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Cleanup at all checkout stands

Gelson's limits distribution of the AFI Festival guide after a customer complains about a cover photo.

October 26, 2007|Gina Piccalo | Times Staff Writer

A couple of bare-bottomed girls featured in an AFI Festival guide -- an image from Adam Rifkin's surveillance-camera drama "Look" -- caused a minor dust-up when a Gelson's customer offended by the photo complained, prompting the chain to revise its festival sponsorship and pull 5,000 copies of the guide from cashier counters last weekend.

Store managers made the decision independent of the chain's cultural promotions director. Now Gelson's executives are planning another way to distribute the festival guide to customers on request, said AFI Festival spokesman John Wildman. Originally, the guides were put at every checkout counter and placed in customer shopping bags as part of a sponsorship agreement to promote the 10-day Los Angeles festival, which opens Nov. 1.

"Gelson's is trying to work with us," said Wildman. "They do have plans to make them available. I believe a poster will be put up [in stores] so people will know they can get their quick guides and get them in that way."

Calls for comment to Gelson's were not immediately returned.

A Los Angeles woman complained last Friday after she spotted a still photo from "Look" that depicted two G-string clad young women looking over their shoulders at their rear ends in a department store dressing room. (The same guide is being distributed in the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times, in LA Weekly and at boutiques and stores around town.) The film is shot from the point of view of surveillance cameras to address the issue of privacy versus security.

The AFI guide features a screening schedule of 147 films, event listings and general information about the festival. This is the first year that Gelson's has agreed to promote the festival, Wildman said. On Thursday, Gelson's website still advertised a contest to win tickets to the festival and a link to the AFI Festival's home page, which also includes the guide.

gina.piccalo@latimes.com

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