November/December 2021
updated November 06th 2021
A bi-monthly internet magazine of the arts. Each issue is written largely but not exclusively by Willard Manus and Mavis Manus. Such outside contributors as Richmond Shepard, Joseph Kierland, Norman Levine, Dalia Miller and Kip Miller are featured regularly, but submissions to the magazine are BY INVITATION ONLY.

The magazine seeks to present a generous but selective overview of the contemporary cultural scene in the USA and abroad.

The focus of the magazine is on contemporary Movies, Theatre, Music (Classical and Blues & Jazz), Travel, Books (reviews), Fiction (short stories & novels), Opera, Dance, and Human Interest. For further details, see below.

Publisher WILLARD MANUS is a Los Angeles-based novelist, playwright and journalist. He published two books recently: THIS WAY TO PARADISE--DANCING ON THE TABLES, a memoir of time spent in the Greek islands; and THE PIGSKIN RABBI, a comic novel about pro football. His other novels are THE FIXERS, THE FIGHTING MEN, CONNUBIAL BLISS and MOTT THE HOOPLE, the book from which the 70s British rock band took its name.

Manus has had numerous plays produced in Los Angeles, regionally and abroad.

He is also a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and has written on film for SIGHT & SOUND, FILMS IN REVIEW, and DAILY VARIETY. His freelance articles have appeared in such journals as NEW YORK TIMES, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, WASHINGTON POST, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, BOSTON GLOBE, HOLIDAY MAGAZINE, THE OBSERVER (U.K.), SUNDAY TIMES (U.K.), FINANCIAL POST (Canada), DIVE MAGAZINE, SCUBA WORLD, JAZZ RAG (U.K.) and many others. His short stories have been published in NEW LETTERS, CONFRONTATION, MEN ONLY and ARGOSY, among others. He served for four years as the southern California correspondent for PLAYBILL.COM

Assistant publisher Mavis Manus co-wrote the successful cookbook, THE ART OF RUSSIAN CUISINE (Macmillan Co.) She writes a monthly human interest column for the HELLENIC JOURNAL. She specializes in reviewing theater, dance and classical music.


MOVIES: News & reviews; book reviews; occasional features & interviews.

THEATRE: Reviews and news from Los Angeles, New York and other cities; book reviews; occasional features and interviews.

MUSIC: Classical news & reviews; Blues & Jazz news and reviews. Occasional features and interviews.

TRAVEL: Articles on travel spots around the world. Special interests: Greece & the Mediterranean; Europe; Caribbean & South America; Freediving & Spearfishing; Jewish travel destinations.

BOOKS: News and reviews of new titles; occasional interviews and features.

FICTION: Original contemporary short stories.

OPERA: News and reviews; occasional interviews and features.

DANCE: News and reviews.

HUMAN INTEREST: Features, interviews and profiles.

MARKETPLACE: Books, videos and audio tapes by Willard Manus.

CONTRIBUTORS to recent issues of Lively Arts:

George Constantine is a professional writer and editor born in Los Angeles. George also lived and wrote in Fresno, California and in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. George is a part-time English professor at Los Angeles Pierce College. "Zandy" (Lively Arts March/April 2010) and "Impossible Places" (Lively Arts September/October 2009) are from his story-novel "The Autobiography of California".

Robert Gardner
FILMMAKER: Clarence and Angel (2nd prize and Humanity Award)...
SCREENWRITER: Clarence and Angel, King James Version, Wedding Palace
(1st prize: Chinese Film Festival and Paramount CineGear Film Fest)
CREATED: LA Playwrights Lab

Cheryl Gougouris
Cheryl Gourgouris holds a master’s degree in psychology and organizational development. During her career developing programs that protect and enhance services to vulnerable children and families, Cheryl developed training films and co-authored a book “ Group Self Structure A Way To Maximize Human Potential”. In her retirement she is pursing her lifelong interest in creative writing.

Barbara Grubmann
Barbara Bass-Grubman's first published letter was in the Bronx Home News was about basketball and why it was not covered in the paper as much as baseball. She was 15 at the time. As an adult, she 'graduated' to Letters to the Editor in her favorite paper, The New York Times. Mostly, she writes non-fiction, and the Bessie story was one of her first attempts at fiction. She is now working on organizing her large file of writing and feels , " there has got to be a book in there somewhere."

Jim Inman is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree and the first 'Outstanding Actor of the Year' Award ever to be conferred by Yale. His plays have brought him two Best Play of the Year awards and as a writer for Dallas his work is known throughout the world.

Michael N. Kalafatas is author of The Bellstone: The Greek Sponge Divers of the Aegean, One American’s Journey Home and executive producer of the documentary film “Pushing the Limits: The Story of Greek Sponge Diving,” released in 2008 by Immersion Presents. Michael lives in Wayland, Massachusetts, and regularly flies out of Logan Airport over Winthrop Bay, scanning the mudflats for starlings.

Joan Marie Kessler (J. M. Kessler)
Her first two plays, Have A Nice Day and The Tin Heart, were the result of the Los Angeles Playwrights Group Playwrights Workshop. She wrote the radio play, A Rose By Any Other Name, for New Frequency: A Theater of the Mind radio theater company, and is the author of the children’s book The Squirrelly Nut Gig. She has a B. A. in Theatre Arts and a longing to visit Greece.

