We've got a plethora of unique local stores in this town and Paxton Gate tops the list, stocked with taxidermy animals, carnivorous plants and other treasures of "the garden and the natural sciences" variety. When parents pick up their kids from writing sessions at Dave Egger's 826 Valencia Pirate Store, Paxton Gate awaits next door with lions frozen in time, costumed mice, and bugs of all kinds. But the space is mostly for grown-ups, so Paxton opened a children's store down the block last year, and has recently added an art gallery in the foyer.
The taxidermy is still present but it's safe for toddlers, and the collection of toys and books will transport you to a simpler time when you picked blueberries, wore hand-knit mittens, and played with wooden toys. Emmanuel and I checked out Jennifer Muskopf's new exhibit of talking cockroaches telling creation tales, and asked Paxton Gate fans to give us their thoughts on the store and the wise insect artwork.
Artist Jennifer Muskopf with her daughter, Dinah
"I would like to listen to the cockroaches in isolation when there's not a lot of noise around. I really like them visually and I love insects. I raise cockroaches at home to feed reptiles; they're a really nutritious insect so I have a kind of connection to them. There are a wide variety of cockroaches and I think Jennifer did a good job of representing different species."