Friday, October 20, 2006

Belated Introduction to Miss Wilhelmina Faith

Little Mina...

The very first BJD that I ever fell head over heels for was the Custom House St. Mina. She is a sad character doll from the Korean cult classic The Doll Master. I remember when I saw her on their website, I was totally mesmerized, and every day I'd visit the site to see her pictures over and over again. And of course, back then, the thought of spending $600 on a doll was just unheard of and as much as I wanted her, I didn't think I'd be able to afford her. After a few months of that I started squirreling away money. When I almost had enough, another stunning BJD was released-- Rainman's Soah--and I jumped on that one for fear that I wouldn't get one. Shortly after, St. Mina sold out at Custom House and I was utterly heartbroken.
Almost a year later, a friend told me about another friend who was thinking about selling a St. Mina in their collection, and I pounced on the opportunity. It was literally with fear and trembling that I approached this seller because I actually did not have the money saved up yet, and wanted to know if they'd be willing to do a layaway. I was just over the moon when they said "yes!" So, on July 12th, St. Mina--a.k.a. Miss Wilhemina Faith-- arrived in Denver. I was immediately taken with Mina-- her incredibly expressive eyes, her posability, her lovely petite frame (compared to the other girls). She seemed SO ALIVE, her glittery black eyes deep and bottomless... I loved her hooked nose, her aristocratic air, and the fact that her face totally reminded me of Ichimatsu dolls.
When I worked in the Children's Library years ago, they had a beautiful doll collection that included old Ichimatsu dolls that were just enthralling to see. They also had several very large Japanese friendship dolls that came to Denver in huge wooden crates back in middle of the 20th century or so. One of my many projects was to inventory this big doll collection, and I really lingered over these pieces. I was so sad because the library's plan was to donate them to a Doll Hospital or a Doll museum or something; I don't remember the all the details.
Anyway, I've tried out many looks for Mina and haven't really settled on any one in particular. But here is her story: She is a cousin of Hana Soah and Amelie Soo (LeeLee), and came to America to live with them. There is a quiet sadness about her and has something to do with some tragedy in her life, but she never speaks of it and no one really knows what happened or why she is so sad. She has her mother's reserved manner, and her cousins often do not know what to make of her or how to help her adapt to the culture shock of being in the U.S.
Wilhelmina Faith is also a famous stage actress in Korea and very much enjoys the level of anonymity available to her in the States, where she is not as well known or celebrated. Like her cousins, she has some musical abilities and sometimes plays the shamisen or the erhu.
I really love my little Mina!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's SO True!

A message posted on the Zone of Zen this morning had me laughing out loud:

Hi my name is Pam and I am a dolliholic...*giggle*...
Posted by PamSD Temple Matron on October 17, 2006, 12:03 pm

I am 41 years old and I play with dollies,
I sew for dollies,
I paint dollies,
I wire dollies,
I save money for dollies,
I trade for dollies,
I have sold a dolly to get another dolly,
I haunt websites about dollies,
I belong to 10 dolly boards,
I look at things and wonder..."is it doll scale?"
and recently...I travel all the way across the country to attend a dolly wedding.

Yes, completely addicted.
butI do not want a cure.

How about you?

It's SO true! And all ll I can say is, there are worse things to be addicted to!


Elfdoll Reminisce Head

The sleepy head of Hana Soah has arrived! It's quite beautiful and inspired me to put Hana Soah back together again-- she has been lying in pieces on my ironing boards for over a month (long story). In any case, it took a while to get her restrung and the first time around I got the wrong leg on the right side and had to unstring her. I took this opportunity to go ahead and change her hands to the optional fists set that Elfdoll had also produced.

Doesn't she look like she has a very sweet demeanor? Well, the truth is, it took me too long to get the camera set up (I kept getting distracted by other things) and after a few minutes of grumbling and muttering under her breath, she just sprawled back and conked out, poor girl. Truth be told, it's wasn't a very graceful sight. You'd never believe how crabby she really was by these pictures. I'd hate to wake her I won't. Shhhhh!


Hana Soah wears a Mandarin jacket made by me; jeans by Jessica Hu, scarf by Mary Moe; Fwig from Denver Doll Emporium; Hat by Margaret W; and Gothic Cowboy boots from Elfdoll.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ode to Barbie, Conclusion.

Rosie's Cafe, Part 2.

