We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeff and Andy Crocker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeff and Andy, why did you pursue a creative career?
Both of us have been making shows in one way or another all our lives. Andy put on puppet shows as a kid, Jeff was making movies with GI Joes in middle school, and we both have a long history of aggressively dodging homework by staging ridiculous presentations that were probably equal parts research and racketeering. Now that we’re adults, it’s not just about avoiding book reports, we’re drawn to the problem-solving and team-building that comes with entertainment design.
Having a creative career is the best way we can put to use the skills we’ve been honing our whole lives. Plus we love helping people find ways to be playful.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We mix games, theater, and nonsense into fun-forward, participatory events that turn strangers into collaborators. We’re probably most well-known for “Escape from Godot,” our absurdist puzzle play that combines escape room mechanics and live theater. We’re really excited about the increasing visibility of immersive design and audience-empowering art around the world. It inspires us and makes us feel like part of a global community.
And it’s trite, but true, the path you’re on feels winding at the time, but when you look back it was far more direct than it felt.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
A good day of adventure starts with a good breakfast. We love staying in our neighborhood of Atwater Village and stopping by Village Bakery and Cafe for something from their baked goods case and whatever special is on the chalkboard. If we’re just getting coffee and a pastry, Proof is always a favorite. If it’s weekend brunch, we’ll swing by All Day Baby in Silver Lake.
We like to take visitors to the places they won’t see on a postcard. Highland Park has three great stops: Galco’s Soda Pop Stop has the world’ best selection of soda that spans the spectrum of flavors and fun. John Nese, the owner, acts as a sommelier and historian for all things carbonated.
Right nearby is The Tiny, a delightful front yard micro-museum that has rotating exhibits and a free gift shop that doubles as a neighborhood pun and craft nexus.
An absolute must-see, cannot-miss, American treasure is the Bob Baker Marionette Theater. The pure childlike wonder mixed with vintage charm is unparalleled. People always ask if it will be weird that they aren’t with a kid, only to learn that once you walk through the doors, we’re all kids. Also, we once saw Danny Trejo read The Night Before Christmas there and it was incredible.
The Huy-Fong Sriracha Factory Tour is a lot of fun. It’s like the Willy Wonka factory with twice the capsaicin and none of the mayhem. Watching the process of making this iconic condiment is great alongside learning about the history of founder David Tran.
Over in Culver City, the Museum of Jurassic Technology is unlike anything else in Los Angeles. A perfect balance of beauty, eccentricity, and mystery.
Rubel Castle in Glendora has to be seen to be believed. It’s a castle that a guy made by himself, for himself. It’s listed as “monumental folk architecture,” and that is a great description. Also, if we’re in Glendora, we’re going to swing by Donut Man for a fresh hot Tiger Tail.
Our preferred theme park day-trip is going to Knott’s Berry Farm to play in Ghost Town Alive, the landwide interactive all-day story is so much fun. There is plenty to enjoy about Knott’s, but the cast of actors bringing the town of Calico to life every day is really impressive.
For lunches or dinners, it depends on where our explorations have taken us. Are we on the west side? We’re getting Tebasaki Chicken Wings at Fu Rai Bo on Sawtelle. Mid-city? We’re going to Son of a Gun. If we’re back in Atwater Village, we’re stopping at Chicken N Chips for a chicken salad sandwich and fries (blonde gravy for Andy, brown gravy for Jeff). If we’re heading to San Gabriel, we’re getting Vietnamese at Golden Deli. And if we’re anywhere near downtown at lunchtime, we’re getting in line at Langer’s, because we know what’s good for us.
If we just need a snack in our neighborhood, we’re going to stop by the gas station across from Rick’s at Fletcher and Riverside and catch our favorite fruit vendor, Felipe. Our order is a Large Everything with chili, lime and salt.
For nighttime entertainment, we love a good escape room and Los Angeles has some of the best in the world, including Stash House in Koreatown. We’re big fans of co-owners Tommy Honton and Don DeLeon and love sending friends to play their one-of-a-kind badass game.
You cannot go wrong with anything that Charles Phoenix is telling you to do or any event he is hosting. He is the benevolent king of kitsch and we love him.
Finally, while not always running, the Museum of Neon Art’s Neon Cruise, which takes guests on a tour of neon throughout Los Angeles on top of a double decker bus, is a really fun way to learn about the city. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Two friends that we’ve met in the traditional theater world that continue to support us are Mike Sablone and Malcolm Darrell. They’ve always shared our love of bold, fun, experimental theater. They’ve been a part of so many great works across the country. We admire their taste and perspective so much, and the fact they think we’re any good at all is intimidating and inspiring in the best possible ways.
Vanessa Maldonado Little Blue World Photography