Archives for the month of: February, 2012

Permanent Midnight is all that needs to be said.


In the beginning there was this pen and ink drawing by Tony Barone.  It was a gift from Tony and his wife, artist Karen Barone, that we received when we first opened. I used to think that it was too bad that the sidewalk out front was too narrow for outdoor seating, and because there wasn’t a buffer of parked cars or a stoplight, the cars lining up to get on the nearby 101 sped by at dangerous speeds. On the other hand, there were a lot of cars driving by.

I stood outside one day and did a very unscientific survey and concluded that over 100,000 cars passed by each day.  Wow, I thought, that’s a lot of cars.  And I know its hard to believe but there was a time before Starbucks when you could drive into the San Fernando Valley and not find a single place that served Cappuccino. (I know because I used to work in Northridge, and if I wanted a Cappuccino I had to get one before I went over the Hill).  I think you can see where I’m going with this.

So we thought that perhaps a banner on the wall of the Hotel might persuade some of these commuters outside to stop in and check us out. It was meant to be humorous, quirky, and send a message that “WE’RE HERE”.

So I made a few sketches, starting with the cappuccino cup from Tony’s drawing.

As you can see from the last sketch there were holes around the outside which were for the grommets since the original sign was a banner (purchased and hung at our expense) mounted on the wall of the Hotel (and featured prominently at the beginning of “The Brady Bunch Movie.”)

Later on, the landlord had us remove the banner and they hired a sign painter (the infamous J. Galeano) to copy the banner onto the wall of the Hotel (at our expense) and they also painted the famous scene of Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock in our former spot.  When we moved out at the end of our lease they offered to paint out the sign (at our expense), but we decided to leave it. During the recent remodeling of the Hotel they chose to keep the now iconic mural on the wall.  They just painted out the , “Hollywood Hills.”

Michael knew Xander from the days when they both lived off Wilshire on Dunsmuir in a beautiful Art Deco building (which was, of course, torn down to make room for a cookie-cutter apartment building).  Xander lived in Beachwood Canyon and was a true Coffee Shop regular.  You may not recognize his name, but with over 190 IMDB credits to his name, you’ve probably seen him in something.  One day Xander came in with a shiner under his eye.  Seems that while filming a fight scene for Air Force One with Harrison Ford, a fake punch accidentally hit Xander  in the face.

A pen and ink watercolor menu cover  by Valentine Monroe, a cashier at the Coffee Shop.

Mike? Madsen