Hollywood Gaga Over Photobooths

Quentin Tarantino installed a photo booth at his house in the Hollywood Hills last year. Mr. Ratner said Mr. Tarantino got the idea from him after he saw his photo booth at the birthday party he gave for his former fiancée, the actress Rebecca Gayheart. After Rob Zombie, a rock music figure and film director, rented booths for both his wedding and his birthday party, he was hooked, too: Mr. Zombie is inquiring about buying his own.

Photo booths even found their way into the movie awards season. At the Golden Globes show in January, Pat O’Brien, the host of the CBS celebrity program “The Insider,” greeted the Globe winners Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx by shuttling them into a booth. ” ‘Let’s do a smiley one,’ ” he recalled Mr. DiCaprio saying. Mr. O’Brien also made funny faces with Hilary Swank and Annette Bening. (Ms. Bening’s husband, Warren Beatty, waited patiently outside the booth.)

Jamie Lee Curtis, who rented a booth for her 18-year-old daughter Anne’s birthday party at the Hyatt in January, said, “There’s something about the anonymity of a photo booth – that you get to pull the curtain and do whatever you want – that is very provocative and freeing. And dangerous.”

The Short Stop’s owner, Oliver Wilson, knows what Ms. Curtis was talking about. “You see people going absolutely bananas in there,” he said. “There’s a certain sexuality to it. Among the things he has seen: “Girls taking off their shirts. These are, like, good girls who have jobs and stuff. And guys taking down their pants.” Matthew Barnard, a bartender at the Short Stop, recalled, “I had to kick a guy out one night because he was naked in there.”

Those silly faces and sexy poses come naturally in the curtained privacy of the photo booth. So does romance. Patti Peck at Edendale Grill remembered a marriage proposal that took place in Edendale’s booth. “He wanted the absolute excited look on her face – and he got it,” she said. And Ms. Curtis said she had photo booth pictures of her and her husband, the director, writer and actor Christopher Guest, as the sole adornment on their 20th wedding anniversary party invitations last December.

Perhaps Hallie Faben, a 24-year-old film editor, has the most novel use for photo booths. She says they can come in handy in the dating game. After stopping by the Short Stop on a first date, she recounted, her companion suggested a whirl in the machine. “But our body language was kind of weird,” Ms. Faben said, describing the photo strip, “so I took it as a sign that we shouldn’t date.”