When it comes to music festivals, my "Old Crankypants" alter-ego tends to come out. The April arrival of the two-weekend Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival is essentially the start of festival season here in the U.S., and for the most part, the most high-profile fest in the country holds little interest for me. Sure, they score a few sweet headliners like GUNS 'N ROSES this year, and the mighty FAITH NO MORE a few years back, but the running joke of the dozens of bands slapped on the poster in an increasingly smaller font is just that - a joke. Then we have Lollapalooza here in Chicago, a fest I still haven't attended since it planted its flag on Illinois soil for a permanent run - preferring to remember it as a traveling carnival of awesome from the 90s. In fact, the only fest locally that I've been known to support 100% is RIOT FEST, but I will say that the upcoming Chicago Open Air has my attention (needs some Product of Hate, though). Cranky business in lineups aside, the amount of press releases that I receive each year about the culture surrounding Coachella is fascinating. There's usually two things being pitched - "VIP" packages that would be unaffordable for most ($25K-$50K), and fashion. A lot of fashion. On the latter note, I really have no gripes, which is why it's actually sort of cool to see that MGA Entertainment has issued a new series of "Music Festival Vibes" BRATZ dolls... though "Old Crankypants" does come back when it comes to BRATZ.
I'm into my second year as a Lalaloopsy SIP (SEW Important Person) Brand Ambassador, and I might be mistaken, but I think I'm the only dad in the crew. How did I get into the world of Lalaloopsy? Quite simply, it's The Rock Daughters™. For our first major Lala post of this season, the folks at MGA Entertainment asked us to share a little bit of background on why we collect Lalaloopsy, and for that I had to defer somewhat to Addie (6) and Finn (3)... you see, even before I was an official Ambassador, we were receiving and reviewing some new toys here and there, and between those special deliveries and the stuff we'd been buying, the collection at Rock Father HQ became sizable fairly quickly. The girls say they love Lalaloopsy for a lot of reasons: The dolls are cute/cool; the outfits are fun; they're colorful; and they love the TV series, specials, and movies. As a parent, I like the message of friendship, and I think the toys are really well-made and fun to play with. My personal favorite doll: Strings Pick 'N' Strum (the guitarist!). While I expect a huge Lalaloopsy boom this Fall when the new musical series arrives on Netflix, there's a lot of new goodies hitting stores, and we've got some recent additions to our collection from the Spring line.
It's January 1st, 2016, and that means it's time to debut American Girl’s 2016 Girl of the Year, Lea Clark. Lea is described as "a talented photographer with a love for animals, who discovers a wide world of possibilities when she embarks on a faraway adventure to Brazil." As always, the Girl of the Year is only available for 12 months, and Lea’s collection includes the 18" Lea doll featuring long wavy hair and warm hazel eyes, plus several tropical-inspired outfits, accessories, and toys that reflect her Brazilian travels—including Lea’s Rainforest House with over 30 pieces and accessories. This summer, Lea will be the subject of an all-new, action-adventure film, arriving on DVD via Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Check out an assortment of photos and the full details on American Girl's Lea Clark launch below!
When it comes to the holidays, one of the most classic gifts you can possibly give is a baby doll. New York's Goldberger Toys has been making dolls since 1916, and their mission is to make "cherished playthings" and "treasured friends" that are high quality, yet affordable for all. One of their latest offerings is a new, yet still very classic spin on their Baby's First Doll - the Baby's First Classic Talking Bottle Baby. Kids often want a doll that features realistic sounds and features, but in a lot of cases (which my wife and I have experienced), those features can make the dolls cumbersome by adding in electronics. Goldberger solved that problem by giving kids what they want, but with the "feeding sounds" coming from the bottle... not the doll, meaning that the doll can still get wet and be snuggled without any of the risk involved with battery-powered electronics.
To celebrate the fifth birthday of MGA Entertainment's Lalaloopsy brand, the folks behind the ever-popular dolls have been throwing an extended Super Silly Party. As part of the excitement, four previously-retired "core" dolls (the big ones that started the brand) have been released from "The Button Vault" as Super Silly Party Limited Editions. Crumbs Sugar Cookie, Peanut Big Top, Jewel Sparkles and Mittens Fluff 'N' Stuff are all back on store shelves, decked-out in special packaging and filled with surprises. As a Lalaloopsy SIP (Sew Important Person) Brand Ambassador, I received a Super Silly Party Surprise box for The Rock Daughters to check out. We did a live unboxing via Periscope (since captured and uploaded to YouTube) in which the girls explored multiple clues to guess who was in the box. Cue Brad Pitt... "What's in the box????" Watch the video below...
With this week's release of MONSTER HIGH: BOO YORK, BOO YORK on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, the crew over at Mattel has released a new music video featuring YouTube dance star Taylor Hatala and her #CityGhouls friends - rockin' the streets of the Warner Bros. backlot. Check out that video below, alongside a complete playlist of music from this new "Monsterrific Musical!"