Wednesday, January 29

Down with conformity, IKEA, up with take-out menu art

Anytime anyone invites me over to a new apartment for a little
housewarming soiree, I pray to the ancient Chinese door gods to
spare me of the following exchange:

Guest: Hey, did you get that at IKEA?

Host: Yeah.

Guest: I have the same thing at my apartment.

And for extra credit”¦

Guest No. 2: I bought mine from IKEA too!

I for one refuse to let IKEA slap a uniform on my naked
apartment. So I visited the recent L.A. Decorative Arts Fair to see
what I could hang on the bare walls of my very, very humble abode.
Here’s what I discovered:

“¢bull; A taxidermy head of a jack rabbit — the perfect
ornamental piece to mount on the wall next to my dining table.
Currently, that wall is adorned with an array of takeout menus from
several Westwood eateries. In fact, the menu collage is
pathetically the only “art” on any wall in my
apartment. The head of a helpless forest creature should do the

“¢bull; An antique hourglass — the next best thing to an actual
clock. To my dismay, clocks were not featured at the fair. My place
never had a clock (at least not a traditional one). Inhabitants of
Unit 305 tell time using cell phones, watches, computer
timekeepers, the microwave and the TV Guide Channel. Now I just
need a sundial.

“¢bull; A four-foot doll in the likeness of a Japanese geisha
““ the ideal decoration to place next to the door. I need
something that not only says “welcome,” but also makes
a visitor do a double take when entering my home. Nothing is
creepier than a lifelike doll with nary an expression on its

After I completed a tour around the fair once, I let my
imagination run wild as I pictured my dream apartment. First of
all, it would be clean. Second, there would be a bar, a make-shift
bar if necessary. Third, the balcony would be littered with exotic
flora for my future pet constrictor boa to roam. Then I snapped out
of my daze, realizing that a clean apartment would only be a pipe

Unfortunately in the end, I had a change of heart and
didn’t purchase the taxidermy jack rabbit or the antique
hourglass or the geisha doll. I don’t need IKEA or some
decorative arts fair. My unembellished apartment fits my bare
essential lifestyle. Besides, the actual retail value of all three
items was $4,700.

E-mail Chang at [email protected]

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