Wednesday, December 26, 2007

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Salon Pop for Gazette Newspapers

Retro-Inspired Salon Makes “Hot List”

By Emily Savage

Hairstylist Alonzo Negrette says he has styled hair in both generic cut shops and in the hippest Long Beach salons, but he prefers the latter.

“You can go to any stupid barber shop and get a fade or a flat top and you come out looking the same as everybody else,” Negrette said. “People come in (to Salon Pop and Barber Shop) and they want something funky — they want something that looks different.”

Salon Pop is a reincarnation of sorts, Negrette said. The small, retro-inspired salon at Redondo Avenue and 10th Street has been around since January of 2007. It’s already popular because of a migration of stylists from another formerly well-loved salon, Negrette said.

“Everybody that worked there, works here,” he said. “The original crew is here.”

The idea for Salon Pop came from three of the stylists at the other salon, after management switched hands, Negrette said. Nicole Welke, Lisa Sundal and Eva Mohler founded Salon Pop.

“It’s a fresh start here. It’s been pretty cool,” he said.

Not that he had any trouble finding clients. Not only does Negrette cut the hair of the Long Beach hipster elite, he also occasionally gets to clean up the hair of an up-and-coming band, he said.

Negrette’s friend who manages bands for a record label recently called to say The Black Lips were in town and needed a trim.

“I don’t get all geeky over (bands),” Negrette said. “Since sometimes I really don’t even know who they are, I just treat them like everybody else, and I think that’s what they want more than anything.”

The music played at the salon itself varies from Amy Winehouse to Hank Williams and The Flying Burrito Brothers. Basically, they like to play good music from any genre, Negrette said.

Styling hair has been Negrette’s passion since he was a 12-year-old punk, cutting his friends’ hair in his mom’s garage, he said. He graduated from a haircutting academy when he was 16 and has worked his way through Orange County and Long Beach salons.

“I’ve learned my whole life on this,” Negrette said. “Every decision I make is based on the past history of my clients.”

He sees five to twelve clients a day, depending on demand but never refuses to cut hair based on time issues, he said.

“I’ll work from nine in the morning until midnight if I have to,” Negrette said, “I try to accommodate everybody I can, whenever I can.”

As for future goals, Negrette is hoping to own his own salon, he said.

His ideal clients would be Johnny Depp and Tim Burton because, “(Tim) has weird hair and I know he’d come in and let me just mess with it,” he said.

He’d also like to style Scarlett Johansson because “she needs help with her hair — it has too much fluff and not enough edge.”

For now, Negrette is enjoying working alongside the seven stylists at Salon Pop, he said. The shop is currently in the running on Fox 11’s Hot List for “Best Barber.” Voting ends Nov. 23.

For details, visit To make an appointment, call 987-9200.

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