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Review of the Super Toy Show March 2010

Review of the Super Toy Show March 2010

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Published by: Diane_Evert_6298 on Aug 17, 2012
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08/17/2012

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BAY AREA BACKSTAGE
Rockin’ It at theSan Jose Super Toy Show
By Dianthrax
When you think of Bay Area Backstage you think of interviews with rock stars, moviereviews, footage and reports of the hottest and most kickass concerts and events; pretty much a full behind-the-scenes tour into the entirely different world that exists behind the curtain and off thestage, something most people rarely experience. But a toy show? A
toy
show?? That brings tomind something like rampaging children with stressed out parents and ancient Barbie dolls sold atexorbitant prices to creepy serial-killer types by little old ladies. Who needs a backstage pass to
that 
??More people than you would think.Why is that exactly? Because “Toy Show” does such a poor job at explaining what the event isreally like that it’s practically a misnomer. Yes, there are toys- there’s all the crazy things you usedto play with as a child and some things your parents might have played with, too. There’s alsovinyl records, sports cards, posters, video games, action figures, comic books ranging from GoldenAge to so new they aren’t even in stores yet, Matchbox cars, your old Star Wars lunchbox, originalart, that DVD you thought was impossible to find, autograph sessions with legendary authors,artists, and actors…and ridiculously priced Barbie dolls too.My point is that there are so many great things going on at these events that all kinds of  people could enjoy if they only knew to look past the label of “Toy Show” and saw what it wasreally about! So that’s what I’m doing now; I’m doing what Bay Area Backstage does best andshowing you what really goes on at these shows, giving you a glimpse at a world most peoplewould never see.First off, let me give you some basic info about this event: It’s held at the Santa ClaraCounty Fair Grounds inside The Pavilion. There’s an $8 parking fee and $5 admission price for adults and it runs from 11am to 4pm, though if you’re a serious collector/shopper you can payextra to get in 2 hours earlier. The room looks something like a giant school cafeteria with harshflorescent lighting and linoleum floors, but that’s where the similarities end. All along the wallsand in rows going up and down the entire room are tables and tables packed with stuff. Boxes of comics and records, elaborate displays of vintage toys, figures, all kinds of art- it’s like the mostawesome stores you can think of exploded and all of their items landed in this room. It’s a bitoverwhelming and not unlike a smaller version of the Main Hall at Comic-con, which is probably a big part of why I enjoy it so much. I’ve found all kinds of great gifts for people at this show and
way
too many things that I wanted to get for me. I try to control myself but I have come home withcertain things I just couldn’t say no to… and if it wasn’t for the propinquity of Wonder-con and thefact that I need to save up for Comic-con I probably would have spent more.
 
