Saturday, May 19, 2012

Homebody in L.A.

Though I've never considered myself a big city person -- I like open spaces, vacant lots, room to breathe -- I wound up living in L.A. for my career. And except for the year or two that I returned to my home town of Manhattan Beach, I spent the better part of 20 years in Tinseltown. The pace and size of Santa Barbara suits me better than L.A., but when I return for a visit, or a periodic cat-sitting stint, I never fail to find delight in this diverse metropolis.

Which brings me to the fact that I house sat for my daughter, Erin, recently, and her four cats (two of which you haven't met until now.) Along with the incomparable Charles, and the elusive Ruby, Erin has two black cats: Frank and Joey, who are litter mates. They're mellow, lovable saps, without the complexities of a high-strung Abyssinian, or a skittish feral Tortie. Frank and Joey are an affectionate team -- brothers through and through.

While Erin and her husband went to the desert for a get-a-way, the four cats kept me hopping, and it was a refreshing change of pace from my Santa Barbara day-to-day. At Erin's, I delighted in the steady stream of goldfinches that clustered on her thistle-filled bird feeder. On walks around her neighborhood, I spotted a beautiful sidewalk shadow and a mailbox inspired by Man Ray. Later, at a friend's house in Benedict Canyon, I got lost in the liquid shapes and colors of his koi pond.

At one point Erin called from Palm Springs to tell me about an art exhibit she'd seen. It was one of the many exhibitions connected to "Pacific Standard Time", a widespread retrospective of Southern California artists from the 50s and 60s. The six-month-long event, which was just winding down, had been celebrated at scores of galleries and museums from San Diego to Santa Barbara. The exhibit she attended had been at the Palm Springs Art Museum, which she found to be first class. There, she viewed artworks by David Hockney, Ed Ruscha and Dale Chihuly. Last but not least, she described a photo gallery in the museum, displaying themed photos of scenic swimming pools. In the gallery, she found a pedestal encased in Plexiglas. Under the Plexiglas were three magazines. One of them, a Saturday Evening Post from 1964 . . . and guess who she found on the cover?

**Have a wonderful Memorial Day! I'll be back on Father's Day and again on my regular date of June 20th


  1. Your choice of photographs are so well blended with your story and YOU on the cover of Post in the Palm Springs Art Museum. I keep looking and finding new things in your photos. Oh so well done Anitra.


    1. wrangler,

      Hearing from you is always a treat. I so value your artistic eye and perceptions. I'm really glad you found the post effective.

      My sincere good wishes, ~ Aneet

  2. Hello Aneet-

    Again, I'm trying to find the words to describe how beautiful this post this. You blend everything together so well with your words and photos. I love the flower shadows on the sidewalk, they're just another example of how nature ultimately is the best artist, we just have to be observant. The tranquility of a koi pond brings back memories of my college years at Cal State Long Beach and how a few times I would seek peace and tranquility in the Japanese garden on campus.

    The pace of the Los Angeles area is part of what is causing me to consider moving to the Pacific Northwest, after having seen said region on my recent vacation. Like you, I'm a native of the south bay, but at this stage of my life, I feel I'm reaching a crossroads soon, and will need to make a decision about where to go to make a better life for myself.

    What a wonderful surprise it must have been for you to hear from Erin that she discovered that magazine with you on the cover. Even then, you were showing your radiance and grace to the world.

    Warm regards and best wishes,


  3. Joseph,

    You have a beautiful way with words.

    I know the Japanese Gardens at Long Beach State. My parents lived in LB for many years, and Mom and I used to stroll though their gardens with its exquisite koi pond. It always brought such tranquility and peace.

    There is a great deal to be said (and considered) about making a major move -- especially when it involves many months of true winter. It's always good, if it can be done, to orchestrate a trial run. And the truth is, we learn from ever action: all is fodder for our future. My experience is that every place has its trade offs. It is surely good for the spirit and heart to find a receptive arena where one can shine. It's also good to try new vistas. Nothing is set in stone. You can always return.

    Once again, Joseph, thank you for your kind words and insight. They are much appreciated.

    My sincere good wishes, ~ Aneet

  4. Hello Aneet,

    I too feel the frantic pace of LA causes undue nice would it be to make it through a day and not be honked at?...but Mary and I chose to be involved in entertainment so here we are.

    Someday we hope to provide a home for a homeless kitten or cat. They offset the stress of any situation...and I know this is something missing in my life. Someday we'll be ready for another...I do miss the joy that they bring.

