Good evening. How are you? I hope you've had a good weekend. As promised, I'm ready to give you the low-down on yesterday's glamorous gala opening of the ECHO PARK TIME TRAVEL MART.

Let me get right to the good stuff with a few photos, all of which will open up to 800 pixel width when you click on them. (This will come in handy on the product shots.)




Isn't that a lovely marquee? Don't you love the pseudo-gold-leaf 826LA? And the nice stripes on the wall? Even the freezer signs are custom made.

Now, let's browse the shelves:


Back on September 30th, 2006 at 11:09 AM, Mac was the person who first contacted me about the store, based on a kind recommendation from Sam Potts, who designed the Superhero Supply Co. in Brooklyn. (Please come visit us in L.A., Sam, so I can actually meet you and say Thank you!) Back then Mac said that the store would open in December 2006 and if I could blitz through a few designs for them. Ha! Of course, then everything dragged out, which is just as well. I managed to squeeze a little work into the interim---this entire site, for example, and the book about it.

His actual words were "I'm wondering whether you'd be at all interested in doing a little design for us. A couple product lines, maybe? I should tell you up front that the work would have to be pro bono, but that it's also fun, rewarding, exciting, for a good cause, etc." Of course I said YES! ABSOLUTELY! Who would ever say no to designing a Time Travel Store, for crying out loud? Could anything be more up my alley? [Note: If you're reading this and you're working on a high-end shoe store, on a sexy fashion label, an airline identity, or a line of artisanal chocolates or cheeses... do call!] Anyway... time travel? Hell yes!

My one condition was this: I'd do the job, as long as I'd be the exclusive designer for the store. (Sorry, [name withheld].) I freely admit that I'm a glory hound, and a whore for attention in general. I wanted design dominion over that store, and the 826 team were kind enough to grant my wish. I hope they're happy with their decision. I know I am. (Thank you for everything, Mac & Amy!)

So there you go.

Lastly, let me show you the pride and joy of the Echo Park Time Travel Mart --- our very own ICEE machine:


Sadly, it conked out just minutes before the opening event, but it'll be rockin' and rollin' for the full opening on January 15th, 2008. In the meantime everybody had a good time wandering the aisles and enjoying the company.

Since this is Los Angeles, let me share the sightings: I saw Catherine Keener, Rhea Perlman, Mike White, Spike Jonze, Jenny Lewis, Zooey Deschanel and---be still my heart---Natalie Portman. I heard that we also had Ted Danson, Jason Bateman and the excellent Michael Cera in the store. Needless to say, I didn't speak to any of the celebs, or make so much as eye contact. I wouldn't know the first thing to say. Maybe Vulcans got into the whole telepathy thing because they're shy, too. It kinda sucks, but what can you do? I'm working on it. Still... Natalie Portman checked out a whole bunch of my designs and the very thought pleases me. Tee-hee! (Or should I say gleyven?)

I did briefly get to say Hello to Dave Eggers, who's kind of cute, I suppose, but it's just not the same. (Sorry, Dave.)

We opened the store for another few hours earlier today, and I got to greet a few more of my friends. Thank you to all of you who came to visit last night and today. I hope you had a good time, and that you picked up some time-shifty stocking stuffers. If you didn't have a chance to be there, you can check out the store at the Monster Book Launch Party on March 1st. In the meantime, why not buy a few holiday gifts at 826LA's online Holiday Sale?

So there you have it. The Time Travel Store! It'll be closed until the grand re-opening in January, so Scott can finish the build, and I'll do a few more product designs, too. In the meantime, here is a seven minute video walkthrough that I captured for you just minutes before the doors officially opened. It's full of glorious ambient noise and random background conversation. Hell, it even has a cameo by Mac Barnett. I hope you'll enjoy it. (Revver truncated the video at 5 minutes and 45 seconds. I guess there was just too much nudity and cursing in the last minute and 15 seconds. You'll just have to imagine it, I guess.)

You do know, don't you, that 344 LOVES YOU