All posts by Spencer Cross

Spencer Cross, a.k.a. 5000!, is an artist and graphic designer and is the founder of Los Angles-based creative services boutique, Tokyo Farm. He is also the creator of KERNSPIRACY, a unique effort to foster community and camaraderie among Los Angeles creative professionals through a combination of ongoing events and discussion forums. Spencer also co-founded the art collective PopRocks+Soda, who are intensely focused on the study of the issues surrounding the eating of fermented milk and the drinking of fermented grapes. Yay, fermentation. Spencer also occasionally updates blogTHOUSAND!, widely recognized as the internet's topmost authority on who would win in a fight between a ninja and a pirate.

Carl’s Fine Films’ Loveletter to Trader Joe’s

Picture 1.jpgI don’t entirely follow the logic of this, but after attempting to shoot a photo of one of Trader Joe’s ubiquitous hand-chalked signs and being shooed off by a manager, director Carl Willat of Carl’s Fine Films was inspired to shoot this charming short “commercial” in praise of all the things you never realized you loved about TJ’s.

Of course, Willat’s store is in SF, but it’s a testament to the quirky nature that the company carefully cultivates that most experienced TJ’s shoppers will relate intimately with Willat’s paean regardless of what location they frequent. Especially the part about tiny parking lots (I’m looking at you, 3rd and La Brea). And while they may be busy rolling out wasabi cashews and $2 wine in all kinds of new locales, let’s not forget that TJ’s started life as an LA-based convenience store chain called Pronto Markets. In fact, the first store to open under the name “Trader Joe’s” is still in operation on Pasadena’s Arroyo Parkway!

Taggers Give Up Marley & Me’s Tearjerker Ending

Though it happened nearly a month ago, /film’s report about vandals defacing Los Angeles advertisements for the Aniston/Wilson embarrassment Marley & Me with tags that reveal the painfully obvious climax of the movie is totally cracking me up. Then again, as /film points out, I probably wouldn’t find it as funny if it were a film I cared about. If you really don’t want to know, haven’t managed to see it in the three weeks that it’s been open and can’t figure it out on your own, then I suggest you not click through.

Los Angeles Magazine Cover Makes Time’s Top 10 for ’08

coverLamag0908_p.jpgAs an Angeleno and huge fan of designer and illustrator Marian Bantjes (who is, unfortunately, Canadian), I’m thrilled to see that her beautifully hand drawn cover for the September 2008 issue of Los Angeles magazine was number eight on Time magazine’s list of Top 10 Magazine Covers in 2008. Bantjes is currently bouncing around CA in preparation for the opening of her gallery show at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. You can catch her in Los Angeles tomorrow night:

Art Center College of Design
Hillside Campus
Ahmanson Auditorium
Tuesday, Jan 13

LA City Council Mulls More Smoking Restrictions

It’s being reported all over the place this morning that the City Council is considering a proposal by the Tom LaBonge-headed Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee to ban smoking on restaurant patios or within 10 feet of any outdoor establishment that serves food or beverages. Fortunately for you club goers, age-restricted venues such as bars and cigar bars would be exempt. Surprisingly to me, much of the anxiety over the proposal seems to revolve around who’s going to be responsible for enforcing the curb rather than whether customers have the right to smoke outside. Regardless, the easy money is on the proposal making it through the City Council easily given the success of similar measures nationwide, including in local municipalities like Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Calabasas.

Knitting Factory Eases Economic Pinch with Free Tickets

knitting.JPGIf the big mall crowds and near riots over parking that I witnessed during the week after Christmas are any indication, plenty of people are out there spending money on themselves that they didn’t spend on gifts. If, however, you’re one of the ones that’s actually feeling the pinch of the beat down economy, you’ll be happy to hear that Hollywood’s Knitting Factory is doing you a solid by offering everyone a free pair of tickets to a long list of shows happening between now and April. Just show up at their box office on Monday, January 12th between 6:00 and 8:00 pm and tell ’em what you want to see. Full list of shows after the jump, and the same info I just told you if you make with the clicky on the right.

Continue reading Knitting Factory Eases Economic Pinch with Free Tickets

Dogtown/Giants Docist Peralta Examines L.A. Gangs


Venice native and skateboard legend Stacy Peralta is well known for documentaries examining topics that are close to his heart, like the rise of skateboarding and big wave surfing, but next on his docket is a topic that most Angelenos will be less thrilled about: gangs. FUEL.TV has posted an interesting interview with Peralta about his latest film, Crips and Bloods: Made in America, which on schedule to play at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 February 6th-12th. The film looks to be a little more insightful than your typical episode of Gangland. Peralta also talks a bit about the realities of documentary filmmaking and his disappointment over that atrocious Burger King advertisement that’s been making the rounds.

Obama to Name East L.A. Rep as Labor Secretary

Solis.jpgKPCC just announced (via the AP) that Hilda Solis, East L.A.’s recently re-elected Representative, is the President Elect’s pick for Secretary of Labor. Solis is the third Angeleno to be offered a spot in the Obama cabinet following the nomination of Los Angeles deputy mayor Nancy Sutley as chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (and his first, if not the first, openly gay White House staffer) and Rep. Xavier Becerra’s invitation to the post of U.S. trade rep, which Becerra turned down.

Parking Jackass of the Day, Perhaps the Millennium?


This is the best photo I could get of this insane parking job in the strip mall at Glendale and Fletcher, so allow me to explain exactly what you’re looking at. To begin, it’s bad enough that the black SUV in the front is parked over the striped area indicating the end of the parking row and is jutting out into the traffic lane on the left side of the photo. What’s worse, however, is that the genius in the silver compact somehow deduced that there was a corresponding spot behind the SUV that was completely in the traffic lane. The lesson here? They paint lines on the ground for a reason, and if there’s a steady stream of cars backed up behind your parked car angrily honking away, you just parked in the middle of the road.

