Hoppin’ around downtown LA

They ate everything.

They ate everything.

Rabbits are often referred to as pests, generally to our seasonal produce. Australian artist, Amanda Parer created a public installation that examines the vermin that are responsible for eradicating wildlife, while escaping annihilation by humans. Intrude was created from sewn white nylon, inflated and illuminated from the inside. Introduced to Australia by European settlers in 1788, rabbits are responsible for creating an imbalance to the country’s endemic species. Yet, our feelings for these fluffy, adorable creatures are fairly complex. Her work examines the cocktail of emotions we have for these furry nuisances.

They represent the fairytale animals from our childhood – a furry innocence, frolicking through idyllic fields. Intrude deliberately evokes this cutesy image, and a strong visual humour, to lure you into the artwork only to reveal the more serious environmental messages in the work. They are huge, the size referencing “the elephant in the room”, the problem, like our environmental impact, big but easily ignored.

Amanda Parer

 

For a very limited run, Los Angeles will be welcoming in the nylon scourge. You can view them downtown starting June 5th, through June 11th at these locations: Bank of America Plaza, Wells Fargo Center and FIGat7th. They will be available for photo shoots from noon to 9 p.m. each day.

After their take over of the West, they will complete their North American tour to New York, Denver, and Houston. For more information about Intrude, you can keep going down the rabbit hole here.

More about the artist: http://amandaparer.com.au/

 

Before Abbot Kinney was littered with decadent shops and gourmet cafes, it once belonged to the bohemians, green space, and the eccentrics. The boulevard’s galleries showcased the neighborhood talent, and praised itself for being an artist’s refuge from materialistic L.A.

Lucky for us, the hyper-gentrification didn’t sell all the soul from Abbot-Kinney. In some unexpected nooks and crannies, there is some art lurking in the open. I almost missed The Chaplin Zoetrope, if my lovely friend had not pointed out to me as I was walking into traffic.

 

While I was searching for the name of the person responsible for saving my inattentive heinie, my eyes landed on the stack of informative cards perched under the exhibit. The card’s map specified all the public art in the area, along with a web address of other projects that all art-appreciating Angelenos should be aware of.

 

A map to several pots of gold

 

On the reverse, the numbers explain each installation, with their whereabouts included. Thanks to Robin Murez, who commenced the Venice public art project in 2005,  she hoped to inspire a sense of community amongst all the various citizens dwelling in the Venice area. Along with unifying the residents, Robin wanted bring about a sense of wonderment and delight with each piece.

A list...of visual treasures.

 

They are always open to suggestions, and needing assistance with: locating sites, creating, inviting, organizing, installing, landscaping, CAD drawings, permits, funding, photographing, and media.

While I’m crafting my thank you card, I recommend investigating these visual treasure troves before they’re bulldozed for a new Prada store.

Website: www.venicepublicart.com

“Nobody intends to put up a wall!”

Walter Ulbricht, Leader of the GDR, June 15, 1961 – 2 months before the Berlin Wall was erected.

Bring home a piece of oppression.

Bring home a piece of the oppression.

After 26 years of Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall tumbled down. The haunting combination of barbed wire and cement that segregated Berlin, crumbled by force to reunite the communist-controlled East, with their capitalist West neighbors. East Germany’s way of life that was cultivated under Soviet rule tumbled out as well.

Does IKEA have prints of these?

Does IKEA have prints of these?

Fortunately for us history buffs and curious cats, the Wende Museum has fought to collect, and preserve the remnants of the communist-era. Currently located in Culver City, the collection contains artifacts, personal histories and archival documents that record life, expression and politics during the Cold War period from 1945 to 1991. They have amassed a variety of media including: design objects, periodicals, ceramics, paintings, sculptures, posters, furniture, clothing, films and books. A bragging right of the Wende is that they are one of the few institutions in the world to hold an almost complete run of Neues Deutschland, the official newspaper of the central committee of the Socialist Unity Party (SED), the controlling party of the East German state. Not many can proclaim this: due to the emotionally charged end of the Cold war, a lot of articles were destroyed, or defaced.

I think he looks dashing as a pink head.

I think Lenin looks dashing as a pink head.

