Monster’s Ball


It was difficult to tell exactly when I arrived at the Echo Park Time Travel Mart. Even more disturbing was trying to remember when I had come from. I always do that, forget when I just was. Then I get anxious about when I’m going next. Or then there’s the possibility of running into my future self, as I have a tendency to do. At any rate, the employees were kind, the store well-lit, and I felt comfortable, as if I’d visited before. Perhaps I was there tomorrow.

This gash in the time-space continuum, I soon (or long ago) learned, is the latest brilliant front to the new 826LA drop-in tutoring center. Ever since the first pirate supply store opened in SF, 826 chapters nationwide have adhered to founder Dave Eggers’ whimsical vision for creating themed retail experiences with obsessive (and sometimes disturbing) vigor. I alluded to LA’s concept in the past, in an article I wrote for Wired about the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. (that’s 826NYC), with products designed by my friend Sam Potts. Little did I know when I wrote that article that my other friend Stefan Bucher would be designing all the products for this one (but I really should have traveled back to now to learn that). Oddly enough, a few people who were at the Time Travel Mart Saturday for the launch party of Stefan’s new book 100 Days of Monsters, another chapter in his incredible Daily Monster project, didn’t know that he was behind all the products either. They just thought it was a nice bit of monster-time travel synergy. Which, if you think about it, does make a lot of sense.


After getting my copy of Monsters signed by Stefan—who was kindly drawing very nice personal notes for everyone—I perused the shelves of the extremely convincing Time Travel Mart. Of course I could have thrown down for some Robot Milk or Barbarian Repellent (I believe they only accept gold bullion as currency) but I was particularly captivated by this Ricky Martin lunchbox, a must for anyone traveling back to that one week in 2000 when it was actually cool to carry a Ricky Martin lunchbox.

Also being transported was Time Travel Mart architect R. Scott Mitchell, who was talking to Jenna Didier and Oliver Hess from the m-azing M&A. I also saw design scenesters Terry Stone and Michele Moore, Knock Knock‘s Jen Bilik, and Vesna Petrovic from Picnic Design who’s curating and designing the upcoming show Everyday Design at MODAA. Vesna’s business partner Marci Boudreau wasn’t there because she was at the opening for her own show at Little Bird Gallery in Atwater, so I’d say that Picnic is having a very good month!


I can’t say the same about another guest at the party. The monster Stefan invited was a real ham and ended up jumping in photos with everyone. He was also letting people shape-shift his facial features which freaked me out a little bit until I got the hang of it. Of course I thought I was being all creative until I saw him posing with other people and having, like, six eyes and his teeth on his forehead and stuff. I think I scared him more than he scared me.

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  • car jacks

    I must say, I could not agree with you in 100%, but that’s just my opinion, which could be very wrong.
    p.s. You have an awesome template . Where have you got it from?

  • John

    Thanks, keep on posting

  • Patty

    There was no need for your to post a link to the hastily made video about Cleveland on your comment on Fast Company’s website in response to them hailing Cleveland. Couldn’t leave something positive alone, could you. What are you jealous in the smog infested, traffic jammed LA.

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  • Alissa

    Dear Patty,

    While I have no reason to believe that you’ll ever return to my blog again since you’ve expressed such disappointment in it, there are a few things you should probably know about me.

    First of all, I love Cleveland. I myself am a product of the Midwest: I grew up in St. Louis. Especially after participating in the annual meeting of the urban leadership non-profit CEOs for Cities, and meeting people from the Cleveland Urban Design Center, I’ve come to appreciate how Midwestern cities have had to overcome the devastating economic situations that came with the loss of major manufacturing industries. Although I’ve moved to LA, a large part of me is still there. This time of year, I’d give anything for a few of those warm, cicada-symphony evenings we just don’t get out here.

    Also, I don’t know if you noticed, but I write for Fast Company (like, a lot). Fast Company is one of the smartest magazines around and I’m honored to be one of their contributors. But the reason I posted the link to the video on Fast Company was the same reason I post most things I post. BECAUSE IT WAS FUNNY.

    But enough about that. Let’s talk about LA. Smog-infested? Difficult to say. Right now it’s raining, but usually when I’m sitting here at my desk, I can see all the way to Catalina Island. Traffic-jammed? Also tough to comment on since I don’t own a car, and prefer to take the bus, the train, my bike or my feet when I go places. It’s usually a pretty pleasant experience, so I have no complaints.

    But you are right about two things. I am jealous, and LA is horrible. As proof, I have another hastily-made video that explains just about everything you’d want to know. It has some inappropriate language that will probably offend you more than my original comment, so I encourage you to leave another comment here with your thoughts.

    All best,

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