Joseph Scott Kierland is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and Yale Drama School, and has been playwright-in-residence at New York's Lincoln Center, Brandeis University, and Los Angeles Actor's Theatre. His plays have been produced around the country and in Europe, and he has been published in Short Story International, Sgrafitto, and Arizona Literary Review. Mr. Kierland was the founder of the successful Los Angeles Playwright's Group and editor of their books, BEST ONE ACT PLAYS and SEX IN THE AFTERNOON. He continues working in film and television and has received awards from Cornell University, Chicago University, University of Iowa and Yale University.

Norm Levine is a retired pharmacist where he wrote poetry in between labels. He has authored three books of poetry and more recently turned to prose. His third book of short essays, Now and Then Some, was published in 2015. His blogs can be found at

Dean Lonseth
Stanford University, Peace Corps Africa, backpack trip length of Mexico,
Public Defender in the Bronx, commodity trader -- all rewarding experiences
in an "earlier life". Now a more contemplative and passive lifestyle -- satisfying
in a different way and much less stressful!!.

Lisa Manus: "I grew up in Greece, lived in Rome, Los Angeles and now Scotland. Worked in everything from car sales to currently property development, got a degree in my thirties in Italian and Industrial Relations, was a speechwriter and political researcher for a trade union. Spent the last 20 years as a carer, now finally enjoying my freedom.

I started writing stories on Twitter about 3 years ago with a writing community called #vss365. It stands for very short story 365 days in the year. There are a couple of thousand writers from all over the world who join in using the daily prompt word which is posted by a volunteer every morning. The rules are that you can write any type of story or poem but it has to fit in one tweet of a maximum of 280 characters. It’s a very supportive group and unusually positive for Twitter which is known more for arguing and nastiness."

Dalia Miller is the former editor of Laografia: A Journal of the International Greek Folklore Society. She has made nearly 30 trips to Greece since her first visit in 1969.

Kip Miller is a retired engineer living in southern California. He has enjoyed taking travel photos for sixty years.

David Ray - DAVID RAY’s most recent publications are One Thousand Years: Poems About the Holocaust (Timberline Press, 2004) and The Endless Search: A Memoir (Soft Skull Press, 2003). Ray has received many awards for his writing, including the William Carlos Williams Award (twice) from the Poetry Society of America. He lives in Tucson, travels for readings and workshops, and can be reached at

Robert Riche has published the novel "What Are We Doing in Latin America? (A Novel About Connecticut)". His short stories have appeared in Commentary and a number of literary magazines. His plays have been performed off-off Broadway in New York, and in regional theaters in Berkeley, Washington, Atlanta, and in Bristol, England. He has co-authored one self-help book entitled "The Ten Most Troublesome Teen-Age Problems (And How to Solve Them)", and he has had numerous comedy television assignments. He writes periodically on food, wine and travel subjects. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Connecticut Foundation for the Arts grant, Advanced Drama Research grant; and is a winner of the prestigious Stanley Drama Award. He has also been a Breadloaf Writers Conference scholar. He currently is finishing a new novel.

George Rosenfeld - When I joined the board of Odyssey House (a large drug rehab agency in NYC) in 1997 I was intrigued by a facility they ran on Randalls Island. The building had been built in the 1880s. When I first saw it was called the MABON. It served as a clearing house for incoming patients, some of whom stayed there and others were distributed to other Odyssey facilities. My dream was that one day the state would give us the entire building (we were only using one half of the facility, the other half being in shambles) for our programs. In 2011 the state gave Odyssey the building and 26.8 million dollars to refurbish the facility.That restoration is near completion and has been named for me as the George Rosenfeld Center for Recovery.
In the 1980s I was Chairman of the Board of the Little Red School House, a progressive school in Greenwich Village. Later I became a trustee of the Village Nursing Home where I participated in the building of a HIV-AIDS hospital on the Lower Eastside. As well I attended NYU where I got a Master's degree in History. At the same time I tutored high school students in a variety of subjects.I continue to do this. As ell I serve on the national board of FairTest, an organization opposed to the overemphasis of high stakes testing in American schools. Finally, I help administer a national poetry contest known as the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Project.
My business career was as a broker on the American Stock Exchange

David Roy
David Roy is a former professor of cinema and indie filmmaker currently at work on his second feature, A Place Apart.

Richmond Shepard, New York correspondent for, is co-publisher of Performing Arts INSIDER, a professional newsletter that tells everything coming into New York up to a year in advance. For more info on PAI, contact

Sidney Thompson is a writer from Omaha, Nebraska. She’s been published in Idyllwild Arts literary magazine Parallax and best known for her short story,‘What We Would Have,’ which was finalist in the 2015 Faulkner Wisdom Competition for Short Story by a High School Student. She is currently a Sophmore at Columbia College in Chicago’s South Loop, working to graduate with a B.A. in Fiction Writing by the spring of 2019.

Martin Tucker is editor-in-chief of the prize-winning literary journal CONFRONTATION. He has published two collections of poetry, ATTENTION SPANS and HOMES OF LOCKS AND MYSTERIES as well as several literary critical studies, among them the highly praised LITERARY EXILE IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. He is the editor of more than 20 volumes of literary encyclopedia and has published reviews and essays in THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, THE NATION, THE COMMONWEAL, THE NEW REPUBLIC, THE SATURDAY REVIEW, CHICAGO REVIEW, EPOCH and elsewhere. He is also a playwright; four of his one-act plays were recently produced in London.

Nava Waisman
My name is Nava Waisman and I am a 13 year old Los Angeles native. This upcoming school year, I will be in 8th grade. In my free time, I enjoy dancing, improv, writing, cooking and baking. I also go to Hebrew school, and spend time with my amazing family and friends.