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Valley Talk

Valleytalk/Garcia/CW1st/mike2nd Where The Boys Are In case you were wondering where all the Valley girls have gone since the Sherman Oaks Galleria closed… The folks at Hearst Magazines may have found the answer in the Glendale Galleria. Hearst needed a spot to kick off the June 29 launch of its new magazine, “CosmoGIRL!,” and picked the Glendale Galleria for its only pre-launch promotion in the country. “I love that site,” said Ria Rueda, a spokeswoman at Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, the public relations company that handled the event for Hearst. “The mall is culturally diverse, and they’ve always got teens there.” The special event, which included an appearance by Melissa Joan Hart, the star of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” drew about 250 teenage girls. It was designed as a kind of focus group to get a pulse on the teen market, and the girls were invited to provide suggestions about topics for future features and columns. “CosmoGIRL!,” conceived as a little sister to “Cosmopolitan,” bills itself as a teenage girl’s guide to relationships, fashion and beauty, fitness and health, with a strong focus on the inner girl. But the inner girl doesn’t seem to be that different from the outer one we’re all familiar with. What were some of the questions the girls asked? Will boys be featured? Living Out Loud The Airtel Plaza Hotel and Conference Center may have gained some notoriety as the preferred stopover for Jody “Baby Doll” Gibson, the woman who police claim ran a call-girl empire for the stars, but that is not likely to put the hotel on anyone’s rich and famous list. Gibson stayed at the Van Nuys hotel two or three days a month, according to Jack McGrath, a hotel spokesman. She lived modestly, choosing an $89 room and using her Auto Club card for a 10 percent discount at that. Apparently, the Airtel also has a presidential suite and some rooms with hot tubs, but Gibson eschewed those indulgences. Then again, McGrath points out, there’s a good reason why she did. “It would look a little funny if a single woman was taking the presidential suite.” Duck and Cover It’s not unusual for the Los Angeles sun shining through windows to wash out a slide presentation, but at a recent International Council of Shopping Centers breakfast at Pinot Bistro in Studio City, the solution was pretty unexpected. No sooner had David Sorenson, senior leasing representative for Urban Retail Properties, the company managing Newhall Land & Farming Co.’s Town Center Drive development, apologized for the poor visibility of the slides, when the audience began to feel a pounding and shaking in the restaurant. Los Angeles being what it is, some folks thought an earthquake had struck. But the real source of the shaking soon became clear: Pinot Bistro is situated in a single story, cottage-like building, and someone had climbed up on the roof to cover the skylights that were interfering with the slide projection. Will He or Won’t He? Rumors keep flying that state Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa is going to take his hat out of the ring for L.A. mayor and instead run for the seat being vacated by Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg. The word is that Villaraigosa’s camp did some polling and found that he did not have enough name recognition in L.A. to win the race for mayor in 2001. Speculation about Villaraigosa aiming for a council seat heated up after the speaker endorsed Goldberg in her run for his Assembly seat. Some Villaraigosa supporters attribute such speculation to possible rivals in the mayoral race who would love to snatch endorsements and campaign funds away from him. Officially, Villaraigosa spokeswoman Elena Stern says it’s way too early for him to decide what to do after he’s termed out of office next year. “Right now, he’s just focused on doing a good job as speaker,” Stern said. “When the time comes, he’ll make the decision on whether to run for mayor.” Environmental Web Environmentalists who have spent the last several years criticizing the Playa Vista development, the planned home of DreamWorks SKG, have a new place to turn to find fuel for their fire: the World Wide Web. Playa Capital LLC this month launched its new Web site, www.playavista.com. In addition to news releases, maps, construction progress updates and answers to frequently asked questions, the site devotes numerous pages to Playa Vista’s “environmental commitment.” “The Ballona Wetlands are dying,” reads one page of the Web site. “Without funds to restore the wetlands, they will continue to decline. Playa Vista offers the best hope to save the wetlands.” For those environmentalists who may not be satisfied with Playa Capital’s take on the situation, yes, Playa Vista officials can be sent e-mail messages angry or otherwise from the site. Call a Plumber The folks at the Getty Center Research Institute learned the hard way that they had a plumbing problem. Earlier this month, a smoke alarm was accidentally set off at the institute. Sources said the pipes that feed the overhead sprinklers had filled with water but burst before the sprinklers activated. Thousands of gallons of water poured into the basement, where a vault houses the institute’s valuable archives. Fortunately, damage was limited to walls and carpeting, with only minimal humidity exposure for books and photographs. Since then the problem has been fixed. But employees wondered what might have happened if there had actually been a fire. Y2K Getaway While some L.A. hotels are booking big-name entertainers to attract guests for New Year’s Eve, the Sheraton Cerritos is taking a more offbeat tack by billing itself as a safe place to avoid the Y2K bug. In the past year, officials of the 203-room hotel have spent $500,000 to update software, replace computers and make other changes to avert disaster when the clock strikes 2000. Now they’re trying to get all the mileage they can out of the work. “Sure, it’s not the $20 million suite or the chauffeured limousine or the Hope diamond, but we wanted to bill ourselves differently since this is a top-of-the-mind issue,” said General Manager Bruce McNish.

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