    I have that Saturday Evening Post! I have one other magazine cover with you called High Fashion Knit Patterns. I wish I could find more ads from your modeling days...we're always on the lookout. I remember you did a cigarette print ad in the mid-late was a popular campaign and featured on the back cover of a magazine if I recall...I wish I had this ad in my collection! I can't recall the brand...not Virginia Slims...maybe the I'd rather fight than switch brand...not sure. Do you remember?

    Best wishes,

  5. Tom, hello, hello,

    I'm amazed that you have that magazine! I'm curious as to where you found it.

    And due your sensitive response to Charles, I assumed that you and Mary had at least one cat.

    The knit pattern mag that you have is a rarity and not one of my faves. I did many very nice ads for May Co., that ran regularly in the L.A. Times in the mid 60s. In fact during that early era, I am pleased with the quality of what made it to print. Most of the copies I have now, have been damaged by tape and age, etc. I didn't think there was much interest in what I did then. The cigarette ad was for Winston, and a number of folks have told me that they have copies of that. Rather that dig deeply into some boxed files right now, I will take a guess that it was published in 1976. Though it might have been a bit later.

    So interesting to hear from you Tom. I'm glad you shared your impressions and recollections.

    Sending you and Mary my warm regards, ~ Anitra

    1. Jonathan ChesterMay 22, 2012 at 8:42 AM

      Gooood Morning Aneet,

      Just got back from Salt Lake City on a business convention. I had a great time and must say that Salt Lake City is really beautiful. Have you ever been there? Going there I took two flights and had a three hour layover in Dallas. It took so long to get there that Salt Lake City nearly became unsalted.

      The photo of the koi pond brings back memories for me as I remember as a kid having a koi pond in our yard. We used to put fish in there regularly. The stray cats in the neighborhood knew just where to come for lunch. It became challenging.

      The cats are beautiful. My brother Mitch had a black cat he named Dracula. I came up with a different name that he didn't like for that cat- BatCat. With some of the bad luck I've experienced in my life,I often thought that I would make a black cat nervous to cross MY path.

      I love that shot of you on the cover of that magazine!By the way, I have that copy of you on that Winston ad that reads: WINSTON IS ALL TASTE. I'm going by memory. Was I accurate???



    2. Jonathan, welcome back,

      Delightful to hear from you! Salt Lake City . . . no, I've never been there. There are so many beautiful places to see. I'm glad you had a great time.

      A koi pond in your own yard, how nice that would be -- except for the furry and feathered predators. The koi pond you see on my blog had an egret appear one day out of nowhere right in the middle of the city to slurp up a gorgeous prize fish in one gulp.

      BatCat. I like that. It makes me giggle. Though I'm sorry to hear that black cats fear crossing your path. You don't project that kind of "energy," as we Californians say.

      Glad you like the magazine cover. It's fun to view it again through the lens of time. I too have the Winston ad somewhere . . . don't remember the heading, but with your great memory, I will trust your words are accurate.

      Again, Jonathan, lovely to hear from you. Wishing you health and success, ~ Aneet

  6. Love the shot of the finches - reminds me of my childhood neighbor next door. He put out thistle, sugar-water, and God knows what else, and attracted every exotic variety of bird you could imagine. Starlings, finches, hummingbirds, orioles; my favorite was the indigo bunting, sort of a bright-blue canary. He also had a koi pond as well, although his was mainly stocked with large goldfish - which soon brought 57 varieties of neighborhood cats by for hunting and / or fishing expeditions!!

    Frank and Joey sound a lot like two of my brother's cats, Eddie and Molly. They're brother and sister, and have the most laid-back attitudes you could ask for. They take my brother's 3 dogs in stride, and whenever I'm home they compete to see who can get into Uncle Chris's lap the quickest. Seems like they spend all their waking hours purring constantly - I've never known them to act aloof or skittish. As long as they can mooch a pet from somebody, or smack one of the dogs on the snout to instigate a game of chase, everything's cool in their world. No time for bird hunting or fishing, but they will get after the odd field mouse or shrew when the spirit moves them,.

    A crocheted bikini, Aneet? Really? I'll wager that thing was mighty heavy once it got wet!! Seriously though, that's a lovely pic of you. Captures your "exotic" beauty rather well, and I always love to see a model from that era that DOESN'T have the "anorexic heroin-addict" {ie Twiggy} look about her. Sveltana was and remains a total doll, even with her funky swimwear of yore..............

    Keep up the fine work Luv!!

  7. Chris, hello,

    So nice to read your fluid words and to get the picture of your childhood environs. Your neighbor was obviously a nature lover and had a great spread.

    I guess Frank and Joey are not alone in their mellow natures. I enjoyed your description of Eddie and Molly.

