We've all seen our share of big screen personalities at 7th and Montana. Alec Baldwin, Renee Zellweger, Courtney Cox, Demi and more have all slurped cappuccino at Our Favorite Starbucks at one time or another. But Genevieve and Kathy ran into a character last week who gives new meaning to the term "screen legend." Meet Mr. Plasma, a Local Nimrod who brought his own flat screen TV with him to the Starbucks on Wilshire and 26th, set it up on a table and began taking photos of it while passersby gaped in astonishment. I guess that's one way to organize a TV shoot ...!
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Smiles Davis," an anonymous Fashion Victim who made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning wearing a navy blue jumpsuit covered in yellow smiley faces, bright red sneakers and a ski cap. "Good God," I said, "Look what just rolled-in from the Funny Farm." Actually, he spent a good deal of time sitting outside in the rain -- no doubt trying to let a smile be his umbrella -- before finally venturing into Our Favorite Starbucks. Once inside, he wasted no time cracking open his laptop. I tried to peek over his shoulder at what he was typing, but all I could make out was " : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) "
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Agent Orange, an Eccentric Newcomer who made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning wearing flowing orange robes, love beads, hippy sandals, layers of white warpaint and a pigtail on top of his head. No one took any particular notice of him -- you have to do a lot more than that to attract attention at Our Favorite Starbucks -- but I whipped out my Spycam just the same. "I'm feeling a flashback to 1972 coming on," I said, "Everything's groovy!" As for Agent Orange, he ordered a Grande Chai Latte which he guzzled down in less than 30-seconds while speed reading The New York Times. And then, faster than you can say "commune," he zipped out the door and dashed up 7th Street like a man on a mission. I guess you could say he was a Harried Krishna ...!
Friday, January 28, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Guru of Whole Foods, a sikh individual who spent this afternoon sitting in front of the Whole Foods market in Beverly Hills chanting up a storm. I first noticed him when I went in for lunch. There he was, sitting Indian-style across from one of his disciples, chanting: "Om ... Om ... Om ... Om." He went om and om as if he were on a continuous loop. He was still at it when I emerged 20-minutes later. And then he suddenly stopped, turned to the woman sitting across from him and said, "There now. You see, I've reached a plane of higher consciousness!" Either that, or he was trying to cast an absentee ballot for Om Emmanuel in the Chicago Mayoral race ...!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Change was in the air this morning at 7th and Montana as the Zombie -- the man known for sitting for hours on end, in the same position, in the same chair at Our Favorite Starbucks -- made the scene wearing a revealing, new skirt. It was bright blue with a white floral pattern and a slit up to the waist. "Do you think it's too much?," he asked. And then, without pausing, he answered himself. "No, it's just right!" He continued conversing with himself in increasingly animated tones until he reached the cashier, where he ordered a Double Espresso. I made it a point to leave before the caffeine kicked-in ...
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
It was a double-header at 7th and Montana this morning as a city worker made the scene wearing a hard hat over a backwards baseball cap. "Nice look," I said, "You're being twice as stylish with two hats!" I didn't have the heart to tell him that two times zero is still zero ...
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
It was many happy returns today at 7th and Montana as “Dr. Sludge,” the local brainiac known for flushing baby wipes down the toilet, made the scene at Our Favorite Starbucks. The Good Doctor's drano-for-braino antics last year sent hundreds of gallons of sludge surging into neighborhood homes, but in recent months he's kept a relatively low profile. “Quick,” I muttered as he walked in the door, “Get the plunger!" I was hoping for another Sludgegate incident ... but he seemed to be on his best behavior today. Some say he's all out of baby wipes ... but I think he's as flush with them as ever!
Monday, January 24, 2011
They say music has charms to sooth the savage beast ... and I guess that might explain the strange behavior of a suspicious newcomer who has been making the scene at 7th and Montana lately. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Music Man. Every morning for the past several days, he's walked into Our Favorite Starbucks and made a beeline for the CDs. He carries a large canvas bag and wears a set of oversized headphones which, strangely enough, don't seem to be connected to anything other than his head. He makes a big show of grabbing CDs from the sales display, then walks away to examine them more closely in the light. When one of the baristas asks if he needs help, he always says, "No, No ... just looking" ... and then he quickly puts the CDs back where he found them and bolts out the door. Some say he's just a CD fanatic ... but I say he's just plain seedy.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Shock waves rippled across 7th and Montana this morning as "The Undertaker," a local man of mystery known for his somber sense of style, made the scene with three bags of lettuce. As usual, he had that fresh from the morgue look about him, a ghostly pallor made all the more funereal by the fact that he was wearing a black felt fedora and matching gray suit. But none of that explained why he was carrying three bags of lettuce. He carefully placed the lettuce on the table behind him, then took a seat on the sidewalk facing 7th Street. He was so still that for a second I was afraid rigor mortis was setting-in, but then he rose suddenly, grabbed his lettuce and approached the front door at Our Favorite Starbucks. He peered inside briefly, then turned around and retreated up 7th Street. And who can blame him? Ever since Starbucks raised its prices, it takes a lot of lettuce to buy a single cappuccino ...!
