STAY in a bubble HOTEL, Downtown L.A.

In our latest news, Downtown's new Stay hotel continues its inauguration this month with a novel publicity stunt that has come with a few twists. In an effort to promote the budget hotel/youth hostel hybrid, a group of young guests are currently living in two ground-level rooms with storefront windows. The guests (three men in one room, one woman in the other) will be fully visible from the sidewalk throughout the day and into the night for passersby to gawk at until Nov. 18. The Stay hotel is carved out of the decidedly less glamorous Cecil Hotel (the hotels have separate entrances). Since a group of partners bought the property last year, the owners have been performing a series of upgrades on the 80-year-old hotel, which for many years was a magnet for drugs and prostitution but also served low-income residents. The efforts have been cheered by some downtown boosters, but some advocates for the poor worry about longtime low-income residents being pushed out. The guests - Alicia Baker, 27; Casey Nelson, 25; Toby Glass, 24; and Zac Morris, 21 - all models or actors, found the job via an ad on Craigslist. The guests seem to take a laidback approach to the 20-day gig, which will earn them $500 and, they hope, some exposure. "I'm prone to doing fun, strange things," said Morris, explaining why he wanted the job. The others echoed his "why not?" approach. Goofing off, blogging and making short videos chronicling their stint for the promotional website stayinabubble.com help fill the days inside the display rooms. The guests-for-hire may come and go during the day, though one person must be in each room at all times. Each also has a regular, upstairs room at Stay, which most of them sleep in during the late night to early morning hours. For the most part, the guests say they are enjoying the attention that comes with living in a bubble. Click here for their daily blog entries. In a land where reality t.v. rules the world, this is a genius concept to promote this hotel. If you want to stare, Stay Hotel (and Cecil Hotel) is located at 640 South Main Street in Downtown, Los Angeles. ~Candice

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