Scott Huffines stocks literature for 'mutated minds'...

Scott Huffines stocks literature for 'mutated minds' at 0) Atomic Books

Scott Huffines sees all kinds of people: bikers, businessmen, ladies with bouffants.


They drop by Atomic Books, the funky store he opened recently in Mount Vernon, to peruse the body-piercing magazines, books about UFOs and odd comics.

"I call them literary finds for mutated minds," Mr. Huffines says of his inventory.


He counts himself among the mutated.

After spending the better part of his 29 years reading alternative books and sharing them with friends, he decided to turn a hobby into a career several months ago.

It hasn't been easy. In addition to getting a small business loan, he's overextended his credit cards and can't afford to hire any employees.

"I'm one step ahead of the bill collector," says Mr. Huffines, who lives in Essex.

But he's also had some real successes. One of his hottest sellers is the "I Hate Brenda" newsletter, a compendium of anti-"Beverly Hills 90210" articles particularly critical of actress Shannen Doherty, who plays Brenda on the show.

The appeal of some other works surprises even him. Take, for example, the fan magazine for eight-track tape owners. "I'm totally fascinated that somebody puts that out," he says.

What's even more surprising is how Mr. Huffines spends his spare time.

"You're not going to believe this," he says. "But after being in a bookstore all day, I like to go home and read."


Call him Mr. Film Biz. Everyone else does.

Wally Hall, who lives in Federal Hill, even advertises the fact that he's in the movies on the license plate of his Mazda Miata. It reads: FILMBIZ.

Perhaps he's earned that right after working on nine films and putting in endless days searching for locations to film movies such as "Hairspray" and "Avalon."

Since October, he's had another mission: finding 28 spots to shoot "Guarding Tess," the TriStar movie being filmed in Maryland now.

As locations manager, Mr. Hall says one of the toughest challenges was finding the right house for Shirley MacLaine's character, a former first lady being protected by a secret serviceman played by Nicholas Cage.

During his nearly two-month search, he photographed 70 homes before finding the right white three-story home in Mount Washington.


After that, he had to convince the owners not to worry as production people redid the kitchen and knocked out walls in the master bedroom. (They will return the house to its former state after filming ends.)

"The great thing about this job is I can spend the morning in the boardroom of some president of a company and be out with a farmer in a pickup truck in the afternoon," says Mr. Hall, 33.

"But the biggest thrill is the day when it's over, knowing you survived it."

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