Category Archives: Kids

2012 Gap Casting Call Has Begun

Gap Casting Call 2012
Gap 2012 Casting Call

Back in the day, these posts used to get some sweet page views, but now I do it mostly for nostalgia’s sake. The 2012 Gap Casting Call is on now through April 22, but mark my words, this year we will win!

PS On a side note, I see they brought eprize back to administer this year’s contest, hopefully it will run a lot smoother than it has in year’s past. (For those of you who don’t recall, Disney badly screwed the pooch while managing this contest in 2009.)

J&R Jr. Grand Opening This Weekend (Laurie Berkner, Dan Zanes)

J&R Jr.
J&R Jr.

Hey folks, the biggest names in kid entertainment are coming out this weekend (Feb 11-12) to celebrate the grand opening of J&R Jr., which is, “a new NYC boutique for kids & parents featuring the best of the best in baby gear, electronics, toys & more.” J&R Jr. is, of course, brought to you by Joe & Rachelle Friedman, the same folks who founded the famous downtown music and electronics superstore “chain.” Some of the big names coming out for the grand opening include: Dan Zanes, Laurie Berkner, Kidz Bop and The Dirty Sock Funtime Band.

View the full 2 day J&R Jr. grand opening lineup after the jump.

Continue reading J&R Jr. Grand Opening This Weekend (Laurie Berkner, Dan Zanes)

Yo Gabba Gabba Live Is Coming Back! (Beacon Theatre)

YGG Live: It's Time To Dance!
To paraphrase DJ Lance Rock, “It’s Time To Dance! Again!” That’s right folks, much to the delight of toddlers and indie rock fans everywhere, an all new (?) Yo Gabba Gabba Live show will be making it’s way across the USA and Toronto starting this fall. (Though producer Michael Cohl said as much in a Billboard interview a few months ago, it’s still nice to see the official confirmation.) The venues are scaled back a little this time, (The Beacon instead of RCMH), but it’s probably all for the better, since they probably overdid it the first time out.

This Fall, get ready for Yo Gabba Gabba! Live!: It’s Time to Dance! Presented by Kia Motors. Today we announce our North American tour dates, which kicks off September 15th in Minneapolis.

Citi® is the official credit card of the tour and Citi® cardmembers in the U.S. get early access to tickets and Gabba Party Packages on Tuesday, May 31, at 10:00 a.m. local time.

On June 3rd, we’ll begin to offer pre-sale tickets and Gabba Party Packages to our fans via our GabbaMail email list (Sign up here!). Show times and general public on-sale info will follow shortly. Keep checking for complete and up-to-the-minute tour, ticket, and Gabba Party Package information. []

Full list of YGG Live 2011 tour dates after the jump.

Continue reading Yo Gabba Gabba Live Is Coming Back! (Beacon Theatre)

2010 Gap Casting Call Contest Winners Announced

2010 Gap Casting Call Winners
2010 Gap Casting Call Contest Winners

Well, once again we didn’t win the annual Gap Casting Call Contest, check out the list of this year’s winners below.


Evie, from Tecumseh, MI, has a great imagination and a fun personality to match. This blondie likes to read, draw and play with her dolls. Evie loves to rock out to Animal Collective’s My Girls.

Dylan, from Pompton Lakes, NJ, has been called a “Will Smith look-alike” and is always flashing his “million-dollar smile.” He likes to sing and dance to his favorite Latin, Reggaeton and Hip-Hop tunes. His favorite meal is pizza with chocolate milk.


Sofia, from Skillman, NJ, is a real “spitfire,” according to her parents, and is super outgoing. She loves meeting new people and making friends. This girly-girl likes to wear dresses and pretty shoes like her favorite singer, Taylor Swift, and her favorite hobbies are ballet and swimming.

Keyghan, from Hereford, AZ, is fun loving and always makes others feel important. When he is not playing soccer or baseball, you can find Keyghan collecting Pokemon cards or hanging out with his friends and little brother.

2010 babyGap and GapKids Casting Call Contest Has Begun

Gap iPhone AppThey’ve been strangely silent since last year’s contest ended, but now the long wait is finally over. Yesterday marked the official launch of the 2010 Gap Casting Call. The initial entry phase of this year’s contest runs from September 28 through October 24 (last year it was a full 30 days) and for the first time, Gap is also offering folks the option to enter via their new iPhone app (which I haven’t actually tried yet). Thankfully, this year’s contest does not appear to have a partnership with Disney (which was more or less a disaster last year in my opinion and those of many who commented here). Even though Disney is gone, my hopes of things running smoothly right out of the gate were more or less dashed after I visited the non-functioning casting call website half a dozen times today.

To enter your child model of the future (babies, ages 4 and under; kids, ages five to 10) in this year’s contest, download the iPhone app or visit and upload a photo. Here’s the timeline for year’s Gap Casting Call:

Entry Phase: Today through Oct. 24, parents across the country can upload photos of their kid(s) ten and under wearing their favorite pair of jeans at or via the new iPhone app.

