Monopoly gets local makeover by Manhattan Beach artist Keifer

Hasbro goes for political correctness, artist Keifer keeps it fun

Manhattan Beach artist Kathleen Keifer with “Monopoly California Dreaming.” Photo by Jefferson Graham

by Jefferson Graham

Monopoly maker Hasbro announced this week it is replacing the 85-year-old board game’s “outdated’ Community Chest cards, with new ones, to be chosen by the public during online voting at 

The cards showing a policeman with a baton dragging a player off to jail, and the card announcing the player has finished second in a beauty contest are being replaced. Proposed new Community Chest cards include: “You volunteer to run the social media accounts for a non profit art center and meet some pretty talented people. Collect $100,” and “You set aside time every week to hang out with your elderly neighbor and you hear some pretty amazing stories. Collect $100. 

Manhattan Beach artist Kathleen Keifer is a step ahead of, and a lot hipper than Hasbro. 

Last year, Keifer released a deluxe California themed limited edition of Monopoly and sold out the 1,000 copies at $225 a piece. 

Keifer just released an updated edition of “Monopoly California Dreaming,” in which Uncle Pennybags goes surfing, and swimming and offers free parking. Denton & Denton Group real estate will host a release party this Saturday to celebrate, April 3 from 3 to 7 p.m. at their Manhattan Beach office, at 3615 Highland Ave.

Keifer’s Monopoly celebrates California culture.

“I’m positive,” she said. “I don’t want to represent police brutality. I’ve been surfing and been to a pool. I haven’t been to a jail.” 

Uncle Pennybags sheds his Wall Street persona for carefree Californian in Kathleen Keefer’s Monopoly makeover, she calls “Monopoly California Dreaming.” Image courtesy of WS Games

Keifer’s Monopoly art has been bought by celebrities including Jack Nicholson, Barry Manilow and Kelly Clarkson, and by dozens of medical and law offices in the South Bay, and restaurants, such as The Strand House. She has exhibited at the  Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Museum of Contemporary Art. Her clients include Walt Disney Studios, Hilton Hotels and Bank of America. 

Games run in the Keifer family. Husband Jim is a former vice-president of games for Mattel and worked on new editions of Harry Potter and Uno games. Keifer’s Monopoly and Scrabble themed art came to the attention of WS Games, which commissioned her to create a new Monopoly. WS Games specializes in stylish reissues of classic games like Scrabble, Clue and Risk.

Players in “Monopoly California Dreaming” move a token, shaped like a woody surf wagon, along Pacific Coast Highway to Sunset Boulevard, with stops along the way on The Strand and Manhattan Beach. Keifer described the game as a collector’s item, meant to be displayed on coffee tables. 

The Chicago native studied at the University of Notre Dame and Art Institute of Chicago. She moved West in 1996. 

“I became a landscape painter the moment I stepped off the plane at LAX,” she said. “That ocean! That color! That light! How was I not supposed to paint it? Compared to the Midwest, this place is Oz.”

Keifer moved to Manhattan Beach in 2003, and shows her art locally at Dion Gallery in Redondo Beach. ER





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Written by: Jefferson Graham

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