Rosie's Cafe has become THE gathering place for all the beautiful vinyl people. Because the business was just raking in the dough, Rosie was able to expand her cafe to include TWO bakery counters and a full-sized stage. She had walls taken down and expanded the seating area and included a dance floor.

First, I must tell you the story of Rosie's flirtatious former employee Jack. Remember his dangerous flirtation with Wheelchair Becky in Part 1?

Well things went horribly, horribly wrong for him after this incidence, and his life was changed forever. But don't feel sorry for him, because Jack eventually married his physical rehab therapist and they had a very cute little girl.

Jack greets his sister Jessie.

No one knows what happened to Wheelchair Becky, least of all Liam. He now spends his nights staggering around in a drunken stupor at Rosie's Cafe. He doesn't speak. He doesn't make eye contact. He just mumbles and searches for his lost love Becky. People no longer notice the unwashed drunk in the army fatiques...

Ok... on with the program. Rosie's Cafe...oh yes, it has become a very sucessful venture. Gone is the dusty corner where musicians used to squeeze their amps and mikes. Gone is the old rickety cage. Distinguished guest performers have ranged from the the band Adrian Romero and Love Supreme, the great Accordian master Robert Davine, and classical guitarist Alex Komodore.* Hot band Cecil and the Weepers** performed during the grand re-opening weekend of Rosie's Cafe:

(Cecil and the Weepers, L-R: Liam2, Brandy, Benjamin)

Jamming! (Back row: in pink, Cameron; with white guitar, ???)

Music inspires spontaneous dancing...

...of all kinds. (Vitamin-C)

(psst! notice the drunken Liam?)

Rosie hired a fabulous Native American baker. She's very quiet and sweet, and customers wait in very long lines to take home some of her goodies.

Lines, lines...

...and more lines.

(Theresa, a tribute to my good friend Merisa B.)

Everyone goes to Rosie's-- it's the place where anything and everything can happen. It's a place where a lonely woman can ponder her life over a cup of tea...

...where people can share stories and laughter...

...where chess champions can hone their skills...

...where friends can bond over food and drinks...

(Alex and Kira)

...where strangers can meet and fall in love.

(Donny and Theresa)

And every night, Rosie's Cafe is the place where Kevin will fix himself yet another snack.

Kevin passes Flo Jo the mustard.


Cast of Characters in Order of Appearance:
Jack... Action figure doll of golf legend Jack Nicklaus
Therapist... Mattel
Kid...One of the Mattel Kelly dolls
Jessie... Saved By the Bell doll
Liam (a.k.a. Old Drunk)... Star Wars action figure from Episode 1, Phantom Menace
Liam2... Star Wars action figure from Episode 1, Phantom Menace, from a fight scene
Brandy... Fashion doll singer Brandy
Benjamin...Star Trek action figure Commander Benjamin Sisko
Vitamin-C...doll of musician Vitamin-C
Native American Baker... Mattel's Native American Barbie
Theresa... Mattel Theresa dolls, one of those $5.99 Target ones
Lonely Woman... Mattel doll Becky (ca.1988)
Alex... action figure of New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez
Kira... Mattel doll Kira (ca.1990)
Donny... doll of musician Donny Walhberg (New Kids on the Block)
Theresa... Mattel's Butterfly Art Theresa
Kevin... action figure of Wolverines player Kevin Garnett (no.21)
Flo Jo... Fashion doll of Florence Griffith Joyner

*Adrian Romero and Love Supreme was a Denver-based band featuring Adrian, a "Virtuosic guitarist/singer-songwriter" who "grew up as a classical-music prodigy." (Lemieux, K. 1998. Supreme being. Westword, January 22.

Shirts Against Skins (2003)
Shabang Shabang! (1998)
Radio Free Cola (1996)

Robert Davine 1924-2001
"An artist with an international reputation as a distinguished soloist, chamber musician and teacher"


"As the People’s Republic of China broadened its program of music for the accordion, it sought out master musicians within the accordion field and in 1984, Robert Davine was invited to present Master Classes. He was one of the first western music authorities to influence the development of accordionists in China and many Chinese students eventually came to Denver to study music with him and other professors at DU. "


Discography (4 total, but I only know of 2):
Tango! (2005)
The Concert Accordion Artistry of Robert Davine (1995)

Alex Komodore
"Alex Komodore is a Denver-based virtuoso guitarist. His powerful interpretations, formidable technique, and natural musicianship have won unanimous praise from critics, audiences, and many of the world’s finest guitarists. First Prize National winner in the Music Teachers National Association 1985 guitar category, his subsequent appearances on NPR and PBS broadcasts brought swift national acclaim."


