THE CORNER OF Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards in Beverly Hills has always been a gathering place for people who have something to complain about.
Take a drive by there any evening and you’ll probably find several disgruntled citizens congregating in the park on that corner carrying placards, demonstrating against something — from the buildup of nuclear weapons to the inhumane treatment of laboratory mice and janitors.
As a matter of fact, about the only subject that hasn’t been the target of protesters on that corner has been ABC’s inhumane treatment of Tom Arnold.
Ironically, however, on the diagonal corner, across from the park, sits another of Beverly Hills’ better-known landmarks, that fortress of solitude known as Creative Artists Agency.
So it came as no surprise that earlier this week, a lone protester who decided to make his presence felt took up his sign and decided to picket CAA.
The protester with an ax to grind was Stan, a 38-year-old actor, who spends most of his non-picketing time these days acting like a waiter.
Stan, who carried a cardboard sign that read, “CAA Unfair to Hollywood Guilds,” is convinced that the powerful agency is trying to take over the world.
“Did you ever see ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers?’ ” he asked, referring to the classic sci-fi film. “It’s beginning to feel like that in Hollywood. Everywhere you turn, Ovitz and CAA pop up. There’s no escape from them. They’ve got their tentacles in everything. It’s scary.”
Of course, Stan, the activist, was referring to CAA’s latest foray into the world of show business — acting as consultant to Credit Lyonnais, the owner of MGM. It’s an issue that’s ticked off more than a few people, including ICM’s Jeff Berg, who’s been trying to get the industry up in arms against CAA.
While Berg may not have gotten toomany people to line up on his side in the controversy, he can probably sleep better at night knowing that Stan, the unemployed actor and activist, agrees with him. Perhaps he might even get Stan a job.
STAN LIT A CIGARETTE and continued his vigil. A few minutes later, a local TV station’s newsvan cruised by, in search of a story. Stan held his sign up to try and get their attention, but, alas, they drove right by him.
They were obviously in search of something a bit more sensational, like maybe an interview with a carjacker — especially during sweeps.
“That doesn’t surprise me,” Stan said between drags of his cigarette. “Ovitz has all the journalists in his back pocket, too. They all want to be screenwriters and producers. They’re not going to give me any ink.”
Stan admitted that this was the first cause he has been involved with since his college days at UC Berkeley, when he protested the Vietnam War. In addition to picketing the CAA headquarters, Stan had come up with some other unusual ideas he was considering.
“I’d like to get an initiative on the ballot that would limit CAA’s power influence over commercials,” said Stan, who was now beginning to sound like Don Quixote and Tom Hayden rolled into one.
“I’m also thinking of getting Gloria Allred to file a lawsuit on my behalf.”
The latter idea sounded interesting except that what Stan failed to realize is that the only way feminist lawyer Allred would take his case is if he were dressed as a woman and Ovitz wouldn’t allow him into the CAA steamroom.
An hour later, an elderly woman arrived, carrying a sign, and began marching in the park.
Thinking he had finally found an ally, Stan’s eyes lit up.
“Are you here to protest CAA?” he asked her. “I can use all the help I can get.”
“What’s CAA?” she asked.
“It’s an insidious organization that’s trying to take over the world,” Stan said.
“Oh, like the Tri-Lateral Commission,” the woman said, referring to another favorite target of government conspiracy buffs.
“Worse,” Stan said, who with each minute was sounding more and more like Oliver Stone — ironically, a CAA client.
“I don’t know anything about CAA. I’m just trying to get Clinton to cut the defense budget.”
“This is worse than the defense budget,” Stan told her. “They are going to control your life. Just look at those Coca-Cola commercials.”
Stan was now beginning to sound like the character played by Kevin McCarthy in the original “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Maybe he could land a role the next time they remake the film, which seems to be several times a year.
The elderly woman walked away from Stan and held up her sign, which read, “Honk If You Love Peace,” to a group of passing motorists. As the cars drove by, they all began honking and Stan looked on enviously.
“I’ve got an idea,” Stan said with a smile. He took out a pen and made a new sign. “Maybe I’ll have better luck with this.”
It read, “Honk If You Love William Morris.”