You can't walk into a bar, boutique or rock star's living room these days without finding yourself face-to-snout with a stuffed antelope. The thrift-store mounts are all spoken for by now, I'm afraid, so if you want to add a little hunting-lodge flair to your own abode, it will cost you—unless you head to this Foster Road shop, where the marquee has read "antler lite sale" for the past two years. You won't find any exotic heads for sale at the shop (unless you provide them yourself), but the antler chandelier will only set you back $189.
Buy this: Mourning backyard poultry farmers can get dear, departed Henrietta mounted for $285.
A tiny emporium of esoteric media, this storefront is crammed with odd new and used books (
by the editors of
), cult DVDs (
among them) works by neighborhood artists like underground film director Bob Moricz (
, $12), and the publications of indie publisher
, which operates out of the back room. Sparkplug's founder, Dylan Williams, died in September, but his widow, Emily Nilsson, is keeping the press going. Check out the new releases here, including one from comics legend Steve Ditko.
Buy this: Punk rock concert photos by Vincent Ramirez, including one from a Black Flag show at the Starry Night, $40-$75; Austin English's The Disgusting Room, $6.
How's this for manipulative marketing: This baking-supply store, crammed with two floors of niche cake-making tools, always smells as if someone had just pulled a cake out of the oven. Upon entering, you will be seized with a compulsion to stock up on the house-brand aluminum baking pans and buckets of fondant. Christmas shoppers will be drawn to the bewildering variety of cookie cutters, sprinkles and gingerbread molds, but don't pass over the ironic potential of the shop's large collection of wedding cake toppers.
Buy this: "Humorous" cake toppers depicting reluctant grooms, domestic violence, etc., $10-$20.
This pair of side-by-side shops are junk sellers of the classic type, cluttered to the rafters with dusty whatsits of every sort, with little evidence of organization. Whatever your obsession—novelty phones shaped like the Hulk, ancient postcards, autographed photos of Quarterflash, antique clock radios—you'll find it represented here at either store. They do specialize some. There are giant Pez dispensers at Grizzly Bear, while pride of place at Mike's is given to an impressive island of brass sculptures, lamps, candelabras and bookends that gleam in the shop's dim light.
Buy this: Massive, ecclesial brass candlestick, $39.50 at Mike's.
Buy this: The Axe Cop edition of the comedy card game Munchkin, $24.95.
Should you happen to be in the neighborhood during this capricious little shop's brief business hours (3 to 7 pm Monday-Friday, if you're lucky), you will be rewarded. I have never been so lucky—every time I drop by the doors are locked—but Ruby Box's online store promises treasures: Ceramic bottles shaped like molars, handmade latex puppets, chunky turquoise earrings, a ring shaped like a fox head, fabric moth brooches, wooden puzzles and bottle-opener key rings made from recycled skateboards. Now you just have to get in....
Buy this: Cicada-shaped pillow, $66.