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I kind of pity the copywriters for Design Toscano. They have to make all that tacky shit sound alluring and justifiably high-priced. Look DT -- you either want things like a suit of armor t.p. holder or you don't. You're preaching to the choir. Don't waste your limited stock of two-bit adjectives on us.

Take, for example, a sentence from their copy for Ravishing Rachel [who's in the Sexy Temptresses category, along with the ass-flaunting Temptress Witch Christmas Ornament]:

"Cast in quality designer resin, this large-scale, display-quality indoor sculpture transforms any home bar, entertainment area or recreation room into something truly magnificent!"

"Quality designer resin": as opposed, I guess, to all that shitty, no-name resin that floods the market these days?

"Large-scale": Isn't that redundant, given that the title indicates that it's "Life Size"?

"Display-quality": Seriously...why would you buy a Technicolor rendition of a very stiff, cartoony woman flashing her tits if not to display it?

"Transforms any home bar, entertainment area or recreation room": So you're admitting that your target consumers for these are sleazy misogynist straight white cis dudes who throw around obscene sums of money in an attempt to compensate for their utter lack of redeeming traits? Superb! I'll take 10!!!

"Truly magnficent": I don't think that is the word you're looking for. May I humbly suggest "alarming"?
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This is what I have learned from watching the first fifteen minutes of The Doll Master, a 2004 South Korean horror film featuring hordes of BJDs by Customhouse. As demonstrated by Young-ha, a BJD-owning character, they're all sulky, introverted weirdos with no social skills and a tendency to treat their dolls as independent equals, rather than toys.

I've wanted to watch this movie ever since I learned of it, partly because my first BJD was a Customhouse Jun [Zephque], partly because the BJD community refers to Doll Master as the equivalent of BJD: The Movie. Further comments when I'm done.

If you're so inclined to watch a horror movie about dolls, you can find the entire Doll Master film on Youtube with subtitles.

P.S. You know what actually is really fucking creepy? That life-size doll hanging from the ceiling as a lamp holder in the weirdo BJD owner's room. It looks like it's being tortured. :( Won't someone please think of the mannequins? :p

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...the closer to God! I found this site because Andrea saw this wig and thought of Mick.

After poking around the site, I realize why the stock looks so familiar. Given the problems of scale, these 1:1 wigs on 1:1 heads look very similar to 1:6 scale wigs on 1:6 scale heads. Any time you try to do curls, waves or any sort of updo in 1:6 scale using 1:1 wig hair, it inevitably results in something that looks like pagodas or minarets formed by hairspray. Check out pretty much any wig on Monique Trading Company's site for reference. O_O


Oct. 3rd, 2012 12:50 pm
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The owner of the Mannequin Store just called me back, saying that Vanessa will be back in stock within 2 months. And, contrary to what the Web site says, she does have knee joints. FUCK YEAH!
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I just asked Angelsdoll if Jareth's head has shipped yet and, if not, when it should.

I also asked the Mannequin Store if the beautiful, lustworthy and attractively articulated Vanessa would even come back in stock.

And I'm exploring the possibility of commissioning the Ultimate Corset [and matching miniskirt] for Jareth: viz., the underbust number in alternating panels of black and hot pink 4-way stretch vinyl that the Frankenstein outfit needs I tell you NEEEEEEEEEEDS to finish it off.

Things are looking good!

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As an extension of my interest in dolls, I've long had an interest in mannequins. For example, about 11 or 12 years ago, when I lived in small quarters in Somerville, MA, I purchased a 1950s mannequin off Ebay.

I named her Mick. She was made of wood pulp composite and had a nice old musty smell. She had a lovely, small, foreshortened head with uptilted features and knowing, side-glancing eyes.

I customized her by giving her a mohawk of blue and purple and gluing stars over the areas where her skin paint had chipped. I also gave her rhinestone studs around the border of her pinnae. Then I dressed her in all the awesome clothes that I could never wear myself. Naturally, she also dressed as Jareth, with a white blouse, my black velvet cape, the pants seen below [har!], an artificial bulge and an appropriate wig.

She was classy, demanding and vulgar at the same time, rather like Frank from Rocky Horror, as you can tell from the photos below. Incidentally, the button on her pants says "I heard it was come as you are, so I came in my pants."

