Malibu Seen: Surf Is High, So Are Spirits and Appreciation in Malibu

The Malibu Jewish Center & Synagogue opens its doors to host the first Operation Recovery meeting on Sunday.

Well, many Seensters have made it through another round of flames and smoke and loss and appreciation. Seen has been through many and one gets blown away by the sheer magnitude of the driving Santa Ana (a.k.a. winds from hell). Everyone pitched in and did their part, from providing free hot sit down meals to cold beverages at Duke’s as well as keeping those all-important washrooms open for all. Duke’s, neighborhood newcomer Rebelión, D’Amore’s, Country Mart and Liquor—everyone went out of their way to thank our first responders. As a fan of Duke’s from the day they opened 20 years ago, and a house right next door on La Costa, Seen always seems to get the inside scoop when it comes to our loving, tight-knit community.

One my favorite servers said that after delivering a nice warm meal she was shocked to walk into the kitchen and find a group of first responders washing their own plates. “Haven’t you done enough for us?” she gasped. She ordered them back to their tables to relax and enjoy.

As residents slowly returned home after a week at the Four Seasons—or at the closest motel that could take them in, or mom’s house, or a sister or a friend—a week of worry and grief and wonder and relief was over and the stories began to pour in. Driving near Point Dume to the Ventura County line, the hillsides were barren. It reminded me when I first moved to Malibu after the Rambla Vista fire, the hills had a clean shave, no vegetation in sight, it almost seemed like Berlin—there were only the remains of fireplaces. As Yogi Berra once said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” But you’d be surprised how many folks love and appreciate Malibu with every intention of staying and rebuilding, and if there was a week full of life lessons in kindness and humanity, this was it. 


We’ve had a Thanksgiving with lots to be thankful for and pumpkins and falling leaves are being replaced by Christmas wreaths, garlands, snowy trees and golden jingle bells. As the city recovers from a horrifying fire, the pros are ready to get back to work. After holiday festivities, it’s time for award season. 

Among the many to be honored this year is the talented actor Denzel Washington. He will be presented with this year’s AFI Lifetime Achievement Award. Hard to believe his career has spanned more than 40 years. The 63-year-old actor has been lauded for his stellar performances in “Glory” and “Training Day.” Washington will be The American Film Institute’s 47th honoree.