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‘Cool Kevin’ gives the skinny on Huntington Beach

October 28, 2011 |  9:26 am

Cool Kevin of the Huntington Beach Low-Down
Dudes, meet Cool Kevin.

He's the tourism coordinator for Huntington Beach's Marketing and Visitors Bureau and the host of "The Huntington Beach Low-Down," a recently launched video series that extols the virtues of Surf City.

Host Kevin Keller -– who looks like the prototypical California surfer -– is quickly becoming a recognizable figure, the Huntington Beach Independent reported.

"People recognize me walking down the street and they'll ask me random questions," Keller recently said between takes in downtown Huntington Beach. "It's pretty funny."

Wearing shades and a black T-shirt with the bureau logo, Keller got the action cue and began describing the shop's merchandise and café, occasionally searching for a word but never pausing. The host, who lives downtown and works during the week in the information kiosk by the pier, doesn't need a rehearsal to talk about Huntington.

When communications manager Madison Fisher and film commissioner Briton Saxton conceived of "Low-Down," they sought a homegrown feel. That means hand-held camera work, improvised narration — and even flubs kept in the final cut. The October installment, "Best Breakfast Places," begins with a short clip of Keller pausing before his introduction, then laughing and requesting a retake.

"We want it to seem like it's local, like you're traveling around with your buddy instead of seeing some professionally made video," Saxton said.

"Low-Down," which the bureau posts on its YouTube channel, began this summer with a short documentary on the U.S. Open of Surfing. The project premiered as a monthly series in October, and the first installment has gotten about 200 hits so far, Fisher said.

Keller — or Cool Kevin, as he introduces himself on screen — takes the viewer on tours around town and conducts interviews with a hand-held microphone.

To add to the show's ramshackle feel, the producers created a hand-painted sign featuring the show's title with drawings of the sun, birds and a sandy beach, which Keller and others wave in front of the camera throughout the videos.

The October episode features breakfast eateries around Huntington, including Ruby's and the Sugar Shack. Surf shops are on the docket for November, and the producers have already sketched out a series of upcoming episodes—including one in which Keller teaches Saxton to surf.

The staff, Fisher noted, is open to ideas for future shows.

"We'll happily take suggestions if there's a place locals want to see highlighted," she said. "Right now, it's really us deciding what to be featured, so we'd love some feedback."


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-- Michael Miller, Times Community News

Photo: Kevin Keller hosts "The Huntington Beach Low-Down." Credit: YouTube