even been in this building, something about it (the memorabilia?) felt familiar.
Then we sauntered into the green room where a small reception was underway, bringing together wizened old geezers and wide-eyed recent graduates in the spirit of great radio.
Yale Gala in Blue Latex
For the final and most decadent reunion dinner, I wriggled myself into a very tight Mademoiselle Ilo of Paris blue latex mini-dress.
Latex is not a Yale fabric, unless you’re in the Medical School. What fun to wear it among so many guys in fine linen and polyester suits and ties.
As for the gals, I was proud of my Yale sisters, looking good “for our age,” holding back the tide of decrepitude with finesse and panache.
Though I’m pretty sure no one else was wearing latex.
I did hear quite a few confessions of passion for latex (mostly men) and vibrators (mostly women), as well as swinging, cuckolding, better lovers, more sensitive spouses and general orgasm education. I won’t identify the confessees, of course, though some whispered while others fairly shouted across the Branford courtyard as if they were in an outdoor theater production.
While erotic interests were mainly behind-the-scenes, gustatory delights were on full display. Most prominent and decadent were row upon row of succulent lobster tails.
This was definitely a dinner for the 1%. I felt a twinge of guilt about it, but also accepted J. Weili Cheng’s offer of her lobster tail. Speaking of looking good, Weili, who happens to be the Executive Director of the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA), stays eternally young, maybe because she enjoys giving away her food.
Before we set about devouring our dinner, we held a moment of silence for the dead amongst us. It was a poignant few seconds, each of us being reminded that any of us could be next, and some of us would be next. It was enough to dampen your appetite… except those lobster tails smelled too damn good.
After digesting while listening to the mellifluous Whiffenpoofs, we danced to the nostalgic tunes of the Bales-Gitlin Band. That was some crazy disco fun. I’m sure I looked like the textbook definition of “Suzy the Floozy” to some, but spinning around that dance floor, I felt like the Boola Boola Reunion Queen of 2017. Judging by the beaming smiles on their faces, I imagine that all of my Sister Bulldog Bitches shaking it to “Celebration,” “Get Down Tonight” and “You Can Call Me Al” felt something similar.
PHOTOS 1-2 & 4-10: MAX. PHOTO 3: SELFIE
In any case, after those lobster tails, it felt good to move our own tails, even if we looked like a bunch of ancient walruses swimming against the tide.
Yalies Against Trump
One tide that many (dare I say most?) of my classmates are swimming against, tired geriatric muscles and all, is the Trump tide. I heard no one vocally supporting the Big Baby-in-Chief, not even the most pin-striped Republicans amongst us (at least, they were keeping quiet about the situation), and I heard a flood of Trumpster criticism.
Of course, that could be because Capt’n Max and I wore our “IMPEACH TRUMP” pins every day next to our “Femocracy NOW” and “Unpresidented” buttons, alongside our Yale Bulldogs, “Lust et Veritas” and #GoBonobos logos. We also gave away dozens of our pro-femocracy, anti-Trump pins to anyone who wanted them, which was almost everyone we encountered. It’s all part of the Bonobo Way, which is our way of #Resistance.
All that dancing led to some romancing between me and my Captain, who was looking more and more like he was the Yalie, as the denizens of Chapel Street turned up the music. All of New Haven seemed to “Celebrate” with Kool and the Gang as well as Elihu and the Alumni.
The next morning, we sleep-walked through brunch at Commons, saying our good-byes to Old Blues and new, taking in the quiet power and glory of the cathedral-like Sterling Memorial Library and the geometrically dazzling Beinecke Rare Book Museum where I spent many dazzled hours studying Tibetan thangka paintings with Prof. Wesley Needham, who was also one of the original 1930s architects of Yale’s amazing neo-Gothic residential colleges.
This time, I wore the shades more to keep out the sun than to hide behind… or did I?
Suddenly, a young man with a giant cross on the front of his sweatshirt came running up to me, breathing heavily, asking me if I was “Dr. Susan Block.” I froze, wondering if this was “it,” that moment when a crazed religious terrorist would pull out a gun and shoot me for my blasphemous ways. Perhaps sensing the fear behind my sunglasses, he quickly followed up with, “I’m a fan. I love bonobos. I watch your show. I wrote about Jesus being gay for a midterm paper.” I felt silly and rather unbonobo myself for being afraid of this nice young Yale Divinity School student, but I was late for the train to the Air Train to the plane, so I just said, “Wow, thanks for saying hello. Keep up the great work,” and I gave him a button. I didn’t take a selfie with him (even for me, that felt forced), but I’ll never forget him. Old school.
Old-school spirit and the Harkness chimes may have withstood the tests of time, and for that I’m grateful. But all in all, it’s a different, much more “femocratic” Yale than the one from which I graduated, and I’m proud to be part of the change.
© June 9, 2017. Susan Block, Ph.D., a.k.a. “Dr. Suzy,” is a world renowned LA sex therapist, author of The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace through Pleasure and horny housewife, occasionally seen on HBO and other channels. For speaking engagements, call 310-568-0066. All photos taken by the author, unless otherwise indicated.