Saturday, February 12, 2011

Two Days With Neil Gaiman @ Singapore Writers Festival 2009


Reknowned author Neil Gaiman was in town over the weekend for the Singapore Writers Festival [tagged] together with Amanda Palmer (Neil's partner-in-literary crime for "Who Killed Amanda Palmer?") ~ for a series of public appearances including talk/dialogue and autograph sessions on both October 31st and November 1st 2009.

I'd managed to attend Day One's session at 3pm (Oct 31) and queued under the sizzling sunday sun for 4 and a half hours to have my Coraline Box signed by the man himself! Check out my humble adventures on Facebook or go along with me on this blog-post :)


DAY ONE: October 31st 2009
Neil Gaiman at the 3pm session of "Little Lit" at the Arts House (Chambers). The rows of seats lined alongside were reserved for "Media" ~ so I had to make do with the far back rows facing the stage (Don't know if they'd count "blogs" as "Media", so didn't flash my namecard lol). Attended the session with Priscilla ~ who had to bear with the constant unglam act of mine when I went down on my knees to snap pics ~ heh.


Neil was utterly witty, personable and relaxed (a marked difference from his appearance 4 years ago at Cineleisure, if memory serves me). The session included discussions about the origins of Coraline the book/story (it all started with stories his kids had conjured up), German horror-fairytales (an insightful interpretation of Brothers Grimm's "Hansel & Gretel"), the process of writing "Good Omens" with Terry Pratchett, and of Neil's journey to China for his new book about "Journey To The East".

There were a couple of readings from The Graveyard Book (excellent reading, btw ~ nothing like the author himself narrating the lines and dialog) and within less than an hour, the session was over! *seriously-man-sob* ~ and so my first day's encounter with Mr Gaiman ended there and then.

[My humble apologies for the torrid-audio, and shortness of video tho...]


Above was the set-up for (presumably) Amanda Palmer's open-grounds performance later at night (9:30pm) ~ scheduled after another Neil Gaiman session at 4:30pm ~ which I did not manage to secure tickets for (*double-sob*) ~ afterwhich there was an official signing session which saw 500 peeps queuing in the raging rain [Tweet], and lasted to 9-ish pm? Didn't make it either to Ms Palmer's show due to heavy rain and personal commitments ~ which I found out laters was shifted under the Arts House's sheltered area [Tweet] ... and let's not go into how Neil's brains were nearly devoured by zombies, yeh? [Tweet]


DAY TWO: November 1st 2009
Made the journey alone on this sunny sunday out to the Arts House for the "Public Signing Session" with Neil Gaiman. Arrived 15 minutes pass the scheduled 3pm (after his 2pm Talk/Session at Victoria Theatre ~ for which I again missed out on free tix!) and found myself at the tail-end of a queue that stretched all the way to the Sir Stamford Raffles statue!

Above pic was snapped at far end of queue near the Clarke Quay river, while having a quick puff and contemplating the possibilities and consequences of joining the queue ...


The sun was merciless and the queue moved ever so slowly. Eventually I was joined up by two ladies (*waves* to Audrey and Heather) and then I wasn't the last in line no more! (small comfort tho). I had resolved not to look at my watch too often by then actually...

And in the midst of the sweltering heat, the organizers had then passed out sponsored packet drinks to us in queue (Kudos, folks!) ~ a welcomed happenstance, indeed! (No, the packs weren't chilled, and yes we are thankful and grateful for the drinks!).


And the final three (Audrey, Heather and me) became four, with the arrival (and literal tagging) of "The Last Person In The Queue"! Most def photo-op time! If we could have kept the tag, I would have made a grab for it (as would the others lol) ~ and suddenly I'm reminded of "The Final Four" Cylons in Battlestar Galactica (Season 3) ~ and the 5th-Cylon would "logically" be Neil Gaiman, but I did not share my thoughts with others for fear of being ostracized hurhur :p


Thankfully it did not rained as it did the day before ~ although I hadn't imagined that we would be seeing a sunday sunset ... as the queue snaked closer to the "inner sanctum" of the Arts House, it felt as if we had been running a marathon, and the finishing line was so so close! (a mirage no doubt helped by the sun's heat-rays).


