To Paper Magazine's co-founder and editor in chief Kim Hastreiter, it doesn't matter what the economic headlines say -- the need to have that cool thing is timeless, invincible. "People who collect things are nuts. I know because I'm one of those nuts," Hastreiter said. "When I shop, I'm unstoppable."
And though our consumerist mojo may be wounded these days, that isn't likely to deter kids decked out in hot-pink paisley neck scarves and iPhones from engaging in the self-consuming, Ouroboros-like quest of trend-following and trend-setting, especially this weekend.
Paper Magazine, a vociferous culture hound somewhat weary of its gentrified New York base, is coming to Los Angeles for the fourth year to tap into the city's pop-art scene, set up a 24-hour department store and party today through Sunday. The fruits of their ruckus will make up Paper's February issue.
"The store is an art piece on the manic nature of consumerism. No matter what's happening, you've got to keep it pure to keep it good," Hastreiter said, adding that several artists offered to pay for vendor's booths but she turned them down.
The red-spectacled maven studied at CalArts with John Baldessari and has a sweet spot for L.A.'s still-edgy scene. "If I were young and coming out of art school now, I'd move to L.A. You can still be a poor young artist there -- those are nearly gone from New York."
The pop-up store, the only event open to the public, is the heart of Paper Magazine's L.A. project but other events include today's opening with rocker Andrew WK re-creating the free-form vibe of Santo's Play House, the New York nightclub he co-owns, and an awards show for reality TV stars Thursday night. The week will close with the "Last Supper," a Sunday soirée hosted by Bijou Phillips and Danny Masterson at the moodily modern Korean restaurant Shin in Hollywood.
Hastreiter developed the store concept for Art Basel Miami in 2006 with Jeffrey Deitch, with items from Jeff Koons and John Waters for sale. "We had Eli Broad waiting in line just to get in. By the end, the place looked like it had been stripped by termites." The next year, she brought it to a space on La Brea Avenue, and it was steadily swarmed by local artists such as Miranda July, combing the booths for one of illustrator Jordan Crane's books, a Kites CD or one of many other one-shot items.
This year's 24-hour frenzy, set up at San Vicente and Sunset boulevards in a makeshift space designed by architects Johnston Marklee, features a swath of high-to-low artist vendors who will be hawking more one-of-a-kind wares, including fashion designer sisters Rodarte; Las Vegas clothing shop Fruition, a favorite of Kanye West's; Silver Lake sneaker shop Undefeated; New York vintage mainstays Screaming Mimi's; Culver City's gallery-cum-Japanese-cafe Royal T; and underground record label Teenage Teardrops.
The event will be soundtracked by 17 L.A. talents such as Charles Lester, who will be playing his theremin for the 10 a.m. slot, as well as Harper Simon (Paul Simon's son), Lady Tigra and Mark the Cobrasnake favorite Black Black. View schedule here.
All of the events are curated with the magazine's sparkle-and-trash boho eye, but the opening night party will also get a splash of soul from party maestro Andrew WK's kinetic brand of motivational speaking, which he's performed at NYU, Yale and Carnegie Mellon.
"I'm coming as a rep of New York and of the party spirit," WK, which stands for Wilkes-Krier, said. "I want to hype the crowd and point out how well New York and L.A. balance and compliment each other."
He's not sure what exactly he'll say, but off-the-cuff is one of WK's favorite modes -- he'll be recording an improv piano album for buddy Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace! label later this month.
And like Hastreiter, WK sees art and positivity where others may only see vapidity.
"Celebration has sometimes gotten a bad rap, but all these efforts that we make to push forward, to better ourselves, those are challenges we face everyday. You've also got to have the rewards."
Wappler is a Times staff writer.
Paper Magazine 24-Hour Department Store, 8873 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. 6 p.m. Fri.-6 p.m. Sat. Free. www.papermag.com