Surreal Shop

Some say LA is undergoing a bit of a creative renaissance, but I'm of the opinion that it always is, given the fact that the whole town is pretty free-flow-y with ideas and art and music. (True, Caitlin #2? Did you know that our own Caitlin #2 is a classical musician here in Southern California? I love reader facts.)

I visited a place last night which was wonderfully weird and just my kind of strange. We'll call it Wilfair-flavored strange, too. It was a normal shop -- make that "shop" -- filled with products like hair dyes and lipsticks and canned beans and detergent. But wait for it: Every seventh or eighth box or can was... different.

Artists from a collective called The Machine Project had gone through and slightly altered the products' packaging to be mysterious or odd or funny. There was a can of chopped mackerel, for instance, but the fish on the front had very large, pointy teeth.

This is one of my favorite things: subtle, surreal occurrences found in everyday places. Horror movies are typically "the monster's coming, run!!!" But I like the idea that you could just be walking down the street, and see a ho-hum shop -- which this place totally appeared to be -- and find that things are not quite normal inside.

It felt deeply extra-dimensional. Like I might have walked through a rip in the Reality Curtain.

There was more art behind the shop: a bathroom that was a light-laden multimedia experience, a walk-through cavern, and a Victorian theater where a man played fuzzy feedback from a distortion machine.

Clementine Hwang would have loved that and Monty Overbove would have loved the outlandish bathroom. And Fair and Gomery would have puddled into giggles over this:


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