Tracing the history of the beach read. A new California autograph law that may adversely affect bookstores. And considering the iPhone as it approaches its 10th anniversary. Here’s what’s up on the literary web, midweek.

Literary events worth leaving the house for

There are two events — one west side, one east side — competing for your attendance this Thursday, but spare yourself the FOMO and just pick one. You really can’t go wrong.

At the Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre in Santa Monica, Brian Merchant talks about his upcoming book “The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone” with science journalist, lead singer of Yacht and all-around renaissance woman Claire L. Evans. (As co-creator of the app 5 Every Day, she knows her way around an iPhone.)

While researching his book, “Merchant traveled to every inhabited continent, from the Bolivian highlands to the city of Shenzhen, using ‘the one device’ to document the effort.” He also interviewed Apple designers and employees about the iPhone’s creation. Presented by Live Talks LA; tickets start at $20.

Decided you’re going? Here’s your pre-party anthem for the night: Yacht’s “I Thought the Future Would be Cooler.” Didn’t we all, Yacht, didn’t we all. …

Yacht’s “I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler”

And at Skylight Books, Michelle Tea discusses her new book “Modern Tarot: Connecting With your Higher Self Through the Wisdom of the Cards.” It’s a fresh guide to interpreting the deck — plus spells. “I love doing spells,” she says in the introduction. “It’s like spiritual crafting.” Michelle Tea, tarot and Skylight? What could be more L.A.?

Bad news for book signings

This story from NPR is quick enough to listen to on a coffee break, and if you’re fond of books, chances are it applies to you. A new California law regarding autographs intended to protect sports memorablia and entertainment collectibles may change how book signings are run — potentially causing bookstores to increase staff to handle the oversight, hurting bookstore sales and invading customer privacy. Bill Petrocelli, co-owner of Book Passage in Sausalito, has sued to stop it. He explained: “You have to get the names and the details of everyone who buys the book. And we think that’s, you know, a major intrusion on our customers’ privacy and on their 1st Amendment rights.”

The history of the beach read

The weather is heating up fast in Los Angeles, and over at Broadly, writer Ilana Masad considers the beach read (Michelle Dean traced its history last summer in the Guardian) and how that term came to so often signify women’s fiction. “Books listed explicitly as ‘beach reads’ are often being marketed to women, with a feminine aesthetic,” writes Masad, who quotes Alexandra Franklin, assistant to literary agent Vicky Bijourn, as noting that “ ‘beach reads’ are generally considered fluff pieces for fluff readers, which is a coded way of saying ‘lady books for lady readers.’ ” It’s a little bit of critical thinking, just in time for summer. Click through to read on if you’re interested, but I say read what you want.


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Shouts of “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” rang out as picketers congested the Evegreen yard in San Pedro on Monday, blocking up to 50 trucks from entering the terminal at a time.

Around 60 truck drivers and warehouse workers serving the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports began striking terminals across the region Monday morning.

The strike was called by the Teamsters union Local 848 to protest what it alleges is illegal subcontracting, misclassification and wage theft by trucking companies.

The workers began to picket at 6 a.m. at XPO Logistics in the City of Commerce, then expanded to Rancho Dominguez and San Diego. Strikers also followed trucks and drivers as they drove to drop-off points in Los Angeles, Long Beach and the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, the nearby Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, where shipping containers are transferred between trucks and rail cars.”

The picketers spread out across six or seven terminals and caused minor traffic delays for trucks coming in and out of the gates, according to Phillip Sanfield, spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles. Sanfield said there was no noticeable impact to cargo flow.

A spokeswoman for XPO said there was no impact on the company’s customers.

This is the 15th strike by the port truck drivers in the last four years. The union contends that the workers are misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees, are not paid for all the hours they work and are forced to lease their trucks under abusive terms.

The strike announcement follows a pact signed June 12 by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia to “move toward the goal of zero emissions” at the ports and establish goals for zero-emission trucks by 2035. The union has complained that the goals don’t mention the effect on truck drivers.

“We support the push for cleaner air; our families live here,” said Domingo Avalos, a truck driver for XPO. “But the companies pass the burden of the price onto us.”

