Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Kid(robot) Again

Earlier this month I had an afternoon snack meeting with hip-to-the-groove educational publisher Defined Mind in Soho. Fun meeting, if you like to talk about what's new in vocabulary instruction and brainstorming on a "next" project of that ilk. After business and some good eats, and not wanting to miss anything on my all too rare visit to NYC, I was introduced to Kidrobot, located half a block down Prince street.

For me, it was a futuristic time travel to a new culture at warp speed. My first realization was that I was about oldest, WASPishest guy in the place--about twenty years senior to anyone else in the little shop that was buzzing with a dozen or so customers that fit Asian or African-American profiles. The culture's in-crowd schematic is not laid out for bookish forty-somethings from Western Pennsylvania. It took me about ten minutes to shake down the blind box concept, deduce what was in -- or might be in -- the boxes, find the prices by matching labeled characters in the clear acrylic display cases, get over sticker shock of what a tiny vinyl collectible toy retails for, and reconcile myself to the fact "I had to have a one!" er, a couple of the figures.
For those who get it, I walked away thirty dollars lighter with three items to show for it: a Kubrick Star Wars Luke Skywaker, Munny (white with crown and ice cream cone)zipper pull, a ToFu figure, and, of course, a Smorkin Labbit.

Like any traveler to a strange land, I had to snap a photo of the New York shop. If not for this photo I would have missed the old stationery and office supply sign from an generation that would have been hard-pressed to imagine dropping cash on vinyl figures inspired by a Hong Kong-Japan-New York collision of industrial design, urban graffiti, anime, and hip-hop. And the graffiti on the right side, well, that's a given. For my time spent at Kidrobot, it felt great to be alive. Like being a kid again.

I left before checking out the clothing fashion side of the store. Always save something for next time.


Anonymous said...

Ah! That's so funny. You know, we have a groovy place here in the Pitts that sells Kid Robot, among other cool-kid culture stuff. It's also an at gallery, and run by my ex-NYC-er friend James.

ceyo said...

Yes, I know of akagoods. Haven't been myself but have sent several folks who have become devotees to the dunny market.