Mick and her naughty, naughty pants. )

I no longer have Mick, as I got rid of her when we were moving apartments from Somerville to Cambridge in 2005. I was in one of my phases where I thought that having dolls was rather silly and impractical, especially life-size ones. She went out on the curb on trash day, but not before crabbily socking me in the mouth with her arm when I was disassembling her. I am confident that she went on to provide enjoyment for someone else, though. Like many desireable items left out on trash pickup days in our college-student-heavy neighborhood, she quickly disappeared before the garbage trucks came. No doubt she ran off with someone to become yet another moody and glamorous art project.

There were other life-size dolls too, such as the Styrofoam drag queen head who sported glittery rainbow eyelashes and helpfully stored my hot pink bob wig. There was also the African-American model that we discovered somewhere, decapitated, and reassembled by carefully balancing her loose head on her neck. I never named them, loved them or missed them the way I did with Mick, however.

I may no longer have Mick, but I still have my memories of her, which involve either feeling either a) deviously daring as I dressed her in flamboyantly explicit outfits or b) extremely frustrated by her limited articulation. She could swivel her arms and wrists, but that was it. She detached into just six pieces: her head + torso, two arms, two hands and then her waist + legs.

Despite Mick's limitations, I really had fun with her. Clearly, I haven't stopped thinking about her after all these years. Indeed, though I no longer have her, I have still kept the quintessential items of her wardrobe -- the FUCK pants, the "came in my pants" button and the pride button -- just waiting for the time when they will be used again.

Let's face it -- I want another mannequin. I mean, really...did you honestly think I would be able to resist the prospect of a life-size doll that's positively cheap compared to the wads I regularly blow on BJDs? You can get a simply posed, full-body mannequin with a realistic head for between $90.00 and $250.00, excluding shipping. Compare that to how much I'm investing in my Jareth, one of my dream BJDs, and you'll see why I consider mannequins cheap.

Anyway, now that I shop around for mannequins, there are so many more choices than there were when I bought Mick. A decade ago, I sought in vain for affordable mannequins with "plus-size" figures and/or basic limb articulation and/or head sculpts that had features besides vacant eyes, overstuffed lips and square jaws. Look at some of the options that the Mannequin Store [which apparently hasn't changed its site layout since I first came across it over 10 years ago] now offers.... I could settle for the adjustable sitting mannequin in standard mannequin body type [albeit with relatively larger breasts] and then make her fatter with strategically placed polyfill.

Their category of flexible mannequins contains two types of articulated mannequins. First, they have soft-bodied mannequins with wire armatures. The key words here are "flexible," "bendable," "soft" and "wire armature," just as a note to myself, for future search term use. These come with blank heads or solid, realistic heads, which look rather small and incongruous. Anyway, they're poseable down to their fingers! Just $250.00 for a female soft body with a hard head! I wonder if you can swap the heads out...

Second, they have hard plastic mannequins with a combination of ball and hinge joints. The key words here are "flexible," "jointed" and "pose mannequin." The "pose woman," as she is called, has ball-jointed shoulders, swivel head and waist, as well as hinged elbows, thighs and knees. For some reason, her wrists do not move. The articulation reminds me of the non-Fashionista articulated Barbies. Anyway, she's just $400.00.

They also have another type of articulated mannequin filed under their sitting female mannequins. She is billed as an "adjustable sitting mannequin." She appears to have swivel head, neck and wrists, as well as hinges at the elbows. Unlike the hard plastic ball/hinged mannequins, she has definite body segments and exposed metal joints. She also has a larger rack than your average female mannequin. For some reason, she's priced at $250.00, much less than the jointed mannequins mentioned above, maybe because she doesn't have knee joints. Her combination of realism and naked, mechanical articulation really appeals to me. I even like her head sculpt. I would totally get her over the aforementioned jointed mannequins, even if she didn't come with knee joints. [If she did, I would definitely choose her over the earlier jointed mannequins.] Of course, she's sold out on the site. :( Damn damn damn.

