The northeast Los Angles neighborhood of Eagle Rock has long been a hub for artists and creative types. But it was back in the ’60s that a Los Angeles artist had an idea for a unique shop – one that only sold things related to eagles and rocks. And to his surprise, nearly 50 years later, it’s become a reality.
Bettina Hubby’s shop on Eagle Rock Boulevard is organized into two sections. On one side, objects related to eagles. On the other, rocks.
Hubby is the force behind the Eagle Rock Rock & Eagle Shop. But the idea didn’t originate with her. It started in the summer of 1964. Mason Williams was 25 years old at the time, and living in a two-story house in Echo Park with artist Ed Ruscha. They were childhood friends from Oklahoma, and would often sit around and come up with what they called “larks”.
One of those “larks” was the idea for this shop. Williams wrote it down in a journal and soon forgot about it. Ruscha went on to become a major force in the contemporary art world. Williams got into the folk scene, working as a writer and musician with the Smothers Brothers and Roger Miller, and earning a hit with the 1968 instrumental hit “Classical Gas.”
Years later, Williams gave Ruscha a gift – a notebook with some of their old ideas. Ruscha showed it to Bettina Hubby. The two were friends – she directed a gallery that sold Ruscha’s photographs a part of an installation.
Hubby thought it was a brilliant idea. Before long she started picking up eagle and rock related things at thrift stores. That grew into late nights cruising the web for these random objects. She amassed a serious collection. She enlisted several contemporary art friends to get involved, and soon had over 40 collaborators.
Williams is elated that a goofy idea he came up with back in the ’60s is coming to life before his eyes. So excited, he wrote a poem in honor of the opening this Sunday.
Either Ed or I got famous
Our plays on words, when they occurred
Served to entertain us.
For example, as a sample
the town of Eagle Rock
Brought to mind, the two combined
A shop with both in stock
Whatever shrieks to you
Palindromically’ clever, words of a feather
Doozies of art derring do!
Thanks to Hubby, who’s uber exuber
Ant artworks of collab co-op
For the eagle collector and rockhound prospector
After 48 years…there’s a shop!
The shop opens with a concert Sunday evening. About four hundred eagle and rock-related items will be for sale. There’ll also be a catalog with stories about each of the items – so even when objects are sold, and even if the store only stays open a few weeks or months, there’ll be a permanent record of what was once for sale at the Eagle Rock Rock and Eagle Shop.
The shop is located at 4765 Eagle Rock Blvd. The opening is this Sunday, March 20, from 5-9 pm.
Photos by Amanda Sutton
KCRW Visits An Eagle Rock Shop That Sells Eagles And Rocks by KCRW