Related Stories
 Click here for more political coverage from TIME magazine.


TIME On Politics
Time cover

Ain't We Got Fun

Once more it's the spotlight for the hometown of Nicole, O.J. and Monica

By Steve Lopez/TIME

BRENTWOOD, Calif -- She could have been from anywhere, but it wouldn't have been as delicious as this. When the most famous White House intern in U.S. history fell into her father's arms last week, at his home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles, she was three blocks from the house where Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered.

If you start at a point midway between those houses, and then drive north exactly three-quarters of a mile, you will encounter the ghost of Marilyn Monroe. Last week a work crew was remodeling the bungalow where the actress died.

Marilyn and J.F.K. Monica and Bill. Kids were selling star maps on Sunset Boulevard last week. Down on the coast, a seal washed ashore in the storm and took refuge in a public rest room even as Monica was taking refuge from the El Nino of all sex scandals. And a Brentwood News headline read, STAR TREK CAPTAIN TAKES OVER AS MAYOR.

Actress Kate Mulgrew will be installed Feb. 21 as the honorary mayor, replacing David Horowitz, or was it Sally Struthers? Said the incoming mayor: "We will bring back romance and style."


Monica had no choice but to be from L.A.

The locals were worked into a lather last week not by media parasites but by the fear that Brentwood would be misread by the outside world.

Jackie Raymond, president of the South Brentwood Homeowners' Association, sat in her magazine-spread country home on notorious Bundy Drive and referred to "the M incident involving O." She will not say "murder" or put a J after the O because once you put it out of mind, it never happened. If you want the real scoop on Brentwood, Raymond says, you should read her newsletter, which includes a "Good Neighbor" feature on Marie Lewis, a tireless activist who enjoys gardening and has "also kept chickens and, at one time, ducks."

All very quaint, but the outside world doesn't need a modern-day Mayberry. We want there to be a place where the homes start at half a million dollars and movie stars walk down the street in dungarees--as long as we don't have to live there. With all due respect to Marie Lewis and her poultry farm, we're more enthralled by the Brentwood News item about the opening of a Whole Foods market. Sighted pushing carts filled with such items as bottled water and organic carrots were Brooke Shields, Steven Spielberg, Ellen DeGeneres, Sophia Loren and the cast of Melrose Place. One more nugget pulled from the News: "Dustin Hoffman recently bought the home of an elderly lady so he wouldn't have to walk across her flowers to get to his tennis courts."

Don't you understand, Brentwood? There has to be a place like this--a center of pop pathology--or the rest of us would go nuts.

Monica, actually, is not technically a Brentwood girl. She grew up just to the east, with both feet in the petri dish. Monica, whose parents' divorce papers listed a psychiatric-therapy bill of $1,800 a month, is a 90210 girl.

"I wish she lived back in Beverly Hills, because she loves the camera," says Mr. Blackwell, the famous arbiter of fashion disasters. "Beverly Hills would be more suitable for her because it's a more plastic area." Monica is essentially a feline, Mr. Blackwell says. "She loves cleavage, bust lines, scoop necks, legs, the whole scene." And thank God, says he, she got rid of those dreadful bangs.

Brentwood is about money, says Richard McNeil, who manages the Brentwood Cigar Club. After his acquittal, O.J. began hanging around the cigar shop because the owners had hired two "very attractive airhead blonds" to minx around the place. Live bait for local libido. It backfired. When other customers saw O.J., they walked out.

It starts in the modest flatlands, Monica and Nicole territory, and climbs the Santa Monica Mountains, where the homes are obscenely gorgeous and the salt-air view of the Pacific so tearfully stunning that you have to get on the cell phone and either call the shrink or schedule a facial.

Mezzaluna, the restaurant where Nicole left her sunglasses and Ron Goldman found them, is gone, victim of its own celebrity. Across the street, a tanning salon sits next door to a skin-care center.

At the Brentwood News, editor and publisher Jeff Hall says his readers are like those in any community. They want stories about schools and traffic, crime and commerce. But given Monica, last week he was preparing a column on Brentwood as the center of the universe.

We wouldn't want it any other way.

In TIME This Week

Cover Date: February 16, 1998

The Press And The Dress
Drip Drip Drip
Behind The Scenes With Monica
Just An Affectionate Guy
Ain't We Got Fun
Time To Off Saddam?
With A Little Help From His Friends
Eyes On The Oval
The Art of the Leak
Inside the Magic Bubble
Give Me a Break!

Barnes & Noble book search

Archives   |   CQ News   |   TIME On Politics   |   Feedback   |   Help

Copyright © 1998 AllPolitics All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this information is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.
Who we are.