There are also a few more body shapes available for mannequins. Here's a "plus-size" mannequin with more fat on her than the standard mannequin. Tragically, she does not have a head. I can't stand mannequins without heads. They creep me out.

And here's a mannequin who's "eight months pregnant," apparently with a baby mannequin? I'm not sure how they reproduce, given their lack of genitalia.

My dream mannequin would be a "plus-size" female with  the articulation and head sculpt of the adjustable sitting mannequin, plus knee joints, and the ability to stand up or at least remain propped upright against a wall. I'm thinking that the adjustable sitting mannequin with knee joints must exist, as she's shown in the photo with knee articulation. I'll have to ask the Mannequin Store who makes her. Maybe some other place has her in stock. I will find her!

Darn dolls. I know how they reproduce planting seeds of ideas in people's heads that then grow to fruition and cause greater and greater purchases.

EDIT: OH MY GOD! Ball-jointed mannequins with articulated ankles [which is probably overkill] and load-bearing, locking joints! Also tension-jointed mannequins, which look cheaper.

And a standing mannequin with raw elbow joints.
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Short film, Alma, by Rodrigo Blaas, makes you wonder what your dolls are doing when you're not looking. Are they trying to escape?? If Alma the character were translated exactly into plastic, she'd make a really cute doll.
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Watch a real video of a mechanical doll with a real face watching a video of fake faces and yearning after the fake reality on the real screen with true desire. It reminds me of the scene in MirrorMask when Helena gets literally all dolled up by the clockwork music box mannequins.
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From "Earlier this week, 1.5 million people filled the streets of Berlin, Germany to watch a several-day performance by France's Royal de Luxe street theatre company titled "The Berlin Reunion". Part of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Reunion show featured two massive marionettes, the Big Giant, a deep-sea diver, and his niece, the Little Giantess. The storyline of the performance has the two separated by a wall, thrown up by "land and sea monsters". The Big Giant has just returned from a long and difficult - but successful - expedition to destroy the wall, and now the two are walking the streets of Berlin, seeking each other after many years apart.."

My favorite photo from this set is the one of la petite geante sleeping in her uncle's lap. They look so peaceful and loving!

La petite geante goes pee-pee in the street, part of the same performance:

To see la petite geante in an earlier performance, go here. Watch her lick a lollipop! She has an articulated tongue! Also marvel at her body language; she looks on tenderly as the little girls are swinging on her arms. I think that one of the best things about these dolls is that they show body language, blinking, swinging their arms and breathing, while the operators are putting them into position.

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These jointed models of pregnant women and their fetuses, made of painted wood, are from Japan during the Edo Period. The mothers appear to have wigs of real hair and inset glass eyes. Note impressive jointing on wooden baby at bottom of page so it can assume the fetal position. Awwwww...
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Over a period of 10 days in February this year, mannequins were set up in successive poses in Nice, France to illustrate tableau-style various episodes of several running storylines. At the end of each day, workers removed the mannequins from their positions and posed them in new positions and outfits to reflect the progress of their associated storyline. There were 14 storylines to follow during this exhibition, all of them weird to begin with and made even eerier by the use of 1:1 dolls. Visit the blog, with photos of all stories, at La Revolte des Mannequins. I especially recommend L'Anniversaire de Grand-Pere [Grandpa's Birthday], in which a little girl vampire wakes her granddad out of his coffin to celebrate his birthday.
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A post on Oobject collects a bunch of medical mannequins from various vendors, including robot-like dental mannequins, rubber CPR dummies and highly articulated trauma mannequins with multiple injuries. [See my earlier entry about a Japanese elder care mannequin for another example of these figs.] They are all real examples of teaching tools that are really for sale, and their high level of detail, realism and flexibility makes them beautiful works of sculpture. Whenever I get a life-sized articulated doll, I will use a medical mannequin as the base for the body, as fashion mannequins do not match the sheer number of joints possessed by some of these plastic trauma victims.
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Over on wtf_japan, I discovered a beautiful life-sized doll of an elderly woman, apparently designed to help personal care attendants practice caring activities for elderly people. She's beautiful! She looks like she is going to tell you stories. Go here for translations, in case you couldn't get the gist from the pictures.
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Hmmm...interesting. Commentary later. 

