On Our Covers: Actress Lori Petty has felt at home in Venice since 1990, and Negin Singh is reigniting the potential of Santa Monica Pier.

The hardest part of choosing 18 interesting people to convey the vitality, diversity and creative energy flourishing right now in our community was narrowing the roster of qualified candidates down to only 18 people.

But this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive survey; it’s an exercise in inspiration. This is about celebrating us and the remarkable things we accomplish in the most exciting part of the most dynamic region in the world.

Westsiders build companies that solve problems. We tell stories that captivate the world. We set trends. We shatter stereotypes. We overcome adversity. We care about other people. We have fun. We shrug off the aspersions of cynics and self-righteous doubters.

Not all of us are young, tech-savvy and upwardly mobile. Not all of us are happy about changes in our neighborhoods precipitated by an influx of newcomers and wealth. Some of us can hardly afford to pay the rent. And we hear you. We cover your stories. We publish your letters. We do our best to ask questions that matter to you.

No one is saying this is utopia — or that you have to ride a Bird scooter, do yoga and drink $5 cups of cold brew to belong. Just don’t let anyone convince you that we’re moving backwards, that things are only getting worse. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Explore these pages to see the faces and learn the stories of Westsiders who strengthen our community just by being themselves. Be inspired. Then go out and be you.

Joe Piasecki, Managing Editor

Michael Kraxenberger, Art Director

Special Photography:

Courtnay Robbins (courtnayrobbins.com) photographed Arabian Prince, Akash Bajaj, Karen Dial, Marcus Gladney, Fernando Guerra, Stephen Francis Jones, Mo Krant, Nanxi Liu, Jeff Marsh, Lori Petty, Kanya Sesser and Negin Singh.

Maria Martin (mariamartinphotography.com) photographed Laura Avery and Gabrielle D’Addario.



Director of Fun — Negin Singh

A Better Way to Do Business — Blake Mycoskie

Venice’s True Believer — Lori Petty

Keeping It Fresh — Laura Avery

Healthy Makes Happy — Dr. Akash Bajaj

A Living Legacy — Karen Dial

Chase the Light — Marcus Gladney

Knowledge in Service — Fernando Guerra

‘No Legs, No Limits’ — Kanya Sesser

Free to Be — Jake Hofheimer

Leading the Resistance —Maria Casey

Mr. Hospitality — Mo Krant

Renaissance Woman — Nanxi Liu

Pay It Forward— Arabian Prince

The Supermom — Gabrielle D’Addario

An Animated Life — Jeff “Swampy” Marsh

Our Lady of Intangible Experiences — Nonny de la Peña