This all-inclusive shop, located on the Fairfax strip, is where artists go to live. Family, named primarily because it alienates no one and has the warmest embrace upon entering, is the new kid on the block, just four months standing, and has already garnered a buzz.
Entering the store you immediately feel like you know owners David Kramer and Sammy Harkham before actually meeting them. Exploring the disorganized, un-catalogued array of books you notice their attempt to fuse normally opposing worlds.
You stand before a recording of Richard Pryor Live in Concert and within arms reach grab Werner Herzog's Collection of Works . You get them.
They encourage open minds. They feel their collections “have a unified voice that may have gone unnoticed” had they not pointed out the similarity through placement.
They rage against the elitist and, because they're sick of the “lack of humanity in commercial enterprising,” they rediscover and promote individuality through their offerings. There is something so personal about the structure and selections displayed in the store that the consumer feels intimately invited into Kramer and Harkham's voices and passions.
From the paintings on the wall to the music in the background, every detail was carefully chosen to express and contribute to what they feel is immense talent and true expression.
The warm, calming energy in the building puts you in a trance, and before you know it, you're lost in the store's treasures. Rock music plays softly in the background, the temperature is perfect and the décor resonates. The lighting is dim and soothes, and you almost wish incense was burning to top off the vibe.
Stroll, check out the books and before you know it, you're trying on the monogrammed T-shirts (all designed with artwork from chosen artists) and browsing their record collection, which ranges from Galt MacDermot's Cotton Comes to Harlem to Black Sabbath's Club Sonderauflage .
The store gives voice to the otherwise voiceless. The Top 100 and the basement artist all share space where they're equally and respectably represented, averting the bias of front store bestseller and back store no-name.
Family isn't your ordinary indie bookstore. It offers so much more. On any given day you may walk into a band playing, a book reading, slide shows, or the live art display of Kyle Field, who will build a fort out of driftwood and perhaps live in the front display window for two weeks.
To those yearning for variety and wishing to explore the flair of artistry, you have a place amongst Family.
For more information, call (323) 782-9221 or visit www.familylosangeles.com.