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Speaking from the Heart: Berdine Creedy thanks colleagues, collectors
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 24 May 2017 15:31

Photos courtesy of Berdine Creedy

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is when I have the opportunity to share good news with an interview subject. It can be the information that she's nabbed the cover placement, a nomination for a DOTY, or the very exciting fact that she's about to be honored with the Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award. I had the opportunity to do the latter one when I interviewed Berdine Creedy for the July 2017 issue of DOLLS magazine.

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Forever Feuding: Why couldn’t Crawford and Davis be content as frenemies?
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Monday, 15 May 2017 20:28

It makes perfect sense — well, to me at least — that two people who have an enormous amount in common might not get along at all. Religious scholars, therapists, and candid authors all point out how many of us are blind to the great big hunk of lumber sticking out of our own eyes, but we can eagerly point toward the speck of dust inhabiting our neighbor's vision. We're often willfully blind to our own faults, but we can recognize them from a mile away when they are presented in a stranger's bearing. This foible of human nature occupies the front seat of this week's DOLL CHRONICLES. It is, in fact, the essence of why these two iconic grande dames are intertwined and interlinked. They are eternally bound together — and more and more frequently made as tribute dolls together. They are united in their ferocious animosity.

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Double Image: Rafael Nuri designs dolls that are doubly impressive
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 19:13

Photos courtesy of Rafael Nuri/BiDoll

One of my highlights of 2016 was a chance to explore the world of Rafael Nuri. I wrote a profile of her and her prolific imagination, and Nuri was a treasure-trove of ambitious future plans, and her outpouring of work was truly admirable. I guess the best comparison is to never-resting author Stephen King or Joyce Carol Oates. Neither of those writers ever seems to take a break. Such is the incredible work ethic of Rafael Nuri. She is devoted to her life's work, because doll making is her passion.

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The Mod Squad: American Girl wisely grows its line of contemporary, multicultural characters
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 14:16

Photos Courtesy of American Girl/Mattel

As a mother to a 12-year-old, I've had to learn a whole lot about emojis, Snapchat, texting, and YouTube. The same way I had grown up with particular favorite TV sitcom stars, my daughter is smitten by certain YouTube sensations. In an odd development, millions — yes, millions, not hundreds or thousands — of kids routinely watch YouTube, where a bunch of seemingly wannabe comics, actors, singers, conversationalists, and even video game players hold court. I am constantly asking, "Why are you following this? What is the allure? I don't get it." I imagine my mother might have felt the same way about my preteen obsessions, too.

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Over the Rainbow: Monica Reo’s newest creations reside & rule over imagination
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Friday, 28 April 2017 15:43

I don't think I'm going too far out on a limb when I say doll collectors love it when an artist branches out into the fantasy realm. Heck, not just doll collectors—apparently, every female, ages 4 to 104, are hooked on the fantastic and the majestic. Check out the box-office receipts of this year's live-action "Beauty and the Beast," and you'll correctly calculate that girls and women are still suckers for a good fairy tale (especially with a happy, uplifting ending).

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Beauties and Beasts: Debbie Weimert daydreams all of these characters
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 20 April 2017 20:33

Photos courtesy of Debbie Weimert

This spring break has been a fantastical one for me and for my children. Yes, it was fantastic, but "fantastical" is the adjective of choice. We went to see the big-screen, live-adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast," and my daughter fell under its spell. This self-described "tale as old as time," modernized with some spectacular CGI and Emma Watson, was enough to have my daughter going back to see it a second time, and begging to be allowed to see it once more for good measure!

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Words Made Real: An e-mail blast from Robert Tonner truly came alive
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 13 April 2017 19:27

I received a lot of curious feedback about Mary Astor and the Tonner Toy Fair unveilings. Many folks wanted to know if Robert was simply going to visit the decades of film noir and long-ago, long-simmering Hollywood scandals. (Why not? The TV program "Feud" is mining the rift between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford for all it's worth.) The answer, however, is a definite no! Robert Tonner is always re-imagining his offerings, and this year it was certainly a bold new direction for his Toy Fair debuts. Though I have to admit, it was a physically smaller sampling than in years past, it was a clarion call that Tonner is refusing to create what is expected and will not play it safe. The number of dolls he brought along was much tinier, but what they said — they spoke volumes!

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Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary: Tonner Dolls shines a spotlight on Mary Astor’s “bad” behavior
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 06 April 2017 16:42

Photos of Mary Astor courtesy of Movie Star News

A visit to the Tonner booth at Toy Fair is always a worthwhile stop. This year's showcase was small on quantity — were there just about a dozen dolls on hand? — but definitely large on quality. There was also an invisible thread that connected three of the dolls that were highlighted on the artist's display counter.

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Mad About Alexander: Face-lifts & fashion? Fantasy realism? Tweet it out!
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 15 March 2017 19:43

It's hard to come up with a new idea — I mean, one that has never been seen, heard, spoken about, or imagined before. There are some cultural critics who maintain there are NO new ideas at all. Everything is simply recycled, repurposed, reformatted, and rearranged. If you watch a lot of TV (I plead guilty), you probably subscribe to that worldview. I can often figure out a brain-teasing miniseries before its second episode even concludes. So much for originality!

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Toy Fair 2017: Hello, Hologram Dolly! Barbie wows as an AI beam of light
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 16:36

I like the notion of artificial intelligence. I have enough confidence in myself that I don't think I'll ever find myself head-over-heels in love with a disembodied voice, like the poor nebbish character that Joaquin Phoenix plays in the movie "Her." In that 2013 film, directed by Spike Jonze, Phoenix plays a guy who is down on his luck and responds enthusiastically and recklessly to the sultry tones of his cyber device (the Her of the title is a futuristic version of Siri or Alexa, and is vocally performed by Scarlett Johansson).

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