PERSONAL: Born in Chicago, IL; daughter of Harry (a pharmacist) and Florence (a homemaker) Isenberg. Education: University of California—Berkeley, A.B., 1964; Instituto Mexicano-Norteamericano de Relaciones Culturales, Mexico City, diploma, 1968.
ADDRESSES: Agent—Susan Ramer, Don Congdon Associates, 156 Fifth Ave., Suite 625, New York, NY 10010.
CAREER: Business Week, assistant editor, 1964-67; McGraw-Hill World News, correspondent from Mexico City, Mexico, 1967-69; Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles, CA, staff reporter, 1969-73; California Business, Los Angeles, senior editor, 1973-75; Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA, staff writer, 1976-95, coordinator of arts and feature coverage of 1984 Olympic games, and editor of Festival, 1984; freelance writer, 1995—. KUSC-FM Radio, host of Live from Trumps, 1987, producer and host of Skirball Cultural Center Spotlight series, 1998-2000. University of California—Los Angeles, instructor in arts journalism, 1979-81, coordinator and moderator of Evenings out with the Critics, 1985-87; British Theatre Backstage (tour group), theater expert and host, 1983—; Getty Center, visiting lecturer and host of "Art Matters," 2000—.
AWARDS, HONORS: Soroptimist Achievement Award, 1971; first prize in entertainment reporting category, Los Angeles Press Club, 1988; Distinguished Artists Award, Los Angeles Music Center, 1991; visiting scholar, Getty Research Institute, 1999-2000.
(Editor) California Theater Annual, Performing Arts Network, 1981-83.
Making It Big: The Diary of a Broadway Musical, Limelight Editions (New York, NY), 1996
State of the Arts: California Artists Talk about TheirWork, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2000.
SIDELIGHTS: Barbara Isenberg once told CA: "I have spent more than twenty years educating and informing people about the arts through my newspaper articles, books, teaching, public interviews, and lectures. I was the chief arts writer for the Los Angeles Times from 1976 to 1995 and remain a contributor to the paper's arts pages.
"When I first joined the Los Angeles Times "Calendar" staff in 1976, it was a good time to cover the arts. The National Endowment for the Arts was in its second decade, state arts funding had begun climbing, and the resulting money and attention soon led to a proliferation of arts institutions. I could write about the importance of the arts at a time when public sympathy and funds could make an enormous impact.
"I became a journalist with hopes of making a difference, and writing about the arts gave me a chance to do so in several arenas. Besides highlighting the significance of the arts and artists, I could explore social, philosophical, and economic trends manifested by and through theater, art, music, television, and film. Discussing art exhibitions and theatrical productions, for instance, I have examined such topics as anti-Semitism and Japanese internment camps. Similarly, I have built on my concerns for gerontology and other social issues by writing about how the powerful medium of television affects and portrays the elderly, minorities, and blue-collar workers.
"It was, in fact, my concern about the fate of the imperiled Broadway musical that led to my writing my first book, Making It Big: The Diary of a Broadway Musical. My second book, State of the Arts: California Artists Talk about Their Work, came about when I wondered, and wanted to illuminate, what California offers that attracts so many painters, writers, composers, and other artists and launches such artistic achievement far beyond its borders."