My Little Pony Project Brings Bronies and Pegasisters to Toy Art Gallery
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Just before 8:30 p.m., when the line to enter Toy Art Gallery was at its fullest, a small white car sped through the intersection of Melrose and Curson. The driver screamed, "Bronies!" The crowd let out a deep roar of excitement. My Little Pony Project 2012, a massive art exhibition dedicated to the cute and colorful toys that spawned a cult favorite cartoon series, was under way.
At TAG, the line extended down the block for the bulk of the night. Elsewhere on the avenue, My Little Pony fans -- including, yes, bronies, the term for older men who are My Little Pony fans -- swarmed other participating shops. JapanL..A had MLP keychains on hand early in the evening. Store owner Jamie Rivadeneira told me that they ran out in about five minutes. Designer toy shop Munky King was giving away free ponies with a $5 purchase. I stood in line for somewhere between five and 10 minutes to enter the shop. The line to make a purchase and collect a pony was longer than that. That this night was also Cinco de Mayo didn't matter -- Melrose was all about ponies.
The biggest crowd was at TAG, the focal point of My Little Pony Project. Although the opening event for the monthlong show was designed like a scavenger hunt, with flyers indicating what prizes were available at different locations, the organizers indicated that most people preferred to wait in line to see the main exhibit. Inside the small art gallery/boutique, the crowd was thick. People took cellphone photos of the large MLP figures, which were customized by artists ranging from Devo founder Mark Mothersbaugh to Japanese fashion brand 6%dokidoki. They ogled L.A. accessory designer Onch Movement's luxe My Little Pony necklaces and lined up again at the register, arms filled with T-shirts and other merchandise.
Shannon Cottrell My Little Pony custom by Miss Kika
The event came at just the right time, when renewed interest in the 1980s toys is at a high thanks to the surging popularity of the Hub's animated series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and the Brony phenomenon has reached almost mainstream status.