If you aren’t really a collector and not all that into shopping I’d still say that attending isworth it for the chance to meet the artists that go. Some are unknown and trying to make a namefor themselves, while others are established legends who helped shape the art world as we know ittoday. You can find all different types and styles, purchase original pieces signed by the creator right in front of you, or commission a one-of-a-kind piece to be created while you watch. It’s alsoyour chance to talk to some amazingly talented people and ask whatever questions have beenstewing in your head about them or their work. That’s if you’re not too star struck to remember any of your inquiries like I was with the first person I attempted to interview, John Stanley. Now you may have noticed in my profile a little banner that says “Watch Horror Films,Keep America Strong!” But what most of you probably
didn’t 
know was that it’s an ad for anawesome documentary that came out in 2008 all about
Creature Features,
the generic title that wasgiven to horror TV shows during the 60s, 70s, and 80s and broadcast on local networks. Theseshows aired classic horror movies from the 1930s to 1950s, horror and sci-fi movies from the1950s, British horror classics, and the Japanese “giant monster” movies, along with a charismatichost who gave commentary and conducted cast and crew interviews. These shows were whatallowed us to enjoy later on such television uber-greatness as Elvira and
 Movie Macabre
, Joe BobBrigg’s
 MonsterVision
&
 Drive-In Theatre
, and even
 Mystery Science Theatre 3000.
As the localhost of 
Creature Features
on KTVU Ch. 2 in Oakland, John Stanley is one of the commentators inthe documentary. He’s also the author of a sort of pseudo-memoir I Was A TV Horror Host thatchronicles his experiences and gives his perspective on the six years he worked for KTVU. I own both the book and the Collector’s Edition of the DVD. I think it goes without saying that I’m a fanof John Stanley and that meeting him was slightly gulp-inducing.Luckily Mr. Stanley is also a very affable and personable individual who was really quiteeasy to talk to. He noticed me loitering around his booth and said“You look like you’re a bit shy. That’s ok; I’m shy too.”Which made me laugh and ask how one can be shy and yet host a weekly TV show? Towhich he replied“Well it’s not easy but somehow I managed.”From there we chatted a bit about the documentary and the book while he wasautographing my copies for me, exchanged formal introductions and email addresses, and then parted after he told me he’d be interested in meeting and doing an actual interview sometime in thenear future. So I’m hoping that the next time I blog about John Stanley it will be to post the videoof my one-on-one interview with him! In the meantime, you can check him out and learn moreabout the documentary and his book on his website: www.stanleybooks.net.The next person I talked to went considerably better than my fumbled attempts with myhorror host hero, and that was artist Eric Joyner. Mr. Joyner made a rare special appearance atSuper Toy Fair to display prints of his paintings and sign copies of his new book.
 
Even if you think you don’t know anything about Eric Joyner you may have seen some of his stuff without knowing it considering he’s worked for companies like Mattel, Warner Bros,Showtime, Random House, Hewlett-Packard, Sprint, Hasbro, CBS, Cisco, Microsoft, Chevron,and BMG Music. Or you could have read about him in “The LA Times” or “The San FranciscoChronicle’s Culture Blog,” or own the copy of “Spectrum” published in 2004 where his work wasused as the cover. Maybe you played one of the games he worked on at Mindscape or seen one of his exhibits that are too numerous to list in full but include The Museum of American Illustration,U.S.F Law School of San Francisco, The Artisans Gallery, and United States Air ForceExhibitions. But what I think makes Mr. Joyner so famous can be summed up in three words:robots and donuts.After World War II one of the main exports of Japan was tin toys and probably the most popular of these toys were the robots. From the 1940s through the 1960s these toys were all therage in the US and remain a major passion among collectors. Eric Joyner’s artwork explores people’s fascination with, as well as the love that fuels his own collection, which he started in the80s. Published by Dark horse, his book Robots and Donuts is a compilation of paintings thatcelebrates Mechanical Americans and the brief period in history where they captured the country’simagination.Oh, and there’s donuts in there too. Why donuts? Well no one really knows- not even the artisthimself.I approached Mr. Joyner while another attendee was flipping through one of three large portfolios containing printed copies of his paintings. For a while I just watched and listened as hegave little bits of information about each piece. Things like:“This is the winter one of the four seasons group I did” and“This one is called ‘Donut Redemption’.”When I finally spoke up it was to ask him if he had a copy of the painting he did for hiscontribution to the “Star Wars” tribute book that Lucasfilm Ltd. had commissioned. (One-hundredworld-renowned artists from all over the globe each submitting one work of art to be collected and published in a book due out some time next fall, as well as shown together as an exhibit in anational museum tour in a year or so; nerd-ilisciously bad ass!)He said that indeed he did have that one with him and began flipping through the pages of one of the portfolios to locate it, then did a double-take of sorts and, sounding mildly shocked, said“Wait- how did you hear about that?? Do you read my blog?”To which I gave my best impression of a coy smile and a shy little nod. He smiled back andopened up about the project and his work in general, explaining that the representative fromLucasfilm almost didn’t accept his submission, claiming it was too similar to something that hadalready been submitted by another artist. It all worked out though, and George Lucas himself ended up buying the painting for his personal collection. He also informed me that the set designer for the CBS show
The Big Bang Theory
 bought two of his pieces to hang on the walls in the main

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