To kick off .HipsterHamster. I bring you Counterpoint Bookstore, 5911 Franklin Avenue Hollywood, CA 90028.
On this beautiful stretch of hipster shops and celebrity Scientology sits my favorite hideout this side of the Hollywood sign. Counterpoint is wall to wall books, with a juicy center full of every record imaginable, minus Nilson’s The Point. Dear friends and family, this place comes with a massive disclaimer, while the booty is incredible, the attitude of the place may not be for the faint. You can smell the hipster disapproval before you step foot through the door. You will not be greeted, you will not be assisted, you may not even be looked at. I take this with a grain of salt, A. because I live with the attitude daily, and B. its just too good a find to be scared off by a mustache.
A few of my favorite finds at Counterpoint? Sam and I found a book on the how to’s of pool ($5) for our cousin, who’s original copy was falling apart. Total COINCIDENCE, we got it for her because it was kitschy and she loves pool. We found a book of environmental portraits($10) for my photographer grandpa who called it “cool”. Christmas win. After one particularly patient afternoon my sister unearthed The Point($15) on record.
My last trip rewarded me with a live recording from a festival in Telluride($3) circa 1977. I also grabbed Dry($7), the successor of Running With Scissors. I thought I’d start fall with a little crazy, and a lot of good music. Folks, this trip was by far one the strangest freak outs I’ve seen. I arrived at 10:45a. Lucky me NOTHING opens in Los Feliz or Silverlake before 11! So I waited around, talked Cori’s ear off about nothing, and whipped out a book before I realized it was 11:40a and still, no one had opened the store.
In a huff, engulfed in a cartoon like cloud of anger, the hipster in charge appears and throws open the gate, expelling profanities as he storms around the street. I am very obviously curled up next to the store, reading a book and waiting for it to open. He storms past me, opens the door, flips on the neon sign and a moment of awkwardness settles between us. I don’t want to go in because, well, he’d gone insane, but I couldn’t leave either, with it becoming more and more apparent I had been waiting for him. I honestly just didn’t want to get yelled at, so I froze. Finally, I thought to myself, I need Simon and Garfunkel, so I’m going in whether he likes it or not. I bolt through the door and beeline towards the “folk of the 70’s” corner. I hunker down and pray other customers will come in and break the silence.
Friends, I spent two hours in that bookstore looking for various goodies, and for the duration of that time my mustachioed friend cackled to himself, screamed at ringing telephones and never ceased cursing. At one point, maybe and hour and a half after the store opened, he brushes past me and mutters, “I’m surprised I haven’t scared you off.” I looked him dead on, a tough feat, penetrating his air of superiority and crazy. “You have been scary but I’m looking for something specific, and I won’t go until I find it.” Tension….skillfully maintained. Half an hour later I purchased my treasures without as much as a sorry or even eye contact!
So I say truthfully, proceed with caution. Something this worth it will always come with a cost. I say, know what you are looking for, go in and just have fun. Ignore them as much as they ignore you and this place will become your new favorite too!