If a T-shirt with the words, ‘Highland Park,’ and an image of a helicopter means nothing to you, if you have no use for a potato gun, or a sea monkey farm, or no desire to learn to speak Wookie, perhaps Y-Que Trading Post in Los Feliz is not the shop for you.
The store’s Facebook page describes itself this way, “Y-Que, proudly offering lifestyle enhancements for the social deviant, accessories for the fashion misfit, and hocus-pocus for the bamboozled.” Sounds about right.
At this small, quirky boutique, you can pick up some Nag Champa incense, Santeria candles, a vintage lunchbox, a copy of Noam Chomsky’s ‘Anarchism, Marxism and Hope for the Future,’ a Virgin Mary Holy Toast Toasting Bread Stamp, a magnet picturing a clean-faced Jesus and the words, “Jesus Shaves,” or a Darwin fish emblem to stick on your car.
If you are familiar with the neighborhoods around the east side of Los Angeles, Y-Que’s collection of ironic, neighborhood T-shirts is pretty hilarious. They will customize per request, but in addition to the Highland Park helicopter, you could choose Glassell Park, represented by an unattractive, Craftsman house, or Boyle Heights with a mariachi musician, instead. Downtown gets a shopping cart. West Hollywood, a banana.
Over the years Y-Que’s T-shirts have included “Free Winona,” “Free Martha,” the multitude of celebrity mug shots, Charlie Sheen and his quote, “I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen,” and the ever-popular “Free Tibet (with purchase),” or “Vegans taste like chicken.” More recently, the “Never Forget” series added images of Pluto, Twinkies, and Mr. Rogers.
In addition to the novelties, Y-Que has legitimately cute earrings and necklaces, clever cards, and vintage records. It’s a great store to pick up an offbeat gift, some unconventional home décor, or a piece of local history in art form. It is a definite hit with out of town visitors.
Y-Que opens at noon through the week, and 11:00 am on Saturdays, closed Sundays. Stop by next time you’re in the neighborhood.