Sunday, October 28, 2007

a bloody feast

The Dracula Be@rbrick (above) is part of Universal Studios' five-piece set of 'Movie Monsters'. When I first saw it, I thought, 'Since when has Dracula become so cute?' I grew up having childhood nightmares from watching vampire movies, you know.

But I guess that's how things are – what used to be frightening can now be viewed as fun. Consider this: A horror cafe – complete with goth waitresses, coffin chairs and spooky snacks. Entitled 'Tommy Cafe', this dining concept was designed by Noda Nagi, a Japanese creative trendsetter who has been making waves in the advertising/music video scene. (She has done a campaigns for Coca Cola and Nike, music videos for Scissor Sisters and Yuki, and short films for retailer Franc Franc, among others.)

Check out the Sid Vicious tomb cake, buried cake, fish pancake with raisin muck, and bloody bone pastries.

Yuck or yum? The creator's friends try the bloodcurdling feast.

I say death is a very scary thing, but remembering the dead on the eve of October 31st can be quite a scream. :-D

Happy Halloween, guys!

(Horror cafe pics and coffin background from the Noda Nagi Website.)

Monday, October 22, 2007

dr. romanelli's cure for the cold

Dr. Romanelli or Darren Romanelli can't cure the sick, but he can definitely offer anyone relief from the cold.

He designs and manufactures jackets – and I'm not just talking about ordinary jackets. I mean... lookit these customized bombers below! Aren't they hot?

The back details are something else. For me, they score an A+++ for form and function.

Tasteful color combinations are accented with striking hues!

The question is, of course, the price. I bet these are gonna cost you...

Dr. Romanelli's retail space cum gallery in Los Angeles called 181 Martel carries the wonderful products you find on his website. But you will also find DRx goods at selected stores around the globe (Paris, Geneva, Berlin, Melbourne, New York, Tokyo, Vancouver, Seoul, London, Sydney, Honolulu, Boston, San Francisco and Hong Kong).

A great deal of the stuff are collaborations with known brands such as Nike (jackets, sweaters, shoes), Looney Tunes (custom toys, streetwear), and Jaeger le Coultre timepieces (jackets with built-in custom wristwatches – which Madonna wears). Aside from designing street fashion, the University of Oregon graduate also creates marketing campaigns (Disney, Fox, Warner Brothers) and manages a LA rock band (Ima Robot).

With a list of credits like that, I bet Dr. Romanelli is always on 24-hour duty.

The newly-released Dr. Romanelli SF Be@rbrick is part of Series 14. Its design is adapted from the scrub suit costume that Romanelli designed for Looney Tunes characters Bugs Bunny and Tweety Bird.

(Jacket pics / info from

Friday, October 19, 2007

mighty steps to follow, big shoes to fill

Last October 6, I drove through a seemingly deserted city to join my family for Sunday brunch at the new Bonifacio High Street shopping strip. When I arrived at our meeting place, I noticed that it was similarly empty, save for one big restaurant which was packed like a German pub during an Oktoberfest. It was the place where we decided to eat.

You see, it was the day of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Marco Antonio Barrera World Boxing Championship Rematch. Everyone at the restaurant was glued to the big TV screen where the fight was telecast. Meanwhile, the rest of the country stayed at home to watch, unwilling to miss the bout of the year even for a minute.

Will Mexican challenger Barrera, badly beaten during the first encounter, finally find the strength to defeat Filipino titleholder Pacquiao?

What an exciting lunch it was! We were treated to red-sauce rigatoni, crisp pizza, fresh whole wheat sourdough, blended cheeses, meaty stews... and an overwhelming show of Filipino power, agility, endurance and fighting spirit. Swear, I was teary-eyed for a brief moment – in between punches and pizza bites.

Manny Pacquiao. Filipino. Champion.

Later, as we were walking back to our cars, I spotted a billboard of Pacquiao (left) on the facade of the Nike Flagship Store. I immediately brought out my Canon IXUS 950 and took a shot. Below his image was a line from the Philippine national anthem which read: "Ang mamatay nang dahil sa 'yo." In English, it meant, "To die for you."

