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Frankly Speaking: Anne Frank’s words inspire doll artists and give strength in these “crazy times.”
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

On April 15, 2013, terrorism reared its ugly head once more. Like all other Americans—and, really, TV viewers from around the globe—I watched in horror and amazement as reports of the Boston bombing consumed the airwaves. As a person who was in New York City, working, on 9/11, I immediately felt a flashback to those surreal hours when I, along with my fellow New Yorkers, were stranded in the streets of Manhattan for many, many hours as police and first responders shut the city down, and stopped all points of entry and exit. It was a horrendous day—which spawned a month of constant (fake) bomb threats being called into my employer, Random House. The whole work force learned to drop everything and take to the stairwells to exit the building. This was the new reality—it was the new normal. Terrorist threats became as common a part of my life as my morning coffee and muffin were.

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The Cat’s Meow: Zelda &Scott, the Great Gatsby and fashion fads, are part of doll culture.
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

The other day I was watching a DVD and a trailer for “The Great Gatsby” exploded on my TV screen. Now, I’m a real devotee of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I have visited his college of choice, Princeton University—he dropped out in 1917—and have gotten real shivers down my spine knowing that I might be treading in his footsteps. Yes, to borrow a phrase from Noël Coward, “I’m mad about the boy.”

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Spring Awakening: Bunnies, baskets, babies, and divinely inspired dolls—including the pope—define Easter.
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

I imagine it’s a sign of the times that even the Easter Bunny has grown more health-conscious. The altruistic rabbit isn’t as fretful and haranguing as New York’s Mayor Bloomberg, but there is definitely an emphasis on “goods” rather than “goodies” this holiday season.

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On Your Toes: Madame Alexander keeps dance fans cheering with their ballet beauties and cuties.
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

When I was a very young girl, I loved the ballet. My family, which was not very big on the notion of formal extracurricular activities, knew that I loved to dance, but they didn’t mentor that drive. I vividly remember showing off my self-invented twirls and “en pointe” pirouettes in my home’s garage. Warning to all kids at home: don’t attempt several quick, tiptoed spins on a concrete-slab surface! I lost my balance, was dizzy from the twirling, and fell face-first onto the garage floor. I was bruised and battered, and I knew in my eight-year-old soul that this wouldn’t have happened if I had had a barre to hold on to.

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Return to Oz: More wizardly and magical dolls crop up along the collectible brick road.
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Well, I have to admit, I was caught up in the cyclone juggernaut that is “Oz: The Great and Powerful.” My family caught a Sunday matinee (in 3D) and we were transported to a land of enchantment, excitement, good humor, and incredible special effects. It’s interesting that the critics have gotten out their pointy sticks and are jabbing at this Disney vehicle. If the Wizard were truly departing Kansas courtesy of a hot-air balloon, the newspaper, television, and Internet scribes would have deflated his escape plan. They really hate this eye-popping, eye-candy two-hour confection.

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Oooh’s and Ahhh’s: Disney’s Oz: The Great and Powerful dolls are works of wonder.
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

I might not know what I’m going to be doing five years from now, a year from now, or even six months from now—believe me, this shunning of long-range planning makes me a nightmare client for financial advisors everywhere. However, I do know one thing for sure. If Snow Storm Saturn doesn’t hit us tonight—threats are saying 6 to 9 inches in my neck of the woods—then I’m going to the movies this weekend to see “Oz: The Great and Powerful.” http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/oz-the-great-and-powerful/

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Toy Fair 2013: Dying for a good time? The Javits Center was alive with wicked and wondrous collectibles.
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

February means a lot of things to me: Valentine’s Day, mini winter break for the children, and endless discount codes for Broadway shows. (Producers realize the demand for their offerings declines in chilly climes, so reduced prices abound!) Yes, for all of these great occurrences, there is one event that stands out the most: Toy Fair!
    Held at the Javits Center on Manhattan’s West Side, Toy Fair (TF) is a four-day celebration of all things jaunty, juvenile, and jubilant! Despite the absence of real-live kiddies—no children allowed—the spirit of what entertains the tot set and what grabs at the older enthusiast waits around every corner.

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Worldwide Wonders: Collectors set records with their doll passions and obsessions!
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

My daughter is in second grade and her math class is expanding beyond basic addition and subtraction. When she was younger—that phrase makes me laugh as I type it, because 8 is so gosh darn young—but when she was around 5 or 6, she’d demand math problems just for the fun of it.

I’d be shampooing her hair, and her tiny, little, breathy voice would ask, “Mommy, give me some big numbers to add. My brain wants to work!” And I’d roll out all variations of “pluses” and some “minuses” too. (Jane insisted that the washing and massaging of her scalp made her brain come alive, and it wanted to be exercised as well.)

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