Weird Mountain View
Keith Teleki brings the funk—and he goes looking for it. As the owner of Teleki Design, he's created visual imagery for radio stations, film festivals, clothing and tech companies. As the editor of the blog Weird Mountain View, he spotlights some of the city's oddest people, occurrences and landmarks.
A native Californian and son of a Hungarian immigrant, Teleki, now 42, graduated from UC Berkeley with an architecture degree and moved to Mountain View in 2004. An active member of his community, he's on the board of directors of Mountain View's Central Business Association as well as the coach of his eldest son's little league team. "I'm kind of a complicated guy," Teleki says.
Teleki's office is nestled inside a covered alleyway midway down Castro Street, the heart of Mountain View's downtown area. When he isn't designing or blogging, he's spending time with his wife and two children. "I spend as much time as I can with my kids," Teleki says. "That's the most important thing in my life."
Metro: How did Weird Mountain View get its start? Teleki: I started the blog originally as a longer-term business plan to put myself out there. I had previously been doing a lot of work for some big tech companies in the Silicon Valley, now I want to get into my funkier, more edgy work. But Weird Mountain View is so much bigger than I am. It's really a community idea. I wanted to recruit others like me who were ready to grab Mountain View by the balls and give 'em a little twist. I want to give a little edge, add a little funkiness to the growth and bring a more cosmopolitan feel to Mountain View. For example, there aren't any galleries here in Mountain View like MOMA in San Francisco or AD Gallery in San Jose. Why not? I want to do something about that.
What are some of the weirdest things or places that you've found here in Mountain View? I may be one of the weirdest things here. I'm hoping not. That's my goal: to prove that I'm not the only weirdo here. But one thing I first noticed when I moved here was the silver fire hydrants. What's up with that, right? Another is The Milk Pail, a European style market. Everyone shops there; it really represents the cultural diversity of Mountain View. It's got great cheese, the prices are super cheap, but it's a madhouse. You walk in knowing you're going to be agitated but you go anyway. It's one of the gems of the community.
What's something you would change about Mountain View? I'd like to see Mountain View have a stronger identity in holding itself to a higher standard. What if the city thought of itself as a Berlin, a New York, a Los Angeles? Mountain View. It almost sounds silly saying it now, but why not? Developers are licking their chops as they develop their sites, when as Mountain View citizens we should also be licking our chops at the opportunity to dance on a national stage instead of being a suburb that doesn't know where it's going. One project I'm working on is an art show. It'll be very heavily curated around the theme of the early days of Detroit as a utopian model, when it seemed like everything was so blissfully great.
What's something about Mountain View that other cities could benefit from if they adopted? Our sense of community. Mountain View has a pretty good track record of making decisions that benefit the whole community. The library here is a wonderful resource. The Central Business Association does a great job of hosting festivals in the downtown, which is emerging as great for families. There are a lot of great restaurants and neighborhoods and it's so culturally diverse. I think the cultural diversity of our community is one of the best things about this city.