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The meme account devoted to Glendale’s Americana at Brand was briefly suspended

The fountains at the Americana at Brand.
The fountains at the Americana at Brand.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The Twitter account devoted to the Americana at Brand shopping complex in Glendale was briefly suspended this week.

For the thousands of fans of the account, including this reporter, the temporary removal was more than just the loss of reliable spoofs of the wait times at the Cheesecake Factory and a satirical skewering of the Americana at Brand’s rivals, including the Beverly Center and its neighbor, the Glendale Galleria.

“Twitter, you mess with @americanamemes, you are messing with me. This is unacceptable,” writer Dave Schilling said on Twitter.

The creator of the account, a Glendale resident who requested anonymity, said he suspected an accumulation of copyright claims for popular music and images he posted led to the suspension. He had mostly ignored the roughly six copyright claims he’s received since the account began, and he said most arose from his adding popular songs to video of the Americana’s fountain.

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On Thursday, he received notice of a claim related to video he posted this week pairing the dancing fountain with “Stupid Love,” the new Lady Gaga song. In a telephone interview with The Times, he vowed to deal with the copyright claims.

“I’m hopeful that I’ll get it back. But this just might take a long time and a lot of emails,” he said.

By Friday morning, the account had been restored. A spokesman for Twitter declined to comment on the suspension.

The creator said that he started the account with two friends in May, at a time when he was unemployed and working in a grocery store. He “fell down the rabbit hole” of niche memes, including one feed that featured memes exchanged by movie theater employees.

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“They were sharing with each other memes about Yahoo.com having bad movie times, or having to replace popcorn. It was very specific things — such a weird subset of specific memes.”

After his wife told him about a meme account started by a town in upstate New York, the idea took root.

“It suddenly clicked: I think Glendale should have one. And it would be really funny to do one just on the Americana,” he recalled. He lives in Glendale and said he found himself regularly visiting the shopping complex, even when he wasn’t shopping, and he noticed that the Americana had “a strong following of people who love it.”

“It still feels like there’s always something special there. It’s more than a mall. It’s a weird oasis in Glendale.”

Over time, he has used the account to provide commentary on current events and trending issues, seizing boomlets in the current presidential race, for example, and recasting them in Americana-centric jokes.

He also pokes fun at the Americana itself. He compared the mural in the Americana’s movie theater lobby to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Last year, he wished a Happy Father’s Day to “The Americana’s daddy, Rick Caruso!”

Caruso’s eponymous firm built and operates the Americana.

The account’s creator said Caruso’s representatives reached out to him a few months ago, asking to meet for coffee. Before the meeting, he said, he was fretting over what would come of it.

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“In my head, ‘They are either going to try to shut the account down, or try to hire me to run their social media account.’ I went through, ‘What do I do? What do I do? Should I sell out?’ ”

Neither came to pass. “They wanted to get coffee and introduce themselves ... and open the line of communications,” he said.

He feels like the account is good publicity for Caruso’s company. “But I still haven’t gotten my free apartment from them,” he ribbed.


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