The Finalists: Judges will select 20 finalists — 10 for babyGap and 10 for GapKids – who will participate in a Gap photo shoot in San Francisco and get a $500 Gap GiftCard.

Voting Phase: Twenty finalists will be revealed on Dec. 6 and it will be up to America to vote for the winners at or via the iPhone app. Voters can cast their votes once a day everyday for a boy and girl for babyGap and a boy and girl for GapKids.

The Winners: In February 2011, the four winners will be revealed in Gap store windows nationwide. They will also receive a $1,000 Gap GiftCard.

Gap is also bringing back the popular Fan Favorite and Voter Sweepstakes Awards. The child who receives the most votes from Sept. 27, through Nov. 14, will win a $1,000 Gap GiftCard. Voters will also be entered to win a $1,000 Gap GiftCard every time they cast a vote.

Read the full 2010 Gap Casting Call press release after the jump.

Continue reading 2010 babyGap and GapKids Casting Call Contest Has Begun

2010 Brooklyn Book Festival Is This Sunday

2010 Brooklyn Book Festival

The fifth annual Brooklyn Book Festival will take place on September 12, 2010 at Borough Hall Plaza, Borough Hall Courtroom, St. Francis Auditorium and The Brooklyn Historical Society. This free event includes readings, discussions, and panels with such literary, comedic and musical luminaries as: Salman Rushdie, Venus Williams, Sarah Silverman, Paul Krugman, Dennis Lehane, Paul Auster, Naomi Klein, Gary Shteyngart, Rosanne Cash, Jennifer Egan, John Ashbery, Nelson George, Mary Gaitskill, Colson Whitehead, Francine Prose, Esmeralda Santiago, Pete Hamill, Russell Banks, Michael Connelly, John Hodgman, Kristen Schaal, Sam Lipsyte, Sloane Crosley, Paul Harding just to name a few. Check out the massive free schedule of events after the jump.

Continue reading 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival Is This Sunday

New Yo Gabba Gabba CD and Live Show Discount Codes

The highly anticipated Yo Gabba Gabba! Live tour is about to kick off and in celebration of the occasion Filter US Recordings is releasing a second installment of indie friendly kiddie TV tunes aptly titled, Yo Gabba Gabba! Music Is Awesome! Volume 2.

YGG Vol 2Now fans can enjoy a new, super radical compilation of music featured from Seasons I, II & III, YO GABBA GABBA! MUSIC IS AWESOME! VOLUME 2 hits shelves nationwide on August 31, 2010, timed with the launch of the live tour, KIA Motors Presents YO GABBA GABBA! LIVE! THERE’S A PARTY IN MY CITY. Jam-packed with Super Music Friends & all of the songs you’ve grown to love. A deluxe edition featuring bonus songs from the hit series will also be available on iTunes. Fans can get a sampling of the record with a free download of our favorite Super Music Friends – Weezer’s track “All My Friends Are Insects” at

If you’re planning on checking out the show live, there are also some deals to be had in various cities throughout the US and Canada, though unfortunately not in NYC (at least not yet). Here’s what I know about so far:

  • In Chicago, you can use the code SCHOOL to get $10 off tickets through August 31 (Buy Tickets).
  • In Toronto, you can get 2 for 1 tickets for September 4, 2010 early and late shows at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre over here and here. Toronto is also running Yo Gabba Gabba Live! promotions through “Pizza Pizza” and “Wonderlist”, the respective passwords for those promotions are 1111pizzapizza and wonderlist (Buy Tickets).
  • In Portland, Maine you can save $5 on tickets using the code MOM.
  • In Providence, Rhode Island you can also save $5 on tickets using the code MOM.

YGG Music Is Awesome Volume 2 track listing and a list of surprise YGG Live! musical guests (but not who will be appearing in what city) after the jump.

Continue reading New Yo Gabba Gabba CD and Live Show Discount Codes

An Interview w/ Sketchbot Creator Steve Talkowski

Sketchbot Variants
Sketchbot Variants

As I mentioned the other day, animator and toy designer Steve Talkowski is over at the SDCC this weekend plugging his new line of Sketchbot custom toys. You can say hello to him at the Dragtomi booth (3848) at Comic-Con on Saturday at 11AM or follow him on Twitter (@SteveTalkowski) or over at his blog, Check out my interview with Steve below.

Bumpershine: How did you come up with the idea for the Sketchbot character?

Steve Talkowski: I wanted to start a blog and begin showcasing my own work online. I was trying to come up with something original and eye-catching, and thought about what would best convey my love for drawing combined with my obsession for robots, and Sketchbot was born. I doodled a quick sketch of a silhouetted robot with a single eye, and that became the basis for the character.

Bumpershine: Who are some of your favorite comic book characters?

ST: If we’re talking Superhero comics, it would be Spider-Man and Iron Man. Those were the two I first got hooked reading when I got into comics in the mid 70’s. I also loved the early Judge Dredd stuff that A.D. 2000 put out.