In case you wondered, not all of the loons in town hang out at 7th and Montana. Some can be found strolling along the beach near the Pacific Coast Highway. Meet "Mr. Postman" -- a madcap maniac with an unnatural attraction to sign posts. I ran into him yesterday, squatting beneath a sign on the way to Malibu. He was clutching the sign post for dear life and intermittently banging his head against it. The sign above him read "Yield for Pedestrians." Something tells me that no matter how hard he bangs his head against it, that sign post is never going to yield ...!
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Tongues were wagging at 7th and Montana this morning as Barista Tyler announced that he was changing his name. "From now on, my name is Attention!," he cried. "Why?," asked one onlooker. "Because that way, everyone will pay me. You know, they'll pay Attention!" No one laughed. "Get it?," he continued, "Pay Attention!" Then he turned his attention to me. "That ought to get me in the blog, right?," he asked. "I'm not sure," I responded, "I wasn't paying any attention ...!"
Friday, January 21, 2011
It was Zombies to the left, Zombies to the right this morning at 7th and Montana as the Walking Dead came out of the woodwork to sample the fine selection of pastry at Our Favorite Starbucks. To my left was the Original Zombie of Santa Monica, known for sitting in the same chair, in the same pose, for hours on end. He was wearing a bright, red skirt over a pair of jeans. To my right was a new zombie-in-training, a young lad known among insiders as Efrem Somnambulist Junior. He chug-a-lugged two grande drips, then dropped like a lead balloon on the table in front of him. And there I was, smack dab between the two of them. Oh, well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I always say ...!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Tongues were wagging at 7th and Montana this morning as a precocious young tyke stirred up trouble. I mean that literally. When his mother wasn't looking, he ran to the condiments bar, grabbed a handful of stirrers and began putting them to creative use ... as drumsticks. First he drummed on the tables, then on passersby and finally -- when his mother started to reprimand him -- he drummed on her knee caps. I guess it could always be worse. He could have been tossing an Apple Fritter around ...!
There was a chill in the air at 7th and Montana yesterday as Neighbor Kovar revealed the details of his latest assignment. The Ace Photographer, who has traveled the world over taking photos and shooting videos of some of the world's most exotic destinations, is shooting a segment on Detroit for the popular travel and discovery show, Explore. "What could be better than Detroit in January?," I asked, "Siberia?!?" "Well," Kovar explained, "Detroit in January has to be documented. Plus, sometimes you have to eat a hot dog to appreciate filet mignon!" The weather forecast in Detroit today calls for a high of 24-degrees and snow showers. Good luck, Kovar, something tells me even your hot dog will be freezing ...!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as an Unenlightened Newcomer ordered something from the pastry case. "Good God," I said, "What has he done? Someone stop him, quick!" But it was too late. He put the pastry -- a dry, crusty thing masquerading as a croissant -- into his mouth, and it stuck there like a new appendage. I was afraid he might lose consciousness. "Are you O.K.?," I asked, "The pastry around here can be lethal, you know." "I tht aww natrlll," he replied. "Yes," I said, "It's all natural. But so is sawdust and you wouldn't go popping that into your mouth, now would you?" He seemed to understand ... or at least I think he did. He jumped out of his chair and rushed headlong to the parking lot, no doubt on his way to the Emergency Room. I hope he's O.K. but, if not, at least we can say he died of natural causes ...!
Monday, January 17, 2011
It was laughs galore for Cathy yesterday at 7th and Montana as the normally spiffy dresser showed the crowd what comic relief is all about. To avoid getting a sunburn, she asked me if she could borrow part of my newspaper. "Sure," I said, "Here's the comic section." She gratefully accepted it and, faster than you can say "Sun Block," she shoved the paper down the back of her sweater, shielding her neck from the blazing California sun. In retrospect, I probably should have given her the fashion section, but at least this way I could finally say "I'll see you in the Funny Pages" and mean it ...!