The Museum commits its acquisition resources largely to those artifacts, artworks or collections that either make an important addition to core strengths or fill significant gaps, and/or are threatened with imminent destruction or dispersal. This includes historically or culturally significant items likely to be sold to a private collection and removed from public access.  The Wende also attempts to acquire artifacts at the request of scholars in need of specific resources unavailable elsewhere. – The Wende Museum

Despite all my rage, I'm just a Lenin in a cage.

Despite all my rage, I’m still just a Lenin in a cage.

A few of the odds and ends that were recently acquired from the surveillance state were the Stasi espionage cameras and recording equipment, outfitted in various briefcases. For the dames, a purse to discretely snap photos of would-be escapees, radicals, or tunnel diggers. Among the photogenic spy items, there were also various wire tapping devices, just to remind you that you never know who was really listening in.

It's how I keep up with the happenings in my neighborhood.

Talk directly into my briefcase, and tell me about your weekend.

Not all of the Wende is Lenin, and Stasi: they also obtained articles from the East German 6th Sports and Gymnastics Festival, held in Leipzig. From jerseys, helmets, medals, to even the athlete’s sneakers, it is a rather complete assortment.

A locker room, without the unpleasant odor.

A locker room, without the unpleasant odor.

If athletic events don’t interest you, the various records and and play bills might light up your intrigue.

Porgy, is that you?

Porgy, is that you?

At the end of the tour, you’ll find yourself surrounded by relics from the checkpoints at the Wall. One can only imagine the fear and anxiety that permeated German citizens as they crossed.

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The Wende Museum is currently in the process of relocating to the Armory, in Culver City, as the tiny confines of the current location do not allow for full displays of all the various collections. Once completely moved in, they plan on accessible hours and days for the public to visit. There is no set opening date, they are still looking for investors and donations to fund the new location. As of late, they only allow guided tours on selected days of the week, since most of the pieces are in a warehouse and storage, wrapped up, in boxes, or in cages.

 

The Wende Museum

5741 Buckingham Parkway, Suite E
Culver City, CA. 90230

Phone: (310) 216-1600

Open to the public on Fridays, from 10am to 5pm, except holidays, guided tours to the public are on Fridays at 11:30 AM and 2 PM

Admission is free.

 

 

Located in a tourist-laden part of Santa Monica, the 113 year-old Camera Obscura perches nonchalantly on the cliffs. A short jaunt from the famous pier, the 50s type font on the camera’s housing begs you to take a gander.

You can scope out climbing trees for afterwards.

You can scope out climbing trees for afterwards.

One of three left in California, Robert F. Jones constructed the camera in 1898, and gave it to the city in 1907. For 50 years, the camera delighted beach goers and peeping toms on Santa Monica beach. By 1955, it was relocated to the nearby Senior Recreation Center.

A-ha!!!

A-ha!!!

The Camera obscura dates back to the ancient Greek era, as it was one of the earliest optical inventions. Scholars believe that these types of “cameras” were utilized by Renaissance painters like Leonardo Da Vinci to project live images onto the canvases to assist them in painting. By the Victorian and Edwardian times, it had become a popular attraction in the US, and across the pond.

Peeping Lauren.

Peeping Lauren.

I was rather pleased to see a diverse blend of persons queuing up for their opportunity to view the beach through a Renaissance lens. We have come so far when photography is involved, yet we sometimes forget what novel inventions we have left behind. The camera obscura is free, and all you have to do is wait your turn once you sign in. Once you’re in, they give you the key, and you can spend a large chunk of time spinning the wheel, exploring the beach of Santa Monica, or the car culture on the other side. A fun side adventure for all ages. Bring grandpa along, so he can prattle off tales of how this was the only camera he had as a boy, while his great-grandchildren struggle for a grainy snapshot with their iPhone 6’s.

Ahoy, thar be peeping toms ahead!!

Ahoy, thar be lookie loos ahead!!

