I Am Los Angeles: Shining and Smiling



I Am Los Angeles is a video portrait series created by journalist and filmmaker Joris Debeij, showcasing the unique people and their ideas that make L.A. what it is. KCET Departures will be featuring these videos as part of our continuing coverage of the shifting cultures of Los Angeles.


For more than 14 years he's worked and watched as people from all over the world float by with smiling faces. It's not Disneyland that's the work place of Andy Waller, but the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California. Sunshine, the ocean and hundreds of people for watching; Andy seems to have one of the best working environments on the planet.

Born in Texas and programmed with a pre-disposition for the Californian sun, Andy works almost every day, year-round. Andy is the shoe shiner at 3rd Street Promenade. His customers come from all over and wear dress shoes, tennis shoes, and sometimes, even slippers or flip-flops. He started out shining shoes at Fox Studios, but that was before he moved his business just outside the Santa Monica police station, to make sure that the boots of the police officers were always shining. Several years later, Andy was asked to become the shoe shiner of 3rd street promenade in Santa Monica and has been there, watching the crowds, ever since. Andy knows everybody and sees and hears a lot of stories.

Originally published on I Am Los Angeles, 2011.


Check out more video portraits at I Am Los Angeles.

About the Author

Dutch-born journalist and filmmaker now based Los Angeles.
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