Feb 072016


Book stores aren’t supposed to exist anymore. Especially independent ones.

The sad truth is that, at one point, Amazon and waning attention spans massacred these outlets, turning customers into e-shoppers and proprietors into paupers. Which is why exceptions have to be exceptional.

Meltdown Comics on Sunset Boulevard is one of those special misfits.

It’s a 10,000 square foot playground offering cartooning and writing classes, open mics, events, shows—the store’s even spawned a network television series starring names even non-geeks recognize. Oh yeah, and the place also sells comics. Tons. Everything from the spandex set to avant garde graphic novels. French, Spanish, Japanese creations, lots of toys, plus books with characters who grapple with love, rejection, and how to pay the rent—issues the store’s 45 year-old bearded Chilean owner has faced repeatedly for the past 26 years.

“I lucked out,” said Gaston Dominguez-Letelier, who opened Meltdown in 1993 with his then-wife Ilia. “I do daily what I love. When I started out, it was scary. Because if I fail, I’m done. So there was no option to fail.” Read the rest of the article here: http://smashd.co/take-a-page-from-meltdown/

Sep 142012

Story: Liz Ohanesian

Photos: Shannon Cottrell

The first thing you’ll see when you walk into the lobby of  Stoopid Buddy Stoodios are the chickens. There are two fowl figures at the front desk, one large, one small, both with mechanical appendages. Just as Disney is forever associated with the Mouse, so will Stoopid Buddy have an eternal connection to the chicken, that is, the Robot Chicken.

Housed in two large buildings on the same Burbank block, Stoopid Buddy is an animation studio founded by Seth Green and Matt Senreich, creators of Robot Chicken and the production company Stoopid Monkey, along with John Harvatine IV and Eric Towner of the animation team, Buddy Systems. They opened last February, but are already making a lot of cartoons here, including some of the “Spy vs. Spy” bits for Cartoon Network’s animated MAD series, and the College Humor show Dinosaur Office.

Robot Chicken is the cornerstone of this company, occupying a good 16 or 17 of the 25 animation stages available in the building. Season six of the hit series, which premieres Sunday, is actually the first season of Robot Chicken to be made by Stoopid Buddy. However, many of the 9-to-5 inhabitants of this animation compound are familiar faces. It is, after all, owned by the show’s creators and two of its former animators. Many of the 70 people on staff here have been with the show for several seasons. Stoopid Buddy is ready for business and it’s all because of a few guys who are really into toys.
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Coming Soon: Stoopid Buddy Stoodios Tour

 Posted by on September 12, 2012
Sep 122012

Photo by Shannon Cottrell

Have you ever wondered how Adult Swim’s Emmy and Annie-winning hit series Robot Chicken is made? Hard Road to Rad correspondents Liz and Shannon did, so they headed down to Stoopid Buddy Stoodios last week  to learn more. Stay tuned because this Friday, Hard Road to Rad goes behind-the-scenes of Robot Chicken.


Sep 102012

Story: Liz Ohanesian

Photos: Shannon Cottrell

Take a minute to think back to the late 1990s. SHAG’s paintings of mid-20th century scenes were all the rage and a new hit cartoon called The Powerpuff Girls brought an unusual retro-modern style to the small screen. Sanrio was now popular with more than just little girls and Paul Frank’s character, Julius the Monkey, was popping up on wallets across the country. Clean designs and cute characters were everywhere from CD covers to make-up packaging.

It was Paul Frank, in particular, whose work influenced a teenager in the Southern California city of Temecula. Michelle Romo wanted to do what he did, create adorable characters that could mark all sorts of products. “But,” she points out in the living room of her Eagle Rock home, “I didn’t know anything about anything because I was 18.”

Romo had an advantage in that her mom, a graphic designer, was making the transition from working by hand to working with a computer. As her mom learned programs like Illustrator, so did teenage Romo.
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Aug 272012

My Little Pony © Hasbro
Ponies by TOUMA & 6%dokidoki

Story: Liz Ohanesian

Photos: Shannon Cottrell

“Being passionate about something is what helps it be good,” says Caro, founder of the artist management company Sweet Streets and the woman behind a lot of the coolest art events we’ve seen these past few years. “There’s no way I could do what I’m doing without really loving it and being obsessed with art.”

Known professionally by a diminutive form of her first name (Caroline), Caro stumbled upon what she loved and ran with it. Now she manages five artists, including L.A. sensation Luke Chueh and Japan’s Shojono Tomo, and is working closely with Hasbro on the touring art event My Little Pony Project.

When Caro was a child in Miami, she wanted to be an animator and an artist, so she did what was necessary to break into that field. She studied traditional animation and illustration in art school, then headed to Los Angeles for her break. She actually did start working in animation, first as a production assistant and then as a background painter at Nickelodeon Animation Studios. After a lot of long hours  spent painting on her computer, Caro realized making cartoons wasn’t what she wanted to do after all.

“It was a really rewarding job, but it wasn’t for me,” she says. “I need more interaction.”
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