 

Camera Obscura

Senior Recreation Center

1450 Ocean Blvd.

Santa Monica, CA 90401

Hours: Mon-Fri 9am – 2pm Sat 11am – 4pm

Phone: (310) 458-8644

The Gentle Barn

Sundays are often reserved for sleeping through all of your meager time away from the office. Yawning, you consider an indulgent beach day, so you could even out that driver’s tan. But on second thought, slathering on SPF 1000 has inspired a change of plan. There’s a place above in the canyons that is home to abused/neglected farm animals that are rehabilitated, is open for pettings to the public only on Sundays.

Sassy prefers a massage while she sunbathes.

Sassy prefers a massage while she sunbathes.

The Gentle Barn was started by Ellie Laks, in 1999, in Tarzana, CA. It was a dream of hers since the tender age of 7. Animals were a constant source of comfort to her throughout her childhood. Jay Weiner, who felt similarly, decided to volunteer, then joined forces with Ellie. Together, they relocated the Gentle Barn from a half-acre property, to a sprawling six acres, in Santa Clarita, CA. Their ultimate dream is to open Gentle Barns across the nation, to provide healing and safety to all animals and children. The animals are often paired up with children who’s stories mirrors theirs: abuse, neglect, ect. The children find in the animals a source of hope, a future of healing, and a new friend.

Snuggle Claire as she gobbles sweetly in your ear.

Snuggle Claire as she gobbles sweetly in your ear.

Luckily, the Gentle Barn is opened on Sundays to the public, so you can cuddle Claire, scratch Sassy the Goat, or even get a hug from a cow.

Hug, brush, or snuggle, will bring an approving nuzzle.

Hug, brush, or snuggle, will bring an approving nuzzle.

If you want to begin to frequent this barnyard snuggle fest, you can buy a season pass for $50.00. It will buy you admission, a popcorn, and a bottle of water. You can walk right in after you sign in. No waiting in line, so you don’t have to arrive to a bunch of cranky carrot craving horses. What I also enjoy is that they offer vegan hot dogs, and other nice nibbles for purchase. There is also an option of bringing your own picnic lunch, but please note: they request that you do not bring meat or dairy onto the premises in respect of the animals. Parking is also free, and it is on a gravel lot, so leave your Sunday’s finest at home.

 

 

The Gentle Barn

15825 Sierra Highway

Santa Clarita, CA 91390

Open on Sundays to the Public: 10am – 2pm

Admission: $10.00

Phone: 661-252-2440

 

Most of my excursions to Westwood take place at an indecent hour, due to Diddy Riese’s completely accessible hours. Fortunately for my waistline, this adventure had nothing to do with cheap and delicious ice cream sandwiches.

Small, but a well rounded collection

The Armand Hammer Collection also includes sculpture and drawings.

The Hammer museum, a public arts unit of UCLA, was founded by Armand Hammer, CEO of the Occidental Petroleum Corporation. Originally, his personal collection was going to be housed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. After a disagreement of how it was going to be displayed, he purchased a site to construct his own museum. Armand passed away less than a month after his namesake opened, in November of 1990. Today, the Hammer is not only known for his personal collection, it’s one of the most groundbreaking and contemporary museums in the Los Angeles area. It has hosted a rotating selection of programs throughout the year, from lectures, symposia, and readings to concerts and film screenings. Their mission statement is simple:

The Hammer Museum at UCLA
believes in the promise of art and ideas
to illuminate our lives and
build a more just world.

Happy dogs need not apply.

Henri Jr.?

With this in mind, I headed over to see the newest exhibit that is on display is one by the Mexican artist, Pedro Reyes. His project, pUN: the People’s United Nations, is a combined event and exhibition that places the diplomatic and global problem-solving missions that the United Nations face, onto non-political participants from all over the globe.  The representatives are instructed to use social psychology, theater, and art to solve the world’s most unyielding problems: from the current violence in his home country of Mexico, to food shortages, pay equality for women, and even the downward spiral of bees.

Dove Drone

Drone Dove wants peace and unity. And possibly your Cheetos in your back pocket.

One of the sculptures in particular, Disarm/Clock, is comprised of weapons that the Mexican police collected, then broke down and melted. Reyes then took these instruments of hate, and re-constructed them into actual instruments. He thought that they could help provide life and music, rather than take it away. For “Disarm,” Reyes, with his team assisting, used programs like Ableton Live, MIDI, and Max MSP to transform guns into pianola-esque musical instruments. For the “Clock” portion, every half hour or quarter of the hour, the mechanical clock utters a sound.

