YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Warnings, Disclaimers and a Lesson in Celebrity Etiquette


Want to spend the week in a hip, relaxed, e-mail-me-at-the-beach kind of town?

Try, say, Buffalo, N.Y. Because if you're looking for laid-back in L.A., you're in the wrong place, dude. Talk about edgy!

At the Los Angeles Convention Center, the media's temporary headquarters, a grim notice on the doors warns visitors not to sue the Democrats if they wind up in the news saying something dumb: "Attention: You are entering a media zone," reads the sign, about as cheery as a health department quarantine posting. "By entering this building you agree to allow your likeness and/or your voice to be used in any and all print publication(s), television, radio or Web broadcast(s)."

In Philadelphia, friendly local folks gave directions and emitted brotherly love at every downtown corner, but in downtown L.A., help is harder to find. Across from the protest site at Pershing Square, an official-looking fellow wearing a purple shirt and a "Welcome to L.A." button was approached by a reporter eager to interview residents volunteering to help out at the convention.

"Who are you?" he was asked.

"I'm not authorized to answer that," replied the man, who turned out to be a downtown business district security guard. "Do you want to speak with my supervisor?"

At Staples Center, credentials were checked and rechecked. Vendors driving to their jobs at the center went through the kind of search you might expect on a small plane coming in from Colombia . . . at night . . . without a flight plan. "Can you believe this?" fumed a businessman with contracts at both conventions as officers peered into his vehicle's wheel wells, checked his engine compartment and had a German shepherd sniff through his car. "This is much tighter than Philadelphia."

Even volunteers assigned to help out the celebs were warned to keep their distance. During a 45-minute crash course, recent USC graduate B.J. Barnhouse was given the rules: No gaping. No autographs. No going up to introduce yourself. And if you bring cameras, the film will be ripped out. In summary, she was told: "Stay out of the way--or security will take you down."

The Incredible, Inedible Food Wrapper; Is This Any Way to Run a Railroad?

You know they're from out of town when . . .

* They eat the tamale before unwrapping it. At a Mexican buffet, a Washington journalist chomped on a mouthful of raw cornhusk: "You can't even bite into this thing," he groused. "It's inedible."

* They wait for someone to collect their ticket on the subway. "I could have ridden around all day, from here to there, from there to here," said William Farmer, a delegate from Lebanon, Tenn., who didn't realize that the city's subways run on a kind of honor system. "They don't have these out where I'm from."

* They get really, really excited about all the cameras, a joy that hipper-than-hip, screenplay-totin' Angelenos stoically deny themselves. "My friend was just on CNN," Carol Pacheco, a teacher from Massachusetts, enthused at a media reception. "They caught her eating Mexican--uh, Latin--food!"

Governor's Abuse of His Driver Causes Big Bertha to Snap

You know it's not a great day when . . .

The governor breaks his golf club as he warms up for a friendly little tournament called the Governor's Cup.

"I've been working out too much," Gov. Gray Davis said, applying a more effective spin to his story than to the ball.

An erstwhile member of Stanford University's golf team, Davis snapped his driver at the Riviera Country Club. But all was not lost: With golfers paying $3,750 to stalk the links with various politicos, the event was expected to raise $400,000 for California Democrats.

On the other side of the ledger, though, that particular driver--known as a Big Bertha--costs a few hundred bucks.

Asked his handicap, Davis deadpanned: "My job."

Sticking to His Home Turf, Yaroslavsky Dares to Tread Where Dems Fear to Go: Playboy Mansion

While most other pols were steering clear of the Playboy Mansion, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky was right in the mix of Saturday's America 2000 party there for the media. "Yes," he kept telling reporters, "this is in my district." At a cocktail party, Tennessee delegate Jamie Huskey summed up the campaign with four little words scrawled on a napkin, a mantra she said anyone could understand: "Gore good, Bush bad." When a reporter said he didn't understand, a fellow delegate quipped: "Uh oh, he wants substance--we're in trouble now!"


Times staff writers Greg Krikorian, Dan Morain and Gayle Pollard contributed to this story.

Los Angeles Times Articles