"Museum of crazy stuff"
On the Wilshire offramp of the Harbor Freeway, David Chan of L.A. saw a panhandler holding up a poster that said: "Having visions of an IHOP pancake."
Only in L.A., right?
Which is why a recent announcement in The Times worried some readers who feared they'd see less of Steve Harvey and his Only in L.A. column, which chronicles the weirder and wackier parts of the region through observations and photos, many provided by locals.
The column has long appeared in the California section on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. The note, published April 10 in the California section, advised readers that the popular feature will now run Saturdays and Sundays, but that more of Only in L.A. items will also be posted periodically on L.A. Now, The Times' local news blog.
Harvey has been writing the column for some 20 years and has been at The Times almost twice as long. He sees his role "as a sort of curator of the Museum of Crazy Stuff in L.A." (He notes, "boundaries are flexible -- remember, L.A. is a state of mind.")
While he sometimes finds items for that museum himself -- for example, a doughnut shop in Long Beach that shares a sign with a dentist's office -- his real role is in channeling readers: "I'd guess that three-quarters of the art items in the museum are from readers whose minds are as twisted as mine."
David Lauter, the editor who oversees the California section, in which Harvey's column appears, says of its new schedule: "It's going Saturday/Sunday in part because we think on weekend mornings, people have more time to linger over something like Only in LA. It's going from three days a week to two days in order to free him to do some other things. We're also trying to give Steve a bigger presence on the website so that his fans can find a daily hit on the web."
And fans of the L.A. Then and Now column will be glad to know that the feature didn't leave The Times when Cecilia Rasmussen did (Rasmussen's final column before she took the recent buyout reflected on 17 years in writing the popular Sunday feature). Harvey will be contributing to that as well.
Meanwhile, readers can send items for the column to steve.harvey@ latimes.com -- and they do. Says Harvey: "I'm mulling over a photo I received of a rental property in West L.A. called the Chee Zee Apartments. One thing about my job ---I can't think of anyone who has more fun opening his or her mail each morning."