Gun Day

Up-cycling the best way you can.

Another exhibit I stumbled on, rather literally, was choreographer Maria Hassabi’s, Plastic. Her live installation includes sloth-like performers, that slither throughout the museum. The enlisted dancers consistently enact a form of live installation in the gallery and the museum’s outdoor spaces.

Slow motion dancing.

Mind the tap.

If you’re full on performance art, but running low on caloric intake, there’s a cafe in the courtyard that caters to your metabolism. There, you can let each exhibit mull in your mind, as you sip a cold pressed juice, and realize you mistakenly ordered a gluten-free muffin.

This is how I will spend all my Sundays.

This is how I will spend all my Sundays.

Once you’ve tossed your juice bottle in the recycling bin, collect your belongings, and go upstairs to the top floor. There’s a ping-pong table that is also part of a project. The sound of visitors attempting to “Forrest Gump” it up is the exhibit. The two paddles, and cluster of bouncy balls invite any curious folk to lob a few over, as they attempt a fancy back-handed serve. I left my Roger Federer impersonation at home, so I ended up doing fairly decent.

She thinks you should visit more often.

She thinks you should visit more often.

The Hammer Museum is free, and always will be, so you don’t need to run down to a Coinstar to cover your admission costs. The gift shop is worth a gander, as I thought it was one of the best museum shops I’ve encountered. I almost added “dancer/performance artist” to my resume, as I was blinded by the bounty, and had a very close encounter with the artists of Plastic. The first item that nabbed my heart, was a shaggy reproduction of Touc, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, on a slab of carpet.

Need I say more?

The Hammer Museum

Monday: Closed

Tuesday – Friday: 11AM—8PM

Saturday – Sunday: 11AM—5PM

10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Phone: (310) 443-7000

 

 

 

 

 

Your gentleman suitor has duped you into another LAX pickup. At 6pm. On a Friday.

Do you:

A. Get your best sweatpants and plane pillow ready for a comfortable 2 hours in park on the 405?

B. Download as many new apps, music, and podcasts as your phone allows?

C. Plan ahead by checking out the area around the airport, so you can drive down a few hours before hand and do some much-needed exploring?

Instead of downloading Tinder, google “El Segundo museum of art”.

Yeah, that’s right. It’s not all volleyball, beer pong, and surfers in the South Bay. There’s a thriving art scene that’s been wondering why you haven’t visited.

The El Segundo Museum of Art is the creation of Eva and Brian Sweeney. They were looking for more space to house their expansive art collection, and it was suggested to them by the Mayor that they build a community gallery. The flip-flopped denizens of the beach cities have profited from their generosity. Not only is it free admission, the gallery also plays host to an ongoing artist in residence program. The intent of the museum is to encourage exchanges of culture and art dialogue within the community. The hope is, if we keep our hearts open to art, we can embrace change positively.

 

Your mom isn't here, you can draw all you want.

Your mom isn’t here, you can draw all you want.

 

During my first adventure here, the exhibition on view was “Home”. The exhibit features the rooms of a house, each with various items. From abstract paintings, to a well loved motorcycle. The installation explores how we perceive comfort in our dwellings. Whether we design our homes to be aligned with what is currently on the pages of Dwell, or, if our tastes dictate dominatrix dungeon, it is our sanctuary.

 

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Just the bare essentials.

 

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No, he isn’t part of the exhibit.

 

This art shack is also in the forefront of museum innovation: instead of placards next to each work, there are number cards. When you discover one that you become fond of, there is an iPad with numbers that correspond to each piece. If you wanted to research certain works intensively, you can even download the museum’s dossier onto your mobile device.

 

Are we playing four corners, or diagonals?

Are we playing four corners, or diagonals?

