I am a lifelong kid, always looking at things with an eye towards wonder and amusement. I started Mystery Trip because I wanted to start exploring the offbeat and fun parts of Los Angeles that maybe had been forgotten (or never even discovered), and figured I might as well drag my friends along with me.
It's based on a simple concept from my childhood summer camp: get on a bus, destination unknown. Somehow it always inevitably ended up being cheesy, corny fun.
Past Mystery Trips have included, but certainly aren't limited to, the following: Derby Dolls roller derby, a tour of Dodger Stadium, the Bunny Museum, the Industry of Death Museum (Scientology-sponsored...good times!), Hollywood Park, Olvera Street, Museum of Jurassic Technology, Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village, Philippe's, a demolition derby, a visit to Target wearing khakis and red t-shirts (wackiness ensued) and many more stops.
Each Mystery Trip ends with a worst CD or DVD-from-your-collection exchange, a t shirt to commemorate the experience, new friends and great stories.
The feedback has always been positive. People love Mystery Trip as a way to explore the city, meet new people and act like a kid again as they get bussed around playing "2 truths and a lie" reading a haiku about themselves or reciting a limerick about their family.
After much encouragement and thought, I decided to offer Mystery Trips to the public, and have started Mystery Trip LA (MTLA).
MTLA expands on the idea by working with individuals, corporations, business groups and charities to create custom events that promote togetherness, team-building and a return to a simpler time in our lives by simply letting go, allowing someone else to take the reins for a while to show you a fun time as you experience some of the wackiest and – dare I say – most awesome places and people of Los Angeles.
I have also frequently tried to include places that are important to the community, to show that we can all do a little bit more to help out our fellow Angelinos, such as the Homegirl Cafe, where the most difficult to place inner city people are hired in transitional jobs in a safe, supportive environment where they will learn both concrete and soft job skills; Mama's Hot Tamales, a MacArthur Park co-op restaurant where people are taught to make tamales from their native countries; and the Monastery of the Angels, where the nuns help pay their bills by selling pumpkin bread.
Funded by Los Angeles, CA (January 2011)