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Through The Toy Shopp and Behind The Curtain

Enter a Toy Shop of childhood fantasy; of fun and games that melt into a melancholy menagerie of misfits.

At the entrance stands a distant second cousin to Zoltar the Fortune Teller. It’s The Devine Oracle of Ms. Perception who shows you only what you want to see, an altered reality of sorts, full of funhouse mirrors, flashing lights, iconography, spy glasses, photo lenses and crystal balls. She detects your presents and shines a light beckoning your attention.

Step behind to reveal the ugly reality. Raw unfinished woodwork, screw holes and piles of currency pouring from the seams.


 The view through the storefront window reveals a shadowy emporium of childhood wonder. One-of-a-kind toys are stacked on pedestals, line the walls and hang off hooks. Onlookers are filled with anticipation and excitement at the promise of experiencing a bountiful bazaar of cherished memories. Upon closer inspection, the toys are faded, worn, used and abused – eyes pleading, arms reaching out for comfort. Their titles reference their affliction: “I thought I could. I Thought I Could.,” “F U and The Horse U Road in On,” and “Not A Toy.”


Beyond the toys, blinking marquee lights beckon above an eight-foot ornate puppet stage dressed in red silk, crushed velvet, gold fringe and a devilish mask with a finger to his lips,”Shh.


Pushing behind the curtain, figures fill the room. These are the “Toy Box Kids,” created with a collection of amusing objects, well-worn found materials, rich with their own history, that gravitated to one another like narrative magnets. In the corner, a sweet blue-eyed girl with a muffin tin hat and pink box belly squats on a pedestal as her clock guts spill out, in Ever After. A Victorian doll made from a toy stove, mirrors and baby shoes, steadies herself on a stool and cocks her head while listening to the trumpet of ‘mansplaining’ in Listen Little Lady.


The ringmaster, exposing his funhouse-mirrored insides, stands center stage in the room advertising The Big Show. Perched on a shelf, wild and unafraid, sits a rough and tumble blue box boy sporting his hard hat and games of chance titled, Runs With Scissors.


The list goes on with titles like, I Got This, Whirled Stage, Knight of the Truth Bubble and Mawwiage, The innocence and whimsy draws the viewer in like bait, but upon closer inspection, layers of meaning emerge, addressing social, political, and personal issues, exposing the emotional scars, hopes and dreams left on the metaphorical inner child.

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