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Eric Nakamura
Graphic Designer , Illustrator , Magazine Editor
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Uglycon Event – Uglydoll Ice-bat Turns 10 and a Marriage Proposal

Uglycon 2014 Ice-bat Turns 10.

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It began years ago and now it’s back in “Phase Two.” After a few Uglycons, then a hiatus, and now completed second year in a row, the event is better than ever. It’s hard to top the madness of last years event, since it was the “Return of Uglycon” which was insanely ambitious except for an even larger endeavor this year – a secret marriage proposal hatched over messenger months ago. Nick Caruana and Kim Chadwick from Buffalo, New York made a trip last year, and became friends of Uglydoll and Giant Robot.

Uglycon began months ago, as bits and pieces of planning hatched and the chain of events for the day were planned. What worked last year? What didn’t work? The event was actually simplified, but at the same time, improved. Strange how that can happen. We removed a few events, and made sure that the ones we liked were well executed. Lastly, how would we handle Nick’s plan.


(That’s David and Steve Guerra Enky Skulls who made the cape for Ice-Bat)

We featured cookie decorating, Shrinky Dinks (yes, we brought this back), buttons, temporary tattoos, scavenger hunt, and the neighborhood Partners. Yes, Slicetruck, Nong La, Cinefile, Touch Vinyl, Balconi, Hurry Curry, Seoul Sausage, and of course ourselves. The deal was to keep the event within the boundaries of our partners which is a large cross section of businesses. We want to promote each other, and at the same time, help ourselves out. It’s the second time we created a neighborhood crossover and it worked. The partners seemed to be busy and they hopefully had fun too. I suppose it’s typical to say, one new customer makes a difference, but in the landscape of a small business, it can and does. Since last year, I’ve wanted to organize something else with the partners but it hasn’t happened yet. I’ll shoot for later in the year.

From the late nights previous, to the early morning fixits to opening at 12 noon, we saw friends, Uglydoll fans, artists, and more came through. A line formed outside. It began with the opening of the art exhibition which featured works from perhaps a hundred artists and spanned both shops! Giant Robot featured the fan mades – a collection of folks who answered the open call including a school class! Thanks for being part and making Ice-bats! GR2, featured all genres from prints, customized vinyl, handmade plush, original art, and the Makerbot 3d printer which spat out mini figures. The outside had two tents for the crafty fun. I saw people lose their minds for the Shrinky Dinks. We’ll bring that back again, sooner than later.

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David did the “UglyWorld” talk, his update on his life and the future of Uglydoll. His move to Asia surely have had some ramifications on his brand. This was the time for him to tell. We set up the screen and computer and he ran through slides of things we’ll be seeing in the near future. David then signed books, drew sketches and talked with his fans and friends. His excitement for his new projects are oozing out of him. The creator is in action.

The space in the day for craft, scavenging, and visiting our partners proved to be perfect as “Bingo” came up at 6pm. It’s the reward for our friends who supported the entire event by making purchases. The prizes are usually perfect. Some small items to larger and larger. This year, we even had partner, Hurry Curry donate a gift certificate (That’s so cool). The largest prizes were the oversized framed Uglydoll photos and this is when the highpoint of the day took place.

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(Nick and Kim)

From a week ago, I had to figure out how to get Nick to the front with a mic in his hand. Would we do this early in the day? We opted for the end, as it would either be the crescendo or in a morbid sense, the ultimate crash. Nick assured me, it would be fine. We were ready with confetti, cameras, and video. The plan was to let him call the last bingo card. I’m no actor, but I really was tired, so the excuse of being too tired to call off numbers worked perfect. I didn’t have to act. Nick grabbed the mic and I walked off. He made sure they sat in the front. As I called cards with David, I looked at Nick and wondered if he was ready. I swear he was focused only on Bingo. The last winner turned out to be himself and another person. I waited until photos were taken and he put the giant framed photo aside, and he took it from there. He told a story about how the Uglydoll “community” brought all of us together, and then how it brought them together, and then as he dug into his pocket, Kim looked toward the Bingo card thinking he was about to call numbers, and then he took a knee.

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Publisher and President Giant Robot Magazine and Stores. Will put foot in your ass if needed. I like bunnies, toys, curry, and art.

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March 22, 2008