For a nation in search of a hero, it was one glorious day.

(Top) The Treadbear Bearbrick is part of the 2003 Bearforce One Series, a group of ten (10) Be@rbricks designed by Nike.

Monday, October 15, 2007

the real spidey saves the day!

News Flash: Real Spiderman Be@rbrick (right) finally arrived to save would-be buyers of the fake Spidey (left).

News Flashback: (June 2007) A reader wrote me to say how happy he was with his brand new Spiderman Be@rbrick which he snatched up in Singapore. But routine investigation proved there existed no such Marvel-licensed bear at the time. (In fact, the real one was released only last September 2007.)

In the end, I took the burden of telling him that his prized acquisition was a fake. The bad news left him very distraught – I felt it in his e-mail. Couldn't blame him – it was the very first Be@rbrick that he bought! :-(

Postscript: The fake Spidey is not only available in retail stores around Asia, it is also traded online – I've seen a lot on eBay. Consider yourself warned!

Related Stories: The Case Of The Bogus Be@rbrick / Part 1 & Part 2.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

a fetish for fishnet

After the brouhaha over Oscar Dela Hoya's alleged tranny pics, I can't help but think: What's the big deal?

Cross-dressing is more common than most people think:

1. In Greek mythology, Achilles (the hero of the Trojan War) dressed up as a girl in the court of Lycomedes to keep himself safe.

2. In The Odyssey, Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, often came to the aid of people disguised as a man.

3. Joan of Arc, a French heroine and a Catholic saint, was burned at the stake after being convicted by a religious court. Her dressing up in male clothing was cited as one of the principal reasons for her execution.

4. Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin, an early 19th century French novelist who is better known as George Sand, preferred to wear men's clothing exclusively.

5. William Shakespeare made substantial use of cross-dressing for his literary female characters. A lot of his heroines wore masculine clothing in order to carry out certain tasks. In Twelfth Night, for example, Viola disguised herself as Cesario in order to find employment.

6. All roles in Japanese Noh dramas are traditionally played by male actors.

7. Likewise, since it was illegal for women to perform in theaters in Renaissance England, men took over women's roles.

8. In China, a famous cross-dressing opera singer is Mei Lanfang.

9. Rock sensation Marilyn Manson cross-dressed his way to fame and fortune.

10. Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the American band, Nirvana allegedly wore women's clothes at home and on stage.

11. And then there was Boy George.

12. In some parts of the world, men wear skirts called kilts.

13. I just saw an antiperspirant ad on TV featuring guys dressed up as cheerleaders.

14. What were traditionally men's clothes – pants, vests, and blazers, etc. – are now ordinarily worn by women. Even oversized men's watches on ladies' wrists are considered chic!

It's possible that one day, 'unisex' will be the operative word. And Dela Hoya will have the last... giggle!

The 'Glow-in-the-Dark' Madness Be@rbrick (top, left) is by Nexus VII, the next generation streetwear brand from Japan. The goods are available at R*izm, the Nexus VII flagship store in Tokyo. / Dela Hoya pic (top, right) is from / Info from Wikipedia

Saturday, October 6, 2007

be@rbook bonus!

Someone asked me once, "Is there a website where one can find a complete list of Be@rbricks?"

Yes, there is. Check out Toysdorado. It's a site for collectors that's updated regularly. But don't be disappointed with the small pics and the lack of editorial content – it is strictly an online database.

For bigger pics, grab hold of the 10th Aniversary Be@rbook (below, right), a complete documentation of all the bears produced from 1996 to 2006. A veritable bible for Be@rbrick lovers.

Bearbook Bonus: The collectible 10th Anniversary Be@rbrick, a star-spangled bear which I photographed between the book's pages (top, left).

When it comes to Be@rbrick info, the Be@rbook provides the basics. But for a geeky blogger like me, knowledge is found not only in between book covers, it is learned everyday – from long hours of surfing the Web to short trips to the toy stores, from endless chats with other toy geeks to quick peeks at their toy collections.

But if only for the FREE Be@rbrick, I am looking forward to the next Be@rbook!