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.