The theme of the current issue of L.A. Weekly is “L.A. People 2007.” One of the prominent people mentioned is Scott Kaufer, who hosts a gathering of fascinating creative people (and me) at the Yamashiro restauarant in Hollywood every month. Scott is known simply as “The Host”:
Hanging on a wall in his immense old office on the Paramount lot is a 1972 photo of a much younger Scott Kaufer interviewing Groucho Marx for The Harvard Crimson. The shot of the young reporter and the old actor grabs your attention — but so does a dry-erase board nearby on which Kaufer has scrawled rough ideas for a TV drama he’s executive producing: “Transplant,” the board reads. “Time Perception. Stroke.”
Kaufer, former editor of California magazine, began his career as a committed newshound and print journalist, but then got nudged into television by his late friend Brandon Tartikoff. With a couple of Murphy Brown episodes to his name, he went on to write and produce scripts for several series, including The Gilmore Girls and The Chris Isaak Show. In his proudest effort, he worked with David E. Kelley as an executive producer on Boston Legal.
Plus, he’s just a hell of a nice guy.
The blurb was written by Jill Stewart, who warned Bob Sipchen and me last Friday that we were going to show up in it. Jill was true to her word:
Kaufer’s had a great ride so far, but the world of one-hour dramas doesn’t provide the kind of fix he gets from the edgier world of news and politics. To get that, he hosts a vibrant intellectual salon — a monthly invitation-only gathering of journalists, authors, screenwriters, bloggers and other creative types who meet at Yamashiro restaurant in Hollywood.
He founded “Yama,” as the event has become known, six years ago with Slate blogger Mickey Kaus and author Steve Oney. The late conservative journalist Cathy Seipp was a regular, but her friend, liberal French blogger and detective-in-training Emmanuelle Richard, is also at home in the group. Kaufer detests political litmus tests and loves to see strange bedfellows getting along. Los Angeles County Prosecutor Patrick Frey, whose blog, Patterico’s Pontifications, often ferrets out bias at the Los Angeles Times, yaks amiably at the gatherings with Timesians Bob Sipchen (a crowd favorite), Richard Rushfield and Matt Welch.
Heh. Well, I try to be amiable when I yak.
Kevin Roderick also gains his own spot in this issue. He is dubbed The Watchman.
Incidentally, the L.A. Weekly has really become more interesting with Jill as the local news editor. Make sure you make it a regular stop if you care about what’s going on in Los Angeles.