Will you help to #SaveToysRUs? No matter what your take on it, most will agree that the saga of Toys "R" Us is nothing short of historic. With each new day, new information comes forth, and much of it is absolutely unprecedented. Today brings a new chapter as Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment, Inc. (MGAE), one of the world's leading privately held toy and entertainment companies and the folks behind favorites like L.O.L. Surprise!, Little Tikes, Project Mc2, Num Noms and more has announced a GoFundMe campaign aimed at saving the iconic toy retailer Toys"R"Us. A crowdfunding effort to save a retailer is a unique proposition for sure, and Larian and various investor associates have already given the campaign a jump-start with personal contributions over $200 million toward a lofty $1 billion goal, which would be used in the formulation of a bid to acquire all or some Toys"R"Us assets through the bankruptcy process. This is a separate endeavor from the previously-reported bid that Larian and his group placed toward the operations of Toys "R" Us Canada. If you're interested in getting involved, I'm sharing the full details on the campaign here on The Rock Father™ Magazine, as provided this morning via press release from Larian.

MGA Entertainment entered 2018 on a massive high, riding a wave of success fueled by their hit L.O.L. Surprise! line. As much as I champion gender-free play (let kids play with what they want!), the "surprise" toy market has largely skewed toward girls, and this is something that I've seen first-hand. Having already jumped into the action-aisle with their Awesome Little Green Men, MGA now has a "surprise" for that crowd as well with the release of Crate Creatures Surprise! I was initially contacted about checking these out just before Christmas but didn't have time to take a look until after the holiday rush - which is fine since the availability is better now. This new collection of interactive figures brings the "unboxing" experience to life in a way that can be repeated again and again. Check out the video below, along with some detailed thoughts on this new line...

This morning, MGA Entertainment (MGAE) announced that they're launching the world's first-ever unboxing video booth as they celebrate the official release of L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise on September 29 in Hollywood, CA. They've also announced that on the same date they will launch "Unboxed," which they tout as "a new digital content series that gives fans a behind the scenes look at its most popular brands." Coincidentally, UNBOXED is also the name of a digital content series here on THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine, one that's been running since 2015 (see 55 episodes of UNBOXED on YouTube), featuring toys from a variety of makers, including MGA Entertainment. 

The Rock Father™ is a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam

I was just thinking about how it's been over two years since The Rock Daughters™ and I filmed a video doing some in-home science experiments timed with the debut of Project Mc2 - an Emmy-nominated Netflix Original Series from MGA Entertainment. Time certainly does fly, and that's made clear by what hit my inbox this evening - news that Project Mc2 Part 5 is coming to Netflix on September 15, and that the cast and crew recently threw-down at The London Hotel in West Hollywood, California to unveil the new season alongside some of this fall's new additions to the growing toy line.

Unlike the world I grew up in as a kid, military toys for kids in 2017 are a little bit hard to come by. Aside from an True Heroes at Toys "R" Us, Lanard Toys' The Corps at Walmart and maybe the occasional G.I. Joe release from Hasbro, there just isn't a huge presence for old-school military adventures, and with that in mind I was pretty surprised to come across a new collection called AWESOME LITTLE GREEN MEN. Featured on display at The Toy Insider's Sweet Suite '17, this new line of blind boxed figures and vehicles comes from MGA Entertainment, the folks behind LOL Surprise, Num Noms, Lalaloopsy, Project Mc2, Bratz and Little Tikes.  With a goal of "combining humor and battle play with a pop vinyl aesthetic," Awesome Little Green Men will begin hitting retail stores nationwide on August 1, 2017.

When it comes to music festivals, my "Old Crankypants" alter-ego tends to come out. The April arrival of the two-weekend Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival is essentially the start of festival season here in the U.S., and for the most part, the most high-profile fest in the country holds little interest for me. Sure, they score a few sweet headliners like GUNS 'N ROSES this year, and the mighty FAITH NO MORE a few years back, but the running joke of the dozens of bands slapped on the poster in an increasingly smaller font is just that - a joke. Then we have Lollapalooza here in Chicago, a fest I still haven't attended since it planted its flag on Illinois soil for a permanent run - preferring to remember it as a traveling carnival of awesome from the 90s. In fact, the only fest locally that I've been known to support 100% is RIOT FEST, but I will say that the upcoming Chicago Open Air has my attention (needs some Product of Hate, though). Cranky business in lineups aside, the amount of press releases that I receive each year about the culture surrounding Coachella is fascinating. There's usually two things being pitched - "VIP" packages that would be unaffordable for most ($25K-$50K), and fashion. A lot of fashion. On the latter note, I really have no gripes, which is why it's actually sort of cool to see that MGA Entertainment has issued a new series of "Music Festival Vibes" BRATZ dolls... though "Old Crankypants" does come back when it comes to BRATZ.

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