October 16, 2020
Big Talk Coffee Shop during the Pandemic
Coffee Shops are an amazing opportunity to bump into strangers from all walks of life. During the pandemic, we started a Big Talk Coffee Shop Humans of New York-style photo series to show how we can still remain physically distanced, but socially connected during this time.
Co-produced by Kalina Silverman and Shirly Ribak
Big Talk Question: “Who is your greatest superhero?” Answer: “My greatest superhero is Malcolm X. I would ask him how to navigate the times we are living in. He had great leadership and knowledge and was very gungho about everything.” – Brandon of Menotti’s in Venice, California
Question: How have you adapted to the pandemic? Answer: We have been lucky because when all else fails, the locals come and save us. They have been patient when everything crashed. There is a whole generation of employees and customers now who haven’t even been inside! Now we are hoping to get a beer and wine license and expand our parking lot for the evenings with live music and a nice environment. Big Talk Question 1: “What gives you hope?” Answer: “The knowledge that both good and bad exist in me, and therefore if I could choose good, then other people could choose good. There is a chance that we are not just monolith evil or monolith good.” Big Talk Question 2: “What was the most impactful event of your life?” Answer: “That is an amazing question. The birth of my son has changed my life, because before he opened his eyes, I felt it was easy to look at life and not take too much responsibility. But, when I first heard his first cry in the delivery room, I knew I couldn’t hide from life ever again. I live by a rule that says all my actions have to be as if my kids eyes were on me. So all the time I feel their tiny faces on me. It makes you a better person.” – Assaf of Dogtown Coffee in Santa Monica, California.
Question: “How have you adapted to the pandemic?” Answer: “I created a podcast called “Coffee and friends” to learn more about who is behind the cup.” Big Talk Question 1: “Describe a turning point in your life.” Answer: “That’s an easy one to answer. I was born and raised in Mexico and I moved to this country when I was 11 years old, so learning the language and adapting to the atmosphere was challenging, but now I have been living here for more than 20 years, and this is all I know now, no longer Mexico. But I still haven’t lost my culture and my roots.” Big Talk Question 2: “If money were no concern, how would you lead life differently?” Answer: “I would probably be able to help more mental health institutions because I think that is one of the biggest problems we have in this world. I’d also contribute to St.Jude’s hospital or another children’s hospital. That’s where most of the money I’d make would go. That’s what I’d do differently.” -Juan of Menotti’s in Venice, California