Anti-Cycling Dr. to Face Trial over Vehicular Assault

According to the Times, the fuckbag that purposefully caused a July 4th accident that seriously injured two cyclists in order to “teach them a lesson” will be tried for the incident as well as an earlier March confrontation:

Thompson complained that cyclists frequently traveled down the residential street in Brentwood and that he was “tired of them,” Los Angeles Police Officer Robert Rodriguez said.

After testimony from Rodriguez and two cyclists who were alleged to have been involved in separate confrontations with the doctor, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Amy. D. Hogue ordered that Thompson stand trial. He faces one felony count of reckless driving causing injury and two felony counts of battery with serious injury in the July 4 incident. He also faces one count of misdemeanor reckless driving causing injury in an incident with another cyclist on the same road in March

I’d be more happy if I believed that the good doctor were facing a real threat of actual jail time rather than some kind of fine and suspended sentence, but it’s still a relief to see that it’s not being swept under the rug. What I’d really like to know is if there’s such a thing as disbarment for physicians? Purposefully injuring somebody has to be out of line with the Hippocratic Oath.

Because You Know You’ve Always Wondered…Yermo’s “Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner” Isn’t Half Bad!


I’d bet dollars to donuts that there’s nary an Angeleno among us who hasn’t whizzed past Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner on the way to Vegas and wondered whether it really was a good spot to stop for an egg cream or if it was actually a nightmarish, Happy Days-themed hellhole where deformed Yermo locals trapped unfortunate passers by so they could kill them and wear their skin. I’ve personally been telling myself I’d stop and suss out the truth ever since my first trip to Vegas in ’97 but have never been able to persuade myself that greasy diner food and potential kidnapping was worth the 45 minute delay in getting to the slots or getting back home to nurse my hangover. Last week, however, I finally managed to split Vegas early in the morning and without eating, meaning not only did I not have to stress about getting back to LA before rush hour, but I actually had to stop somewhere after Baker to eat anyway. Fate had set me on a course that would land me in a booth at Peggy Sue’s and there was no turning back.

More photos and adventures after the jump… Continue reading Because You Know You’ve Always Wondered…Yermo’s “Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner” Isn’t Half Bad!

GAMA-GO Holiday Sale Tomorrow

la_sale_09.jpgLA artist Tim Biskup‘s clothing line GAMA-GO is holding its annual holiday sale tomorrow at Bigfoot Lodge in Atwater Village:

From 12-5, enjoy your favorite libation while grabbing tees, hoodies, bags, wallets and other assorted GAMA-GO goodies at prices up to 75% off. There will be items for men and women plus some extremely rare non-production samples. All ages are welcome.

This year we’re increasing the number of personnel on-site to help you speed through checkout. We’ll also be slightly staggering the admission to the event to help control the crowds and keep your shopping experience fun and stress-free.

This is guaranteed to be crowded, so go early. And while last year’s event inside the windowless Bigfoot Lodge was a bit dark (to say the least), they promise that this year they’re “bringing brighter light bulbs with us! The Bigfoot will be well-illuminated.”

GAMA-GO Holiday Sale
Saturday November 15th
12-5 pm
The Bigfoot Lodge
3172 Los Feliz Blvd.

Pre-Election Day Reminder: “Yes on 8” Means “No on Marriage Rights”

In light of a very enlightening, bipartisan ballot initiative review party I attended last night, it seems important this morning to remind people that the language of Proposition 8 can be a little confusing. So read carefully and make sure you’re voting the way you want to vote. A “Yes” vote on on Proposition 8 eliminates the right of same sex couples to marry. A “No” vote preserves the existing California constitution and the existing right for same sex couples to marry. Write yourself a cheat sheet or fill out your sample ballot and take it to the voting booth with you tomorrow so you don’t have to try to remember which vote means what when it’s time to actually cast it.

That said, I hope you’re all voting against Prop 8, and if you are you should know that while the current polling shows it being defeated 49% against to 44% for, polling of people who have already cast votes via absentee ballot or early voting shows that more than 50% of them voted Yes. That means Prop 8 will pass unless all of you No voters actually go out and vote. So, if you’re really against Prop 8, make sure you get your ass out to vote early today [PDF link], or to the polls tomorrow, and take the time to call your friends and family to make sure they’re doing the same. Hell, I’m sure some of you have an elderly grandparent or carless mom that could use a lift to the polls tomorrow. And if you’re one of those people that’s not bothering to vote because you figure Obama’s got CA in the bag, please leave your address in the comments so I can come over to your house and kick you square in the babymaker.

Prop 8 aside, any other ballot initiatives that have people scratching their heads? I’m guessing that more than a few of you are going to say “Prop 11.”

ADDENDUM: Ophelia Chong of KCET’s 404 City blog was also in attendance last night, and here’s her summary.

Brewery Artwalk This Saturday and Sunday

Perhaps lost amongst the Halloween hoopla (at least to me) was the news that this weekend brings us the second of the semi-annual Brewery Artwalks:

The Brewery Art Walk is a twice annual open studio weekend at the worlds largest art colony. Each artwalk, over 100 resident artists participate. During this event, you will have the opportunity to see new works, discover new favorites, speak with the artists and purchase artworks directly from the artists at studio prices.

Admission is free. Barbara’s at the Brewery, one of my favorite spots in LA, is always on hand grilling up food and slinging beer. It’s a guaranteed good bet for nursing your Halloween hangover.

2008 Brewery Artwalk & i-5 Gallery Show
November 1st and 2nd
11:00 am – 6:00 pm