    I was never too fond of that pink swimsuit. Would have worn a bikini myself, but SEP was too conservative for that at the time. Another photo of me that was being considered for that cover was more flirtatious and in a bit more revealing suit. It scared the editors. Looking back at it now, I see it's very 60s in a conservative "Mad Men" way, and that it was on exhibition at the Museum of Art, well hey, I guess it's okay.

    Sending warm wishes your way, Chris, ~ Anitra

  8. Hi Anitra,

    Wow, that cover is a classic image from that era (but BOO to the editors who vetoed the photo in the other suit!). Your daughter must've flipped when she saw it there on display. It reminded me also of "Mad Men", that show really evokes the the style and vibe of that rather short period of time.

    Did you also work in NY back then? I was little, but in the early 60's my mom would somtimes take us to Manhattan to Radio City or Madison Sq. Garden - can't remember what shows, but I do remember the automat and sidewalk food vendors. I love Mad Men for portraying vintage NYC so well.

    And here's to black cats! years ago we had a male named Stanley, who was remarkably friendly, (and an amazing mouser!)- now we have an orange guy who's just as cool.

    thanks again for doing this blog - it's full of light and warmth.

    take care,

  9. Al,

    So nice to hear from you. I liked your response to the cover. And yes, my daughter was excited to see that magazine in the museum. She said that she wanted to tap people on their shoulders and say, "Look, look, that's my mom!"

    Yes, I did work in New York for a short time (just about a year,) but wound up coming back to L.A. for love. I thought I was born to live and work in NY, but life had different plans for me. And yes, I love Mad Men for the same reason.

    Black cats can be so dramatic in photographs. I know a few who are very picturesque. I adore the bookend effect of Frankie and Joey. They really just happened upon me and flanked the computer while I was scrolling a photo of one of them on the screen.

    Your words, 'full of light and warmth,' are very touching. Thank you, and you're welcome :)

    Sincerely, ~ Aneet

  10. Real quick; Frank and Joey - Sinatra and Bishop, right? And two cats would obviously belong to a RAT PACK, right??

    You, my Dear are a rather clever card!!


    1. Ah, but it is you who are the clever card. 'The Rat Pack', how perfectly original. That really is a good one Chris!

      In truth I don't know where the name Joey originated, but I am certain that my son-in-law named Frank after his favorite musician Frank Black, who used to play with the alternative rock band: The Pixies.

  11. A little late in checking out this edition of your blog, Anitra...

    But, as usual, much magic... kitties framing a computer screen framing a kitty, an homage to Man Ray's surreal eye on a sidewalk on a sidestreet... golden birds and golden fish... and, best of all, a pretty girl on a magazine cover....

    You asked about my daughter last time we chatted... she is doing very well and was able to get back to her classroom in time to personally hand out final exams to her students...

    Back to the saltmines for me... a blog is due my readers and more pictures need to be posted on my new fine arts site. Oy... I work myself to death... but how wonderful it is to be busy and loving what one does...

    Glad you had a fine time house sitting for Erin... wishes for a wonderful Memorial Day weekend... and, as always, thanks for the gift of your pictures and essays


  12. Hello Dear Louis,

    I enjoyed your reflections on my new post. The fact that you mentioned the kitty in the computer flanked by kitty bookends pleased me. It was, in fact, Joey on the screen (he's the Panther on the left.) It was quite a surprise to be scrolling through my recent photos, and to look up and find one back cat on either side, with that particular photo on the screen at that very moment. It's things like this that are such a treat to be able to share. I know from what you describe above that you thoroughly understand what I mean.

    I am so happy to hear that your daughter is well and stepping back into her daily life. Salute!

    And so Louis, it's lovely to hear from you. It looks like I have no need to send the muse your way. I'm sure she's already by your side.

    My sincere good wishes, ~ Anitra

  13. Hello Aneet,

    Sorry for my delay in responding! Thank you for your very quick response.

    The knit pattern magazine was found in a used bookshop in Burbank. It was a great find that I treasure! Your name was credited as the cover model too. Mary in particular loves combing through old magazines in hopes of finding something of interest to my collection. She gets a kick out of it...and she often saves things up as birthday and christmas presents for me.

    Winston! Yes, that was it! I wish I still had my copy of the ad, but I fear it was lost somewhere in my many moves. I will put Mary on the case and we'll see if she can find one :) I remember the photo of you so vividly. Your hair was very straight and you were dressed casually.

    Old Los Angeles Times papers will be almost impossible to find...but I would love to have one of those May Company ads.

    Mary and I were proud parents of a beautiful and loving cat named Tigger. She was the light of our life. We are grateful that we had almost 19 years with her. Someday we'll be ready to bring another cat or two into our home...we miss the unconditional joy that they's hard to start over...but we will someday.