Avalos, 53, said he was striking for justice and respect more than anything else.

“I work 14 hours a day sometimes with no lunch or bathroom breaks,” said Avalos, whose income supports his wife, daughter and two sons. “I’m fighting for my own justice, but also for the truck drivers behind me.”

Edgardo Villatoro, 55, said that as an independent contractor he often works up to 60-hour weeks and has no benefits or health insurance.

When he came to the company six years ago, he said, XPO had him sign a contract that allowed him to lease his truck toward ownership. But after $60,000 of payments toward the truck, he still doesn’t own it, and he feels the pressure mounting with each payment.

Villatoro said a co-worker signed the same contract, but after falling ill for a week and missing work the company terminated his contract and he lost all of his investment in the truck. According to a recent story by USA Today, such leases are common.

“I feel trapped,” said Villatoro. “I’m worried about getting sick. Constantly afraid.”

The XPO spokeswoman said: “We know firsthand that the majority of owner-operators prefer to work as independent contractors, and we will continue to advocate for their right to do so.”

The strike is expected to expand to other companies Tuesday. Barb Maynard, spokesperson for the Teamsters’ Justice for Port Drivers campaign, estimates that more than 100 workers will participate.


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A Northern California mother who claimed she was trying to exorcise demons from her daughter has been booked on suspicion of biting, choking and shoving handfuls of sand into the girl’s mouth and eyes on a crowded beach, authorities said.

Kimberly Felder, a 45-year-old Ferndale resident, was arrested Friday morning on suspicion of attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, felony child abuse and aggravated mayhem, Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said in a statement.

The ordeal unfolded about 9 a.m. when authorities received a report of a mother attacking a small girl at Centerville Beach County Park near Ferndale, a small city with Victorian-era homes about 20 miles south of Eureka, Calif.

The witness told authorities the mother was trying to perform an exorcism. She had stripped the 11-year-old girl naked and attacked her with sand, Honsal said.

“The mother stated she was trying to remove the demons from the child,” the sheriff said.

As Felder viciously hit, bit and choked the girl, Honsal said, a crowd of 10 to 12 people arrived and saw the incident. During the attack, Felder severely bit her daughter’s right ear, authorities said.

Resident John Marciel couldn’t stand by and watch the beating, so he stepped in and restrained Felder, Lt. Ken Swithenbank said.

As Marciel fought with Felder on the ground, she struck her daughter on the head with a piece of driftwood, authorities said.

A sheriff’s deputy later arrived and arrested Felder.

As deputies took Felder into custody, Marciel tended to the girl, Swithenbank said.

The girl was hospitalized for multiple injuries. She will probably require reconstructive surgery to her ear, he said.

It is unclear what led the mother to believe her daughter was possessed and needed an exorcism, Swithenbank said.

The incident, he said, was “strange “ and “very disturbing” for deputies.

Authorities said if it were not for Marciel’s heroism and swift actions, the girl would have been killed.

“He was shook up pretty good,” Swithenbank said. “It’s very heroic what he did.”

For his heroism, the lieutenant said, sheriff’s officials have requested that Marciel be recognized with the Red Cross Lifesaver Award.

Twitter: VeronicaRochaLA

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A woman was hospitalized with multiple stings after a swarm of bees attacked her in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning, authorities said.

The Huntington Beach Fire Department received a call shortly after 9 a.m. and arrived to find bees “swarming all over” the woman, said Capt. Robert Culhane.

“They were really aggressive. As soon as we came on, they started coming after us,” Culhane said. He suspected the insects were Africanized honeybees because of their size and aggression. Instead of stinging immediately, the bees would fly into the victim, firefighters or other targets repeatedly, he said.

Firefighters tried to deter the bees with a water-foam mixture — the foam strips the bees of their ability to fly, Culhane said. When they were able to approach the victim, they found even more bees “meshed into the hair,” he said.

The firefighter operating the hose was stung twice but did not need medical attention, Culhane said.

“I’ve never been on a call like that before,” said Culhane, a 28-year firefighting veteran. “They seemed more aggressive than what I was used to.”

