Saturday, April 30, 2016

We Have More Than One Time Travel Mart

This is LA and LA is so big and so vast that we need two Time Travel Marts. You may remember us writing about the Echo Park Time Travel Mart a few times on the site. Now there's another and it's the Mar Vista Time Travel Mart. And frankly, they need to make t-shirts in larger sizes so I can have people question me about them. Oh, and there also gift shops and fronts for a non-profit that help children write and read. But let's be serious and demand more t-shirts in different sizes.

It's not the t-shirt that makes the man, it's the hilarious logo or phrase on them and that's what the Mar Vista Time Travel Mart had when I visited. We were chatting about the robot in the windowsill at first, that is Sarah Lancaster and I, she's Store Manager and been with 826LA, the non-profit behind the Time Travel Marts. Literally behind them. They have rooms in the back of each of their stores for kids to learn how to write creatively. She's been at in since August of 2015, though with time travel on the table you could say she was doing it for years.

Sarah Lancaster
"I love how creative I get to be here. I've ran stores in the past, also non-profit stores, but here I love all the weird products I get to create and working with the writers and designers on these products," Sarah said.

In the year 2016 we were chatting about the wide variety of gifts and goodies to get at the stores. There is a vast collection of time travel goods inside, that you need to get. Sarah tells me her top two sellers seem to be the medical prescription Eels and the Viking Odorant. Sarah says a doctor or dentist came in recently to grab the eels up to make their medical practice just a bit scarier.

Now, I've bought Robot Milk and Shakespearean Insult Gum in the past and have to know what other goodies are coming. "We try to put out five new products a year and I'm trying to ramp it up," she tell me as she walks over and picks up the,"Space-Time Continuum  \Repair Kit... duct tape." I laugh.

We go past mood pencils and Sarah says, "We're working on George Washington Tooth Varnish, termite resistant." Oy, I love these time travel jokes. The DIY Tooth Kit will be next to it, it'll be a block of wood.

"We're working on an at-home cryogenics kit, it's going to be a jar of icy hot," Sarah explains as she starts to laugh.

If the Echo Park Time Travel Mart looks like a convenience store out of the 70's then the Mar Vista location looks like it's out of the 80's the 1880's. It looks like a trading post, something you might see in a western, a western retrofitted with technology out of date like some bad foreign film trying to pull of a western and not really getting what a western is. You won't find frontiersman or cowboys or cowgirls inside, you'll find little kids.

In back, the store is all about teaching kids, and it so loved and used so much that there's a wait list to get in for one school year. Sarah goes on, "We work with kids 6-18, focus is always creating writing. With them we do all kinds of different workshops and topics. Throughout the week we do after school tutoring. So we help them with their homework." That's only a bit of what they do, but at the end of the semester a book gets published of all the kids work for purchase in the time travel marts.

The stores are just fronts, but they benefit 826LA by having people come in on off the street seeing the sight of a time travel mart, it brings in people to volunteer. And they're doing it around the country.

826 founded by writer Dave Eggers has multiple chapters around the country in major cities. Their fronts aren't time travel marts, there's a spy shop and a pirate shop, a bigfoot research institute with a magic supply shop and a robot repair store. New York gets a super hero supply store; check them all out here.

We, the people of LA get time travel as our niche, which isn't so bad as we love making movies about it here.

As we talked students and parents prepared to come in. Soon some high school or college students came in to tutor. And every once in a while someone popped in to look at what was in the store.

I asked about the future of the 826LA Chapter, "We're deciding if we want to have a larger reach or just want to dig in and do more with the students and people were currently were working with. That's something we're evaluating right now" Sarah said.

The workshops she spoke of early vary, "We had a creative workshop: Writing For Pets, a few weeks ago, where the volunteers brought their dogs and cats and guinea pigs and everything in. And the kids got to meet their pets and learn about their characteristics and wrote a story about the pet, " Sarah said.

Time traveling goods are only a front, but a fun one that can catch your attention and make for some really fun gifts.

So, if in Echo Park or Mar Vista check out the time travel mart for the perfect gift for that special time traveler. Check out the dinosaur eggs, poetry phone booth or any of the many products they could really make your desk stand out. Then tell them to get working on larger t-shirts.

The Mar Vista Time Travel Mart 12515 Venice Blvd
MV 90066
Phone: 310-915-0200
Hours: Tues-Sun 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

The Echo Park Time Travel Mart
1714 W Sunset Blvd
EP 90026
Phone: 213-413-3388
Hours: Mon-Sun 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Echo Park: