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:

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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/

 

“Shop local. Support small businesses. Small business Saturdays.”

All these slogans have become a part of our day, along with our cup of Starbucks sludge. We hear them, see a banner or two in our Facebook feeds, but rarely do we abide. It’s not due to our contempt of small businesses, or our love of brick and mortar. Our money flows to familiarity, and what route is methodically memorized. My heart has many cracks from the constant heartbreak of my favorite indie shop closing due to a bordering book shop.

Don't forget to come up for air.

Don’t forget to come up for air.

Fortunately for my heart, Hennessey + Ingalls has two locations, and shows no signs of being uprooted. Around since 1963, Southern California denizens have counted on the largest independent bookstore for all their creative and gift giving needs. Screen printing, fine art, graphic design, or architecture? Check. FIDM student, or obsessive fashionista? There’s an entire section devoted to  the biographies and designs of Jeremy Scott, Tory Burch, and Karl Lagerfeld.  Hennessey + Ingalls have an incredibly in-depth collection of every visual art in book form. Even the esoteric magazines they carry: from Australia to France, if there is a visual art involved, you can guarantee that it’s living here. The locals that swarm this imagination emporium range from the 6-year-old plopped down in the corner, pouring over a big, glossy nature photography album, to the frazzled boardwalk artist, frantic for inspiration and marketing know-how.

Hennessey + Ingalls

Screen printing is huge among canines.

After a few visits, your reclaimed wood coffee table will be sweating with the warmth of books you never knew you needed.

 

Hennessey + Ingalls 

Hollywood Location: 1520 North Cahuenga Boulevard #8, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Phone: (323) 466.1256

Hours:

Monday thru Friday: 11:00am – 8:00pm

Saturday & Sunday: 10:00am – 8:00pm

Santa Monica Location: 214 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Phone: (310) 458.9074

Hours:

Everyday: 10:00am – 8:00pm