Angelenos like to get all creative and ostentatious with their cell-phone rings. It’s just another form of personal expression! Bugs Bunny, 50 Cent or the “Hava Nagila” can suddenly bleat forth from your purse (volume capabilities have grown exponentially over the past few years) and no one will bat an eye. But recently, at a party here-it had gotten “cold” (i.e., 45 degrees), and someone thought it might be fun to make pozole -a discreet cell-phone jangle came out of someone’s breast pocket that silenced the entire room.
It went, simply: Brriiiing , brrriiing .
There it was: the sweet peal of our childhood. A grave, familiar sound that harked back to an era before cell phones, before cordless, before speaker, possibly even before touch-tone. A simple, solid ring from a time when phones had heft; when you actually had to be tethered to the instrument during a conversation; when the term “phone appointment” had meaning and import; when you had to answer, you couldn’t “let the machine get it”; a time when being an adult meant you could actually handle a “live” phone call, no matter who was calling. At the party, the ring wasn’t a tinny Casio simulacrum of a classic ring: It was resonant and startlingly real.
All the guests oohed and aahed and immediately wanted to know how they could get it for themselves.
The phone, an LG-5660 from Sprint PCS, belonged to David Agranov, 28, an actor who has lived in Hancock Park for two years, and the ring, known as “Ring One,” is one of the built-in programming options, along with an annoying “bugle” tone and an anonymous cowboy shouting “Whoo- hooo ! Somebody’s got a phone call!”
Mr. Agranov had developed a bit of tone envy after taking a freelance job with Interscope executives, who all boasted cutting-edge rings based on their artists’ latest recordings. He mulled more florid options-a Spanish woman’s voice announcing the incoming call, a song sample from A Tribe Called Quest-but something about Ring One, which he refers to as the “antiquated ring,” just spoke to him.
“Nothing else I listened to was that impressive,” he said. “I’m not a really big mobile-phone guy, so I like this ring. I think it has a little character. It sounds like when I grew up in D.C.-some phone in my parents’ basement.”
And the peer response to Ring One has been overwhelmingly positive.
“People laugh,” Mr. Agranov said. “They think it’s an anachronism. A mobile phone is kind of like this sexy little silver clamshell, and then it sounds like this old, old thing.”
On New Year’s Eve, he visited Stolichnaya, a Russian bakery on Santa Monica Boulevard, and was balancing his cheesecake, fruit tart and cell phone when he got an incoming call.
“I was paying the cashier-you know, they’re all Russians in there-and she goes, ‘Oh my God, it sound like old Soviet phone from 1971,’” he said.
But Mr. Agranov has refused to commit 100 percent; he’s currently alternating with a snatch from Schubert’s Trout Quintet (the favorite piece of a character in a book he’s reading, Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay ). “It goes, ‘Da-dum, dum, dum-dah-dum, dum-dum, da-dum, da-dum,’” he said, “and behind it you have like little running-brook songs.” Callers known to him are heralded by Ring One, but anyone who phones in as “ID unknown” or “restricted” or “private” gets the Trout .
“It’s a little fishy ring,” he said.
Though downright democratic now that Old Navy et al. sell them for $19.99, down jackets pose a perennial fashion challenge: It’s a slippery slope-quite literally-from cute little hip-hop snow bunny to Kenny from South Park .
The dernier cri in down these day? Shockingly, a jacket designed by J. Lo. What, the singer-actress-dancer Jennifer Lopez? The same.
That’s right. Just when you thought Ms. Lo had finally shimmied over the shark, what with her terrible movies and lunkhead fiancé, she (or her licensing minions) have busted out with a “downtown puffer with faux fur trim” that many a smart chick can’t wait to get her hands on. At $98, this jacket strikes a nice middle ground between the cheapie Old Navy stuff-which “sheds,” according to one disappointed recent buyer-and high-end ski wear from European lines like Bogner, which can reach into the outrageously high three figures.
“The customer’s looking for the down jackets by J. Lo a lot,” said Nelly Molina, a sales associate in the juniors department at the West Hollywood Macy’s. “They want the short style-the one without the belt.” (And with good reason; as any savvy dresser knows, if a belt on a puffy jacket doesn’t fit just right, you’re going to look like a sofa.)
But you need to act fast. J. Lo, that tease, made only one shipment of the cute parkas to Macy’s. The white puffers were already out of stock at the WestHo location; a few remain in black and royal blue. (Bonus points if you can track down the elusive pink one that appeared, tantalizingly, as part of a promotion in a recent Us Weekly .) Why the fervent demand?
“Honestly? I have no idea,” Ms. Molina said, though she promised they were suitable for skiing. She added that she had an ample supply of the more discreet “uptown” style for $125: “Not long long, but not short short-just below your buttocks.”
A smaller selection of jackets is also for sale on the mesmerizingly cheesy Web site, shopjlo.com, on which the tawny, supple pop star is pictured quite literally kicking up her heels, the gleeful smile on her face suggesting that Gigli had never happened.
Ms. Lopez may or may not close the deal with Ben Affleck, but as a sort of multi-culti “Jaclyn Smith for Kmart” of the new millennium, she could have a rich future.