January 27, 2020

Angelenos Celebrate Community, Feminism and Discounted Deli During Amazon’s ‘Maisel Day’

Pink Maisel balloons that stood outside every location during Maisel Day. Photo by Erin Ben-Moche

Clusters of pink balloons were spotted throughout Los Angeles on Aug. 15 to celebrate Amazon Prime’s multi-award-winning series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” The show, created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband Dan Palladino, tells the rise of a female Jewish comic in 1950s New York.

Nominated for 20 Emmys this year, Season 3 won’t be available to stream until Dec. 6, but with a push from Amazon, more than 30 businesses changed their store prices for one day only to match 1959 price tags.

From Glendale to Santa Monica, thousands of Angelenos took their Maisel Day maps — provided by “Maiselettes” promoting the show at every business location — and waited in line at hair salons, delis, bakeries, ice cream parlors, comedy clubs, movie theaters and hotels for discounted rates.

Whitney, one of the Amazon “Maiselettes” inside Drybar in Burbank. (Photos by Erin Ben-Moche)

If people weren’t standing in physical lines, their cars were wrapped around the Chevron station in Santa Monica, where hundreds waited to fill up for 30 cents a gallon. The Santa Monica Police Department shut down the gas station halfway through the day due to gridlock.

While some showed up to the different businesses for the discounts, many were willing to stand in more than one line and chat about their favorite streaming show.

Twenty-seven-year-old Oyuki Limon lined up at 11 a.m. at the Haagen Dazs Ice Cream shop in Glendale for an 88-cent scoop. (Normally a regular scoop is $4.99). Limon came with her mom, who wore a teacup dress. Limon’s 20-year-old friend Yesenia Perez was also there.

“I love the show,” Limon said. “It’s my favorite. I just love her [Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel, played by Rachel Brosnahan] so much. She is so inspiring and she is a strong woman. It’s so cool to see, in that time period especially.”

Perez also raved about the show. “It’s so cool to see a woman play a character that isn’t weak,” she said. “She picks herself up and tries to pick others up around her. I love every minute of it.”

Josie Cienna in her 1950s custom design outfit waiting in line at Deluca’s Italian Deli. Photo by Erin Ben-Moche

Around the corner at Deluca’s Italian Deli, which was selling a deli-style turkey sandwich for $2, Josie Cienna, 31, stood in line for about 10 minutes. A historical costumer, she was rocking one of her own original 1950’s inspired designs. She said she also loves the show for its feminist themes.

“[I love the] humor, the pushing boundaries for feminism in the 50s, taking charge and taking ownership of herself.” For the upcoming season, Cienna said, “I just want Midge to go further with [the idea that] she really doesn’t need the man, she just needs herself. Every character in that show is so complex I love it.”

Some food stops were so popular they were sold out before lunchtime. Lauren Tominac, 23, had been serving rose coffee at Philz Coffee in Glendale since 8:30 a.m. but by 11:45 a.m. they ran out. The rose coffee — an iced coffee with rose-infused cream — is pink in color, making it perfect for Maisel Day. Tominac said the first customer asking for the 50-cent “Maisel” drink came in at 6 a.m.

Tominac’s mother introduced her to the show but Tominic said she wasn’t as obsessed as some of the customers she served. After Maisel Day she is considering watching it again. “From what I’ve seen it’s hilarious,” she said. “This is definitely my push to sit down and watch it.”

The busy line out of the door at Canter’s Deli on Fairfax. Photo by Erin Ben-Moche

Around noon, lines that were once manageable at Pink’s Hot Dogs, Mel’s Drive-In, Canter’s Deli and Art’s Deli, had nearly doubled. That didn’t necessarily put a damper on the day. While waiting, people chatted about the Catskills, Sherman-Palladino’s writing chops and Susie Myerson (Played by Alex Borstein). Predictions for the upcoming season were mentioned but were often cut short when some people complained they hadn’t yet caught up with Season 2.

At Canter’s there was both a sit down service and an express line for the 99-cent sandwiches. One mensch left with his sandwich and gave it to a homeless person.

Although most of the people who showed up to the events throughout the day were women, there were a handful of men who stood in line, including L.A. native and nice Jewish boy Mike White.

The “Maisel” pastrami sandwich at Canter’s, which happened to be cheaper than the Coke ordered with it. Photo by Erin Ben-Moche

White said he learned about Maisel Day on Twitter and was happy to be in the right neighborhood at the right time to snag a 99-cent pastrami sandwich at Canter’s Deli.

“I’m a big fan,” White said. “My favorite is Alex Borstein. And Tony Shaloub (who plays Miriam’s father) is just fantastic. It reminds us of a simpler time, even though I wasn’t around for it. I learned a lot.”

At Canter’s, there was both a sit-down service and an express line for the 99-cent sandwiches. One mensch left with his sandwich and gave it to a homeless person. Neighboring businesses that weren’t involved in Maisel Day also undertook simple acts of kindness by passing out ice water to those in line sweating from the heat.

One of the T-bird employees at Big Sugar Bakeshop handing out pink vanilla cupcakes.
Photo by Erin Ben-Moche

In Studio City, people waited in line for 25-cent pink vanilla cupcakes at Big Sugar Bakeshop. Inside, the store played “Splish Splash” by Bobby Darin and employees dressed as T-Birds handed out baked goods.

Maisel Day was an opportunity to enjoy something fun. At around 2:30 p.m. on Ventura Boulevard many of those who had come out for the Maisel experience said they hadn’t checked their phones or the news all day.

Marion Blake standing in line at Arts Deli rocking her vintage 1950s dress on Maisel Day.

Among them was Marion Blake, 28, who had also dressed up for the occasion. She’d already been to two locations: the French bakery and tearoom Laduree, and the Starring By Ted Gibson hair salon.

“I think it’s really rad,” Blake said. “I think if Amazon were to do this more frequently, that would be really awesome. I think it’s really cool celebrating Midge and celebrating all the awards this show has won, and this really strong feminist character. Seeing so many people come out today has been cool, too.”

This story has been updated to include the Season 3 release date and trailer.