LATER: I'm rather annoyed by the narration's tendency to overdetermine the women's experience by addressing the reborn dolls as if they are actual children, rather than dolls. From what I can see so far, owners of reborn dolls range in their reasons for owning and playing with reborn dolls, just in the same manner that people own and play with any other type of dolls [duh], from action figs to Barbies to RealDolls to 3-D models. The very title of the docu, My Fake Baby, sensationalizes the reborn doll interest as a pathological baby substitute for old woman with empty aching wombs, but, if you investigate the docu closely, you'll see the dolls functioning as much more than kiddy substitutes.
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Extra, extra! Remember the delicate, skeletal harp-playing double amputee I linked to yesterday? Her name is L'Harpiste Mauresque, or the Moorish Harpist, and she was created around 1880 by the French automatonist Gustave Vichy. 

Well, there's a full version of her at the Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ, and she's wearing golden spangles and seated on an octagonal stand. If you go to the Morris Museum's main site, then Current Exhibitions, then Musical Machines and Living Dolls, then the picture of L'Harpiste [last one in the first row], you can see a high-quality video of her playing and, yes, moving her eyelids. 

Here's a still from the February 2005 Journal of Antiques, where you can see her expressive little purple face.
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 This is an automaton from the 1880s, unrestored, a bust of a harpist playing a song. The skeletal and stained condition makes it all the more affecting and compelling. She's beautiful!
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I've never commented on ads before, although I've always enjoyed Ms. magazine's back page where the inflammatorily sexist ads are rounded up for my viewing pleasure. However, I was poking around online, reading about the controversy [as, for example, on the blog of Bob Garfield, columnist for Ad Age] over the Heineken draught keg TV spot ... In this ad, the robot woman supposedly does a C section on herself and brings a draught keg out of her uterus.

For the record, I would like to say that I am truly torn about the ad.

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I don't care about the band or the song, but the cinematography and use of shadows here in this Inverse Order music video demonstrates just how expressive and unsettling mannequins can be. I need more mannequins [with heads!] in my life.
modernwizard: (Default) about a guy with a Real Doll and his brother and sister-in-law who are worried about him. The preview plays it as a comedy about a delusional, immature man who needs to migrate from silly, lifeless toys to much better real-life people. 

Plot-wise, that's the least realistic thing imaginable. From my research [see documentary Guys and Dolls here] and experience, people who are that into dolls, especially sexual substitutes, usually pursue this interest because a) they've have bad experiences in the past with women or b) they actually aren't interested in real women. In case a, they've turned away from interactions with real people, and they are not likely to turn back because they are soured. In case b, they fashion their experiences with love dolls to such an idealistic extent that no real women would ever satisfy them in the same way. All of this is to say that, if this were a realistic movie, the man would probably get a girlfriend who would break up with him because of his RealDoll, and he would return to the RealDoll, soured and even more intent on remaining with his safe, plastic toy.

That said, I'm very curious about the movie. While playing for obvious laughs, the preview seemed to treat all characters with respect. Hmmmm...
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RealDoll. [That's a link to a Salon article, not a link to Abyss Creations' site.] I the 10 [gah, has it been so long?!] years I've been actively playing with dolls, whether fashion dolls, action figures or BJDs, all discussions eventually wind around to RealDoll. This is probably because RealDoll encompasses and foregrounds the complicated relationships that people have with their dolls [personification, sexualization, idolatry, possessiveness]. What seems to be on the margin [RealDoll ownership] actually illuminates the central paradoxes of doll play.

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After reading yesterday about the guy who faces life imprisonment for breaking into yet another store to steal yet another mannequin, I fortuitously found an article on Salon about the burgeoning [hahahahah] popularity of mannequins with large breasts. This got me thinking. If there was a relatively cheap mannequin with these breasts and this body [and a head goddammit -- why don't the "plus-sized" ones have heads????], I would get it.

What I really want is a life-sized, well-articulated, realistic a ball-jointed mannequin. I'll just keep dreaming... 
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These museum figures can have foam bodies with flexible armature and detailed faces with wigs and glass eyes!
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I finally got into the site of the artist who did the life-size portrait BJD for the Absolut ad. Read more... )Read more... )



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