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Bernie Sanders Art Party Happening Inside Retro LA Diner

The event is part art installation, part political motivator

Johnie's Coffee Shop, Wilshire
Johnie's Coffee Shop, Wilshire
Wonho Frank Lee
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Politics will be mixing with cups of diner coffee and plates of eggs tonight, as a cadre of artists seem to have taken over the longstanding Johnie’s Coffee Shop on Wilshire. The blue and white Googie diner space is among the most prominent restaurant icons in the city, but beginning at 7 p.m. tonight it’ll be transformed into a Bernie Sanders calling card ahead of California’s June 7 primary.

The news of the colorful overhaul comes from the New York Times of all places, though a few shots of the art in question have been leaking out beforehand. The Times spoke with Howard Gold, whose family controls the restaurant and will be curating tonight’s event. In the story, Gold says he views Johnie’s as a bit of art itself, so naturally it made sense to throw a politcally-tinged art party inside in what could be one of the most contentious primaries to hit California in decades.

All of the pro-Bernie artwork on display will keep to a loose food theme, helping to bring the concept and the space together. There’s Bernie on a faux bucket of KFC, and another of the white-haired Senator looking suspiciously like an early McDonald’s mascot. That’s all underscored by the large multicolored mural that was recently painted on the outside of the restaurant in anticipation of the primary.

California, June 7 vote for the best choice on the menu

A photo posted by @berniesarmyla on

Gold says the show will not be a fundraiser for Bernie per se, though there will be some swag available for purchase on site. If you’ve driven past any time in the last few days, you’ve no doubt noticed the campaign tent out front too, imploring passersby to register to vote (and then vote for Bernie). If all goes as planned, Gold tells the Times, expect the art show to run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight.

Johnie's Coffee Shop

6101 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048 (323) 938-3521