 

After indulging in art education, you realize there’s at least another hour to burn before you show off your best fist shake. You decide to head down to the beach. The thought of sipping on a warm, caffeinated beverage while sand castle construction seems appropriate. There’s quite a few bean slingers to choose from, but if you don’t mind driving a few more miles, you can stop by “Two Guns Espresso”, in Manhattan Beach. Opened up by New Zealanders Andrew “Stan” Stanisich and Craig Oram, they introduced much of the South Bay to the Flat White. If you’re not familiar, people often mistake it for a cappuccino or a latte. Hard to distinguish the differences, the foam is actually micro instead of dry, and the milk has a velvety, creamier texture that allows the sweetly, bitter espresso to shine. Totally different, right?

 

Clint gets testy when she takes too long.

Clint doesn’t like when they use soy milk by mistake.

 

Kiwis are also notorious for having high standards for their bean juice, don’t be surprised if this cup of joe is not the burnt, bitter brew you’re used to. Merchandise-wise, they sell “Keep Cup” containers, Two Guns T-shirts, and Cafe Vita beans. The “Keep Cup” is a barista standard cup made by an Australian duo. Initially sold only “Down Under”, they’ve been keeping the South Bay in the reusable cup loop.

If you’re feeling peckish, they have a breakfast/lunch menu available until 2pm. My favorite? The Stan-wich, lovingly named after one of the owners, Stan. A fried egg, arugala, pesto, tomato, asiago cheese, on a pretzel bun?

Oh my.

Besides breakfast, they offer salads and sandwiches for lunch, along with baked items that are made in-house.

 

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Caffeine and vitamin D found here.

 

Your adventure south of the airport has come to an end. Headed to LAX sand-laden, and grinning unabashedly by your cultural find, you don’t even mind that hotel shuttle cutting you off as you try to scoot into the innermost lanes. Instead of shaking your over-caffeinated fist at Terminal 2, you shrug it off, sneaking one more peek at the description of that painting you really liked. When your frustrated companion slides into the passenger seat MacGyver-style, they’ll be unconsciously happy that you didn’t download Tinder.

 

El Segundo Museum Of Art

208 Main Street, El Segundo, CA 90245

(424) 277-102

Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 10 am – 5pm

Monday – Thursday by appointment only

 

 

Two Guns Espresso

350 N Sepulveda Blvd. Ste 7

Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Hours: Monday – Friday, 6am – 5pm, Saturday – Sunday, 7am – 5pm

 
 

 

 

We’re all familiar with seeing men dressed in golden robes, ones we generally associate with Buddhists. The large difference is, besides religion, is the shaved head with a ponytail. You seem them on the Venice boardwalk, beating their drums, singing, looking almost cult-like.

For all we knew, they were.

Most people hate being proven incorrect, I am not one of them.

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I was intrigued by this religious sect for most of my life, namely due to scant information. (My fault: laziness) Were they related to Hindus, or were they more Buddhist? The religion is from India, so I had a few possibilities floating in my mind. To set my ruminations to rest, I set out to explore the Hare Krishna community this past weekend.

Initially, I was intimidated by the temple. So many followers, and curious folks like myself meandered up to the stairs. We were greeted by dozens of footwear, and their owners’ chanting. I hastily slid off my shimmery high top Vans and put them on a shelf. I also mumbled a prayer to keep them safe, since I recently purchased them, and was feeling some buyer’s remorse. A sign that read, “Do not let your children play near shelf. There is danger everywhere.” made me actually consider lugging them with.

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I enter the temple. There, a cherubic teenager lightly motioned to grab a mat. I thought she wanted me to purchase some treats that were propped up on the table across from her.

Nope.

Just a nod, light smile, and a mat to take in the sermon. Hearing the gospel of Krishna, via the Bhagavad Gita was actually fascinating. I wedged myself between a few devoted, and a couple artsy folks. I scanned the room, distracted by the statues that sat above the commoners. I did my very best to absorb the inspiring words, and made many attempts not to be distracted. By anything.

The man, the myth... Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

The man, the myth… Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

An hour passed by, and there were some visitors that had multiple confusing questions. An older woman asked why is Krishna making her suffer, again in this life. She couldn’t understand why the Lord reincarnated her again to experience pain and suffering. I was curious how she knew she was a part of another crappy life. I left not understanding her situation, but I didn’t leave empty-handed. I silently scooted out the door, after I dropped off my mat. Nodding my thanks, the cherub murmured something I thought was about me buying something. I mouthed my best, “I’m sorry, but no thanks”, then scrambled out the door. She continued to follow me, and guide me towards the book tables. Sighing, I was prepping my “thanks, but no thanks”, routine.  After conversing with yet another Krishna fanatic, I now had in my possession the Bhagavad Gita as it is, and another book about enlightenment. No charge. He graciously gestured towards the free food if I was interested.