And into the mouth of the "inner sanctum" we go! (by this time it was dinner time *tummy-grumble*). We were also had by then been joined in the queue by another couple.

Another swell thing that came from being at the back, were the folks and volunteers which popped by and had long chats with us (the lil behind-the-scenes titbits were awesome tho muahahaha) ~ which frankly made the queuing all the more pleasant an experience (for me anyways, being the introvert that I truly am :p). Identify yourselves in the comments section if you happen to read this post ~ thanks!


I'm not going to rag on about the One-Item-Only "request" ~ because otherwise (1) Poor Neil's possibly going to have his wrist/hands in traction (or some such unfortunate malady), and (2) we would have been waiting in queue til monday morning, innit? heh.


Jostling to see Neil Gaiman behind the crowd of folks (Audrey saw Neil's elbow, while I spotted his pen hurhur) as we edged ever so closer that we could smell him! ... But alas t'was the sour-tang of B.O. and smoker's breath from me instead ~ apologies everyone!!!

[Images courtesy of XiaoBei ~ thaaaaanks!]

Neil peering at the corner of his eye as I put the Coraline Box on the table-top in front of him; waiting to be signed ~ and Neil asked: "Are you a blogger?"

I answered: "Yes, I am Toysrevil ..."

Neil: "TOYSREVIL??!!" ~ and promptly shook my sweaty+trembling hands with both of his, and thanked me for the support of Coraline. Made my day, nay ~ my year, that! (Thanks for remembering/recognizing my blog, kind sir!)

I was so agog i didn't snap as much pics as I could and should have when Neil was signing the letter, key-tag and envelope of the box (thanks to Audrey for the above snap tho!)...

Disclaimer: Please do ignore the melted talcum-powder & sweat stained shirt ~ so unglam, right? haiyoooooh (-.-")

[Updated additional images above courtesy of Leonard Shoh ~ thanks dude!]

A last lingering snap of Neil's side ~ but alas, part we must... *cough* ~ after my own photo-session with my box and folks around. (FYI: This was also the "public debut" of the Coraline box in Singapore ~ beyond my family and blog ~ and sharing with like-minded folks! T'was a good day indeed)


Beyond my own personal pride and joy of owning a box, I loved that Neil took some time to look within the box, to poke at the items ~ I had hoped that the box would be a surprise, and to find one in Singapore, no less!

Neil had signed on the letter contained within (from LAIKA ~ thanks again guys!) ~ am lurving the calligraphy styled strokes tho! (no doubt from his journeys to China).


The "cycle" is now complete ~ from receiving one of the 50 boxes given out for Coraline the animated movie, to having it signed by the author ~ I am a happy man now, I am :)

[CLICK for a closer-look at the Coraline Box 23/50 in my previous blog-post, if you so please]

[First posted on TOYSREVIL in 2009]

Revealing Coraline Box #23


CORALINE is a 3D-animated movie directed by Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Xmas) and is based on the novella by Neil Gaiman. Puppetry & Animation is by LAIKA (who were also the gifters of the Coraline boxes). Coraline the movie premieres February 6th, 2009.

Tis funny now, thinking back - it took their second email to convince me
that it wasn't all an online scam to ask me for my mailing address! LOL

Undeniably one of my favouritest "gifts" I've had the honor & pleasure
of receiving this year ~ my humble thanks to the kind folks @ LAIKA!


My box was about SCOTTIE DOG. I think I shall dub thee box SCOTTIE-BOX! :p


Contained within were items related to SCOTTIE DOG - both "Living" and "Dead" versions! From the Stills at base of lid-cover (Numbered 45 & 61) - to the puppet-parts pinned down on the red-velvet lined interior-base, to the iron key twisty-tied via steel wires to a thin carded-tag with " - Password: BUTTONEYES" printed on, it was indeed a precious box of lush intentions and DIY-exquisiteness, IMHO. "Brown-nosing" ~ you say? ... F**K YEAH! I'm all about sharing my manly-joy with y'all! LOL


But frankly, t'was what was "written" on the letter contained in the envelope pasted out-front of the wooden-box, that got my tear-ducts a quiver and heart of hearts pitter-patterin' (not quite close to receiving an anonymous cheque for a million bucks, but close enough :p) ... and it took all the self-control I could muster, to contain my manly-tears from breaching ... *choke*