The woman was in her 40s, and her condition was unknown, said Huntington Beach Fire Capt. Steve Teasdale.

A Public Works employee examined the area after the attack and didn’t find any bees, Culhane said. People who are swarmed should stay calm, and call 911 if in need of medical attention.

Reach Sonali Kohli at or on Twitter @Sonali_Kohli.

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With a sizzling heat wave expected to drive uncounted Southern California residents to area beaches this weekend, lifeguards in Long Beach are urging anglers and film crews to stop attracting sharks with bloody chum.

The warning comes at a time of increased shark activity along the California coast. A seasonal glut of juvenile great white sharks has prompted the temporary closure of several beaches and resulted in the injury of at least two surfers.

Long Beach safety officials said they were alarmed recently to hear reports of film crews tossing fish guts near shore in order to draw the predators closer to their cameras.

“There is no shot worth somebody’s life — we are all responsible for maintaining public safety,” said Firefighter/Paramedic Jacob Heflin, spokesman for the Long Beach Fire Department.

Lifeguards have recently spotted film crews as well as commercial and recreational fishing vessels throwing chum into the water to lure sharks near the Long Beach harbor, according to Heflin.

When lifeguards approached the groups, the activity often stopped, he said.

On one occasion recently, lifeguards intervened before a film crew with National Geographic could begin chumming, Heflin said. He said the crew was cooperative.

The recent chumming activity has been a significant public safety issue for the fire department, he said. As the department gears up for the busy summer beach season and prepares to launch its junior lifeguard program, Heflin said, officials are worried that swimmers could have an unpleasant encounter with a shark lured to the shore with bait.

“I know everybody wants the picture, but you put people’s lives at risk,” Heflin said. “You really have to question why you are doing that.”

Lifeguards have been looking for chumming activity along the shore, but enforcement has been difficult, he said. They must observe individuals tossing fish into the ocean to be able to issue a citation, for polluting the water, Heflin said.

“When we do see it, we are citing,” Heflin said.

Along with the citations, lifeguards have been conducting additional patrols of the water, he said. Signs posted along the water’s edge warn beachgoers of shark sightings.

Over the spring, the fire department received numerous reports of sharks in the waters off Peninsula Beach. Juvenile great white sharks, typically 5 to 6 feet long, have been regularly spotted near the shore.

Experts said the California coast is swarming with young sharks attracted to it safe ecosystem. Young sharks feed off a rich supply of sting rays, and pregnant female sharks prefer Southern California’s warmer water for gestation.

“It’s a nursery for young sharks,” said Chris Lowe, head of the Shark Lab at Cal State Long Beach.

But there is no way to tell how many sharks inhabit the waters off Southern California, he said.

More state and federal protections have allowed the predator population to thrive over the past 20 years.

But feeding the sharks could change their behavior, Lowe said.

Sharks could become complacent and rely on chum to survive. They could become aggressive and also linger in the waters for longer periods.

“In general, it’s a bad idea,” he said.

Twitter: VeronicaRochaLA

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A man who killed eight people in a shooting rampage at a Southern California hair salon uttered a courtroom apology Thursday, while his victims’ relatives voiced outrage over sentencing delays.

Scott Dekraai pleaded guilty in 2014 to killing his hairstylist ex-wife and seven others at a Seal Beach salon in 2011.

His lawyer wants him spared the death penalty.

“I’m sorry. I’m very, very sorry,” Dekraai said, according to the Orange County Register — his first public sign of remorse.

Dekraai spoke and wiped his eyes moments after Bethany Webb, the sister of victim Laura Webb Elody, criticized him for referring to those killed as “collateral damage.”

“You can’t give me back what you took,” Webb said. “I’m sorry, you can’t apologize for this. …You will never give me back what was stolen from me.”

A decision on whether Dekraai should face death or life in prison has been postponed because of allegations that jailhouse informants were improperly used to elicit information from Dekraai and suspects in other cases.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals has been holding hearings on whether the Orange County Sheriff’s Department withheld information about the use of informants in the murder case.

