Last month we brought you news of a Berkeley boy, now living in L.A., whose clever music video about shopping at Whole Foods went viral — our story about “getting real in the Whole Foods parking lot” garnered 400 Facebook Likes alone and the video itself has notched up more than 2.3 million views on YouTube.

While the video’s subject was familiar to many Berkeley Whole Food patrons — a lack of parking spaces, some more than precious food items and maybe a certain sticker shock — the story was set in Santa Monica, not our fair city. So perhaps it was inevitable that someone should do a remix which is actually shot at the Whole Foods on the intersection of Ashby and Telegraph.

Such an endeavor could have been a feeble flop, but the person behind it, one LaeCharles, has done a fine job of making the concept his own. Check it out above, and, if you would like a reminder of David Wittman’s original oeuvre (Berkeley High class of ’92), we bring it to you again below.

The question is, who is LaeCharles Lawrence Jr.? If you know, or indeed if you are he, please get in touch. You know where we are.

Update, 4:40pm: We’re glad to say Berkeleyside tracked LaeCharles down and here’s what he had to say:

Q: Are you a musician? What do you do?
I am a musician, vocalist, MC, voiceover actor and viral video producer. On the entertainment side, I produce and license music for my company Get Mine Publishing and Entertainment. I’ve had songs on “The Bernie Mack Show”, “So You Think You Can Dance”, “Saturday Night Live” and “Meerkat Manor”. I’m working on a new album “Lovey Love the Plus Size Player”, that I hope to have finished by October, which I’ll perform out, with my band L.A.E. (Live Audio Explosion) coming up soon.

I also work for SunPower Corporation in facilities management. Go solar!

Q: Where are you based?
I’m based in North Oakland, in the Temescal area, right down the street from the Berkeley Whole Foods.

Q: Why did you decide to do this video?
Well, I saw the original video, and laughed SO hard, I thought it was great! Some of my friends said that the guy in it (DJ Dave Wittman) was from Berkeley, which I thought was cool. I really enjoyed their (Fog & Smog) style of humor. It was like Lonely Island [guys who are] also from Berkeley High. I went to the Fog & Smog website and found the track, and as the video said, I felt like I wanted in!

Q: Tell us a little about the making of the video.
After recording the song, I started thinking of ideas for the video. The treatment actually was a lot different at first. It was more a straightforward following of the song. But in the week following I started to get new ideas. It took me a few days for new ideas and storyboarding, two and a half days of shooting and then two days of editing. I wasn’t sure I would be able to shoot in the store, because of the first video. But my crew and I had a ball making this video!

Q: Do you shop at Whole Foods? If so does your experience match the message in your video?
I shop at Whole Foods all the time, as some folks from Berkeley will or will not admit, we shop at three stores, Whole Foods (which is down the street from my place), Berkeley Bowl (the new one is niiiice!), and Trader Joe’s. Each store has different stuff I like.

The silent film part of my video actually happened. One morning before work I went there to get breakfast, and when I came out the SUV had parked so close that I couldn’t get in, so I had to wait for the person to come out before I could leave. She acted like she didn’t even care — no sorry or nothing. I was late for work of course.

Q: Did we see a comment from Fog & Smog on YouTube saying they love your video?
Yes Fog & Smog did say they liked it, which is also cool! DJ Dave is from Berkeley. Maybe there might be a collaboration, who knows. Stay tuned!

[Hat-tip: Laura Menard.]

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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  1. Certainly not. I am a mere 10 years older than DJ Dave, but remember the Co-op parking lot in my childhood full of VW bugs and vans, and the occasional new Japanese import car. Happy post-hippie chicks in long skirts sitting out front with a cardboard box full of adorable puppies to give away to new homes. That’s how you got a pet back then, unless the pet adopted you. It was SOOO not like the urban stress of Whole Foods now. Much more like a Farmer’s Market vibe, except the food was on the inside.

  2. I love your version, especially the Street Spirit! at the end.  You were so right.  The first original really wasn’t talking about Berkeley.  You did! Thanks so much!

  3. Lae Charles is a local guy, musician, and all around great guy! Proud to say, I know Lae and I’m so glad this got posted on Berkeleyside!

  4. I loved the original, but this is even better as it’s sooooo “Berkeley.”  The silent film bit is funky fun too.  Awesome job!

  5. Was the drivers in this parking lot as enraged and aggressive back in the days when this was Co-op? 

  6. Entertaining, but it doesn’t quite capture the rage of customers in the Whole Foods Parking lot.

    I used to get lunch there several times a month, and the parking lot is just insane. Long lines, people parking at odd angles, cars zipping around each other in this teeny space, blocking traffic, honking, cussing — rage. This parking lot is one of the worst things about Berkeley. I don’t see why people do it. It’s not worth it.

    As a pedestrian I always had to be extra careful while crossing this parking lot in the nicely-painted crosswalk. Drivers would often drive far to close and too fast. It was too unsafe.

    -= Stefan

  7. LAE is quite the talent.  He’s done music for TV as well.  Only a matter of time before his other stuff catches on.

  8. Love it and it’s MUCH more accurate about the Whole Foods scene (in ANY city, in my experience). I find the original to be much more poignant with it’s laughable, upper-middle class angst echoed in the line, “That’s just the way life IS, here in West LA.”

  9. The question is, who is Lae Charles Lawrence Jr.?

    LaeCharles (aka Lae) Lawrence Jr. is easy to find on LinkedIn and can probably be contacted in that direction.    He runs a label and has gigged around the area, including in Berkeley, with L.A.E. (Live Audio Explosion) – and does other stuff.

  10. Once again, I’d like to remind people that the CEO of Whole Foods actively campaigns against universal health care.

    Whole Foods is Hansel and Gretel for liberals and progressives. It looks pretty on the outside, but is ugly on the inside. If you consider yourself liberal or progressive, and still shop here, you’ve been had.