Saturday, June 6, 2009

Chevalier's Staff Bios

Filis Winthrop, Co-owner
Filis "the Treasure" * Winthrop has been an owner of Chevalier's Books for 20 years, since Mr. Chevalier retired. She's the one with the white hair, exuberant personality and love of non-fiction, art and design books, and biographies. Filis, with her background as a high school English teacher (go L.A. High!), a docent at LACMA, and a world traveler, is also the reason Chevalier's is know for its classic section, travel books, and art and design books. Filis is also the resident opera expert. Her hometown is Minneapolis, but she has lived all over the place.
(* from Huell Howser's column -- he's one of Filis' many fans.)

Sue Otto, Co-owner
Sue "the Francophile" Otto has been an owner of the bookstore for 7 years. She is an expert on children's literature and her children's section is a hangout for neighborhood parents and their kids. She is also the woman behind the Book of the Month Club. Sue picks books for kids ages 1 month to 21+ every month as gifts from their grandparents, godparents, friends, and family. Sue's obsessions are Marie Antoinette, wolves and other animals, and anything French. Besides her other obsessions, Sue reads fiction and, on occasion, mysteries, and likes to listen to Amanda Overmyer CDs and country music. Her hometown is Saginaw, Michigan.

Norman Dixon, Manager
Norman "the not-anyMormon" Dixon has worked at Chevalier's for a little more than 6 years, and is well known in the neighborhood for his charm and charisma and his soaring, operatic falsetto. If you don't love Norman, you're a fool. Norman is in charge of all the book signings at the bookstore, as well as off-site events. He is also the greeting card buyer for the store. He has a predilection for memoirs, diet & fitness books (look how fit he is!), humor (think David Sedaris), and the author Tom Spanbauer. Dogs drag their owners into the store just to lick Norman's face. Norman is a singer/actor and is into cabaret, the group Pink Martini (over and over) and k.d. lang. He grew up in Orem, Utah.

Liz Newstat
Liz "the Nerd" Newstat worked as an editor and post producer in television for many, many, many years and finally crossed over from the dark side. Of all the Chevalier's people, she is the most eclectic, reading anything from fiction to cookbooks, poetry, science and math, the WSJ, baseball books, and how-to-wash-your-t-shirt tags. Shallow, but reads a lot. Very opinionated. Obsessed with Scandinavian mysteries. Favorite author: Henry Green. Liz likes almost any music (jazz, hip hop, rock, r&b) except what her colleagues like. Typical of a San Francisco native.

Alexandria Williams
Alex "Oxford Girl" Williams is a young genius and unfortunately can only work at Chevalier's on a very part-time basis. She graduated from Oxford -- yeah, the one in England -- and is a brilliant 22-year-old. Oddly enough, she loves sports books, especially basketball, and also C. S. Lewis. Ask her about travel books because she loves to travel. Also, given her age, she can make great recommendations for your kids. Her hometown is Riverside, California.

Heidi Jaworski
Heidi "The Retail Queen" Jaworski just became a U.S. citizen, though she moved here from Poland when she was just 5 years old. Bilingual and wild (but in a good way), she is a great addition to the bookstore. She likes Dean Koontz, she loves to cook, and she's just as funny as her comedian boyfriend. Her hometown is Buffalo, New York. (COLD!)


  1. in the 60's filis was at the theater in new york. It was very warm in the theater so she took off her wig, and set it in the seat next to her. (Wigs were the rage since jackie kennedy was wearing them.) filis was so moved by the play (no, it wasn't Hello Dolly!) she forgot her wig. poor little wig. However, ten years later the wig was spotted on 42nd street. yes, it was a beehive. true story for the most part.

  2. Sue waited on Sofia Coppola the other day. She told me "I thought it looked like her, but she lives in Paris." Sue who has spent one or two years of her life searching for Marie Antoinette at Versailles! Well, Sofia, director of "Marie Antoinette", will soon be filming at the Chateau Marmont here in LA. (a kind of Versailles with celebs) "Somewhere" is the title of the movie. In my opinion Coppola is one of the most distinctive, interesting american directors working today. Sorry, Danny DeVito. (Oh Danny, you're pretty good too!)
    I always see the movie first, and then read the book. I am glad Virginia Woolf's novels have not been made into movies.....otherwise I would not have read all of Virginia Woolf. Even "The Hours"....not many can say that! Virginia Woolf, I think, would have been taken with Sofia Coppola's movies.....fer sure. V. Woolf had she been an American would have lived in the valley...ya think? forgive spelling and grammer errors. Woolf was a terrible speller....too.

  3. stupid me. The Waves, not THE HOURS....which i thought was over-rated. And it won a zillion prizes.
    By the way, i don't work at Chaveliers. am just a huge fan of the store.