LA Comic Con Wrap Up!
Los Angeles is community. All the deep urban/suburban blocks from West Adams, Jefferson, Arlington Heights, Little Tokyo, Arts District, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Culver City, Inglewood, Boyle Heights, Bunker Hill, DTLA, East LA, Vernon, West Hollywood, Larchmont, Beachwood Canyon, Los Feliz, Silverlake, Atwater Village, Echo Park, Glassell Park, Frog Town, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Mid-City, Mid-Wilshire, Northridge, Studio City, Universal City, Tarzana, Van Nuys, Reseda, Canoga Park, Calabasas, Granada Hills, Pasadena, San Gabriel Valley, West Covina, Montebello, Pico Rivera, Compton, Huntington Park, K-Town – it's all love, and though Randy Newman meant it with a razor sharp New York sarcasm and some self defeating, and deprecating laments aimed to solicit his loyalties for his old New York haunts, man, I Love LA! From the palm trees dotting the skyline, the rainbow sherbet sunsets, the San Gabriel mountain silhouettes, the yoga yogis, the Ferraris up on the strip, that sweet coastal Pacific air, dry, crisp, warm, and cool…and most importantly, the Big Blue, the mighty Pacific with all it’s soul providing nourishment. Of course we have our problems, a big homeless population, crazy rents, insane traffic, fires, but we also have the glam, and glitz, the movie magic, the manifest destiny which prompts folks to uproot and go from sea to shiny sea, never to surrender the clutches of our mighty Big Blue, the Pacific, or “Peaceful Ocean” as Magellan first named that beautiful big bosom.
Los Angeles Comic Con had a very LA feel – had a latin pulse; the fruit vendors, the bacon wrapped hot dogs, with the sizzling bacon currents wafting among the tree line, the So Cal laid back, Vans, shorts, shades – Cali. The whole vibe was laid back. The folks in the convention cloaked themselves in the LA “thing”, although many in costume but there was no rush, no pushing, no lines, just a stroll through a pop culture cornucopia with a whole lot of smiles, a little swagger and swing in the gait, a destination “no place soon” stroll about the grounds. If the vibe was a tune, that tune was administered by Los Lobos, rocking the joint with cool, and easy feels.
A block up Figuero is the house Kobe and Shaq built, where the Kings won a pair of Cups, the Clippers finally became competitive, the Sparks won a few flags, and further up on Fig (as the locals call it) is the Pantry, LA’s oldest diner, and boy it’s an old school throwback adventure – greasy spoon, blue plate specials and still ok to drop a nickel or dime on a cup of coffee. In front of Staples you’ll see a garden of statues, the first one erected, the ambassador of LA, Magic Johnson. Kareem to follow, then “The Great One” (Gretsky), the Golden Boy (Oscar), and through the years quite a few have decorated the front porch, but the one I have the most appreciation for is the Chick Hearn monument, or as I affectionately call my “childhood babysitter.” Not literally but I can recount his play by play each night during the NBA season on K-Cal 9. Chick and Vinny, Mr. Scully being my other babysitter, the Dodgers play by play legend.
I parked my car at the office, and then strolled down to the Convention Center, only 6 blocks. The sun was shining, working on that California golden hue. The streets were quiet until I arrived at the concourse and intersection of street vendors and cosplayers. Everyone was playing the same harmonious tune. Geared up in my surf trunks, and Vans I hit the convention floor to check out the scene, see how the folks were interacting with TLS. The TLS Team were crushing it; passing out TLS Crowns, Aggretsuko masks, swinging and dancing with the great crowd who were treated to some sneak peeks, and previews for Ghostbusters, My Hero Academia, the TLS 10 Year Translucent Blue Night King, and Viserion, and the Translucent Black Night King. We were in a flow, for three days straight, just smiles, handshakes, great conversations, and a killer statement right in the middle of the convention – we brought out the big guns, our tradeshow booth, white carpet and all. The show was a success.
I travel quite a bit, to the conventions and tradeshows all over the world. I’ve always felt fish out of water with the toy industry, and part because being native from SoCal I guess I have a little bit of a slower pace about me, which is unusual for this business. Most of the CEOs are fast talkers, always on, always plugged in, going a million miles a minute, their brains on fire, sucked into tight suits, polished veneers, and newly trimmed hairlines, pushing bags of plastic, and kooky gimmicks. I’m trying to take in the culture, the scene, some art, a longer breath, a deeper exhale, perhaps it’s the creative in me, and it’s a club hard to find in this business…not a ton of creative CEOs. My Vans give me away, the hole in my t-shirt, I suppose I have more in common with Lebowski than Hasbro to some degree – although I don't drink white Russians, I haven’t been threatened by Nihilists with a ferret, I don't know anyone named Jackie Treehorn, and I’m freely welcomed into Malibu anytime.
So Cal – surf, skate, punk rock, art, and a sort of bohemianism, which is impossible to shake. I like it. I like LA Comic Con for the same reasons, the same attitude permeates.
Thank you to my Team. It literally takes hundreds of hands, brains, passions, and focus to do what we do, and I undoubtedly have the best Team who does more than the next 10 Teams combined. The Design Team, the Administrative Team, the Licensing Team, the Operations Team, the Engineers, the Logistics Team – we are a small Company but we do big things, and I’m proud to be a part of it, and I’m proud that we’re anchored here in Los Angeles. I hope our unorthodox operation is why you like TLS, because we’re going to keep on trucking, doing the best we know how. We might not be like the other guys, our reference points may be obscure but it's the lens, the passion, and the belief that makes TLS a great LA Company, and certainly a Company trying to accomplish something very special with you all.
Enjoy the video, Dane out did himself. It’s hard to believe he was able to keep up with the Night King.