[View Higher-res on my Flickr]

... you had me at "Dear Andy", folks ... you had me at knowing my name :)

Again, you have my very humbled thanks, LAIKA-rians! (Sorry, couldn't think of a better moniker ... or how about "LAIKA-puppeteers"? heh)

[First posted on TOYSREVIL in 2009]

Coraline Nike Dunks: The Movie Contest and Promotion So Far

WHAT-IS: The Coraline Nike Dunks saw a collaboration between NIKE with advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy Portland to promote the 3D-animated movie Coraline. With the custom Dunks-sporting denim and a hand-sewn feel, artists Gian Galang and Rob Heppler (from W+K) designed the sneaks with an additional pair of Mouse and Cat heads on the laces and "tails" out back. Oversized Buttons designed by the movie's director Henry Selick completed the package.


THE-STORY-SO-FAR: As tangible giveaway promotional items (none were available for sale) - the Coraline Nike Dunks appeared shortly after the launch of the original 50 Coraline Gift Boxes, Other Mother Button Boxes and Coraline Keys, and has since crossed over and focused on the sneaker / apparel lifestyle culture - and exploded. So far, sneakerheads have seen 3 variants of the Dunk - predominantly via it's packaging / box - the most recent one being an uber-limited 15#s in Wooden Boxes worldwide. A full circle it has come, IMHO.


As part of the movie's promotions, a Coraline Nike Dunks Giveaway is currently underway with Custom Coraline Nike Dunk tennis shoes ("AVR" US$150-per) as the sweepstakes-prizes! The contest website states that 2,000 pairs are up for grabs - and to enter, this is what you have to do:

01. GO watch Coraline the 3D-animated movie (heh). Directed by Henry Selick, from a novella by Neil Gaiman and animated by LAIKA. (heh)

02. STAY for the movie's end credits, and look out for special codes. (Singapore screens Coraline only in April, so I can't help ya there!)

03. ENTER that code onto the movie's contest website @ (the link brings you to Coraline's Bedroom - click on the box on the shelf next to the main room door). Press SUBMIT and follow the subsequent instructions (which include your shoe size etc). Good luck, y'all!


The contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States (the District of Columbia) who are at least 13 years old at the time of entry. One entry per person (per email). The contest officially begun online on February 9th 2009 (movie premiered February 6th FYI) and will end on March 1st, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Also note that there is also a Mail-In Alternative Method of participating, without seeing the featured film (which would be perfect for me except that I'm not in the United States! *sigh*). What you need to do is:

01. HAND print your name, address, day and evening phone numbers, email address (if any), age, and requested shoe size on a 3" x 5" piece of paper.

02. MAIL it with proper postage to “Coraline Nike Dunks Giveaway – shoe size (Insert your size),” c/o ePrize, LLC, PO Box 8070, Royal Oak, MI 48068-8070. (Your shoe size will determine the prize for which you are eligible).

03. ALL mail-in entries must be postmarked by March 2, 2009 and received by March 9, 2009.

[Full details in the Official Rules-page]


Above pics are from Sole Blvd showing the Coraline Dunks with Glow-in-the-Dark soles (*cool!*) while shown directly below is from Mark Fatlace from (Source: Sneaker Obsession) - who was one of receipents for the 100 pairs of Coraline Dunks set out by W+K in the beginning of 2009 ~ prior to the movie's premier on February 6th ~ as part of the first "wave" of promotions.


The first wave of Coraline Dunks sent out has seen manic and frenzied activity on online auctions, with auction prices going into the 4-figure mark. But the "sneaker-insanity" had yet to end. The second wave saw a series of 50#s "NIKE X CORALINE DUNK MOVIE PROPS EDITIONS" sent out to online sneakerheads!

Freshness Mag scored a sweet mouse-circus designed/themed shoe-box, with a
pair of cotton candy tuffs! [Peep more images of the shoes on]


Ever since news of the very first Coraline Gift Boxes exploded unto the blogosphere [WHAT], folks have been kept on their collective toes for the possibility of more gift boxes. The "Other Mother" started giving out Button Boxes, followed by the Coraline Nike Dunks ... but none had the allure of the original 50 handmade wooden boxes ... until the advent of the third wave of the Coraline Nike Dunks - which saw a new "WOODEN BOX EDITION" housing the custom-Dunks and given to only 15 of the world’s best sneaker boutiques!


