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Beauties and Beasts: Debbie Weimert daydreams all of these characters
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 20 April 2017 20:33

Photos courtesy of Debbie Weimert

This spring break has been a fantastical one for me and for my children. Yes, it was fantastic, but "fantastical" is the adjective of choice. We went to see the big-screen, live-adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast," and my daughter fell under its spell. This self-described "tale as old as time," modernized with some spectacular CGI and Emma Watson, was enough to have my daughter going back to see it a second time, and begging to be allowed to see it once more for good measure!

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Words Made Real: An e-mail blast from Robert Tonner truly came alive
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 13 April 2017 19:27

I received a lot of curious feedback about Mary Astor and the Tonner Toy Fair unveilings. Many folks wanted to know if Robert was simply going to visit the decades of film noir and long-ago, long-simmering Hollywood scandals. (Why not? The TV program "Feud" is mining the rift between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford for all it's worth.) The answer, however, is a definite no! Robert Tonner is always re-imagining his offerings, and this year it was certainly a bold new direction for his Toy Fair debuts. Though I have to admit, it was a physically smaller sampling than in years past, it was a clarion call that Tonner is refusing to create what is expected and will not play it safe. The number of dolls he brought along was much tinier, but what they said — they spoke volumes!

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Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary: Tonner Dolls shines a spotlight on Mary Astor’s “bad” behavior
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 06 April 2017 16:42

Photos of Mary Astor courtesy of Movie Star News

A visit to the Tonner booth at Toy Fair is always a worthwhile stop. This year's showcase was small on quantity — were there just about a dozen dolls on hand? — but definitely large on quality. There was also an invisible thread that connected three of the dolls that were highlighted on the artist's display counter.

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Mad About Alexander: Face-lifts & fashion? Fantasy realism? Tweet it out!
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 15 March 2017 19:43

It's hard to come up with a new idea — I mean, one that has never been seen, heard, spoken about, or imagined before. There are some cultural critics who maintain there are NO new ideas at all. Everything is simply recycled, repurposed, reformatted, and rearranged. If you watch a lot of TV (I plead guilty), you probably subscribe to that worldview. I can often figure out a brain-teasing miniseries before its second episode even concludes. So much for originality!

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Toy Fair 2017: Hello, Hologram Dolly! Barbie wows as an AI beam of light
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 16:36

I like the notion of artificial intelligence. I have enough confidence in myself that I don't think I'll ever find myself head-over-heels in love with a disembodied voice, like the poor nebbish character that Joaquin Phoenix plays in the movie "Her." In that 2013 film, directed by Spike Jonze, Phoenix plays a guy who is down on his luck and responds enthusiastically and recklessly to the sultry tones of his cyber device (the Her of the title is a futuristic version of Siri or Alexa, and is vocally performed by Scarlett Johansson).

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Toy Fair 2017: Mattel Steps Up with Anime, Gabby Douglas, Yves Saint Laurent & You!
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 02 March 2017 22:30

One of the hardest parts of going to Toy Fair, and then filing reports, is figuring out what to chat about, when to display it, and in which particular order. Luckily for me, I have the blog — which is weekly, so keep checking it for more and more reveals — plus DOLLS magazine will publish the printed version of the event. So, for this second outing of what was new at Javits Center, I am going to unveil some of what I saw at Mattel.

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Toy Fair 2017: A Global Gathering
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Friday, 24 February 2017 21:15

Wow! I love Toy Fair. It's not an exaggeration or hyperbole. It is an absolute truth of my life. I adore the opportunity to walk the miles of aisles, browse, and then chat with the folks who make the world play. Sure, as the day drives onward, and my feet start to bark — seven hours and still marching, maybe more like mincing — I can't help but smile at the booths bursting with creativity and surprises.

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Imitation of Life: On-screen and off-screen dolls live out a fabled Hollywood director’s visions
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Tuesday, 21 February 2017 19:51

The Academy Awards are going to be broadcast Feb. 26, 2017, and one can only imagine the level of forward-thinking fashions, political barbs (subtle and not-so-subtle), and cultural surrealism that will be swirling about during the 89th annual orgy of opulence! It's sort of impressive that the Oscars are a year shy of 90. Rather than sliding into the comfort of becoming a precious, revered institution, the award ceremony always struggles to remain relevant, current, and reflective of what's happening on the pop-culture front lines.

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The Sweet Smell of Success: Estée Lauder’s doll devotion
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Tuesday, 14 February 2017 16:56

Two of New York City's most famous, wealthy philanthropists — individuals who loved the nightlife, attending charity balls, and hobnobbing with the "beautiful people" — just happened to be women. Even more fascinating, they both happened to be doll lovers!

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Illustrator Kyle Hilton turns pop-culture icons into real paper dolls
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 08 February 2017 21:03

Photos Courtesy of Kyle Hilton

Among my favorite toys as a child were my paper dolls. I know that in this modern age of interactive devices and virtual-reality glasses, admitting to a penchant for paper dolls makes you a throwback to antiqued, more genteel times. I'm sure there are folks who imagine I must be as old as Methuselah and most likely hitched a ride with Fred Flintstone to the one-room schoolhouse. ("Move over, Pebbles, I've got to squeeze in beside Bamm-Bamm! Today we're going to invent the wheel!")

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