Paul Wilson — whose wife, Christy Lynn Wilson, was killed — said his father and father-in-law are suffering from advanced cancers.

“It is awful and pathetic to know they may not live to see the coward that took Christy’s life brought to justice,” Wilson told the judge.

A county grand jury report released this week blamed jailhouse problems on rogue deputies and said there was no evidence of a conspiracy involving key law enforcement officials.

The allegations also have prompted state and federal investigations.


6:15 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details from the hearing.

The article originally was published at 5:05 p.m.

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If a remote Hawaii beach is your idea of the perfect wedding location, this low-key resort on Kauai might top the list.

We’re talking very remote, near the end of the road on Kauai’s North Shore. Hanalei Colony Resort is at least an hour and 15 minutes from Lihue Airport (LIH), but that coastal drive leads to tropical bliss.

The resort offers a Vintage Hawaiian Destination Wedding Package that includes a traditional ceremony, a reception for 40 guests, and four nights for the newlyweds’ honeymoon.

The price tag is $8,000, plus tax, to get hitched in this picture-perfect setting. Couples can get married on a lawn overlooking the ocean or on the beach.

The backdrop, Hanalei Bay, is spectacular, a place you can “visit” in the 1958 classic movie musical “South Pacific.”

The wedding ceremony begins with the blowing of a conch shell, after which the hotel’s cultural practitioner, who officiates the ceremony, asks for blessings. During the service, not only vows and rings are exchanged, but also fragrant leis.

A poolside reception follows, with traditional Hawaiian food and music, plus entertainment by dancers, including a fire knife performer.

A much simpler affair – just a wedding along the beach for the bride and groom – costs $500.

But back to that journey to the resort; it’s not one for timid drivers. After passing through the villages of Princeville and Hanalei, the road narrows and motorists must navigate seven one-lane bridges to reach Hanalei Colony.

Once you arrive, forget the high-rise hotels of Waikiki. Here, you’ll find two-story, plantation-style buildings with a mere 45 units. There aren’t any TVs or phones, and cell service is spotty. That’s intended to “encourage people to disconnect and immerse themselves in nature,” a hotel news release says.

The resort includes a coffee shop and restaurant.

Info: Hanalei Colony Resort, (800) 628-3004


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Francis Ford Coppola slept here. Stay at family’s retreats and receive a free night


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In the month of May, the most expensive homes sold in Los Angeles County included record-setting deals on the Westside and South Bay. Here’s a larger look:

$85 million — Malibu

Music and movie mogul David Geffen sold his oceanfront compound on Pacific Coast Highway for an area-record $85 million. The off-market transaction is the most expensive sale historically in Malibu, public records show, besting the previous high-water mark set four years ago at $74.5 million.

Found along Carbon Beach, an affluent stretch named for its wealthy homeowners, the estate includes a main house, guesthouses and a pavilion/screening room. Gray shingles and white trim give an East Coast vibe to the exteriors.

Outdoors are an oceanfront swimming pool and spa, lawns and a patio.

The property previously made headlines when Geffen, 74, fought the California Coastal Commission over keeping closed the public beach access way next to his compound.

The buyer was ABS Capital Co. LLC, an entity with a Florida-based tax address.

$33.9 million — Bel-Air

A limited liability company tied to Ross Perot Jr., son of the onetime presidential candidate, sold in a deal completed outside the Multiple Listing Service.

The buyer was another entity managed by Andrea Wishom. Wishom is the chief operations office of Skywalker Properties, a private property management company owned by filmmaker George Lucas.

Called Mia Patria, the gated estate was previously owned by film and music producer Freddy DeMann and, before him, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.

The Mediterranean-style house features 10,000 square feet of living space that includes a two-story entry, a screening room, a chef’s kitchen, five bedrooms and eight bathrooms.

French doors open to an expansive loggia and patios containing various fountain features. A swimming pool, a pool house/cabana, lawns, gardens and tropical landscaping complete the more than three-quarter-acre setting.

$27 million — Holmby Hills

On Charing Cross Road, the longtime home of film producer and executive Mario Kassar sold to a limited liability company for $2 million less than the asking price of $29 million.

