Nerd Central: At home with Chris Kenner
Executive producer for David Copperfield
Wed, Apr 13, 2011 (3:30 p.m.)
Photo: Christopher DeVargas
Chris Kenner is a master magician, but you wouldn’t know that from touring his house. The walls aren’t crowded with magic posters and the counters aren’t cluttered with magic crap. It’s a big, open, productive space, punctuated with modern art, movie memorabilia and the occasional baby toy. Kenner designed the interior with his wife, Katie, who works as a dance teacher at Henderson’s Step Up Academy. “It reflects our modern, eclectic personalities,” Kenner says.
The house was built in 2005 … right after Kenner moved into his last one. “I had to drive by this one every day to get to work, and I just fell in love with it. So as soon as the market crashed, I snapped it up.”
The Props It begins with a Dr. No movie poster, which slides to the left to reveal a replica Batsuit. Slide that to the right, walk through the secret passage, and enter what Kenner calls “the nerd room.”
“I’m not ashamed to wave my nerd flag. We’re the alpha males now.”
A Raiders of the Lost Ark golden idol sits in the middle. It’s actually Kenner’s second idol. His buddy Jason stole the first one and replaced it with a bag of sand. “When I find a big enough sandbag, I’m going to steal Jason’s car,” Kenner says.
Kenner’s also got guns from Hellboy, Blade Runner, Logan’s Run and The Fifth Element; the metal detector-proof gun from In the Line of Fire; and the golden gun of James Bond fame. He’s got a Men in Black neuralizer, an Inception spinning top, a McLovin fake ID, a Ron Burgundy press pass and a bag of quarters from Ocean’s 11. And the list goes on.
The Busts Frank Kozik is an American artist known for merging the adorable with the dark. He’s worked with rock bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and he’s recognized for his graphic designs, his smoking rabbit toys and his busts. Kenner’s got a bunch of them.
Downstairs, a dozen Ho Chi Minhs sit atop 13 Beethovens. Upstairs, Kenner has three cigarette-smoking Chairman Maos in Mickey Mouse ears. One silver, one bronze and one gold. Kozik only made 25 of each.
“They go to toy stores around the world. So to get one, you have to either know someone at the store, or know the artist.”
The Hideaway Closet “I hate clutter,” says Kenner. “So one day, the idea for a hideaway closet snapped in my head. I called up California Closets and asked if it could be done. “From the time of conception the whole project took two months.”
The Reading Corner The neon “e” comes from the Algiers Hotel. The massive photography book below it, SUMO, comes from Helmut Newton. Amazon calls it “the biggest and most expensive book production in the 20th century.” On ebay.com, the book and table—they come together—sell for up to $25,000.
“I keep it on display, which can be nerve-wracking when friends come over, get drunk and flip through it with a beer in their other hand.”