Bumpershine: Does Sketchbot have a backstory?

ST: Not yet. The character was more a creation of what I envisioned a retro-style robot might look like, but wielding art creation tools vs a destructive nature.

Bumpershine: Your background (and current day job) is in animation, how did you get interested in making custom toys?

ST: Well, I have a soft spot for collecting robots – Gigantor being the main character I’ve been obsessed with for quite some time. As I refined the Sketchbot design, I had the constant notion of how I might go about turning it into a physical sculpture. A toy seemed to be the logical result.

Bumpershine: I know you experimented a lot at home with creating your own molds for the Sketchbot prototypes, how many prototypes did you create before settling on one you liked and how long did that process take?

ST: You can track back and see the evolution of the character on my blog. I initially hand sculpted the first version and pulled five resin casts, painting up two to show at comic con in 2008. It was a worthy experiment that I learned a lot from, and the main thing I discovered was that I wanted a more polished “production” feel to the piece, so I went back to the drawing board, further refining the shape and details, and eventually modeling it in 3d on the computer.

Bumpershine: What were some of the most important thing you learned while making your own prototypes?

ST: How to create molds and pour resin was a big deal during the first hand sculpted version. I attempted to do a 2-part mold for a solid, single piece character that in hindsight, was totally the wrong way to approach it. I did learn quite a few tips from making contact with other artists on Flickr that would post process pictures of their own experiences with sculpting, mold-making and casting.

Bumpershine: How long did it take you to go from prototype to production model?

ST: Once I had the 3d model created, it was simply a matter of getting a 3d printout produced that I could then send to the factory for tooling and molding. That process was a few months, as they would send samples for me to comment on. We went thru three iterations before I signed off on the final. With the time difference and delivery distance factored in, it was around 5 months.

Bumpershine: What was the production run of each Sketchbot?

ST: I have 500 pieces of variant 1 and the DIY blank versions, and 300 pieces of the remaining 5 variants for a total run of 2,500 pieces.

Bumpershine: What were some of the steps involved in getting a toy actually manufactured on your own and how did you figure all this stuff out?

ST: Talking to a ton of artists at Comic Con that already had a toy out was extremely educational. I decided to work with Solid Industries as my manufacturing partner because Jeremy Madl (MAD) already had a great working relationship with the factories in China. Online research, asking lots of questions, and advice from fellow artists that had a few toys already produced was another logical step.

Bumpershine: You had a Sketchbot custom show at My Plastic Heart in NYC in that ran during March and April of this year, can you tell me a little about that?

ST: People who saw the design liked the shape of the figure and the topic of whether or not I was going to offer a DIY (do-it-yourself) version often popped up. I never set out with the notion of turning Sketchbot into a “platform” toy, but always planned on doing multiple colourways. It made sense economically to produce a run of blanks within the production run, and that led to me having product to release to artists to customize for a show. People who I formed online relationships with had been following my progress via the blog and my Flickr stream, and it was simply a matter of inviting those whose work I admired and was a fan of to be part of my custom show.

Bumpershine: The first Sketchbot you’ve released is the classic orange character, I know you’re also planning on releasing some variants on that design, can you tell me a little about your future release plans? What happens when you sell out of everything?

ST: His is another aspect of releasing a toy that I’m learning as I go along. My distributor, DKE Toys, has great advice on how best to introduce new versions and the appropriate timeframe to do so to avoid flooding the market too early, for example. I was wisely encouraged to use the exposure of San Diego Comic Con to unveil the next two colourways, which shows potential customers that this is part of an ongoing series. This also creates buzz amongst my growing fan base. If/when we sell out the entire run, I get to design new variants and make more!

Bumpershine: Do you have any other characters up your sleeve that you would like to make? Perhaps some additions to the SB universe?

ST: Absolutely! I have plans for a series of artBots, in addition to other bot-related characters that could live in the same design universe. I’d also like to do some other characters that are in no way related to Sketchbot.

Bumpershine: My son would love to see a Sketchbot cartoon, are you planning on making any animated Sketchbot videos? If so, would you make them in 2D or 3D?

ST: Yes, yes, and yes! It’s simply a matter of finding time to get the projects started. I’m working on short animated vignettes (in 3d) to introduce the different Sketchbot variants. This could also lead into a children’s book at some point. Ideally, I’d love to create a series of animated shorts that could find their way into, say, interstitials for someone like Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network. Stay tuned to over the coming months for further information and you just may get a glimpse at some animation tests!

Comic-Con Starts Today, Sketchbot Will Be There

Sketchbot at the 2010 SD Comic-Con (July 22-15)
Sketchbot at Comic Con

The annual 2010 San Diego Comic-Con starts today (July 22) and our good friend Steve Talkowski will be there with Sketchbot, his latest custom toy creation. If you’re gonna be attending the SDCC, make sure you swing by the Dragatomi booth (#3848) on Thursday at 11am and Saturday at 11am, when Steve be on hand to sign and sketch. Stay tuned for an interview with Mr. Talkowski coming soon!