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Metropolis / So SoCal

Helping the Car Antenna Get Wild

October 06, 2002|LESLEE KOMAIKO

You might not sense a great yearning in California's collective unconscious for car antenna balls. But it's there--just ask Playa del Rey entrepreneurs Maria Losch, 30, and her musician husband Scott Peterson, 32, who unleashed their demented collection of anthropomorphic Goof Balls on the roadways early this year. The cast of characters includes two dog-collared punks (your choice of mohawk or spiked coif), a masked "Canni-Ball" homage to Hannibal Lecter and a slouch-hatted smoker. In the pipeline are a devil and a mullet-head, which Losch says is "having hair issues right now." Losch says negotiations are pending for an Ozzy Osbourne goth ball. The novelty gimcracks retail for $3 to $4 and sell at Hot Topic and Tower Records, as well as online. "We get orders from all different states," says Losch. "But the biggest appetite for antenna balls is [in] the Inland Empire and Northern California. Maybe it's just 'cause we drive a lot out here."

Losch estimates sales at 10,000 units a month and says customers have included members from Rob Zombie's band and the Offspring. "Kelly Osbourne has a mohawk one on her Mercedes SUV," adds Losch. Then there's Losch's mom, Yueh-Chai Loomer. "She's crazy," says Losch. "She went and bought three of those fake [car] antennas and she has three lined up on the back window. She was like, 'We have to promote our products.'" There's also the street cred factor. "When my mom and her husband are driving," says Losch, "since they have the punk ones, young kids give them the thumbs up, like, 'you're cool.' "

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