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Holy Moses! A Loon of Biblical Proportions made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning, dressed in flowing, dark robes and a matching Lawrence of Arabia-style Keffiyeh. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear he spent the last 40 years wandering the Sinai Desert. He was carrying a small garbage bag filled with what appeared to be rotting fruit. "Yikes," I said, whipping out my Spycam, "He looks like Moses and smells like the Dead Sea!" I watched closely to see whether he'd perform any miracles, but he didn't stay long. He hopped on the "Big Blue Bus" to Pacific Palisades, which I guess make sense. I hear Gelsons is running a sale on milk and honey.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
It was "curses, foiled again" at 7th and Montana this morning as I missed what could have been a perfect photo opportunity. "Look," said Richard, "There goes a Desperate Housewife." I looked up to see Actress Marcia Cross walking by. As usual, she looked great. I whipped out my Spycam and followed her into Our Favorite Starbucks ... but apparently my reputation preceded me. "Ha, Ha, Ha ... I know what you're up to," said Quinn, smiling. People were looking and my cover was blown. I faced a difficult decision: Should I breach spycam etiquette and risk discovery or should I just admit defeat? In the end, I settle for a compromise: I took a picture of Marcia from behind and left. I sure hope the fact that I got a picture of her ass doesn't make Marcia Cross ...!
Friday, January 14, 2011
It was a taste of the red carpet at 7th and Montana this morning as Rita made the scene, all dolled-up on her way to a Golden Globes function. The Golden Globes aren't until Sunday but there was a special celebrity event today and Rita was involved with it. "My feet are sure going to be aching in a few hours," she joked, but something tells me she was in her element. One thing's for sure, her globes -- like everything else about her -- looked golden!
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as the Turbanator, the man whose multi-colored, terrycloth towel doubles as a turban, seemed intent on letting his hair -- or at least his turban -- down. It was hanging in loose folds down the right side of his head. He looked like he'd just returned from a swim ... way down upon the swami river. I'd say he's coming unravelled, but something tells me he started out that way ...!
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
It was Kudos to Kathy yesterday as her original TV web series, Stacks, premiered online. I checked it out and -- even though I already knew the plot -- I was impressed. Stacks is the story of Cali Cavaleri, a struggling young writer for a Los Angeles tabloid, who picks up a mysterious cell phone which transports her into a 6th dimensional Library of Truth controlled by a secret society of powerbrokers called MINERVA. Here is a link to Episode 1, "Big Lie, Dead Guy." If you watch future episodes, you might notice some familiar-looking extras walking down the library stairs. Like some of the characters in Stacks, they come from a different dimension, a faraway Twilight Zone of a world known among insiders as 7th and Montana ...!
Monday, January 10, 2011
Music filled the air at 7th and Montana this morning as Rigolatte -- the local Opera Loon -- treated the crowd to one of his more eclectic performances. I knew we were in for a treat when I saw him rush to the rest room and start pounding on the door. "Come out, come out, whoever you are!," he cried. He stood there giggling loudly until the woman who was inside beat a hasty retreat. Then he swooped-in, slammed the door behind him and started warming-up his vocal chords: "Mi ... Mi ... Mi ... Mi ... Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do ...!" His deep, booming voice carried all the way to the Espresso Bar. "He's just getting started," I said to the man standing next to me, an employee from the dry cleansers across the street. "You don't have to tell me," he replied, "We've banished him from the cleansers because he's just so weird." As if on cue, Rigolatte -- still locked in the rest room -- started quacking like a duck. "Ooh," I said, "He's in a fowl mood now ... there's no telling what's coming next." Several minutes later, we found out. He started quacking out the lyrics to "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" in what I must say was one of the best impressions I've ever heard of Donald Duck. Mark my words, one of these days a vehicle will be coming for him, alright, but I don't think it will be a Sweet Chariot ...!
There's a new patch of greenery at 7th and Montana and I decided to explore it yesterday with Genevieve and Kathy. Greens Up, a new salad restaurant next to Our Favorite Starbucks, is serving-up healthy salads at healthy prices. The concept is simple: You can either order from a pre-set menu or create your own salad with a variety of "mix-ins" including such toppings as carrots, celery, and grape tomatoes. Proteins, fruits and "crunchies" cost extra. A typical salad costs about $10, which seems a bit steep, but you get a lot. They serve the salads in giant metal salad bowls. "Wow," I said, "You could probably get away with ordering one salad for two people." Then I noticed a sign over the counter: "Sharing Fee: $1.00." "What do they do?," I asked, "Follow you around and watch very closely to make sure nobody else eats your salad?" Since I didn't see any Salad Police on duty, I decided to perform that function myself. I sidled-up to the Suspicious Looking Customer pictured above and whipped out my Spycam. As usual, I tried to make it look like I was on the phone. "Hello ... Hello?," I asked into the phone, "Can you hear me now?" But my ruse didn't work. He knew I was up to something. I retreated a few steps away to the counter, where Genevieve was busy ordering her salad. "Hey there," she said loudly, "Did you get a nice photo?" "Shhhhhh!," I muttered, "Ixnay, Ixnay!" But it was too late ... my cover was blown. The "suspect" swivelled around and glared at me. I left shortly thereafter. It's one thing to be Green, it's another to be Black and Blue ...!
