The most notable changes to the coffee shop are the Sanders-inspired murals that now decorate Johnie’s windows and exterior.
Says Jeanna Penn of the media and production company ICU Art, who enlisted Cre8 for the project: “They said it would be great if we have Latino and African-American artists because that is demo that Bernie needs to reach out to.”
“Bernie” mural. (Photo courtesy of ICU Art.)
“We hope to get exposure for the Bernie Sanders campaign without having him spend his campaign money,” Jeremy White, an organizer for Bernie’s Avengers, tells The Hollywood Reporter.
“To be able to do an art installation on Museum Row for this current political revolution is very important to us. Because we feel once the artists come out in favor of a candidate, you know that revolution is true,” says White.”I have yet to see a mural for Hillary [Clinton].”
Opened in 1956, Johnie’s sat in the heart of the burgeoning Miracle Mile corridor. In 1994, the coffee shop was purchased by the Gold Family, owners of the 99 Cents Only stores. (One sits next door to the one-time coffee shop and uses the former Johnie’s parking lot for its customers.) Johnie’s closed its doors for good in 2000 and was named a Historic-Cultural Monument in 2013 by the City of Los Angeles, thanks in part to its iconic Googie-style architecture.
“I’m Mexican-born, so I am an outsider on some level, even though I am already a legal citizen, and Bernie inspires me as a universal leader,” says Ceballos. While he was painting, the artist got an array of reactions: “Some people would cheer and honk and shout, ‘Go, Bernie!’ and some woman shouted and said I should be doing it for Trump.”
Cre8, who has 20 years of experience with lettering, spoke to THR about his latest creation, saying, “Even if they are not Bernie fans, it is still gonna grab their attention and they’ll look over there. It’s as if he went up there and did it himself.”
Prior to its current political affiliations, Johnie’s was known for the role it played on the big screen, acting as a location for such films as Reservoir Dogs and The Big Lebowski, as well as American History X and the cult apocalyptic thriller Miracle Mile.
What do director Quentin Tarantino and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders have in common? Johnie's Coffee Shop on Fairfax Avenue.