Times like these — see pages 24 and 27 for localized updates on coronavirus quarantine measures — remind us the importance of being able to connect with other people.

And so we welcome you to The Argonaut’s annual Westsiders edition, which celebrates the expansive diversity and creative energy that enrich our local communities. Think of it as a vicarious cocktail party while much of the world is on pause.

In the following pages you’ll meet a retired Olympian who helps athletes transition from elite sports into civilian life, a police officer whose second act is helping struggling families he encounters on the beat, a celebrity stylist who changes lives by cutting homeless people’s hair, the Fulbright scholar who founded Santa Monica College’s storied table tennis program, a comedian on a suicide-prevention mission, Rotary Club of Westchester’s youngest leader in 70 years, half of the longest-running duo in Los Angeles sports radio, a third-generation traditional hatmaker who fell in love with an entrepreneurial fashionista on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the Venice native keeping The Great Western Steak & Hoagie Co. alive, a Playa Vista filmmaker bringing the romance genre into the digital streaming sphere, a reluctant thrill-seeker who helps people overcome their fears, and a Westchester community advocate, scientific researcher, podcaster and soon-to-be author who finds joy in staying busy.

We are inspired by each and every one of them, and hope you are too. Go home, turn off the news, pour yourself a quarantini and enjoy meeting your neighbors.

Joe Piasecki

Special Photography:
Steve Mason (cover and inside) by Zsuzsi Steiner.
Jason Schneidman and Alberto Hernandez & Kristin Fedyk Hernandez by Ted Soqui.
Tosca Musk by Maria Martin.
Garen Baghdasarian, Darlene Fukuji, Myriam Glez, Jo Kidd, Ken Lew, Sergio Perez and Michelle Cooley-Strickand by Luis Chavez.

The Westsiders Class of 2020 includes The Fearless Man’s Dave Stultz, Westchester-Playa community advocate extraordinaire Michele Cooley-Strickland, and philanthropic celebrity stylist Jason Schneidman.