Boing Boing Meetup report: Los Angeles


I've been meaning to report on the Los Angeles Boing Boing Meetup, but weeks and weeks of travel have kept me busy. I'm at the airport now, waiting to catch a plane, so I have a bit of time.


About 25 people came to the event, which was held by the kind folks Machine Project in Echo Park (the photo above is of the early birds). The theme of the evening was "Wonderful Things." We sat around two large tables pushed together and took turns showing the objects we brought with us and talking about them.


Brett Doar showed us a cube of graphite, which he found in Tom "Fidonet" Jenning's collection of techo-detritus. (When it was passed around the table, Bruce Sterling used a napkin to handle it because he didn't want to get graphite on his fingers.)


Luke Pebler brought these Star Wars figurines that adorned his wedding cake. The reason he shared them with us was because one of them looks just like Xeni!



Luke also demoed his iPad stand made from a piece of L-shaped extruded aluminum and an old book.


Bruce Sterling showed off a nifty iPhone app from String called the Augmented Reality Showcase that displays 3D creatures and other objects when you point the phone's camera at encoded pieces of paper.



Jasmina Tešanović had a beautiful silk scarf patterned with headshots of heroes and villains throughout history. I saw Bruce's head in there!



Meet the big butt cat. I can't remember the name of the fellow who brought it or the story associated with the cat, but I hope he will post it in the comments!



A pack of Facebook Cigarettes, found in the streets of Hollywood.



David Acevedo is a graphic novelist who hails from Puerto Rico. He brought along this devil doll made of string.



It was fun to hear about a book. A Devil in Paradise, by Henry Miller, is about a houseguest who turns out to be a pain in the neck.


Mike Pusateri not only showed off his steampunk light fixture, he gave it away to a lucky happy mutant!


One of my favorite things was Bart Gold's handmade The Wire lunchbox. It has a perfect 70s vibe. It reminds me of the lunchboxes I had as a kid, where the artist looked at reference photos of individual cast members, and arranged them in a way that made them seem unaware of the people standing next to them.

Bart also brought along a collection of robot statuettes that he made from trash that he found in the street. You can see videos here!




We were treated to a composition played on the nose whistle.


Penguinchris showed us a badge that says something about Chernobyl. Is it pre-disaster, or post? The jury is still out. Perhaps one of our Russian readers will settle the matter. If not, we may have to consult Judge John Hodgman and ask for his ruling.


One of the rules of the "Wonderful Things" was that the things we brought should have personal value but not intrinsic value. Nobody paid heed to this more than this fellow, who showed us three lowly objects: a paperclip, a rock chip, and a barleycorn. The barleycorn was found at an event honoring the Dali Lama. The rock chip is from Tiananmen Square. The paperclip is memorable, explained the fellow who brought it, because when he tossed it on his desk it landed on its edge. (Freeman Dyson once remarked that statistically, a person can expect a miracle to happen to them once every four months or so.)


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A mysterious wooden box. What's inside? A casting of this fellow's teeth!



A weird lunchbox from a small restaurant chain in the midwest. These would probably sell for 10,000 Yen at Kiddyland in Harajuku.


Puppets from Taiwan.

Everyone's favorite "thing" was this Australian bird named Mookie, a long-billed corella. Related to a cockatoo, according to his human companion, Dimitrios Papagiannis. The funny thing is, the bird wasn't part of the show-and-tell. He just tags along wherever Dimitrios goes.

The thing Dimitrios brought is his 3D printed gadget called the iCrap.



Fluxx is a game of cards in which the rules change as cards are used.


I'm sorry I wasn't able to write about every person who came to the meetup. I took lousy notes, and a lot of my photos were blurry. If you were at the meetup and would like to be included, please post a link in the comments!


  1. The photo of the Chernobyl pin is missing from the post!

    I tried to get more information about it from my friend who gave it to me (who is from Kiev and came to the US a few years after the disaster). He said his mom does have a pin given to her because she helped with construction of the plant as a university student (apparently), which is what I thought he had given me, but it isn’t this one!

    He definitely gave this to me, but apparently doesn’t remember anything about it (not even the fact that he gave it to me) – other than that it is definitely a liquidator’s pin, post-disaster (he can read it at least).

    Anyway, thanks for writing up a quick report and for taking all those photos. I think a lot of us noticed that you were taking tons of photos, and knowing they’d probably show up on BB decided not to take many of our own :)

  2. Nice report & Photos!

    I wasn’t able to make it to the Portland meet-up. My dog was donating blood that evening. If I had, I would have brought my collection of bOING-bOING zines from Back In The Day.

    Or maybe my mystic lantern, assuming I could find a place to plug it in.

  3. I like that chuck of graphite – it’s more bigger than the one Tom gave to me. He’s a great source of Cold War detritus.

    And that lunchbox – a great idea, turning old lunchboxes into sleeper art.

  4. This looks tight as hell! I just moved to LA, and love living in a real city cuz I get to do stuff like this. And of course happened to be out of town for it. Excited for next year; three cheers for solidarity!!!

  5. Thanks for posting this Mark. I heard a little bit about it from Jasmina. We didn’t manage to get enough people together in tampa bay to hold a meeting. I was really hoping to find some like-minded souls. Maybe next year. :)

    1. I’m in Orlando, but I’d be down with a meet up. Could probably rustle some other folks, as well.

  6. Wow, cool collection of people and stuff! I have a set of those mini die cast Star Wars figures, but I’m missing the Xeni.

    Wish I could have made it to the Seattle area boingboing meet up–as it also happened to be on Les Paul’s birthday I would have brought one of Les Paul’s ears.

    (ask me later….)

  7. Great pics and commentary, Mark! I’m bummed I missed the LA Boing Boing meet up, but I look forward to attending the next one… whenever that is. Machine Project rules. :)

  8. this pin says Участник ликвидации аварии на АЭС Чернобыль (member of forces engaded in liquidation of chernobyl nuclear plant disaster). it was given to people that took part in containment of the whole mess, firemen, rescuers, etc. many of them didnt live to this day. quite tragic, really.

  9. my only objection to this otherwise awesome situation is that ladyfolk are badly underrepresented.

    1. Yep, noticed that as well. Depressing.

      On the other hand, neat stuff! And, the guy with the Taiwanese puppets is my crush of the day… sigh. :3

  10. Awesome Show and Tell for “Grownups”. Thanks Mark. So much to love. Wait, is Xeni wearing her invisible suit?

  11. well we made it in LA as opposed to some other cities where they BB did try
    My sciarpa is deisgned by Mieke Gerritzen and beware, you may get there too!
    Btw Xeni is invisible, but we all saw her, she and I were the only two women there!

  12. Wish I’d been in that room!

    That said, the picture prompted a thought: has there ever been a poll done on the proportion of males/females among Boing Boing readers?

    1. We do have some statistics somewhere. But reader stats and commenter stats, at least anecdotally, don’t seem to match up very well.

  13. I’m the guy with the Butt Cat. Shawn Thompson is my name. I’ll post the story when I do my wrapup. Looking forward to reading this post later. Thanks!

    Ready for the next meetup!

  14. Man, if I knew I’d be YouTubed by BoingBoing, I’d have prepped something fancier to play on the nose flute!

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