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L.A. Ice Cream Truck Goddess Has Been Hanging Teddy Bears From Telephone Lines

"Silverlake: Sunset & Maltman"
"Silverlake: Sunset & Maltman"
Heartschallenger via Instagram

For about three months now, Northeast L.A. and Eastside residents have been noticing dozens of stuffed animals -- mostly teddy bears -- slung like drug-house sneakers from area telephone lines.

The mystery culprit appeared to be much more prolific than the street artist who started dangling Wizard of Oz-style ruby slippers from phone lines last autumn -- and stealthier, besides.

"Who is Hanging NELA's Teddy Bears?" asked the Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch yesterday.

Looks like we may have our answer:

A Patch commenter named Leonessa points to the Twitter account @hrtschallenger, which has been Tweeting photos of similar bears popping up around Japan.

Leyla Safai, one half of Japanese-influenced pop duo HeartsRevolution, runs her adorable pink ice-cream truck, the HeartsChallenger, out of Los Angeles.

And she's been known to treat her customers to more than just some cold 'cream after the club. From LA Weekly's "People" profile of Safai in 2007:

Safai is one smart cookie, and she thinks big. She's getting ready to launch her second truck, which will tour New York starting this month, and she's using the truck to help promote artists and bands (including her own, Hearts Revolution, an "ice-cream-truck-music-gone-electro" project with her beau, Benjamin), in addition to making money doing corporate parties and children's events. T-shirts, button packs and zines are sold right alongside candy and ice cream -- and all of it with an international flavor.

"It's so great to be able to expose people to stuff they've never seen before," she says, "whether Armenian ice cream or a street artist from Japan."

A Tumblr linked to HeartsRevolution called Heart Street (He)art has a full photo archive of teddies and other stuffed animals hung around L.A. since the beginning of March -- all striped across the eyeline with Safai's signature pink facemask.

Here are some of our favorites.

"ECHO PARK- echo park + montrose"EXPAND
"ECHO PARK- echo park + montrose"

"HOLLYWOOD- sunset + sweetzer"
"HOLLYWOOD- sunset + sweetzer"

"Eagle Rock : Eagle Rock Blvd & Yosemite"EXPAND
"Eagle Rock : Eagle Rock Blvd & Yosemite"

"Echo Park: Echo Park & Park"
"Echo Park: Echo Park & Park"

We're thinking the city's MDMA dealers should totally follow suit, and use these guys as their own cuddly brand of drug-house sneakers.

"This is what you do when you have too much free time on your hands," writes HeartsRevolution on Facebook. Not sure how that works -- what with Safai's ice-cream truck and zillion other Hearts-related side projects -- but we the jaded commuters of Los Angeles couldn't be more thankful for her fuzzy dots of cheer on the long drive home.

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]