Passport (1994)
Redstone (1990)

**Fictitious band named by former coworker at the DU Music Library, Mike B.

Ode to Barbie, Part One.

Long before I got into Asian ball jointed dolls, I was very much a Barbie nut. My collection grew, then shrunk, grew, shrunk again, and then ballooned into the current 60+ dolls of today. I've never been a MIB (mint in box) kind of collector-- I totally believed in deboxing and playing with my collection. I've even done some head and body swaps as the mood hit me, and my dolls have gotten dirty from the constant handling by both me AND my cat. Needless to say, my collection is worth nothing money-wise-- I've not been hanging onto these for a possible sale on some collectible antique toy forum in the future. I do not expect to make a mint when I retire by selling off these dolls. But when I consider the memories, the joys of playtime, the laughs (oh, the LAUGHS!), and the sheer insanity of Barbies, I know that my motley collection is truly priceless.
They've been living in cardboard boxes for about 7 years now because I simply don't have the space to play with them. Those who knows me can attest to the fact that when I'm playing with my dolls, almost every square inch of my apartment is affected. It no longer surprises me to find the odd Barbie shoe in the most inexplicable of places years after a play session. Lately, I've been cleaning out closets and going through boxes in preparation for yet another move when I came across these photos that I have taken with a 35mm camera (a gift from my dad, who is an awesome photographer) way back in the old days. I felt a pang of something like regret mixed with sweet nostalgia as I recalled entire afternoons spent lying on the floor setting up my Barbie scenes while my cat Bubba stared from the relative safety of his window perch. I used to spend hours posing just 4 or 5 Barbies, checking the perspectives and making sure these spacey and beatific dolls were actually LOOKING at something in the poses I set them in. Sometimes they'd fall over, and other times they'd just get unceremonioulsy yanked from the scenes, but most of the time I'd get the giggles because they were just too hilarious and the ideas would grow.

The pictures in this blog entry are those of my 2nd biggest scene ever. The biggest one (published in part 2) took approximately a month to put together, and covered an area about 5 feet by 7 feet in front of a fake fireplace. They stayed up for an amazing 3 months before Bubba, in a fit of destructive kitty pique, ran amok through the cafe scene and I had to put them all away. I feel sad about neglecting these vinyl people all these years and am currently in search of an apartment that will allow me to have a doll room once again, where all my dolls--from the Barbies and the Tonners through the cloth and the BJDs--can have a space outside of boxes and containers.


Rosie's Cafe, Part 1.
It started out innocently enough. I bought the Rosie O'Donnell fashion doll when she came out. I was thrilled with the idea of having a doll with different proportions to the impossible Barbie dolls. Around that same time, I found a Mattel Barbie Bakery set. Rosie's Cafe was born...

Rosie chats with her customers Alex and Nichelle.

In the kitchen behind her, Kevin makes himself a "little" snack.

See Jack.

See Jack flirt with bakery customer Becky.

See Becky's angry boyfriend Liam...

The musical entertainment on the temporary stage at Rosie's were singers Brandy and Leopard Girl.

Chelsie accompanies them on the guitar.

An anonymous friend videotapes the performance...

...and an exuberant fan in the cage screams.

Dylan attempts to pick up Christie...

...while outside Ken arrives with a friend.

Rosie's Cafe is becoming a popular gathering spot for Barbie and friends.

Cast of characters in order of appearance:
Rosie......Rosie O'Donnell fashion doll
Alex......"action figure" of baseball player Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees)
Nichelle.....Mattel Generation Girl Nichelle
Kevin..."action figure" of Timberwolves player Kevin Garnett (no.21)
Jack......."action figure" of lengendary golfer Jack Nicklaus
Becky...... Mattel's Wheelchair Becky
Liam...."action figure" from Star Wars Episode 1 doll of singer Brandy
Leopard Girl......Mattel Nascar Barbie (with a haircut)
Chelsie........Mattel Generation Girl Chelsie
Anonymous Friend.... Mattel Uptown Chic Barbie, from the Fashion Savvy Collection
Exuberant Fan........Mattel Generation Girl Tori
Dylan....Dylan McKay doll from the tv show "90210"
Christie....Rock n' Roll Christie
Ken... Harley Davidson Ken (my favorite Ken!)
Friend.... Nichelle doll with microbraids, don't remember which one she was