Rome Travel Guide

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

California Dreamin': The Pop Vernacular




For decades, Los Angeles has been the center of in-your-face kitsch marketing: the 1991 Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet on Western Avenue that resembles a bucket of chicken; the 1954 Capitol Records Building that looks like a stack of records with a stylus on top; the Petersen Automotive Museum, with a car suspended from the facade; Randy's Donuts on Manchester near the airport, featuring a giant donut atop the minimal modernist structure.

Except for the guys at the Coliseum dressed up as Centurions, there's not much kitsch in what is, after all, the Eternal, not the Ephemeral, City. Still, we found this example, in the upper reaches of Trastevere, up the Gianicolense, about two blocks downhill from Piazza San Giovanni di Dio. As its cone logo suggests, Old Moon Bar has ice cream.



But that's not why you ought to go. We know Old Moon as the "Fellini" bar; it's weird and entertaining, with a touch of the decadent: bar, ice cream parlor, cigarettes, wines, baked goods, newspapers and magazines, sundries. A few tables outside and 3 interior spaces: a quiet back room not much used except in winter; a Paris cafe-like front room with tables (additional charge to sit down), and a center room with a sweet curving bar of metal and glass. The dude presiding over the register is a piece of work; he isn't fast and you won't always get a receipt (the law notwithstanding), but he's got style. Inside Old Moon Bar, it could be 1962. Bill

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