Property records obtained by The Times show that the buying entity is managed by private equity investor and lifestyle entrepreneur Max Fowles-Pazdro.

Built in 1937, the sprawling estate sits behind gates and across from the Playboy Mansion. It includes a traditional-style main house, a swimming pool and spa, a tennis court and a motor court on more than 2 acres of grounds.

A total of five bedrooms and six bathrooms are within nearly 6,600 square feet of living space, according to tax records. French doors lead from the common areas to a brick-lined patio that surrounds the pool.

Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage was the listing agent. Stephen Resnick and Jonathan Nash of Hilton & Hyland, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, represented the buyer.

$21 million — Manhattan Beach

A Craftsman-style home in the 1000 block of the Strand set a price record for the South Bay community with its sale.

Built in 1922, the corner-lot property had been owned by the same family for six decades. It includes a four-bedroom main house and three guest apartments for a total of nine bedrooms and eight bathrooms in about 6,000 square feet.

Balconies and decking extend the living space outdoors. South-facing views take in the Manhattan Beach Pier and surrounding coastline.

The transaction bests the previous high-water mark set in March, when another home on the Strand sold for $18.4 million. To date, there have been a dozen sales of $10 million or more on the oceanfront stretch.

Victoria Beck of RE/MAX Estate Properties and Robert Schumann of Real Estate West were the listing agents. Schumann also represented the buyer.

$20.1 million — Beverly Hills

A former home of actress Marlene Dietrich and pianist Jose Iturbi sold in the 900 block of North Bedford drive for $105,000 over the asking price.

In most cases an above-ask sale would be cause for celebration. However, public records show that the sellers paid $23.5 million for the property two years ago.

The Mediterranean Revival-style house, built in 1926, has 8,790 square feet of living space that includes eight bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms. A guesthouse with two additional bedrooms sits above the three-carriage garage.

A swimming pool and a pool house with his and hers changing rooms lie within more than an acre of grounds. Lawns, mature trees and formal landscaping complete the setting.

Florence Mattar of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is the listing agent. Mitra Sisatar, also with Coldwell Banker, represented the buyer.

Twitter: @LATHotProperty


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The mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach signed an agreement Monday directing the nation’s largest port complex to reduce air pollution by moving toward zero-emission trucks and yard equipment.

The two-page declaration signed by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia says the ports “shall advance clean technologies and other efforts to move toward the goal of zero emissions” and establishes targets for zero-emission cargo-handling equipment by 2030 and zero-emission trucks by 2035.

Though the city-owned ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have made great strides reducing emissions under their joint 2006 Clean Air Action Plan, they remain the largest single source of smog-forming pollution in Southern California. Diesel pollution from thousands of trucks, cargo ships, locomotives and other freight-hauling vehicles serving the complex continues to harm the health of people in surrounding communities.

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The game was over. Long Beach State had just defeated Cal State Fullerton in baseball. Again. And it had avenged the Dirtbags’ only loss to the Titans this year.

What ensued was a dispute over the difference between a throw and a roll, between gloating and merely celebrating a victory. It is the type of small spark that ignites in a rivalry like this.

And it is one that illustrates why this weekend’s NCAA super regional at Blair Field, when these rivals will meet for their third series of the season — this time with a trip to the College World Series on the line — is unlike almost any other before it.

As Long Beach recorded the final out of the game two weeks ago, “I don’t know, I caught the ball and just rolled it at their dugout,” first baseman Daniel Jackson said. “It wasn’t malicious by any means, but they took offense to it.”

Fullerton didn’t perceive it as a roll.

Jackson, said Fullerton third baseman Taylor Bryant, “threw the ball at our dugout.”

“That’s just disrespecting the game,” he said.

Roll, throw — in any case, the final game of that series was heated. Players on both sides talked. A lot. On one point they all agreed.

“We don’t like them,” Jackson said. “They don’t like us.”

“It’s kind of a bad blood weekend,” Fullerton right-hander Connor Seabold said. “For both of us.”

This is fairly typical of this rivalry on the border of Los Angeles and Orange counties.

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