In terms of quantity, this edition is the most limited so far, with only 15 wooden boxes - which also included a Other Mother Button Box and a special tagged (and hand-numbered) Coraline Key which was needed to open the boxes. Eddie Cruz of UNDFTD shares with folks the experience of opening Box #3 on his blog [images via].


#1: St. Alfred
#3: UNDFTD (Undefeated)
#9: GDFT (Good Foot) of Canada (cheers to Eugene for the headsup)

THE-QUESTION-IS: Would this see the end of the Coraline-Box promotions? In this incarnation or the next? Would there be more gifting to be had, and will they still go to netizens and www/blog-enabled folks? Stay Tuned, and Stay Sharp, Folks!

[First posted on TOYSREVIL in 2009]

CORALINE Movie eBay Auctions to Benefit Starlight Children's Foundation


Prompted by a headsup via my youtube-channel (cheers "TranCendenZ"! ~ gawds but I luv the www), I'd discover a slew of Coraline movie-related memorabilia currently up for auction on eBay, which 100% of final sale prices going to Starlight Children's Foundation [www]. Items listed include a Coraline Box #41/50 (Item no: 400029130826), movie-maquettes of Father, Mother & Coraline, Coraline & Circus Mice puppets! Go direct to the *starlightstarbright* ebay-shop for the full-listing (FYI: 8 days more til end of auctions - at time of this post)


CORALINE [www] is a 3D animated movie directed by Henry Selick, based on a novella by Neil Gaiman with animation by LAIKA. Coraline February 6th 2009 (except for Singapore, scheduled for April *sobz*).


Coraline Box #41 contains: Coraline’s military hat, Coraline’s rubber boots, a metal door key, and a set of stills from the film signed by director Henry Selick. [Link]


This auction includes hand-crafted collectible relics from the set of Coraline. For the last three years, 351 of the world’s oddest and most talented animators, artisans, and puppet fabricators have been hand-making one movie. Inside this old box is a one-of-a-kind collection of relics directly from the set of Coraline, the first full-length animated film from LAIKA, Inc. Only 50 boxes were made, entirely by hand, in sunny Portland, Oregon. These boxes are extremely rare and collectible. This is box #41/50.

AUCTION-STATUS: Auction for Box #41/50 ended on February 13th with a winning bid of US$3,250 (36 Bidders).


This Coraline puppet is one of 28 Coraline animation puppets used in the filming of the movie. The puppet is handcrafted, fully articulate and stands 9 3/4” high. Created from a metal armature, silicone skin, synthetic hair, and dressed in her “rescue outfit” (pajamas, bag, sneakers) this puppet is an incredible keepsake from Henry Selick’s Coraline. Coraline comes enclosed in a beautiful glass dome and stands on a wooden base. A small amount of assembly will be required upon receipt.



Other Mr. Bobinsky’s jumping circus mice! The mouse was hand painted and holds an instrument. The mouse is enclosed in a glass dome created especially by the Coraline crew!



Resin-cast design maquettes (statues) of Coraline, Mother and Father used in the character development process. A small amount of assembly will be required upon receipt. (*DISCLAIMER: The sizes of the figures shown in the image above were montaged by myself and may not be wholly accurate to the actual product, yeh? :p)


- Coraline stands 11” high and features Coraline in an outfit not used in the film.
- Mother stands 12" high and was used to flesh out Mother’s personality and look during the character development process of the film Coraline.
- Father stands 14.5" high and was used during the pre-production process of character development, which shows off Father’s quirky persona and love of coffee.


Disclaimer: All Product-Description / Text and Images herein are extracted from the original auction-pages. Authenticity has not been verified, but I sincerely doubt anyone would want to perpetuate a fraud as elaborate as this, innit? For charity, no less! No offense of coz - and go do your bit for charity and score Coraline-goodness at the same time! I would if I could afford them, innit?

CLICK on image below to find out more about the original 50 Coraline Boxes:

[Posted on TOYSREVIL since 2009]