Stories

  • Brian Williams, Walter Cronkite and ‘Girls’

    by Amy Ephron

    from the L.A. P.O.V. column in the New York Times

    Brian Williams, who delivered the commencement speech at the 2012 George Washington University graduation ceremony, receives an honorary degree from the school.photo-Jessica McConnell Burt/George Washington UniversityBrian Williams, who delivered the commencement speech at the 2012 George Washington University graduation ceremony, receives an honorary degree from the school.

    There were blue skies over the National Mall, and it was packed with jubilant George Washington University grads in caps and gowns and a bevy of appropriately dressed parents sitting on folding chairs on the lawn. So sunny, we moved our chairs under the shade of a tree. My husband, my children and I had flown to Washington, D.C., from Los Angeles as my son Ethan Harari is a proud member of the G.W. graduating class.

    As Brian Williams stepped up to the podium to deliver the commencement speech, the skies turned dark. Brian Williams smiled and said something like, “Perfect,” as it in some way mirrored his checkered collegiate past. He’d managed to amass 18 credits (at three colleges) before dropping out of the very same George Washington University’s night school. He had a good excuse — he was an intern at the White House and had an access-all-areas pass.

  • Champagne by the Case

    From Loose Diamonds ...
    Excerpt published in the New York Times "T" Magazinet magazine

  • Cut-Offs! A Memoir About Making One’s Own

    Read the rest @ Jean Stories

    cut-offs
    Photo: Victoria Will

    Back in the day when soft denim jeans weren’t really available to buy – but for an occasional pair of stone-washed (read: $$$) or recycled denim (ditto) – a worn pair of jeans was a coveted and beloved item.

  • Endless Summer: A Vogue Editor Reflects on a Lifetime in Sandals

    vogue logo

    from Vogue

    sandals

    I remember my first pair of sandals. They were white and they had a moderately thick strap across the top of the foot just where the toes start and a similar one around the ankle. The leather was soft but there was an adjustable buckle on both straps that miraculously didn’t chafe. They were closed-backed, with a tiny bit of a flat heel and a sensible sole. I think I was three. I was reminded of them a few weeks ago by a photo posted on this site of Julianne Moore, proudly casual on a New York City street, wearing jeans and a pair of white Birkenstock sandals.

  • Leonard Cohen, Up Close: Collaborator Sharon Robinson on Her New Photos

    vogue logo

    published in Vogue

    leonard cohen plane
    Photo: Sharon Robinson

    The last thing Sharon Robinson expected was to get a call from Leonard Cohen in 2008. He was 73 at the time and had returned from a long stint in Mt. Baldy, where he’d been anointed a Zen monk.

  • Marveling at the Super Bloom: Amy Ephron Visits Death Valley

    Rarely (every 14 years or so), a super bloom erupts in Death Valley...

    vogue logo

    published in Vogue

  • Me and My Keurig

    by Amy Ephron

    kuerig

    I have a complicated relationship with my Keurig. It was given to us at Christmas by my husband’s children. It was an amazing gift, thoughtful, inventive, and big. It is big. It is also streamlined and beautiful. I’d never seen anything like it before, which made them laugh hysterically (as it did half my friends). Confession: I don’t work in an office and when I do go to offices, they don’t usually invite me into the kitchen. The fact that I’d never seen anything like it before made me feel a little bit like Abe Simpson.

    I also felt a little bit the way someone probably felt in the ‘50s when they got their first blender. “Wow, I can actually make a margarita at home. I can make a milkshake. I wonder if I can make gazpacho?” The Waring blender was probably invented in the ‘30s and someone is probably about to correct me. Yep. I just looked it up, the blender was invented in the ‘30s and the waring blender was named after Fred Waring, a musician who financed the fine tuning of the Hamilton Beach invention. (Don’t ask me about the patent rights.) But I wonder if my Grandmother wanted to buy stock in the Waring company. (My Grandmother bought stock in Campbells’ Soup when they invented Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soup – I don’t know how she did with that, but there was no way you could get her to sell that stock.)

    I have a friend who wanted to buy stock in Keurig and is mad at her husband because they didn’t. Apparently it was a good stock buy. I’m not sure I would want to buy stock in Keurig because I’m not sure it’s ecological and I have an issue with that. Also, I missed the boat. The time to buy the stock was when the Keurig came out, not when it arrived in my kitchen last December.

  • My Favorite Hotel Bars...

    by Amy Ephron

    peninsula.jpgI admit it – I have a soft spot for hotel bars partly because the first time my present husband declared himself to me was at a hotel bar – albeit it was coming on the heels of “I think you have another girlfriend (true) and if you want to keep seeing me, you’d better tell her good-bye....” In fairness, we’d only been dating for a week and we hadn’t kissed yet. And my version of the story is way more dramatic than his. In my version, I exit the table and he runs after me and says, “Wait, wait...I think I’m falling in love with you.” In his version, the dialogue is the same, but he claims he didn’t run after me in the patio of the bar at The Peninsula in Beverly Hills and dramatically stop my exit, he simply said it at the table. (I’m right, by the way....)

    Neither of us dispute the second part – that the first time we kissed was in the driveway of the Peninsula (about three minutes after the declaration) as we were both waiting for our own cars and the possibility that we might never see each other again was hanging in the air. The valets all started laughing and smiling, and in my writer’s mind, there was also applause (this is potentially debatable) but the valets were pretty sweet since basically it was sort of old people making out and could have elicited a slightly different reaction, like yucch, and if this is “too much information” for my children, I apologize about that....

    But I do think a hotel bar is a great place for a date and (even if you’re married) it’s sometimes nice to have a date with your husband. Just an hour and a half at cocktail hour or after a movie for a drink and an appetizer or two.

    My favorite hotel bars:

  • You Can Call Her Mayor Brown: How Aja Brown Is Transforming the City of Compton

    vogue logo

    from Vogue

    Her name is Aja (because her mother liked the Steely Dan song), but you can call her Mayor Brown.

    aja brown
    Photo: Alex Hoerner

    Compton, the small California city that gangsta rap put on the map—the birthplace of Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre, and the infamous Suge Knight; the early training ground of Serenaand Venus Williams—has a new kid in town. And if she has her way, she’s going to bring a lot of changes to Compton.

    Mayor Aja Brown, 31, sworn into office July 2, 2013, may be a somewhat recent resident, but she has deep roots in Compton. Her own mother, Brenda Jackson, fled the city in her twenties. Jackson’s mother, Aja’s maternal grandmother, Lena Young—there’s no way to write this sentence without its stark reality—was brutally murdered in a violent home invasion rape and robbery in Compton in the 1970s. The case is still unsolved.