Culture jamming goes venti… The launch of Dumb Starbucks

Something for the “Nothing This Cool Ever Happens Here” file: On Friday, in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, a new Starbucks opened its doors. This, in and of itself, may not be that noteworthy. This one, however, was a little different. It wasn’t just your standard, everyday, run of the mill Starbucks, but a Dumb Starbucks. Here’s a photo that I just grabbed off of the Instagram account of LA-based sword swallower and performance artist Brett Loudermilk. [One suspects he wasn’t the only performance artist in the area this weekend.]


While no one has yet come forward to take credit for the high-profile culture jamming operation, word on the street is that the fingerprints of our friend Banksy may have been detected. (As you’ll recall, it wasn’t too long ago that he took down McDonalds in somewhat similar fashion.)

As for how they’re getting away with it, it’s a little thing called fair use. With more on that, here’s their FAQ:


update: According to the L.A. Times it’s not nearly as interesting as I’d thought. It’s apparently not the work of Banksy, but of a guy named Nathan Fielder, who was looking to promote a television show that he has on Comedy Central called “Nathan For You.”

update: The County Health Department shut them down. (And I think it was the real County Health Department, and not a dumb one.)

update: If I still lived in L.A., I would have gone over as a dumb inspector from the Dumb County Health Department, shut them down for something dumb, and then held a press conference out front.

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  1. Iron Scissors
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 9:43 pm | Permalink is available!

  2. Josh S.
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Dude, it’s like two blocks away from me and this shit is everywhere. I’m not standing in line for terrible coffee, even if it is free.

  3. Eel
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Dumb Smarty Catz.

  4. AA
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Isn’t that a little redundant, Eel?

  5. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    OMG it would have been a hundred times more interesting if Banksy had his fingerprints all over this already totally cool piece of art.

  6. dot dot dash
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I didn’t read it like that at all, Mrs. Flake. The way I read it, Mark was saying that it would have been cooler if it was really culture jamming in its purest form, and not just someone looking to promote a television show on Comedy Central.

  7. Kristin Schrader
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Dumb Norah Jones CD is my favorite.

  8. Elf
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    You should have walked the two blocks, found a member of the press, and taken credit for the whole thing, Josh.

  9. Edward
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Is the guy in the photo wearing a Guy Fawkes mask?

  10. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Dot dot,

    Awwe, you defined my gender for me . That is hot! In a bossy tone, tell me who is and who is not allowed to jam my culture and I will definitely start calling you “daddy”.

  11. Eel
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Evolution at work. People are being born with Guy Fawkes faces.

  12. Taco Farts
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I can’t say that I’d find the work more or less interesting if Banksy were behind it. Is that really the clincher here?

  13. Posted February 11, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    The piece is interesting regardless of who was behind it. I was just disappointed to find that it was done as a part of a Comedy Central television show, and not the work of someone like the Yes Men, who fuck with corporations for a living. In the end, the distinction is’t that important.

  14. Khan
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Sadly this is taking attention from Shia LaBeouf’s art project in LA. He’s sitting in a room with a bag over his head, in front of a bowl full of mean tweats that have been written about him. (

    “Shia was sitting at a small wooden table in the center of the space. He was wearing a suit and the “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE” bag that he had on his head in Berlin.

    The woman left, and it was just me and Shia. I didn’t sneak a photo of him, out of respect for his art (just kidding: I chickened out).

    I sat down opposite him. As far as I could tell, I wasn’t being filmed, and nobody was listening in.

    After sitting there for a few seconds as Shia stared at me in silence, I said, “So you’re not gonna talk, huh?” He didn’t respond.

    I looked at his hands; I looked at his eyes. I felt a little bit embarrassed, both for Shia and myself.

    I took one of the tweets out of the bowl and read it. It said something about Shia’s being an “insufferable twat.”

    I looked back into his eyes and noticed that the bag was soggy underneath the eyeholes. Without thinking about it, I asked, “Is the mask like that because you’ve been crying?” Shia said nothing. I internally scolded myself for indulging him.

    I decided just to sit and stare into his eyes and wait until they told me my time was up. After doing this for a couple of boring, awkward minutes, I realized that maybe I didn’t have a time limit. I decided to show myself out.

    Right before I got up to leave, I pulled one of the mean tweets out of the bowl and read it aloud to him. It said, “The apotheosis of trying too hard,” which was fitting.

    As I left the room, I thanked him. Shia nodded at me.

  15. Posted February 12, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    This post was not very useful.

  16. Dr. Peter Larson
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never heard of Starbucks.

  17. Posted February 13, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I have heard of it, but dislike their coffee.

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