Instead, I gathered my high tops, and new literature, then wandered contentedly into the evening.

 

Hare Krishna Cultural Center

3748 Watseka Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 836-2676

 

Should Americans understand why the United States is proportioned the way it is? Is there a need for the common citizen to grasp an idea why there’s a 49th parallel, and how it got there?

The Center for Land Use and Interpretation believes, as their mission reads as follows:

Dedicated to the increase and diffusion of information about how the nation’s lands are apportioned, utilized, and perceived.

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I didn’t realize I needed my passport.

The location in Palms, is one part library, one part interactive gallery, with new exhibits diffusing new information that will make our minds bulge. I also appreciated that they had stools next to the exhibits. Each description was peppered with fascinating morsels, I didn’t want to succumb to laziness, and leave before I was officially satiated.

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The museum provides stools, so you can really enjoy the interactive screens.

While I was there, I was excited to view the “United Divide: A Linear Portrait of the USA/Canada Border”, which I quite enjoyed. Being from Minnesota, I have crossed that 49th parallel on numerous occasions, it was pleasant to be able to understand the politics. The interactive screens provided my fidgety hands numerous pages to thumb through. I scanned multiple drafts of each border, and the simplistic, yet difficult decisions topographers had when creating the maps. It also opens up debate about how the land is used, is it appropriate, and how it has changed ownership over the years.

Land use is never a concept that slithers through our minds, but when you have that aching question, and it keeps your nights sleepless, come by the CLUI; there’s a stool waiting for you.

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Scratch your cerebral itch, then scratch his.

Center For Land Use Interpretation 

9331 Venice Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 839-5722

Open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays: Noon to 5pm. Also, by appointment

Closed Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

“Whenever you are, we’re already then.”

The Mar Vista Time Travel Mart, and her sister shop in Echo Park, stocks everything a dimension skipper requires. Yer robot actin’ up? It’s not creating portals like you need him to? Or, maybe he learned some ancient language on that last adventure, and now he cusses you out with it. Get a memory eraser. They have plenty in stock. And if they don’t, just come back yesterday.

If time traveling isn’t your bowl of Primordial soup, then look closer:

fdsfsdfsfsf

Create your own Jurassic Park, or, just eat an Ice age animal.

The Time Travel Mart is home to an innovative, creative writing tutoring center from grade school children, to high school students. the organization that backs it, 826LA, is a non-profit, volunteer-based chapter of the 826National. Creative adults giving time to inspire young storytellers to splash their tales on paper. The center was started to assist overwhelmed teachers with children that required the extra assistance. They could come here after school, for the help they needed. The founders, Dave Eggers and Nínive Calegari initiated the first in San Francisco, on 826 Valencia in the Mission district. There are 826 locations all over the country.

The joy is in the caption.

The joy is in the caption.

What really struck a chord with myself was the fact that all 826 locations published the work of the students that attended. I purchased one of their collection of short stories, since all proceeds went back into the center. I was impressed with the quality, and the fact that these children wrote far more brilliantly than most adults. 826LA is always looking for volunteers to assist with after school writing assignments, college writing essays, and creative writing. They also sponsor field trips from area schools to provide inspiration, and assistance if need be. The Mart also sells McSweeney’s items, books by Dave Eggers, and other published works from former and current tutorees.

Unlike your robot, he's a pacifist.

Unlike your robot, he’s a pacifist.

Stock up on your robot requirements, or just grab some tonics anytime at: http://826la.org/store/

If you’re not stuck in another dimension, bargaining with a giant mantis, I recommend you stop by:

Echo Park Time Travel Mart

1714 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 413-3388

Noon – 6pm, daily

Mar Vista Time Travel Mart

12515 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 915-0200

Noon – 6pm, daily

Wanna become a time traveler?

Here’s how: http://826la.org/volunteer/how-to-volunteer/