Archives for the month of: March, 2012

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Emmy award-winning actor Richard Schiff represents the small percentage of actors actually working in Hollywood.

I wonder if Minnie’s less famous sister still thinks this way.  Eliminating cigarette smoking from public places like restaurants and airplanes was necessary and long overdue (just watching an episode of Mad Men makes me cough). I still remember a meeting of the Beverly Hills Restaurant Association at The Saloon where members had gathered  to discuss the upcoming smoking ban. There were 4 smokers in a room of 50 people. The exhaust system was broken and the air filled with the acrid smoke and odor.  It was obvious if you looked around the room that the majority of the attendees weren’t smoking. It  still didn’t convince the reluctant restaurateurs in the audience.  I left before they took a vote. Time has shown the Chicken Little “sky is falling” smokers who predicted the end of the restaurant and bar business were so very wrong.  I hope Kate has given up her perfect accompaniment to coffee.

We weren’t open very long before the afternoon shift started to fill up with regulars.  There were two guys who came in most afternoons, sitting at a booth along the front, and working on something very important.  This happened enough times that I remembered them, got to know them by their first names, and that was pretty much that.  A little while later a production scout asked if his company could should a movie (low budget naturally) in the Coffee Shop.  I said no.  I didn’t want to inconvenience our regular customers.  Personally I hated it when you would show up at a favorite place and they were closed because they were being used as a movie location.  This production guy didn’t give up, and neither did I.  One day he brought me a copy of the script.  It was called “Swingers.”  To a person of my age, “swingers” was a term reserved for couples who got together for casual sex.  Also, before I opened the Coffee Shop in Hollywood, I had found and negotiated for a space the year before, near the Beverly Center. I lost that space to another Operator (Sean MacPherson, the hotel impresario) who had called the place, “Swingers”.  Let’s just say I was sensitive to the name.  I told the location guy, emphatically, that I wasn’t interested.   I was surprised one afternoon, when the the two  guys, who I only knew by their first names, Jon and Vince, came in. Before sitting down they approached me at the front. “How come you won’t let us shoot our movie here,” they asked.  “Your movie”, I replied, “why didn’t the location guy say it was “your movie.”  They also pointed out that they had included us in the script, since the scenes referred to local hotspots including The Derby, The Dresden, The Griffith Park Golf Course, and us, (even if the name wasn’t exactly correct)”Of course, you can shoot it here, ” I replied.  I always tried to accommodate our customers. “If you can shoot it after we close at 7 p.m. and before we open at 7 a.m.” The meager budget, only afforded one night for the shoot. So all the Coffee Shop scenes were shot that night. I demurred on appearing in the movie, but recommended a favorite customer, Arlene Pachasa, who ended up as the Still Photographer on the movie.  Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau went on to realize the dream that brought the “locusts” to Hollywood in the first place.

I’m always amazed when I read the L.A. Weekly that there are so many bands, having so many performances, that there are pages and pages covered in tiny type just to list one week’s worth.  I’m amazed because I’ve never gone to see a band perform.  When we had the Coffee Shop, band members  were frequent visitors, (so I was told),but I didn’t really recognize any of them.  Greg Hetson of Bad Religion was the exception.  He and his girlfriend (wife?) Shannon came in all the time.  Shannon was a friend of a friend so I got to know her better.  When Shannon had a baby, Greg spent a lot of time with baby Violet with the violet eyes.  She was adorable.  I now follow vocalists on Pandora, but I’ve still never been to see a band perform.

You have to love the internet.  Evan York was a regular customer of the Coffee Shop and talented artist.  Through the magic of Google I was able to locate his website where it appears he is still an artist and has expanded his talent into animation, film making, and producing T-shirts for rock stars.  Good for you Evan!

Photographer Kate Garner lived up in Beachwood Canyon.  The baby in the picture is her daughter Grace, who must be a teenager by now!

Randal Kleiser is the director of the movie musical Grease. This super successful movie was his directing debut. Here he is with the stars of that film, Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.