The world of Lisa Frank isn't just filled with colorful hearts, bears dressed as painters, seals swimming in tie-dye oceans and unicorns dancing on rainbows surrounded by musical notes. Fame and fortune are apparently tainted by drugs and infidelity in the secrecy-cloaked convergence of people and events behind the colorful 90s phenomena. And it turns out that Tucson, of all places, has played a major role in Frank's fortunes and misfortunes, as revealed in a recent story published by Jezebel.
Frank comes from a rich family in Bloomfield Hills, Detroit. Bloomfield Hills is ranked one of the top richest cities with with a population under 10,000.
Her father was in the automotive industry, running Detroit Aluminum & Brass, a publicly-traded family company founded by her grandfather and his brothers in 1925. D.A.B. manufactured automatic transmission components, clutches, et cetera; to put their early success into perspective, D.A.B. was the only company in the United States to make the engine bearings for tanks used in WWII.
"If I said 'Make a teddy bear or a unicorn,' that was what sold," Frank said in a interview with Urban Outfitters.
In 1979, she renamed the company and Lisa Frank, Inc. was born. That same year she received her first million-dollar order from Spencer Gifts. She was 25 years old.
The small staff of LFI still reports to Lisa Frank HQ: a 320,000 square-foot building in Tucson, infamous in the area for its decor, featuring giant, multicolored music notes, hearts and stars and oversized, fiberglass character statues. Near the building's entrance, a large silver unicorn sculpture is missing its horn. The building and land are listed for lease or sale at a reduced price of $13.25 million. According to Tim Healy, the listing agent at the time, LFI was "still operating inside the facility but not at full capacity."
Visits from alien spacecraft, martians and a festive Chupacabra mark the journey of main characters Marge and Tom as they vie to win first place in the Winterhaven Festival of Lights Decorating Contest and ultimately understand the true meaning of Christmas. This musical extravaganza promises to keep everyone from tots to seniors on the edge of their seats and tapping their feet.The cast includes Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Police Chief Chief Villaseñor, TV news anchors (I hope KGUN 9's Guy Atchley reprises his Keebler elf performance) and various MIXfm DJs. I'm going to play Detective Alvarez! The score and effects will be provided by Diane Van Deurzen and Lisa Otey.
All my life people have been telling me that Hotel Congress is haunted, but they can never explain why. Some say there are some visitors that never checked out when a fire in the basement traveled to the third floor of the hotel while authorities were trying to apprehend John Dillinger and his gang in 1934. I have never heard of the story behind Room 242 in 1993. Aric Allen filmed this hard boiled, noir Youtube video reminiscing what happen the night of the suicide.
I travelled to Tucson in October to visit family, but I used that opportunity to check into the “Suicide Room” at Hotel Congress. I learned about the haunted room a few years back when I was trying to recall the events of a night that changed my life, I was at the hotel about twenty years ago when a woman in room 242 killed herself.
Tomorrow night is the monthly midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. It's an experience that is never the same twice. At least for me.
The stories told by my family members have always seemed a hell of a lot different from those I heard from my friends. My favorites were always the ones my mom would tell of her time with Rocky Horror. She'd joined the crew at the Loft, and was on board primarily as Janet, though she loves to talk about the time she played Frankenfurter. My best memories from being little typically involve dancing the Time Warp with my mom and sister, or putting on bright red lipstick while lip synching in the mirror.
Hearing these stories were always fun, but always seemed like a different world completely to me. I'd honestly forgotten all abut it until one Friday in July, my best friend Kelia told me to come with her to the Loft that Saturday night for Rocky Horror. I had no idea it was still going on. And when I told my mom I was going, she managed to look horrified and sentimental at the same time. (Having gone, I now understand why. No one knows what happens at Rocky better than my mom.)
Jonathan Ross is the David Letterman and Larry King of Britain. No one in the US knows who Ross is unless you're a comic book fan and watched In Search of Steve Ditko BBC documentary or read his work. I got to attend a panel where Ross interview Robert Kirkman, Ed Brubaker and John Layman at last year's San Diego Comic-Con. It's the closest thing to watching The Jonathan Ross Show live I'll ever get.
Ross recently had Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock on his show, and they were in for a Big surprise.
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