My mom dressed as an alien for the tv show Alien Nation.

When I was six years old, my mom gave me an important lesson. She was on carpool duty when she dropped off Lawrence Fishman at his home. He didn’t say thank you. She became furious. She told me, “I don’t want you to be friends with that boy. If someone doesn’t say thank you, you don’t want him in your life.”

My mom always offered little gems like that. She once told me, “You’re born into a birth family but you spend the rest of your life searching for your earth family. If you’re lucky, the two are the same.”…

LeBron James’ ankle injury derailed the Lakers championship run.

The NBA Playoffs are upon us and the stars have dropped like flies. Wounded warriors include LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Joel Embid, Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, Jamal Murray, Jaylen Brown and Trae Young.

The Lakers were favorites to repeat as champions until Lebron injured his ankle and Anthony Davis strained his groin. The favored New Jersey Nets couldn’t overcome injuries to Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Utah had the league’s best record then Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley were injured. The Clippers lost Kawhi Leonard to a sprained knee. Jamal Murray’s torn ACL killed…

Producers travel the globe to raise money for their films.

In August 2012, I received a call from my father. We spoke about the Dodgers and the coming election and the Los Angeles heat wave when he casually said, “I’m going to Ghana tomorrow.”

“Uh, what?”

“I’m meeting with an investor for our movie. He owns a gold mine and wants to get in the film business.”

I was accustomed to my father meeting with strange folks all over the world in his never-ending search for film funding. But Ghana? This seemed out of the ordinary.

“Who are you traveling with?”

“Myself. It’s a three-day trip. I’ll be back Monday.”

We wanted to videotape a plane cutting through the dense evening fog.

We called ourselves the Vidiots. We were not paparazzi since we had little interest in videotaping celebrities. Nor were we nightcrawlers, those gothic ambulance chasers who taped police shootings to sell to the evening news. We saw ourselves as documentarians wanting to capture the essence of our beloved Los Angeles.

We relished taping locations from classic movies. We recorded inside the Bradbury Building featured in Bladerunner. We shot at the Alto Nido Apartments where William Holden’s character lived in Sunset Boulevard. We taped in dark alleys, on rooftops, inside abandoned buildings, on the sides of freeways. Once, while driving through…

My ice cream man’s products were top notch.

Our ice cream man’s name was Mac. He was a stocky ex-marine with a spiky crew cut and aviator sunglasses that hid his eyes. His truck had a Nixon for President sticker on the back bumper and the music box played “Hail to the Chief.” Mac was surly and impatient and hated kids. But his ice cream selection was top notch. He had bomb pops, big sticks, fudgesicles, drumsticks and ice cream sandwiches.

I usually bought a Klondike Bar and a pack of Topps baseball cards. I also loved Wacky Packs, the goofy parodies of brand names such as Quacker…

I’ve had two ventures in the world of lemons in my life.

When I was a boy, our family had three robust lemon trees in the backyard. The lemons were large and ugly with rough bumpy rind resembling an old man’s face. The flesh was mild, not too tart and not too sweet. My siblings and I decided to set up a lemonade stand. My little sister made the lemonade while my brother and I dragged a poker table and a piano bench to the sidewalk in front of the house. I scrawled a primitive sign reading “Lemonade 5 Cents.” …

Peter Gabriel during his 1982 tour for the album “Security.”

When people think of the music of Peter Gabriel, they often visualize the “Sledgehammer” music video or the scene in Say Anything when John Cusack plays “In Your Eyes” on a boom box. These two songs are among Gabriel’s biggest commercial hits but the true gems are found deeper in his catalogue.

Peter Gabriel wrote his first song “Sammy the Slug” at age twelve. His father was an electrical engineer, his mother a musician. He was raised on a farm in Coxhill, England and attended a conservative boys school outside London. …

I was ambivalent about receiving the Covid vaccine.

On January 20th, while Joe Biden was sworn in as president, I received the Pfizer vaccine shot #1. Like many, I was on the fence. I didn’t believe the conspiracies about cancer cells or mind control chips in the vaccine. But I was unsure about the efficacy against new COVID strains. I didn’t like the idea of injecting an unknown substance into my body.

I was given an early vaccine opportunity because I teach art classes to senior citizens. The process took place at a Calabasas senior home. I learned that 20 percent of the facility’s employees refused the vaccine…

Life is scary right now.

We are living through an unprecedented time. 400,000 Americans are dead from Covid, more than 11 million are unemployed, businesses are failing, people are struggling to pay bills and everyone feels some level of anxiety. The vaccine offered a moment of hope but almost half the population is afraid to be vaccinated. It can feel as if the world is coming to an end.

As scary as things appear, we don’t have to reside in fear. There are simple things we can do to mitigate anxiety.

Practice Gratitude: My grandma lived through the 1918 Pandemic and the Depression. She often…

It took me several years of weed-free living to realize the power it had over me.

Twelve marijuana dispensaries exist within a four-mile radius of my Los Angeles home. The stores are quirky and reek of weed-inspired names like The Coughy Shop, Gram Central Station, The Green Mile, Herbal Outfitters, Higher Path, Hollyweed, Pipe Dreams, The Growcery, The Pottery and Uncle Herb’s. Los Angeles has nearly 200 licensed marijuana dispensaries and more than 900 licensed sellers. At a fee of $4,233 per license, that’s quite a haul for the city.

In the 2020 election, four new states legalized marijuana. This brought the total number of weed-legal states to 15. Weed has never been easier and cheaper…

Loren Kantor

Loren is a writer and woodcut artist based in Los Angeles. He teaches printmaking and creative writing to kids and adults.

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