Saturday, January 8, 2011
There's nothing like a visit to the Blue Man Group -- that trio of wacky Blue Dolts whose live act makes the Jerky Boys look like Shakespeare -- to lift one's spirits after a long day at a trade show. I saw the Blue Man group about ten years ago and, to be honest, I'd always thought once was enough. But some of my colleagues suggested we go last night and I'm glad we did. It was as mind-numbing as ever, just the ticket if you want to decompress. By the time the show was over, I felt like joining them!
Friday, January 7, 2011
It was a hair-raising experience at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas this morning as a Crazed Loon attacked a tourist with an egg whisk. At least that's what it looked like. The Loon, an attractive woman in her mid-twenties, waived what looked like an Egg Whisk in the direction of a middle-aged man, then started beating him over the head with it. Just as I was wondering whether to call 911, the woman yelled in my direction, "Don't worry, I'm just giving him a massage." As for the man, he seemed oblivious. He was sitting at an Oxygen Bar, sucking up a container of Lemon-scented Oxygen. And who can blame him? You'd need Oxygen, too, if a Crazed Loon was beating you over the head with a kitchen utensil ...!
Thursday, January 6, 2011
The Consumer Electronics Show is off to a great start. The technical Emmy Awards are given out during the show and my company won one tonight for its work on Blu-ray. It's a real honor and in my opinion goes to show that the format is getting some real momentum going. Just yesterday, it was announced that there was a big surge in Blu-ray sales last year. The installed base of players in the U.S. increased by 62 percent to 27.5 million. I've been in meetings for most of CES so far, but tomorrow will get a chance to check out the show floor. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Delta Airlines has spent a fortune telling everyone "We love to fly and it shows." Today, however, on my way to the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, they showed me exactly why they love to fly: It's so they can nickle and dime us to death. Even though I booked my ticket several weeks in advance, it cost me more than twice the usual amount. Once I got to LAX, they charged me an extra $25 just to check a bag. Then, minutes into the flight, the captain announced: 'There will be no inflight beverages today given the short duration of the flight." I know what you must be thinking: I should stop being so picky. But that was nothing. The guy sitting next to me gave new meaning to the word "picky." He spent most of the flight picking tiny bits of wax out of his ears and dropping them on the floor ...!
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Well, folks, it turns out I'm not the only one secretly documenting the comings and goings at Our Favorite Starbucks. A Local Artist, Ray Indolos, has been quietly spreading out his paint and supplies and creating full-fledged portraits of folks as they slurp their cappuccinos. I met Ray this morning and watched in amazement as he plied his trade. "I try to make sure nobody notices what I'm doing," he said, "So if they see me, I quickly hide everything." Visions of paint blobs dribbling on the floor danced in my head. "Wow," I said, "It looks like my Spycam has a little competition!" I told him about my blog, and that he was likely to land a spot in it today, and he seemed delighted. He even painted notes while I was talking right on the portrait he was working on. As you can see from the photo below, Ray has talent, and I immediately started spreading the word. "That's great," said Howard, "Is he good with a roller? I need my house painted ...!"
It was hair we go again at 7th and Montana yesterday as yet another Fashion Victim made the scene, this one wearing an adorable pigtail in his hair. The only problem is, he was a middle-aged man and the pigtail was standing at full attention on top of his head. "Yikes," said one witness, "Who does he think he is, the Last Samurai?" "Now, now," I replied, "That hairstyle is a classic ... dating back to the earliest days of human history." Since then, I've done a little research and -- sure enough -- it was first made popular by Pebbles Flintstone. In this case, however, I have to say it's a Yabba Dabba Don't ...!
Sunday, January 2, 2011
It was a covert operation at 7th and Montana this morning as a Suspicious Newcomer made the scene carrying a shopping bag filled with what at Starbucks must surely qualify as an Illegal Substance: Four steaming cups of coffee from the nearby Cafe Deluxe. He tried to hide the bag behind his newspaper ... but I noticed it right away. "Well, well, well," I said, "What do we have here? Bringing outside coffee into Starbucks, are we?" He turned beet red and started stammering. "Well, err, it's like this ... I don't like Starbucks coffee, so I just come here to buy the newspaper." "Aha," I replied, "Just as I thought. No doubt you like the atmosphere better here, right?" "I guess you caught me red-handed," he said. "Not to worry," I replied, whipping out my Spycam, "Your secret is safe with me ... I won't tell a single soul!" What a Nincompoop! I'll bet he spends his spare time bringing Tacos to Taco Bell and Pizza to Pizza Hut, too ...!
Saturday, January 1, 2011
It was Love at First Bite at 7th and Montana this morning as Barista Tyler, in one of his more daring moves, walked right up to the the pit bull that's been barking up a storm in front of Our Favorite Starbucks all week and planted a kiss on its mouth. "Yikes," I said, "That can't be healthy ... for either of them!" Others weren't surprised. "I always knew Tyler was Full of Bull," said one insider. Mr. Transistor, the dog's rightful owner, couldn't be reached for comment.