Soooo … Spanto is a Kook. “Who is Spanto? Why is a kook?” you ask, savvy reader. These are fair questions. We want to know who Spanto is, too! It’s an esoteric, hyper-local mystery, Which makes it all the more intriguing.
A kook, on the other hand, is less so a mystery. The word is not obscure, but it is not used here in the same way here as it might be generally understood to mean “crazy person” or “weirdo.” There is another altogether different meaning. The word is also not used as often in general discourse as it may have been several generations ago.
This other meaning may be more obscure to most people and less a mystery. “Kook” is surfer jargon. Though slangy, the term is not new. It’s been hurled as an insult by surfers for many decades. In short, in the surfer’s “kook” is an inexperienced, often poorly-skilled surfer who’s surfing style and manner reveal a naivete or ignorance of surfing rules, etiquette and customs.
Venice being a beach town and a surfers town with a strong surfer identity and a gritty surfing heritage, no doubt Spanto — whoever he (or she) is — is being slurred with a surfer’s invocation of “kook.”
You are looking at this photo and you’re thinking “WTF?” Maybe you’re even mouthing the letters as you think them, a just barely audible sound escaping between your lips.
Maybe you’re vocalizing the question with the actual words instead of the initialism: “What the F*ck?!?!” with an emphasis on the last word. (Assuming you’re at work, your co-workers are glancing towards you for a half-second after you utter this.)
All of these are proper, reasonable responses to the subject of the photo pictured here: A hairy, furry beach-cruisey bicycle parked at the bike rack at the popular Superba restaurant in Venice, Los Angeles.
This hirsute bicycle is either a large fashion accessory, a sartorial lifestyle statement piece extended to one’s transport and/or an art project. Perhaps there’s some functionality — the ride is somehow “softer” (?). Perhaps it’s all these things. In any case, it looks as if Chewbacca took the form of bike and sprayed Sun In all over his over-follicled body. Amaze.
Swamped by a preening horde posing for carefully-crafted, eye-catching seflies, the parking lot at the Los Angeles store of U.K. fashion designer Paul Smith is flanked by a massive pink wall and has become as much a destination for impromptu Instagram photo shoots as it is for the cars of the well-heeled clothes-horses looking for stylish British designer duds.