    Hope you are having a wonderful and restful holiday weekend!


  14. Hello Tom,

    Your enthusiasm about my old ads makes me want to dig a few out and perhaps share them or publish them here. However, I don't think those newspaper ads apply too well. Though with a spontaneous type of blog like this one never knows.

    Thank you so much for sharing with me about your cat, Tigger. I really understand how you feel. I do believe that with our beloved pets, in not having words to get in the way or confuse, we often develop even deeper communication and closeness with them than we do with humans.

    As always, Tom, it's lovely to hear from you. Sending my warm wishes to you and Mary, ~ Anitra

  15. Hi Anitra,just came across this blog, nice photos! I'm an artist (painter) so I always appreciate other artists work! I've actually been to Santa Barbara only once some years ago, I recognized the mission right away! I don't live far from the San Fernando Mission. Are you familiar with this mission? You look fantastic on that cover by the way! Take care, -Sergio

  16. Sergio, hello,

    It's nice to hear from a fellow artist, a painter, to be exact. I haven't been to the San Fernando Mission. I will have to look it up. Glad you like the vintage photo and that you wound up visiting this blog and sharing your words.

    Sending my good wishes your way. Sincerely, ~ Anitra

  17. Thanks much Anitra for the good wishes! I just noticed you mention the magazine cover is from 1964,now that was a good year! Why? That's the year I was born! once again, take care, from your fan, -Sergio.

    1. Sergio,

      Your very welcome! I really enjoyed your comment. It made me smile.

      Once again, sending you my good wishes, ~ Anitra

  18. Anitra,

    There are some copies of this Saturday Evening Post on Ebay, and I've been meaning to purchase one!!

    Benedict Canyon is beautiful. As you know, I'm a big Elizabeth Montgomery fan, and she lived on Benedict Canyon Drive, so when you mentioned visiting your friend, it made me smile.

    Glad you are doing well!!

    Mark :-)

  19. Mark, hey there,

    Hope life is treating you well. Thanks so much for the Ebay idea. You know, there is a large photo spread inside the mag with other shots of me. Twelve models were used on the shoot. In my opinion, the two best shots of me were really striking and neither one was used.. One was a shot of me under a plastic tanning dome, and the other was the alternate cover shot. I so preferred the other photo at the time, but now, I really appreciate that 60's flavor. I'm fascinated in the way time and events change our views and perspectives.

    You always have such good information and ideas Mark. Lovely to hear from you, ~ Aneet

  20. Aneet,

    Great dvd news! Your Streets of San Francisco episode Men Will Die will arrive on dvd as part of Season 4 on August 28th. One more gem for the dvd library! Your acting in this was excellent. For those who haven't seen it, it's a gritty role with a twist.

    Have a great week!


    1. Tom,

      Thank you so much for the news. I remember having only a few lines in the episode and playing a rape victim. Talking with both Karl Malden and Michael Douglas on set, was quite memorable. Both brilliant actors, intelligent, real and kind.

      So thoughtful of you to share this info.

      Wishing you a wonderful week in return :) ~ Aneet

  21. Anitra, I was so happy to have stumbled upon your blog a few months ago. And even happier that you live only a short 1/2 hour from me. I live in Ventura and have been here for most of my life and have many memories of watching the Price is Right as a young boy in Jr. High and High school. You were my favorite but I must admit Janice came in a close second.

    I was browsing the YouTube Web site today and discovered a clip I had not seen before. Here is the link:

    You are certainly the proud parent (it shows then & now).

    So happy to have reconnected with you! Have a great week


  22. Mark,

    Hello! It's so nice to meet you here. I'm delighted that you happened upon my blog. Yes, we are both in the same rather charmed neck of the woods. I'm so glad you have shared with us.

    This link you are displaying here is quite new. I must tell you that I heard about it yesterday from someone who shared on the "Memories of Mom" post. I'm delighted that you have posted it here, as people who read the comments go to my most recent post first. It's perfect.

    It was so much fun to view this showcase again, and really rather touching. I must say that my pride is palpable. I had no idea that my expression was just about on the moon.

    Thank you for your generous and kind words Mark. Welcome!

    Sincerely, ~ Anitra

  23. Hello Anitra. Forgive me if my focus on this post is myopic, but, you are magnificent in that Saturday Evening Post Front Cover! If I saw you like that Jones Beach, I'd be drawn to you instantly.
    Your smile and the hat bring it together well.
    Thank you for sharing this gorgeous snapshot from your vibrant and glorious past!

  24. Joe, hello,

    Happy that you like this vintage SEP cover. Thanks so much for sharing your impressions.

    My good wishes to you Joe, ~ Anitra