Sets Lens Loose
By Vince Basehart
The Lookout News
will be setting me, The Lens, loose on a weekly basis to discover,
search out, peer into, look at, and report back on all the things
that make Santa Monica fun and fascinating. Think of me as that
hyperkinetic out-of-towner who insists on seeing every sight during
his layover. By the time you leave him curbside at LAX you are exhausted,
but perhaps a bit more knowledgeable and appreciative of your home
The Lens will be looking
at the unusual behind the everyday, the odd inside the obvious.
We’ve all seen Santa Monica’s famous Ferris wheel a
million times. I want to get to know the guy who changes the light
bulbs on it. The Lens looks closer.
There are a few other
things on my agenda: I want to know how many tiles there are in
the McClure Tunnel and who fixes them and what kinds of people blow
their horns in it. (Okay, so I’m a bit weird.)
I want to talk to people
who fish off the Pier and have the courage to eat what they catch.
I want to know the story behind that cannon on the bluffs and talk
to members of the Greatest Generation who remember Santa Monica
during the Big One. Some of the city’s buildings would spin
some fascinating tales if only someone knocked on their doors and
I may tag along with
one of those metal detector guys on the beach and see what kinds
of stuff he finds. I want to know if it’s true that Santa
Monica meter maids never give a guy a break. I have a fascination
with empty lots and the detritus that stacks up in them. (But they
may not let me go that weird).
Don’t expect the
Lens to be a magnifying glass pin-pointing the white heat of the
public’s rage upon the corrupt and powerful. I am not a journalist
and would embarrass myself pretending to be one. Not to mention,
the Lookout News’ reporters already serve that purpose
far better than I could hope to. I am more like a wandering minstrel,
but instead of an old guitar I carry a pen and a 9” x 6”
When I’m not wearing
my monocle I am proud to be the “regulatory guy” for
a cutting edge cancer center in Santa Monica, which does really
important work. Trust me, Regulatory is not nearly as dry as it
I am lucky at love.
It still feels like I’m dating the phenomenal woman I’ve
been married to for the past eight years. Our apartment is ruled
by three cats which technically puts us one feline shy of “crazy
cat people,” and if we can ever afford to buy a house, we’ll
end up with a menagerie.
I am obsessed with old
cars including my 1961 Ford Falcon. I smoke one cigar a month. I’ve
been told I cook a mean gumbo.
There are hundreds of
hidden surprises and unknown characters in Santa Monica to be discovered.
I’m at least as excited to find what I don’t know I’ll
be writing about yet.
And I could use your
help too. If you have any stories of interest upon which The Lens
could aim its steely gaze, please send your suggestions to me at
Thanks. And I’ll
be seeing you here at The Lens.