Category: Westsiders 2019

The Changed Man — Danny Trejo

Before Danny Trejo became a philanthropist, restaurateur and the friendliest tough-guy actor in Hollywood, the Los Angeles native was a real-life tough guy serving time in state prison for armed robbery and drug convictions. Paroled in 1969, Trejo vowed to not only clean up his life, but also help others however he could. He moved to Venice, worked out at Muscle Beach and became a drug counselor for young adults. In the mid-’80s, a struggling client brought Trejo to the set of “Runaway Train,” where he worked as an extra until inmate-turned-screenwriter Edward Bunker recognized Trejo as the former...

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The Adventurers — Kelly McEvers & Nathan Deuel

Somewhere in her office, Kelly McEvers — the former host of NPR’s “All Things Considered” and current host of NPR’s “Embedded,” a podcast that deep-dives into deserving news stories — has hidden a letter between the pages of a book. The letter is addressed to McEvers’ husband and their young daughter. It was meant to be opened in the event of her death. At the time of its composition, while McEvers was working as a war correspondent in the Middle East, this outcome seemed possible — likely, even. “Increasingly it felt like it’s not if, it’s when I’m going to be sitting at her funeral,”...

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The Grateful Entrepreneur — Mark Verge

Mark Verge isn’t shy about praising those who’ve helped him. They’re the secret to his success. The Santa Monica native began his entrepreneurial career with Wilshire Coin, but left in 1996 — while still in his twenties — to launch the game-changing real estate listings service Westside Rentals with his wife, Mar Vista native Lani Verge. He sold the business in 2017 to focus on local nightlife, restaurants and hotels. Verge joined Cedd Moses (son of the late Venice artist Ed Moses) as a partner in 213 Hospitality, which owns and operates Cole’s French Dip, the Arts District Brewing...

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A Rising Voice — Vanessa Colosio Diaz

Vanessa Colosio Diaz’s political awakening has been slow but steady. Distantly related to a man who ran for president of Mexico (and was subsequently assassinated), politics intrigued Diaz growing up, but also put her off. “I really at a young age learned what the sad realities of politics can be … so I think that’s also why I stayed out of politics, subconsciously,” the 33-year-old muses between sips of a mocha at Alana’s Coffee Roasters in Mar Vista — the neighborhood she hopes to soon represent as an At-Large Director on the Mar Vista Community Council. Then again, she...

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The Neurological Pathfinder — Dr. Vernon B. Williams

The edge of scientific breakthrough is a very exciting place to be. Dr. Vernon B. Williams, director of the renowned Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute’s Center for Sports Neurology & Pain Management in the Howard Hughes Center, is leading that charge in the field of sports neurology. Williams specializes in neuroplasticity, which is how nerve cells in the brain compensate for injury or disease and adjust activities to new situations, and neuromodulation, a therapy that can alter nerve activity by targeting stimuli to specific neurological sites in the body. “I think we’re really on the precipice of an exciting new subspecialty,”...

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